Saturday, March 19, 2011

Big week

This week:
  • I got permission to defend my dissertation. Draft three took, and I get to defend in April.
  • I was informed that I am the preferred candidate for the tenure track job I applied for. The university has sent my name to the executive board for approval. If they sign off, I have the job.
  • My husband got a great job offer from a company that is recruiting him. They are still negotiating the details, but it looks like he'll be leaving the company he's worked for for the last decade.
We've had so many of these major life change issues going on during the last month that it has been difficult to make plans because so much is up in the air. As one of these things gets nailed down after the other - and seriously, all three of these still have uncertainty to one degree or another - it should make planning easier. We're potentially going to sell our house and move. Maybe. To one of three cities. And we'll have to make decisions about schools for Cooper and all sorts of fun stuff.

I bought a little notebook to keep in my purse that I can jot down all the little things that will need to get done on  multiple fronts over the next while to make sure all these things happen when they are supposed to.

It's back to life by list.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Life in the Wilderness

This post is part of a Synchroblog on the season of Lent and experiences in the wilderness. Check at the end of this post for a list of the other blog posts that are part of this synchroblog.
I knew something was wrong by the look on his face. You don't miscarry two sets of twins and not get good at reading the faces of doctors when they are looking at your ultrasound.

This time was supposed to be different. My husband had given me a blessing when we found out that I was pregnant. In that blessing, he gave me two distinct promises. First, that this child would be born into mortality with everything he needed to accomplish his mission on earth; second, that I would be happy the day he was born.

I had panicked at the first promise. That language means something to a Mormon. It means that something is wrong, that the child will die quickly because all he needs is a body before he returns to his Heavenly Father. But I couldn't reconcile that promise with the second one. How could I be happy if my child died? I decided that I must be overanalyzing the language of the blessing. God promised me happiness. Happiness would be had.

As the doctor started listing off all the problems he was seeing - hydrocephalus, a missing heart chamber, no kidneys, and on and on - I felt as if a fluffy warm down comforter was wrapped around me. I know now that God walked me through the rest of my time with this pregnancy. I was supported by the love of my Father for me through the hardest experience of my life. I was protected as much as I possibly could be and still allow me to learn from this experience all the lessons that I needed to learn.

Even through the grief, I felt at a distance from the pronouncement. I knew I was supposed to be happy when this child was born, and that could not happen with this set of facts. We were sent to a specialist to confirm the diagnosis. They concurred that the fetus probably wouldn't make it to term, and if it did, would only live a few minutes at the most. We were given the opportunity for an abortion. We declined. That was my baby. I was going to treasure each moment I had with him.

And so our time of waiting began. We waited, not knowing how long the pregnancy would last. Every week we went in for a doctor's appointment. Every week his heart was still beating. Week after week I clung to the promise of happiness, expecting a miracle.

Finally, at about 31 weeks, my OB sent me in for another ultrasound. He told me that there was no way I should have made it that far in my pregnancy, and he wanted to see exactly what was going on. The ultrasound showed not my expected miracle, but that the baby's hydrocephalus had progressed to the point where his head was already measuring 41 weeks. The specialists told me there was no sign that the pregnancy was going to end on its own, and if I ever wanted to get pregnant again, they advised me to induce labor as soon as possible to prevent a c-section scar so significant that it would prevent me ever having another pregnancy.

And so we did. The next evening, I went in to the hospital and labor was induced. The next morning, my son was born. His heart had stopped beating at some point during labor, so they handed me his body, wrapped in a blanket. I held him. And I was happy.

Those 11 weeks of waiting, of not knowing, of wondering what was going to happen, of all the science saying one thing and my faith saying something else, led to one of the most marvelous revelations of the love of God in my life. I had a son. And I knew that because of the gospel of Jesus Christ and the sealing ordinances of the temple, that regardless of the amount of time I held him here on earth, that he would be my son for eternity. I held him, and I could feel his spirit in the room. We all held him, my husband, grandparents, uncles and aunts. We told him we loved him. We cherished him. We welcomed him to our family. I can honestly say that the happiness I felt at the birth of my son was no different than what I felt at the birth of our next son, who is currently running around the living room at top speed impersonating an airplane.

I thought that God had to fulfill his promise in a specific way. Like the Jews of the Old Testament, I was not expecting the fulfillment of promise in a radically different manner than my mortal understanding could predict. God showed his power over all things in the fulfillment of promise in his own way. He sent me a son, to remind me of the Son of God, and to await for the promised blessings of the resurrection that His Son made possible.

So now, I wait. This life is a wilderness of preparation to be brought back into the presence of God. My not knowing is subsumed in what I do know.

God fulfills his promises.


Even, and especially, in the wilderness.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Saturday, i.e. the eye of the storm.

Day one of the interview is done. I did not burp or fart or trip over my own feet.  I discussed outcomes assessment and teaching pedagogies and department integration with ease. I suggested ways in which I am uniquely qualified to help further the institution's mission. I interviewed well.

Now, I hope I can keep it up on Monday. Two more interviews and two teaching demonstrations on that day. I bought a new outfit. I know it's silly, but looking cute and put together makes me feel more professional and competent.

My voice held out all day yesterday, due to the many prayers being offered on my behalf by family and friends. It's back to crappy today, but I'm hoping not to have to talk much today. Lots of work to do to catch up from all the interview prep time but my husband is awesome and takes care of so many other things so I can do what only I can do.

I really want this job.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

A glimpse of the reality

Just so you don't think it's all spirituality all of the time...

I'm supposed to interview tomorrow for a tenure track job.
I have laryngitis so bad I can barely talk.
I finally figured out what I'm going to wear this evening. Saturday will be spent returning all the things that didn't make the cut.
I have three loads of laundry to fold. I figure if I wait long enough, they will just end up in the wash again as we pick out things to wear.
My son got a hold of my phone and texted a bunch of random contacts of mine.
I still need to iron my blouse for tomorrow.
I should go do that.
I am so tired.
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