Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Indescribable Love

How is it possible to feel so much love for someone I have never met, seen, touched, talked to, etc? And yet every day I am overwhelmed with the love I feel for this tiny life growing inside of me. I pray for this baby, his health and development in the womb, and his life as he grows. I pray that God will show me and Michael how to be good parents, how to raise him well and parent to his needs and personality. I pray that he will be blessed in so many ways as he grows up. I pray so many big and small things for him. I envision our future, scenes from our family life to come. I can picture our newborn baby coming home from the hospital. I can picture him/her dragging a favorite blankie or stuffed animal around the house. I can see us at the beach, playing in the waves together. Even though this child can’t understand my words, I talk to him/her. I whisper words of love, and dreams of the future throughout the day.
And it gives me a whole new appreciation for God’s love for me. How much He loves me, His child. How much He cares for me and wants good things for me and wants to grow and develop me. He has such plans for me, if I would just take the time to know him and understand the plan He has laid out for me. He wants the best for me, and is going to do everything He can (and everything I will let Him do) to grow me and mature me and make me a good person and to give me a good life. He speaks to me, even if I don’t always understand what He is saying or take the time to hear His words. Just like this baby will grow and learn and eventually understand what I am saying, if I spend time in God’s word and in a community of believers and in prayer I will learn to understand Him, and how to have a more meaningful conversation with Him, and understand what He is telling me in my life. I am His child, and He is raising me every day.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Pregnant Skiing

Yep, sounds like a funny title for a post, but it was a big deal for me. Many of you know that I had a ski trip to Colorado planned for late February. When I found out I was pregnant I thought I would have to cancel it. My wise husband told me to still go, I could enjoy the time off, the scenery, the outdoors, time with my mom and sister, etc. So, I kept the tickets. As we got closer to the date we had two doctor appointments, one with the neonatologist, one with my OB. My OB told me absolutely not to ski. The specialist though said that if I knew how to ski, took it easy, rested a lot, and stuck to easier slopes I should be ok. Hmm, what to do with two differing doctor opinions? Pray! I prayed, and Michael did the same, and he told me he thought I should ski, assuming I got out there and felt ok. I thought I would try to ski one morning, and he told me he thought I would be up to skiing two mornings. Gotta love his faith! So, I went out and I skied! I took it easy, stuck to the slower slopes, took my time and rested, all those good things, but you know what? It was amazing. It was quiet time, to think and pray and enjoy God’s creation. I saw the beautiful snow, amazing mountains, gorgeous trees, the works. And I got to praise God for His creation. I got to experience my little sister looking out for me, skiing behind me to make sure I was ok and didn’t need help. I got to enjoy a sport that I love that I don’t get to participate in often. It was such a blessing from God to have that opportunity, and I am so thankful for it. He showed me when to stop, when to rest, when to give it up for the day, but I got to enjoy a lot that I didn’t think I would. He is so good to His children! He loves to give us blessings and allow us to enjoy life!

Monday, March 16, 2009


Pregnancy will give you more physical and emotional experiences than you have ever had in your life. For those of you who haven't experience it yet, just wait. Of course, there are all the physical symptoms - the cravings, the nausea, the weight gain...and I won't go into other gory details. But the emotional changes are out of this world. Between the hormones and exhaustion it is easy to lose all sense of perspective. I can go from being all happy and loving to quiet and withdrawn, unable to explain what is wrong. The smallest thing can set me off on a crying jag that I can't explain or put a stop to. This happened to me in a major way just a few weeks after we found out about the pregnancy. It was a low-key Sunday hanging around the house, and I was being a bit reclusive all day. Michael asked a couple of times what was wrong and I told him nothing, couldn't really explain anything, and I think, truth be told, I ended up a bit frustrated with Michael for asking me what was wrong. Finally, close to bedtime, I just broke down sobbing. I couldn't explain what was wrong, after all I am happy to be pregnant, but I couldn't stop crying. My husband is so wonderful he just held me. He rubbed on my back and my shoulders and my hair, spoke soothing words to me, told me he loved me, and let me cry. He couldn't understand exactly what I was going through, but he understood that I needed him. God gave me this wonderful husband, this perfect match who understands me and what I am going through and is my rock, my shelter, my caretaker when I need it. He ministered to me in the perfect way, just when I needed it, so I could get over my emotions and rest.

