Isabella Grace

I spent my pregnancy reading and researching, preparing mentally and physically for labor. I feel like the time I spent preparing was well worth it, but the main thing I learned from labor was that things do not always go as planned.

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I went to the hospital at 3 p.m. on Sunday after I called the hospital and said that my water may have broken at 8:30 that morning – after which I still went to church and to the mall. They said my water had not broken yet (though I’m suspecting it was a hind leak that resealed) and that I was having contractions three minutes apart. I didn’t start feeling the contractions until a little later, and then it was purely back labor. My nurse had me walk the hall for an hour, and then I was admitted for labor – yay!

It was game time and I was ready to go. My nurse knew I didn’t want an epidural or pain medication, and I wanted to be up walking as much as possible. At this point I was thinking I would probably have my baby in the middle of the night. I walked for 40 minutes every hour for probably 4 hours until the contractions were too strong.

Fast forward several hours, they broke my water and an hour later they tell me that I’ve gone from 6 cm to 9 cm! I’m thinking we must be getting close. A few hours later my nurse checks me and says I’m just now at 8 cm – whoever checked me before was mistaken. Needless to say I was a bit frustrated.

Unfortunately, my body seemed to really like sitting at 8 cm. After several hours of being stalled out at 8 cm, I started to panic. I could handle the pain, but the urge to push was too strong. I knew it was way too early, and I couldn’t push without hurting myself and my baby. Finally, my nurse suggests an epidural to help me finish dilating. Though the thought of an epidural terrified me, I agreed (it was really no biggie). Within an hour and a half I was ready fully dilated and ready to push!

They turned my epidural down so that I could feel how to push, and I pushed for two and a half hours, and finally, 23 hours after being admitted to the hospital, at 2:16 p.m. I reached down and pulled my own baby girl to my chest (with guidance from my doctor). It was probably the most special moment of my life.

I didn’t care that I hadn’t slept in 30 hours.

I didn’t care that I had, just a few hours before, told my husband quite seriously that we were never having another kid.

I didn’t care that my plan of having an unmedicated birth went out the window.

I had my baby, and she was perfect.

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Unfortunately, the next several hours didn’t go as planned either as Isabella had trouble breathing on her own due to me being in labor for so long (it’s fairly common, but it was scary nevertheless). She was in the nursery for 7 hours, and we thought she was going to end up going to Children’s Hospital – which was definitely not part of the plan.

We were exhausted and anxious and frustrated. I hadn’t held my baby in hours. My husband had yet to hold her. He had gone to see her in the nursery several times, but I still couldn’t go because my epidural had not worn off. My nurse came in to check my legs and said she’d come back and check me in an hour because I wasn’t able to move as well as I needed to to get up. I looked at Genelle and said, “An hour my big toe! Help me pump my legs and get this epidural to wear off.”

Which is exactly what we did. Twenty minutes later I was in a wheelchair heading to the nursery. It broke my heart to see my sweet little girl with her itty bitty oxygen mask. I sat with her for about 30 minutes, and while I was there she got better. She was breathing well when I left, and we were told she would be with us shortly.

After waiting awhile and still not having our baby brought to us, we were told that she had started to regress, and they would be talking to Children’s Hospital soon to see what to do next. We were scared and tired and all we wanted was our baby.

But finally, I looked at my husband and said, “We can’t be slaves to fear. We have to trust God. No matter what, we’ll figure it out. It’s going to be okay.” It’s funny how the sermon that morning at church was on fear.

A few minutes later, a nurse brought us our little girl, saying they were just going to spot check her throughout the night (she was perfect every time they checked her that night).

Would we still have trusted God if she ended up going to Children’s? Absolutely. But were we praising God that we had her? Absolutely!

Bella is 2 weeks old today, and we fall more in love with her daily. Being a mom is better than I ever imagined. I often stop and think about the long journey it took to get her here – and how every minute was worth it.

And yeah, I take back what I said about not having any more kids.

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Mommy seeing Bella in the nursery
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Daddy holding Bella for the first time

 

 

Newborn Photos Photo Credit: Cherish Bickel Photography

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Work With All Your Heart

“Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters.” Colossians 3:23

Since I started working when I was 16 I have always tried to keep this piece of Scripture close to my heart. In fact, before my husband and I even dated we often reminded each other of this verse when one of us was having a difficult time at work.
As I have gotten older, however, I’ve realized how truly powerful this piece of Scripture really is. The verse says that whatever we do, we are to do it with all of heart.
If we truly do the work that comes into our lives as if we are doing it for the Lord, or when we simply realize that what we are doing is a way of serving the Lord, it changes our perspective.
I hate doing laundry. With a passion. And vacuuming. And doing the dishes. Really, I hate most forms of housework. But when I stop and remember that doing these things better helps my family function better and better helps me be hospitable to guests in our home (we love to have people over), I do it with cheer (Note: I am not a house-cleaning guru. I would be a complete liar if I said that our apartment was not a total wreck during my first trimester of pregnancy. I would also be a complete liar if I said I held this attitude all the time).
The real difference comes when I’m not making it about me. Sure, it’s nice when our place looks nice – it makes me feel good – but it’s not nearly as motivating to me as knowing that I am serving my family, God, and others.
Whatever you do, whether it be raising your children, working in your job, cleaning your house, going to school, do it for the Lord. Your stocking job at the grocery store may not feel a job in which you serve the Lord, but the attitude you have speaks volumes. Everywhere is a mission field.
Go forth and do whatever you do with all your heart, and remember to give yourself grace because we are never going to have it all together all of the time.
With love,
B

Photo credit: unsplash-logoBen Kolde

I’m a Kind Person… but Not Always

“Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me.”

