Today is my last day at work, and my last day near a computer with Internet access for a while. After the baby is born, I will attempt to send a family member to the library to post the info for you.

Until I'm back, know that I will be missing my blog desperately!
Kimmie came with me to work today, and the following conversation took place...

Kimmie: "I'm going over to the library across the street so I can send you a message on facebook."

Me: "Why don't you just send me a facebook message from the computer that you are sitting at right now?"

Kimmie: "I can't send you a message from here. I'm sitting in the room right next to you!"

Me: "So?"

Kimmie: "So, if I send you a message from here, then you can't send a message back to me."

Me: "Sure I can. As soon as I get it, I'll write something back."

Kimmie: "But we're practically in the same room!"

Me: "Uh, yeah, so why don't you just TALK to me?"

Kimmie: "Because I want to message you! I'm going to the library."
This is an email that I sent to some of my friends after Liberty was born. Since the new baby's birth is only DAYS away, (yippee!!) I've been remembering Liberty's birth, so thought I'd post it for you.

Liberty Grace was born Tuesday, September 26, 2006 at 1:03 PM.

The previous Tuesday, September 19th, I went to the doctor because I was experiencing spotty blue vision, a terrible headache, and disorientation. I had extremely high blood pressure when I arrived at the office, even though I had had no blood pressure problems before or after that. My doctor sent me to the hospital for tests and observation. My blood pressure went down as soon as I arrived at the hospital, and it never went back up so I was released the following day but put on bed rest until the baby was born. My wonderful mom decided to come stay with us at this point. (And I am very glad because I would have never been able to get the rest that I needed if she had not.)

On Saturday night, the 23rd, I started having mild contractions. They intensified throughout the night until I woke Jeremy up on Sunday morning and told him that we needed to go to the hospital. At this point, the contractions were about 4 minutes apart.

We stayed in at the hospital for seven hours, during which time the contractions increased to two minutes apart, and I dilated to 3 centimeters. My doctor was away for the weekend, and another doctor was on call at the hospital. We never did see the on call doctor, but my nurse relayed a message from her that we should go home since it was taking so long for any progress. My contractions were still two minutes apart, but I was more than happy to go home because the bed was EXTREMELY uncomfortable, and I had been telling God how much I wished that I could be back in my own bed to have this baby!

On Monday afternoon, I had another doctor appointment. When I showed up in his office, he took one look at me and said, "You're in labor! You should be at the hospital, not here! Would you like to be induced?" I was still having regular, strong contractions, but I had not dilated past three cm. I immediately said YES!!!!

We had to go to another hospital because the first one's birthing center was full. (I am very thankful that we went to a different hospital because their bed was so much more comfortable!!!) They gave me Petocin at 10:00 that night. At 7:00 the following morning, my doctor showed up to see how I was doing. He saw that I was still not dilated past three, so he broke my water and told me that things would progress very quickly from here on out. He said he was going to go to his office and planned to be back around lunch-time, but he figured he would receive a call before then that I would be ready to deliver.

At noon, my doctor returned. I was dilated to five cm, and he was surprised that I was not progressing any faster. He told Jeremy and me that at the rate I was going, I probably would not have the baby for another several hours...possibly not until seven pm or so. That's when I decided to ask for some pain medicine! I figured I could handle another two hours or so of the pain, but SEVEN??? Forget it! That is also when Jeremy asked me if I would mind if he went down to the cafeteria for lunch since nothing would be happening any time soon. I told him no problem. (I figured there was no reason for both of us to be miserable!)

Jeremy left, and the anaesthesiologist arrived to give me some narcotics. I heard my doctor in the hallway telling my nurse that we had a "situation" and that he believed we were going to have to do a C-Section. She told him that she would begin preparations for that.

The medicine that I received caused a strange reaction for me. Apparently, I stopped breathing, because the nurse kept slapping my face and telling me, "Take a deep breath; Take a deep breath." I thought I was falling off of the bed, so I kept correcting myself in the opposite direction...which of course pulled my IV and all the other things they had hooked up to me. By this time, several people were in the room, and they were all running around doing things to me. I was drifting in and out of consciousness, and I knew it, but I couldn't do anything to stop it. Every time I came back to consciousness I was completely aware of what was being said and done, but I couldn't seem to respond. I felt like I was sleeping and it was all a very vivid dream. At one point, I heard the doctor at my side. I looked over, and he was showing my nurse the print-out of the fetal monitor that was attached to my belly. He told her that the baby was in distress, and they had to act quickly. I could hear Liberty's heart monitor. Every time I had a contraction her heart would stop. After what seemed like forever, it would VERY SLOWLY regain its original rhythm. Because of my medication, although I knew that the monitor belonged to Liberty, I kept wondering to myself if that was my heart stopping or hers. (The fact that the nurse kept slapping me and telling me to breathe also contributed to my wondering.)

