Saturday, June 11, 2011

Great is Thy Faithfulness

We have a new baby!

Asher Knox Church was born yesterday at 8:11am after a whirlwind labor. He weighed in at 8lbs 12oz and 20in long. So far he is a very, very content baby, so any of you that followed us through our experience with Aed can praise the Lord with us for that! He does resemble his brother, but has his own sweet face with dimples that make me ache every time he shows them off. Aed is doing great so far with the transition and is very interested in ‘baby’ and what baby is doing at any given moment.

Some of you will want the birth story :), so I’ll start with that, and then a few pictures of our new little guy.

After about a week and a half of contractions coming on and off, I had given up. I had gotten to the point where I didn’t really care when he came, and was actually really grateful for the extra time we’d been given to get a few more things done before his arrival. My only hope was that those contractions were somehow being productive and not just annoying :)

I woke up at about 3:30am to go to the bathroom on Friday morning and felt a little gush. I thought it might be my water breaking, but it was such a small amount I figured it was nothing to worry about and went back to bed. I was awoken two other times within the next two hours by a couple of contractions, but went right back to sleep figuring if I could sleep through it, it was nothing to worry about.

I woke up again a little after 5:30am to more little gushes and thought I should probably pay attention to what was going on. I got up to go to the bathroom and noticed I was having pretty regular contractions that seemed to be about 3-4 minutes apart. I woke Ian up and told him we were likely going to have to find someone else to pick mom up from the airport later that day. We both took showers, got Aed’s caretakers informed and ready, called the hospital to get their advice on when to come in, and left the house at about 10 after 7am.

We were chatting on the way about how we should be preparing ourselves to be sent back home because even though my contractions were regular, I was dealing with them just fine. As we crossed the bridge into Dundee, we both realized it was highly unlikely that we would be sent home, and far more likely that we were going to have a baby very soon! My contractions intensified like fire in dry grass, and before I knew it I was just hoping against hope that I wouldn’t feel the urge to push while we were still in the car.

We were really close to the hospital when I suddenly got the urge to vomit. I had no choice but to let it go, but apparently (I am told) did an awesome job at keeping it just on myself and not the (borrowed) car. So now I am having ridiculous contractions and am covered in puke trying not to have a baby in a car. The midwives had no idea what to do with me when we showed up, but got me stripped down and semi-cleaned before trying to coax me into the shower. I was willing to oblige, but really wanted to get into the birthing pool and was getting the urge to push, so I was very focused on the pool and not the shower. I proceeded to push through each contraction while they tried to get the pool filled as fast as they could. I felt the sweet relief of warm water for about two contractions before our little chubbster came shooting out into the shocked hands of the midwives.

They didn’t have the chance to read my medical notes, confirm much of anything with us about our wishes for the birth, or even check to ever see how dilated I was. One of them just kept saying, ‘My, you’re a quick worker!’ as she scurried around trying to get things taken care of.

Somewhere in the range of 20 to 25 minutes after we arrived, we met our son. And we were so thankful that we had made it! :) I apparently had given the midwives something to talk about that morning, and when I came back from being stitched I got a big, ‘Corrie’s back! And she’s walking already!’ from the midwives in the unit.

We wanted to get home as quickly as possible to see Aed and my mom, so left the hospital as soon as we were allowed. We were home by about 5:30 yesterday evening, enjoying our sons and trying to keep our eyelids up. Asher has been amazing and is doing everything he’s supposed to be doing. I am feeling great, with no complaints aside from those stitches :)

Today has been a day of thanksgiving as we reflect on the Lord’s perfect timing in all of this. We are amazed at the community of friends that helped us during labor and our absence yesterday, and have celebrated with us since. There have been so many things that we had worried about that have worked out wonderfully, it is yet another reminder of the truth in the needlessness of worry.

So we our enjoying our boy, being patient in recovery, and looking forward to the visiting of family and friends over the coming weeks. Here he is..


