Category: Praise


It is far too late for me to be up and posting when I really want to be snoozing next to my big sweet two month old BUT I had to take the moment to say what a wonderful, beautiful week it has been for our household.  It has not been “perfect”, whatever that is, by any means but it has been real, and it has been fun, and it has been frustrating, and it has been what is has been…beautiful, with reminders of His love, perfection, and grace all around us.

We have gotten out and enjoyed the weather together and with our friends.  My body has received further healing.  We have loved hard, laughed hard, and played hard.  We’ve also had our fair share of spending time in the corner and behaving poorly, adults included.  But we’ve made the choices this week to forgive one another and to love one another.  We’ve shared special treats and sweet kisses.  We’ve snuggled and read books, sung songs and had races around the kitchen and living room.  We got to meet up with friends this week at the park and at the playground.  We also got to have friends over tonight, totally unplanned, and it was a blast for all!

We’ve learned about the letter “c” and the sound it makes and the words it can start to spell such as “cat”, “car”, and “cow”.  We made valentine invitations for our class party and started to make the valentines we will exchange with our friends.  Benjamin has smiled a lot and is already wearing 3-6 month clothes.  He loves to smile at big brother and Ryne loves to love on him, albeit a bit too rough at times.  Again, all in all, we’ve loved and we’ve lived in the moment this week, together.  We’ve spent less time on technology and more time on each other.

I am so grateful for the Word of God.  That He has given us His truths to guide us along each day and that when we trust in Him, He aligns everything just perfectly for our good and for His glory.  I am grateful that “as our day, so shall our strength be” Deuteronomy 33:25  He has given me much strength and so much more to be thankful for in every moment.  I am so grateful for my beautiful baby boys and my precious husband who loves me in spite of myself at my worst.  I am grateful for His healing and His perfect design for our bodies, our marriages, and our children.  I am grateful that we have a God who is faithful to His promises and that we can make the choice to trust Him every day.  I am grateful that He sees us through eyes of grace and not what we deserve.  I pray that I would continue to strive to be the woman, wife, and mother that He created me to be in His image.  That I would somehow shine a light that only points to Him and that I would decrease and He would increase (John 3:30).  Lord, please help me to surrender every day and to submit every thought captive to You (2 Corinthians 10:5).  I am blessed beyond measure, my cup overflows, and I am beyond grateful to You for all of Your gifts and provisions.  Thank You.

 

Okay, so I know this blog is for me and my thoughts so no one has really been waiting to find out when our baby arrived but I really have been meaning to get this story down before details escape me!

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One of the last times Ryne and I would spend together with the belly.

Let me begin with the night before.  November 18, 2014.

I was feeling uncomfortable physically but emotionally, I was doing well.  I had come to peace in my mind that if this little baby did not arrive until December that I would be okay with that.  After all, I know how fast time passes so I knew I would have my baby soon and that I would for sure have him or her before Christmas.  This particular week our girl’s Bible study was meeting on Tuesday night to study our Boundaries With Kids book together.  For some reason I cannot remember now, Doug and I were busy doing something and neither of us felt like making dinner so Doug went up to Little Caesar’s and got us some cheap, greasy pizza.  I took mine over to Becky’s so I wouldn’t be super late for study and I just ate there.

Well, we didn’t quite get very much studying or discussion done that week.  We talked about all sorts of things and were laughing our heads off about silly things.  Doug texted me twice and had me rolling…for some reason the past few days I thought everything was hilarious…hormones, I guess.  He texted me that Ryne was asking the dogs to play cars with him and that one of the dogs actually did come over and was like, “okay, what’s up, let’s play”…for some reason, the scene just was so funny to me.  And then Doug told me a lady came over for his Nerium party (Nerium is a skin care line that our next door neighbor sells) and he didn’t even know he was having one.  He said he should have invited her in and ran upstairs to get a sample of Jergen’s naturals and try to sell it to her.  Again, I could just see that scenario in action and how Doug could totally pull off a prank like that for a few minutes.  Then the girls and I were all goofing off and talking about every subject under the sun, and we started to plan a get together that Friday night to watch Frozen and to all do boudoir photos…so discussing that possibility and encouraging one another was pretty funny.

Jess reminded me that the night before she went into labor she was spending time with some family and she was just rolling laughing too so I should watch out!  Amanda was rolling her eyes at me for being so silly thinking it could be a December baby because she was clearly convinced baby would be here sooner.  I told all the girls that I didn’t believe baby was in the optimal position just yet so I thought that might still be holding us back a bit.  After a fun night I headed home and took a hot bath and typed out an email to my girls thanking them for a fun night and asking for their prayers that baby would get in an occiput anterior position, that my body would remain pain free (from the cyst, pelvic pain, and other random things), and that our household would remain healthy.  I pressed send on that email on November 19, 2014 at 12:27am, got out of the bathtub (yes, I emailed from my phone in the tub…I was a big, uncomfortable pregnant lady, cut me some slack!!) and went to get ready for bed.