I am excited by the changes God is working in my life. I am learning to better communicate with God, and with Michael. I am hearing Him in so many ways, and learning to rely on Him when I can't even understand myself. I feel so loved and cared for that God provides for me and watches out for me in my down times, and provided me with such a wonderful husband to do the same. How blessed can one girl be?

God Provides

Don't you love when God just provides??? I do. So many seemingly 'little things' happen in our lives every day that we take for granted, or get frustrated about, as the case may be, but we fail to recognize God's hand in our life. Case in point: Michael came home from a long weekend trip, back to a crazy day at work on Monday, and called me to ask if I would be upset if he missed our doctor's appointment on Thursday. (Side note: old Mandy would have immediately gotten upset and pouty with him, feeling unloved and rejected and put out that he wasn't going to come. Credit all my learning from Daughters of Sarah with helping me to be a more loving and respectful wife!) So, I took a deep breath and told him that no, I would not be upset. I would really like him to be there, but I understand if he has to work, that a client commitment has come up, I understand. He asked like 3 times if I was upset, and I told him no. A bit later I emailed him, telling him I would call the doctor and push back the appointment if he wanted me to, or go without him, whichever he preferred I was fine with. And his response - his meeting that morning got rescheduled and that is the only free time he has all week, so he will be at the appointment with me. I thanked God right then and there! I know a lot of people would call that coincidence, but I don't. I know that was my Father providing for me, and for our family, giving us that time to have that doctor visit together. I am so thankful for the ways He watches out for us every day!

Changes In Us

Getting ready to have a baby and be responsible for a new life sure brings about a lot of introspection. Michael and I have both examined so many aspects of our life, and it's funny some of the things we both realize we want to change. Things about ourselves, aspects of our relationship, how we interact, things that bother us, all sort of things big and small. One thing we have really been committed to, though, it not putting that burden on our child. What does that mean? This baby may have made us realize our need to change, but we are not changing because of the baby. That would put a lot of pressure on this innocent little child, that he/she caused his/her parents to make life changes or act a certain way. I don't want this child to enter the world with burdens or expectations placed on him or her. I want this baby to be born fully loved and cherished for exactly who God created him/her to be, no string attached. So, we are both talking about change (which is exciting - can't we always strive to be better people!) but we are both very careful to remember that these changes are going to take place because we want them to and feel they are things God is calling us to in order to be better children of God, better people, a better husband/wife, a better friend, etc. So, I'm excited for this new aspect of our journey that is related to pregnancy, but also more about us!

Sunday, March 15, 2009

One Week In

We were blessed with an amazing opportunity to share our news with some of our closest friends. A group of us had planned a weekend trip away to a cabin in Hocking Hills for some time of community and prayer. Michael and I were in charge of making dinner the first night, and as he prayed over the dinner he included in his prayer our little baby who would be coming in 9 months. You should have seen the surprise on everyone's face! But, it was great to have that time with friends who care and pray for us and a lot of mommies who have been through this before and could offer advice. It was also nice to spend that weekend away from home, without the normal pressures of chores and to-do lists. That gave me a lot of time to reflect and pray over this Little Bean and all that was coming for us. It was amazing how quickly I could go into worry mode - every little cramp or ache or pain had me worried that something may be wrong. I second guessed everything I ate or drank or did - could it hurt the baby? I quickly learned that I couldn't keep going that way. For one thing, it would drive me crazy! More importantly, that isn't how God wants me to live. I had some good time to pray and read in His Word and really turn over the burden of my pregnancy to Him. He loves me and this little child more than I ever could (which is hard to believe because I already love this child more than I thought I could!) But God loves us more, He created us, and He will take care of us. It's not about what I eat or how much I exercise or whether I take all the right vitamins. Don't get me wrong - I will do all the things I am supposed to do, but I wlil not let it control me. For example, I will take my prenatal vitamin every day, but will not freak out if I happen to forget a day. I will follow the dietary restrictions I am supposed to, but if I go out to eat and have a salad that comes with some feta cheese on it I will eat it and not worry. I will simply pray and trust in God. And that does sound simple, but it can be so hard to do. We live in this world where we are taught to control everything, so sometimes giving up that control and trusting Someone else can be the hardest thing to do. but, once you do it, it is the most liberating thing! I think this applies to every area of our life, it just became very apparent to me in dealing with pregnancy. I don't have to worry about my baby, or my job, or the state of the economy, or how things are going with friends or family. I can be involved in all of those things, but the responsibility of them falls to God. I need to listen to Him, spend time in His word and communicating with Him via prayer and in community with other believers so that I can discern His plan for me, but my job is to live in His plan, not try to figure it out on my own. Try it - it is really the most liberating thing to know all of this is out of my hands anyway!

