Thursday, December 30, 2010

Questions Answered, Kind Of

Before I begin with my questions and ponderings (which are more of a tangled mess than anything), I want to say that even without answers to my questions, we have experienced such peace. Thank you to all of you who have prayed for us, written, called, or stopped by. We can definitely feel the impact of your prayers as God works through you to bring us comfort, strength, hope, and joy.

You would think that the midst of the holiday season would be the absolute worse time to experience a hardship like this. During a time when you are supposed to be happy, carefree, and jolly, we were hit with a tragedy we never expected. While our loss did damper our spirits, it was actually the perfect timing for such a difficulty to take place. Lawrence is a teacher, so he had most of last week and all of this week off. Since I only take care of teachers' kids, I too have had the same vacation time. Because of this, we have been able to spend a lot of time together as a family. We have been able to support and encourage each other 24/7. We haven't had to worry about work or any of the stress that comes with our jobs. We have been able to focus completely on our family. God's timing is impeccable, even when it deals with hard stuff you don't like or understand. And that has brought us even more peace, knowing that God has been in total control and is taking care of the smallest of details.

With all that said, I would like to think that I am completely ready to move on with life. I don't think I will ever "get over" losing my baby, but I do feel okay about going on with whatever God may have for us in the future. I still get scared thinking about all the unknowns and the "what if's." I would still like to know some particulars about the road that lies before us. It would be nice to have a detailed map and step-by-step instructions regarding the on-going journey we are on as we follow after God. But there is no map, there are no nicely printed out directions from Google, and there isn't a GPS that can tell us how many more feet before we make the next turn. BUT, we aren't left on our own. We have the best Guide ever, the Author of Life Himself is right beside us, every single step of the way. I think back to our wedding day and how we read Psalm 48:14, "For this God is our God for ever and ever; He will be our guide even to the end." Just because the path got a bit steep and we have had to climb over a few rocks, we know that God is still with us, showing us the perfect way to go. I still don't know all the places we will go along the way or what all will take place as we work to get there, but I do know my final destination and I am looking forward to my arrival. Some good friends lost their father this holiday season, and one of their comments about their dad's life struck me, "He ran with endurance the race set before him, fixing his eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of his faith the entire way." At many times this past week I haven't felt like running the race set before me. I have wanted to quit, to give up, or at least to stop and rest. Haven't I earned that right, given my situation? Well, Jesus kept going, and He knew the cross was before Him. Thank goodness He didn't stop, or give up, or quit. Thank goodness that He has been with me to help me keep on going. I think of another verse, Isaiah 40:31, "Yet those who wait for the LORD will gain new strength; they will mount up with wings like eagles, they will run and not get tired, they will walk and not become weary." These past few days I haven't felt like flying or even running, but walking I can do. At first it was an effort to take one step after another. While I'm not ready to run quite yet, I don't feel like I am trudging along either. It's more like a slow walk, one where you take the time to enjoy the scenery and take in all the sights and smells along the way.

On this walk, I have been spending time in the Word, mainly the book of Matthew (only because that is where I had been reading, so figured I might as well continue). As I have been reading, I have come up with some questions, or at least some ponderings. Once you get past Jesus' birth and the Sermon on the Mount, Matthew begins to tell more about Jesus' ministry, which of course includes numerous miracles. Reading about Jesus healing people has raised quite a few thoughts and questions for me. For example, in chapter 8 a man with leprosy yells out to Jesus as He is walking by, "Jesus, if You want to, I know that You can heal me." Jesus stops to ask the man what he wants. Of course the man wants to be cured of his incurable disease. Jesus tells him, "I want to heal you," touches the man, and the leprosy is gone, just like that. The man goes away rejoicing. I think to myself, Jesus, I wanted to be healed too. I wanted You to help me. Why didn't You want to fix whatever was wrong and save my baby? Why didn't You want to help me? You could have. You have the power. But You didn't. Why? Why didn't you want to? WHY?!

There is no answer. Not yet...

