Thursday, March 22, 2012

Our God

K and I are in a time of transition. Obviously. We have a son on the way, upcoming graduation from grad school, trying to figure out whether or not I can stay at home after LDB is born, and a search for a full-time ministry position. This is so much to handle yet so beautiful. Let me explain...

Some of the things that I'll get stressed over are trivial and short lived. Comments from people questioning our decision to cloth diaper or maintain a vegetarian diet, for instance. These people's comments are very well intended, I understand that. But the sting is temporary because these issues are simple and manageable. I believe that my husband and I are on the same page and in the end that's all that really matters. My diet and the covering on my baby's butt aren't really things worth losing sleep over, you know?

However, there are other things that are more complicated and difficult to grasp. Feeling God calling us away from a city and a church that we love immensely. Explaining those convictions to our family and church family. Trying to discern God's design for our family and how that plays a part in me working or not. Criticism in general about decisions that we feel strongly led in. Fear of taking steps in the dark toward a future that, as of right now, is so hidden.

Lately, God has been pouring over me a balm of incredible release of tension about all of these things. I'm afraid but I'm comforted. As soon as I start to feel alone I'm surrounded by love. Almost the moment I begin to panic someone or something comes along to bring perspective. Today in chapel at our school we sang the song "Our God" which I'm very familiar with and have enjoyed for a while. There's a particular part that rang more true with me than ever today:

Our God is greater, our God is stronger, God you are higher than any other.
Our God is healer, awesome in power, our God! Our God!
And if our God is for us, then who could ever stop us?
And if our God is with us, then what could stand against?

I have no idea where God is taking us or how He's going to get us there. It doesn't seem like we can financially make it for me to stay at home with LDB after a big move. My heart is breaking over leaving the friends we've made and the city we love. And of course, trying to answer other people when they lovingly ask us about our plans makes it all sound even more unstable. So here's where I stand. No, I don't know the answers...but have I ever? No. Will I ever know? Not entirely. In HIS timing HIS plan will be revealed. If our God is for us who could ever stop us? If our God is with us, who could ever stand against us? Romans 8:31 says "What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?" This is exactly what my heart needed today. A beautiful scriptural reminder that blind faith isn't reckless or irresponsible and having all the answers is sorely overrated. My call is to go with my husband to wherever God calls us. To be the mother He has called me to be in whatever circumstance He provides for. And most importantly, to be still. To lay all of this before Him and leave it there. It's freeing and uplifting and I wouldn't trade it. No matter the questions, no matter the cost. This is the life we've been called to live and it. is. beautiful.

What a MIGHTY God we serve.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Childbirth Class

Childbirth class! March 10, from 9am-5pm.

It may or may not have been the longest weekend EVER.

But at least it was fun, right??

We chose to take this natural childbirth class here at our school for two reasons.
1. It's much, much more affordable
2. We are entirely too busy to commit to several weeks of classes that meet for 1-2 hours at a time

Once again, K and I headed to Mrs. E's class for lots of good baby info. There were two other couples and one sweet lady whose husband couldn't make it. Mrs. E is such an awesome teacher because she not only delivered her two children naturally (in Africa!) but she was a Labor and Delivery RN at a very large University hospital for a good bit of her career before coming here to Cowtown. Having experienced the process of natural childbirth herself and also leading so many other women through it for so many years she's seen just about everything.

We spent the morning working through lots of great information. She had a slideshow going with topics and gave us lots of great handouts for later reference. We learned about the stages of labor, the stages within those stages, stations, dilation and effacement, how our bodies and the babies bodies are equipped for birth, and the biology behind it ALL (Plus a ton of other information). We covered everything technical and then was great! I really felt much more at ease about birth just by being more informed.

The afternoon was spent on the hands-on practical things. Relaxation, coping with the pain, focus, breathing techniques, preparing the dads for coaching, what to expect emotionally, etc. I loved practicing the breathing! As a singer, this is something that I felt so at home with. I also frequently do breathing exercises in bed at the end of the day because I've always struggled with falling asleep quickly. It was very helpful for me to feel like there's at least one thing about all this that I'm good at and that will help me immensely during labor. We learned about all the methods of medicinal pain relievers, C-sections, and the reasons that each of those are sometimes necessary, too. I appreciated that she covered this information as well because (like I mentioned in my lactation class post) I really believe in being as informed as possible about every side of the situation. Obviously, I still hope to not be using any of those options but I know I need to be informed just in case.

