Thursday, April 30, 2009
Wednesday, April 29, 2009
This is the way my early morning has gone. So far, I'm pretty calm, but I sense this fear, hovering in the background like a blanket of fog waiting to envelope me. Honest to goodness, though, I feel as if it's warded off by this "umbrella" of protection that not only surrounds me and Lily but surrounds my whole family. Your fervent prayers.
Perhaps the Extreme Tator Tots from Sonic has kick-started everything into motion. If not, I plan to spend a little time (easily) working in my yard, to get a much-needed hair cut, and to put last-minute items together. I'll probably work a nap into the day, too.
. . .5:23 (Nothing yet. I think I'll try to go back to sleep.)
Tuesday, April 28, 2009
In two days, I get to meet you. Do you know how excited I am? But I'm afraid, too. I don't think I've ever felt those two emotions at the same time before, so this is new to me. I just want you to know that the decisions we've made for you and your birth have not been easy decisions, but your daddy and I have made them out of complete love for you. What's been scary is not knowing if those decisions were the ones that will allow us to spend time with you. Such is the way of a parent's love. We think we make the right decisions, but sometimes we don't know that answer until later. (You can ask Rani and Autumn all about it.)
You are such a fortunate little girl. You have a wonderful daddy who loves you beyond the stars, two sisters who will absolutely adore you and play dress up with you all you want, and a big brother who will watch over you like big brothers should. Plus, you have family members who will fill in the gaps that your daddy and I neglect to fill. They love you so much, too. But, Lily, there are so many more people out there who love you already! Some of them are even from other countries! You have made such an impact on their lives. You are one powerful little girl!
So, because all of these people are praying for you and cheering you on and loving you so much, you've just got to pull through! I know it won't be easy, and I'll completely understand if fighting for your life becomes too hard and you need to give up or you hear a call more beautiful than what I could ever offer and you want to go to it, but also know that we are here waiting and hoping and wanting to meet you more than the ocean wants to meet the shore.
Monday, April 27, 2009
My final doctor's appointment was today. Final, because we have made the decision to induce on Thursday, provided Lily hasn't gotten here yet. Basically, I'm emotionally deflated,and I feel as if I have lost all control of a situation I had very little control of. I cried on the way to the doctor's office thinking, "I am not ready to face pregnant women today." It didn't help when the nurse asked what I was having and what I planned on naming her. I hate being at the doctor's office, crying. I feel like it puts this big target on me that says, "Hey, I'm that one whose shoes you DON'T want to be in. Breathe a sigh of relief. It's me, not you."
Honestly, today would not have been so bad, except I learned something I'm embarrassed to say I didn't know about. The doctor told me not to stress over this, and I'm trying not to, but I learned about meconium. I mean, I knew what it was. I just didn't know that a baby had more chances of breathing it in once she passes her due date. Being 1 1/2 weeks overdue, Lily's chances of breathing it in increase. Why is this child being so stubborn?! Now I feel as if I have no choice but to give the go-ahead for induction, and that's why I feel as if I've lost all control over this situation. I put so much faith in going by Lily's terms, and now I have to give that up. That scares me.
The comments some of you have left have been very comforting. Thank you for reminding me that all of my decisions have been out of love for Lily. I cannot deny that. It's just very hard to accept that the decisions that have been made out of the biggest of love might not be enough. There's been a part of me this whole time that has said, "My child will have our stubborn hearts. She has come this far, she can go even farther." I have imagined life with her, despite the difficulties, and I've accepted that challenge. I'm trying to keep my spirits up, but this emotional exhaustion has overwhelmed me. As much as I should be ready for a day like Thursday, under these circumstances, I'm dreading it.
So, Thursday morning, 6 - 6:30 am. That's when I'm to report to the hospital. Stay tuned. . .
Sunday, April 26, 2009
To make matters worse, tomorrow is my birthday. I'm usually not the freakish kind when it comes to my birthday, but I'll be honest and say that I'm dreading it. My main fear? What if Lily is born tomorrow and she doesn't survive? Will I be able to look on that day as a blessing for the remainder of my life, or will it be a day I'll never be able to be happy on? I know I'm overthinking all of this and that I have absolutely no control over the matter, but it only adds to my stress.