Before bed I rubbed a generous amount of peppermint essential oil combined with coconut oil on my lower back, as I had done a number of times before, in an attempt to get baby to turn to anterior.  Ryne decided he was going to have a bit of a rougher night sleeping so I helped Ryne into bed with us so he would sleep.  Once he was settled, I focused on visualizing our baby turning into the best position for birth and visualized what I wanted my birthing time be like.  Visualizing was one of my favorite tools from my Hypnobabies home study materials.  I love to visualize so I continued to get in a good frame of mind and drifted off to sleep.  I had a “normal” night of sleep…tossing and turning a bit, hips getting sore, and keeping Ryne’s limbs off of me.

I woke up at 5:30am and noticed that Doug was in the bathroom.  Well, I really had to go to the bathroom too and I couldn’t wait so I went into the other bathroom.  I heard Doug leave the bathroom and then return so I was concerned.  I texted him and asked if he was okay (and yes, I took my phone with me once again, because I planned to be up for the day and take a bath!) and I told him I thought I was having bad gas pains from that greasy pizza the night before because we don’t normally eat all of that.  He texted me at the same time telling me he thought he was also having gas pains.  I told him I was really uncomfortable with these gas pains plus a baby on top of it and that they were really bothering me so I was getting in the bath.  I took the time in the bath to read my verse of the day, Psalm 37:4 “Take delight in the Lord, and He will give you your heart’s desires.”  I meditated on that verse for a little while.  I also listened to my “Childbirth in the Glory” mp3.  I love and highly recommend this album.  It has tracks with music and scripture to meditate on and is so calming and affirming to hear God’s promises for birth.  I was in the bathtub for about 35 minutes and was also having some bad back pain on top of the gas pain.  I was just very uncomfortable all around.  I texted Doug at 6:28am and told him I thought this might be labor starting but that I wasn’t sure.  I started timing these “waves”/”contractions”/”gas pains” at 6:34am.

I then went back into our bedroom and leaned over Doug, who was still lying in bed with Ryne, and told him I didn’t know what was going on.  That I was having really bad pains and I didn’t know if it was labor or not.  I breathed through a contraction leaning over Doug but I was so confused and so thirsty that I wanted to go downstairs to get some water to drink.  I made my way downstairs and dropped to the floor on my hands and knees to get through another one.  I don’t remember exactly what I was thinking at this time, other than, “holy cow, these are really challenging, I don’t remember early labor being this difficult with Ryne”.  I made it to the kitchen island and had another “wave” come over me and it was another one that rocked my world with how intense it was.  I think I got my water, or maybe I didn’t.  Doug had come downstairs at some point and was seeing what I was doing since I was completely naked walking around the house.  Doug suggested that I contact Brenda, our midwife, and Sarah, our doula, to let them know what was going on.  When I was leaning over the island, I asked him to put counter-pressure on my back through that wave but it didn’t help very much.  It somehow brought me more back to the here and now and I didn’t need to think about that, I had to focus on surviving through each wave my body gave me.  I remember all of this being very foggy in my mind.  Ethereal, out of body somehow, it is true.  I was so IN my body and strongly feeling each sensation but at the same time, the little things like getting from place to place (upstairs to downstairs and back again) just seemed like I somehow arrived wherever I wanted to be.

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Maybe I should see if I can time these “pains”…

I went back upstairs and remember being back in the guest bathroom, leaning over the countertop again, turning on my Hypnobabies “Easy First Stage” and trying to wrap my head around why these felt SO different and difficult to when I was in early labor with Ryne.  I had been mindlessly timing my contractions for about 45 minutes and Doug suggested yet again that I go ahead and let Brenda and Sarah know what was going on.  I was in some serious denial and I was hesitant and told him I didn’t want to yet because “what if this ends up fading away and lasting for days like with Ryne?”  Some part of my brain knew this was the real thing so I ended up texting both Sarah and Brenda.

Texts to and from Brenda:

7:16am: (Me to Brenda) “I hope it isn’t too early to text.  I think things might be starting, but it feels really strong to be so early on…thought I had bad gas pains this morning but it has turned into something really tough and timeable, definitely contractions.”

7:26am: (Doug to Brenda) “They are lasting around a minute or more, and ranging from 3 minutes apart to 5-7 minutes apart.  Nothing super regular yet, but they are sounding really strong.”

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This was the real thing, whether I was in denial or not!

Somewhere in this 15 minutes Doug tried to again, help me get through contractions…I would ask him to help and then tell him to stop, that it wasn’t helping and I just had to do it.  I also told him I didn’t care if it slowed down labor, to get that pool filled up ASAP.  I had used all the hot water in my bath in the morning and I wanted to make sure we had plenty of time to fill it with hot water.  Ryne also woke up during this timeframe.  I saw him and remember talking to him and saying hi, but Doug helped him go downstairs and get some breakfast and watch something on TV to keep him distracted so Doug could still help me.  Doug brought the pool into our room and began filling it up.  He got pots of water on the stove to add to the pool when our hot water ran out.  He was rushing back and forth, caring for both me and Ryne. I’m pretty sure this was also around the time where in my head, I was trying to figure out how we could quickly get our things ready and go to the hospital because I knew I would NOT be able to have this baby at home with the contractions already being this strong and overtaking me.

