Monday, March 30, 2009

God Works Fast

With the downturned economy, with both Michael and me working and in school to try and make end’s meet, with my job about to end any day now without another lined up, with bills piling up – and with a baby on the way in the midst of such uncertain times, I have spent a lot of time worrying about the future. Although I am well aware of the biblical mandate not to worry or be anxious for anything (included in my last post, if I recall), the week before last found me really struggling and by Friday night of that week (after a very bad week indeed) I felt entirely downcast. I shared some of these misgivings with our home group that night. It was very difficult to hide my emotions. (I blame it on the pregnancy hormones!) Our small group rallied around us and prayed over us, assuring us that everything would be OK and reminding us that God had a plan and would work out the details. But in the midst of such much stress and anxiety it was hard to truly believe it even though my head knew it—there was a certain disconnect in my heart. It really had been a BAD week.

Little did I know that in one short week, God would answer our prayers in a bigger way than I ever could have dreamed of. In my view of our situation, I had limited God. Fortunately, our God has no limits.

This past Friday Michael and I were shocked when we came upstairs after Bible study to find our small group singing “Happy Birthday” to us. I thought there had been some horrible mistake and said “It’s not our birthdays.” Someone called out “Yes, but your baby will have one!” We looked around and this is what we saw…

Our small group had banded together to show us that God would provide and that He would do that, especially, through the people we are blessed to have in our lives. Among the items we received were a playard, a travel bassinette, a diaper genie with refills, a baby monitor and every toy you can imagine, just to name a few! (There was much more.) In that moment, I became so aware of just how blessed we have been to have such wonderful and generous people in our lives. (Not that I didn't know that already -- but I realized that God had sent them into our lives for a reason.) What a beautiful reminder that everything would be OK and that we’d have people around us to help us through the tough times as well as share in the good!

But the blessings did not end there! That night -- before we had even left our small group -- Michael got a call from his cousin Marc and his wife Julie, who we had just visited the week before, offering us an extremely generous opportunity to change our living arrangements for the better that will allow us to get out of debt and begin saving for our impending arrival as well as have much more room for our growing family. This move will also allow us to be much closer to Michael's family, which is a blessing in and of itself. It was all so much to take in and so fast. My head was spinning and this time I don’t think the pregnancy hormones had anything to do with it!

I had worked through how our situation would turn out time and time again, but never did I envision THIS. That God had worked so fast in this situation was dizzying, but it should not have been surprising. That night when I went to bed I just thanked God and asked for forgiveness for all my doubts. God has always met our needs when we sought Him in prayer. (Not always our wants, but always our needs and He has always known what those are better than us. This time He surpassed even that.) Though I knew this full well, I had allowed the situation to become bigger than God in my mind. How wonderful that God is bigger than any obstacle we encounter – and that He has a plan much bigger and better than any we could envision for ourselves.

To say we are blessed is an understatement but these are the best words I can find right now. Truly blessed!

I hope this will be a testimony of God's power and mercy and provision. I know there are so many people in these uncertain times who are struggling as we have been and I hope this will be a reminder that God has everything in the palm of His hands, that He is intimately concerned with what is going on in our lives, and that He WILL provide... that no matter how grim things seem, God is in control and He is bigger than the problems of this world. We need only put our hope in Him.

“For this reason I say to you, do not be worried about your life, as to what you will eat or what you will drink; nor for your body, as to what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air; they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father keeps feeding them. Are you not worth much more than they?" Matthew 6:25-26

"For I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." Jeremiah 29:11

Monday, March 23, 2009

A Blessed Weekend With a Surprise Ending

Now that I have entered nesting mode, I’ve begun getting a little anxious about how life will change and how M and I will adjust to all of those changes. By the end of what had been a terrible week last week, I was feeling extremely disheartened. In no time at all we were we surrounded by so many supportive people expressing a willingness to help us out and keep us in prayer. Our Friday night Bible study group, in particular, has been a huge blessing and perfectly timed for that matter! But the blessings did not stop on Friday night!

On Saturday, M’s cousins Mark & Julie graciously gave us a bunch of furniture and various other extremely useful items that will certainly help once the baby arrives. We had a great time visiting with them and their beautiful children, especially the youngest girl who kept asking me what I thought the baby was doing every so often and who wondered out loud if the baby was walking when I was walking. She even announced at one point: "I think he's dancing!" I haven’t had much interaction with young children and so this was a very good experience for me. M and I also got to visit with his grandparents – our little one’s great grandparents-to-be. We went from having a horrible week to a wonderful weekend. It was a fast turn around!
On Sunday, the music at McLean Bible was exactly what I needed to hear in light of all that had happened in the previous week. It really spoke right to my soul and reminded me that no matter how big any of our problems seem, God is truly in control and He has a plan for good if we just trust Him and not limit Him. Lon’s sermon also echoed this message and it instilled in me even more so the need to put away whatever doubts and fears I've let creep in. I really needed to hear it. And just then, when the blessings were abounding, came another HUGE blessing: I felt the baby move! And when I mean move, I mean it felt as though the baby was practically dancing! lol

Now, all week, I’ve been suspecting that I was feeling the baby as I got little tickles and flutters that lasted a few seconds and then went away in certain isolated spots. But after the music ended (and a cup of coffee I had before church, I’m sure!) the baby was going CRAZY on the left side of my belly. I could not believe what I was feeling. Throughout the whole sermon, the baby would start moving again and I must admit, it was a little unsettling at first, I could not have been more excited! I certainly didn’t expect to feel so much movement all at once! It was like I was being attacked with tickles. I nearly came out of my seat a couple of times.

