Wednesday, December 3, 2014

A Weary World Rejoices

Advent has begun again, and it has wonderfully, beautifully, coincided with a brief period of rest in my soul. Rest that has been much-desired, but ever-elusive for the past year.

The first 3-4 months after Noah was born, I was in constant physical pain, exacerbated by the constant anxiety I had about my baby. About everything in general, but sleep in particular. It seemed like my days revolved around hour-long feeding sessions and a brief period of "play," after which I would spend 45+ minutes getting him to sleep, only to get a 25 minute nap out of him. Seriously, for the month of November, you could set a clock by those catnaps. It was just long enough to go to the bathroom, change into real clothes (sometimes) and eat a meal. I was so discouraged. In so much pain. I felt like the worst mom ever. I was so drawn to the need to seek God in His Word, but too tired to do so.

We've also had this background of financial strain that was causing me to blame myself for not continuing to earn a full-time income. For the past 2 years, we've intentionally lived on Ross' salary plus about 20% of my income, in preparation for this very season. We paid off our debts. We bought a reasonable house. (Well, reasonable mortgage-wise. Don't get me started on renovations again.) We thought we were prepared since we've lived on this income for a while, but suddenly it's different. It's different knowing we can't draw from the savings account here and there. And we just did not anticipate hefty out-of-network physical therapy bills. Circumcisions. Hearing aids. I mean, we anticipated some of those things, but we didn't realize that we'd end up paying so much more than just our insurance deductible.

I just physically couldn't find it in me to work more night shifts when I'm already getting so little sleep, so I looked around and found an opportunity to take an 8-week day shift travel nursing assignment in an Omaha NICU. Perfect, right?! It would've been 8 really exhausting weeks, working full-time in Omaha and still fulfilling my PRN obligations here. But I would've had free childcare there, and I would've made in 8 weeks what it will currently take me 8 months to earn as a PRN nurse. It would've been a huge financial blessing. But after thinking and praying (and spending a night in Omaha where I was up EVERY HOUR with Noah) I said no. And WOW. We've been so blessed by that NO. The first good career decision I've made in a really long time!

Because after a few weeks of some sort of developmental and physical growth spurt, this week has been a breath of fresh air. KNOCK ON WOOD we are back to just one nighttime feeding around 3am (instead of 10pm and 1am and 4am and 5:30am...). And-- drumroll please-- we have a NAPPER** at long last! Seriously. 6 months in the making.

I'm more aware than ever of the cyclical nature of having a baby. Weeks of crazy growth and weeks of rest. I'm learning that maybe God's calling me into the same rhythm. Instead of just surviving those crazy weeks, I want to be able to dig in. Be present.

I've written myself a note above Noah's changing table: You chose to be here, so BE HERE. When those crazy weeks circle around again, I want to be ready. And that means while this kid is taking two naps a day, before he outgrows the swing, you better believe I'm resting when he's resting. I'm actually doing daily devotionals. I'm reading for fun. Sometimes I'm even napping! I'm still doing small chores, and when Ross comes home I catch up on laundry and make dinner and whatnot, but seriously. When Noah is resting, I'm going to rest, and I don't even feel bad about it. It's so, so needed. I had no idea having just one child would be this hard, so I'm stocking up. Stocking up, so that when it's time to dig in again, I won't feel so depleted. Because I love this baby with my whole heart. And I want to be present to cherish his baby-hood while it lasts!

Oh holy night!
The stars are brightly shining
It is the night of the dear Savior's birth!
Long lay the world in sin and error pining
Till he appear'd and the soul felt its worth.

A thrill of hope the weary world rejoices
For yonder breaks a new and glorious morn

Fall on your knees
Oh hear the angel voices
Oh night divine
Oh night when Christ was born
Oh night divine
Oh night divine

**The last few weeks, instead of eat/play/sleep, we've settled into an eat/play/eat/sleep routine. We also started putting him in a swing for naps (to lull him back to sleep when he wakes up at the 25 minute mark). He's fallen into a fairly predictable 1+ hour morning nap around 8 or 9am, and an afternoon nap that still varies considerably. I don't know if the schedule change helped, or if the swing helped, or if he finally just reached a developmental ability to nap, but I cannot even express how WONDERFUL baby naps are! Poor guy was so overtired. And so was I!