Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Back to Normal!

Well, hello there! Let me first say, that all is right in the world! My husband is back from camp (I can hear him singing in the other room) and I am sooooo glad! I really am quite pathetic when he is gone!

Chris just finished a run-down of how camp went and I am so thankful for the way God worked in our student's lives. Then, I hopped on Facebook a second ago, and almost my whole newsfeed was full of our students talking about how the Lord changed them this last week...it really blessed my heart! I am praying that the seeds that were planted will take root and grow and that our students would grow passionately in their love and devotion to the Lord!

So, for the last week while Chris has been gone, I was blessed with the best house guests, my parents for the first few days and my awesome friend Kim for the last couple days! They made sure the week went by fairly quickly by hanging out with me! My mom packed alot of our bedroom up so that when we move next month not too much of that will have to be done. I am hoping I can convince her to come again in July to pack up a few other areas since I can't lift anything! I have decided my Dad completely takes after my grandpa who passed away this spring. My grandpa was known for making sure everyone had everything they needed...seeing my Dad run to the store for this or that reminded me of him! I can't tell you the random things my sweet Dad brought home from the grocery store just "in case" I needed them! Anyway, life is back to normal, and I am so thankful I had my parents and Kim to keep me company this last weekend! Thanks y'all!

This afternoon I had my weekly doctors appointment, and everything is still looking good. My cervix has shifted to the left a little, but my doctor didn't seem too concerned, so I won't be either! As of tomorrow I will have completed four weeks on bedrest...craziness! Honestly, it has gone faster than I imagined it would. The fourth week completed marks the 25% mark...only twelve more to go! If it wasn't for all the sweet visitors, phone calls, meals, and emails, I know it would have been much more difficult! I am so thankful for our friends and family who have literally showered us with love.

And because it wouldn't be right to not post a few pictures...here is my increasingly large belly at 23.5 weeks. I definitely feel like I "popped" out! There is no denying I am pregnant :)

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Doctors Appointment and Nursery Finds!

Today I had a great doctors appointment! My doctor came back with a positive report which we are sooo thankful for! I have decided that my doctor must not sleep or have a life outside of work...he is always sooo busy! It amazes me. One day Chris asked him how long his work day was, and he responded that he usually came into the office around 6:30 AM and stays until 8 or 9 PM (and that does not include emergency operations/procedures). During that time each day he is constantly running. Today, he was a little behind because a surgery he was performing ran long. Honestly, I have so much respect for the work he does! I have never been so grateful for great medical personnel in my life! It is good to know we are in such good hands. So for now, I am supposed to continue resting and taking it easy while this baby continues to grow strong!

On a completely different note, I have had fun scouting out finds for our airplane nursery online this last week. Craigslist has quickly become my friend! I negotiate the deal and Chris goes and picks it up! The first thing I found was a super cute Pottery Barn propeller hook rack. It is actually a darker red in real life than the pic shows.

Isn't it adorable!!! The second steal I found is a wooden airplane shelf! This will be sooo cute hanging on Baby Bradford's wall...I can't wait!

I had no clue what I would do for the nursery when I found out it was a boy, but honestly I am having fun now that I know which direction I am going! I hope to get started on some craft projects in the next couple weeks while I have so much down time and will post those as I get to them!

Monday, June 20, 2011

Quick Update

Yikes...it has been awhile since I gave an update! It is funny...you would think being at home all day leaves me bored with not much to do. While there are those moments, I have actually felt busy because we have had so many sweet visitors who come to chat or bring me lunch...I am sooo spoiled :) So, all that to say, I haven't posted since last Wednesday!

We are now in our 22nd week...woohoo! This is so exciting for me because each week that goes by is more time for our baby to grow and develop. When we first found out about my incompetent cervix I just prayed to make it this far! The Lord has been so good and has really continued to sustain us and help my body to remain steady!

Chris had his first Father's Day yesterday even though our little one is still baking. He is already a GREAT dad! He will talk to my tummy and pray for our son and he cares for me without a fault. I am really blessed!

We have our weekly appointment tomorrow. I am excited because it allows me to get out of the house and check on Baby Bradford's progress. Who knows, we might even get a few sonogram pics to take home!

