Tag Archives: God

Waiting (Impatiently) For My ‘Overdue’ Baby

Why am I being so impatient?

Why am I feeling so frustrated?

41 weeksEthan knows there's a baby in my belly

41 weeks
Ethan knows there’s a baby in my belly

Why am I dragging my feet around the house, instead of enjoying my last few days of being able to give all of my attention to my one adorable child before the baby arrives?

Who am I trusting?

Doctors and scientists who merely observe humans and make recommendations, or the God that creates humans – namely me! – and knows exactly what my body will do and when?

The ‘magical’ 40 weeks date has come and gone. Now I’m at 41 weeks and 2 days, with no sign of baby coming. (Of course, that can change in an instant!)

I woke up this morning needing some encouragement, so I looked for other blogs about ‘late’ baby birth stories. Kim from Dirty Diaper Laundry wrote a great post about the birth of her second ‘overdue’ baby, as compared to her first ‘early’ and induced baby (insisted on by the doctor due to gestational diabetes). She also mentioned three other babies that came ‘late’, and how all of the labors were faster, uncomplicated, and the babies were healthy and alert when allowed to arrive naturally!

In looking back at my own research and previous blog posts, I was reminded of the fact that we still use a formula for calculating a woman’s due date made popular by a German obstetrician, Franz Naegele, in 1838, not even based on empirical data! He averaged gestational length to be 40 weeks from the first day of the mother’s last menstrual period, assuming that the mother ovulates on day 14 of a 28 day menstrual cycle. (Because we all know that every woman has a regular four week cycle and ovulates every month exactly on day 14 … not!)

I do realize that there are times when intervention is necessary and can save a mother and/or baby’s life. Thank goodness for education and doctors when those times come! But do we really need all of the interventions and inductions which cause our bodies to react in ways that are unnatural, thereby making very long and painful labors occur, usually followed by c-sections?

Anyway, back to the facts …

In 1990, Dr. Robert Mittendorf and his cohorts studied 17,000 births and thereby calculated the average length of uncomplicated human pregnancy to be an average of 41 weeks and 1 day from the first day of the mother’s last menstrual period for first time mothers. Even the ACOG (American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists) does not recommend interfering with a normal pregnancy before 42 completed weeks.

And here I am at 41 weeks and 2 days. I’m actually fairly average, at this point!

Not to mention the fact that I was quite sick for about 10 days with a sinus infection and coughing up phlegm. Not exactly a great way to head into labor, so I prayed that God would allow me to heal and gain my strength back before having the baby. He certainly answered that prayer … and then I became impatient on the first day I felt better! (FYI – My midwife also mentioned that women who are sick often do not go into labor!)

So now I just need to rest.

Rest in the sovereignty of God that He knows when Brooke will arrive. Rest on the couch when I’m feeling tired. Rest in the comfort of the arms of my sweet husband, who is fully supporting our natural home water birth. Rest in the knowledge that we have excellent midwives that are here to provide the best care available when the time comes.

Just Rest.

(And of course, take walks and use other natural remedies to help this baby along!)

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Filed under Home Birth, Life Journal, Pregnant

Having a Home Water Birth: My Modern Day Miracle – Part 1

Who says modern day miracles don’t exist? I beg to differ!

The Mirriam-Webster dictionary defines miracle as:

  1. an extraordinary event manifesting divine intervention in human affairs
  2. an extremely outstanding or unusual event, thing, or accomplishment

Here’s my miracle …

Less than five weeks before our second baby is due, our plans completely changed, due to what we believe is divine intervention in our lives!

Original plan: Have baby #2 in March in Mexico; sell boat; move to Flagstaff, Arizona, in July

Current plan: Move to Flagstaff in January (done!); have baby #2 in Flagstaff with a midwife at home; sell boat

How did we get here?

Four months ago, we made the decision to leave Mexico and move back to the U.S., intending to have to wait until the summer. But, thanks to God’s blessings financially, we were able to move seven months early! So, after enjoying Christmas vacation with family in Spokane, WA, we came to Flagstaff, AZ, to locate a rental house for our move. Everything went according to plan and we moved in on January 16th.

