Tuesday, January 29, 2013

So much to Think About...

I don't think I'd surprise anyone if I said this pregnancy as taken quite the toll on me. Emotionally up to this point, I've done pretty well. Physically, I've been more than exhausted. Feeling sick every day for over 20 weeks can do quite a number on a body. Now that I'm finally seeing a turn around in my health, strength and energy are slowly creeping back in my life. I welcome them both with open arms! 

Something that caught me off guard was how emotionally overwhelmed I started to become the moment my physical health started to become restored. It's safe to say I've been unknowingly basking in the bliss of ignorance during my sickness, not taking the time to think about what life will really look like when our baby gets here. It hit me like a ton of bricks one night and ever since then, it's like there's a brick that falls from the sky and hits me on the head every other day or so. Ohhhh reality, you cruel, cruel friend.

Don't get me wrong. I've spent time thinking about life after baby, even long before I ever became pregnant. I think about the fact that I will be running on less sleep and that we won't be able to just get up and go all the time. Trips to Target will take quite a bit longer and I'll have less time for myself. I get all of this. What stresses me out is deeper...it's the shift in identity.

Now, as a believer in Christ, I realize that my identity should be found in Christ alone. And although I fail daily, I can say with confidence that it really is. Jesus has saved me and continues to complete me every second of the day. I boast in HIM, not in myself. That being said, I'm well aware that one way that God has used me to impact this world is through my job. As a hair stylist, I have the honor of investing in and getting to know so many different people, several times throughout a year. I treasure every conversation and consider it a privilege to be able to be a part of each of their lives. We have all laughed way too hard, shed tears, and had heart to hearts. These women remind me daily that I'm doing exactly what I should be doing. I'm a lucky lady.

I decided to become a hair stylist seven years ago for just  two reasons. I enjoyed doing hair and I wanted to be a mom one day. The freedom in a stylist's schedule was incredibly enticing. So I went for it. And here I am, six years later, struggling to know how to juggle a work schedule and motherhood. It seemed a lot easier on paper. What does a part time working mom look like? How do I even begin to think about narrowing down the number of days I work? How many hours a day should I work? How much time do I want to spend away from my baby? How much do I need to make in order to make it all worth it? How will I have the energy to invest in the lives and hearts of my clients AND my son? Am I putting way too much on my plate? Will it be a lot easier than it seems?

"For God is greater than our worried hearts and knows more 
about us than we do ourselves." (1 John 3 MSG)

Let's say that one more time. "For God is greater than our worried hearts and knows more about us than we do ourselves."

I love when God puts such appropriate words on my heart. And after I dug a little deeper...

"My dear children, let’s not just talk about love; let’s practice real love. This is the only way we’ll know we’re living truly, living in God’s reality. It’s also the way to shut down debilitating self-criticism, even when there is something to it. For God is greater than our worried hearts and knows more about us than we do ourselves. And friends, once that’s taken care of and we’re no longer accusing or condemning ourselves, we’re bold and free before God! We’re able to stretch our hands out and receive what we asked for because we’re doing what he said, doing what pleases him. Again, this is God’s command: to believe in his personally named Son, Jesus Christ. He told us to love each other, in line with the original command. As we keep his commands, we live deeply and surely in him, and he lives in us. And this is how we experience his deep and abiding presence in us: by the Spirit he gave us." (1 John 3:18-24 MSG, emphasis mine)

Bottom line: Brett and I have nothing figured out. I have a feeling this will be a year of trial and error. My goals for this year are 1)to seek God and please Him, 2) to grow even closer to Brett and learn how to be a better wife, 3) to love our child with every ounce of my being and to be a good mom to him, and 4) to seek wisdom and discernment in my career and to have peace about our decisions. That, my friends, is all I know to do. Thank you for your patience ;)

Monday, January 14, 2013

Dear Baby Fox (21 Weeks)

21 Weeks
 (I had a 20 week letter and chalkboard post in mind, 
but I've been so sick this week I haven't gotten around to it.)

