It’s 5:30 on Friday morning. I’m not even supposed to be awake, but Pud was hungry, and I couldn’t really sleep anymore. Too many things on my mind and too much trouble keeping the breathing going comfortably.
We are planning to do some more paperwork round-ups today for our mortgage lenders, which is frustrating. It’s making us doubt whether we want to continue to work with the current bank, or cut our losses and start over with someone else, doing what we originally wanted: a conventional 30 year loan, instead of this FHA headache. One of the major sticking points that they have is that the carpet in the house we want to buy is very old and “FHA underwriting guidelines” require that it be ripped out before the loan can be approved. This was our plan anyway, because neither of us love carpets (allergies, anyone?), but we don’t want to pay to have it done on a house that’s not ours, and it’s a big expense for the seller to take on, too. Why is it even an issue? Because the home inspector/appraiser made special mention of it in his report, which is registered with the HUD website, or something like that. The paint chipping around a couple of windows and the small piece of siding that’s missing by the front door- those are reasonable and fairly cheap fixes that can be done to satisfy the requirements of FHA, and it probably won’t be a problem for the seller.
Basically, “frustrated” is the theme of this house-buying experience. My recommendation for anyone pursuing a mortgage to work with a contract in which the seller has agreed to pay some of the closing costs, DO NOT go FHA. Keep looking around for someone else who doesn’t have some “percentage” limitations in regards to what the seller can pay. We were even at the point of considering walking away from the whole thing. BUT… there’s no way we can continue to pay for B to drive back and forth every day- the financial, emotional, physical, and familial toll is just too high. With a brand new baby and a mama who (we both agree) needs to be home with him full-time for a bare minimum of the first 6 weeks, so that I can physically recover from giving birth more quickly and so that baby Pud can get used to being in the world, there’s no extra income to keep covering the costs of gas. It’s frustrating to feel “damned if you do” and “damned if you don’t”, because it feels like it requires us to sacrifice some of the things we deeply value: it’s important to us that Pud not be in childcare his first year of life, at the bare minimum; it’s important to us not to make choices that will dig us into the Deep Black Hole of Debt, especially in a really lousy economy; it’s important to us that B have time to spend at home with his family, rather than spending all of his time working his primary job and looking at working a second job, too. It sucks. It’s so easy to want to give up sometimes, but we don’t have that choice anymore, because Pud is coming, and every decision we make affects him and will affect his life for a long time to come.
I’ve written a lot about faith in this blog. This baby is absolutely the blessing and the gift that we cherish. He’s also an incredible test of faith. The number of dominoes that have to fall in order for the numbers to work so that we are not living in increasing debt, or “barely squeaking by” (which is code for living in debt and one step ahead of a bill collector), are many. It’s overwhelming to have to trust that God will provide a way to:
- allow us to finally secure this new house
- ensure that this old house has renters or a buyer
- pay bills on time without getting into the “which bill shall we pay this month?” game that many families pay
- allow me (or B!) to stay home with our precious baby
- help me to find a way to contribute to the family’s income without sacrificing our child in the process
- allow me to go to graduate school in the spring (canceled the fall plans because I didn’t want to be getting another student loan and jeopardize the mortgage application with “too many lines of credit”- turned out to be a good decision, with the bank insisting that we explain why several people have checked our credit lately- hello! Because that’s how you get any kind of information from banks about rates and such as you shop around for a mortgage lender!)
- and honestly, to pay off whatever debts we already have, while actually being able to put some money away for the future.
I know that He will. I know that all we have to do is knock on His door and ask. I also know that there are some very real challenges that we each face in our own personal faith journeys that have to be addressed, and possibly before He will give the answers we seek. One area is learning to forgive. I’m so proud to be able to sit here and say that I’m stepping up. I had the opportunity to choose between being angry forever and refusing to help someone, or letting the past go and pulling this person in to offer my skills and help through their life journey. Thankfully, I don’t have to do it alone, but I realized something about forgiveness: it’s a series of ongoing choices- not a one-time thing- to let the past go and keep giving, even if it means getting badly hurt again is a possibility. That’s probably why the Lord’s Prayer mentions forgiveness. We are not hardwired to forgive, because we are very much focused on keeping score and trying to make life “fair”; we have to constantly choose to forgive others and ourselves.
As one of my friends often says to me, “You want to live in a world ruled by logic, but it isn’t.” Don’t we all wish for a little bit of logic in our lives? Order, you know, and rules that are always black and white. Life isn’t like that, though, and throwing a temper tantrum isn’t going to make it so. In a perfect world, we wouldn’t need grace or faith or anything, because the world would be perfect, as would we. We also would have no opportunity to need God in our lives, nor would we ever have an opportunity to grow and learn and change. Some might view this as a good thing, but I don’t know that I really want to live in a world where I don’t get to experience the joy of watching my baby learn to make good choices over bad ones, where he wouldn’t need me and wouldn’t grow to love me because he didn’t need me. I imagine that’s exactly why God gave us free will and the choice to love Him.
As frustrating and scary as our journey may be, I’m forced to remember Mary and Joseph’s was definitely tougher. Here’s a girl who’s carrying a baby and hasn’t even had sex. She’s young- very young- and she has to trust that this man, Joseph, is really going to take care of her and be kind to her. For all the preparation we’ve done in just getting familiar with the birth and trying to give our child a safe place to be born- Mary and Joseph had to make do with a stable. They survived and thrived despite the many roadblocks in their path, and we can rest assured that the same God who watched over them is watching over us.
Pud’s brain is growing rapidly and he’s gaining weight. He’s working on settling into the right position for birth, and he gets heavier every day, it seems. We are diligently preparing for his birth in the middle of all the other chaos we’re facing.
- Our birth plan is mostly written and will be ready to review with our doula and doctor next week.
- Interpreters have been contacted (We’re competing with DeaFestival KY the same weekend as Pud’s due date, so this is a tough one), as has the hospital. I have to give kudos to Frankfort Regional Medical Center because they have been VERY supportive and helpful with meeting our unique needs as we prepare for this birth.
- This week, we will get pre-registration paperwork done with the hospital.
- We attended the labor workshop on Tuesday night. This was a practical workshop offered by Baby Moon, in which we practiced different pain management strategies with our partners (and, lucky us, with our doula!). If you are in the Bluegrass area, I highly recommend it. Very useful information and it was great not having to figure it all out from pictures in a book. Since the onset of labor is MOST likely to occur when it’s just me or just me and B, this kind of practical information is extremely useful and will make the whole process a lot less nerve-racking.
- Monday, I have a doctor’s appointment with the OB.
- Tuesday, I have my very last class in preparation for childbirth and newborn care: a breastfeeding class, also offered by Baby Moon. Glad we signed up for the trio, because all of the information we’ve gained from the classes we’ve experienced there has been relevant and well-presented, so that we are now informed and empowered and a whole lot less scared about what to do or expect.
- Wednesday, I get to find out the results of my sleep study and see if relief is on the horizon. The sleep technician said that weight gain is not always the only factor that causes sleep apnea. He said that one possibility is that I’ve always had it, but it’s become much more pronounced because of pregnancy and the associated weight gain. I know that a friend of mine was diagnosed after she complained about getting up to go to the bathroom a bunch of times each night- something I’ve done since childhood- because the habit develops from going for a pee immediately upon awakening, and the belief develops that we’re waking up because we have to pee, not the other way around. Interesting. We shall see.