Archive for the ‘Revised Expectations’ Category

I’m still shaken by the news.

Once again, this is not what I expected.

For the last several months of my pregnancy I knew what we were having. Not because we saw evidence on a sonogram.  I knew. My brilliant intuition shouted daily, “you’re having a boy!”  My special, super-natural, mysterious feminine insight allowed a Mona Lisa smile and agreed, “forget pink, sister.”

So I did.  I trusted my “gut” completely.  (It was 3-0, remember?) I let my mind wander when my husband suggested girl names.  I stock-piled boy clothes and day-dreamed about my son teaching his little brother how to wrestle. I snickered with relief when my cousin had her third daughter.  Relief because such an excess happened to someone else.

 Whew! Thank goodness that’s not me!  I need a little more balance in my life! 

Now, four weeks after I stared up in shock at my husband when the doctor announced, “a beautiful baby girl!” I have a few things to say about having three girls:

  1. It’s wonderful.
  2. We totally outnumber the boys!
  3. I love pink.
  4. “Balance” is highly over-rated.
  5. “Girl time with Mommy” (professional pedicures and Starbucks) just got a little more expensive.
  6. I’m in love (again.)

Z, darling, you are the best surprise I’ve ever received!


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You may have already read what I expect when I have a baby.  Our third child was actually the first to foil these expectations.   She was born with a birth defect. There was  a squiggle of skin where her right ear should be and no opening to an ear canal. 

Well. That definitely wasn’t in the plan. 

The truth is, it was never a big deal to begin with.  Surprising?  Sure.  Unexpected?  Definitely.  Like the title says, this happens to other people, not us.  With no warning, we were given residency in a land which before we’d only visited, free to  leave whenever we liked. It caught us off-guard.

And yeah, we experienced some anxiety during that first week or two while we waited for answers. But when she was born, she was ours, an exquisite pink-and-white, perfect baby girl.  No malformed ear or any other problem could change that.

Besides, we have known children who have serious problems.  There are babies born so early and so tiny that they spend most of their early years catching up and keeping their parents in a perpetual state of anxiety; children, who in terms of their physical and mental capacity, will be six months old for the rest of their lives; children who see the inside of the ER more times in one month than any of my kids see their pediatrician in one year.   

Within a few days of her birth we had names:  microtia and aural atresia.  We would learn a great deal about these  conditions over the next two weeks.  Until then we had a lot of questions.  Could she hear in the ear that looked normal or would she be deaf?  Would our family have to learn sign language?  Was this an indicator of more serious problems?  What about all the inside parts of her body that we couldn’t see? Were they okay?

 Right away our newborn seemed determined to prove that her insides were in fine working order.  She nursed with enthusiasm.  We changed many diapers containing a healthy variety of the sort of stuff one finds in a newborn diaper. 

And just imagine our delight when, approximately twelve hours after she was born, I dropped a fork onto my tray, creating a clamor in our silent hospital room.  Our baby jerked her body, terrified at the sound, and began wailing.  Hurrah!  I frightened our newborn with a loud sound!  I immediately called my husband to share the good news. 

Two weeks later, advanced screening confirmed that her normal ear was in fine working order and the inner ear on the right side was perfectly sound.  We learned that opening the ear canal and reconstructing the outer ear would require a couple of  outpatient surgeries when she was older.  That was it.  No biggie, right?

Right!  A slight physical deformity?  We can handle that.  Better, we can thank God for her robust health, for her very existence which daily blesses our lives.  And we can capitalize on our own small experience  in the land of others so that our memories of that early anxiety and  the times we’ve intercepted puzzled looks or awkward questions about our daughter’s appearance adds to our compassion for those who suffer much greater things.


Frequently revising  my expectations,


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We all experience disappointment.   Beginning at an early age,  our expectations of what will happen are frequently upended.



This little girl expected to make it to home base before her brother tagged her out.


Sometimes the disappointment is devastating, life-altering.  And sometimes it’s merely inconvenient–a let-down for sure–but in the grand scheme of things, little more than an annoyance.  (Like bed rest.)  In such cases, a mature person adapts and makes the best of their situation.


She didn't make it home, but she executed an extremelly graceful pout.

She didn't make it home, but she pulled off an extremely graceful pout!



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Yes, really.  

I suppose there is never a convenient time for an extended hospital stay, but our recent medical problems struck at a particularly inconvenient time for us.  In the midst of packing up our house, showing it to potential buyers, and tending to all the details necessary to moving a family cross-country, we simply did not have time for me to laze around in a hospital bed for days on end!  (Believe me, I tried explaining this to my doctor many times and she was, shall we say, marginally sympathetic.)

The grace in the midst of all this stress and anxiety?

My Husband:  He was already handling a vast array of moving related responsibilities, and since October 2nd,  has taken on mine as well.  All this in addition to being the sole parent at home and navigating the changes from one job to another.

My Mother:  The minute I alerted her that I was stuck in the hospital, she made plans to be here within  hours.  Then, she spent the next week helping supervise the kids and our home while my husband finished his last week at work.

Family & Friends:  My older brother and his wife sent me flowers, chocolates, and encouraging e-mails; my younger brother  called me at least once every day; friends have called, sent e-mails and provided meals; and a  couple of our brawny pals of the male persuasion lent their muscle to our moving effort.

All of these wondeful people have taken on extra responsibilities and gone out of their way to express love and encouragement.  They were willing tools, vessels for the grace of God which I needed minute by minute as I lay in the hospital and fretted over how my kids, husband, home, things could possibly continue in a state approximating normalcy without my presence.

(Everyone survived, by the way.  So my sojourn in the hospital was not only boring, anxiety-inducing and inconvenient, it was humbling as well. ) 

Two weeks ago we had a moving plan.  It was thorough, accounting for all financial and logistical details.  It was firm.

Now we have a new plan. It might change tomorrow afternoon, and if not then, it might change anytime soon after that.  Or it might work out…

Revising my expectations,


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Make My Day!

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My doctor did just that.   She released me from the hospital to bed rest at home! I wanted to shriek maniacal shrieks of joy and turn somersaults on the hospital bed.  But I’m pretty sure that would have earned me permanent hospital bed rest with no bathroom privileges.  Instead, I called my husband and got out while I could!

So I am happily settled at home and learning just how hard it is to lay around and do nothing when there is so much to be done.  But I’ll take it! 


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Ever have what you consider  a routine event turn unexpectedly complicated? 

I am pregnant with my fourth child and when I have a baby, I expect something like this:

1.  My doctor confirms a baby is on the way.

2.  I grow a bit more cumbersome (ok, so I get big, big pregnant.)

3.  Somewhere in the vicinity of my due date, I have a baby.

Please note what was not on the list: a concerned doctor, extended monitoring, additional sonograms with a perinatologist, extended monitoring in the hospital, and hospital bed rest.

This baby didn’t get the memo. 

Now I’m living what many mothers of young children only fantasize about:  hours alone by myself, and the freedom to read and sleep whenever I like, for as long as I like.  But there’s a teen-tiny problem. After ten straight days of this splendid isolation, I am  bored; so bored that I order food I don’t want just to break the monotony. I buff my nails every three hours and I’m considering taking two showers a day just for fun.  But first I thought I would try something more productive than excessive hygiene.

And so a blog is born.  Because I don’t plan on birthing anything else for at least two weeks.  

(Did you hear me, Baby?)


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