Other than that, I can't wait to post to this blog that I'm on my way to the hospital. I'm still hoping to be able to keep everyone posted during Lily's birth. . .whenever that may be! :)
Friday, April 24, 2009
There exists a Mystery, much larger than I am. I have spoken of this Mystery before. It is what pointed me to
Last Friday, I wrote about the story of the stones in my bookbag and how the final stone turned into a butterfly. It was not the butterfly that became my “symbol” but rather the metamorphosis itself—the transformation from something cold and hard and seemingly hopeless into something beautiful and full of hope. I also wrote about the book I received, When the Heart Waits, and I told about how my favorite poet’s quote was printed as an introductory quote—“Patience is everything.” I concentrated more on the giving over to God and the patience.
On Monday, I sat down to really get into the book. Kidd is going through a mid-life crisis, and she’s walking in the cold, trying to figure her life out. She comes upon a cocoon. . .and a realization. For any change her life is desperately craving, she’s going to have to wait. For the transformation to occur, she’s going to have to patiently sit in her soul’s cocoon before the butterfly will appear. There’s butterfly reference #2.
I get to school today and find that my assistant has made a quilt for Lily. It’s a beautiful quilt. She points out that there’s an inscription at the bottom. It reads “For Lily With Love” but beside the inscription was an embroidery of a butterfly. I asked her if she had read my blog about the butterfly. She had not. Butterfly #3.
I told her the story. While I was telling the story, I looked over to the side. There was a book sitting on a book cart. The title? The Lamb and the Butterfly, by Eric Carle. Butterfly #4.
We had a presenter in the library for our fourth grade students this morning. While I was turning my projector and laptop off, I looked on the cart that both are on. There was a wand of some sort (I think the presenter used it as a pointer), but the top of the wand was formed into. . . you guessed it. . .a butterfly. Butterfly #5.
I had to go help a teacher with her projector. I knocked on her door, looked up, and lo and behold, there’s a butterfly mobile. Butterfly #6!
Now, you might argue that my senses are now heightened to butterflies and that’s why I’m seeing them all over the place. That may be the case, but maybe my senses are supposed to be heightened to them. I believe that I am to learn something from them. I believe that with my heart, my soul, my mind, and all of my strength!
What to learn? Could it be that I am to be patient and let this little butterfly within me emerge in her own sweet time? Or could this be a prediction of some sort that little Lily will have, herself, transformed from the T-18 caterpillar into a healthy baby? Maybe it’s a reminder that the grieving that may occur will need its own time to heal and for me not to rush it. Yes, my senses are heightened, but so is my perception. I will be on the lookout for more butterflies, but more, I will be tuned in to what I can learn from them. The Great Mystery would have it no other way.
Thursday, April 23, 2009
You may be wondering: ST ENDS? Maybe I should add another clue: BE FRI. Any ideas? When I was younger, my best friend and I had these charms. They were in the shape of a split heart that together said BEST FRIENDS. The letters were separated into BE FRI and ST ENDS. I thought I still had my side, but I didn't see it where I keep my jewelry. Maybe one of my girls has it.
I don't have a sister, but she was the closest person to being my sister. She was the truest best friend a girl could have. One day, when we were driving around, we were sitting in silence. One of us (probably her) (oh, and I don't remember the details because she has the better memory-- but I can tell you exactly where we were when it was said). So, one of us said, "You know you're with your best friend when you can drive around, sitting in a car, completely silent, and still feel comfortable." That's the kind of best friend she was. There was just that connection. We had fun, we'd laugh ourselves to sleep, and we both LOVED Bon Jovi! What more could you ask for?
But those days of the best friend charm and BFF (best friends forever) and LYLAS (love ya like a sister) at the bottom the numerous letters we passed throughout the day have slid past us.
It's different now. We're older. Things have changed. You see, my best friend moved away in high school. Before she moved away, we had a falling out, but then became friends again, which was about when I found out she was moving. Our friendship held regardless of the move, even though we didn't keep in touch with one another as much. Still, we visited one another throughout the years and re-established lost time each time, despite new families and jobs and lifestyle changes.
It's funny how life works. There seemed to be another time, not too long ago, when we had another falling out, egged on by a mutual acquaintance who couldn't stand that we were best friends. I feel so stupid that I was blind to his maliciousness. But that is in the past and definitely behind me. We are friends again, and though we still don't keep in touch with one another as much, when we do talk on the phone, we're on the phone for hours! I feel like a teenager again when I'm on the phone with her.
