Friday, October 17, 2014

She's Here!!!


I'm pleased to announce that Baby Girl Baker finally made her grand entrance into this world!

Nora Jane Baker was born 10/15/14 at 1:56 PM after a very crazy and intense birth.  8 lb, 1 oz.  20.5" long.  Healthy as can be!  Hopefully I'll have the chance to write out her birth story.  Until then, I'm home with my sweet little family, adjusting to life as a family of four.






Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Before Baby Bucket List


Well, here I am at 38 weeks, 1 day and still no baby.  After all the trouble we had with preterm labor, a hospital stay, and a week and a half of bed rest, we were definitely expecting Baby Girl sometime last week.  So far, she's still hanging out in there.

After my doctor'a appointment this past Thursday, my husband and I decided to make a little bucket list of sorts of things to do before the baby is born.  While we may be in a time of waiting, we know it's for a reason, and we don't want to waste it.

We've been adding to and adjusting the list as the days have gone on, depending on our mood.  Here are a few of the things we've done in the past five days:

*Watched Fiddler on the Roof with Miles  while Andy worked on his Jeep.


*Andy made some progress on his Jeep.  

*Got donuts for breakfast...definite treat right there!

*We took a drive on a road I'd been wanting to go on forever...with our bags in the car just in case. ;)

*Extended that drive on another road that I just love driving on. (I so wish I'd got pictures!)

*Ate dinner at a restaurant that holds a lot of memories for Andy as a child.

*Made it to church for the first time in weeks.

*Took Miles to a local pumpkin patch that opened up this year.  He loved it...and we did too.





*Went to a movie...technically we only made it to a movie at church (they were showing God's Not Dead), but it was still nice!

*Had dinner with friends after the movie.  

I've also just been soaking up as much time with my boys (especially the soon-to-be big brother) as possible.  I'm having to go extra slow, but Miles and I have been enjoying going to the park, playing at home, and taking afternoon naps.  Andy and I have been enjoying getting to watch "Big People" movies and shows before bed at night.  

The introvert in me is also definitely coming out.  Before Miles was born, I didn't really want to do too much except settle in at home and "nest".  I know several people thought something was wrong, but it wasn't.  It's just how I prepare for everything that's about to happen!

So, if I seem aloof or distant in the next few days or weeks until Baby Girl comes, don't worry.  I'm not depressed and it's not you...it's just me and my introverted self. ;)

Anyway, a few other things we've talked about doing before baby comes are:

*Getting ice cream

*Maybe going to an actual movie theatre. ;)

*One last Jeep ride

*Concert at the Ozark Folk Center

*Smores on the back deck

*Work on the garden

*Drive down to the creek

*Tommy Q and rootbeer floats (for those of you who know what we ate the night before Miles made his swift arrival ;) )



Wednesday, October 1, 2014

The Ugly Truth

Feeling so out-of-control of everything the past few weeks has really brought to light some secrets buried deep in my heart.  Dark, ugly secretsLike, how prideful I am as a pregnant woman.

I see this picture I posted on my Instagram feed some months back and cringe.  The heart of it was so braggy…so self-centered. 


You see, secretly, I felt that the easiness of my first pregnancy was all due to me.  I ate good, tried to stay active, and purposed to stay positive through it all.  My feet barely swelled, heartburn was non-existent, and I delivered a healthy baby boy at 40 weeks, 1 day with no Pitocin, no epidural, and a less than 10 hour labor.  Motherhood ended up being far more challenging than I expected, but I loved it and eventually thrived as a stay-at-home mom.

Then I became pregnant with Baby #2.  I expected nothing less than the easy pregnancy I’d had before.  I planned on staying healthy and active, keeping up my garden, being an amazing mother to my toddler, and babywearing until the very end, when I’d go in and deliver another healthy baby with a short, easy labor.  I would be even more prepared this time.  I knew what to expect.  This wasn’t my first rodeo.

As the weeks of my pregnancy went on, I found myself slowly losing more-and-more of the “control” I thought I had.  First, one of the ventricles in Baby Girl’s brain was slightly enlarged (which, thankfully, resolved itself).  Then, excessive contractions and cramping almost landed me in the hospital at 25 weeks.  I found myself having to go much slower than with my first pregnancy.  We had to turn down outings with friends, for fear that the heat and walking would be too much for me.  I tried to pace myself, but still found myself pushing…perhaps too much.  Heartburn and breathlessness plagued me incessantly. 

Still, I had some control. I was going to be ready.  I had lists made of what all needed to be done before baby came.  They included everything from deep cleaning the house to making freezer meals to packing everyone’s bags to being stocked up on paper plates. 

Every shred of control was lost when I found myself hospitalized with preterm labor at 35 weeks, 3 days.  I was sent home to face the daunting challenge of strict bedrest for the next week and half.  All of my best laid plans went down the tubes.  At night, I’d hear my son crying for me and just ache, knowing that I could not go to him…that someone else would have to.  I found my independent self having to rely on others just to bring me water, change my son’s diaper, or find the extra box of cereal in the kitchen.  I had time to think…and I thought a lot.

