Monday, April 23, 2012

Mamas and Babies

I'm not sure how I feel about this post right now, but I needed to get it down while I still feel it strongly.

It's 3:30 a.m. My water just broke.

This long-awaited baby is finally going to make her appearance. Her birthday is going to be today. Well, most likely, anyway.

Because today is Monday, I'm supposed to have my weekly doctor's appointment. I won't be going because I'll hopefully be having a baby. But at that doctor's appointment, it was expected that I'd have to make a decision: Would I do something to move this baby along, or would I wait on God's timing like I said I would?

At 1:30 a.m., I woke up to use the bathroom (as pregnant girls often do in the night), and I started talking to God. I said, "Lord, I don't know what to do at this doctor's appointment. I don't want to do anything to choose against you. I promised I'd wait on your timing, but I'm not sure what the doctor will say. It would be so much easier if you could make this baby come tonight, all by herself, so that I don't have to be in the position of potentially choosing against you."

And an hour later, I woke up with—well, a mess, honestly.

I'm trying to reason this out. Here are my theories:

1. Maybe this baby was just supposed to show up today. That's clearly a good reason.

2. Maybe God didn't want me to have to choose against him. It was an, "OK, I appreciate you're trying to hold out, but you've proven your point" gesture. My doctor would have understood if I wanted to wait (despite breaking down into tears in her office last week), but God always understands better.

3. Maybe God knew I would choose against him when it came down to it. Maybe he wanted to preempt my choice because I'd choose the other. In my conversation/argument with God, I even thought, "If I have the doctor do something, I'm going to look at my baby girl and remember the time I chose against God. Big time." I don't want that attached to my baby girl. Would you? So maybe God prevented me from having to make that choice because he knew I would.

Whatever the reason is, you'd better believe that my husband and I got out of bed and prayed and praised God for this baby coming on her own.

I waited on God. Maybe not as long as he'd have liked me to, depending on the theory, but I did it.

And it was exhausting. And it was tiring. And I argued with him. And I complained to him. And I complained about him to him. 

It wasn't pretty. It wasn't exactly the joyful waiting I always pictured myself being able to do. Maybe next time I can do a little better. In fact, I'll be expected to. I'm sure of that. Practice may not make perfect in this situation, but it should make better.

In the meantime, please pray for our family. Pray for our patient, perfect little girl and her impatient, imperfect mama. We want to both stay healthy through this labor and delivery. Pray for my husband, who has been incredibly wonderful throughout this pregnancy. Really, he waited on me hand and foot (even on the days he didn't want to) and now he'll support me through this. Pray for my son, who will have to learn to be a big brother (even on the days he doesn't want to---hopefully he has my husband's genes for this).

And, if you think of it, throw God some extra praise on my behalf. He really came through for me, and I'm in awe of what an awesome, sovereign God we have.

P.S. - OK, this is funny. I just realized that today is April 23rd. It's Shakespeare's birthday. When I first found out my original due date of 4/29, I told everyone I was aiming for the 23rd so she'd share a birthday with Shakespeare. All this time I've been so impatient, and the baby was just aiming for the day I told her to. What a good girl! :) And what a silly mama. Maybe this supports theory #1!

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Holy Spirit Smackdown!

I was hoping my next post would be one introducing you to my sweet little girl.

No such luck. She's making the most of her time in here, much to my dismay. But if you've ever wondered what it sounds like when God speaks to you, I've got a story for you.

In my last post, I talked about waiting on God. I decided that this baby would come in God's time and I'd stop trying to fiddle with things. I told God, "I'm waiting for you! You've got her birthdate picked out, so I'm just going to trust you and stop trying to do things myself!"

I did. For about a day. Every time I thought about going into labor, I said to myself, "I'm waiting on you, God." And then I immediately became impatient again. What made me feel even more impatient was the information that my baby is measuring 41 weeks and is likely to be over nine pounds. I'm only 38 weeks along, technically, which means my baby is growing at warp speed. I've known for a while now that I just cook 'em fast, and that's fine—as long as they arrive in a timely manner.

And she isn't.

So last night, I tried my last-ditch old wives' tale: getting a pedicure. There's this place on the inside of your ankle that will start labor if you rub it. So I went to the nail salon and said, "You know that place that starts labor? Rub the heck out of it!" And he did. And I had contractions through the night.

And yet. No baby.

I also ran into a friend of mine last night who suggested something my doctor could do to get labor going that she had done when she was pregnant. I mentioned it to my husband, and he said, "Call the doctor! See if she can do it today!"

...or a smackdown. Whatever you need to do.
Then I felt a nudge. It started out kind of soft, and then it felt more like an elbow to the ribs. And a voice spoke into my heart saying, "Didn't you say you were going to wait for me? And then you immediately turned around and started trying to do it yourself. I thought we were in this together."

Ouch. Convicted!

So when my husband called this morning and said, "Did you call the doctor?" I had to say, "Umm, I don't think I'm going to. I kinda told God I was going to wait for him, and then I tried to do it myself. Again. So I think I need to actually wait for God like I promised." My darling husband said, "Oh. Yeah. I get that. Then that's what you need to do."

