Daily Archives: September 18, 2008

Hello world, here I am!

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Wow! I feel as if I am emerging from a long winter’s nap! Except to say that implies sleep which anyone who has recently given birth knows there is little of. Those commercials don’t lie when they say “Having a baby changes everything!” As many of you know Michael and I welcomed our first child, a son named Ephraim, on February 18th of this year. 

While having a child is the most amazing thing I have ever experienced it has also changed every aspect of my life. First and foremost I realize and live dying to self on a daily basis now. As I type this I am listening to my IPod and it is a playlist titled “Labor” that I made the night before I went into the hospital to give birth to Ephraim. I remember searching through the 1000’s of songs in my library and trying to select the exact songs that I wanted or felt would help either motivate or calm me during labor. Michael and I had elected to induce labor because of some blood pressure issues I was having so I knew what to expect from the coming day … or so I thought. Let me just say the experience was entirely “other” than what I had envisioned and in reality prayed for. 

From the get go I had wanted to do childbirth as naturally as possible. Even “Supernaturally” if possible, meaning without pain. I had prayed everyday of the pregnancy for my son and his health and even his personality,  physical attributes and attitudes. I tried to leave no stone unturned and sought the Holy Spirit for how to pray. It wasn’t until the approaching due date was upon me that I started to focus on labor. I was naive, I’ll admit it. And probably a little double-minded too. See I had confessed with my mouth what I wanted my labor experience to be, but I am not sure I really bought into the confession i was making. In the end, the fatigue of a long 40 weeks, mounting fears about the babies safety and amidst incredible internal anxiety I gladly gave into my doctor when he suggested inducing me the day before my actual due date. 

I realized that would mean giving me Pitocin to bring on the contractions and intensify them and that he would also want to break my water himself. I also accepted the inevitability of an epidural which I initially had opposed. We arrived at the hospital at 5:00 am and by 9:30 the IV was in the pitocin flowing and the bag of waters busted. They came in every half hour and increased the pitocin. For those of you who don’t know, pitocin causes the uterus to contract (just like it would normally) only it “ramps” up the intensity and pain commonly associated with labor. By noon I had taken all I thought I could and begged for the anthesiologist to come and put me out my misery. Too late they said … she was already in a c-section and I would have to wait at least an hour. You can imagine how I felt right about then …

So an hour and a half later, fully effaced and dilated to an 8 she arrives, drugs in hand. They sat me up and tried to insert the catheter but the problem was my contractions were piggy-backing each other and I was getting no break from it. Finally they got it in and after thirty minutes of full body shakes I was feeling pretty good and ready to chill until it was time to push. By 3:30 we were ready to go and they assured me I would be holding baby boy within the hour. Not so much ….

I pushed and pushed and pushed, to no avail. His head would crown but as soon as I stopped pushing he immediately sucked back up. The doctor realized that he was “hung up” in my pelvis because he entered the birth canal at an angle. After 2 1/2 hours of intense pushing I was faced with a choice, either use forceps or suction to remove him vaginally or have a c-section. I opted for the c-section and immediately preparations were underway. All I could do was cry. I crumbled into tears from the emotional upheaval of exhaustion and failure I was feeling. My sister cried, Michael reassured me and the nurse (heather) brought quick encouragement. I will never forget her telling me “There are variables at work her that we just don’t understand but for whatever reason you are meant to do it this way.” It comforted, but also brought confusion. I kept thinking, this is not what I prayed for. Not what I “wanted”.

Once in the operating room they got to work right away and at 6:54 pm I heard the sound I have waited my whole life to hear, the cry of my child. He was perfect (except his cone head) and healthy. My doctor then informed us that the umbilical cord had been around his neck and that we made the right decision to have the C-Section. If we had waited any longer, pushed any harder or used the suction to pull him out we would have had a devastating outcome. Indeed, Heather’s wisdom and intuition were right on the money.

Ephraim is now a few days shy of seven months old and a living miracle in too many ways to mention in this blog. He is a promise fulfilled and 1000 prayers answered. As I type this I can see him asleep in his crib on the video monitor and my heart is full. In retelling the story of his delivery God is showing me his hand at work. I am realizing that so many times when a circumstance has an expectation other than what we envisioned it can bring confusion and disappointment, but also opportunity. The opportunity to better understand ourselves and God.

I realize now that I wanted the natural childbirth, but was perhaps not as committed to it as I would have liked to believe. There was a multitude of anxieties bearing down on me and I was overwhelmed (Psalm 94). I confessed yes, but was not committed in my belief. I heard a quote this past Sunday that “What we believe about the end will directly affect how we behave in the middle.” The truth is I was so engulfed in the battle of the middle that I was unprepared for the end. Here is the miracle though, it didn’t matter. God was still there and still at work and still in control. He knows my days and Ephraim’s and that is that.

The reality is that if I had been patient in my endurance and waited for labor to come on naturally the baby probably would have been in the right position and labor much easier. I don’t know if that would have changed the umbilical cord thing and I never will. It doesn’t matter at this point. The allegory that see in all of this is my professed plan at odds with my own impatience. This resulted in me trying to control the outcome because I didn’t trust my body to do it on its own. How much is that a reflection of how I handle other situations in my life. I say I trust the plans God has for me, that they are for my good. His intentions are to bless and not to harm … but do I live like I really believe that? Depends on the day honestly. Sometimes yes and others, no. It is in these times that things get the messiest for me. I tend to put my grubby paws on the wheel and control things myself. Thats bad enough, but it also opens a door for the enemy to ramp it up. Like pitocin, it takes the trial I am in and intensifies it beyond what I can do for myself. Praise God, He makes a way of escape for me and saves the day. He delivers me from the enemy and from myself, sets my feet on the rock.