I read on and come to Matthew 9:19-22. Jesus is on his way to heal someone else, but a woman reaches out and touches his robe. In the midst of the crowd, Jesus feels this woman's touch. He stops. He tells the woman, "Because of your faith, you are well." Again, I think to myself, Did I not have faith? No, I did have faith. I believed that God could have healed me. He could have saved my unborn child. I had total faith that He could reverse whatever had gone wrong and allow us to have a healthy pregnancy and a beautiful baby. I had faith! So, why didn't you make me well? Why didn't you stop and help me? WHY?!

Again, there is no answer. I am left with just my questions. For now...

I keep on reading. I don't get too far before Jesus heals another person. Matthew 9:27-29 tells of 2 blind men who have their sight restored. Just as Jesus told the woman, he says to these men, "Your faith has made you well." The same questions come to mind, Did I not have faith? Was my faith not big enough? If I had faith, why didn't you heal me? Why didn't you change my situation? Why, why, WHY?!

Yet again, no answer.

Just a few verses later (Matthew 9:35-36), I read how Jesus healed many who were brought to Him. The lame went away walking. The deaf could hear. The blind could see. The mute started talking. Demons were cast out. People's lives were changed. No one else could have done what Jesus did. Without Him, these people would have never been able to walk to the market, hear a friend call out, "Hello!," see the colors of a rainbow, or tell their child, "I love you." These men, women, and children desperately needed Jesus, and He took care of them. I am happy for all these people; I am glad that Jesus helped them. Yet, I know there were many more whom He didn't heal. I can empathize with them. For as I read about all these people healed "because He had compassion on them," think to myself, Why didn't you heal me? Did you not have compassion on me? Was I not worth Your time or effort? Do I not matter to You?! If You do love me and care about me, why didn't you help me? Why didn't you save my baby? WHY?!

Still no answers. Just questions.

Reading about all these miracles, I kept waiting to come upon the story of the man who was blind since birth. I even skimmed through the rest of Matthew to see if I could find it. When it wasn't there, I looked through Mark. I kept going, all the way through Luke. I had to keep reading until I got to John 9. Jesus and His disciples are walking along and pass by a man who is blind. In fact, this man was born blind. No accident happened as a boy (like a rock accidentally hitting his eye while he played with friends). Nothing tragic happened at work (like a splinter of wood flying off as he worked to build a house or a fish hook catching his eye instead of a trout). No, he was born blind. There was no reason for his blindness, at least not that man knew. There was no explanation, until Jesus came on the scene. Wondering why this man had been born blind, the disciples asked Jesus, "Who sinned, this man or his parents, that he should be born blind?" They automatically thought there had to be a reason why this man could not see. They figured there had to be a reason why something bad happened to him. (much like we think today) Jesus told them it wasn't anyone's fault, no one was to blame. But He did know the reason why this man had been born blind, why he had been unable to see his entire life, why this man had suffered for so long. Jesus explained, “This happened so the power of God could be seen in him."

There's my answer.

It may not be the answer I wanted. It may still leave me questioning. But it's my answer. The only answer.

There was no explanation for the man being born blind. There was no logical reason. No one had any answers. No one knew why...until Jesus came.

The only difference between me and this man is that Jesus healed the blind man. The blind man went away a seeing man (after he washed the spit and mud off his eyes). But, Jesus chose not to heal me, not to change my situation. Not because I had sinned. Not because I didn't have faith. Not because He didn't have compassion on me or care about me. Not because He couldn't. But because, for some reason I still don't know or understand, God's glory would be made greater in this way. I still have lots of questions, but for now I have to accept the only answer God has given me, "This happened so that My power could be seen in you."

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

ALL Things

I write this with such sadness that I have never known before. Just days ago, I was full of anticipation as I looked forward to meeting our new baby. July couldn't get here fast enough for me to hold and kiss my precious child. All that has changed now...

It’s ironic. Today is Tuesday. Coralyn was born on a Tuesday. My labor started late Monday night, and she was born around 8 on Tuesday morning. That morning was full of such joy and happiness.

Late last night, I guess you could say I went into labor. Really, I had a miscarriage. By 8 this Tuesday morning, I was sure I had lost the baby. This morning has been full of pain and loss.