Now, I am sitting at the kitchen table, watching my son play with his toys and feeling the constant movements of our second baby in my tummy. (Oh, I almost forgot – being able to get pregnant is also a miracle … but that’s another story.)

And I’m anticipating a relaxed, natural home birth for baby Brooke, complete with three midwives and a warm, comfy pool of water to labor and deliver in. This is truly a miracle!

Wait, let me back up again …

Three years ago, when finding out I was pregnant, I dreamed of having a home birth with a midwife. Because we lived in Mexico, I had a very difficult time locating a certified midwife in our area. I thought of several options – going up to Arizona for the birth, finding a traveling midwife, or settling for a Mexican doctor. By the time I located a traveling midwife, they were all booked up for my due date (they come stay with you for two weeks).

So, after visiting two doctors, we finally settled on the third. Still, we felt we had to constantly fight for what we wanted throughout the pregnancy and the delivery – namely, a natural birth (most Mexican births are by c-section); both my husband and our translator in the birthing room; and no medications (unless absolutely necessary).

When finding out that we were pregnant with baby #2, we went back to Dr. Chavez for appointments and moved forward with plans to give birth in the same hospital. We didn’t think we would be living in the U.S. already and also, our insurance has a one year waiting period and will start covering maternity and birth on March 21st, one week after my due date. (I guess we didn’t plan this pregnancy very well!) So, we had planned to take advantage of the very inexpensive medical care in Mexico (Ethan’s birth was approximately $1,300).

Even six weeks ago, we were planning to leave Flagstaff on February 23rd (yesterday) to go back to Mexico for the birth, then return about six or seven weeks later.

So what happened?

After being in Flagstaff for three weeks, I had an appointment with a local midwife. I didn’t think it was wise this late in my pregnancy to wait seven or eights between doctor visits, and I wanted to have a contact here in case anything happened. At least I would’t be checking into the hospital without any kind of previous assistance!

I had a wonderful visit and enjoyed meeting two of the midwives. After a couple hours of being able to discuss my pregnancy and ask many, many questions, I came home hoping that somehow it would work out for us to stay. The midwives assured me that they would be happy to take me this late in my pregnancy as they had room for another birth, and that I am an ideal candidate (having had a natural birth previously without any complications and a healthy pregnancy so far).

I brought home literature from their office and shared my findings with M. Neither of us really wanted to return to Mexico for the birth, so having such a positive experience with the midwives gave us the extra measure of comfort we needed to step out in faith and pray about staying.

Yes, there is the concern that we could end up in the hospital and have a huge medical bill. There are always risks. Just getting pregnant is a risk. But after a few days of prayer and discussion, we decided to stay!

Moving forward …

We have already connected with several neighbors and families at our church and feel that we have the support network that we need. Actually, one of the couples in our small group even gave birth at home in January with the same midwives and had a wonderful experience!

We also don’t want to take Ethan away from his new home and go through the frustrations that travel bring to a little tikes sense of comfort and routine. He is finally adjusting, which is a huge accomplishment for a 1 1/2 year old!

So, we are moving forward. I’ve ordered the birthing pool and am gathering up everything that we need for the big day.

Thank you God for your miracles!

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Filed under Home Birth, Life Journal, Moving to U.S., Pregnant

Escaping guilt-driven living

Why did I torture myself all those years? Why did I beat myself up so often? Why was I so motivated by guilt and shame?

You know those days when you just can’t get everything on your “to-do list” done (the one in your head that has 37 items)? While making dinner, you think back on your day: meal plan for the week (check), grocery shopping (check), two loads of laundry washed, folded (check – but still need putting away), dog walked and fed, baby fed and changed (numerous times – check), one chapter of bible study read (check – but still need to answer questions).

And then you sigh, kicking yourself that you didn’t get to the other 30 items. You look around the house and see some groceries still sitting on the counter (oops, forgot to put them away when the baby needed a diaper change). Dinner is going to be 15 minutes later than you hoped and you never even had a chance to take a shower today. You must not be a good wife … mother … friend … Christian …

Really?! What a way to live! And yet, I did that for so many years!