Dear Baby BOY Fox,
  Yes, that's right! You're mama's little man! How awesome is that. Your daddy and I are so excited to become parents to a son. You've been so active lately. Sometimes I just sit and watch my belly go from side to side. It's the coolest thing. We are blessed.
  I'm officially past half way done being pregnant. That means in just 19 weeks, you will be arriving! I cannot wait to see your face and kiss your cheeks and tell you how much I love you. I've wondered a lot lately about who you will look like. I just can't picture you yet, but if you look anything like your daddy, you'll be so dang handsome.
  Speaking of your daddy, I think you've inherited his sense of humor. You were perfectly still as I was talking to your grandma one night. I turned to her and told her that I had to pee. Right then, you kicked my bladder. I started laughing, and you did it three more times! Ornery boy. You'll fit in just perfectly though, rest assured. We laugh a lot in this house.
   Baby boy, I pray all the time that God will continue to take care of you and allow you to grow healthy and strong. I'm praying that even now, God would work in your heart and prepare you for the day you have an opportunity to follow Him. Baby, nothing else matters in this life. Not what we wear or money or popularity or anything. The only thing that matters is loving Jesus and living like Him. I pray you understand that one day and that you choose Him.
   You are loved, sweet boy.
Love, Mama

  • How far along?: 21 weeks...halfway there!!
  • Baby is the size of a:  About 10 1/2 inches head to toe!!! Wowza!
  • The Bump: Big. Although, I'm proud to say, I've only gained 2 lbs so far!! That's the one perk throwing up has!
  • Symptoms: Still having pukey days 2 or 3 times a week...incredibly itchy, rashy skin. The price ya pay...
  • Food Cravings: Chocolate Milk...what!?
  • Anything Making Me Queasy or Sick: When people talk about gross things, I still gag.
  • Sleep: I sleep well about 4 hours at a time...I guess I'm just getting prepared for what's to come!
  • What I miss: Sleeping on my stomach, feeling healthy
  • Weddings Rings On or Off: On
  • Any Names Picked Out Yet: Nothing official...probably won't until the little guy is here!
  • Gender: IT'S A BOY! So excited!
  • Movement: He's been consistent ever since the night before our ultrasound (December 27)...Even Brett got to feel him! He kicks and rolls around all day long, then let's me sleep at night. I love him.
  • Maternity Clothes: Got another pair of jeans in H&M's maternity section for just $15!! Found a few shirts at Clothes Mentor, as well. Enough to hold me over for a while.
  • Labor Signs: None.
  • Best Moment of the (last few) Week(s): Telling our friends and family that a baby boy is on his way!
  • What I’m excited about/looking forward to: Being on the downhill stretch of pregnancy...enjoying his sweet movements but I am simply zonked.
  • Sunday, January 6, 2013

    The Truth about Stretch Marks.

    As the middle of the second trimester approaches, some things have been weighing heavy on my heart. Believe it or not, my sick days are becoming fewer and farther between. I'm feeling this little man kick and squirm all the time, and I just smile from time to time because I know I'm the only one in the world who knows he's awake. I've also actually had fun picking out new clothes, as well as finding new ways to wear old things. All in all, despite the sick days, it's been delightful.

    However, I've come to believe that for every 10 great things in life, there's one not-so-great thing that tags along. For me in this season, that ugly tag-along is a little thing called stretch marks. They haven't come out in full force yet, but I see evidence that it's beginning and it's a little depressing.

    Now, hear me out. I'm not one to dwell on my appearance. I've never been the kind of girl who focuses much attention on what I wear or how great of shape I'm in. Sure, I like to look nice and I enjoy feeling good about myself. I've just never taken the time to strive for perfection in this area of my life. There are plenty of days where my hair could look better, my skin breaks out now and then, and when that dreaded muffin top starts to appear, I don't head for the gym...I just go to the store and buy a bigger pair of jeans. Simple solution, right?

    All that being said, I can't lie about the fact that these stretch marks have started to bother me. And I'm not entirely sure why. I've always been pretty modest. I don't walk around in tight  belly shirts or scantily clad swim suits. The only person who ever sees my stomach is my husband and, because God gave him these special eyes only for me, he happens to think I'm a babe on the worst of days! Bless his heart. Maybe it's just hard for me to face the fact that I won't look the same. I would never walk around the yard in a bikini top and cut off shorts, but maybe it bothers me to know that I couldn't even pull that off? Or maybe it's just my hormones talking. Regardless, I've prayed about this a lot and just asked God to give me peace and reassurance and for Him to help me only find my worth and beauty in Him.

    But last night's when it hit me. I woke up in the middle of the night for my usual go-to-the-bathroom-then-put-lotion-on-my-itching-belly routine. As I laid back down, I thought to myself, "Ugh, these scars are not going to be pretty. It doesn't matter how much I love this baby, I will never look the same." Shortly after, I seriously felt like I heard Jesus whisper, "How do you think I feel? What about MY scars?"

