A few weeks ago my husband taught our Sunday school class. Sometimes it's hard for me to listen to my husband preach or teach, because, well I live with him. He's an awesome husband, father, man of God, but I live day in and day out with him. Today though God had special plans for this teaching. We were discussing Matthew 14 where Jesus walks on water and calls Peter out of the boat.
Not a new story right? I've always thought the same thing over and over about this story. "Silly Peter, why would you look around and doubt when Jesus, God's very own Son, is standing right there? What do you have to fear?"
This time though something else came to the front. Peter actually stepped OUT of the boat. It was dark and stormy and the wind was "contrary" (NASB) and Peter still got out of the boat. To walk on water. Like it was a perfectly normal and acceptable thing to do.
Lately I've been struggling with the timing of things in my life. The timing of a new baby, new opportunities, old ministries that I continue to love, striving for what I'm called to do, living this life that is in front of me and so very hectic and loud and busy. I need to step out of the boat into this crazy life and just because of current circumstances, I am not excluded from things that bring me deeper into my faith.
None of this is really where the conversation went during Sunday school, it was only later that I connected these things. That God planted this well known Bible story that day to hold up a mirror to where I've been struggling, avoiding commitment and wondering why dreams don't pan out. I would have wanted to have one foot out and one in, just in case.
God calls us to actually sometimes step out of the boat in faith when we
aren't sure, when the wind or world is contrary to what we believe. He
asks us to go against what we think we know to be true and walk out.
Even if we start to sink like Peter did, Jesus caught him by the hand
and walked him back to the boat. He was always safe, right there hand in
hand with Jesus.
So I've tried to push myself to do "boat things". That's what I've been calling them in my head, the things I feel God has been asking me to do in my heart that just don't come naturally. I've been asking for prayer when I need it, I've been honest with my feelings and some of my opinions that I would normally shy away from, I've committed to putting fingers to the keyboard and write more often, I've asked to belong to a group that I would normally be intimidated in. All things that easily could be ignored, but that I would feel cheated about later.
God has been merciful, He's blessed me in each of these attempts to do the things that are hard for me. But even if my eyes wander and I start to sink, I know He'll be there to walk me back to the boat.
Saturday, January 28, 2017
I've hesitated in writing this for a number of reasons. It's a little bittersweet to me as it will most likely be my last telling and it occurs to me now in this stage that not everyone cares, or is comfortable with these sorts of things. On top of that up until this point writing again has been done in passing, for myself, not to be shared among people I know, in real life.
But here it is, it demands to be recorded, I have all the others written, in blog or email form. The ultimate story of waiting, coming to fruition, the birth story. How this sweet, patient, even tempered babe came to know this world and begin to capture hearts right away, beginning with his Mama.
Birth stories are each one so different, for each child born into a family, but widely so for each Mama all over the earth, some begin with a phone call or water breaking, some involve heart breaking and hours of trauma or sweet blissful silence. Mine have all been within text book normal range but each has been as vastly different as each of my children's personalities.
After weeks of false labor and one intense bout of back labor the Wednesday after Thanksgiving, I went to my scheduled appointment the next day after embarrassingly being sent home from the hospital the night before. My body hadn't progressed much in preparing itself for labor, so we made an appointment for an induction the next week two days after my due date.
Monday, December 5 came around, still pregnant, and it was my due date. I went to the ob's office tired, passed my nonstress test, exam, and sonogram (still not any progress to speak of) and they sent me on my way with a warning about my slightly elevated amniotic fluid levels. This was basically a warning that if my water broke, I would definitely be aware of it. There are other risks with elevated fluid levels but everything appeared normal. And so we began "try all the old wives tales at once" to make the baby come out. We plotted the rest of our day accordingly. We ate lunch and I ordered all spicy things, we went to walk at our local indoor track and I bounced and swayed for 45 embarrassing minutes on an exercise ball. Still nothing, so we went home, had dinner with the kids and settled into an episode of Downton Abbey (I still had not finished the series).
Now don't get me wrong, when I say nothing, I don't mean absolutely nothing. I mean nothing different than what I had been told to ignore the last few weeks. I had been having contractions regularly in the evenings for weeks, sometimes painful, sometimes rhythmic and close together for hours, sometimes both. But none of them progressed far and I'd been told to basically wait for my water to break to head to the hospital.