Despite the falling outs and the distance, I still feel as if I have that connection with her (I can only hope it's mutual). In the past month, there have been a few things that have confirmed that. I'll share one. She had to have eye surgery. Her surgery was supposed to be on a Monday. My whole intention was to call her that day and see how the surgery went, but I forgot. I hate to admit that I didn't even think about it. It wasn't until the Wednesday after that I remembered her surgery. When I called, I found out that her surgery was rescheduled to THAT DAY! Now, that might not be such an astounding confirmation, but I see it that way, especially when coupled with the other small confirmations.
You see, I'm totally amazed because she left such a wonderful complement as a comment the other day. I don't deserve such a complement, but I am touched by it. But you've got to know something about her. After she found out about Lily, she went online and did countless hours of research. Now, Dave and I did a lot of research, but she went above and beyond what we did. She shared so much that she had learned about, including a website where the creator of the site writes the names of babies who have passed away in the sand and then takes pictures of them and posts them on her website. She had so much more to share! She's following this blog and waiting to hear that Lily is here. While she's not here--oh, how I wish she were--, she shares my sadness with me. I am honored by her friendship! And even though she won't be here for Lily's birth, her spirit will be right beside me through all of it. I take comfort in that. So does Lily.
Wednesday, April 22, 2009
One of my biggest concerns before going to yesterday's appointment was that the doctor was going to push induction. After hearing from another mom that induction was not good on babies, I decided to do a little research myself. I found out that the drug Pitocin, which is commonly used to induce, can cause fetal distress. Now, I might be wrong here, but it seems to me that if babies with T-18 are likely to go through distress during birth, why would I want to add more distress in the form of a synthetic hormone? It just doesn't seem right to me. Plus, I was not induced with Rani and Autumn, but I was with Gabriel, and I just feel as if his birth was harder. I was put on oxygen with him, I had to lay on my left side, and his heartrate dropped. I don't remember those things happening with the girls. I went to the doctor with research in hand.
I had a few surprises at the doctor's. First, Lily has turned again! (My assistant has nicknamed her Flipper.) I am happy to inform you all that she is now head down. Second, the doctor didn't even mention induction! I feel as if this was an answered prayer! I was certain that he would. He asked Dave and me what we wanted to do, so we told him we'd like to just wait. I have another appointment on Monday--my birthday.
As for the ultrasound, it was quite uneventful. We had a different sonographer, and she didn't give us the special attention our usual one gives us. But that's ok. We had such a great experience previously that I can overlook this one. Anyway, according to the measurements, Lily should weigh around 5 pounds 12 ounces. Way to go, Lily! She's up from 4 pounds 6 ounces from about a month ago. Her other measurements (head, abdomen) are about 4 weeks behind, but that is to be expected. The space that indicates a smaller-than-normal cerebellum still exists in the back of her brain, but her kidneys and stomach still seem to be working properly, and she was practicing her breathing, which was cute to see.
Oh, going back a few days to Sunday night, I did have contractions. They lasted about 3 1/2 hours and were quite irregular. The doctor said that happens sometimes. And here it is, Wednesday, and I'm just waiting for them to start back up. Lily is kicking up a storm, which is especially impressive since I'm over the due date. Stubborn little booger!
One more thing. . .I'd like to take a few minutes to thank you all for your support. I am grateful beyond words for your prayers. Your words of encouragement in your emails, in your comments, and at work offer me so much comfort. I know Lily feels your love through me and I can't help but think that you have played a part in keeping her here with us for this long. Love has such an amazing power! Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!
Friday, April 17, 2009
My aunt gave me a book today, When the Heart Waits: Spiritual Direction for Life's Sacred Questions by Sue Monk Kidd. Whenever I get a new book, I fan through the pages and check out the layout of it. I don't know why I do this. While fanning through, I thought I saw "Rilke" somewhere at the beginning, in the main paragraphs of the book. I stopped and flipped page by page to see if I could find it. You see, Rainer Maria Rilke is one of my favorite writers/poets. (I highly suggest Letters to a Young Poet. This book has impacted my life tremendously.) In flipping and scanning, I could not find his name, and I flipped a scanned a few times over. I later decided to pick up the book and read it. There, at the beginning of Chapter One, not in the main paragraphs of the book, but as an introductory quote, was this: "Patience is everything. Rainer Maria Rilke." I swear to you, this was NOT where I had seen his name, and after checking the first time, I just thought, Oh, I must have just thought I saw it. Maybe mixed a few letters up. To go back, not expecting it to be there, yet finding it, was a true gem. As mundane as it seems, it's one of those things that confirms that this book will be worth the reading. Because of that, I will be especially on the lookout for what I call signs. Just like what I was talking about in my post on Ash Wednesday, it's little episodes like this that confirm to me that this is what I should be doing. I wonder if it's a sign to have patience with Lily's coming.
