Wednesday, April 29, 2015

life lately.

Oh how i've been waiting to sit down in a quiet moment like the one I find myself in right now and have the opportunity to write!  For weeks I've been itching to get back into blogging, but there was always something keeping me away.  Nursing baby. A baby who wanted to be held.  Pure exhaustion. Choosing that moment to actually spend some time with the Lord.  Dishes piled up in the sink.  Ok, you got me, it was never dishes piled up in the sink.  I mean, yes they are there, I would certainly never choose them over a chance to write!

Yes, life is looking a little different these days, but oh, how incredibly sweet it is.  We are adjusting well to being parents of two.  Eli has been fantastic! He loves his sister with every ounce of his little heart, and tells us over and over again how much he loves having a sister.  Sure, we have to remind him numerous times a day to be gentle around her and that his kitty does not belong on her face, but God has blessed us in the transition period.

He has also blessed us with a baby who loves to sleep and has since day one.  In the beginning we were a little concerned about the amount of time she spent sleeping.  I was setting my alarm throughout the night to make sure she got plenty to eat, otherwise, I'm pretty sure she would've slept through the night much earlier.

All these ways we have felt blessed make up for the difficulty we did experience.  You knew it had to be too good to be true, right?  No one has a newborn and gets off that easy!  Our difficulty came in the form of breastfeeding.  It started out with Naomi's struggle to latch, which resulted in her losing too much weight prior to our discharge from the hospital.  I was placed on a pretty aggressive feeding plan with follow up appointments scheduled for the following week.  The plan left me exhausted, physically, mentally and emotionally.  It took her 2 weeks to gain enough weight before we were released from the feeding plan and we had one good week before I was suddenly experiencing excruciating pain during our nursing sessions.  After a week of not knowing what was going on, I got in to see our Lactation Consultant who informed me that I had developed an abscess.  I was immediately scheduled to see a breast surgeon who promptly told me she would have to drain it.  Let's just say it was the worst pain I had ever felt in my entire life.  The anesthesia didn't work so I felt the whole thing!   I laid on the table screaming and crying out in pain, mostly really angry with God that He hadn't answered my prayers for healing prior to this moment.  It was another 2 weeks before I was healed enough that I could feed Naomi again on the right side with minimal pain.

But throughout the whole experience, God drew Mike and I closer, and equipped him to step up in ways like he never had before.  For instance, helping me put a new dressing on my wound when we got home the day I had the abscess drained.  If you know my husband, you know this is a REALLY big deal.  While sitting in the OR during my c-section for Naomi, behind the curtain with no visuals of anything remotely gross, he was completely nauseated and ready to pass out.  But he helped me remove the gauze and looked at my open wound!  During every feeding that resulted in me sobbing and cursing, he was there to lay hands on me and cry out to God when I didn't have the strength to do it.  He has been my rock, and I couldn't be more thankful!

Now here we are, two months in and finding our way.  We are still learning and we don't always get it right.  We eat cereal for dinner. Eli gets to bed way too late.  The kids go a few days without a bath.  Smoothies get splattered all over the wall.  The floors go unswept.  The living room looks like an obstacle course.  But mostly, we are cherishing being a family of four.  We are loving and laughing and playing and and learning and growing and making memories.

My quiet moment is now over.  A little barefooted boy with crazy bedhead has joined me on the couch.  Soon the little one will begin shifting in the swing as she wakes for an afternoon feeding.  I will have to set the computer aside and pray for more opportunities just like today, but until then I'll be taking each day as it comes and finding joy in the little things and drinking lots of coffee!!

Friday, November 28, 2014

give thanks

A couple of weeks my connect group & I joined in with some other ladies from church in an effort to be intentional about giving thanks over the course of the next month using journals.  With these journals we are creatively expressing our gratitude through Bible verses, prayers, quotes, etc.  Some of us also began the new She Reads Truth study "In Everything Give Thanks", and this has really set the tone for an "attitude of gratitude" for me.  I have so looked forward to spending time each day expressing thanks to the Father and carving out that time to just create.

In the midst of feeling very pregnant this week, read hormonal and full of mood swings,  I have been finding it refreshing to think upon the things that I have to be thankful for when it comes to Jesus and what He's done for me.  It's been refreshing to get into the Word and find it come alive as I read it with a thankful heart.  And last week we got a phone call that sent my level of gratitude through the roof.

For about 6 weeks we had been in a period of waiting and wondering and hoping and praying in regards to our baby girl.   At our 20 week ultrasound they found something that had them concerned and so began a series of blood tests and another ultrasound and a meeting with a genetic counselor and the waiting.

Finding out you're pregnant brings on such a rush of emotions: you're elated yet fearful; anxious yet hopeful; excited yet overwhelmed.  Everyone prays for a healthy pregnancy; everyone wishes for a healthy baby.  Then to find out something might be wrong, something might not quite fit into the plan you have have for this baby, suddenly the emotional roller coaster does a loop de loop, and you're wondering which end is up.

