Monday, April 22, 2013

A Healing God/Happy Birthday Clara Grace!

With the birth of our daughter, Clara Grace, came an amazing testimony of God's healing hand. We celebrated her yesterday with extended family, today with our little family, and all the while remember His faithfulness and power demonstrated in her life. Be encouraged. God is gracious to us beyond measure. 

It's still crazy for me to utter the words, "God healed my uterus". Thoughts still come to me like, "Really? Am I imagining things? Did this all really take place?" But graciously so, God has provided even the written medical reports for me to stare in the face when my faith wanes. It is true: God healed my "abnormally shaped" uterus. Upon the birth of Clara, my OB who performed my c-section declared as he delivered her, "Your uterus is fine. You have a nice uterus with plenty of room!"

I was first confirmed to have a septated uterus (meaning a dividing septum within my uterus) after my c-section with my 2nd son, Levi. The doctors suspected an abnormality in my uterus after my pregnancy and delivery with Judah. I had many things that pointed to this: a prior miscarriage, pre-term labor, growth restricted baby (Judah, my 1st son, was 3.5lbs at 36 weeks), and breech presentation. With Levi, I went to an early ultrasound at a pregnancy help center as a volunteer. I was helping the agency train in new ultrasound techs and I let the trainer know that I had a suspected a septated uterus to see if they could identify anything before my uterus became too enlarged to view this. The trainer did, in fact, see a septum coming down and said to me that it came down about a third of the way in my uterus. As my pregnancy with Levi progressed, I had to plan a c-section because he was, as well, in a breech presentation. My OB let me know that they would then get a good look at my uterus and be able to confirm the hypothesis they had formed. I went into pre-term labor with Levi at 35 weeks and they were unable to stop contractions, so the c-section performed at that time. After Levi was delivered my OB let me know that, yes, the hypothesis was confirmed as she saw a septum coming down my uterus during the surgery.

So, my pregnancy with Clara went forward and I began to have complications early in the 3rd trimester with her: contractions began at 29 weeks and I was put on bedrest and medication to hold her as long as possible. My doctor told me that I wouldn't make it past 35 or 36 weeks. In this season, we were surrounded again by an amazing praying support. Many people were petitioning God on our behalf, asking to keep Clara put in my womb as long as possible. I first began to wonder what God might be up to at 33 weeks when my doctor let me know that Clara had flipped. She too was in the breech presentation up until that point. The doctors had explained to me before with Judah and Levi that the septum prevented the boys from having the space that most babies have to flip later on. We took this as great encouragement! Clara was head down! Then, despite my continued contractions my labor progression actually reversed at one point when my doctor let me know at a weekly appointment that my cervix had thickened! Week 36 arrived and I was taken off bedrest and medications. The nurses at my hospital were made aware of my pregnancy and expecting me to come at any time (they later told me this as I recovered after Clara was born). But, amazingly, I went on for almost 3 weeks more completely uneventful and carried Clara to her scheduled c-section date!

The big day had arrived for Clara and I couldn't wait to meet her....and see what my OB saw in my uterus. Clara was born early on Good Friday, April 22nd, 2011. I heard her first cry and began to cry tears of joy myself. And then came these words from my OB, "Who told you had a septum in your uterus?" I knew right away....God had healed my uterus! The septum was gone! Tears began to stream down my face at this point and I managed to tell him that it was my last OB that told me that! He then continued to say, "Well, your uterus is fine. You have a nice uterus with plenty of room." 

God is so gracious to us! I'm still marveling at the work of His this precious little girl He has given our family and in the news of my uterus with "plenty of room"! I am so grateful that many of you have stood with us, at some point in this journey asking the Father to be gracious to us. He has heard our cries! He has delighted to show us His goodness and done a great work! Praise be to His name!

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

For the Mommas Out There

I've been reading 2 Corinthians as of late and been encouraged deeply by the words Paul penned. I realized today, that I had reflected on this portion of the Word heavily when I was preparing for the birth of Clara. And here I am again, in 2 Corinthians, feasting, as I prepare for our next baby, Samuel. Apparently this message needs to sink in my heart as my family grows :) 

3 more months to grow with Samuel! Judah wanted to be the photographer :)
Excuse the blurriness....Judah was a bit shaky, but I love that he tried to capture them hugging Samuel like they do!
Big guy, photographer Judah.

Below is something I wrote almost exactly 2 years ago (8 days shy!) regarding this passage. I needed it again today. This is for all the mommas out there.

As I prepare to welcome our third child into our home, I've been reflecting on my role and purpose as a mother. I've been reading some of Paul's letters to the churches in the New Testament and have been really propelled by his example of fatherly love. It has been challenging me as a mother, and fueling me to remember what an important role I have as a mom. I share these things to encourage other moms out there....

Although Paul was not a natural father, he in many essences was a beautiful example of the heart a father should have towards his children. His letter to the church in Corinth contains an exhortation that I have constantly returned to as I've mothered Judah and Levi (I'll get to this in a minute). The hardest lesson for me as a mother has been again and again: I must die. Not in a real bodily sense (although I know this is true too), but in a more selfless sense when considering my wants and desires. Some examples that come to mind:  I must die to my desire to sleep 8 hours a night, uninterrupted; I must die to the hope I have to eat right when my stomach starts to growl; I must die to the desire of having my shower and bathroom times just when I want them; I often must lay aside my projects because the persistent need of disciplining and teaching beckons....the list goes on and on. Can anyone relate? This is a very practical, daily lesson that drives deep into my heart. Bottom line, I'm reminded again and again, this life is not my own. I'm not declaring that it is my childrens (although they do receive much of my energies!), but that ultimately, this life is not my own because it is Gods. My children are the life example God has so graciously given me to remind me and help me learn to walk this truth out. So this great passage from 2 Corinthians fuels me with faith to recognize raising children is one Godly pursuit and so worth the investment!

"For what we proclaim is not ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, with ourselves as your servants for Jesus' sake. For God, who said, "Let light shine out of darkness," has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. But we have this treasure in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not us. We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair, persecuted, but not forsaken; stuck down, but not destroyed; always carrying in the body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be manifested in our bodies. For we who live are always being given over to death for Jesus' sake, so that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh. So death is at work in us, but life in you." (2 Cor. 4: 5-12)

I have written in my Bible, next to verse 12, "death in me, life in our kids." What a great understanding Paul had! Paul did so many things for the churches in his time of ministry! He prayed faithfully for them, he continually pointed out their strengths and sought to encourage them, he disciplined them when needed, he taught them when they were putting themselves in harm, he longed to be apart of their lives as much as possible, he consistently reminded them of the faithfulness of God and the glory of Jesus, and (the one that challenges me the most) he joyfully suffered on their behalf. Joyful that is a concept! Now I realize that Paul was up against a lot more at times when it came to serving these churches (his list includes things like being beaten, imprisoned and going without food) however, this is not to belittle the fact that we as mothers are truly in a battle to embrace joyfully serving and giving of ourselves consistently for our little ones. This is a big deal! This is hard! But in this hardship we can know, that by God's grace, we may feel perplexed, struck down, or even persecuted while raising our children, but we are not driven to despair or destroyed....we are able to be greater lights for Jesus because we must die to a life simply about us....daily! What a beautiful work God can do in us as we enjoy cleaning up vomit, being sleep deprived, and having those sweet little faces look up at us and say "Love ye, Mommy" (at least that's how Judah says it!) :)