May I introduce you to Asher's elf ears? Aren't they cute! :)

Asher (left) and Aed about the same age.. brothers, but different.
I should mention too why we chose the name we did. Asher means ‘blessed’ or ‘happy’ and was one of the 12 sons of Jacob. We really wanted to give this baby a name that would lift him up throughout his life, and so far we can say he is living up to it well! Knox is for John Knox, the Reformer that attended St Andrews University and was an active preacher in this area of Scotland. Being the Calvinists that we are, that Reformed faith is important to us, and we like the extra link to St Andrews and Scotland that the name provides as well.

We are just overflowing with gratitude and love for our family and God’s goodness to us. Praise the Lord!

Sunday, June 05, 2011

A Weekend Away

For Mother’s Day, a friend’s husband had the bright idea that his wife might like a weekend away sans baby. His idea got brighter when he decided to include two of her friends in the weekend, and make it an excursion to see another friend that moved to a different area of Scotland a few years ago.

Turns out, I was one of those lucky friends!

Joy, Sara, and myself set out on a lovely weekend in May (the weekend of the Royal Wedding Extravagaanza!) for the little village of Kiltarlity to visit our friend Anna. Her husband is pastoring a church there while he earns his PhD from St Andrews, and I haven’t seen them since they moved away, so it was great to catch up!

Did I mention none of us had our babies in tow?

Did I mention it was the first time this had happened for all of us?

Did I mention how much we all missed them? :)

We kept commenting on how weird it was that we were getting up whenever we wanted, eating lunch whenever, not working around naptimes, staying up too late, eating chocolate without hiding it, not wiping tushies or faces.. it was so weird! And such a nice break from the routine!

We talked and talked, and I was amazed (though not surprised) at how often and how easily childbirth and child rearing came up in conversation :). Three of the four of us are pregnant, and we all have beloved kiddos, so it was a very natural topic.

We wandered through Inverness on a little shopping/dinner excursion. We visited another little town and saw some ruins. We attended the Barnard’s church and thoroughly enjoyed hearing Joe’s preaching again.

Joy, Sara, Corrie, Anna. I totally win the ‘Most Pregnant’ award :)

It was such a nice weekend to enjoy friends and time away. It made me realize just how much I love my roles as wife and Mama, and I wouldn’t trade them for anything!

Friday, June 03, 2011

The banks really are pretty bonnie…

Four score and seven years ago, I decided that we needed to take a little vacation. Not the kind of ‘vacation’ we usually take to some unknown land where we are seeing things 23 of the 24 hours in a day, and walking across entire cities so we don’t miss anything. No, I wanted to take a slow, leisurely, pressure-free vacation with my family. I was envisioning a sunny beach, some lounging, some playing, and lots of relaxing.

I realized that we had a TON of Tesco points. You get points every time you shop, and we had acquired a lot that we just weren’t using. So I started perusing the ‘rewards’ section of their website and discovered there were all kinds of hotels that would accept our points toward the price of a stay.. And the best part was, our points were tripled! We had about £85 worth of vouchers, which meant we had £255 to use for a stay somewhere. Perfect!

This lead to me searching through ALL the hotel and hostel options to find the very best one in the very warmest place with the very best beach. And lo and behold I found all kinds of very bests! The problem was, we still had to get to these fabulous locations, and it turns out flying isn’t free.. go figure. So after lots of hemming and hawing and changing our minds and changing our plans and going back to the drawing board, we made a decision. It was a painful process that ended with no sunny beach and no flight.

BUT, we were still going somewhere, and it ended up being just right.

We paid a grand total of £30 (we even got free breakfast – I know!) to stay from Monday to Friday in a REAL hotel a few miles away from the bonnie banks of Loch Lomond. The hotel even had a POOL, I kid you not. It was an easy two-hour drive into some beautiful scenery. We had no itinerary, no plans, just hopeful to swim and relax together as a last hurrah before traveling becomes that much more complicated (insert baby #2).

And we had a great week! We were reminded that our first child is terrible at sleeping away from home, but it totally didn’t matter because we had no schedule to keep! It was perfect.

We had a nice room, hot though it was..

We spent time at the loch..

And we played..

And we woke up sweaty and extra curly from hot afternoon naps..

(this is the face he makes when he knows the flash is coming :)

We ventured out and played with rocks at the water’s edge..

We peddle-boated in a little cove and discovered Aed does not love life jackets..

and we laughed.