7:45am: (Me to Brenda) “This is really strong feeling already, I feel like I don’t know what’s going on because it is difficult for me to handle.”

7:46am: (Brenda to Me) “Somebody needs to get in the pool, pull together.”

I was texting when I could think to, in between contractions, still in the guest bathroom, and when I got this text from Brenda, a part of my brain was like, “hey!! I AM pulling it together, I’m doing all I can do…pull it together, humph!”

7:47am: (Me to Brenda) “But I’m also afraid that this is going to go on forever or that it is going to stop and not amount to anything.  Haven’t seen any bloody show or anything.  Doug is getting pool ready now.”

7:48am: (Brenda to Me) “Ok just moving faster than your first one to hang tight I’m trying to get there.”

7:48am: (Me to Brenda) “Are you sure this is moving faster and not just baby trying to get in a better position or something? Back hurting a lot too.”

I believe with these texts I was in this “in between” place where I was finally believing this was the real thing and it really was happening quickly and also still in a bit of denial and that I was being an absolute wuss and I was doing terrible with these contractions.

7:49am: (Me to Brenda) “Feels really real”

7:50am: (Brenda to Me) “No, I am sure, on the way!”

8:00am: (Doug to Brenda) “I have Val in the tub to help out”

8:12am: (Brenda) “Getting off at the Glade Road exit right now.

Brenda arrived at our home at 8:37am

Texts to and from Sarah (our doula):

7:14am: (Me to Sarah) “I think things might be starting…but it feels really strong to be so early on…thought I had bad gas pains this morning but it has turned into something really tough”

7:16am: (Sarah to Me) “Ok. Were you able to sleep last night?  You may be starting further along this time.  How far apart and how long are they?”

7:17am: (Me to Sarah) “Yeah I was able to get some sleep.  It feels really tough this time, but I don’t know if I’m just being a wuss…or if this is going to go on for days again.”

7:18am: (Sarah to Me) “No I don’t think this will go on for days.  Sounds like today is the day.”

7:43am: (Sarah to Me) “Have you been able to time them?”

7:50am: (Me to Sarah) “Feels like too much too fast.  But I’m still worried it’s not it.  But I think it is.  Doug is setting up the pool.”  And then I sent the text with the screenshot of my contractions that were coming every 2-3 minutes lasting over a minute.

7:51am: (Sarah to Me) “I think so too.  I was honestly expecting you to go like this based on last time.  Have you called the midwife? I am going to leave here in a few minutes.”

7:51am: (Me to Sarah) “Been going on since about 530 I think.  No bloody show or anything though but I feel like I’m having trouble with these.  It came on so quick.  Brenda is on the way I think but I don’t want this to not be the real thing.  Thought I would have more time.”

7:52am: (Sarah to Me) “Ok that definitely looks like active labor patterns.  I think you just skipped over early labor.”

7:52am: (Me to Sarah) “I don’t know.  This couldn’t be all in my head right?  This is already taking a lot for me.”

7:53am: (Sarah to Me) “That was how my labor was with Finley and I kept thinking I could not be in labor yet but was complete when I got to the hospital.  I think you were just expecting it to go slower but it definitely is not in your head.  Those contractions are over a minute long.”

7:55am: (Me to Sarah) “It’s difficult to tell because I’m just in constant mode.  Feels like I don’t know that I can do this whole thing like this.”

7:56am: (Sarah to Me) “You can.  This is probably close to the worst of it.  I have a feeling you won’t have ore than 2 hours of this.”

8:01am (Doug to Sarah) “I have Val in the tub to help with things.”

8:03am (Sarah to Doug) “Ok.  It sounds like she is pretty far along.  If you can do counter pressure on her lower back, that and some soft arm strokes between.  I’m on my way in the car.”

8:04am (Doug to Sarah) “Ok see you soon.”

8:55am (Doug to Sarah) “Baby is here!”

8:57am (Sarah to Doug) “No!!!!!!!  I am almost there.”

It was very difficult for me to text through all I was going through with the waves that kept overtaking me.  Somewhere around 7:30am is when I told Doug to please get the pool set up so that I could get in soon.  I told him I didn’t care if it slowed things down, I needed to rest in the water ASAP.  At some point near 8:00am I guess Doug may have told me that the pool had water in it or maybe I just went from the bathroom to the bedroom and got in.  When I got in the pool, things continued to stay “real” and maybe I then allowed myself to let go even more, even though in my mind I still felt like I was fighting it somewhat.  When I was in the bathroom I was listening to my hypnobabies tracks about early first stage labor, which was honestly a joke since I think I somehow skipped first stage all together.  The track then changed to the Pushing Baby Out track and I don’t think I consciously heard or absorbed much of it but I do remember visualizing and thinking “open, open, down and out” like I encourage my own clients to do.  In my mind I had to think “open” because I was still somewhat nervous since Ryne had trouble getting under the pubic bone.  I was convinced that mentally I could encourage this baby to easily come down and out and that this baby was in the perfect position for birthing and working with my body.

