Confessions of a New Mom

Two nights before Katherine was born I wept.  I sat in bed and just cried.

I will always remember the conversation that Spencer and I had.  It was the last night just the two of us would spend in our home.  The next day family would arrive and the following day we would have a child.

Life would never be the same.

I knew it was coming.  I had almost ten months to prepare.  But no preparation takes away that top of roller coaster feeling.  Preparing doesn’t make that final moment before the leap any easier to handle.

I mourned for the things Spencer and I dreamed of doing and would no longer be able to actualize.  I mourned for the quiet Saturday mornings we spent together and the sweet Sunday afternoons.  I mourned for the adventures we couldn’t embark upon and the risks we couldn’t take.  I mourned for the life we pictured we’d have before having kids.

I simply wept and mourned in the arms of my husband.  We shared such intimate conversation and prayed such raw prayers.

When constant excitement from others bombards you, how can you share your sadness and questioning of God’s timing with them?What do you do when your authenticity would disappoint or hurt or confuse others?

I learned I don’t have to be vulnerable with everyone.  But when I chose to be vulnerable with the Lord and with my husband, fears are eliminated, worries are destroyed, questions are answered, joys are delivered.

I walked into labor on October 16th already exhausted from a hard pregnancy and already emotional from crazy hormones and dwelling on a changing life.  (Read more about that here:  https://spencerandsarahc.wordpress.com/2013/12/18/katherines-birth-story/)  When 11:19 pm came and Katherine finally arrived, I expected some sort of physical relief.  But the pain continued and I was completely wiped out from everything.  I’m sure being induced and giving birth naturally had something to do with it, but I’m not always easy on myself.

I jumped from a hard pregnancy to an exhausting labor to the crazy life with a newborn.  And those first six weeks of life with Katherine here was hard.  Very hard.  For both of us.  I was an emotional wreck.  Thankfully, physically I felt good and healed by two weeks.  (If the crazy healing process from my pilonidal cyst and cystectomies a few years ago were good for anything, they were to help me have a high pain tolerance and prepare me to heal from a episiotomy.  Because healing from the episiotomy was nothing compared to the cysts.)

People offered to help us out whenever we needed it, but I didn’t even know what to ask for.  People asked if I was loving motherhood, but all I could do was smile and nod.  People wanted to know if she was a good baby and how she was sleeping, but I had no idea how to answer that without having to fight back tears.  Some people tell you to get out of the house while others tell you to stay home.  Some people tell you to feed your baby on demand while other tell you to stick to a schedule.  Everyone has differing, strong opinions on how to get babies to sleep.  And everyone provides plenty of comments, stories, and advice.

People asked why we didn’t take weekly update pregnancy pictures or maternity pictures or lots of hospital pictures or newborn pictures.  (And social media has a way of making you feel bad about that even if you aren’t asked.)  Through pregnancy it was enough to just do laundry and dishes, keep a clean house, and make dinner.  Once Katherine came it was an accomplishment to just get through the day and stay sane and emotionally stable.  Nursing was anything but easy the first two weeks.  (I kept telling myself what the pediatrician at the hospital said, “Just get through those first two weeks and you’ll be fine,” which turned out to be true.)  I know I didn’t eat nearly enough.  It might sound silly, but I had gotten so used to not being able to eat much during pregnancy, it took awhile for me to adjust to eating and drinking a whole lot more in order to provide food for my baby.  I’m sure not eating enough those first two weeks definitely added to my crazy emotions.

I’ve slowly learned to take everything people say with a grain of salt.  What works for your baby might not work for mine.  What helped you might not help me.  I almost wish I hadn’t read all the books I had.  My head was filled with opposing ideas and differing views.  I’ve learned that you need to have grace with yourself on the journey of parenthood.  And I’ve learned it’s okay to do things differently than others; you just do what’s right for you and your baby.

It’s hard for me to admit to others that the journey has been hard.  I’m a strong person, know perseverance, and live with joy, but those first weeks were exceptionally hard.  I even wondered if I had postpartum depression.  I just wasn’t myself and didn’t know how to get back to it.

Life wasn’t the same.

But once we hit that six week mark, the sun began to shine brightly again.  And with the rising of the sun, all was made well again.  I was no longer an emotional wreck, but a happy, new momma.  As I went in to my doctor’s appointment, I was reminded of the verse he shared with us, Psalm 127:3 which declares that children are a gift from the Lord.  My mind and heart were renewed that day.  I no longer questioned the Lord’s timing.  God entrusted Katherine to us.  He trusted us enough to give us a child when we were just six months into our marriage.  That thought overwhelmed me and allowed my mindset to completely shift.

I’ve learned that what might be a challenge for me, might not be a challenge for others, and that doesn’t mean I’m weak.  Every circumstance and every person is unique and different, especially when it comes to pregnancy and babies.  I’ve learned that the Lord reminds us of such simple truths when we need it most.  He restores and refreshes, redeems and renews.  His grace is truly enough each day.  I’ve never been more certain of that.  I haven’t slept through the night in over eight months.  In my exhaustion, He constantly sustains me.

Life will never be the same.

And I’m so very glad.  My mourning has turned into rejoicing as we build our family.