Finding Out

God has been so good! So, Michael and I had always agreed we didn’t want to ‘try’ to get pregnant, but just take away barriers and let it happen naturally. So, in early November we quit preventing, but that was it. No charting, no looking at dates or anything else. I kinda had this feeling in mind that December was the month, but didn’t give it much thought. I was getting more and more excited about the prospect of having a baby as time went by, and the more I thought about it, I started to think maybe the focus on December wasn’t from me, but was from God. So, imagine my disappointment when I got my period on December 20th. I was so frustrated and disappointed. Then, on December 28th I had a message from a friend asking if I was pregnant, saying that she had a feeling. We had not told anyone we were even thinking of a baby at this point, so her message was out of nowhere. It hit me that this was God, confirming what he told me. The science told me that I probably wouldn’t get pregnant in December, but the fact that a couple of spiritual friends brought it up to me in those last days of December and early January confirmed it to me in different ways really hit home, and I prayed very hard that God would show me how He was speaking to me. I want to hear Him more. I didn’t want this idea of December to be of me, I wanted it to be His plan or not happen, so prayed a lot about it. Then, I started having all sorts of symptoms that made me think perhaps I was pregnant. But still, I had felt all of that before and it was just PMS. So, I continued to pray. I waited to take a pregnancy test until I was sure my period was late, since mine is never that reliable. I took a test on Saturday morning, and I remember being so excited. I remember suddenly feeling hot and my heart was pounding as I went to tell Michael the news. He hugged me, but cautioned not to get my hopes up. I went to the gym and while I was running it started snowing, just a little bit. That right there was a sign to me from God, confirming this miraculous gift He was giving us. I have always loved the snow, and recently I have felt that God gives me snow at special times to let me know of His love. On the way home from running errands I got some more tests. I waited for Michael to get home to take them, and I could tell he was as anxious as me. I was trying to stay cool, putting off taking it, and he wanted to hurry up and do it. He read the results of the second one – positive again! We were so excited, went to dinner with friends trying to figure out how to hide the fact that I wasn’t drinking. Sunday he asked when I was going to take another test. At first I wasn’t going to, thinking I should just trust God and not need a confirmation, but then I thought ‘Why not, God wants us to enjoy this and this is fun!’ So I took it, and for half a second had Michael going that it came back negative.

That Monday I was so excited to call the doctor, thinking they would want me to come in that day. I was kind of disappointed that they don’t want to see me until 8 weeks! But, I left a message with some questions, got a call back with some answers, and found out, because of the Factor V (a blood clotting disorder I have) they want me to see a specialist sooner. Yea! Factor V is good for something! Then I started to question my motivation behind it- did I force this to happen- but Michael assured me I did not. If they had said no need for anything special I would have been fine with that. Then I was worried that the specialist they were recommending might not be on my plan. I searched the website and couldn’t find him, started to let that worry me. But Tuesday morning I prayed about it and asked God to please let him be on my plan. Finally found his name on the Christ hospital website and then searched him on Cigna and it looks like he is fine. God is so good! Everything is working out so well.

I am praying away fear, sending away the evil spirits that are trying to attack me and make me worry about every little thing. This is God’s child, and He can take care of him or her better than I can if I just let him. Psalm 27:1 says “The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?” And Philippians 4:6-7 says “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.” I trust Him, and I am so thankful!

In The Beginning

So, this is my first attempt at a blog. I've never done one before, but have greatly enjoyed following those of some of my friends and thought I'd take a shot at it. What has really motivated me to start one now is my pregnancy, and all that Michael and I are learning and experience as we are getting ready to welcome our first child into this world. I feel like every day there is a new emotion or insight or fact that we are learning. Some are scientific, some are spiritual, some emotional, others more relational. But, all are welcome! I have been journaling about a lot of it, but that seems so private, and really waht is the point of learning and experiencing life if we aren't sharing what we learn with others. So, here it is. I am sure some of this will make more sense than other parts, some may seem emotional, or far-fetched, depending on what point of view you are coming from. So, feel free to take what you want from it. To get started I will going back in time a bit, to some of what I felt when we first found out we were expecting, then catching up to where we are now...