    Convicted. Who am I to complain or act like a martyr about the sacrifice my body is making for someone I love? Jesus Christ took on scars of greatest significance. He was whipped and beaten and spit on and nailed to a tree by the same people He was dying for. And why? Because He loved us. And because we needed Him to do it. He was our only fighting chance.

    In no way am I saying my scars left on my body from having a baby are in any way, shape, or form the same as the scars on Jesus' hands. What I am saying, though, is that because of all of this, on the day God calls me Home, and I stand there on judgement day, God will give a report on how I lived my life. Sometime in between, Jesus Christ will interrupt and say, "Father, I know her! There's a place for her here." And as I run and weep and laugh and skip all the way towards my Savior, and I'm able to see with my own eyes and touch with my own hands those scars that gave me life, I will be able to, in the most minuscule way, understand His love for me a little more. My only response will be worship and praise. I'm getting it, Lord!

    Am I still going to be a little self-conscious? Probably. Am I still going to invest in stretch mark "prevention" creams and oils and use them religiously? Yep. But, I promise my heart has changed. I promise my perspective has become a little more eternal. And every time I look at my belly and think about the sacrifice I'm making for this unborn child, I'm going to look up to my Savior and praise Him for the ultimate sacrifice He made for me. Thank You, Jesus.

    Thursday, January 3, 2013

    Reactions of Family and Friends

    How we told our Families and Friends

    It meant so much to us to have so many people excited for this new little man's life. We are incredibly grateful and I cannot wait for this sweet baby to meet his grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, and all of our awesome friends. The boy is blessed.

    Our Ultrasound

    The day finally came for Brett and I to have our ultrasound to (hopefully) discover what this little baby was. I really had a feeling deep down that they wouldn't be able to tell. Maybe it's because I didn't want to be disappointed, or maybe it's because deep down I really didn't want to know. I'm still figuring that out. But regardless, the time was here and we were PUMPED.

    They tell you to drink 44 oz of water before you come in because it's best to have a full bladder during an ultrasound. I cooperated and drank water, but I also threw in a can of Mountain Dew. Whew, hadn't drank regular Mountain Dew in years...that stuff has quite the kick! But I wanted to drink enough caffeine that our baby would bounce around in there in hopes we'd have a better view of it's booty. When we arrived, we checked in and had a seat in the waiting room. Within a few minutes, we were told there was some kind of medical emergency and that it would likely be a while until we'd be able to go back for our appointment. Neither of us minded, and I quietly said a prayer for that situation, that God would be glorified and that whoever was involved would experience His peace and power. 

    I was proud of my attitude. Until about 10 minutes passed. Holy cow, this girl had to pee. I was told that if I really had to go, I could go just for a little bit but that I'd have to stop myself from going all the way. WHAT!? Who can do that?? Twenty five minutes later, I learned that this girl could. I was desperate; it was ridiculous. 

    After about 40 minutes of waiting, we were finally called back. Our ultrasound tech was so sweet. She told us she was the only one on that floor at the time, so she would get paged throughout our appointment. Brett and I both told her we were in no rush, and that she could do whatever she had to do. She asked us right away if we wanted to know the gender. We both replied that we would, but I followed my answer up with, "But I know it's not always possible, so if it's not then that's fine, it will just be a surprise!" She laughed and said, "Wow not a lot of moms say that in here. I'll do my best to find out!"

    She showed us our baby right away, and we got to see the baby's beating heart, little mouth and nose, and it's arms moving around. It was so funny to watch...as much as it was wiggling, I couldn't feel a thing. I hear that towards the end, you can feel every little movement...I can't imagine what that will feel like! Anyway, she then went straight for the booty to see what our baby was. After a few moments, she sighed and said, "Ugh, it's not cooperating!" We looked at the screen and saw it's little legs, then the long string-like umbilical cord. She said she would continue to do measurements, then try again. Just then she got paged so she had to leave, but she let me go to the bathroom then encouraged me to walk around to get this kid moving. 

    I went to the restroom then did jumping jacks, then laid back down on the table and poked and prodded at my belly until she came back in. "Let's try again, " she said. Lo and behold, the kid moved, but was in an even more modest position than  before. Shoot. The measurements continued, as well as the pages our tech received. Every time she left the room, I would move around so much in hopes that this baby would make it all so clear.

    Finally, after we saw the baby's stomach and bladder, kidneys, spine, brain, and face, it happened. The tech's face lit up and she said, "Look!" Oh, sweet baby of mine, you are a BOY!

    w e.    a r e.    t h r i l l e d.