We did have breaks for snacks, lunch, and trips to the restroom but those totaled about an hour of our overall time. It was a LONG day but entirely worth it. We both learned a ton and were grateful to have it over with. Ideally, these classes happen a little farther along in pregnancy but Mrs. E is only able to do one a semester so we went with her schedule. Now if LDB comes a bit early (praying that doesn't happen, but still!) we know we'll be prepared!

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Lactation Class

On Monday, February 27, K and I attended a Lactation class. Yes, you read that correctly. My champ of a husband came along! Our school has an on-campus clinic and the RN there happens to be a wonderfully experienced certified lactation consultant and natural childbirth instructor. She does classes on each of those topics about once a semester for students and wives for a great price. It's one of the many resources that the school offers to assist families on campus and I am so grateful!

Mrs. E (the RN) encourages all of the ladies to bring their husbands along, which I know sounds very unconventional to a lot of people. However, a lot of studies have shown that women are more successful in breastfeeding when their husbands are not only supportive, but also educated in how to be helpful. There were 4 or 5 couples and only 2 ladies without their husbands.

We learned so much! I've already read The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding (creepish title, I know) and thought it was really helpful. The class was a great way to get some more information that backed up all of the technical things I encountered in the book. I felt like the book and class by themselves were both wonderful but I'm glad to have experienced both. I'm of the opinion that with baby topics like this you can never be too prepared or informed (unless you have a tendency to be overwhelmed by too much information, that is!). I love being as educated as possible on all sides of the equation and have been researching constantly in order to know as much as I can. This is my way of preparing myself for LDB's arrival since I can't do any of the fun stuff like setup a nursery or shop for big items!

If you're a mom and you want to share any tips or advice I'm open to hearing it!

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

The Second Trimester Overview

Hello trimester number 3!

Today marks my 28th week and the beginning of the third trimester. In case that's weirdo lingo to you, I'm about 6 1/2 months along and folks....there is NO 4th trimester! This is it!

The second trimester has been great! Some of the memorable milestones have been:

1. Getting to find out my baby is a boy! So exciting!
2. Feeling his first little flutters and kicks. These have now graduated into crazy circus acts of energy!
3. Moving past the extreme food cravings and more into my rhythm of healthy eating habits
4. Buying our stroller, stashing up on cloth diapers, and starting our gift registry. Baby stuff is so fun and we've loved picking out things for our boy!
5. Finally looking truly pregnant and not just bloated

The one persisting "symptom" with this trimester has been trouble sleeping. This was particularly troublesome when we were on our mission trip to Germany! I haven't had more than a handful of full night's asleep since mid-December. Most of the time I fall asleep very quickly and then wake up between 3 and 4am. Only in the last few weeks has it been for trips to the bathroom. Over the past week or so I have been falling back asleep about an hour after waking up so that has been super amazing! I've felt much more rested lately.

For about the last 3 weeks I have been experiencing "freaky alien shows" frequently throughout the day. I named them that because of how absolutely bizarre it looks when my entire belly begins shaking and the kicks can be very plainly seen through my shirt. These normally last for about 1-2 minutes every hour or so throughout the day. This is, of course, in addition to the normal kicks, stretches, and rolls that are almost constant. It's one of my very, very favorite things right now because it's that awesome reminder that there really is a baby in my belly! I struggled so much through the first trimester with feeling like I wasn't really pregnant...but now there's no denying it! I love it so much!

K is loving all of this, as always. He frequently gets to see and feel LDB moving around and he enjoys talking to my belly when I'm relaxing in the evening. I'm convinced, more than ever, that he's going to be an awesome dad! He takes part in everything and is so supportive of me. I couldn't ask for a better guy!!

I'm still loving my appointments with my midwife group and now I start seeing them every 2 weeks instead of just once a month. I think that this will really make the next couple of months fly by. I've already taken and passed the 2 hour glucose test and will have my Rhogam shot next week. In my last two appointments LDB has highly disapproved of the Doppler (the little thing that lets us hear his heartbeat). Both midwives trying to find his heart tones have commented on how crazy active he is. The moment they find the heartbeat he moves away and at my last appointment he spent quite a while kicking the Doppler and moving away from it the moment it touched my skin. Something tells me that his daddy's energy level has been passed down!

So that's my overview! I can't believe how little time I have left. I'm making the most of every moment and am so excited to meet my son!