Around the time I had separated from my first husband, I was also dealing with my father having been diagnosed with melanoma and my uncle having been diagnosed with non-Hodgkins lymphoma. It was not a good time. I carried around this huge weight of sadness. I remembered this Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle movie the girls had watched where this little boy kept telling lies. Well, every time he told a lie, a stone was placed in a bookbag that he had to carry around. Of course, the bookbag got heavy. After a while, he began to tell the truth, and when he did, he was able to lose a stone until, eventually, the bookbag was empty and he was cured of his lying habit. I likened my sadness to those stones in the bookbag. One night, I was lying in bed, and I imagined taking my sadness (those stones) out of my "bookbag" and just handing them over to God, one at a time. I got very sleepy doing this, so by the time I was nearly done with my stones, I was almost asleep. In that half-awake/half-asleep mode, I imagined the final stone cupped in my hands. It was as if God had told me to open my hands, so I did. There, instead of the stone, was a small, but beautiful, butterfly. I don't know how it happened, but my sadness went away. I guess you could say that in doing that little exercise, I gave it over to God. What amazes me is the confirmation that everything was going to be ok in that little butterfly.
I have given Lily over to God. I'm leaving her in His hands and trusting that the best will be done for her, even if the best is not what I, the little-knowing human that I am, would like to believe is best.
I am trying to prepare my heart for a thousand-piece break, and I am trying to prepare my heart for a blessing beyond belief and all the in-betweens. Ultimately, nothing I do will be enough to prepare me for the moment she arrives, and in some strange way, that excites me.
Saturday, April 11, 2009
That's not how I have always handled my sadness. In the past, I would swallow it and it would float around deep in the inner recesses of my being. Only time would make it dwindle.
I experienced that kind of sadness last night. Lily hasn't been moving as much as she had been, and it saddened me. I think part of it also has to do with the fact that I'm a week away from my due date. It was quite an emotional night.
Anyway, after I had swallowed that sadness, Lily moved around. It was as if she was trying to escape that sadness that was floating around. I've got to do a better job of putting it in my heart.
I tell you this as a plea to those who are experiencing sadness due to a diagnosis like Trisomy 18. I just don't think it is healthy for our babies to feel our sadness when we let it sink into us like that. Sometimes I wonder if our baby's condition worsens because we just can't let go of that sadness.
I made a promise to Lily that I would try to be as positive and happiness filled as I could. For her sake. I ask you to do the same for your own baby's sake.
Friday, April 10, 2009
These are specific prayer requests for us. . .all thought out by Lorraine. She asked me to share them with you. If you join us at 12 noon and you feel led to say your own prayer tomorrow, by all means, do! If your words come like mine, well, there's a prayer below that you can say instead.
Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!
Holy Father, we praise You that you are the giver and sustainer of life, the author of our faith. We are in awe of Your power, Your goodness, Your love that is beyond our understanding. You are our help in times of need; You are the Great Physician; You heal; You bring good from evil and light from darkness; You see the Big Picture, whereas we see with human eyes; You see with purity, wheras we see with our wants and needs and biases. You are in total loving control of the universe, and we trust You.
