House Progress

We closed on our first house two days before I gave birth to our first child! It has been crazy and we are still not moved in yet, but we are making progress and we are so excited.

The house is a bit of a fixer-upper, but we love it and we are excited to begin raising our family in it. We decided to paint the walls and rip out the carpet, replacing it with laminate wood before moving in. But that is easier said than done. It all turned out to be a bigger project than we expected, but we have had a lot of help and we are getting closer and closer to being able to move in!

All the pink wallpaper in the living room and kitchen was torn down and the paneling was painted. A lot of people put a lot of hours into getting that wallpaper off! It was not easy!

Painting helpers

Our bedroom in progress!

Finished floors, finished walls, and furniture ready to move!

This is a crazy season in our lives, but it is wonderful and we are very blessed.

Our biggest blessing

Growing with a Baby

“You might believe that you can’t afford to practice spiritual discipline because of the intensity of this season… the truth is, you can’t afford not to.” ~ Gentle Leading

About a week ago my wonderful sister-in-love sent me an article titled “Spiritual Discipline with a Newborn” on the blog Gentle Leading. Grace gave birth to Mae’s cousin exactly a month before she made her entrance, so we have been sharing and learning a lot together as we went through pregnancy and childbirth, and now taking care of babies together.

She sent it to me with perfect timing. I was (and still am) completely wrapped up in Mae’s schedule. When did she eat last, and when should she eat again? Did she eat enough? What can I do to comfort her at every sound? Thoughts throughout my day were occupied with Mae and her needs, and they even spread into my dreams and presented themselves the instant I awoke.

I would read my Bible as I held her sleeping in the mornings, but I was easily distracted with her sweet face or sleepy noises. I tried to pray while I was feeding her multiple times a day, but again I was distracted. Nursing was difficult for both of us at the beginning, and it required a lot of concentration and effort on my part. It is much easier now, but I still find my mind wandering with little sleep or mental power to keep my mind on track.

Although it seems as if my sleep deprived mind and physical obligation to constantly caring for this baby leaves me with no time to afford spiritual discipline, but I realize this is a time that is also absolutely crucial for me to be strong in my walk with God.

Mae is still tiny and she does not know what I am doing, other than I am a source of food and comfort for her, but I know time will fly and before I know it she will be watching my every action. I want to begin now to be the role model I want her to have in her life, and most importantly in spiritual matters. In Sally Clarkson’s The Mission of Motherhood she says, “We mothers have the opportunity to influence eternity by building a spiritual legacy in the lives of our children.” How important is this role of motherhood, and how important it is for me to begin now to be that spiritual example for my daughter.

I am still learning and I am far from perfect, but I have been trying to focus more on spiritual things through my focus on my baby. It is God’s will for me to take care of my baby, so I am trying to use this time and focus to shift my thoughts to God. Whenever I am distracted by Mae’s cute face or noises, the thought should prompt me to thank God for her and turn my attention to Him in other ways. It is hard for me to read a large Bible while Mae is nursing, but my phone is small and easy to lay on the pillow beside me, so I have begun reading chapters here and there from the Bible as I feed her, trying to read slowly and deliberately.

It is true that I do not have the time or mental power to spend hours in an inductive study or in a deep word study involving the original language, but I do have time. I can put forth effort. Because it is so important for me in my personal walk as a Christian and in my roles as a wife and mother.

If you are a mother, what did/do you do to grow spiritually with a newborn? Even if you are not a mother, do you have any ideas or encouragement?

Sweet Baby Mae

Things don’t always go as planned.

As I drew nearer to my due date, I planned to continue to be healthy, to go into labor on my own, have a natural birth and a healthy baby.

I did not plan to go to the doctor at 36 weeks and discover that I had not gained weight and my fundal height had decreased from my previous visit at 34 weeks and I would need another ultrasound to check on the baby.

I did not plan to find out at 37 weeks that my baby did not appear to be growing as she should, and there was possibly a problem. My doctor offered to induce me right then, but if not I and the baby should be closely monitored twice a week, and I should not go past 39 weeks at the latest.

After prayer, deliberation, and discussion, we decided that I would be induced on Friday, August 24, when I was 38 weeks and one day. I still hoped and prayed that I would go into labor naturally beforehand. If not, I hoped that my labor could be started with a tiny dose of pitocin and I would continue labor on my own.

But things don’t always go as planned.

We arrived at the hospital Friday morning at 7:30, nervous and without a single contraction. After I got settled in and hooked up to several monitors, they started the pitocin on a low dose around 9:00, slowly increasing it every so often until I was at the highest level. A monitor showed that I was having contractions, but I did not feel them. Time seemed to crawl by as I anticipated what was to come and thought about how long I had to go.

Around 3:00 pm I was only 3 centimeters and I still was not feeling contractions beyond a mild tightness, so my doctor broke my water. My dilation continued to progress slowly, but the contractions got increasingly longer and stronger as I was put on an even higher dose of pitocin because my labor was not regular.

That evening I was only 4 centimeters and I felt like I had no break from the contractions. I was hooked up to so many monitors that I could not get up and move around. The pain was not totally unbearable, but it was exhausting and I knew I still had so far to go. Being my stubborn self, I still wanted to try to do it naturally, but mentally I was at my limit. I just wanted to turn it all off for a minute to catch my breath.

Once I decided to get the epidural I felt like I had given up on my “plan,” but I also felt a huge sense of relief. The whole process took a while, but eventually I was able to catch my breath and relax for a moment.

“I’ll be back in about an hour. Tell me if you feel any pressure or pain,” my nurse told me as she left the room after I was settled again. About an hour later I began feeling a lot of pressure. I looked at the time and thought the nurse should be returning soon. I told Mama I did not know what it meant, but I was feeling a lot of pressure, and she ran off to find the nurse.

She was surprised and told me I was 9-10 centimeters! “I’ll be back in about 15 minutes to check you again,” she told me. But she was not gone 5 minutes before I told Sam it was really strong and he went and got her again.

“Don’t sneeze or you’ll have a baby!” she told me and went to call my doctor, who had gone home to have dinner with his family. She had me practice pushing a couple of times while we were waiting for him, then had me stop. “Can you catch a baby?” Sam asked her. “Yes, but I don’t want to!” she replied.

My doctor arrived, got ready, and I began pushing at 9:25. Our sweet baby girl was born at 9:34.

She came out kicking and screaming and it was such a beautiful sound. Sam cut the cord and they placed her on my chest and I just stroked her and tried to take it all in as nurses wiped her down and gave her a hat and diaper. The next thing I knew everything was all cleaned up and everyone left for us to have our “Golden Hour” as a family of three

I could not believe how beautiful and tiny she was, and how much she looked like Sam

And it no longer mattered that all my plans had been changed. She was healthy, I was healthy, and we were all so happy.

Pure happiness

Our sweet Mae Maureen was 5 pounds 6 ounces and 17.5 inches. She is a tiny little bundle of joy and our hearts are absolutely overflowing with love! We are so excited to begin this next chapter of our journey together as a family.

Happy Daddy!

Things do not always go as planned, but sometimes it is good for plans to go awry to show me my need to depend on God and His plans, which are often not the same as my own, but they are always better.