I thought about how prideful I had been.  I thought about how nothing, as it turns out, had ever been in my control…nothing was due to my superior actions as a pregnant woman.  This had been a hard pregnancy, with unexpected twists and turns, and it was okay to admit that.  It was okay to embrace that, knowing that nothing I had experienced this go around made me less or more of a woman or a mother.

Right now, my baby carriers are collecting dust, my garden lays fallow, and my son is having to learn that Mama can only do so much today.  At 37 weeks, 2 days, I wait in limbo…waiting for the arrival of my so very wanted baby girl.  I no longer have any expectations of what her birth will be like.  At this point, my once decidedly-pro-natural-childbirth self would even welcome a C-section, if it meant that I would have my little girl in my arms at last and that this pregnancy and everything that comes with it would be over. 

Today, I know that I’m not “Super Pregnant Mommy”.  Today, I feel very out-of-control.  Today,  I know that that’s perfectly okay.          

Friday, September 26, 2014

God Sees the Little Tears

A few weeks after my son was born, my sweet little cat died.  I cried, but I mostly hid those tears.  In light of all the suffering going on in the world, it didn't feel right to be sad about a cat.  I grieved, but silently.

A few weeks ago, one of our beloved dogs passed away quite suddenly and unexpectedly.  Again, I found myself stifling my emotions.  With people fighting cancer and babies in the NICU, it didn't seem right to blubber about a pet.  Blubber I did, however.

Now I find myself on day 8 of bed rest.  On day 3 I found myself back at the hospital with contractions, silently begging God to make them the real thing...for Baby Girl to really, truly be coming.  As much as I wanted to keep her in longer for her sake, I was done on my part.  The unknowns, the contractions, the feeling terrible, and the being stuck in bed, unable to care for myself, let alone my family--all these were killing me inside.

Baby Girl did not come that day, and she's still healthy and cooking inside of me.  As we drove home from that second hospital visit, I found myself blinking back tears.  Once again, they seemed so silly, so futile.  I should be happy that my baby girl was still safe and healthy.  I should be thanking the Lord for each day more with her inside of me, knowing that that was one day more for her to grow and for her lungs to develop.

I took my frustrations and fears to the Lord and, to my surprise, was not met with condemnation and ridicule.  Instead, I felt the most overwhelming peace flood over me.  In my lack of control I found the most amazing strength.

Sometimes it takes the smallest things to make us feel forgotten by God.  The glorious truth, however, is that He will never leave us or forsake us.  It's okay to grieve, to be sad, even in the little things.  No tear is too insignificant for God to miss.  He sees and He cares.  So often, it is in these little tears that we need Him the most.  For, in our grief and hurt, no matter how small, we find the One True Balm...the Source of radical, inexplicable Love and Peace.

Take heart, dear one.  He sees even the little tears.  

Friday, September 19, 2014

When Plans Fail

I was so determined to be ready when Baby Girl Baker made her grand entrance into this world, somewhere around her due date.  Before she came, the house would be spotless, the freezer full, bags packed, and all arrangements made.  According to that plan, I’d be cleaning my house right now, waiting for my parents to arrive, and looking forward to the baby shower this Sunday and more relatives visiting this coming week.
Yesterday morning preterm labor sent me to the hospital where I spent a restless night tossing and turning, hooked up to monitors and IVs.  This morning the doctors let me go home with orders for strict bed rest.  I’m 35 weeks, 4 days pregnant, and we’re trying to get Baby Girl to at least 37 weeks. 
So, instead of doing what I think I should be doing, I’m lying in my bed with instructions to only get up to use the bathroom.  I won’t even be able to make it to Baby Girl’s shower this Sunday.  There’s so much to be done, but nothing that I can do, and little chance that I’ll be able to before she makes her arrival.  Things like this, they can’t be planned for…or planned around.
Yet, I see God’s hand so clearly through all of this.  I see that He’s using this to whittle me away…to make me stop trusting in myself and my “plans” and to start trusting in Him.  I see that I need to stop thinking I can be Super Mommy all the time, with the perfect house and the perfect plan.  Because I can’t.  Expecting myself to be that way only sets me up to fail.  I see that His timing and His plans are always far better than ours in the end, even when we don’t understand why now.  I see that it’s going to be okay
I just have to make it a week and a half.  I’m sure that the dust will sit, we’ll be eating out of pizza boxes, and my poor husband will be too tired for words…but we’ll make it.  And soon, one way or another, our precious baby girl will be in our arms and this will be all over it.  And it’ll all be worth it. 

Friday, September 12, 2014

Things I Want My Daughter to Know

The thought of having a daughter has at times made me scared silly.  Not that raising a son is any less challenging or important.  It’s just that, as much as I see myself in my son, I know I will see myself even more so in my daughter.  And I have been there myself.  I have known the joys of womanhood, but I have also known the tremendous heartaches.  I think about the mistakes I have made and worry that she will make the same, knowing that I cannot spare her from many of them. 