During this time I remember Doug running up and down the stairs.  He was helping boil water and fill up the tub more and he was also keeping Ryne distracted.  I was largely alone during this time in the tub.  The sun had already risen and the soft light was filling the room.  I was aware of this natural light and I was grateful for it on some level.  In the tub things were getting even more intense.  There was never a moment where things really let up.  I was squatting in the tub and could feel baby’s limbs moving against my abdomen and remember thinking, “what is this baby doing?  Baby is supposed to be working on coming out, not on moving around and kicking me still.”  I’m sure baby really was working on moving around the way he or she needed to be, but in my mind I remember thinking it was really odd that I was doing all this work with the contractions and that the baby was just hanging out in there, still kicking at me.  I would have a contraction and vocalize and focus through it and then in between I tried to rest.  I laid down on my side in the water when I could and while it was still somewhat comfortable to try to do but at some point it all became too much and I couldn’t lie down anymore.  I remember resting in a squat in between contractions and just calling out “Your strength, Your comfort, Your rest, Your peace”.  This became my mantra.  In between every contraction I would simply call out and focus on those words.  I would say “I can’t do this without You.  Not my strength, Yours.  Your rest, Your strength, Your peace, God.”  I remember calling these out during some contractions too when I felt baby coming down.  This was such an intense and incredible experience for me.

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My birth affirmations banner

When I got in the pool, this is also when my body began pushing or bearing down with the contractions even more than when I was out of the tub.  There was nothing I could do to stop it.  My body and baby were doing what they needed to do and I was along for the ride.  A wave would come and I felt such intense pressure everywhere down below.  I felt baby moving through my birth canal and the pressure becoming more intense.  Since I was alone during this time I was also trying to figure out if things were “okay” and that my body was actually progressing the way it should.  I could only assume that it was.  I reached my hand down several times to try to feel my cervix to make sure it was open so baby could come through but my mind simply couldn’t keep up with my body.  My body was doing exactly what it needed to do and so was baby.  I was able to trust the process because there was nothing else I could do.  I was reaching down to feel my cervix and I thought to myself, “I’m feeling baby’s head.  Baby is coming.  Baby is almost here.”

About that time, at 8:37am, Brenda and her assistant, Jen, arrived.  Doug calmly answered the door and everyone came upstairs.  Of course, Ryne knew something was up so he also wanted to go upstairs to see mommy.  They all came up and Brenda told me she didn’t have time to get any of her equipment out, that this baby was coming.  They were able to get baby’s heart tones with the Doppler and said everything sounded good.  I asked her if everything was okay and if baby was going to be here soon.  I needed that reassurance that everything I had been doing was right and I could further relax.  Brenda assured me that baby was about to be born.  During these next few contractions Ryne came over and gave me a kiss and held my hand.  It was exactly what I had hoped for when visualizing our birth.  I had wanted Ryne to be present but I wasn’t sure how he would do or how he would be acting.  Thankfully it was early in the morning and Ryne was interested in the birth process as opposed to causing trouble at the moment.  Within just a few minutes baby’s head was out and I could see it in the water.  The relief from the pressure on my perineum was incredible.  I just wanted to sit there and wait a few minutes so that is what I did.  I told them all that I needed a minute.  Brenda said that was fine and to take my time.  Then I decided that I was ready to have this baby out and I don’t even know that I waited for a contraction, I just pushed the rest of my baby out.  I reached down and Brenda helped me bring baby to my tummy and chest at 8:46am, just nine minutes after Brenda arrived.

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Ryne was calling out “baby came out!!”  And I was crying that we just had our new baby and telling Ryne to look.  Brenda came over and was wiping baby with the towel and rubbing baby’s back to get things going.  Baby was just fine and it was at that time that she asked if we wanted to look and see what we had.  I picked baby up and found out that baby was another sweet, precious boy!  We weren’t surprised.  We were so excited to have another baby boy.  Benjamin Wald Rohde.

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It’s another baby boy!

I stayed in the birth pool for another 10 minutes or so but I was ready to get out because I wanted somewhere comfortable to rest.  Brenda, Jen, and Doug helped me to get out of the tub and walk over to the bed to deliver the placenta and then I got to take a wonderful shower in my own bathroom, dress in my own comfortable, cranberry colored nursing gown, and relax back in my own bed.  Sarah arrived once I had gotten out of the tub and was delivering the placenta.  She took beautiful photos of our experience and was there for me to hold my hand while having my repairs done.  The whole experience of birthing at home was an incredible one.  I kept saying, “Can you believe we just had our baby?!  I can’t believe that just happened.  So quickly and easily.”  While I was on the bed Benjamin was weighed and measured.  He was 8lbs 4oz and 19.75in long.  He was just perfect!  And we had been through a lot together during this pregnancy already.

This birth experience was intense for sure.  The speed of it all and how quickly the contractions came on and how strong they were from the beginning.  I definitely felt disoriented but overall, my body and my baby knew what they were doing and in my mind I was somehow able to just let everything go and just ride the waves, as intense as they were.  I knew they would wash over me and then they would wash away.  I had prepared a banner in my bedroom with affirmations along with a book of the notes and encouragement from the women at my Mother’s Blessing.  Needless to say, I didn’t have the time or thought to actually use the book or my birth necklaces but I believe the act of preparing them and meditating on them was what I needed in order to let go and feel the support around me.

