Thursday, 24 January 2013

Ten years ago....for the Oct 03 girls

So ten years ago this week, ish, I found out I was pregnant with Adventure Boy.

After letting the obvious folk in on the secret, where was the first place I ran to? Well, I plugged my modem into the phone socket, keyed in my password and waited while the phone line screeched at me for a silly amount of time before Connecting To The Internet.

The Internet was relatively young then. Netscape and Demon and Windows 2003. I'd used the net since around 1994 but it all seemed so amazingly quick. I kept a book on the computer desk to read between pages loading and couldn't even dream of broadband.

So where did I go? I discovered Babycentre when Adventure Girl was a newborn in 2000. I joined the 'September 2000 Birth Club' and talked with other mums about nappies, feeding and exhaustion. I never thought of the others on the board as friends, just people to chat to. Then I joined the Trying for another Baby board sometime in 2002, and things began to change as I began to get to know Real People. I was so excited about joining another birth club right from the start, and will never forget the excitement of the BFP posts for the TFAB graduates!

So Ten Years Ago I worked out my due date, waited for the page to load for about two hours then logged on to the October 2003 Birth Club. Here's an old archive of the Babycentre mainpage, bring back memories anyone? Babycentre in Feb 2003

When I joined that club in great excitement I never dreamed that I would be making some lifelong friends and that ten years later would still be in touch with almost 30 of them via a certain Social Networking site that had not yet been invented.

So we got into the swing of being the Oct 03 club. We saw each other through pregnancy and birth. I remember you had to load each post in turn and there was no automatic signature so we used to end every post with our due date. I used to open a Word document to be able to reply to everyone. It was a lengthy process! It used to be the first thing I did in the morning, log on to see what new posts there were. Eventually I managed to get myself voted 'moderator' which meant I had to report any naughty swearing or fighting. :D



As babies were born the board's hundreds of members began to narrow down to a smaller core. We discovered Yahoo Chat and msn and whiled away hours chatting merrily away and laughing until we were crying (mnfao, anyone?) We began to arrange meet ups and swap emails. The Board had somewhere along the way become more than a place to go and talk about babies. We shared life together, the ups and downs, and gradually became so much closer than random internet strangers.



Somewhere along the way Babycentre changed, and we didn't like it, being the traditional old stick in the muds that we are ;) Suddenly there was sparkles everywhere. And Tickers. You know - my child is 3 years, 4 months, 5 days, 2 hours, 7 minutes and 55.5 seconds old. And It's Been 2 days since I shopped at Tesco. And 6 weeks until we see Great Aunt Edna. You know the sort. We refused to take part, we declined to be part of the ticker generation. Except we didn't. Slowly, insidiously, the Glitter crept in, the Tickers claimed us. The pretty signatures with pictures of our babies - yep - we bought into it all. Most of us. There were a few die hards ;) And secretly, we quite liked it really.



But then they changed it more, and wanted to chuck off the oldies like us, those whose babies were not babies anymore. So we decamped to our own site, we left on masse, shaking the dust off our feet, and never looked back. Then Facebook happened, and well - the rest is history, really.



I can't believe it's been ten years. We've been through so much together. Here's to many happy years to come, Oct 03 girls :)


Tuesday, 15 January 2013

Leaning

So, here it is. I have prevaricated and procrastinated for long enough. It's time to tell about that experience. You know, the big one, the one where I wondered if I'd see 2012 through.

What a fellowship, What a joy divine
Leaning on the everlasting arms
What a blessedness, what a peace that's mine
Leaning on the everlasting arms

This is me in the 2nd week of December, or thereabouts.

I suddenly went down with pneumonia in both lungs and went straight into hospital. I was there around 2.5 weeks. I don't have an awful lot of memory of the first week, it's a tad blurry. I remember being really, really scared. I was on constant 02 and still couldn't suck enough air in. I felt like I was drowning.


Lord I'm leaning, leaning
Safe and secure from all alarms
Leaning, leaning
Leaning on the everlasting arms

I only remember calling out to God once. 'Why?' The answer was in the silence and the struggle for every breath. In the recollection of Jesus' own agony. In the ministrations of the staff, in the love of my family and friends. No awesome glimpses of heaven or visions of angels. But a God who was next to me, in it with me, who knew.

What have I to dread
What have I to fear
Leaning on the everlasting arms
I have blessed peace with my Lord so near
Leaning on the everlasting arms

This was the worst exacerbation of my disease in at least 12 years. I cannot remember before such a desperate fight. I would wake up and be unable to move. The pain came with the lack of breath. I'm still recovering from that bit.
Lord I'm leaning, leaning
Safe and secure from all alarms
Leaning, leaning
Leaning on the everlasting arms

I'm aware that this is sounding somewhat melodramatic. But it's cathartic to get down how it was, exactly, and come to terms with that. I was too busy battling to reflect an awful lot, and then too busy recovering. I think I wrote on Facebook after the first week 'I feel like a piece of driftwood washed up to the shore.' I felt exactly that - like I'd been bashed around on the rocks for a week or so, and now it was time to rest. I'm still there, really. I've left the house a few times now, but normal life is still on the housebound side.

Oh how sweet to walk in the pilgrim way
Leaning on the everlasting arms
Oh how bright the path grows from day to day
Leaning on the everlasting arms

It puts a lot of stuff into perspective, something like that. Obvious stuff like the importance of good relationships, like being so very grateful for the love of family and friends. And less outward stuff like realising the importance and even sacredness of each moment. No point trying to live for the future. I could be straining for when I am 'better', whenever that may be, without taking each day for what it is, for the beautiful moments therein. For the laughter with my children over daft YouTube clips, for an evening with Adventure Bloke watching a favourite programme. For each moment with friends who visit. Life doesn't need to be so quick, so furious. Slowed down things can be appreciated.
Lord I'm leaning, leaning
Safe and secure from all alarms
Leaning, leaning
Leaning on the everlasting arms

I'm pondering on contentment at the moment, and what St Paul meant by 'the secret to contentment'. A lot of people seem to base it on circumstance, on health, on relationships. When one of those things is stripped out is it possible to be content? Is it possible that contentment could be to do with the moment, and finding God in the moment? More on this to come as I ponder.

So I'm Leaning. I was Leaning in the hospital, leaning further in than I had perhaps done ever before. The everlasting arms were there, as they always are and always will be. I think that in leaning, far from losing my own independence, I gain all that I am supposed to be, and the further I lean, the further the truth of this is revealed. Try some leaning yourself :)

With thanks to the amazing David Crowder Band.