At some point, the nurse lifted me to the side of the bed, and the anaesthesiologist gave me an epidural. After that, I felt absolutely NOTHING. He showed me a needle and told me he was going to prick me with it. I was supposed to tell him how much I could feel on a scale of 1-10. I never felt it at all. In fact, I was having a hard time telling him that I couldn't feel it, because I also could not feel my mouth! That stuff numbed more than it was supposed to! (But I am definitely not complaining!) :-)

There must have been about 50 people in the room by now...I am exaggerating, but it definitely seemed like there were 50 people in there, and there was a feeling of frantic movement. I remember thinking to myself, "This must be pretty serious if they are all so worried about it." But I must have been too out of it to be worried myself. I felt very pleasantly comfortable and drifting, although I was extremely hot. I suppose the only thing that had brought me down to earth before, was the contractions every minute or so, but now that I couldn't feel those anymore, I was just as happy as could be. I wonder if the narcotics helped to make me feel that way, but I also know that God was keeping me calm. This song kept running through my head:

Why should I feel discouraged,
Why should the shadows come,
Why should my heart be lonely
And long for heav'n and home,
When Jesus is my portion?
My constant Friend is he:
His eye is on the sparrow,
And I know he watches me;
His eye is on the sparrow,
And I know he watches me.

I would like to take this time to say that I had to sign some papers telling the hospital that it was okay for me to have a C-Section. I remember someone shoving the papers in front of my face, and I remember that my signature did not look right to me after I signed (probably because my hand was numb!) But I also remember laughing to myself, thinking, "Oh sure, get me all drugged up and then make me sign things." I always like to read everything before I sign it, and this time I couldn't. They sure have great timing! I think they need to have you sign that stuff with all of the registration paperwork.

I had been asking God to bring Jeremy back from the cafeteria before the baby was born because I wanted him to be there for the birth. They were finally ready to wheel my bed into the operating room, and just as we came out of my room, I heard Jeremy's voice from down the hall. "Hey, what are you doing? What's going on?" I was so glad to hear his voice! The doctor and our entourage were running with me to the operating room, and they did not stop to explain to Jeremy. He came running with us, asking questions the whole way. When we got to the doors, someone threw him a gown and told him to put it on. The doctor called over his shoulder, "Your wife needs an emergency C-Section. She's okay right now, but if we don't do something fast, you are going to lose the baby."

I don't remember much of the surgery. I felt so warm and comfortable, it did not occur to me that I was lying there naked on an operating table. Poor Jeremy tried so hard to keep his head down by my head (he faints at the sight of blood, and he has a great imagination, so any painful thing that he sees done to someone else causes him great pain.) He held my hand the whole time, which I was glad for even though I couldn't feel it. He looked scared and desperate. I kept telling him everything would be okay and that he could trust God even if things went wrong, but I don't know if he heard me or not. I'm not sure if the words ever came out of my mouth or if I was just repeating them inside my head?

Liberty's cord was wrapped so tightly around her neck that the doctor could not lift her out of my womb. She was wedged into the birth canal, but the cord had prevented her from going any further down. They had to cut me more than normal so they could get inside me to cut Liberty's cord from her neck. Then they un-wedged her and lifted her out. She wasn't breathing, and a smaller group of people took her off to the side and worked on her for a while. I lay there, straining to hear a cry that never came.

They gave her oxygen and did a bunch of stuff. I have no idea what, but my nurse told me later that they didn't think she was going to make it. I finally heard her cry. It sounded more like a sick kitten than a baby, but boy was I ever glad to hear it! She only cried once, but I guess that was okay. Eventually, someone brought her over to me. My body was still numb, and I couldn't move. The nurse put Liberty up close to my face; she was trying to let me kiss Liberty, but I couldn't move my lips. She put Libby so close to me that she covered my nose and mouth. I couldn't breathe, but I couldn't move my head to get away from her either. I remember laughing to myself over the irony of going through all of this only to be smothered by my own baby in the end; this thought flashed through my head as I struggled to get a breath. Finally, they took her away to finish whatever they needed to do. And I was very glad to breathe!

