Ready or Not…

November has arrived… due date month.

It’s strange, if you walked into our house today you’d never guess that we’re only a week and a half away from our official due date. It doesn’t look much like we’re preparing for a baby.

The infant car seat is still stashed away in the laundry room closet; the pack-n-play folded on it’s shelf in the basement. The “nursery” is home to Natalie’s dress up clothes and a crib that remains in toddler bed mode as a place for her to sit when she plays there.

No newborn clothes fill the dresser, washed and ready to go. They remain packed away in storage crates. No tiny diapers, no wipes, no baby shampoo stocked up in the bathroom.

And while my suitcase for the hospital is packed, there’s no diaper bag with a sweet little “going home” outfit inside. Instead my extra bag is full of things to stash in the NICU… things I hope might keep me busy (mentally and physically) for the weeks we’ll likely spend there.

Yes, things look different this time around. In some ways I feel ready, in many ways I do not.

As the day of our baby girl’s arrival draws near I prepare what I can and continue to “pray without ceasing”. I’ve taken the stance of the persistent widow in one of the parables Jesus told (Luke 18:1-8). I continue to ask for a miracle, knowing He is able but also knowing that He may have a different answer. And while I’ll admit that I’d prefer the miracle, I will trust Him and lean on Him no matter what.

We so appreciate the support we’ve received on this journey. Please continue to pray for us as we await our little one’s birth. If it helps, here are some specific things we’d covet your prayers for…

  • Healing. I told God I’m going to keep asking, while still trusting Him whatever the outcome may be. A complete miracle would be beyond amazing, but even a partial healing – with an outcome less complex than the doctors are predicting – would be wonderful. Especially for her heart to be more balanced so that a biventricular repair would be an option (as opposed to single ventricle) and that the medical unknowns (things that just can’t be seen yet) turn out to be all good news.
  • Wisdom. For the medical teams that will be working with her and for us, as parents, to take in all the information we’re given and make the best decisions we can as needed.
  • Protection. Over this baby and over me as we prepare for labor and delivery. Thankfully the doctors do not anticipate any complications related to the heart defect.
  • Natalie. She has been sweetly praying for her baby sister for so long and understands well, for what her age allows, what is going on. That being said, it will be an adjustment for her and I hope to make it as smooth and supported as possible.
  • Peace, rest, strength, and comfort. There are a lot of unknowns ahead. Please pray that we continue to find strength in God in every step of the journey.

Thank you again for all the kind encouragement, prayers, and loving support. We appreciate it more than words can say!

Advertisements

Some Good News and More Waiting

Fifteen days ago we found out that our baby girl had several serious complications including fluid around her lungs and a heart defect. Today was our follow up appointment – an ultrasound and meeting with the doctor and genetic counselor.

For fifteen days we have prayed and wept over this little girl… both for a miracle and for God’s strength and comfort to carry on if she isn’t healed.

As the sonographer spread the gel on my stomach this afternoon I stared at the screen, waiting for the image of our baby to appear. I was afraid of seeing more of that black space in her little body… that black space that meant fluid building up.

Her sweet profile came up on the screen…

FullSizeRender

… and then the sonographer began a close examination of her heart. As I watched I thought that something looked different. I didn’t want to get my hopes up, but it seemed like maybe, just maybe, the fluid wasn’t there.

Then the sonographer herself commented that the fluid was reduced. She had seen our pictures from two weeks ago and wasn’t seeing that same fluid today!

Later the doctor came in with words that confirmed the news – the fluid is gone!! It is, in her words, “surprisingly good news” and we are praising God for this wonderful answer to prayer!

We still have a long road ahead. The heart condition is a serious concern and potentially complex. We’ll be seeing a pediatric cardiologist in the near future in hopes of getting some more information and guidance moving forward.

There are a lot of unanswered genetic questions that we are waiting for as well. We do have the general chromosomal results back and everything was normal, ruling out things like Down Syndrome or Turner Syndrome, but we hope to get more results in the coming weeks.

The doctor’s prognosis has gone from “dire” to a chance of the baby surviving and, with successful surgery and no genetic issues, potentially living a healthy life.

We know that God has the final say on this sweet girl. He knows the number of her days and He knows exactly what is going on in her little body, even as we – her parents and the medical teams – continue to wait for answers.

I am so thankful for the healing that has already taken place and of course pray for further healing. We long to bring our daughter home healthy and strong, but we love her no matter what happens in the coming weeks and months.

We know God continues to walk with us every step of the way. Last week I shared the words of Deuteronomy 31:8 and they still ring true today: “The Lord is the one who goes ahead of you; He will be with you. He will not fail you or forsake you. Do not fear or be dismayed.” I don’t know how I would make it through without Him going ahead of us and holding us in His hands.

