Saturday, June 27, 2009

Growing and Changing

Big Cheeks?

First Family Picture Since the Hospital (Oops!)

Just Being Adorable!

Abigail and Mommy, We Love to Cuddle

Daddy and Abigail on Father's Day

Grandad and Abigail on Father's Day

In the Special Dress She Wore for Daddy on Father's Day

First Nap in Her Crib

Understanding Abraham

I have read the account of Abraham's Testing (Exodus 22) countless times. My thoughts on the matter summed up to this: 1. The account foreshadowed God's sacrifice of His son Jesus. 2. We should be willing to lay all aside in willing obedience to the Lord. 3. God has a reason and plan even when we cannot see them clearly. Matter of fact I know, but that's about all I amounted that passage of scripture to. Until now.

A little over a month ago I gave birth to my first child, my sweet Abigail. She arrived safe and sound, but not after a scare or two. There were several times throughout labor that her heart rate plummeted, but always within less than a minute it rose back to normal levels on it's own. We were nearing the home stretch of dilation (about 8 cm) when suddenly I was surrounded by nurses and my doctor. No one said a word, but their faces were grim and their attitudes urgent. I looked to my husband, whose face could not have been more stoic, and felt my own heart begin to pound. The nurses proceeded to turn me first one way and then another before finally settling me into a declined position with my feet raised higher than my head (not comfortable at the 38th week of pregnancy I assure you). My epidural was turned up to the point that I no longer felt anything at all. For what seemed to be a horrendous amount of time everyone silently watched the monitor, while I did my best to remain calm. I glued my eyes on John who showed no expression at all. Finally after what must have only been 5-10 minutes, the nurses began to file out of the room and the mood eased. The wonderful nurse who had attended to me all day leaned over and explained that this time when Abigail's heart rate fell it would not rise again. She went on to say that they had been on the verge of doing an emergency c-section when (Thank Heavens) her heart rate picked back up to a normal level. At this point my composure dissolved as I let it sink in what danger my little girl had been in. John left the room, and when he returned I could tell just how scared he has been as well. The rest of the labor process went smoothly, and as fore mentioned our daughter is now one month old. At the time I did my best to push the memory of that terrifying experience aside, but now it has come rushing back with a vengeance and with it new understanding of Exodus 22.

God directly asked Abraham, with the intention of testing his faith, to sacrifice his only son...the son he desired more than all else, Isaac. The next morning Abraham rose and proceeded to do just as God had asked. Now you and I both know that God provided a sacrificial lamb and Isaac was spared, but Abraham had no idea that this would be the case. The Bible says nothing about Abraham's reaction to this request or the emotions he must surely have felt, but I have been trying to put myself in his shoes. Can you imagine the agony of knowing what morning would bring!? How emotionally, physically, and mentally taxing that night must have been. I cannot adequately understand I am certain, but I believe that now I can empathize. As I recall those terrible moments when the beat of Abigail's heart fell, I can now look back and let myself feel the full impact of that situation. I felt, feel even now, angry that there should even has been a second of danger to this little person that I already loved so much. I know now, as I knew then, that it would be far easier to die myself than to lose my daughter. I know that in those moments the pounding of my heart was a cry of "not her Lord, but if someone must go let it be me." If given the ultimatum I would have gladly walked into Jesus' loving arms if only my little girl could live. I like to believe that I would have enough faith to let go of Abigail if God required it, but I fear that I do not. Can you too imagine Abraham beseeching God to allow him to take Isaac's place? Can you fathom the turmoil of weighing your options? Obey and lose your child. Disobey and ...well who wants to provoke God?

I have another level to take this thought to...if you care to join me.

In Biblical times the offering of a sacrifice required preparation...going to a special place, the necessities for a fire, at times herbs or perfumes...God expected Abraham to go through the process of getting ready to sacrifice his son. He had to gather the wood, stack it, make kindling, perhaps pack special incense. It seems almost cruel to me to know that he had to go through these measures knowing that the blood shed on the altar would belong to his son. My sister-in-law recently lost her twin baby boys. She was 21 weeks into a rough pregnancy and had just begun to hope that they might be alright. One night she began bleeding profusely and having intense contractions. For 3 days she lingered in labor before finally delivering her precious boys. Aidan Dale arrived stillborn and Addison Lee's heart beat for over an hour before he too passed away. My sister-in-law and her husband had been required to make a necessary decision...restate or not. In a sense they too faced the same situation that Abraham faced. They endured 3 days of pain knowing that at the end of it all their boys stood very little chance of survival. On my part, my immediate reaction was to shake my fist in anger at God. Despite this all both have emerged from this experience with hope. Even in the bad, how good our God is.