Last week, I was thinking back on my early adult years and remembering those nagging thoughts and guilty feelings. Wow! How I’ve changed!

I reached for my bookshelf and pulled down, “12 ‘Christian’ Beliefs That Can Drive You Crazy: Relief From False Assumptions,” by Dr. Henry Cloud & Dr. John Townsend. I turned to that chapter that made a huge impact in my life about 10 years ago. “Assumption #8: “Shoulds” are good.”

The word should expresses obligation, compulsion, duty. It implies that we have no choice; that if we do other than we should, we are bad or condemned … The problem arises when we do things in order to be good, instead of because of the blessings we will gain by doing them. The problem is doing good things from a sense of obligation instead of out of genuine love.

The book goes on to explain how, even as Christians, we can get stuck emotionally “under the law”, and how to move into living in Christ’s freedom.

That was the beginning of my renewed understanding of the “shoulds” in my life.  I realized that I was constantly condemning myself and never quite felt “good enough”. I had many accomplishments – living on my own starting at age 17, gaining employment and putting myself through college, buying cars, graduating summa cum laude, starting my own private music lesson career, and the list goes on. I had a strong work ethic and many friends. Yet I was still secretly unhappy much of the time due to unreal expectations for myself.

Thankfully, I had a breakthrough and God slowly began to change my heart and mind. I learned that being motivated by guilt is based on “wrath at self” (ouch!) due to being under the law of sin. But being motivated by love is based on Godly sorrow and embracing God’s grace and acceptance of me.

How is it that a woman raised in a Christian home can get stuck in such a pointless, painful cycle of self-loathing? Well, we all have imperfect families and imperfect lives.

It’s been a gradual process to unlearn my previous ways of thinking. I began to accept that I could never jeopardize God’s love if I failed his expectations. I began to embrace my positive qualities and not worry so much about the “negative” or “less-than-perfect” ones. I began to live in God’s grace and freedom. I also started setting more realistic expectations for myself.

What a relief!

I believe that escaping my guilt-driven living allowed me to make the choice to step away from a job eight years ago that I had worked so hard to gain, and thought would make me very happy. Unfortunately, that job became my nightmare and my dream was shattered. But instead of continuing on, thinking I had a “duty” to put to good use all the education and hoops I had jumped through to get the job, I released myself and chose to live a life driven by my true desires.

As I sit here typing, I’m looking around our condo. It’s a little messy, I admit. There are many things I could do. But what I choose to do are the things that will contribute to making our home one of joy, peace, and love. My relationships are much more important than things.

I no longer constantly tell myself that I must always be doing or “being” more than I am. I smile (most of the time) and think of all the ways that I am loving life.

I still have some “shoulds” in my life that creep around occasionally, but they have almost faded away and are easily recognizable to me now. Mostly, I am directed by the “want to’s” that are motivated by a desire for God and the life of freedom that He has already given me.

There is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of life set me free from the law of sin and death. Romans 8:1-2

I’d like to know, what have you been set free from, or what are you working to escape from?

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Filed under Christian life, Life Journal, Spiritual life

Feelings vs. Truth

I haven’t felt really close to God for awhile now.

Are you shocked? Or are you nodding your head and thinking the same thing?

Maybe that seems hypocritical to say, but I’m just trying to be real. It’s not that I feel like I don’t know God, or that He’s pulled away from me. I just haven’t felt super close to Him like I have in the past.

Is it because of inconsistent personal time with God? Have I just not been reading the Bible enough? Is my prayer time a one-way conversation where I do all the talking?

Or maybe, it’s because I’ve been so happy that I haven’t needed to rely on God as much to heal my hurts. I finally know what it means to have a happy marriage – one in which we are partners in life! And for years in my previous marriage, I didn’t think I could get pregnant. Well, we just celebrated my son’s first birthday and will be celebrating the birth of our second child in March! I have wonderful friends and a fantastic church. I’ve been involved in worship leading and directed the choirs for our Christmas and Easter Cantatas. We’ve had amazing adventures – traveling, sailing, outdoor activities, family visits. Honestly, my life has been absolutely incredible the last several years. So, why do I feel distant from God?

