Monday, September 29, 2014

An Early Morning and a Baby Boy

On August 3, 2011 I was awake for a similar reason.  I was awake because I was 8 days overdue and an ultrasound showed almost no amniotic fluid left for Liam - so it was time to induce.  This time, it's Shepherd's turn.  Still inducing but so many different circumstances.  It's a week early (myself as a first time mom would have balked at inducing early/not giving the baby enough time/tampering with nature/the list goes on).  But my heart is too excited to sleep.

Hey, this time around IS better because the night before we went in for Liam's big day I slept a whopping ONE HOUR before go-time.  This time, I got in a glorious four hours :).

This time, I have had the joy (well, looking back it was a joy and in the moment it was the thing that made me cranky/edgy/and brow furrowed) of experiencing early labor.  Startling because I felt nary one little twinge when I was carrying Liam - even all those days past my due date.  So these twinges, sensations and hmmmmms have been a beautiful thing.

It's so surreal to have carried a baby for 9 months and know that within hours he will have escaped my insides to lay on my chest.  It is something sacred and I am filled with gratitude this morning.  Gratitude and a bit of a foggy head because four hours of sleep doesn't usually cut it.

I go into today trusting in the One who got me through Liam's big day which ended in a c-section.  I go into the process hopeful and full of faith and anticipation for a delivery without surgery.  BUT knowing that surgery is a miracle in and of itself.  That the greatest gift is the miracle of life created, carried and ushered into the outside world.

Isn't it odd to be on the brink of something so huge and to have no idea or control over how it will go?  Such a beautiful and challenging opportunity to press into trust and let go.

My next post will be an introduction of sorts.  My life will have been turned very upside down and I'll have two boys.  I'll be exhausted.  But so happy.  And I'll be able to bend over without wanting to curse.  And I'll be able to eat that brownie without a thought of gestational diabetes.  And I'll have way too many pictures to be considered moderate.  And I'll have a story of faithfulness - with beautiful twists and turns.

Happy Monday, my friends.  I'm off to meet another little man who will change me forever.

Lots of love,

Friday, September 19, 2014

The Quiet Heart on a Friday

Happy Friday!

I had coffee with one of my friends who happens to be a high school senior this morning. Such a joy. Fridays change as your school years pass, but there is STILL something undeniably wonderful about a Friday. I'm soaking that up today. (Thanks to my really really great mom who has my little companion with her for a few hours today).

No big personal stories on this Friday. Instead a direction for our hearts to focus on. Or for mine to focus on and for you to ponder :).

The past few days my heart has been stirring. Every time I start to talk to the Lord I feel the weight of his hand nearly saying 'Stop.' Well that's interesting isn't it?! But it's the kindest kind of stop. It's the stop that's saying, 'You've become giving heavy. It's all about you talking to me, you pursuing me, you standing for others, you doing. Of course those are beautiful things, but THIS is all about Me giving to you, daughter. Stop. Quiet your heart. Be still. Don't pray. Don't lift a weight. Let me remind you of who and what I say you are and who I am to you. Be reminded! Let me talk to you.'

Today, I invite you to join me in quieting the heart. In receiving instead of giving. Instead of thinking. Instead of anything else...

This song has been my theme for the past few days. You may want to play it in the background as I list out a few verses of who our God says that we are for pondering:

From Christianity Today:

I am God's child.
Galatians 3:26  "So in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith..."
I am Jesus' friend.
John 15:15  "I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you."
I am a whole new person with a whole new life.
2 Corinthians 5:17  "Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come:[a] The old has gone, the new is here!"
I am a place where God's Spirit lives.
1 Corinthians 6:19  " Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own;"
I am God's Incredible work of art.
Ephesians 2:10  "For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do"
I am totally and completely forgiven.
1 John 1:9  "If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness."
I am created In God's likeness.
Ephesians 4:24  " and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness"
I am spiritually alive.
Ephesians 2:5  "made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved."
I am a citizen of Heaven.
Philippians 3:20  "But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ,"
I am God's messenger to the world.
Acts 1:8  "But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth."
I am greatly loved.
Romans 5:8  "But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us."
My heart is going to be camping out here for a bit.  Not focusing on what I can do for Him, what I can say to Him, or how I can be like Him.  But instead, on who He says that I am, what He is saying, and simply receiving.  

Happy weekending y'all!

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Life Lately: Pregnant, Tired, Joyful, Carb Hungry, and Honest

You know, the truth is that I am one nosy little person. (I guess I am kind of the opposite of a little person at 36.5 weeks pregnant!) But seriously, I love hearing people's stories. And my favorite bloggers share not just the highs of life and only perfect pictures, but truths of their lives that let me access them beyond the perfect. If you follow me on Instagram, you've seen my belly pics every few weeks. Let's be honest sister. I only take those pictures when I am dressed. And by dressed I mean, looking as good as I possibly can look under the circumstances. Here's the pic that I posted at the beginning of this week:

And here's what I look like as I type this blog:

Listen - to each her own, but I come from a long line of women that are greatly benefited by a little war paint as my great grandmother used to call it. Makeup. I do just love a bold pink lipstick. But let's be honest - I am that put together about 15% of the time!

