Daily Reads


Birth announcements

It's a little silly, but when we were expecting one of the things I really got excited about was designing and sending out birth announcements. (Other things I was particularly excited about: putting the nursery together (obviously), going to church as a family of three, introducing Ella and the baby.) Now they're almost ready and I am so, so excited to send out our Michael's birth announcements. Here's a sneak peek:
Our photographer designed them just the way we wanted and I just adore how it turned out! Here are a couple of other totally cute ideas worthy of future use:

Sweet and clever (front and back)! a little sussy via
polaroid cuteness via you are my fave


Prayerful times

These are days of prayer. Daily I am more amazed by and more in love with our little Michael. When he eats, when he sleeps, when he looks around at the world, when he "talks" to us my heart involuntarily breaks into prayer. Prayers of thanksgiving, prayers for his future, prayers for his protection, prayers that Tim and I will raise him to know and honor the Lord. It's overwhelming, the love and responsibility I feel for this little creature. My heart is full and, more than it has in many years, clinging to God for dear life. My son needs His love and protection. So do I.

I'm praying and clinging for other reasons too. Namely my brother, his wife, and their daughter Maggie. Maggie was born two weeks ago, proved her doctors wrong and fought through a natural birth, came through surgery, and in spite of many health issues has been gaining weight over the last week or so. It's not all good news, though. In fact, every day is a roller coaster of emotions for this family and all of us who love them. There is no way to know how this will all play out. We hope and pray for the best. For God's will to be done. (My brother tells the story the way only a parent telling the story from the inside can. And with eloquence, honesty, and faith. Remarkable.)

There is no neat way to tie up a post like this. There's no specific point, and anyway it's not a tidy subject, faith. This is just another form of prayer for me. I'm putting my thoughts down in print to my Lord, and to myself. Maybe some time in the future when my memories have blurred I will come across this old post and my heart will be softened and I will be prayerful again.

For now I'm praying prayers of inexpressible gratitude. The Lord of heaven and earth knows us, and hears us, and holds us all in His hands. His wisdom will prevail. I thank God for that with all my heart.


Michael's birth

When life is most exciting and full there is no room for blogging. Terrible but true. I can't count the number of times in these last two weeks I've wanted to stop and document something precious about Michael or his Daddy, but over and over again I have decided that precious times deserve my full attention and so nothing gets written. 

I finally have a quiet, rainy morning - baby sleeping peacefully in his chair, hot cup of coffee in front of me - and before I forget the details I want to record our birth story. Too personal for a blog? In the past I would have said yes, but now that I have been through it and experienced this aspect of God's amazing design I have to write about it. 
My story is one long praise.

After a very comfortable pregnancy I had a very uncomfortable final month. Mostly because I wasn't sleeping and the baby was so low it was hard to walk or do housework or do anything. The night before my 38 week checkup I woke up with contractions. I lay still in the dark, got out my phone and started timing them. Eight minutes apart...then seven minutes apart...then five minutes apart. I woke Tim. We got up and started getting ready to go to the hospital, and the contractions slowed down and became less intense. We went back to bed and the next morning I went to my appointment. 3 cm dilated and the baby was very low! My doctor told me to go home and take it easy and come back in the afternoon if the contractions became more frequent or more intense. Her words: "I think we may have a baby today! Or, of course, you could have a few more days of pregnancy."

Michael didn't come that day. Or the next. I was discouraged. At 38 weeks it was possible I could carry him another month. It seemed like an eternity. Another day came and went and Tim and I began to relax after several days on edge waiting for labor to begin. We stayed in that friday and he cooked dinner and made me some cake, we watched a movie, and at 11:15pm as I lay there on the couch snuggled up with Ella I heard a *pop*. I knew right away - my water had broken! Tim said he thought I had just remembered something important - I sat up and said "Oh!" We got Ella settled for the night, threw a few last minute things in our bag and were on our way to the hospital by 11:30.

Because the baby was so low and I was already dilating I knew labor would escalate quickly once my water broke - and it did. I walked into the ER with wet pants (there is a lot of amniotic fluid in there!) and was whisked up to Labor and Delivery. By the time we checked in at midnight my contractions were so uncomfortable I had trouble giving my information to the nurse who admitted me. I was hot and restless, and it scared me how fast and hard the contractions had become. Tim was by my side with calm encouraging words and ice chips and whatever I asked for - his presence, and the twinkle of excitement in his eyes, gave me the strength to keep it together. What a blessing he is to me! I'm so glad he's in my corner in this life.

I had planned to have an epidural from the very beginning and one was ordered for my by 12:30, but first I had to have a couple bags of IV fluids which took about an hour. That was a very long wait. My contractions were getting so strong and frequent I was nauseous and unable to be still. I was at my limit when the anesthesiologist walked in. Hallelujiah! I gave my complete medical history (for the third time that night) in between contractions and at around 1:30 I finally got my epidural. Sweet, sweet relief! I must have started smiling a lot because Tim started smiling a lot, and I remember apologizing to my nurse for not being more friendly before - haha! With the epidural in place, we were instructed that it would probably be several hours before things progressed and that we should get some rest. I lay on my side facing Tim, who sat in a rocking chair next to me, and we closed our eyes. 

I was too excited and nervous to sleep. I was comfortable but quickly became aware of pressure that made me feel like pushing. It hadn't been long since the epidural and I figured I would just wait - someone would be back to check my progress soon. But no one came. We waited and waited. Finally around 5:20 I called my nurse, she checked me and was surprised to find we were fully dilated. She called the doctor and around 5:50 the pushing began. 

I know God's hand had been on us the whole time, but in that moment it was so clear to me. All my life I had dreaded the thought of childbirth - the pain, the anxiety, the drama, the screaming, etc. But as I started pushing I realized our room was dark and quiet and serene. I felt no pain. With Tim's encouragement and the calm presence of my doctor and nurse there was no anxiety. I looked over at the window which was starting to brighten and realized that our son would be born with the sunrise. I felt surrounded with love, I felt strong, and I felt excited. Thanks to God for giving us what we need! 

It seemed like no time to me - I pushed and rested, pushed some more, and at 6:13 he was born all red and screaming. I couldn't believe it! Tim says I looked totally shocked, and I was! I just couldn't believe this baby came out of me! And that he was half Tim and half me! It was an incredible moment. Tim cut the cord, the nurse put Michael on my chest, and Tim and I spent the next hour laughing and grinning and just taking him in. He made the sweetest little cries and squeaks and I just kept thinking how rough delivery must have been for him. I was so proud of him for being so tough, and I was so amazed at God's design. This little creature had been breathing amniotic fluid until a few hours before, and here he was out in the world breathing air, crying, looking at us, looking for food...it was the most amazing, awesome thing I had ever witnessed. 
Over and over I thought of Psalm 139:14:

I praise you because 
I am fearfully and wonderfully made; 

   your works are wonderful, I know that full well.

Our baby boy just a few minutes old
Proud Daddy - he didn't leave Michael's side for hours
One of my happiest, most thankful moments

~linking up with Monday Mom Musings~