In the midst of my tears, I hear God speaking to me and feel His arms around me. I have His peace, but it is conflicted with anger, confusion, and worry. Satan doesn’t want me to trust God, to believe His is still good. Satan wants me to turn my back on God. Sorry, Satan. You lose. You’ve got another Job on your hands. I will still praise my Savior and my Lord. I will not curse Him. I will not give up and die. I know that my Redeemer lives, and I know that my precious baby is with Him right now. God gives, and God takes away; blessed be the name of the Lord.

Yes, my heart is raw. I cry at the drop of a hat. But I can hear Coralyn playing in her crib as she settles down for her nap. How can I forget the absolute joy of that Tuesday morning almost 15 months ago? I am so blessed to be a mother, for many, many women never ever get that opportunity. I have an amazing daughter, and today more than any other I love her with all my heart. Today, even more than the day she was born, I appreciate her life, for it is truly a miracle that she is here. Not only was she perfect when she was born, she has been healthy and strong and safe these past 15 months. She is growing and learning and maturing. Today, I am more aware of that than ever before. So while I am saddened by my loss, God is helping me focus on the wonderful gift of my precious little girl. I will not dwell on what I do not and cannot have; instead I will fix my eyes on Christ and continue to run with endurance the race He has set before me. I will enjoy the daughter I do have. And somehow I will love her more deeply as we follow God on the journey He sets before us as a family.

I want to cry out to God in sheer anger. I want to yell and scream. I want to tell Him that He has no idea the pain that I am going through right now. But He keeps reminding me of two scenes. The first is Jesus in the manager. He willingly gave up His Son, sending Jesus to earth to live among men who would hate Him and eventually kill Him. Which leads to the second scene of Jesus hanging on the cross. He willingly died, on my behalf. And when He did, He took upon Himself my sin. God had to turn His back on His own Son. So, yes, He does know the pain I am experiencing, for He too lost His child, His beloved Son.

I want to tell God that this messes up my plans and my dreams. I want to say that I had everything figured out and nicely arranged as to how my life is supposed to go. But He keeps telling me that I am not in charge; He is. Not only that, but His plans are far better than mine. His plans are perfect. I may not see that right now or understand, but I just have to take Him at His Word; He never lies. Nor does He change. He always does what is good, what is best. He always seeks to bring glory to His name. So, somehow, in some way God is going to use this loss for His glory, and ultimately for my good. I don’t see it now, but this all fits perfectly into His plan. This is somehow part of the process that will shape and mold me into the woman God has created me to be. The transformation of becoming like Christ is somehow one step closer to being complete. I can fight against it or I can allow God to work in my life. He has just been teaching me as I read through Matthew that He uses people to bring about His purposes, whether that be men and women who were in the genealogy of Christ, Mary and Joseph, the shepherds, the wise men, or even King Herod. The point He kept making was that He always accomplishes His will, whether you work with Him or not. You may not see the results of the work in your lifetime, but they will come, and they will be amazing. I would rather be like Mary who said, “I am your servant, let it be as you say,” then King Herod who sought to put an end to God’s plans but failed. I would rather experience pain now and eternal joy later as I see the outcome of God’s work in my life. I readily admit I do not like this part of the process. I confess that I do not understand what in the world God is doing or why this is what He thinks is best. All I can do is trust Him. And wait to see how it all turns out.

Several Scripture passages keep coming to mind and bringing me encouragement and comfort. The first is Romans 8:28, “And we know that God causes ALL things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.” I think about times in the Bible when God used “bad” things to bring about a greater good: Joseph being sold into slavery and then into prison; Daniel being thrown into the lions’ den; Mary and Joseph being accused of having a baby out of wedlock; Lazarus dying before Jesus arrived; Paul and Silas being thrown into prison for preaching about Jesus; and of course the ultimate of Jesus dying on the cross. This miscarriage falls into the category of ALL things, so that must mean that God is going to use it to bring about a greater good. What that is I don’t know. Like I said, I have to trust God, and wait.