We are in for a busy week around the house. Chris leaves for camp this week, so my parents are coming in to stay with me! I already have a Hobby Lobby list for my mom so that she can get me some crafting supplies to occupy my time when they are gone...lol. I also have several sweet friends who will be visiting! I am so thankful to be surrounded by so many family and friends who love us! I'll be back soon with a doctor's appointment update!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Contemplations from the Couch 1 Peter 1:3-7

“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Peter 1:3a)

Entering my third week of bed rest, I am quickly learning many realities about myself that I may not have ever discovered had I not had this time alone. What a blessing, for the Lord to so position me that I have endless amounts of time to think, pray, praise, and reflect. While it is easy to begin wishful thinking of being up and around, out and about, socializing and fellowshipping, I have to trust that I am exactly where God wants me today!

I began studying 1 Peter today, and didn’t get very far. I just want to sit and soak up each word and truth found in the first verses, and not miss one thing God has to show me through His Word. To begin, I am learning that every day of my life and every situation I find myself in must begin and end in praise. It is imperative that praise to God is at the forefront of my life. Some may find this hard to digest…how can a person praise when faced with a difficult circumstance? Can a person praise when persecuted or in the midst of trials? Absolutely, for the key to true praise is having complete attention and focus on the One who deserves our praise. If praise is centered on self or situations, then the object of my attention has been wrongly placed. My praise to God is not based on who I am, what I have done, or where I am, but rather is completely based on who He is, what He has done, where He is…He is King of Kings and Lord of Lords, His works are matchless for He is all-mighty and all-powerful, and He is seated high upon a throne in the heavens above. That is where my praise is focused…it is all about Him and all for Him.

Peter gives two reasons we can praise in verses 3 and 5 of chapter 1. Two reasons to praise God are because of the new birth we have received because of His mercy and because of the protection we receive by God’s power! Honestly, if I had never been born again and brought into new life in Christ, I cannot imagine the inner turmoil, lack of trust, worry and distress I would be in. There is simply no other way to live than in the arms of Christ as one of His beloved children.

Regarding this new birth, Peter gives two descriptions of what we are born into. First, I am born into a living hope! I LOVE this!!! Because of Christ’s resurrection from the dead, my hope, faith, and belief are not resting on a “god” who is dead and powerless, rather my faith is based on the One who has conquered death and reigns victoriously. It is because of His resurrection that I can live triumphantly! Hallelujah! So, first we are born into a living hope (Amen!) but second we are born into an everlasting inheritance…one that can never perish, spoil or fade. This is the inheritance we will receive once we pass from this life into eternity. I am so thankful that not only does God have a victorious life for the believer in the here and now, but He also promises an everlasting inheritance in eternity. There is truly no other life that I would rather live than this one.

So we praise God for the new birth we have been given, and we also praise Him for the protection we are provided with by God’s power (vs. 5). I believe many people misunderstand this protection. Many times, when faced with a difficult circumstance or trial a believer will be tempted to think that God has let them down…that He did not come through, but Peter dispels this lie and gives clarity to why believers go through trials. Peter says, “In this (speaking of the shield we receive by God’s power), you greatly rejoice, though now, for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials” (1:6). He makes clear that believers will face trials, but gives the reason in verse 7, “these have come so that your faith…may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory, and honor when Jesus is revealed”. I pray that my faith is being proved genuine. Looking around, there are people who face much greater challenges, crises, and circumstances than I do, but in my own way, through my own challenges, I desire that my faith is proven to be real, lasting, genuine, and strong. And as a result of that faith, that Jesus would receive complete praise, glory and honor in my life! If that is not something to live for I don’t know what is…may He be exalted and lifted high!!!

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Bedrest- Days 10-12...Almost 2 wks. down!!!

I cannot believe it, but I have been at this bed rest thing for almost two weeks! I have to say...time has flown! I have been blessed by so many sweet people who have visited me, brought me food, and spent time chatting with me on the phone! Friday flew by with a visit from my friend Tiffany during the day. She brought me GORGEOUS flowers, cooked me lunch, and hung out for the afternoon...I have to say it was sooo relaxing and a huge blessing. That night our friends Austin and Kim came over and Chris picked up wings. I love hanging out with them :)

Saturday, my sweet sis-in-law Chelsea came over for a visit. She also got our mail that I was dying for someone to pick up because it had a Gymboree box in it (I have gone a little crazy with online shopping...lol). A family from our church who has been down a similar road as we currently on brought us delicious food and chatted with us for a while about everything we are going through. It feels so good to be able to talk with someone who understands where we are! Thank you Blockers for your advice and encouragement…y’all are a huge blessing!

