GO FORTH AND MULTIPLY

Be fruitful and multiply, bring forth abundantly in the earth, and multiply therein.
Genesis 9:7.

Through my years of infertility, I sought wisdom from the bible of Gods plan for my life. This verse always frustrated me. It went against what my body was allowing me to do; “be fruitful and multiply.” If God’s plan for His people was to reproduce and multiply, then why couldn’t I. For many years, I thought I was being punished. Punished for something I must have done in my past. Punished for not being the woman God wanted me to be.

A few years ago there was an “explosion” of pregnancies at our church. Five pregnancies had been announced within several months. People would comment, “If you don’t want to get pregnant, don’t drink the water.” If that were true, I would have bathed in it. I wish it were that easy.

I wondered what these women were doing that I was not. I can remember, as if it were yesterday, one of these women announced her third pregnancy at church one morning. Her youngest was just a year old. Pregnant again, already, I had thought. Why would God bless her with three beautiful children, and other women like me with none? She must be a woman with a heart for God. Mine was hardening.

I tried to think of women who had bigger burdens to bear. Women who had cancer. Women who had lost children. The list could go on and on. Still nothing could fill the void in my heart, after hearing each pregnancy announcement.

I had to seek truth. God does not simply punish us because of our shortcomings. In the pages of scripture, I found answers. One of my favorite verses in the bible is Jeremiah 29:11-14. “For I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord, plans to give you a hope and a future, and not of harm. For if you call upon My name, and search Me with all of your heart, I will be found by you, and deliver you from captivity.”

This is one of the verses that helped me persevere during our infertility. God had plans for me. He is not trying to “harm” or punish me. He does not punish us because of our failures. He does not say, “I will bless this one, but not that one because she is a sinner.” We are all sinners. I had to trust. God is good.

This year has been another “explosion” of pregnancies at our church. Ten announcements and/or births occurred within the last year. John Luke was one of them. The picture below is at a dinner with some of the babies born in the latest “Baby Explosion.”

I don’t know What holds your future, but I know the One who holds it.

Pray, trust, and persevere.
photo1

FAMILY TIES

This week has been a week of spending time with family. My mom came Monday to see the baby, and stayed until Thursday. I could not wait for her to see how much John Luke had grown. He is starting to smile, coo, and recognize faces. All you have to do is look at him, and he will give you the most heart warming grin.

Josh and I left on Friday, for a weekend getaway to Pigeon Forge, to visit his family. Josh’s parents, his brother and wife, and four kids came from Alabama to go skiing, and invited us along. I was excited to see how much the kids have grown. Emma will be 9 years old this week, Anna is 7, Spencer 4, and Zachary 2. It was a special weekend for Josh and me. It was the first time John Luke got to meet his cousins on his side of the family.

John Luke’s cousin Spencer, has given him a new nick name, “John Luker.” On Martin Luther King Day, Spencer told his parents that he had learned about his cousin at day care, “John Luker.” In a 4 year old’s mind, Martin Luther had sounded like John Luke, so he thought they were talking about his new baby cousin. I can just hear him telling his teacher, “That’s my cousin.” Like the saying goes, kids say the darndest things. We’ve had a good laugh about it.

Infertility can be stressful on the whole family dynamics. I have to be honest, having a brother and sister-n-law that could sneeze and get pregnant, has been painful at times. It was not their fault that we couldn’t get pregnant. It was not our fault that it was painful every time they announced a new pregnancy. It just was.

Our infertility, and their ease at which they could get pregnant, has caused some growing pains; or should I say, OPPORTUNITIES FOR GROWTH, for Josh and me. We were happy for them, but sad for us. Distance and time was often the best buffer. John Luke has filled the whole in our hearts caused by infertility.

In the end, family is the tie that binds. You always go back to where you belong.

photo1

FAITH OVER FEAR

I guess every generation asks the question “Remember when”?

“Remember when” you were in 1st grade and you could walk to your friends house?

“Remember when” you could ride the school bus without fear of getting kidnapped, or seeing your bus driver shot?