These fingers are itching to get a little real and a little honest. I think it just hit me that I hadn't done a blog post of that nature in quite a while. So this one will be a little of this and a little of that - trying to be transparent about life, God, a painful loss, and the joy of life.

First, I love being pregnant. Truly. I am one of those. I feel all the feelings. Maybe it's because we experienced the loss of a pregnancy/child about a year ago (see this post and this follow up post). This child has been a great gift to carry. I think you're more in touch with the sanctity of human life when it's your second child but also after you've lost a baby. The preciousness of life is so blatant once you have experienced the loss of a life inside of you. So feeling every rolling elbow and even lugging the large middle from one side to the other side in the middle of the night, is a miracle.

Having said that, this pregnancy has been far less of a breeze than my experience with Liam was. Let's be honest - I had a cush pregnancy with Mr. William Justice. I sat at a desk for most of 8 hours a day and could chill on the couch after work. Not so with Mr. Shepherd Levi! Not so.

We started this one out with a bang. My progesterone was low at the very beginning so I went on supplements for the first trimester. Hello. That happened to coincide with a two month period of job transition for Zion and it all added up to me on the couch - a lot. The big old doses of hormones plus our personal transition meant I was emotionally low and physically low. Not so pretty. Bless my boys' hearts for showing me so much grace during that first trimester. Meeting second trimester had never sounded so good and saying buh bye to progesterone supplements was an instantaneous lift.

Of course, that timing was again crazy because the beginning of second trimester brought Zion full force into a new position. A great position. But, I think intense would be an accurate word to describe the transition and position. He's always been a hard worker but this time it's a whole new level. Traveling, working on the weekends, waking up at 5am to start on emails, and busting his brains to adapt to a new industry filled with some of the most intelligent people he's ever encountered has kept him intensely focused since the first few weeks...and it hasn't let up....and I'm thinking it won't let up. And that's okay! We are both excited about where this is going for him and we believe he's at the right place at the right time. But that doesn't mean it's not still intense...and demanding for our entire little family unit. Thank goodness that didn't start until we were in the second trimester! Praises.

Well then came third trimester. And my first failed glucose back we go for the lovely three hour test. I was hopeful that it would come back negative but literally within a few days of having that second test done, I knew I was dealing with gestational diabetes without seeing the test results. It was like a switch went off in my body and all of the sudden I felt horrible. Three bites of birthday cake gave me a headache. My muscles started aching and trembling with fatigue as if I'd just run a half-marathon. My doctor confirmed it and thus began the great diet change of 2014. I think that my body was literally in carb/sugar withdrawal for two straight weeks. LOL! In retrospect, I understood fairly little about carbs and was having way more than I even realized. And then there was the straight up sugar. I was having less of it than I had with Liam, but sister, I still loved me a mix from Braums. So overnight, I went to counting carbs and eating pretty much zero sweets. Whew! The grace of God appears in circumstances like that because you truly are motivated to do just about anything to keep your baby healthy and give him every benefit of health that's up to you.

There's definitely been grace but there have been a fair share of low days when I am pressing into that grace with every ounce of strength I have in me. When my blood sugar gets a little off it can take 24-36 hours to start feeling normal again. That's frustrating when you feel like your to-do list is oh, like, never ending. :)

BUT there's always a gift! And the gift is that I feel so much better having made the change to counting carbs and cutting out sweets! AND - I am not nearly the puff ball that I was with Liam. Now, that is somewhat vain. But, I'm telling you, I AM thankful for that. The last 8 weeks of pregnancy with Liam, my ankles were the very definition of cankles and my face was whatever the facial equivalent of that is. I'm not being hard on myself...just honest. So, it's a bit of a joy to look down and still see bones in my ankles! And to be able to see some fraction of bone structure apparent in my face! This is the closest I'll ever be to a skinny pregnant woman and sister, I am embracing it.

My birthday will be a few days after Shepherd is born. I've decided that I need two birthday cakes this year. The vast majority of women's gestational diabetes simply disappear upon giving birth because it's a hormonal response to pregnancy. So heeeeeeeeyyyyyyyy! I want to keep a lot of the habits I've developed but let me just say - birthday cake WILL be enjoyed. When you go the last eight weeks of your pregnancy without sugar, ya just need two cakes. If I were you, I'd want to know what the picks were! My mom's incomparable chocolate sheet cake and pumpkin cheesecake with a gingersnap crust. Yes and amen. Yes. And. Amen. If you'd like to come visit me or bring me a meal after October 11 (we celebrate my birthday while watching OU/TX), you will probably be offered cake. Be strategic people.

All in all, even though there have been some very trying phases to this pregnancy, I am still overcome with thankfulness. One - for the capacity to carry a healthy baby to term and two - for this particularly precious boy's life. I'm in love with him entirely and I cannot wait to stare into his eyes and kiss that face. Bring on sleep least I'll be able to eat some popcorn when I want to lol!

Man alive, am I still typing???

I am. So let's wrap it up, shall we?

I pray grace and peace over you this weekend. May it be revitalizing. May you find moments of deep rest - even if it's only five minutes :). And may you enjoy life this weekend!

Much love y'all,