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My birth affirmations book from all the sweet women who attended my Mother’s Blessing.

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The rest of the day I got to love on our new little boy with Doug and Ryne.  We were so happy to welcome him into our family and are excited to see just who he becomes and the fun (and fights!) he and his brother will have in the years to come.  We are so grateful for the gifts that God has given us in building our family.  Many gifts we couldn’t even imagine just a few short years ago.  We are grateful for our birth team and that we got to spend so much time with them over the past months of pregnancy and for their continued support and knowledge.  Overall, even though this birth was different from my visualizations, it was everything I could have wanted for my first homebirth.  I am so grateful for a wonderful birth team.  Brenda’s care, skill, faith, knowledge, and wisdom throughout our entire journey.  Brenda’s open communication with me whenever I needed it provided much peace of mind and confidence in our decisions.  Brenda had to go the extra mile for us several times throughout this pregnancy and I am so appreciative; Sarah’s encouragement and willingness to listen as well as provide wonderful support throughout our journey and capture such beautiful moments for us; and I am extremely grateful to my husband for having faith in the birth process and supporting me in the decision to birth at home.

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Ryne waiting for me to get out of the shower. He was amazed by the whole thing I would imagine.

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Relaxing in our own bed after a nice, hot shower!

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Ryne playing with the midwife’s flashlight because, why not?!

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Kisses for baby Benjamin.

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Benjamin being weighed. Love that sling!

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We did it!!

“As your days, so shall your strength be.”  Deuteronomy 33:25  I am so grateful to God for His strength, His peace, His comfort, and His rest.  I am grateful for His design and His beautiful process and creation for birth.  All the glory to Him for allowing us to play even a small part in creating new life!

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Welcome to the world, Benjamin!

 

 

I truly can’t believe I’m here.  It is surreal to me because even though this pregnancy has been so different from my pregnancy with Ryne, I guess I just really did expect my body to have this baby early.  I’m NOT complaining at all about baby needing to stay in as long as he or she needs…but I AM quite a bit more uncomfortable this time around I think.  I haven’t posted in a couple weeks because when I made that last post I was going through an issue with a TERRIBLE stomach bug that lasted an entire week and took even more time to get back to normal.   We were of course worried about dehydration and I did NOT want to go into labor with the additional pain I was experiencing from that.  It. was. awful.  But it did bring me to a place where I once again was challenged and pushed to seek His guidance for me and to truly trust in His timing and provision.  Of course I want the birth I want and I really am so ready to meet this baby, BUT I am trusting that no matter what happens, Jesus is all that matters.  And as long as I and our baby are kept healthy and safe, at the end of the day, I will accept whatever the rest of this pregnancy and birth brings to me.  I also know that God loves to provide for His children and He gets great joy from seeing us delight in the joys of our heart so I am holding on to that hope too and trusting that He knows what I want, He knows what is best, and He knows the perfect time for me to receive that fulfillment.  I am feeling in a much better place at the moment than I was about a week ago.

I’ve also stopped working outside the home at this point which is scary and new but exciting and fun…and overwhelming.  I’ll have to do an entirely different post about that but right now with 14 days to go I’ll share some of the things I am planning or looking forward to accomplishing before baby arrives.  I’m soaking up this time I have in our remaining days as a family of THREE before we become the Rohde Party of FOUR!

  • Make birth affirmation banner
    • I really need to get on this.  It is a banner I want to create for our bedroom with verses and affirmations for birth as encouragement and strength
  • Send out thank you cards from Ryne’s birthday party and one of my showers
  • Get Christmas cards started
    • Create excel sheet
    • Purchase cards
    • Purchase return address stamp
    • Purchase stamps
    • Address envelopes
    • Sign Cards
    • Print pic of our family of 4 when baby arrives and include in cards
  • Send out thank you cards from second shower
  • Go on morning date with Doug on Monday, November 17th while Ryne is in school
    • Breakfast/brunch
    • Something else fun with just the two of us
  • Go to Scalini’s sometime around 40 weeks
    • Find a sitter for a dinner date
  • Pack bags for hospital just in case
    • My bag
    • Doug’s bag
    • Ryne’s bag
  • Car seats installed
  • Clean out baby’s closet/organize
  • Clean out Ryne’s closet/organize
  • Keep house clean daily (we’ve been pretty good about this one lately!)
  • Finish decorating Christmas tree
  • Put up other Christmas decor
  • Bake cookies and brownies for labor time for birth attendants and some for us for afterward
  • Go to Stone Mountain for Ryne to ride the train
  • Prep Ryne’s school activities for December

Okay, so there’s quite a bit I would like to do.  In reality if these things don’t get done that’s okay, I’m just trying to fill my days but also relax…I really am taking it quite easy despite the looks of that list.  I know these weeks (or days) are really going to fly by and then we will be wrapped up in the whirlwind of our new baby!  Alright, I’ll be sure to put something up tomorrow with a 38 week update!

No turning back.  No turning back.