I rejoice that God has trusted us with Katherine so early on in our marriage.  I rejoice that we have the opportunity to love, nurture, and raise this little girl.  I rejoice that she is so healthy.  I rejoice that I have an incredibly amazing husband to go through this life with.  I rejoice for this life God has granted us and all that awaits us.  I rejoice in the mundane; I rejoice in the chaos; I rejoice in all I’m learning.  I rejoice with every smile, every little giggle, every new discovery my little girl makes.  I rejoice in each new day with my family and cannot wait to see how the Lord grows us.

Those first six weeks were rough.  But we got through them.  I’m so very thankful for the hard times.  They make the good times so much sweeter.

And life is all the more sweet with our little Katherine Elizabeth by our side.

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Amy to Africa

Amy is eight years younger than me.

Amy is a high school senior and was voted “Best All-Around Girl.”

Amy is athletic and smart and beautiful.

Amy has a tender and gentle, compassionate and loving heart.

Amy is shy but hilarious, quiet but confident.

 

This is a post about my youngest sister.

This is a post about Amy.

 

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I have loved watching my youngest sister’s heart grow more and more fond of Jesus.  She has fallen in love with the Gospel and with our Savior; it has been a beautiful thing to watch over the years.  These have been things she’s made for me as Christmas, birthday, and wedding gifts:

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I love looking at this wall because it reminds me of how her heart has grown towards the Lord over the years.  She’s been making the burlap wall art with custom verses to raise money for our future adoption.  You can check out more about that here:  http://amy4orphans.webs.com

More recently the dream of spreading the Gospel in Africa has grown in her heart.  And the more the Word has nourished that dream, the more she has talked about it and looked into how to make it a reality.  She’s reached out for help and advice, and she’s anticipated the day when she could tell everyone she would get to go overseas.

Well, last week she contacted our old church back in Orlando.  Turns out they are going to Burundi, Africa (a nation they have been connected with for several years now) in March.  Amy excitedly asked if she could join them on the trip and after sweet conversation that can only be arranged by God, she will be headed to Burundi in less than two months!

She cannot contain her excitement to live out this dream, experience the Church abroad, and share the Gospel.  Her heart is overflowing.  I am so proud of her and am excited to see what the Lord has in store for her.  I know He will use her, but I also know He will teach her more than she can imagine while she is there.

She would be so honored and grateful if you would join her in this journey.  Prayers are essential, especially as she travels on a trip like this for the first time.  And she is in need of financial support.  If you have something to give, it would bless her abundantly.  To hear from Amy and donate, go to: http://www.gofundme.com/sendamytoAFRICA  She would appreciate any amount.  And she most definitely appreciates your prayers.  Thank you for considering supporting her!

I am beyond proud of my little sis.  It will be a joy to see where to Lord takes her (spiritually and physically) over the coming months and years.  May the Kingdom grow because of Amy’s faithfulness to the great commission!

Finding the Good in the Migraine

Thursday, that horrible monster, the Migraine, came lurking around the corner and quickly pounced.  I’m helpless when it comes.  Nothing can interfere with its awful stare.  Nothing cures its awful bite.  I’ve dealt with it for about ten years and it’s never fun.

The Migraine is especially hard to deal with now.  I have a little eleven week old that needs me.  I just can’t function when it comes.

So when I quickly realized I couldn’t do the errands I had planned, I let the people know that I was supposed to meet up with.  And one dear friend offered to watch Katherine for several hours.  I knew I needed to take her up on it.  I needed help.

It’s always been hard for me to ask for help.  I’ve always been a very independent person, and I tend to think I will burden or inconvenience people.

But Thursday reminded me that I need to ask for help.  I need to accept help.

I’m not supposed to do everything on my own.

In the midst of awful pain on Thursday, I could sit and be filled with gratitude.  I was thankful for the time I was forced to rest.  I was thankful for the reminder that I can’t do it all on my own.  I was thankful that someone offered to help.

And at the end of it all, I was reminded that allowing someone to help you can actually minister to them.  I wasn’t a burden, but a blessing.  And I needed that reminder.

And today I had another migraine.  I always look forward to the weekends because we get to spend time together as a family.  But today wasn’t fun.  All I could do was lie in bed and pray the pain would end soon.

And once again, in the midst of the pain, the Lord ministered to my heart.

My dear husband spent the day with our little girl.  I could hear them together and it made my heart so glad.  He allowed me to rest and it meant the world to me.  Seeing Spencer love Katherine makes my heart grow so much fonder for him.  My love for him grows as he loves and serves us both.

So I’ve been reminded that there are blessings beyond the pain and wonderful lessons to be learned.  No matter what may come, there is always something to be thankful for.

It’s Time to Do This

It seems I’ve taken a long hiatus from blogging.

With good reason.  (She’s an eleven week old named Katherine.)

But I’m back.

I need to write.

It’s therapeutic for me.  It’s how I best communicate.  It’s a step towards my dream.

But it’s easy for me to sit back and say to myself, “There are millions of bloggers already.  I don’t need to be another one.  I’m sure it has all been said.”

I have to push those thoughts aside and remember two things:  My words haven’t been said.  And someone just might need to read them.

So it’s time to do this.

It’s time to dream big and work towards it.

It’s time to write.