We thank you for life and especially today we thank You for the life of Lily Grace, which already has drawn us closer to You and closer to each other. Thank You for the beauty and hope she represents...that--before she's even entered the world--her life has made an impact on all who know her or know about her. I thank You for Dave and Jill, who had the courage and conviction to choose "life" when many in our culture see a compromised life as disposable. I thank You for inspiring them to share their hearts, their insights, their wisdom. I thank You for the many people yet to be revealed who will be helped and encouraged by their experience. Thank You for bringing us together this day in Your Name. May everyone who comes to You today receive a fresh word of Truth and Encouragement from You. Thank You for the mercy and favor You've shown thus far with Lily--that she remains in the womb for her full term. Praise You, Lord! That her sonograms do not reveal problems as grave as what could have been and reveal much that is healthy and nornal. That she has been active throughout her gestation. That You have kept Jill healthy. That You have given Jill and Dave an inexplicable peace, not as the world gives, but as only You can give, the peace that transcends all understanding. And now, claiming your exhortation of Hebrews 4:16, we "approach the Throne of grace with confidence so that we may receive mercy and and find grace to help us in our time of need." And so we bring before you the following pleas for Lily's birth and life:
. that You will keep Jill healthy and rested;
. that You will continue to hold Dave and Jill in perfect peace;
. that You give Rani and Autumn peace and understanding through this as well;
. for Your perfect timing for Lily's birth;
. that Jill will be able to receive pain control so she can be fully comfortable and cognizant of every second of this miraculous process;
. that there will be no need for a C-section;
. that all medical professionals will be tender, compassionate, and diligent in their commitment to carry out Dave and Jill's birth plan;
. for safey and protection for any family members or friends who may be traveling to be present for Lily's birth
. that this experience will be more beautiful, profound, and spiritual than the family or any of us has imagined;
. that Lily Grace will be born alive to meet the adoring gazes of her family and to be held in their loving arms. In Ephesians 3:20-21 you tell us that You can do "immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine," so I ask even more on her behalf. I pray Lord in Your mercy and providence that it will please You to spare this child the catastrophic problems associated with her condition; that perhaps her diagnosis will even prove erroneous. Yes, Lord, we ask for the miracle...that You will bring forth a healthy child. That being said, we trust Your good and loving Will and know that You already have brought about miracles in this situation. We trust Your goodness and surrender to Your perfect love and Divine Purpose;
. and above all, Lord, we ask that You be honored and glorified in every aspect of this birth;
In the Holy and Precious Name of our Savior, Jesus Christ. Amen.
Thursday, April 9, 2009
Below is a message from a friend of mine who felt led to have prayer over Lily. The more we talked about it, the more we decided it would be nice to do this in a local park. I know many of you are out of town and can't make it, but if you think about it on Saturday at 12 noon, feel free to join us in spirit.
I thank you all for your love and support!
If you're receiving this invitation, it's because of your connection to Dave and Jill and their soon-to-be born daughter Lily Grace.
If you can spare half an hour this Saturday, April 11, at 12 noon, please come to the Living History Park on Lake Avenue in North Augusta (take Georgia Avenue (Hwy. 25) to downtown NA, turn right onto Spring Grove and take until it runs into Lake Avenue). At this time, we're having a gathering of family, friends, and friends of friends, to pray over all aspects of Lily Grace's birth and life. We're claiming the promise that "wherever two or more are gathered in My Name, there will I be." If you're able, please bring a brown bag lunch and stay and picnic with us. Knowing, however, what a busy week this is, if you can be there for just 30 minutes to be part of our prayer circle, we would be honored. No one will be asked or expected to pray aloud...please just be part of our circle. And, of course, if anyone does feel led to join in the prayer, we welcome this.
With this being Holy Week, our gathering takes on even more significance. As we praise God for the resurrection power that raised His Son, so we ask for this same power to be poured over our "Easter" Lily and her family.
If you are unable to join us on Saturday, please check back at this blogspot for specific prayer requests and a call to pray--wherever you are--at noon on Saturday.
Love and blessings,
Wednesday, April 8, 2009
First off, this band is awesome. (And Sarah, I'm totally jealous (in a good way) that you got to meet them!) One of my favorites. I'm so impressed with their ability to change sounds after each CD. So many musicians fall into this pocket of comfort, but not JOC. I'm even more impressed, though, with their lyrics. Genius!
A few things struck me while I read these lyrics, and I thought I'd share them. It's not that their lyrics have become the source of my strength, but they certainly reconfirm the existence of this strength. I share them today in hopes that those who question their own strength will look back and realize that it's there, perhaps in the making, but it's there.
The CD I was looking at, Who We Are Instead, has a song on it called "Faith Enough." Before the lyrics begin, there is a quote from A Farewell to Arms by Ernest Hemingway. "The world breaks every one and afterward many are strong at the broken places." This speaks to me in two ways. First, I am not alone. I am not the only one suffering through T-18, and I am not the only one suffering. There is comfort in that. Secondly, strength is not necessarily a constant. It is constantly in the making. We break, but afterward, we become strong at those broken places. It is possible that my heart will break in the next few days, but that suffering that I endure will strengthen that place that is broken. I believe that my heart will grow tremendously from that. Do I look forward to that breaking? Heck no! Will I heal quickly? Probably not. But I will eventually rise above my suffering.
