Saturday, January 31, 2009

Already Born

Due to a big mess in a car seat yesterday, we had to do some temporary rearranging of seats in the van. Thinking these changes were permenant, Kaiden asked me where the baby's seat was. I explained that it was still in the box at the house. Here is the rest of our conversation:

Kaiden: But the baby needs her car seat in the van!
Mommy: We'll put it in the van when she is born.
Kaiden: But she is already born.
Mommy: No, Kaiden, born is when she comes out of Mommy's tummy
Kaiden: I say she is born because she is already alive!

At that I kept quiet. Kaiden is right. So often we look at a birth date as the moment when a little one is born. But this little baby girl, though still without a name, is very much alive. It is tempting at times to turn off our hearts and hold our hopes in check until we hear her first cries. We base her existence on what our eyes can see and our ears can hear. Her eyes have already seen daylight shining through my skin. Her ears have already heard her sisters' laughter. Her feet have already danced against her sister's cheek. Though our hearts may be on hold, she is already "born".

Thank you Kaiden for reminding me once again that while March may be the due date, today is the day to enjoy our little girl's life!

Thursday, January 29, 2009

A Good Update - or an Anxiety Boost?

I had another ultrasound and NST today. The ultrasound measures T4's growth and assess her overall well being. The NST - non-stress test - monitors T4's fetal movement and heart rate to detect signs of distress. All looks good.

I have wondered a lot this month about the effects of all this extra monitoring. Fetal distress and cord failure could happen in a brief hour in the middle of the night - something that twice a week monitoring would never be able to predict. But yet we place our faith and our money in machines to tell us all is well.

Generations ago, every pregnancy was high risk with stillbirths and infant death common. These women had no fetal monitoring devices, just old wives tales about the inner workings of the womb. Yet the women of those generations exhibited and steadfastness of character I only dream of emulating.

So with a good update, I am tempted to once again place my faith in technology rather than trusting the Creator. And a faith in technology is a faith of shifting sand. When the storm rages in the night and the silence is deafening, will such faith sustain me or only create anxiety?

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

But What If.......

Over the past few years, through deployments and through grief, I have learned that God is not a God of "what if" He is the God of "what is". Nothing is unknown to Him, nothing takes Him by surprise. He does not contemplate the what ifs..... but I do.

It is a great challenge for me to not dwell in the what if's, especially with so many in my life. What if Mark's flight today doesn't go well... What if he doesn't return from the next deployment... What if this was the last holiday I will see my aging Grandparents... What if something happens to my girls... What if something happens to our new baby...

I can always tell when I begin to live in the land of what if - I become anxious and everything around me because shadowed in gray. If I follow the thought too far, I feel surrounded by darkness. But this is not surprising. You see, God is light and the opposite of Him is darkness and confusion. When I live in the what-ifs, I am not living where He is. God is the God of what is and He has extended to me the grace for this day. To attempt to live beyond that, in the world of if, is to live outside of His grace and His light and therefore dwell in darkness and confusion.

Last week, the first time T4 had a nighttime spell of decreased movement, I was overwhelmed with all the what ifs. And the darkness closed in fast. But following a good checkup from the OB in the morning, I sat with Mark in a hospital cafeteria and made myself look at the "is".... My husband by my side, my children safe, my baby alive, and the grace to cope with the very real fear of losing my baby.

Yes it is appropriate to think ahead, plan and be prepared. But choosing to dwell in the light of God means that I do not place faith in those plans but in God instead. There are times that I think I am in control of this pregnancy - when I take all my what-if fears and micromanage them. But the days appointed for this child lie solely in the hand of the Creator.

I am not to live in what-if, but there are times when God does ask me that very question. He asks, what if it is part of my plan for this child to not be perfect, what if it is part of my plan for this child to have a brief life, what if it is part of my plan for this child to face hardships.... will you still trust Me?

I do not know what the future holds for our little girl. I do not know if I will see her smile, see her learn to walk, or see her walk down the aisle someday. But I do know that the Lord will always give me the strength and grace to cherish each day that is mine to have with her.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

God's Encouragement

It has been a long week for me. Almost every night while I sleep, T4 (Tyler #4) just doesn't seem to have enough movement. I can jiggle her various body parts, and switch how I am laying, and yet she doesn't respond. Perhaps she is just a deep sleeper, or perhaps something more is wrong.

I have been asking several professionals for their opinions of what might be happening and how we might be able to monitor her during the night. But even with seeking information and wisdom, I was left in confusion. Adding to my confusion is sleeplessness from 5 straight nights of waking every 30 minutes worried about her.

Finally last night, while contemplating calling yet another friend for counsel, I finally asked the question - how does God want me to handle this?

I lay down for bed and began to work on my latest bible study - a personal study on the word Hope. Last night, my study took me first to Psalm 62. Here are verses 5-8:

My soul, wait in silence for God only,
For my hope is from Him.
He only is my rock and my salvation,
My stronghold; I shall not be shaken.
On God my salvation and my glory rest;
The rock of my strength, my refuge is in God.
Trust in Him at all times, O people;
Pour out your heart before Him;
God is a refuge for us.

Verse 5 struck right at the heart of my dilemma. Wait in silence for God only - for my hope is from Him! The silence of the deep night is by far the hardest time to endure. I often wait for a movement, wait for a kick, or wish I could hear a heartbeat. But my hope is not in her movement, my hope cannot be placed in her at all - that simply is too great a burden for any little life to carry. My hope comes from God, and in the silence of the night I will wait for God only.

As I went to sleep last night, I committed to not wake in anxiousness, to not be caught waiting for T4 to move. And last night, though still filled with waking was also filled with Peace. Each time I woke up, a song of worship would be on my mind. Not the whole song, but just a simple line. An encouraging reminder that the silence was being filled not with my anxiety but with praise.

Lord thank You for the encouragement of Your word. Thank You for inspiring David to write his heart in song to You so that his words of long ago may be an encouragement to me today. Thank You for filling the silence with Your presence.

Romans 15:4 For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through endurance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009


With each of my girls, a word has been impressed on my heart in the months prior to their births. My first daughter - Kaiden - is Joy. She was born in the midst of a hurricane evacuation and a cross country move. She smiled the day she was born and she laughed in her sleep at just 2 months old. All the world is a party waiting to happen. Kaiden is the pure embodiment of Joy.

Jordan is Peace. I misunderstood this word for some time. I thought that Jordan would be a peaceful easy baby and usher in a time of calm - instead she arrived in the world as Daddy packed for his first deployment. Jordan struggled with severe acid problems, sleep issues, and anxiousness - a life hardly of peace. But a few months into her life I began to understand the meaning of Peace. It was not that she was a peaceful baby, but that because of her needs she caused us all to slow down and live a simpler, more Peace-filled life. Jordan continues to be a girl of Peace - seeking peace in times of strife and conflict and continuing to seek a simpler, calmer life than her older sister or I tend to live.

Lia is Grace. I learned of Grace not through Lia's life, but in her death. Lia was stillborn, and through the struggle and grief I came to understand the Grace of God as strength in our weakness. Lia's word - Grace - was impressed upon me several months prior to her birth - when all was well. Just like her word was given to us before her birth, God's Grace is extended to us even before we know of its necessity.

And now our new girl. While we don't have a name for her, we know her word - Hope. In the coming days I will share the stories of Hope and how my understanding of Hope grows day by day.