You may disagree with me, but this is one of the biggest, fattest lies we tell ourselves and others.

I wrote a post last year on the topic on the importance of being careful with our words and what Scripture has to say about it. This time, however, God has laid a bit of a different message on my heart.

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At work, I try to be a positive, uplifting force to those around me. I try to shake things off as they come and be a voice of calm in the chaos. Of course, this doesn’t always happen, but I try. I try to encourage and love on my peers at school. We’re all in the same boat, and sometimes we just need a positive word to make the day a little better. At my internship, I work with a grateful heart. Sometimes, though, I come home, and it all falls apart.

My cheerful, positive personality is genuine, but sometimes I get tired. Sometimes, when I get home after a long day, I find it much more difficult to find the silver lining, to realize that something is really not a big deal. Then my words become less kind. I can become harsh and insensitive, frustrated and annoyed. My husband doesn’t deserve that – he has long days, too!

Sometimes we are less kind with the people closest to us because we let our guard down, but in all honesty, they should be the people we are the kindest to. We should be encouraging, lifting up, and loving everyone we come into contact with with our words and actions – especially our families. If there is tension in our family life – it doesn’t matter if it’s your siblings, cousins, in-laws, parents, spouse, whoever – it’s going to affect our work life, our school life, and our hearts.

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Ironically, the Bible app’s verse of the day is Proverbs 15:1: “A gentle answer deflects anger, but harsh words make tempers flare” (NLT).

This verse has been on my heart for some time – maybe not enough. Our words – and actions for that matter – really do impact people, especially those we love. We shouldn’t just say we love them, we should show them, and that includes speaking kindly to them even when we aren’t feeling our greatest. Everyone deserves to be treated kindly and with respect, regardless of how we feel at the moment. I know that if the words that come out of my mouth in a moment of frustration were said to me, I would be hurt, and that bothers me. So I am working on this. I am quick to catch myself and apologize if I get snappy or harsh. That doesn’t take away what I said, but it shows that I am trying, and I’ve realized that people notice when you try to change. Your words may still hurt them, but they see that you are a struggling, flesh-and-blood human, just like they are.

Have the strength to be kind when you don’t feel like it, because the bottom line is, we really should treat people how we want to be treated, because actions matter, words matter, and people matter. 

Photo credit: Priscilla Du Preez

I Don’t Need to be Right

At this point my husband and I have been married for five months, and as of this week, we’ve been together for two years!

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Our relationship has had its ups and downs as all relationships do, and we’ve matured so much since the beginning of our relationship. Where we are now is so much more beautiful than I could have dreamed – getting here has been a lot harder than I thought it would have been, too. You always hear that marriage is harder than you think it will be, and I believe that that is absolutely true (I also believe it can be more wonderful than you ever thought, too). The hardest thing in our relationship for me – other than getting over fears resulting from past relationships (more about that in Toxic) – has been dealing with my pride.

Humility can be an issue in a relationship at any point, but you don’t realize how prideful you can really be until you share everything with someone: bank accounts, food, a bathroom. All of a sudden you realize how much you like things to be done your way and your way only. You realize how much you truly value your own opinion. You may also realize how dangerous this is to your marriage.

I think Francis Chan says it well in You and Me Forever:

“[Jesus’] humility is the key to a healthy marriage. If two people make it their goal to imitate the humility of Christ, everything else will take care of itself. It really is that simple. Arguments escalate when we want to be right more than we want to be Christ. […] You must determine your goal. What matters most: winning arguments or resembling Christ?” (Emphasis added).

It is easy to argue that you’re right and not so easy to stop and listen to someone else’s opinion. It is easy to to want things to be convenient and in our own best interest, but not so easy to take into consideration someone else’s thoughts and feelings. It is easy to be selfish, but not so easy to be selfless. But who said life was going to be easy?

It doesn’t help that we live in a world that preaches self-preservation, a message that is quite contradictory to the Gospel and the teachings about servant-hood that come from the Ultimate Servant. It can be so easy to slip into self-preservation mode, trying to protect my way of doing things or to slip into the “wife is always right” way of thinking and discount my husband’s opinion. But I don’t want to be that kind of person. I want to listen to my husband’s side of the story and see things through his eyes. I want to listen to his opinions, thoughts, dreams, and ideas even if they don’t mesh perfectly with mine. I want to put his needs before my own. I want to love him selflessly. I want him to see a mirror of our Savior’s love when he sees how I love him.  I don’t need to be right all the time.

And you know what? It’s hard, yet I have hope. I have hope because Scripture says we are not obligated to live according to the flesh (Romans 8:12). I am a new Creation in Christ (2 Corinthians 5:17). I now walk by the Spirit, and the mindset of the Spirit is life and peace (Romans 8:6). The stronger my relationship with Christ becomes, the more I have the mindset of the Spirit and the more I look like Christ.

I deeply desire Christ-likeness in all aspects of my life, and I love seeing the fruit of my relationship with Him in my marriage. I want to shower my husband with the love of his Savior rather than telling him how little he matters to me when I act in prideful ways (because if we’re honest that is what pride does).

I am far from perfect – my husband sure knows that – but I desire to cultivate an environment of humility in my marriage. Every time I choose to listen instead of interrupt, every time I choose not to say hurtful things out of spite, every time I choose to build him up instead of myself, these are victories. They are strengthening my marriage. They are acts of love.

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Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

1 Corinthians 13 4-7

Photo Credit:  Ben White