Eventually I had Adam stop the episode of Downton so I could take a bath and relax before bed. The contractions continued but did not progress anywhere so I relaxed, had a snack and climbed into bed. I started to fall asleep but the contractions kept me awake, once I remember drifting off and then one particular one woke me up. I got out of bed and rocked in the trusty rocking chair while reading a magazine (and having another snack).
Finally frustrated with nothing being painful enough to "count" I laid back down after drinking a whole glass of water (maybe I was dehydrated?) and then next three contractions I remember vividly two were painful and the third I had to get up on my hands and knees and sway to make it through. After a few more I was shaking and couldn't walk during the contractions and had to focus and breathe and realized that this was for real.
It was time to go to the hospital, I had ruptured some membranes and was bleeding, so there was no turning back now. I woke up Adam who was so confused in his sleepiness but finally understood the situation enough to help me by getting our bags to the car and letting his mom know (she was staying with us and so watched the big kids). We pulled out of the alley at 2:03 am. On the way I called the doctor's line and my mama and sent a few texts to people who "needed" to know.
We arrived at the hospital at 2:32am and got wheeled up to L&D, checked in, settled, all the while more shaking and contractions, but when an exam was done, I was actually only half way progressed but definitely in active labor. I elected to have an epidural fearing a little that it might stall labor, but fearing a 9.5lb baby a little more. The epidural didn't work with Penny, so I knew I was risking this again. It was working mostly, and was enough to take the edge off but still allow me to feel in control of myself (as much control as you can have while in labor).
At about 5 am I had progressed all the way to7-8 cm and our favorite Dr L was called to come on into the hospital to break my water. He arrived around 5:20am and had forgotten his warning to me from earlier, he was underprepared for breaking my water they gushed everywhere causing him to have to change his clothes and even poured into the nurse's shoes.
The nurse I had that night was amazing. Rachel. She thought Adam and I were funny and was just a quirky as us. She was so excited to have someone in "hot" labor and enjoyed the excitement of a quick paced event. The most important thing though is that she believed me. She believed everything I told her and took me seriously. I've had the opposite happen during labor so this was quite a relief for me and I'm sure helped overall in such a smooth delivery.
Historically my babies come quickly once my water is broken, so we waited only a little bit and then I was ready to push. I remember Dr L saying he wasn't going far and there being two possibly newish residents as well. When I decided pushing would happen soon Rachel was quick to gather the doctors. She was efficient and encouraging. The residents were taking their sweet time gowning up and Rachel understanding that my babies do not wait, was telling them to hurry up and finally I snapped, "Hey! The baby is coming... NOW!" and they jumped to right away.
I pushed less than 5 times. I remember thinking there was no stopping this and that I was so tired that I couldn't push anymore all in the same second. I'd been up all night apparently laboring more than I thought at home. now it was 6 am and all I wanted to do was have this babe safe and sound and take a nap.
The babe was here at 6:12 am and as they clamped the umbilical cord, I remember just repeating over and over, "Is it a boy? What is it?" It seemed an eternity, but really was less than 2 seconds because Adam got to tell me, "A boy!" and they placed him on my chest even before the cord was cut. Adam cut the cord but I don't even think I was really watching, I was impatiently trying to see my baby boy's face. It struck me immediately that he looked like his brother and sister. He was (and still is) definitely a Kipp baby.
After his initial protest of being outside the nice warm womb he was silent and serene and sleepy. I nursed him a little bit and Adam and I just stared and talked to him for well over an hour until they were ready to move us out of that room.
They had to take him to the nursery to test him and bathe him because I'm a strep b carrier and didn't have enough antibiotics before his arrival. As we were transferring and so many nurses were in and out we kept asking opinions on a name. we had a firm girl name but in the 24 hours before this babe was born had decided against our chosen boy's name. Even while expecting Penny we knew our next boy would have the middle name Fox, but didn't have a solid first name choice.
In the end we went back to a name we had discussed all along. Felix.: happy or favored one. And that is exactly what he has been. A happy happy baby. He is even tempered and sweet and calm. He is relaxed and intent on watching the crazy world of our house around him. He cries when he is hungry or tired or needs to be changed and hardly even then. He is basically everything I prayed for throughout this pregnancy. A patient and flexible baby who flows with our hectic family schedule.