Monday, August 18, 2008
25 weeks and counting
My tummy is growing and so is our little Charlie. Most of the day, it feels like he's doing an Olympic gymnastics routine inside of me! He is definitely a very busy boy. It's so fun to feel him bumping around in there...a constant reminder of God's gracious blessing to our family.
We are so looking forward to his arrival in November, but we've got tons of work to do on the house first. It stresses me out quite a bit to think of all of the little things left to do before he comes. Things are progressing, but I guess I'd like it all done yesterday!
I've always prided myself on being a fairly prepared person. In fact, I usually err on the "over-prepared" side. It's obnoxious. God's always trying to teach me to chill out and let Him take the reigns. Sadly, I'm not the best student and have to learn the hard way most of the time!
Avery's birth was one of those hard lessons for me. She was delivered 2 weeks early. Early delivery isn't necessarily abnormal in itself, but that's probably where the normal part of her birth story ends.
Late in my second trimester with Avery, I contracted HELLP Syndrome. HELLP is a rare, severe, and sometimes deadly form of Preeclampsia (toxemia). The only cure for HELLP is for the mother to deliver the baby. So - Avery was taken a little early by C-Section. The scary thing is, I didn't get better right away as expected. In fact, things got worse for me during the days after her delivery. Nothing seemed to go as planned.
The funny thing is that I spent countless hours during my pregnancy in preparation for Avery's birth. I faithfully watched "A Baby Story", read any kind of pregnancy book I could get my hands on, and carefully listened to all of my experienced mom friends' advice. Her room was ready and her clothes were washed and put away. She had a dresser full of diapers. My check list was complete. I was confident of what lay ahead for us. Things were under control. The reality is that all those preparations couldn't do a thing for me when push came to shove.
I can only shake my head as I look back on my thought process then. But even after all I've been taught in my relationship with Christ, I find myself doing the exact same thing today. Spinning my wheels to make things happen...thinking that I've got things covered...making those darned check-lists.
Can we ever really be completely prepared for the hard times in life? No matter now many books we've read or brilliant discussions we've contributed to, when something unexpected or heart-breaking comes our way, it always feels like a punch in the gut. I know this. I've experienced this. So, why do I continue to try to force my world into submission even though I know my efforts are in vain?
The thing is, if it were possible for me to be fully prepared for anything at any time, I'm pretty sure that I wouldn't be living the life that God intended for me. The times of greatest spiritual growth in my life have always come after those "punch in the gut" moments. Those moments left me reeling and in need of the only One with any real answers. Those moments brought me into the safety of my Father's loving arms.
God graciously covered David and I with His peace throughout the entire scary experience of Avery's birth and we're definitely stronger because of it. Avery was born healthy, and after a few days in the hospital, some great medical care, and LOTS of prayer from friends and family, I recovered fully.
Our doctor assured us before getting pregnant this time that the chances I contract HELLP again are minimal and we feel good knowing that he has experience with the disease.
Since HELLP doesn't show up until later in the pregnancy, we are closely watching for the symptoms again. The good news is that I'm feeling great so far during this pregnancy, and I know the danger signs to look for. We aren't out of the woods yet, so David and I ask that you would pray with us as we continue to progress through this pregnancy.
We can move forward with confidence because we know that our Father loves us and cares for us. Nothing is hidden from His view. Nothing is beyond His reach. It gives me such peace to know that!
O LORD, you have searched me
and you know me.
You know when I sit and when I rise;
you perceive my thoughts from afar.
You discern my going out and my lying down;
you are familiar with all my ways.
Before a word is on my tongue
you know it completely, O LORD.
You hem me in—behind and before;
you have laid your hand upon me.
Such knowledge is too wonderful for me,
too lofty for me to attain.