Brining me to my next Scripture passage, Psalm 62:1-2, “I wait quietly before God, for my salvation comes from Him. He alone is my Rock and my Salvation, my Fortress where I will NEVER be shaken.” God first showed me this passage when I tore cartilage in my knee in high school, making it impossible for me to achieve my dreams of competing at the state track meet and playing volleyball in college. He used that loss to bring about a greater good: I was a RA at Moody, met some lifelong friends, had the opportunity to go to Haiti, and the timing of everything eventually led to me meeting Lawrence at Ponca Bible Camp. I would say that our marriage and the birth of Coralyn are definitely worth the momentary pain and loss of not being at the state track meet or playing collegiate volleyball. I may have felt like my whole world was turned upside down at the time of the knee surgery, but God was in control. He was my immovable rock, my fortress, my stronghold. Yeah, he shook me up a bit, but I came out better grounded in Him than ever before. Once again, my world feels as though it is crumbling around me. Yet, I know that I am grounded in Christ. I will take Him at His word once again, and know that I will not be shaken. And once again, I will have to wait (which I am terrible at!) for God to show me how He is going to work this out for my good and His glory. I know that He will. I may never see how, but I know that He will. The hard part is waiting, but wait I must, so wait I will. Maybe not too quietly at first, but as the “peace that passes understanding” envelops me more and more, I know that my heart will be quieted and I will be able to rest peacefully in the arms of Christ.

A third passage that God keeps speaking to me is 2 Corinthians 1:3-7, “All praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. He is the source of every mercy and the God who comforts us. He comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others. When others are troubled, we will be able to give them the same comfort God has given us. You can be sure that the more we suffer for Christ, the more God will shower us with His comfort through Christ. So when we are weighed down with troubles, it is for your benefit and salvation! For when God comforts us, it is so that we, in turn, can be an encouragement to you. Then you can patiently endure the same things we suffer. We are confident that as you share in suffering, you will also share in God’s comfort.” I realize that Paul was not speaking of miscarriages here, but I think it applies, for God is most certainly my comfort during this trouble. Not only that but I have already experienced comfort from dear people He has placed in our lives. A good friend came over this morning to watch my daycare kiddos while Lawrence and I went to the doctor. She has had a miscarriage, so when she hugs me, I know she understands exactly what I am going through. When she says, “I am so sorry,” I know her heart has felt the same pain, the same loss. While I am so sad that she has gone through this before, I am comforted by her now. With that in mind, I pray that God will be able to use me to bring comfort to others in the future. Really, He has been preparing me for just such a thing. At my Bradley training I was told that at least one of my students would have a miscarriage. Out of the 15 women at the conference, 3-5 had had miscarriages. At that point I realized it was definitely a possibility that in the course of my teaching, I would have a couple who lost their baby. I never thought I would experience it first though. But now, when that times comes, I will be able to comfort them knowing what they are going through and feeling. And I pray that I am able to speak to them of God’s love and peace in their time of grief and loss. I pray that He uses me to comfort them as He has already used people to comfort me.

A final passage that God continues to remind me of is Proverbs 3:5-6, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. In ALL your ways, acknowledge Him, and He will direct your path.” Trust, trust, trust. I can’t lean on my own understanding at a time like this anyway because I don’t have any understanding. This makes no sense. There is no immediate answer to WHY?! Logic cannot explain this situation. The only solution is to trust, to take God at His word. And as I do, He will lead me, one step at a time. At first the steps might be slow and shakey, but His strong right hand will uphold me. He may not show me what the road ahead looks like, and that is probably best, for if I had known this was going to happen, I would not have wanted to follow Him here. I would have wanted to turn and run the other direction, as fast as I could. If I had done that, I would not be where God wants me. I would miss out on the perfect plans God has for me. So here I am, right where God wants me. I am at the end of myself, exactly where I need to be, because only here can I fully rely on Him. Only here am I truly aware of my utter and total dependence on Him. Where the path goes from here, I don’t know. It’s not my job to know (though I sure would like to!). My only responsibility is to trust and obey, “for there’s no other way to be happy in Jesus, but to trust and obey” (as the old hymn goes). Trust, trust, trust. Wait, wait, wait. What else is there to do?