The next song is entitled "Show You Love." I'm going to try to add it to my songlist. I think it carries on the theme of this blog. At the end of the song it says, "So tie me to a tree and let the smoke and ash collect/No, I won't regret to let love do what love will let/We can drown in mixed emotions or walk across the angry sea/This is the cost of being free." Need I say more?
"I'm in the Way" reminds me that God is never going to "let [me] go that far" in the way of falling down. It doesn't say I won't fall--I know that I will--but His arms are there to catch me. OK. The song is too great. The day after my nana's funeral, I was listening to this song, going down the road, fully enveloped in the lyrics. Needless to say, I was not paying attention to the speed limit and got a ticket, but this song just had a way of picking me up out of the despair of losing my nana. I can't help it. I have to share it with you:
"You sit and stare out at the sky/And think of ways to fake a smile
But life is never what it seems/Sometimes it only takes a while
I'm in the way of fallin' down/I won't let you go that far now
If you think that hope was left behind/I picked it up a mile ago
And I am running close behind/So don't give up and don't let go"
The image of the last two lines impresses on me. Can you not just see God right behind you, holding that hope out to you? I guess sometimes we are blind to that, but I still like to think that He's still there.
"Jesus' Blood Never Failed Me Yet" is actually my least favorite song. However, I never knew the story behind it. It's not an original song. The original recording was a 72 minute loop of a homeless person singing "Jesus' Blood Never Failed Me" over and over. JOC was affected by the fact that this homeless person, "one so lowly," still had the ability to express such faith. "The power of Gavin's recording is a testimony to one of this world's most profound and sacred mysteries: though they suffer. . .they have joy." It is a mystery, indeed.
Finally, "My Heavenly." Oh, this song. I'm not one for singing around people, but I would like to sing this song to Lily. Sorry, but I can't say any more about this song right now. It's too personal, I guess.
If you get a chance, scroll down to my song list and listen to these songs (if I can put them on). I originally wanted to go with variety, but today's readings inspired me to share.
P.S. I couldn't add two of the songs to my playlist ("I'm in the Way" and "My Heavenly"), but if you go to http://music.myspace.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=music.
artistalbums&artistid=5580958&albumid=8080555, you can hear them (plus other JOC songs).
Monday, April 6, 2009
I still don't understand this peace that I feel in my heart. Shouldn't I be worrying right now? I mean, we have no idea what's going to happen. Shouldn't that be driving me insane, especially when it's so close? Is this the calm before the storm?
Wednesday, April 1, 2009
I've not said "It's not fair" throughout this pregnancy. It's not fair, but hey, did anyone ever promise us that life is fair? I think, though, that sometime during the packing, my heart whispered This isn't fair a few times.
It's not fair that I have to pack a sports bra in the event Lily doesn't make it or can't nurse, and I have to suppress my milk production.
It's not fair that I've felt the need to pack three different outfits--one for pictures, one for comfort, and one for burial--because I have no idea how this is going to turn out.
It's not fair that the hand mold/picture frame combo that I've packed might represent a moment's memory, frozen.
It's not fair that I'm afraid to put an infant car seat in my car because I don't want to drive home with it empty. (Thankfully, my momma will bring that to the hospital for us.)
It's not fair that I have to dissect every possible decision for putting an item in that bag.
It's just not fair. Or am I thinking that it's just not fair that this happened to me? When I think about the statistics (1/3000), it's still shocking that Lily became the one out of that 3000. I mean, the hospital where I'll be delivering delivers about 3000 babies a year! Statistically speaking, Lily is that one. It's mind-boggling.
I don't want to mislead any of you. I'm not bitter. Actually, I'm feeling rather calm and peaceful these days. I accept what will happen, even though I might not like it. The whole symbolism behind packing the bag just weighed on me. Each item represents something far more than just what it actually is. But that is done, and I'm over it. The bag now sits waiting on the chair that's in our bedroom, reminding us that life is quite the adventure. It could be any day now when Dave reaches for that bag and drives me off to the hospital. That's exciting! It's something that has not differed between this pregnancy and my other three.