The world behind me, the cross before me.

I have decided to follow Jesus.

Though I may wander, I still will follow.

Though none go with me, still I will follow.

Will you decide now to follow Jesus?

No turning back.

I will follow You, Jesus.

 

He always knows just how to humble me.  Stop me in my pride.  Remind me of His cross.  The cross He bore for me.  For my sins.  For my uncleanliness.  To make me new.  To make me worthy.  To create in me a new heart and a new mind.  A new spirit under His authority.  He is my Jehovah Rapha.  El Shaddai.  El Elyon.  Jehovah- Raah.  Jehovah Shammah.  Jehovah Mekoddishkem.  El Olam.  Elohim.  Qanna.  Jehovah Jireh.  Jehovah Shalom.  Abba, my daddy, and Emmanuel, always with me.   He is all these things to me and more.

And He has greatly reminded me of them the past week.  Especially when I sought Him out yesterday and today through His Word.  His living and breathing Word which always fills my spirit.  Renews my mind and my heart.  Yet, I wander all too often.  What is wrong with me when I go elsewhere to be filled with the empty and useless stuff of this world?  Nothing that I seek elsewhere is truly fulfilling, whereas He can fill me with the water that truly quenches my thirst.  I am grateful that today, I have that filling.  Even when things aren’t going perfectly.  When I feel alone or afraid, I can remember that I am not alone.  I have nothing to fear.  Praise Him, who is most holy and faithful to me, even when I am not faithful to Him.  My heart weeps for that fact.  I no longer want to keep God at an arm’s length from me, pretending only to myself that I am protecting myself.  By keeping God at arm’s length I am keeping myself from His blessings and all the good that He has to give to me and to show me and to teach me.  I am far worse off when I try to manage it myself.  Thank you, God, for this humbling reminder of how much I always need You more than anything else in this world.

Since last week I have been having stomach issues that have not let up.  They have taken my energy, stolen my joy, caused fear in my heart for my upcoming labor and birth, and I am putting a stop to that NOW.  He bore the cross for me and He is all I need.  No matter what twists and turns the remaining days of this pregnancy or my labor and birth may have in store for me, at the end of the day, I can rest in Him no matter what happens.  I pray I can be an example of this to my children every day, not just once in a while.  I pray for Doug’s health and wellness to rise above whatever is in our household.  I claim healing for our family and our home and all who enter into it.  I pray for Ryne’s health through this winter/cold/flu season as well as I pray for his sweet heart as he faces the changes of welcoming a new brother or sister to our family.  I pray he will adjust well and will feel the love and joy and excitement of a new family member as well as the coming season of thankfulness and celebrating the birth of our Savior.  I pray that even as I weather this storm and come out the other side that my God would be mightily glorified above all else and that His light would shine through me.  That the devil would get under my feet during this season.  God will remove any fears, doubts, anxiety from my heart and my mind.  Every thought of mine will remain captive to God and will pass through the lens of His Kingdom before I entertain any of it.  I praise Him for His goodness forever and ever.

Thank you, Abba, daddy, and thank you Jesus for all you have done on my behalf, when I was truly the very least of these.

Two days in a row…this is too much already, I know!  Anyway, I thought about blogging this morning before I even got out of bed.  I think about blogging all the time, it just doesn’t get done.  But I am constantly thinking about things I want to journal and share so that I don’t forget!  This blog is more for me than anyone else, remember?!  That being said though, I hope it does help in some way if you’ve come across this page, or warm your heart from the experiences I share.

I am happy this morning.  I woke up pretty happy.  Even when my almost 2 year old came into our room whimpering for me at 5 something AM.  I welcomed his warm little body into our bed as he climbed up next to me to snuggle.  It was enough for him to just make it to the bed with me…lying near my knees as he kind of snuggled his sweet little head into my legs.  I let him lie there, fallen back to sleep, for a few minutes before I pulled him up closer to my chest.  As he lie there sleeping, I felt little kicks, jabs, or punches on the right side of my belly so I rested my hand there to feel them even better.  Wondering if they were little arms or legs or elbows.  Baby movement inside is so fascinating to me and I can never quite seem to figure out what exactly baby is doing or what position he or she is in.  Anyway, I just relished this moment with my two babies in the quiet darkness of the early morning.  A time where I wasn’t annoyed by the unexpected intrusion into my bed, which apparently also woke up the new littlest one who wanted to let me know that he or she was in there too, dreaming away.  The little bumps settled back down and Ryne’s breath grew deep.  I just enjoyed it and I wish I could capture that moment here to come back to some day when my babies are much bigger and they aren’t crawling into our bed anymore.  The knowledge that these sweet times go by far too quickly just makes my heart sad but I’m grateful for moments like this morning where I can simply be in the moment and enjoy what God has provided for me in it.

And my devotional this morning, from Jesus Calling by Sarah Young, is so beautiful and captures the closeness we are to have with God and I feel our relationship with Him can be such a reflection of what I experienced with my little ones this morning.