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Au Naturale

14 months ago, our lives were changed forever when Coralyn was born. She has brought such joy and happiness to our hearts. We are so blessed to have such an amazing little girl. I don't think we can explain how much we love her. We loved her from the moment we knew she existed. So, really, our lives changed last February (on Valentine's Day no less!) when we discovered I was pregnant.

I am person who likes to be organized, informed, and know all the details. So, naturally, as soon as I knew I was expecting a baby, I went to the library and got as many books as I could on childbirth. I talked to everyone I knew who had a baby. I did research on the internet, trying to find as many websites as I could that dealt with anything related to being pregnant, the actual labor and delivery process, and parenthood. Boy, did I learn a lot!

Having seen a natural birth while I was in Haiti (thanks, Jennifer Ebenhack for letting me attend Brendan's birth), I knew that wanted to have my baby au naturale. I figured if Jen could do it, then so could I. And after reading and researching, I decided that was the best option. The problem was finding a place to have the baby since I really didn't want to give birth in a hospital. Mercy and Truth Birthing Center provided an answer to that "problem." Next on the agenda was learning how to have a natural birth (just watching one wasn't quite enough for me to feel comfortable knowing how to do it on my own). This is where the Bradley Method comes in. I had never heard of such a thing and had no idea what to expect at our weekly birth classes. After 12 weeks of classes, I felt confident that we had made a good decision and was totally prepared to give birth au naturale.

Coralyn's birth was, of course, one of the happiest experiences of my entire life. Some people might think that I am absolutely crazy and insane to not have gotten an epidural or at least some kind of pain medication. I know people also say that love makes you forget the pain of labor (which is why people have more than 1 child), but I can honestly say I remember my labor and delivery quite well, from the first contraction to the time Coralyn was born. And now that I am pregnant again, I am not scared one little bit of the pain that will come with this baby's birth. I actually feel even more prepared since I have gone through the process once and know what to expect (though every birth is different).

Since Coralyn's birth I have become more and more passionate about natural birth. I know that not everyone agrees with me, and that's okay. But, I would still like to help as many people as I can learn about how to have a healthy pregnancy and a natural, un-medicated birth. This is why I am starting to teach Bradley classes (that and I won't be able to do daycare anymore and need some form of income). If you are like I was before Coralyn was born, you have never heard of the Bradley Method and have no idea why I am so excited about it. You just think I am weird. :)

To give you a glimpse into my messed up brain and help you understand what this Bradley method is all about, here is an outline of the classes I will be teaching and why each topic is important to a healthy pregnancy that results in a healthy baby.

Exercise During Pregnancy: Labor is like a marathon. Just like any athletic event requires training and preparation, you have to get physically ready for labor.

Nutrition: Good nutrition can not only help prevent problems like toxemia and pre-eclampsia (a condition resulting in seizures), but also helps the baby grow and develop inside the womb.

Pregnancy: Knowing how the baby is developing inside the womb will blow you away. It's simply amazing how intricately designed these tiny babies are before they are ever born, not mention all the things they can do while still inside their mom!

The Coach: Having someone by your side to encourage and support you throughout the entire process is so important, not just at the time of labor but during the whole pregnancy.

First Stage of Labor: Understanding what is going on with your baby and your body helps you know how to respond to contractions and any pain. Knowing where you are at in the labor process also helps you focus on what is happening at the time and what to expect as labor continues and progresses.

Second Stage of Labor: Again, knowing what is happening, what to expect, and how to work with your baby and your body will help you have the best birth experience possible.

Planning Your Birth: Having a prepared birth plan will help you communicate with the birth professionals who will be at your baby's birth. There are many options as to what you what your baby's birth to look like, and deciding ahead of time will help things go smoothly once labor begins.

Variations and Unexpected Situations: Knowing what to do in case of an emergency or simply if something goes differently than you planned or imagined will help you remain calm no matter what happens during labor.

Advanced First Stage Labor: A more in-depth look at what will take place during labor and actual labor rehearsal so you are as ready as possible for your baby's birth.

Advanced Second Stage Labor: More practice and more relaxation they say, "Practice makes perfect."

