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Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Patience and Faith

No, these aren't just the names of Puritan children. Lately these two words have been my mantra because they certainly are not my strong suit.

It's been a difficult year and the words "trials and tribulations" have cropped up in my mind more than once. I have to be thankful though that it wasn't much worse. This year clearly demonstrated to me the power of God's presence in my life. Everything that happened has been difficult but always manageable.

Everything seemed wonderfully, perfectly in order that fall 2010. I had a beautiful son, Henry, who would turn 2 in October. I was accepted into the Master's program at my alma mater, and would return to their amazing History Department to continue my education with the eventual goal of becoming a school librarian. Sure, it was going to be a long road, but I knew if I got my MLS first, I would have a hard time finding a job with the local library science field flooded with graduates. I figured a second Master's would greatly help my chances of finding a decent job and if I was going to teach students how to use the library and do research, I might as well be as proficient as possible in that regard. Plus, I would have an added incentive to continue with my history of childbirth research.
My husband was completing his Computer Information Systems degree after losing his job in February 2009 and was offered a position, albeit one oustide his field, only a few days after we learned that we were expecting. Hey, we'll take it. Everything seemed to be neatly in its place. I should have known better.

In December 2010, I was in my first car accident and also happened to be 14 weeks pregnant. I hit someone on their passenger side while on my way to our church's ladies brunch. No one was hurt, thank God. The other driver was kindness itself to me and I still get tears of gratitude for his true example of Christian behavior. He didn't yell or swear as I would have expected and showed concern for me, even though I had hit him. He even sat with me while we waited for the police and ambulance and I was terrified that my split-second blind spot could have cost me my baby. Even though I only met him for a few minutes, I will remember his example to me for the rest of my life.

In January 2011, my ultrasound showed a cyst on my daughter's brain that could have indicated a rare chromosome disorder. I felt an ice-cold fear that she would be stillborn or that I would have to experience that agony of watching my child die within a year. My midwife was very supportive and open about all the possibilities. She tactfully brought up the option of termination which was rejected as soon as it was brought up. I would love Kat as long as she was with me, and after that, if need be. My midwife reassured me without giving me false hope and sent me to the best perinatal specialist around here. I am grateful for her compassion and honesty while giving me the facts to prepare me without scaring me. A fine line for a healthcare provider to walk.
I had some misgivings about the timing of our second child. With Henry just under 2 years old, I thought we would have more time before we conceived again. I had just started grad school and was working full-time. How would I fit everything into my life? God knew the best way to show me how much I wanted that baby was to give me a glimpse of losing her. I tightened my grip on her and waited and prayed for 8 days until my second ultrasound showed a healthy baby girl.

February 2011: my husband hit a deer on the way to work. 10 days later, just after we got the car's front end fixed, he hit another one and we had to pay for the same repairs AGAIN. He wasn't hurt and neither were the deer. Personally, if the second deer had just been stunned, I would have wanted to strangle it myself. Deer-hunting with a car?! My librarian at work and I would joke about what could possibly happen next.

April 13, 2011: I was called down to the principal's office and informed that I would be laid off from my elementary school library clerk position, effective June 2011. I was 33 weeks pregnant and started having contractions that night. Losing my job, especially after winning a Service to the School award the previous year, left me disillusioned and bitter. No matter how exemplary your work is, in the end, it's just a job. Do it well but don't EVER sacrifice anything personal for it. Hard concept for our society to grasp but losing a job I loved in such a callous manner demonstrated to me how expendable employees can be.
I made about $10,000/year and my hackles rose whenever I heard the district say that every job cut saved about $50,000/year. What made me the most upset was how it affected me physically and how close I came to losing Kat again. I continued to have painful contractions intermittedly until I delivered June 5.

May 2011: we received a decent tax refund and decided to get some more work done on my husband's car. $500 later, he has brakes, a new control arm & bushings (whatever those are) and not even a week later, the timing chain breaks WHILE he was pulling into a parking lot and the car is dead dead dead. We ended up junking it for $300 and used the remaining tax refund for a new (used) minivan. We had been talking about getting one for a while. With the new baby, his two-door really wasn't practical, but we didn't exactly have the means for another vehicle. Or so we thought. His car could have broken down at any time, like say, going 55 mph on the expressway. But no, it died as he was pulling into the parking lot of his destination. Again, God was watching over us.

June 1, 2011: Kat's due date came and went. So much for delivering her early. I'm beyond antsy, waiting for labor to start. I would get contractions every 1-3 minutes for hours. I even went to the hospital in May, expecting to bring her home but alas, no progress beyong 2cm. I felt horribly off-center and was definitely not in the right mindset to approach another natural childbirth. Henry's birth took all the self-control and willpower I possessed. How would I go through that Dante's inferno again in one piece, feeling like I had been emotionally gutted?
Her birth story is for another day. Suffice it to say, she came on her own time and THANK GOD I wasn't working then because she was literally born in less than 1/2 hour.
I am especially thankful for the support of my Mama-friends. They came through with the exact kind of support I needed, from pregnancy massages to visiting me during my false labor episodes. God bless that group of women.
The best advice I received was to stop trying to chase down jobs and concentrate on Kat's immediately impending birth. The rest will work itself out. It hasn't yet, but I trust that God has a plan for my life and while I am searching apparently in vain for my next job, I very well may be living His plan right now, home with my children and going to grad school. I didn't know how I was going to balance everything. I think God thought so too, so he removed something so that I could focus on my family and education.

So patience and faith, faith and patience, have seen me through this year so far. Things that RARELY happen in a lifetime- having a baby, losing a job, car accidents and replacing a vehicle, all happened in the span of a few months. I feel like I've been in the fire and hopefully this will serve to strengthen my steel when I finally emerge.


  1. Really great, Mindy. Things will indeed sort themselves out. As Rilke says, "Learn to love the questions." You have a beautiful family. love, Anne

  2. Thank you Anne. I take that as high praise, coming from a published author (and friend). :o)

  3. Just to add to this post... I got a jury summons in the mail today! Grrr.....