How very well I am beginning to understand Abraham...

Thursday, June 25, 2009

An Abigail Update

Little Miss Abigail Grace can:

  • Smile at Mommy and Daddy
  • "Coo" better than any baby I've ever heard (I'm biased)
  • Poop Foam...I'm not even lying. It was sick.
  • Practice "Mutton Busting" on Daddy's knee (a rodeo event in which kids ride big sheep for 8 seconds)
  • Make 101 different faces within any given 60 second period

Little Miss Abigail Grace loves:

  • Dancing with Daddy
  • Nursing without ceasing or so it seems to Mommy
  • Looking at her Farm Mobile
  • Cuddling with anyone who holds her
  • Sleeping with her arms up by her head

Little Miss Abigail Graces hates:

  • Bottles (we are forcing her to confront this aversion)
  • Being Tossed in the Air (perhaps not a gymnast like Mommy)
  • Not being held (Any night owls who want to hold a baby for hours on end, let me know)

Our little girl is growing up far faster than I would like (other than in the sleep department). I cannot believe that Abigail has been apart of our lives for over a month now. She has grown and changed in so many ways. I find myself filled with bittersweet emotions all the time. I'm sad to see my little one outgrow her newborn clothes, yet I am excited to see her personality emerging. There is no greater joy or blessing than Abigail Grace...

A Tribute To Ms. Bananas in Pajamas

Yesterday morning found me at wits end. My sweet baby girl doesn't have such endearing sleep habits. For weeks now I've been running on a max of 4 hrs sleep per night. Tuesday night I never quite made it to bed, and as a result I was an emotional mess come morning. On impulse I texted my dear friend Court-N-Tilly, and found comforted I desperately needed. Courtney and I have not been able to keep in touch or to spend as much time together as we would like, but always always she is there for me. Many of you know that my freshman year of high school Courtney was my big sister on our dance team. We ironically looked very similar and happened to randomly wear the same outfits to practice (truly never planned). She and I carried around Banana in Pajama dolls and drove our team nuts singing the theme song to the show. We developed a strong friendship that has lasted beyond high school and in to adult life. Courtney and I coached dance together for several years, and she was a bridesmaid in my wedding. After marrying I moved to the middle of no where (literally) and haven't been able to come home as much as I'd like. Courtney and I often talked about being mommies together and now it's happened! I'm so thankful for her comforting words, sympathetic understanding, and reassurance that I am not crazy after all. She lended a listening ear when one was desperately needed. I also owe her an everlasting debt of gratitude because on the heels of her advice little Abigail slept 5hrs in a row last night!

Courtney- I'm so thankful for your friendship that endures trials and strengthens over time. God bless you! Let me know when I can return the favor!

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Dear Abigail Grace,

I can hardly believe that you have been a part of our lives for nearly a month now. Life is altogether different and more meaningful because of your presence. Because your daddy is such a hard worker, Mommy is able to stay home with you. It is such a blessing to watch you change and grow day in and day out. We went to the Dr. for your first check up this week and you are growing marvelously! You have gained nearly 2lbs in 3 weeks! Needless to say the doctor and nurses were impressed! Daddy and I love you so much. In our wildest dreams we could not have adequately imagined the immense blessing that you would be. You are a noisy little girl! Daddy says you sound just like a piglet with all the grunting that you do. I think that you are just like Daddy. You sleep with your arms up...just like him. You make 101 different facial expressions...just like him. You sleep deeply and soundly (when you sleep)...just like him. You are a priceless and special little girl. Your sleeping patterns leave a little to be desired. You and Mommy spend quality time together at all hours of the night. Everyone is head over heels in love with you, and rightly so. I have yet to meet a little girl as fussed over as you! I pray that you will soak in all of this love and that throughout your life you will share it with others. Grow Strong and Healthy my boppli...
Mommy Loves You