Being a Great Coach: This class really focuses on the dads and helps them prepare for their role in the birth process.

Preparing for Your New Family: So you had the baby, now what? Knowing what will happen immediately after the baby is born and how to care for your precious child is certainly a crucial part of becoming a parent.

Well, that's a summary of the Bradley Method, or the classes at least. If you want to know more, I could talk your ear off (as I am sure you figured out by now). If you are interested or know someone who might like to take classes, please let me know. I plan on having my first class in February and would love to help as many couples as I can prepare for the birth of their babies.

Better Late Than Never

Coralyn's 14 month milestone was December 6, and I didn't post anything about her newest accomplishments. Like I said, better late than never. So here is just a few of the things Coralyn has been up to in the past month:

*Not only is she signing to communicate with us, but she is actually starting to say real words. You may have to listen closely or know what she is talking about, but I think you can understand the words coming out of her mouth. Her vocabulary now includes: Mama, Dada, more, please, eat, ball, block, book, da for "that" as she holds something up and wants you to say its name, wa-wa for water or drink in general, sna for snack, all done, ni-ni for night (or bedtime or her pacifier which she only gets at bedtime), and hi (which she says when she holds the phone up to her ear).

*She can moo like a cow, show the trunk of an elephant, roar like a lion, stretch out her neck like a giraffe, flap her arms like a bird (or airplane).

*She can drive the carts at Hy-Vee. Well, she can pretend to steer at least.

*She can stack cups and put the rings on the tower thing.

*She can put a puppet on her hand and make it say hi.

*She waves hello and good-bye. She runs to the door any time I say someone is here for daycare. She knows to run to the door in the kitchen (out to the garage) when I say Daddy is home since he always comes in through the garage.

*She goes right to her chair when I say "Let's eat a snack," or "Time for lunch."

*She will help clean up her toys.

*She will throw away dirty diapers and put the wipes in the basket.

*She will go on the potty (not all the time, but hey I take anytime!)

*She can throw a football (and other balls too). She knows the ping pong balls are downstairs and goes to the door and says please to let us know she wants another ball.

*She will get down on her hands and knees (and sometimes stomach) to look for balls under the coach or chair.

*She can use a fork or spoon if I put the food on it for her.

*She can color a picture (and knows right where the crayons are!). She will help put the crayons away when she is done. And she puts her picture on the chair every time since that is where I always have the boys put their finished art projects.

*She can play with play-dough and roll it out into a snake. She will put it away too!

*She will help me get her dressed by putting out her arms and legs. She will try to put her socks and shoes on.

*She can shake her NO to let us know she doesn't want something.

*She bows her head to pray.

*She rubs her hands to wash them.

*She knows what cup/bottle belongs to which daycare kiddo and will take the cup to him/her.

*She will take her play camera and face it the right way and smile really big then take a picture of herself (can you tell she is used to the camera!).

*She can turn on the TV and will bring you the remote so you can get the video ready (we only watch TV after snack time, but she gets the idea of how the TV works).

*She can brush her teeth.

I am sure there are many, many more things my amazing daughter can do. She is excellent a mimicking what she sees others around her do. Really cool that she can pick up on things like that, but kind of scary too. I have to make sure I am setting a good example for her!

I am amazed at how quickly she is growing up. I know it's a good thing, but at times I get said when I think how she isn't my "baby" anymore. Well, she will be until June or July, at least! I can't wait to see what kind of big sister Coralyn is!

Monday, December 6, 2010

God's Sense of Humor

God has a great sense of humor. Let me explain...

Lawrence and I know that we want lots of kids. Well, I would love to have 6-8 and Lawrence would be content at 2. We compromise at 4. Of course, those are our plans, not God's. He tends to have a way of working things out somewhat different than we have in mind. We would like our kids to be close in age, about 18-24 months apart. So, as soon as Coralyn turned 8 months old, my mind told me that it was time to get pregnant, immediately. I hate waiting! Well, one month of waiting turned into 2 and that turned into 3 and then 4. I was getting quite impatient and worried that my perfect plans of the kids being 18-24 months apart was not going to happen. (Heaven forbid!) Of course, God had everything under control, as He always does.