The doctor had finished stapling me up, and several people were cleaning the room. I could hear my doctor talking to someone else in the room. He was showing them the placenta, and they were exclaiming over how small it was. One of them said, "There is no way that placenta supported that baby for nine months." I was looking at Jeremy like I had been through the entire surgery (because I couldn't move my head), and I noticed that he looked funny even though all I could see were his eyes and his forehead because of the mask. At the same time, someone else must have been looking at him, because I heard someone say, "Hey, Dad, are you alright over there?" Jeremy said, "I'm fine," in a very high, thin voice, and I thought, I hope these people don't believe him!

Three people quickly lowered Jeremy off of the backless stool where he sat, onto the floor. They helped him take off his mask, gown and hat, and I think they gave him some juice, but I'm not sure about that because now he was out of my line of sight. When they finally moved my bed to take me back to our room, I saw him again. He sat slumped over on the floor against the wall. They had to put him in a wheel chair and wheel him back to the room! :-)

I think Jeremy had the worst time in the hospital because he felt every contraction that I had (and he was probably imagining them worse than they were), then he felt the C-Section (and I didn't), and he was so scared that Liberty and/or I was going to die during the whole process. He just didn't have any fun at all. Which is sad, because it was a pretty cool adventure!
T minus 7 days...

...and counting!

Does anybody know what that T stands for? I've always wondered.
I have finished statements...early!

I've been working like crazy to get them all finished before I have the baby, and I've been wondering if the baby would come early and upstage the statements. But lo, the statements are done, and there is no baby in sight.

Can I get a big disappointed sigh?

Because you know I'm doing my share of sighing (both in relief and in disappointment...and in just normal trying-to-catch-my-breath breathing because this child is WAY too big for her current location.)

And now, boys and girls, a story for you:

This morning, the office phone rang, and I answered in my usual cheerful manner, "Good morning, this is Melissa. How can I help you?"

A low-pitched voice demanded, "Why do you keep calling me?"

I paused, "Excuse me?"

"I've had enough," the voice ranted, "I just got back from a weekend at the hospital, and I am tired of getting these phone calls from you! Who are you, and why do you keep calling me?" The raspy voice could have been a man's or a woman's, and the thick Polish accent could have been a speech impediment. I scrounged up all of my brain cells trying to place the voice, trying to make sense of the conversation.

Many times, Craig's friends will call leaving rediculous messages for Craig, and many times I have been the victim of their prank phone calls. "Moe Skeeto" frequently calls. "Earl Acker" has called a few times. "General Johnson" leaves messages at times, and these are just a few. Some more imaginative gentlemen call with stories that I have fallen for, and this phone call fit right into that particular genre of prank call.

I determined not to make a fool of myself this time. But, I still wasn't sure if this was a prank call. So I had to hedge my bets.

In a polite, I'm-Really-Just-Playing-Along tone of voice, I asked, "May I ask who is calling?"

"Who do you think is calling!?" the out-raged voice yelled out. "I'm not putting up with this any longer! Why do you keep calling me and hanging up, anyway? I've had enough of this! I'm going to report you to the police for harrassment if you don't stop!"

"Calling and hanging up?" I inquired politely, my guard still up.

"Listen, I am 85 years old. I don't have time for this! You stop calling me! Who are you, anyway?"

I began to wonder if my prank call theory might be wrong, but I hesitated to cave in too soon and play the fool once again. "This is a place of business located in Iowa." I stated politely, "When have you received a phone call from us?"

"When have I received a phone call from you?" the voice repeated incredulously, "Every hour on the hour for the past month! This is stopping today! What kind of business is this, anyway?"

"This is a financial business," I stated carefully, not sure how much information I wanted to give out, and still wondering when the punch line would pop out.

"WELL! I know that I've been behind on my payments, but I've been in the hospital this weekend, and my neice stayed at the house this weekend, and I've been trying to pay things off slowly. Just last week, I payed off a large chunk of my bills, and I'm still getting things in order. This is nothing more than harrassment! You cannot keep calling me and hanging up, day and night! That's no way for a financial corporation to operate! I am calling the police! What's your name, young lady?"

By this time, I had determined that the voice belonged to a woman. "Ma'am," I interjected in a hopefully not too placating way, "No one from our company has been calling you. In fact, we leave the office at five o'clock pm, and there is no one here to call you after that time."

"Then we'll just talk about the calls that I've been getting BEFORE five pm. Never mind about the ones that come after five pm! Tell me about the phone calls during the day!"

"Well, I can promise you that no one here is calling you repeatedly and hanging up during the day," I started in a respectful tone.

"Don't tell me that! I have caller ID! I see your phone number! I know it's you!"

I glanced at my phone display, disappointed that I did not have caller ID. "Would you mind telling me the phone number that has been calling you?" I asked.