Finally, perhaps my biggest highlight of the weekend was going to church this morning! My doctor has given me permission to attend one service a week, and I can’t tell you what an encouragement it was. Of course, I had to start this morning with a trip through the Starbucks drive-through on the way there…it’s the little things that make life good :) Anyway, this morning wore me out so I am in bed for the rest of the day. I plan on relaxing all day tomorrow, and can’t wait for our appointment on Tuesday. I am so thankful for our weekly check-ups. It helps to know that the doctor makes sure everything is going well every week. Well, until then I’ll be resting away! To sign off, here is a verse I have been claiming today: “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit” (NIV).

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Bedrest- Days 6-9

I have had a great few days on bed rest! The days have passed fairly quickly...and wow! I can't believe it has already been nine days. God has been gracious. This week I have received so many blessings, I want to make sure and record them all!

First of all, we had a post-operation follow up appointment Tuesday afternoon. Honestly, I went in now knowing what to expect. Feeling a little nervous, I just prayed that everything would be okay! The Lord completely exceeded my expectations! He is sooo good! First of all, I LOVE my doctor! He is such a blessing, and I always walk out feeling better about things than when I go in.

After doing the usual blood pressure and weight gain checks, Dr. Anding checked my cervix, and praise the Lord it has grown from 21mm to 33.5mm! That is huge in my mind, and while I do know that it is expected for it to get smaller, I was greatly relieved. I couldn't help but laughing in the office, I felt so thankful for the growth. Receiving such positive news helps me to breathe easier and rejoice in this season where God has me.

Here is a picture of me at our appointment...20 weeks and 5 days!

So, after my outing for the week, I have settled back in at home. We had a sweet lady at our church give us soup, zucchini bread, cookies, and grape tomatoes from her garden. It has been wonderful and helps so much to be able to grab something quick to eat, and not have to worry about Chris trying to cook...lol!

Wednesday, I had two special visitors. My good friend Kim came over while Chris was church. We ordered a pizza and chatted the night away! I am so thankful for good friends who are willing to come "entertain" me. And then, one of my youth girls Jessica, came over with her boyfriend and brought me a cookie cake!!! If you know me at all, you know I LOVE cookie cakes. I am trying not to eat it all, but it is sooo good! Thanks Jessica...you are the BEST!

My last visitor of the week came today! My sister-in-law Becky came by with my niece Kenlee and surprised me with Chick-fil-a for lunch today! I had a wonderful time, and it made the day fly by. Kenlee is sooo cute, and she is at a really fun stage in life. She giggled and gabbed the time away...love them!

And finally, I am sooo excited our nursery bedding came in the mail today. One of the fun things about being in bed all day is internet shopping (Chris may not think it is so fun if I don't slow down)! I found the bedding I wanted last week and went ahead and ordered it from Janie and Jack. I adore that store! I couldn't be happier. Here is a picture from their website:

Isn't it precious? I love it! So sweet and soft. I can't wait until our little Baby Bradford can be in his nursery! Now I just have to pick paint colors and work on some fun craft projects for the room!

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Bedrest- Days 2-5...A New Normal

I am on Day 5 of bedrest...amazingly it has gone by fairly swiftly thanks to a visit from my parents and friends coming over. My parents arrived Thursday night and I was sooo grateful to have them here. They bought groceries, organized our bedroom, bought different lap tables and pillows for me to use, and overall really helped this transition into staying at home all the time. Since I can't leave, it was really nice to just talk and hang out!

Last night, our sweet friends Austin and Kim came over and Kim brought me a fun craft kit to crochet little stuffed animals! They are adorable, and I look forward to trying my hand at them. I think they will be fun to have in the nursery and special for our little one to know his mama made them while she was waiting for him to come out :) We were also blessed to have our friend Becky bring the most awesome enchiladas last night...they were sooo good! Cooking will be interesting in our house for the next four or five months. I am allowed to get up to go to the kitchen and get a snack or drink, but I cannot stand on my feet for long periods of time or lift anything like pots or pans...so that leaves it up to take out, Chris grilling, or lots of easy foods like sandwiches :) We will see how it goes! Fortunately, my dad was sweet to stock us up on quick easy foods and a million paper products so too many dishes won't have to be done! My mom also spent some time while they were here making up some burritos and smoothies to freeze so I can grab those for lunch or a snack!

Overall, I feel very blessed! I am really praying about how God wants to use this time in my life. I want to make sure to prioritize my time so it is not wasted on endless hours of tv or internet surfing (although I am sure I will be doing some of that). Some areas I would like to really spend some time in are: Bible study, reading, writing, continuing relationships through social media, phone calls, and letters, planning our nursery (without breaking the bank :), and finding ways to still be involved with my youth girls as much as possible. I also would like to pick up some new crafting hobbies, and of course working from home as much as possible.