As the day approaches that I will finally hold her in my arms, I think often about all that I want to teach her and what I want her to know, especially about being a woman.  I know that I will make many, many mistakes as a mother, and that she will too.  To err is human, after all.  However, here are some things that I want to tell her:

God has given you specific and unique talents and abilities…don’t waste them.  No woman is the same, and neither should you think that their callings are all the same.  God has given you interests and gifts that He has given no one else.  Cultivate them, pursue them, and develop them.  He wants you to use them so that He may mold you into the woman He wants you to be. 

Be proud when you are smart and knowledgeable.  Growing up, I was always self-conscious about being “smarter” than the boys in school.  This would sound crazy to you if you knew how intelligent and educated my mother is, but even as a young girl I had picked up on the stigma that guys don’t like girls with “brains”.  Don’t be afraid to be smart and good at school.  God has given you those giftings for a reason, and later in life you will only be looked up to, not down upon, for them.

Strength and godly womanhood are not mutually exclusive.  Often times there’s so much emphasis in church circles placed on wives being submissive, gentle, and quiet that we think we need to tiptoe around like scared church mice.  I don’t believe that’s what God wanted us to do either.  Take one look at the women of the Bible and you will see that they were strong, brave women who knew their own minds.  Esther went before her husband the king without being summoned, Tamar committed treason against her own people, Ruth left her family and all she had ever known, and Mary bravely faced disgrace and social stigma to carry her Savior in her womb.  Godly women are also strong women…I believe they have to be!

Submission does not equal weakness.  In line with the last post, submission to your husband does not mean being a doormat.  It means letting him lead, but choosing to do so out of respect for him. 

Be strong in your beliefs, but know why you believe them and what really matters.  Don’t be legalistic.  Don’t believe something just because your parents believe it, or because a pastor you like believes it, or because a boy you’re interested in believes it.  Search the Scripture for yourself, pray, and seek God, and find your standards and convictions there.  Standards and rules that are man-made and not backed by Scripture have legalism at their center.  Don’t get caught in that trap. 

Don’t change who you are for anyone.  Don’t change your standards or your convictions or your beliefs to please anyone.  If you have to change who you are for someone, then they are making you feel guilty for being who God created you to be.  That kind of person deserves no place in your life.  That goes for both loosening your standards and raising them.  A person, especially a guy, who expects you to dress more conservatively or act a certain way for him (within reason, when you are following the standards you are personally convicted about) is pulling you into the trap of legalism.  Steer clear. 

Don’t look to guys to validate your worth.  Guys will hurt your feelings and overlook you.  I can guarantee that, one day, at least one (and maybe more) will break your heart.  Don’t look to a man to validate your worth.  Know who you are in Christ and find your strength and your self-worth in that.
 
You are a beautiful, captivating woman of God who doesn’t need anyone else’s approval to know that.  God has created you beautiful and unique.  He calls you His daughter…His enchanting, beautiful, precious creation.  When the storms of life threaten to overwhelm you, cling to that.  Find your strength and your personhood in Him and Him alone.  Seek out who it is that He has called you to be and be it to the best of your abilities.     

Embrace your womanhood.  Being a woman is a wonderful, hard, challenging, joyful thing.  Be glad you are a woman.  I know from experience that, for all of the painful, difficult things we face in life, that the blessings are a thousand-fold more wonderful. 

Thursday, September 11, 2014

In Search of a Spouse: Before You Go Looking



With as many single friends and family members as my husband and I have, we’ve been thinking back on our own single and dating years a lot.  We’ve talked about the things that we think we did right, and we’ve discussed the things that we wish we had done differently.  It’s funnier how much clearer things are now.

We both firmly feel that, before you ever go looking for a spouse, you need to sit down and figure out who you are and what you believe.  Here are some steps you can take to do that: 

1. Figure out what your core convictions are.  What are the things that you believe that there is no compromising on.  These are the “big deal” things.  These can be broad (such as that Jesus Christ died for the sins of all), or minute (such as the King James Version is the only accurate current English version).  They can also be about doctrine or about lifestyle.  For instance, being a strict Calvinist relates more to your religious walk, whereas how women should dress is related more to day-to-day living.  Whatever the case, these are things that you will not compromise or be swayed on.  Your spouse will either have to agree with you or compromise themselves.  

2. Figure out what you believe that is open to compromise.  For instance, you may think that all moms should be stay-at-home moms, but it’s more of a preference than a conviction.  This is a “not so big of a deal” thing.  Again, these can be broad, minute, doctrinal, or related to lifestyle.   

3. Analyze your lists.
-How long are your lists?  Ideally, your core convictions should be much shorter than your “not so big of a deal” list.  If it’s not, then you need to figure out why.  You are either a.) Very, very firmly convicted, b.) Legalistic, or C.) Too set in your ways.  Conversely, if you have hardly any core convictions, why is that?  Have you really had the time to sit down and figure out what you believe? 
-Why are these your convictions?  Think about your core convictions especially…why are these so important to you?  If you believe all women should wear skirts, or that Christians should never drink alcohol, why is that?  Do your convictions actually come from fervent prayer and searching of the scripture, pressuring parents, or being too steeped in legalism?
4. Keep those lists with you.  As you go looking for a spouse, use these lists as a guide.  Keep them in the back of your mind as you evaluate 

Look for some more thoughts on finding a spouse from my husband and I soon!