When we first heard this news of further blood tests and meeting with genetic counselors, we weren't quite sure what to think other than to immediately begin praying for the Lord's hand on our baby, as well as praying for the Lord to help us trust Him and His leading as we walked this road.  As hard as this blind journey was, we rested in the knowledge that He formed this baby, and He has a purpose for her.   My husband, who is the worrier in the relationship, was at peace, and that for me was confirmation that the Lord was working.

One day my devotions led me to Philippians 4:6-7, which is one of my favorite verses.

Whenever I am faced with anything remotely scary or might trigger worry, I immediately hear this verse in my head, with a large emphasis on the word "ANYTHING".  ANY.THING.  It's something that I believe with my whole heart, that we should be anxious over NOTHING!  And if we refrain from being anxious and worrying, we receive the peace of God & it guards our hearts and minds.  I mean, isn't this a sweet exchange for the awful side effects of worrying & being anxious?? i think so!

I found it fitting that after reading this verse, we got a phone call from the genetic counselor with great news about our baby girl.   It was the greatest birthday gift I could've gotten, and it was a great reason to "shout to all the peoples" about what God has done.

But I know full well that we don't always get the answers we want hope to hear.  I know that sometimes the test might come back positive and sometimes we find ourselves walking a path that we just would not have chosen ourselves.  What I am daily being reminded of is the fact that no matter what He is still good.  He still loves us. He still welcomes us to bask in His mercy and grace. He still calls us His own & desires to walk with us every step we take in this life.  And more & more, I find this to be the thing I am most thankful for in this earthly life.

Last night as Mike & Eli & our niece and nephew sat down to enjoy Thanksgiving dinner at my in-laws house, my mother-in-law went around the table asking the kids what they were thankful for.   When it was Eli's turn, he blew us away and said, "Jesus."  Later when we were driving home high-fiving each other for the "parenting win", I began reflecting on his answer.  Really, is there anything else more important to be thankful for?  I mean, it pretty much sums it up.  Because of Jesus, I have everything.  Because of Jesus, I am who I am, and because of Jesus, I can walk through this life with abundant blessings and feel secure knowing I am His.  Because of Jesus, my future is secure, and I have hope beyond hope.

Because of Jesus.

Monday, November 10, 2014

Is there something wrong with me?

Ok, we won't even talk about the fact that my last post said I was going to do 31 days of blogging.  I failed.  Boom. That's all there is to it.  Ok, maybe there's a little bit more, but let's just celebrate that I actually have the ability to form some coherent thoughts and have something to write about today, k?

As we drove home today from our 3 hour long doctor appointment, I told my husband that today was going to be the day that I broke out of my blogging slump because I got some things I need to get off my chest!   

From the get go, I knew this pregnancy was going to be different.  I knew pretty much from the start it was a girl because I experienced symptoms I did not experience when I was pregnant with Eli.  I questioned at 20 weeks how I was going to continue for 20 more weeks with the symptoms I was experiencing.  Those symptoms have since gone and I've had some reprieve for the last 2 weeks, dare I say I've felt really good for the last 2 weeks and have enjoyed being pregnant!  But one thing has not changed that I was totally not ready for.  Apparently I should start using a cane and ask for a senior citizen discount because that is how I am being treated with this pregnancy!

Sure I've got some gray hairs creeping in, but Friends, I am about to turn 36.  Upon leaving my doctor appointments, however, I feel as though I have unknowingly advanced in age and am about to turn 76!  Prior to this pregnancy, I thought maybe we might just try for a third, but now I'm truly afraid.  Not because I would be an older mom or anything like that.  I'm afraid they would require me to use a wheelchair and them to use a megaphone to speak to me in fear that my hearing aid wasn't turned on.

Can I tell you that I honestly feel like there is something wrong with me every time I leave an appointment?  Like, is "old lady having a baby" in that big ol' medical book with all the current medical conditions?  (I know it has a name but I didn't really know what to Google to figure it out!)
Should I start wearing a medical alert bracelet? I know, along with my glucose test, it's probably gonna be issued at my next appointment.  

Imagine the poor woman who our doctor told us about at our very first appointment who she had just come from seeing who was 52!?!?!  God bless you, my geriatric sister-friend.  

So now that they've got me worrying my baby is going to come out with 3 heads and have this syndrome and that syndrome and I'm elbow deep in blood tests, I'll just go on my merry way, me and my gray hairs and all my 36 years.  

If you know me at all, you know I use the term "worrying" quite lightly because I'm not really worried.  I'm not a worrier!  It's just that this is the most insecure I've felt in a really long time.  It's not so much the pregnancy cravings that require me to keep ice cream in the freezer at all times, it's the insecurity I feel after every appointment!   

I'll tell you what I am 100% secure about though.  That God has formed this baby. He knit her together, knows her inside and out.  She is fearfully and wonderfully made.  He has appointed this time in my life to carry this little girl for a purpose.  He has chosen me as her Mommy and He has chosen Mike as her Daddy, and I couldn't be more thrilled that He chose Eli as her big brother.  She is a gift to us.  She is so loved already, and I can't wait to meet her!!  

So, I'll just remind my doctors at my next appointment that Sarah was 91 when she had Isaac.  They'll probably be appalled and drop over, but I'll just tap them with my cane as I skip on out of the office!