VBS starts at our church tonight. I was in charge of the event, until all of this happened so I am a sad I will not be there to see how it all goes! It has been wonderful to see how many people have stepped in to get everything done and set up, since the last two weeks of our lives have been emotionally draining and much of our time was spent at the doctors office and hospital and now at home. We truly have an amazing church with awesome servants who are very willing to pitch in!

A verse I have been thinking a lot of the past couple days and which might be our theme verse for the nursery is Isaiah 40:31, "But those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary; they will walk and not be faint."

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Incompetent Cervix and Bedrest Day 1

Today is my first day on bed rest as a pregnant momma! Laying in bed, I am so thankful to just sit and contemplate how good God has been and is to me. Today, I experienced alot of firsts...first time to be a hospital patient (other than when I was born...lol), first time with an IV, first time to have anesthesia, first time to have surgery. Faced with all these firsts, my typical response would be to freak out and become really worried. BUT God is sooo good, I will not say I wasn't emotional, but the Lord carried me through the whole thing with grace and peace. So that I will not forget this day and the details which occurred, let me post a quick rundown:

We arrived at my doctors office at 9, only to be ushered in the financial office to experience sticker shock for the price of my little surgery. For this frugal girl who has only ever paid a $15 copay, I had to take a deep breath and thank God that He was in control and thank our church for providing us with insurance :) After that fun introduction, my sweet doctor patiently answered all my questions and reassured me of the procedure he would do. I thank the Lord for my doctor...he has been such a blessing!

After finishing at the doctors office, we went to the hospital across the street so that we could fill out enough papers to fill a book and prep for my first ever surgery. If you know me at all you know I hate needles, so all morning I mentally prepared myself for the IV...what I didn't prepare for was the antibiotic shot! Fortunately, I received that shot without the mishap of fainting, screaming, jerking or crying so I felt like a champ...hah! After the shot, I went to a changing area to change into the the most hilarious hospital gown around. Part paper, part fabric this unusual outfit did nothing for my growing figure, but it did it's job I suppose. After checking on the baby's heartbeat, I was wheeled away in style with the most hilarious nurse. She definitely put me at ease and i almost forgot I was having surgery at all...until Chris had to kiss me goodbye and I was wheeled into a prep room.

From this point on, I have to say the Lord took over. My nerves would normally be through the roof, but God was soooo good to me. I felt nothing but peace; even with the IV (which scared me the most). And props goes to my doctor! He knew I was nervous earlier about the surgery and he came in when the nurses were working on prepping me and held my hand and talked with me for about 15 minutes...just to reassure me! I am so thankful to be in such competent and capable hands. After the doctor left, I was wheeled in the "surgery room" (I have no idea what the technical name might be). I felt like I was on an episode of a medical tv series. It was cracking me up...looking up into all the masked faces and covered heads. As soon as I started to receive the anethesia I dropped off and can't tell you a thing until I woke up. All I know, is that the surgery was successful!!! Praise the Lord! I received a cerclage in two places of my cervix to help reinforce it and hopefully stabilize it to prevent further premature shrinking.

The moment I woke up, I asked the faces bending over me..."Is the baby okay?" They assured me that everything went great! And just to prove the baby was great...they found his heartbeat! He is an active fellow; let me tell you that! After laying in recovery and waking up fully for around an hour or so, I was able to see Chris and wheeled away for my last stop. I was taking back to the changing area. I had to prove that a could get up and use the restroom (thanks to the Diet Coke I drank in recovery...this wasn't too difficult). We heard the heartbeat one more time and around an hour later I was changed and wheeled back to the car!

I have to say that I feel so blessed as I lay here writing. I have had practically no pain at all. The most significant discomfort is a sore throat I have which is due to a tube that was inserted in my throat after the anesthesia was put in place. I am trying not to cough to much so that my core muscles aren't being used. I honestly thought, I would be much more sore, but it has been a blessing to rest easy without a lot of pain!

Chris was wonderful today. He stepped right in and has been taking care of me in every way possible! I am blessed to have him by my side, and our little boy will be sooo blessed to have him as a Daddy! This has been long, but I knew if I didn't get it all down I would forget!

Tonight, my heart resonates with one of my all-time favorite passages, Psalm 103:1-4:

Praise the LORD, my soul; all my inmost being, praise his holy name. Praise the LORD, my soul, and forget not all his benefits— who forgives all your sins and heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from the pit and crowns you with love and compassion.