Around the beginning of October I started not to feel well, every day. I felt light-headed and dizzy. I was getting super tired, even though I would make an extra pot of coffee in the afternoon to try to boost my energy. I was hungry all the time, even though I was eating normally. So, I took a test at home to see if I might be pregnant. A big fat NO. I was disappointed but knew that God's timing is perfect (I just wanted Him to get on my timetable). A week later, I still felt sick and tired and hungry. I took another test. Got another NO. I decided I was probably just imagining my symptoms because I wanted to be pregnant so badly. Yet, I still didn't feel any different several weeks later. Figured maybe I could take another test, just for fun. Well, the result again wasn't what I wanted to see. Sigh. I guess I was a glutton for disappointment because a week later I took another test since I was still feeling yucky all the time. A fourth negative. By this time I decided that since I wasn't pregnant, I needed to figure out what was "wrong" with me. I made an appointment at the birthing center where Coralyn was born, at their women's clinic.

My appointment went like a normal visit and I started out with the usual trip to the bathroom. The nurse checked my vitals and asked about my symptoms. Then she did a pregnancy test. It was negative, so we went to get the midwife to draw my blood and do some tests that way to figure out why I was feeling icky. Another nurse came in, looked at the pregnancy test on the counter, and told me, "Congratulations!" I was quite surprised since 5 minutes earlier the same test had been negative. But sure enough, there was a line on the pregnant part!

The midwife isn't sure how far along I am since I took 4 tests at home and they were all negative. She figures I was only about 6 weeks or so at that time (the middle of November). If that is true, then the baby should arrive sometime in July. If I was pregnant before and the tests were all messed up, then the baby should arrive sometime in June. Guess God is going to keep us on our toes on this one and expect us to trust Him with the timing of things. Imagine that! I hate not knowing all the details, but I guess God knows them and that is enough.

The timing of the birth (whether June or July) is perfect because it won't interfere with my daycare families' routines. I can watch the kids until school is out in May and then not start up again when school starts in August.

It's also great that God provided the funds for me to go to Dallas this past weekend and take the Bradley natural childbirth training. I will be able to start teaching classes in February! With this new "job" I will still be able to stay at home, but not do daycare. I will be able to take Coralyn to the park and library. I can visit other stay-at-home moms during the day. I can be more actively involved with DC MOM, the mom's group at our church. So many positives, plus I get to help other couples learn about natural childbirth and prepare for their babies! It's a win-win situation.

And, as God showed me, He knew exactly what He was doing. The kids will be 21 months apart, right smack dab in the middle of my "required" 18-24 months. Funny, how that just "happened" to "work out."

I love God's sense of humor. I have prayed for twin boys, so we will see how His humor works out on that one. Watch, and we will have triplet girls :) Whatever the case, we are so excited to welcome another child (or more) to our family!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

A Jumbled Mess

That's what I feel like today.

I am super excited about my trip to Dallas for the Bradley training. By going I will learn a whole lot about childbirth and be one step closer to being accredited to teach natural birth classes. I am thrilled that God provided the money for me to go on this trip. I am so thankful for the opportunity to meet other people who are interested and passionate about babies, pregnancy, childbirth, families, and other such related things. At the same time, I am sad about leaving. I would love for Lawrence and Coralyn to come with me, but that's just not realistic. I am going to miss them so much. I know that I will be busy attending seminars and filling my head with lots of technical terms and trying to process everything I am learning. But I fear that the days are going to creep by as I am away from my precious family. This will be the first time I have left Coralyn for more than a few hours. Granted, my mom is going to be taking care of her during the day and Lawrence will be with her in the evenings. She is in great hands. I am not nervous about that, though I do wonder about how Coralyn will do without me around as she tends to be a Mama's Girl. I know that I am going to cry when I say good-bye at the airport tonight and when I get on the plane on Sunday to return home, it won't be able to travel fast enough. And wouldn't you know it, my seat is in the very back of the plane. I already hate the deboarding process and think it takes far too long. I can only imagine how impatient I am going to be Sunday night.

Well, that's about it. I am a big jumbled mess today.