“I continually call you to closeness with Me.  I know the depth and breadth of your need for Me.  I can read the emptiness of your thoughts when they wander away from Me.  I offer rest for your soul, as well as refreshment for your mind and body.  As you increasingly find fulfillment in Me, other pleasures become less important.  Knowing Me intimately is like having a private wellspring of Joy within you.  This spring flows freely from My throne of grace, so your Joy is independent of circumstances.

Waiting in My Presence keeps you connected to Me, aware of all that I offer you.  If you feel any deficiency, you need to refocus your attention on Me.  This is how you trust Me in the moments of your life.”

I so needed that this morning along with these powerful words that are speaking straight to me in exactly what I am going through.  Just more proof to my heart that scripture is God-breathed and truly living and applicable to each of us.  God meets us just where we are and has a word to say for every situation.

“Instead, I have calmed and quieted myself, like a weaned child who no longer cries for his mother’s milk.  Yes, like a weaned child is my soul within me.”

“But I have calmed and quieted myself, I am like a weaned child with its mother; like a weaned child I am content.”

Psalm 131:2

And the verse before this one, Psalm 131:1 “I do not concern myself with great matters or things too difficult for me to grasp.”

I haven’t mentioned our weaning process with Ryne but it has been very slow and natural for both of us and it has been sweet.  The other day I just lost it though with emotions of it all ending since the time has gone so quickly.  Yes, TWO years of nursing has gone by too quick!  I didn’t set a date or plan a big scheme to end it, it just kind of is happening.  Pretty much has happened at this point.  So to have this verse laid before me, waiting for me, at just this right timing is a beautiful way to recognize the end of that particular facet of our relationship.  All while recognizing how wonderful and beautiful a weaned child with his mother can be.  Contented.  Calmed.  And can still draw that closeness and contentment from its mother without the need to nurse.  I needed that for my soul.  Thank You, God, for Your ever-present, powerful, timely Word.  Thank You that we too can be contented and calmed by our closeness with You.   

I had something else in mind entirely for today’s post but that will have to wait for another day.

So there are 100 Days of Pregnancy left until my guess date of November 26, 2014.  I have mixed feelings of reaching that date because of my pregnancy with Ryne ending at 37 weeks on the dot.  I am hoping and praying that this pregnancy WILL last at least longer than 37 weeks.  Honestly, I would be okay with it lasting until after my guess date, but in my mind I just can’t imagine that happening.  Obviously with Ryne he was healthy, 7lbs 11oz, 20in long and ready to be here!  That is what I pray for this new little one of course above all else.  I pray that God continues to bless us and our children with health and strength and happiness.  We have been incredibly fortunate that Ryne has not had any major illnesses or allergies and I pray that the tradition continue.

I also want to recognize that with ONLY 100 days left, we have a lot to figure out.  Mainly in the way of what our finances will look like once this baby arrives and how we can recognize the inadequacy that we are potentially facing.  I am NOT one to share details of our personal finances; however, I can see God working here and where we’ve slipped up in the past but also where we’ve made strides in the past.  [Our inadequacy is precisely where God wants us.  It is the best place to encounter Him in His Glory and Power.  Where He can fully show us HIS ability in our INABILITY.  Allow God to fight and work on our behalf as we get to merely rest in the shadow of His Almighty Presence.]  (re-worded a bit from Jesus Calling by Sarah Young

Psalm 91:1 “Those who live in the shelter of the Most High will find rest in the shadow of the Almighty.”

This is such a comforting thought and truth in the midst of all we may encounter in just a day of our lives.  And we are so richly spoiled in this country that it is easy to forget sometimes the truly important things of life that we have to take advantage of rather than the latest and greatest “stuff”.

I’ve been terrible about consistently documenting much of anything with either pregnancy so my hope is that over the next 100 days I can be dedicated…not to blog something every day…but to at least be more consistent in what’s going on, what I’m experiencing, and share some pictures!  I want to treasure and remember this time and my mind so easily forgets on its own.

Right now I am 25 weeks and 5 days pregnant with our second baby.  We went to the midwife last week and she guesses that baby is in a posterior position based on her feeling of the movement and on my observations of movement.  If you know much about optimal fetal positioning (OFP), this is NOT the optimal.  Not that it is the worst, I just want to do all I can to encourage baby to be in an anterior position, head down, so that baby and I can labor easily and effectively.  SO…with that being said I have been doing the following things in the past week which I intend to continue doing throughout the pregnancy to help encourage baby to get on my left side and rest toward the front of my belly like a hammock!  I plan to give more info this week on each of these things and share how I like them and how I feel they are helping.

  • Researching http://www.spinningbabies.com This is an amazing resource (albeit a bit overwhelming at times!!) chock full of information about OFP
  • Downloaded the Daily Essentials Video from Spinning Babies (review to come this week)
  • Downloaded Blooma Yoga AM/PM Prenatal Sequences
  • Exercises suggested from Spinning Babies

Overall I have begun my OFP techniques over the past few days and this weekend we finished getting Gramps’s house ready to sell.  Carpet is in, paint has been touched up, we scrubbed and vacuumed and other than a few garbage items left in the garage, the realty photographers were out this morning so we can get it listed ASAP.