I can’t end without also saying that we are beyond grateful for the overwhelming outpouring of love and prayers and support we have received in these past two weeks. Thank you so very much! Please continue to lift us and our little girl up before the Lord!

 

 

 

 

Worth Much More

Merriam-Webster defines worry in this way: “to think about problems or fears, to feel or show fear and concern because you think that something bad has happened or could happen”.

Oh yes. Worry. It’s a tough one.

Motherhood is full of things to worry about isn’t it?

We’d been home with Natalie for only a few days. It was late, she’d just finished nursing and fallen asleep all swaddled in my arms. I lay her down in the pack-n-play next to our bed. I was exhausted and happy to settle down to sleep myself.

And then she spit up. Everything she had just eaten. Everywhere. She started crying… and so did I.

What if she was sick? Was it something I’d eaten that made it happen? Now she would be hungry again and would I be able to feed her after I’d just finished nursing?

Looking back those worries seem kind of silly. She was perfectly fine. She nursed again and fell asleep and all was well. But in the moment… 

She’s older now but there’s still plenty to worry about, as there always will be. And while the specific things I worry over change as she grows, I’ve found that my worries consistently fall into two main categories: worries about myself as a mother, and worries about something bad happening to her.

Sometimes I think, well that’s just part of being a mom isn’t it? And yes, in my humanness and in the nature of this life it probably is. 

But at the same time I know that Jesus taught us not to worry – and that includes my motherhood worries.

Think about this… will I become a better mom by worrying? Does it change me in a positive way to spend time worrying about the decisions I make or the job I do as a mom? No.

And can I protect my daughter from the troubles and dangers of this world by worrying? Again the answer is no. My act of worrying won’t keep her from getting a skinned knee or a broken heart.

So as moms let’s remember today the words Jesus spoke in Matthew 6:26,

Look at the birds of the air, that they do not sow, nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not worth much more than they?

birds of the air, worth much more, do not worry

Our heavenly Father holds us in His hands, and He holds our children too. He knows our needs, He sees our struggles, and He will care for us all along the way. He provides for the birds and He will provide for us.

We all – moms and children alike – are worth much more.

So when worries come, let’s bring them to the Lord in prayer instead of dwelling on them in our hearts and minds. Matthew 6:33 tells us, “But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.”

Let’s remember our worth in His eyes and know that He wants us to lay down our worries to focus our hearts on Him. 

 

 

Weekly Word: Encouragement for Moms

Read: Matthew 6:25-34

Remember: Matthew 6:26

Reflect: Challenge yourself this week – take every worry that enters your mind and turn it into a prayer. Know that you, and your children, are worth much more in His eyes and He will take care of you.

 

 

Let Me Just…

“Come play with me Mommy!”

“Let me just put these dishes away then I will.”

“Want to read books? Is that a good idea Mommy?”

“Let me just reply to this email real quick first.”

“I need some more milk Mommy.”

“Let me just carry this laundry upstairs then I’ll get it.”

Yesterday I caught myself starting far too many sentences with the same three words.

Let me just…

And although many of the things I needed to do were important, I was suddenly aware of how easily those words slipped out. An almost automatic response.

I’m not saying that I should immediately drop everything to do what Natalie asks or wants.  That wouldn’t be the right approach even if I could! I want her to learn patience and independence as she grows.

But there are times when I can drop everything for her. There are times when I do.

Countless dishes have sat on the counter longer than they should. Emails have gone unwritten and laundry baskets full of folded clothes have been known to sit in our family room for days.

It’s a balance, for her and for me. To learn when she needs to wait and when I need to rearrange my plans for her. To be honest, I much prefer tea parties and books over laundry and dishes anyway!

But those words yesterday got me thinking about something else… Do I ever approach my relationship with God in the same way?

How many times has my to do list come before my time with Him? How many times have much less important things stolen my attention?

“Let me just clean up the toys, make a snack, catch up on this TV show, get to bed a little early tonight…”

All the while I’m missing time with Him. Time to read the Word, pray, or simply be still.

Yes I have responsibilities to my family, my home, my job… but nothing is more important than my relationship with God.

It’s a balance, setting aside time to be alone with God while also taking care of the needs of day to day life. I definitely don’t have it all figured out. But I want to keep working on it. Thankfully, even when my time isn’t solely focused on Him, I know God is with me in everything I do.

So let me just pray without ceasing (1 Thes. 5:17), even if that means while I drive to work or vacuum the living room.

Let me just sing hymns with Natalie before bed so we can share in the truths of His amazing grace together.

Let me just write Bible verses on the chalkboard to memorize so I can meditate on His Word day and night (Psalm 1:2).

And let me just be still in His presence whenever I can.