"It's this one! The one that I called!" she rattled the number off to me. It was our toll-free number. The one programmed for incoming calls only and not capable of making out-going calls. But the fact that she had dialed the number from her caller ID and reached us only further proved her accusations.

"Hmm, do you mind if I call my phone company and find out what they can tell me about these calls?" I asked.

She seemed pleased, "You certainly can! And tell them that I won't stand for any more of this harrassment!"

"Yes, Ma'am. Would you like me to call you back with the information that I find out?"

"You'd better!" she responded. She gave me her phone number, and I wrote it down and repeated it to her. Then she told me her name was Rose, and I was happy to confirm that she was a woman, since I had been calling her ma'am!

I called our long distance carrier, who confirmed that our toll free number was incapable of making outbound calls. They tested the line and determined that it was working properly, then they told me that the problem must be occuring on her end of the line. Her local phone company must be accidently routing something through our phone number to her line. But since no one was actually on the call, she was getting what she thought were hang-up calls.

I dialed Rose's number and waited. Boo-doo-boop: The number you have dialed is not in service. Please check the number and try again. I dialed again, paying closer attention to the numbers as I punched them into the phone. Boo-doo-boop: All circuits are currently busy. Please hang up and try your call again. 041T.

I laughed out loud, realizing that I had falled prey once again to one of Craig's friend's elaborate phone pranks! I waddled into Craig's office, and I related the story to him. We both got a big laugh out of the whole thing, and we tried to guess which of his friends had set me up.

A few hours passed.

"Good afternoon, this is Melissa. How can I help you?" I answered the phone after lunch.

"You never called me! I waited by my phone for hours, and you did not call me back!" Rose's raspy voice accused.

"Hi," I stated, surprised, and wondering what to think. "I actually did try to call you, but my call would not go through. I found out some information for you."

She calmed down slightly, "What did you find out?"

I related what my long distance company had told me, and I stated that she might want to call her local company to find out what they could tell her.

"It most certainly is NOT my local company! I've had this same phone number since 1949, and I've NEVER had any problems with it. I have not changed a thing! That is a bunch of rubbish you are trying to tell me, and I won't stand for it! I'm reporting this number!"

"Yes, ma'am," I replied, "That's a good idea. Write my number down, and here is my name," I spelled it out for her. "Call your phone company and report this number. Make sure you give them my name so that they can verify with me when they try to check out the problem. That's a great idea!" I tried to sound enthusiastic and happy and helpful. The truth was, I was really beginning to enjoy our conversation. She made me laugh (internally) with every new sentence, and I really felt sorry for her. I wished I could meet her in real life.

In my mind, she had shrunk to a tiny four foot three inches, her tanned skin hung in wrinkles around her face, and her curly white hair bobbed with every exclamation point. She wore a floral dress, elastic at the waist, and her small home was filled with green plants, magazines, a small dog, and a parakeet.

"Wait a minute!" she interjected, "You said you are in Iowa? I live in Maryland, but my granddaughter and her husband moved to Iowa...I think. Iowa. She works...somewhere. Do you know her?"

Because I live in Iowa, do I know her? I remained silent, not sure what she meant.

"Maybe she works for your company. Maybe she has been trying to call me from your company."

"Oh! No, ma'am, I don't think so. There are only two of us who work at this company. Your granddaughter does not work here."

The suspicion was back. "Only two of you work at that company?" she questioned sharply, "Only two? Well, who else works there?"

The phone call was getting long, and I did not see an end in sight. "I can check our records to see if your granddaughter works here." I abruptly changed my tune, "What is her name?" Rose did not seem to mind my switch in stories.

I waited the approximate amount of time it would take to check employment records and then informed her, "No, we have no one here by that name. I'm sorry."

She sighed, "Oh, I guess it wasn't her then."

In closing, I gently suggested again that she contact her local phone company and report the calls she had been receiving, and she adamantly refused to entertain the idea that they could have anything to do with the problem.

She finished by blessing me. Blessing me! Over the phone. How fun! She told me how wonderful and helpful I had been, and how blessed she hoped I was for all the trouble I had gone to for her. The blessing really surprised me, because she had been acting as though I were lying to her about the whole situation.

I think, though, she was lonely. Talking to me gave her something fun to do that day, and it definitely gave me something fun to do! I wish I had a recording of our two conversations because they were both much longer and much more diversified than what I have typed here.

I'm so thankful that God made people!

PS> Only 8 days until the baby is due! :-)
We interrupt this blog to bring you the following news:

At my doctor appointment this morning, they determined that the baby is in position.