I'm not going to lie; part of me is thinking, "Well, if I really do wait on him, he'll reward me by not making me wait long!" I'm trying to get rid of that nagging little thought, since I have no promise either way of how long this kid is going to take. And even if God decides the baby should arrive tonight, it's not necessarily a reward or punishment; it's probably what he had picked out all along.

So I'm waiting. On God. For reals this time. And I apologized to him for not waiting on him in the first place. Because that was rude. And kind of tricky.

What's your response when the Holy Spirit convicts you of something?

Friday, April 13, 2012

Waiting on God

All dressed up with no place to go. *sigh*
I hate waiting. Either I'm not good at it because I hate it, or I hate it because I'm not good at it. Tough to say.

But this baby girl is making me wait.

She's ready. She's fully grown and healthy. She was even grabbing her feet in her last ultrasound. She's doing stuff outside babies do, but she's doing it right here in my belly. And that's kind of uncomfortable, to tell you the truth. Most babies run out of room by now and move less. Not my little one! She just pushes my organs aside and makes the dance floor bigger.


With my son, my water broke first. I wasn't thinking about it. I wasn't ready for it. He was two and a half weeks early. I wasn't uncomfortable. I wasn't ready to be done with that pregnancy. He could have baked a little longer and I'd have been fine with it.

This time, I am so ready to be done. I've been sick and/or in pain this entire pregnancy. I've dipped in and out of depression because I've felt so terrible. My poor son has gotten the worst of it, I think. A cranky mama plus three-year-old antics (especially potty training) does not bode well for the kid. And that makes me feel terrible for him and sends me a little further into depression.

Since I know she's full-term, I've been trying everything to get labor started. Every old wives' tale in the book is worth trying. Long walks. Spicy food. Pineapple. Eggplant parmigiana (although it apparently needs to be from Scalini's to work). Bouncing on an exercise ball. I've even been cleaning the house in the hopes that the physical exertion will start something! Cleaning the house. Me. Will wonders never cease?

I can't say all my efforts have been in vain. Three nights, I've had contractions. Three nights, they've stopped in the morning with no baby. Argh!

I've resigned myself to the fact that, no matter what I do to get labor started, my baby girl won't arrive until the time is right. For her, for God. Whatever the timing is, it's in God's hands. I know this verse is about waiting for Jesus' return, but I think it's an apt comparison:

See how the farmer waits for the precious fruit of the earth, being patient about it, until it receives the early and the late rains. You also, be patient. - James 5:7-8

A farmer can't control the rain, no matter how desperately his crops need it. He just has to be patient. I just need to be patient and wait for God's perfect timing to kick in. You'd think I'd get a vote, what with my being 75% of this baby-making machine and all. But, no. It's out of my hands—no matter how much I try to take it into my own hands.

Now, here's where you come in. To make me feel better, tell me about a time you had no choice but to wait on God, and tell me how much better it all turned out because you waited.

Really. I want to hear it. I need a pick-me-up, people!

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

The Weed in the Weigela

A few years ago, we planted four weigela bushes near our back fence as a screen between our yard and our neighbor's yard. They're pretty bushes and have bright pink flowers in the late spring. They're great!

A weigela in bloom. 
The second summer we had the bushes, one of them started to take off all of a sudden. My husband and I were both amazed at the sudden growth. What could possibly be causing this? Maybe the maple tree next door shaded the other three too much—but, no, the one growing was in the middle, not on the end. Hmm. Was the soil mysteriously great there? Was it somehow getting more sunshine than the others? We were at a loss.

Being the curious person that I am, I decided to investigate. I climbed through my flower bed, past the day lilies and the black-eyed susans, to where my weigela bush was growing like crazy. I crouched down and looked at the base of the plant, only to discover...

*bum bum BUM*

...there was a weed growing right alongside my plant. No, no—not alongside my plant. Essentially growing as part of my plant. Its main stem was thisclose to my weigela's...trunk? Stem? What do you call the center branch of a shrub? I have no idea. Whatever it's called, this weed was right next to it. The weed's leaves looked almost identical to my weigela's leaves, and it was tough to tell the weed from the weigela without examining them both closely.

I felt sick. Really. It felt so gross to have this nasty weed growing as part of my lovely shrub. I felt horrible that this invader was making my garden nasty with its weediness. Blecch.

Does anyone else see the sin metaphor here? Sometimes we assume everything is hunky-dory in our spiritual lives, but there's this big, ugly weed growing right in the center of us that we can't even see. It requires someone getting thisclose to us to point it out sometimes. And we're not plants. That kind of proximity can make us uncomfortable. Can make me uncomfortable. But that sin is nasty and gross—it should make us feel yucky to know it's there. And, honestly, it feels more yucky when someone else sees it. Sometimes we can become too comfy with our sin. That weigela wasn't exactly fighting off that weed. Granted, that's not really what plants do, but shouldn't it be what we do?

Do you have someone looking at your life that closely? Someone spotting the sin for you and calling you out? And are you working at fighting off that sin?