 

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Whose “View” is it anyway?

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We begin our days around here pretty much the same day in say out. Ephraim wakes and that is Mommy and Daddy’s new alarm clock. I get up, go in and nurse and then feed him some cereal. After that, while Michael and I have our breakfast, E plays in the bed with us and then has some quality time with his Papa before Michael leaves the house for work. We follow the same pattern most everyday, but this one was an exception and thats got me thinking …

Ephraim slept until 9:00 am this morning which is awesome, but abnormal. Usually he wakes by 7:30 at the latest. I got up nursed and Michael changed his diaper while I got his cereal ready. Michael and I have decided (along with several in our church) to fast on Wednesdays so that meant no breakfast in bed for either of us this morning. Besides that, it was so late that Daddy had to work right after the diaper change. I fed E his cereal, took him into our room and got some coffee. We played, watched Clifford and by 10:00 he was rubbing his eyes and ready for a nap. I put him down and climbed back in bed to finish my coffee and watch a little TV. Nothing was one except “The View”.

I don’t frequent this show, for reasons I think are probably obvious, however, it is entertaining from time to time. This morning the ladies were discussing the government “bail-out” of AIG and other banks. They were asking questions like, “Why is welfare when they help people, but a bail out when its a corporation?” and stuff like that. Then they began to discuss all the possible ramifications and worse case scenarios that actions such as these by the government can lead to. I felt a mixture of intrigue and fear begin to grip my heart. 

Now I will cop to the fact that since having a child I have become much less informed about current events that in my previous life. Unlike most people, I actually enjoy the news and newspaper. I think it is a through back to seventh grade history when we had to bring a current event every Friday and discuss infront of the whole class. I have not had an opportunity to “read up” on the latest economic crisis facing our country so I had to let Whoopi and the gals educate me this morning (read that with a lot of sarcasm). Let me just say that while everything they said could possibly happen, it all sounded like a lot of doomsday prophecy to me. Joy Behar mentioned that she had called her accountant to make sure that all of her millions were invested in FDIC insured banks. Sherry Shephard said she actually went to her bank to verify that it was also FDIC and they assured her she would be fine because her account had less that $100,000 in it anyway. (And these women are supposed to be ones that the average American female can identify with???) Whoopi spoke of a man interviewed by the media that had lost $20 million in the bail out and had no idea what would become of him. She said she did, “You gotta get a job, just like anyone else.” Barbara Walters started using terms like “a run on banks” that most of us have not heard since studying the Great Depression at some point during our education.

As I watched this I felt the gentle call of the Holy Spirit to turn it off and remember a word that He had given me months ago that I shared at church. Here is the deal, there is truth and then there is TRUTH. I can’t dispute anything these women were saying because it is all within the realm of possibilty, plausibilty and worse case scenario. However, there is nothing new under the sun and situations such as these go back to the foundations of time. We can read in any given chapter of the Bible about hard times befalling a nation, a city, and a people. Some of this was direct prophetic revelation from God. Other times it was the voice of the enemy intent on speaking fear and hopelessness to a generation. Many times it was both and the question was “Who are you going to listen to?” Think Job.

What I feel the Lord saying is that there is a way that man thinks is right, but that leads to death. Now this could mean literal death, but it can also lead to other deaths. Deaths of hopes, dreams, promises and vision. Remember, He said His people perished because they had a lack of vision. Vision meaning the ability to see where they were headed through the Spirit of God, a.k.a prophetic revelation. We live in a time, unfortunately, where we will seldom turn on the news and hear anything good about our futures. If it isn’t the economy, it is the environment or lack of health care or cancer or ______________ (fill in the blank). The doomsday prophets are everywhere and we have to make a choice about whose “view” or vision we are going to listen to. 

Joseph, son of Israel, faced the same predicament. As pharoah’s captive he operated in his God given ability to interpret dreams and this brought him favor and freedom from captivity. When asked to interpret one of pharoah’s dark and gloomy dreams, Joseph listened to the voice of the Lord. Rather than saying, “Well, famine is coming! Certain death is upon us” He tuned into what God was really saying. “Yes, hard times are upon us, but I will make a way for your preservation.” The nation instituted a means of storing up grain and goods that would sustain them through the crisis. This also enabled Joseph to reconcile and forgive his own family with whom he had been estranged.

We serve a great and mighty God who is ready and able to dispense vision beyond the evening news. The Word assures us that in this life we will face struggles and difficulties. You can stop reading there if you so choose. You will reap the fruit of that though. God promises his people a means of escape and also abundant life. We have to choose to hear the voice of the Lord during these times and remember the vision He has given us for our families. 

The Church is on the presipice of something great and restorative. We have wandered in the wilderness and reached the Jordan with the promises of God within our grasp. We must choose His View over our own and begin to act accordingly. He is for us, not against us …but above all He is “I am” and that is all we need.