Hallelujah! So am I!
Posting will be sporadic for the next several days due to quarterly statements. My goal is to have them finished by July 16th.

Did I say that out loud? Yikes!
For my birthday, Jeremy gave me an iPod. Do you have any idea how I have been longing for an iPod? I have thousands of tapes that I want to transfer to an iPod.

Yes, I said tapes. Jeremy laughed at me when he realized I own two boxes full of tapes, fifteen record albums and only nine CD's. The CD's I can easily burn onto the computer and then install into my iPod, but the tapes and the record albums I haven't figured out yet.

So I'm surfing around on iTunes, because there are millions of soundtracks that I want to buy. But somehow, I can't seem to find any of them. Either I am REALLY old, or REALLY pregnant.

Maybe both.

Help me out here. If I want to type in the name of an entire soundtrack and search for it, how can I do that? It's only letting me search for songs.
My fingers hover over the keys. I know what I want to say, but I struggle still to put in all into words.

I suppose I could just start at the beginning.

Jeremy and I were married five years ago this month. (Woo-hoo!) And for most of that time, Jeremy has worked from 4:30 PM to 3:30 AM with lots of overtime and weekends thrown in randomly. His body has not been able to switch from "night shift" to "day shift" over the weekends like some people's bodies can. Therefore, he and I have seen each other every Saturday afternoon and every Sunday afternoon for the last almost five years.

I won't lie to you. It has been lonely and hard.

Then Kimmie came to live with us, and Liberty was born: it became exceedingly difficult.

I begged God to put Jeremy on days. I pleaded with Him. I persuaded Him. I bowed to His sovereign will and experienced joyful peace. I became angry and bitter. I shut Him completely out of my life for about five months straight. I repented and realized God is good. Always. Even when I can't see the good. Over and over I cycled through emotional feelings versus reality and truth. In five years, I have not seen God move in this area. I have not heard Him speak.

Part of me has given up hope. But then I evaluate that sentence and all that it entails, and I think, no, I haven't given up then what is that feeling? Submission? Resignation? Peace? Endurance?

I still hope for a day-shift job for Jeremy. I still long to live with my husband. I see the family across the street: a mom, a dad and two little girls who work in their yard together, go for walks in the neighborhood together, ride their bikes together, and I want that so badly it hurts inside. The commandment not to covet my neighbor's life jumps into my heart and I tell God, "I don't want to covet their lifestyle. I'm not trying to sin. In fact, I'm trying very hard NOT to sin in this area. But the truth is, You have given them exactly what I want. So I need You to grow inside me until You alone are enough. Until there is no room left for other desires."

Like I said, this is a struggle. Some days God and I are winning, and some days we are losing. In thinking back, I will say that for the most part, God and I win more often than we lose. This is especially true more recently than it was a while ago, and I am thankful to God for that reality.

However, about a month or so ago, in my prayer journal, I spelled out my heart's desire to my God, my Daddy. He already knew it. We had already discussed it in detail. But you know me...I have to write. So I wrote. I described my pain, my anger, my longing for a right relationship with Him as well as my longing for a more detailed relationship with my husband. I believe those two desires can and should go hand in hand. They are not mutually exclusive. I told God how overwhelmed I felt from constantly making the household decisions, from being the primary and almost only care-giver to our children, from trying to survive the end of this pregnancy completely on my own.

I cried.

I described.

I worshipped.

I submitted.

I left it in His hands.

In short, I did the same thing that I have done repeatedly over the past five years. Nothing different.

A few days later, Jeremy's manager called him into his office and told him that he would be on day-shift at work until our baby was born. (Not because of the baby, but because of circumstances at work.) That was three weeks ago.

Jeremy has been on day-shift for three weeks! Three wonderful, blissful, incredible weeks!

Do you know why I haven't mentioned it?

Because part of me is still in awe over the wonderfulness of God. Part of me is afraid that if I talk about it, it might disappear. Part of me couldn't find the words to describe how great it feels to have him home, to have him lead, to have him make decisions, to have him help me, to have him rub my back at night and force me to put my feet up during the day, to have him chase Liberty, to have him answer Kimmie, to have him be my MAN. I love watching him love our daughters. I cannot describe that feeling. Kimmie is happier. Liberty is happier. I am happier. And really, we weren't sad before (although everything I wrote prior to this paragraph has made it seem like we were). There is a completely different feeling in our house. Maybe all of us girls needed some testosterone floating around. Who knows?

But I am telling you, I am thankful.

According to the plan, Jeremy may be back on night shift for next week only, and he is scheduled to go back to night shift after the baby is born. But I want to shout from the top of the world,