Life. It’s one big contraction.

So, I was in the Polish hospital a little over a year ago.  I was 29 weeks pregnant with my son, lying in the hospital with the contraction monitor on my belly for hours at a time, eventually receiving a raging, itchy rash from that contraption.

And sure enough that annoying machine was jumping up and down like crazy.  I was having contractions, so I was given something to stop those suckers.

Yes.  Contractions.  I know them well.

Let’s continue with this contracting belly baby named Maxwell and how he loved to cause pain.

It’s still a little over a year ago and I actually made it from 29 weeks to 34 weeks.  Thirty-four painful weeks and my mom and I are watching my belly.

“Oh, look at Maxwell.  He’s so funny.”  And my belly would move and turn and slide and then stop.

Hmmm.  That’s weird.  Oh, wait.  There he goes again.

Well, this became a pattern.  Now, please keep in mind that I do have a 6-year-old daughter, but 6 years is a LONG time to forget about contractions.  Apparently so is 5 weeks, because I didn’t even remember from my 29th week of pregnancy.

Needless to say, I wind up in the hospital just halfway through my 34th week and the doctors decide that it’s time for my bum moon to shine, in a room full of 6 other preggo women, and that’s where they give me a shot—on my bum moon.

Let me also say, the shot hurt.  Did I mention that I was in a hospital room, on a bed, in a gown and there were 6 other very afraid pregnant ladies there with me?!  Yep.

Full moon…Full shot…Full pain…Full hollering.

The nurse looked and me and said, “Oh, now.  That wasn’t bad.”

And I replied, “Nie, straszny!  Straszny!”  Basically, “No!  It was horrible!  Horrible!”

She just chuckled, as I once again hid my big ol’ bum moon, while she left.

The contractions, however, were not impeded by the shot from Hades, and so I delivered my baby just a half a day later.

Well.  If I thought the contractions were bad at 7 minutes apart, I was in for a really big surprise later during the day.

At first, after my water broke, I told my husband who was watching the monitor, “Hey!  Let me know if a big one is coming.”

Utterly foolish.

Because he then became the sportscaster of Team Contractions and would holler out each time he saw it rise, “A big one is coming!”

“I KNOW a big one is coming!”  I would holler back!  “Don’t you think I can FEEL it?!”

The air was tense…he thought his job was fun.  And I was at the point where I thought I was going to DIE.  Literally.  Die.  And here is my husband in no pain watching a monitor yelling, “A big one is coming!”

Needless to say, he was quickly FIRED from that job.  I put him to work getting me ice, getting me a cool head cloth, hand feeding me the ice, getting me the puke bucket, finding me pain drugs, and so forth.

In hindsight—he was an angel.

And eventually the contractions led to the game winning push!  Twelve to be exact.  Twelve devilishly painful pushes that popped us out a baby!


A baby…

And quickly all contractions were forgotten.

And then the world seemed right.  And peaceful.  And perfect.

Those contractions, they gave us a gift.  And that gift is our son.

Life is sometimes like those contractions.  Big and painful.   Often we wonder if we are going to make it through moments in our day or moments in our lives. 

And contraction after contraction is upon us.  Seemingly endless.  And there are people all around shouting—“It’s a big one!”

Exhaustion sets in.  There is no doubt in your mind that this is the most painful experience of your life.  And you are ready to quit.

To throw in the towel.  Kaput with it.  No more.

And then the worst of it comes upon you.  And you unbelievably know that you will.not.survive.

But you do.

And, in the wake of all that was painful, you are given something precious.

It’s called life.

A chance to begin again.

Like a newborn.  Except with experience.

A new day rises before you and you know that you can conquer it because you just survived the most painful experience of your life.

Contractions.  Big ones.  Labor.  Labor that was accompanied by pain.  Lots of it.

But you made it through.  And now.  Now it’s your turn.

Cradle your new beginnings and go to sleep, looking forward to a new tomorrow.  You deserve it.

Single Moms, Dads, Military Spouses—How do you do it?!


I have been wanting to write a blog about the people I greatly admire.  Here they are:  Single Moms.  Single Dads.  Military Spouses.

You see.  My husband travels quite a bit with his work.  He is gone between 10-20 weeks a year, many of those being multiple weeks in a row.  This year he has perhaps traveled more.  Last year, while I was pregnant with Maxwell (and when Maxwell nearly passed), he traveled a bit less.

But there is one very important thing I always keep in mind when my husband is away-He will return.

I often tell one of my best girlfriends that she is the strongest woman I know.  She is a single mother of 3 gorgeous, well-behaved, brilliant children.  She works hard.  She raises her children.  She is amazing.

I also have girlfriends whose spouses are military.  They are raising strong and brave and resilient children.  Often their spouses miss monumental moments in their lives—and yet the spouses and children march on.  They persevere.  They are the epitome of endurance and strength.

A couple times when Rich has been away, disaster has struck…One time, our basement flooded.  Another, our coal furnace went out (Do you remember that one?  If not, here it is: ).  Yet another, our cars died during a Siberian Winter Storm.  Have you ever lived through one?  Let me describe it—freezing cold.  Bitter wind.  Eyes hurt.  Don’t want to leave the house.  Cold!

He is also the pastor of a church—and everything seems to happen when he’s gone:  one has a heart attack; another needs to find a place to live-overnight.  Another’s marriage is on the brink.  Difficult situations.  Pastor’s wife in Poland-all alone.

Our foundation seemed in peril a few of the times he was gone.  A couple of the worst were when we were in the process of purchasing our New Life Center.   The people that we were buying it from wanted to finalize the sell but not move out.  Another, the realtor insisted on being paid upfront before the sell.  And lastly, we ran out of money—already investing all we had and then finding out we were short.  The finalization of the sell was in a couple days and according to everyone Polish we were working with, we risked losing it all if we couldn’t fulfill the contract.  I went and took out every penny we had in our bank account and prayed it would finish paying for the home (New Life Center).

And, the most tragic event in our lives, I went to the doctor’s appointment alone and found out our beautiful baby’s heart had stopped beating.  Thankfully Rich was able to make it back within the next couple days from America to Poland for me before we delivered the baby.  (I’ve also written about this loss, in case you would like to read:

Yes…I have been alone.  Working.  Raising the kids.  And going through difficulties.

But—I always keep in mind, “Tomorrow will come.  Rich will return.  And my partner and helper will be there to rescue me or give me that needed day of rest.”

And during those days that seem the longest, I think of my friends-my single mother friends.  My single father friends.  My military spouse friends.  I think of them with the utmost respect and admiration.  Because not only do they work, take care of the home and kids.  But they get up each and every day and do it again.  And again.  And again.

Yes—some of the people I admire the most raise the strongest children.  And sometimes they do it all alone.