“Remember when” you could go to school without fear of a demented person committing mass murder?

“Remember when”?

Every generation asks this question when looking back at their childhood. Sadly, we are living in very different times than any generation has known before. We are living in very dark times. I believe this is partly because people do not attend church anymore. This morning in church the pastor stated that research shows only 1 in 5 families attend church these days.

This statistic is startling to me. I believe the only way to salvation is through Jesus Christ. Not to mention, religious doctrine teaches us about morality. It teaches us right from wrong. It teaches us accountability; not just to God, but to each other. It teaches forgiveness.

I’m not saying I’m a perfect Christian (FAR FROM IT). Jesus died on the cross so you and I can be redeemed. We can be forgiven, and we can forgive others. Many people in this world have allowed their hearts to darken. In a world darkened by sin, there will always be fear. Maybe that’s why fear is mentioned 326 times in the bible, almost once for every day of the year.

Now that I have a child, I do sometimes fear what his world will be like as he grows up. What will his “Remember When’s” be like? Fear of wondering what could happen to him, or what kind of world might he grow up in; has the power to steal my joy if I allow it.

I must choose faith over fear.

1 John 5: 4-5
To those who believe, their faith can be the victory to overcome the world!

TWO MONTH CHECK UP


John Luke had his two month well-baby visit and vaccinations this week. My little piglet weighs 13 lbs and 2 oz, and is 23 inches long. The tech who administered his shots worked really fast. He only cried briefly; and before I knew it, she was putting Snoopy bandaids on his chunky little thighs. I think it hurt me more than it hurt him.

The best news about this visit, was that his heart murmur was gone. The day after he was born, the hospital pediatrician detected a heart murmur. He ensured me that murmurs are common in newborns, and may go away in a few months. Josh being a nurse anesthetists, also validated this point stating that, heart murmurs are not uncommon in children, and that most children have an “innocent” or non-pathologic murmur at sometime during their lives. Because of their reassurance, I wasn’t too worried, but I knew in my heart, I would feel better once it was gone.

The murmur was detected again, when he was just a few days old, at his first visit to the pediatrician. The doctor recommended an Echocardiogram, and sent us over to the medical center. When we checked in at the desk, they asked us for our insurance, and informed us that after insurance, we would be billed $1200.00 for the remaining balance.

Josh had felt this was an unnecessary test to run on a three day old, when most likely the murmur would go away on it’s own. He stated even if the Echo detected a murmur, there wasn’t anything that could be done about it, except to monitor it, which is what we would be doing anyway. We called John Luke’s pediatrician to discuss holding off on the Echo, and giving the murmur time to close before proceeding with the test.

Josh cited to me the following reasons. The most common causes of heart murmurs in newborns is due to PDA- Patent Ductus Arteriosis; and PFO- Patent Foramen Ovale. These are due to the holes in the heart that are present to allow fetal circulation to flow through the placenta, and usually close soon after birth. Also, there are flow murmurs in which the blood makes a rushing sound as it moves through the vessels in the chest. These are not abnormal and quickly correct themselves with normal development. In the absence of signs and symptoms of heart failure or poor oxygenation, no further treatment is required. John Luke had good color and was breathing well, so this didn’t appear to be the case.

At his two month check up, the pediatrician informed us the murmur seems to have gone away. He said he will continue to monitor it to be certain. Josh will occasionally put his stethoscope to John Luke’s heart to listen for it as well. We wouldn’t hesitate for a second to have an Echo, if we felt there was a threat to John Luke’s health or well being. We would “move mountains” if we felt there was a problem that required treatment.

I am thankful for the doctors concern to request the Echo. We are just blessed that with Josh’s medical background, we can make informed decisions with the doctor about John Luke’s health. I am thankful the murmur is gone. Even if the murmur had led to something more serious, he is ours and we couldn’t love him more. God chose him to be ours. Any health issues that arise in the future, we will deal with them as they come.

For now, his heart is healthy, and he already has mine wrapped around his little hands.
photo1