A few weeks ago, I decided to try to get more consistent in my time with God. I like to read Christian-authored books along with the Bible. So, I chose a book that I’ve had on my shelf for almost a year, “Disappointment With God,” by Philip Yancey. I chose that book mostly because I really enjoy Philip Yancey, not because I feel disappointed with God. Along with reading a few pages a day, I’ve been reading Galatians. That is where our sermon topics come from and since I’ve been leading worship, I wanted to keep focused on the topic at hand.

I started journaling again today (it comes and goes in my life) to try to get more focused. I like to journal different things – my prayers to God, my thoughts about what I’m reading, my thoughts about my life or life in general. Today, I did a bit of a recap on what I’ve read in Yancey’s book. The last few chapters of his book have been a recap of the Old Testament which tell “amazing stories of [God’s] continuing personal encounters with humanity.” p. 63

Originally, God was very intimate with Adam and Eve before they ate the forbidden fruit. Of course, everything was downhill from there. But, God never gave up. It seems that He just continued to try different tactics. A customized punishment for Cain, a clean slate with Noah after generations of rejection from humans (along with the promise to never do it again!), starting a new race set apart from everyone else through Abraham, sending angels down for a chat, dreams (think Jacob and Joseph), major displays of divine power with the plagues, speaking audibly to Moses, pillars of clouds and fire, direct instructions on how to live (Ten Commandments and Leviticus), miraculous food out of thin air, kings (by request) and prophets (the kings didn’t work out so well).

A lot of these tactics brought out fear in the people He was trying to reach. (Remember, “Fear not!” was a common greeting when dealing with God and those He sent.) Then He tried something totally different. God allowed Jesus Christ, His Son, to be lowered to the status of mere human. And not only that, He had to grow up to end a perfect life in complete agony! I really can’t imagine allowing my beautiful baby boy to be killed so brutally! And after Jesus left the earth, he assured us that we would have God’s Spirit with us and living in us, if only we accepted him.

That got me thinking about the many ways God has pursued generations of men, women and children; how He has given us a way to stay connected to Him every day, without all the crazy sacrifices and rules that the Israelites had to keep to try to stay righteous.

So, why is it that I don’t feel really close to God right now? I think it goes back to time. So, I’ve decided to have some God-dates. (Does that sound cheesy?)

I think we all go through various seasons in our spiritual lives. I want this next season to be one of treasuring my time alone with God. Being a stay-at-home Mom means lots of housework, lots of meal planning and prep, and lots of baby time! So, I’ve committed a portion of Ethan’s daily nap time to spending time with God. Thankfully, I’ve been able to meet that goal 4-5 days a week. (Sometimes, I have to take a nap first, but that’s OK!)

And I know beyond doubt that if God went to that much effort to show people His love, power, grace and mercy; then recorded all those stories for me to be reassured; and gave me a “personal assistant” for life (a.k.a. Holy Spirit) … then He certainly won’t give up on me just because I missed a few dates or got too busy to go for a walk with my Friend. I’m so thankful that He is still hanging around, eager to spend time with me!

Jeremiah, the prophet, sent a letter to the people King Nebuchadnezzar had taken as captives from Jerusalem to Babylon. He told them in chapter 29, verses 12-13, that the Lord said:

“You will come to me and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will search for me. And when you search for me with all your heart, you will find me!”

I’m holding onto that promise for myself. And I can honestly say, I do feel a little closer to God these days!

But really, “What matters is not what I feel is true about myself at any moment, but what I know is true about God at every moment,” so profoundly spoken by the Welsh preacher, Martyn Lloyd Jones.

(Ironically, our pastor spoke on this exact topic yesterday … and I started this post a week ago. Interesting how God works!)

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Filed under Christian life, Life Journal, Spiritual life