My prayers for the sale of the house are as follows:

  • That we are able to completely cover the investment money we put in to fixing the house up and in the back mortgage payments we paid.
  • That the house sells to someone who is looking for a lovely place to live and who wants a warm home that was previously owned by one of the most loving men I knew.
  • That we would make back even more money to pay off some of the rest of our debts and also set aside a cushion in our savings to help with some of the financial inadequacy I was talking about earlier.
  • That the work has been completed on the house in fixing it up would be honoring to Gramps’s legacy.  We feel he would have wanted it to be sold in this way, respectably and to not leave others with a burden.
  • That God would be present in the timing of this sale and would show us His provisions through it.  That He would be present in the details to allow for a quick and easy process walking through this as a family.

It has been a few months now since Gramps passed away and some family is still having to get their bearings on life but if there’s one things Gramps was able to accomplish all the way until the end of his life here it was a legacy of love and happiness.  Gramps was kind and always full of love and acceptance.  He saw the best in everyone and in every situation and showed this love through his selflessness.

That is plenty for today…I’ve gotta save some of my chatter for the next 100 days, right?!

This is from an email I sent this morning to the girls in my small group and I feel like every time I write them a lengthy email it may as well be a blog.  So why not?

Okay, so I’ve been meaning to write you guys anyway and been meaning to update my blog…and been meaning to, meaning to, meaning to…my life has been a lot of that lately with the time just flying on by.  I just wanted to take a minute though to share with you not so much of what I am currently stressing over but to focus on a praise and recognition of such a direct answer to prayer that was just revealed to me in a neat way.  Well, as you all know, I have a blog that I’m terrible at updating but I do from time to time.  Well I wrote a blog this year on February 10, 2014 and here’s an excerpt of what part of it said:

“My heart aches for an easy time conceiving, but I know God has a plan and He has a sense of humor. I pray that we will conceive naturally this time around. And of course that it would be sooner rather than later. But I trust God’s plan for us. And I am so grateful for His provisions for our family thus far and I know His timing is perfect. God is working in me to teach me to know Him and to believe Him (Isaiah 43:10) in my life. He wants to show me His power and to have me trust Him fully. He is my all in all. And for now, I will “let all the other names fade away” and focus only on Him and allow Him to take His place in my life, rather than allowing infertility to creep back up, along with the names of my future children whom I haven’t met yet, Jesus is my comfort, my peace, my everything. And through Him I will be sustained in all things(Psalm 54:4).”

That was February 10, 2014 and we found out we were pregnant on March 16, 2014 after an easy time conceiving, even with my testing for ovulation and having a longer cycle length still.  God so directly answered my prayer to get to conceive “like everyone else” without much trouble or to-do about it.  He answered our prayer about conceiving naturally this time around.  And He answered our prayer about it being sooner rather than later.  Wow.  To me, those are not one, not two, but three big answers to prayer.  And quick answers at that.  May not seem big to anyone else but God cares about our desires no matter what they are and if they will ultimately be for our good and His glory, He loves to bless Him children through those direct answers I think.

So why do I still hesitate to trust Him and turn to Him?  Why do I struggle to commune with Him daily the way my heart aches to?  I think I’m bad about subconsciously personifying God into being like my earthly fathers and the relationships I have with each of them that I keep God at arm’s length.  Not too close, God.  Yet He is lovingly there for me and desiring me to pursue Him moment after moment, patiently, always there.  And then I realize I’m being a spoiled brat.  I just wanted to share that snippet with you all to share and celebrate some of the answers I’ve received that I’ve neglected to use for His glory.  I’ve had a difficult time connecting to this pregnancy due to the cyst and since it did happen so quickly for us that I really believe I’ve been a bit in denial…not that I’m not over the moon and excited about it all of course, it just took me by surprise.  But I want to revel in it the way I should and proclaim His good works in us and in our family by recognizing His provisions.  A lot of times I still manage to feel guilty and that I don’t deserve God’s love and His provisions, but in Christ, I was set free and made clean and the new me CAN openly accept all that God has and wants to give me.  He wants us to delight in what He gives us.  He loves to see His children happy.

My devotion this morning speaks to this very point.  “Learn to enjoy life more.  Relax, remembering that I am God with you.  I crafted you with enormous capacity to know Me and enjoy My PResence.  When My people wear sour faces and walk through their lives with resigned rigidity, I am displeased.  When you walk through a day with childlike delight, savoring every blessing, you proclaim your trust in Me, your ever-present Shepherd.  The more you focus on My Presence with you, the more fully you can enjoy life.  Glorify Me through your pleasure in Me.  Thus you proclaim My Presence to the watching world.”

Amen, sisters…”The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and they will call him Emmanuel” (which means “God with us”) Matthew 1:23

“The thief comes only to steal, kill, and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full!” John 10:10

I know we are all going through different things right now and have gone through things this summer.  I certainly need prayer for a few things coming up that I will share with you later, but I would love to hear a couple of praises from everyone that we can just lift up in thanksgiving and proclaim His presence among us!  I know I have so many more praises I could share as well.  What a mighty, giving, and gentle King we have the privilege to walk in communion with each and every moment of every day.