And so yesterday as I took nice long walk to get some much needed exercise and fresh air, I thought back to what Mark and Julie’s little girl had said that Sunday on her great granddad’s chair and I laughed to myself. It did feel like the baby was walking too!

Monday, March 16, 2009

All is Well...

This morning, M and I went to see the OB for my routine prenatal visit (15 weeks down!). As expected, we got the results of the ultrasound I had on Friday. The doctor said that both the baby and I look "perfect," so all seems to be well. That is a great relief and a huge blesssing! She was not sure why I am in so much pain but expressed hope that it would resolve itself soon. I am hopeful too...

We also got another opinion (our 4th) on delivery. This doctor also expressed her belief that I'll need to have a C-Section this coming September. She also stressed that she believed going under general anesthesia would be safe for both me and the baby. Of course, we are still praying through this and haven't made any decisions yet. We still have to meet with the anesthesiologist and have that individual review my surgical reports, etc.

In the meantime, I am continuing to grow and have now reached the point where none of my regular clothes fit anymore. I literally took every pair of jeans and pants I own and boxed them tonight. Today, I was blessed to have a shopping buddy in my friend Melody who is set to deliver in the coming weeks! I must say, it was a lot more fun (and less depressing!) having someone there with me who could relate and give honest advice. I had attempted to go shopping by myself a week ago and was demoralized. I realized I might have to give up wearing my precious purple for a while, as I start to look more and more like Barney the Dinosaur! (Except of course for my sister-in-laws upcoming wedding!! :) Anyone who has been pregnant knows that it is a little jarring to see how much one's body changes so suddenly. (Fortunately, so far it's been all belly for me). It's mostly exciting, of course, as I realize that as I grow, it means our baby is growing too. And right now everything indicates that baby is growing strong and healthy!

My next ultrasound is scheduled for next month. We find out the gender in just 25 days -- if the baby stops crossing its legs, that is! In just 25 days we will know our son or daughter by name. What an awesome thought!

Saturday, March 14, 2009

A Recent Scare and Another Glimpse of Baby

Contrary to conventional wisdom, the 2nd trimester has not brought relief from the morning sickness that began in the 1st. In many ways, it has gotten worse as time has passed – though, I must say, I have gotten much better at dealing with it and staying positive in spite of it. So far, little of my experience has been aligned with all of what I was told would and should happen. The most recent example was a scare over the past few days, which ultimately brought a huge blessing when Michael and I were able to get another glimpse of baby girl or boy Luns yesterday afternoon.
On Thursday night, some issues arose that caused the doctor on call to warn me of a possible late miscarriage. I was expecting the doctor to reassure me and tell me that everything happening was completely normal and not to worry, but to no avail. Nothing could have prepared me for this suggestion or possibility. Again -- conventional wisdom says it’s very rare this late in the game and I have had a peace throughout the last few months that everything is and will be OK that was shaken by the nonchalant way the doctor voiced her opinion. Needless to say, I was extremely upset – not to mention in terrible pain, which was not improved by getting worked up. Michael did an amazing job in keeping me as calm as possible until the next morning when we were able to go to the OB to get a better idea of what was going on. Sadly, I fell asleep while he was praying over the baby and me, but his prayers obviously worked, as I was able to sleep through the night for the first time in a long time without waking up from crazy nightmares. I needed that extra rest to prepare for the day we’d have yesterday.

First thing the next morning we were at the OB. We immediately heard the baby’s heartbeat, which was strong and perfect as it has been each time we’ve heard it. The doctor (my regular OB) reassured me that this was a great sign, but after examining me he still had some questions and so he referred me for an emergency ultrasound to make sure everything was OK. At this point, his thoughts were that perhaps the placenta had detached at some point... though all signs pointed to it being in tact given the heart rate was normal and there were no signs of distress. And so we spent the day in waiting for hours until we could get in to have the test.

Ultimately, the ultrasound technician was not able to tell us much, though she did suggest that it could be a “low lying placenta” causing the problem and her only hypothesis about the pain I was feeling was that it was either contractions (which are normal at this stage of the game) or perhaps some effects from my endometriosis which was always a pain (literally) in the past. The technician suggested that the fact that the radiologist was faxing the report to my doctor and not calling him was a good sign. Nevertheless, now all we can do is wait for my next routine prenatal this Monday morning to get the results. Only a few more days…

In any event, Michael and I got to see our little baby move around for the first time yesterday. The baby at first laid still and looked like it was hiccupping and twitching but after a while, it started to move its arms and legs and flail around. By the end of the test, it looked like it was dancing!

This test was two-dimensional so some of the images were not quite as precious as those we saw on the last ultrasound.

It was nice to have a laugh though in the midst of all our worry. The technician said that baby was measuring a week ahead and that she would give her opinion on the gender – but by then the baby had gone from sitting in what she called “Indian style” to laying with its legs crossed. I joked with Michael that that must mean it’s a girl as it was sitting very lady-like. Only God knows…

So the long story short (and I guess this has become a little longer than I would have liked) is that we are back where we started… waiting… but a little reassured that everything will be OK. It’s all in God’s hands and we are blessed to have so many people praying for us. Thanks again.


"Consider it pure joy... whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything." James 2-4

"For God gave us not a spirit of fearfulness; but of power and love and discipline." 2 Timothy 1:7