We did lots of walking and took a ride on a big boat to see more of the pretty area..

And we spent lots of time in the pool! We went swimming every day and Aed loved it. He is a water bug for sure and even thoroughly enjoying ‘jumping’ into the water and going completely under.

As always, we were ready to come home again, but were so thankful for the opportunity to go away (even on a budget!) for a little while and enjoy some leisurely days.

Click on the slideshow in the sidebar if you want to see more pictures of our trip!

Wednesday, June 01, 2011

Stick a Fork in Me…

So I haven’t blogged in a while, I know. I had big plans and then realized that I was going to have a baby and had a lot of work to do. So I’ve been working during most all of my free time in the last couple weeks and just over the weekend got to a point where I had done all I could do (though in my line of work, that point never lasts very long :).

Just in time to start noticing some contractions that were becoming somewhat regular and more intense..

I have been convinced for a while that I would not make it to my June 12th due date with this baby. It’s just been a different pregnancy, a seemingly bigger baby, far more Braxton Hicks contractions than I ever had with Aed. I didn’t think it was possible that I’d even be close to late.

So, when I noticed over the weekend, I wasn’t all that surprised. Then when they were still coming on Monday I started to get nervous. Then when they kept happening all night and then all day Tuesday, I started to get just plain ready. With Aed, once the contractions started they led right into active labor and his birth.

Seems this pregnancy is still different. I was exhausted going to bed last night and was hopeful that even if Baby was ready to come I’d get some sleep first. With the usual tossing and turning, the night concluded uneventfully.

Then this morning I noticed that while my contractions hadn’t changed in intensity, they were becoming far less regular. Cue disgruntled spirit. We went for a long walk. I vacuumed. I showered. Any attempt to keep moving in hopes that it would give my body the final push into labor that seemed more productive. Not so much. So I decided to take a nap.

I knew as I was laying down that my heart was not in the right place. I knew when these contractions started that they might not amount to anything and that I still might get to or go passed my due date. But now, after having the hope held right under my nose, I was not ok with that.

I slept, and when I woke decided to look at my little ‘blessings’ book for women that someone gave me when I graduated from high school. It has a thought and a verse for each day, and I knew with certainty the Lord had planted something in there that would be relevant for me today. Let me show you what it said.

June 1

When we have Jesus, we indeed have everything. All that God demands of us is met in Jesus. He is the supremely all-sufficient One, the first and the last, the living One. Our greatest need, and God’s greatest gift to us, is to awaken us to the sufficiency, supremacy, and destiny of the Lord Jesus Christ. We are called to an undistracted and lifelong preoccupation with Him.

- Fawn Parish, It’s All About You, Jesus

Verse for today:

No good thing will He withhold from those who walk uprightly.
- Psalm 84: 11

I was distracted. I was preoccupied. There was no way I was going to be content in my situation until I was able to take my eyes off of my situation and put them back where they belong.

I know all of you have a reason to be patient right now. It seems those opportunities are never lacking. Let me encourage you, and myself, to fix our eyes on Jesus as we wait, and not waste the time we have been given in wait. I don’t think the Lord intended for the time we spend waiting to be used to pine for the thing we are waiting for. He intended for us to live every moment knowing that it is valuable and important. Each task we’ve been given in the waiting serves a purpose.

I still have an afternoon of mothering, a dinner to cook, a house to tidy up, and work to do before I lay my head down tonight. And I might have to do those things again and again before I see this baby’s face. And that is perfect. There is much to be thankful for in all of it.

In the end, we will have a baby. We will embark on a new chapter of life with new challenges, experiences, expectations, blessings. In the end, we won’t give a second thought to these days in between. Which is why I want them to be good. Not tainted with impatience and annoyance, but full of noticing the many ways the Lord has blessed our family. Noticing how big my first son has gotten, how incredible he is. Noticing how big my second son has gotten and enjoying our last moments as we are. Basking in the love of my husband and marveling at the ways he is always ready to do what needs to be done. And, most of all, working toward an undistracted and lifelong preoccupation with Jesus. Because in the end, that’s where the meaning is found. That’s where the worth is in each day. That’s where peace and contentment lie. That is what will bring me through the waiting.