Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Ultimately God Starts Labor

People are always trying to find ways to start labor so that they can give birth. I'm in one of those modes currently as I am ready to have my baby and have been for a couple of weeks. A week ago my doctor asks me, "This is your 6th and you do not know what puts you into labor?" which really frustrated me because the answer is NO! Of my previous 5, three of my babes were induced and the two that were not induced had not connection of me doing this or that to put me into labor.

The conclusion: only God can ultimately start your labor. 

This is true even when induced. My 5th took forever to kick in even with pitocin running through my veins. God and God alone puts us into labor. God and God alone brings forth life. With my first I tried everything I was comfortable with to attempt to get my labor to start on its own, and nothing worked. My body was ready, but it never kicked in on its own. By God's grace a pictocin induction worked for me. With each I have tried different things at different times and for me nothing is the "Key". This is not true for everyone. Some people know exactly what puts them into labor, which is God's grace. Some never go into labor on their own, but need help. This is God's grace too, because it reminds us that He is ultimately in control and we are not.

What is your experience with labor starting? How have you seen God working in it.

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Matthew's Birth

From the Archives

Baby number five was an odd challenge.  We thought we were done after number four.  But not long after we brought number four home, our eldest started saying, “God is going to give us another baby.”  We would shake our heads and say “Ok” and move on.  Then he started saying, “God is going to give us another baby and it is going to be a boy.”  Mind you, he is six and we already decided we were done; two boys and two girls seemed perfect.  Besides we were running out of room in the van.  When he started saying, “God is going to give us another baby and it’s going to be a boy and we’ll name him Matthew” we started to wonder. 

Then we got pregnant.  I am not one of those women who love being pregnant.  I am “morning sick” all day and way past 12 weeks. Also, I carry way out front, like so far that it scares people when I turn around in the end of pregnancy, “whoa! I totally didn’t know you were pregnant, you’re huge!” 

So we had to find out if this would be a boy baby, and get used to the idea of a baby with the name Matthew.  When I looked it up in our names dictionary, I discovered something cool.  Matthew means gift of God, and so does Nathanael, our eldest.  So the name seemed super fitting considering the surrounding circumstances.

Our first hiccup came with my initial blood work.  I got a call back from the midwife’s office saying they were referring me to maternal-fetal specialists because one of my labs came back elevated.  We found out at maternal-fetal that my anti-e was elevated.  Basically, the thing to worry about was if Matthew’s blood type was incompatible with mine, then at some point my body would consider him a threat and my antibodies would go after him and his blood supply.  He went on to say this usually happens in high frequency pregnancy mamas—this being number seven for me, it all made sense to him.  So as long as this anti-e stayed below a certain number there was no worry.  This meant I could continue to see the midwives, but had to get poked at every appointment.

Thankfully that lab work never spiked again!  My pregnancy was normal up to the going one week past my due date.  My parents got in town and the next day I was timing contractions again.  They would taper off if I lied down in the last week, but this day they wouldn’t just go away.  I tried doing dishes, still they were there.  I tried lying on the couch, now they started to take my breath away.  I sent my husband a text message at 2 saying they wouldn’t go away.  He left work.  At three o’clock I left the house with the library books that were due that day, asking my husband to just drive to the drop box on the way to the hospital.  Halfway there, we changed our minds.  It was getting harder and harder to concentrate, and we weren’t going to make it if we detoured.

I checked into the desk and they got the room ready.  My midwife came in and looked at me and said she was going to go down the hall to tell the other mother she had there that she was going to stay with me because she was not going to miss delivering this baby.  She came back in and broke my water to make it easier.  Forty-five minutes after checking in at the front desk we had Matthew in our arms!  It was wonderfully fast and during the day! 

The next morning, my husband brought up all the brothers and sisters to meet Matthew.  As they were walking up to the hospital Hannah started to skip and fell.  She ended up spending half the day after meeting Matthew waiting in the ER with Dad for 5 stitches to close up her chin.

God was merciful to us in giving us one more gift of a son.  We wouldn’t trade any of our five kids or their birth stories for anything.  Our van is completely amazed out now, and my husband is building a triple bunk bed for the boys.  God is good.

~ Shared by Laura A. 

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Psalm 127

Psalm 127 is another great Psalm for preparing for labor as it reflects that God is the One who builds our homes. 

Unless the Lord builds the house,
They labor in vain who build it;
Unless the Lord guards the city,
The watchman keeps awake in vain.
It is vain for you to rise up early,
To [a]retire late,
To eat the bread of [b]painful labors;
For He gives to His beloved even in his sleep.
Behold, children are a [c]gift of the Lord,
The fruit of the womb is a reward.
Like arrows in the hand of a warrior,
So are the children of one’s youth.
How blessed is the man whose quiver is full of them;
They will not be ashamed
When they speak with their enemies in the gate.

Children are a heritage from the Lord, a gift. God is the building our homes as He gives us children. Pregnancy, labor and birth are part of this process. As you seek prepare for your family to grow, your pregnancy and your birth remember that God is ultimately in control. Hand your plans to Him and wait with anticipation to see what He will do.

What Scriptures speak to you?

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

The Struggle of Inviting God's Control

As I right this post, this is very much on my mind. I have written before about God being in every birth and this is true whether you invite Him or not. But I will tell you, when you invite Him in and relinquish your whole experience to Him, it is much easier to accept what comes your way. Right now, I am really having to invite God into my birth every moment. Current circumstance are causing me to strongly desire to take my birth into my own hands, but I know that that is not what is best for my baby or me. I find myself relinquishing control and then snatching it back. It's primarily a battle of the mind. Sometimes the Spirit is winning, sometimes the flesh. But it is ongoing and a bit wearisome.

God alone is our strength. God alone knows what is best for us. God alone will bring our babies into this world. Will you invite God into your birth?

How do you struggle with inviting God in?

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Josiah's Birth

From the Archives

After the last three babies waiting till my mom was in town or on her way, my mother-in-law joked that she wasn’t coming to help after baby number 4 till my mom had visited.  Sure enough, the morning after my mom arrived, my water broke at 4am!  I woke my tired mom and let her know, and my husband and I headed to the hospital.  My midwife had said if my water breaks, come straight away since the last two babies were born shortly after having my membranes ruptured.

Off we went to the hospital, but again, no really painful contractions.  The ER nurse looked skeptical, but sent me up to L&D to check in.  My midwife met us up there and she checked me over.  She said she wouldn’t leave since her house was a good 45 minutes from the hospital.  After an hour of no real progress and irregular contractions she examined me again.  She said baby boy feels like he was facing my thigh rather than my tailbone, maybe that is why my contractions and labor are stalling.  So she told me to lie down on my side, so he is on his face and maybe he would turn.  She was going to go home.  She said to call her again when we reached 8cm. 

I lied down on my side and napped.  My husband went to the cafeteria and got breakfast.  He came back and I told him to go nap.  I wasn’t struggling through contractions, and could breathe through them on my own right now.  I would really need him later.  When the contractions began to regulate again and get more uncomfortable I woke him.  He called the nurse to come check me, and we were on our way to baby-time!  The midwife was called back and when she arrived we were just about ready.

I had been using the squat bar attached to the bed and loving that I could use it to support me how I was comfortable and my husband could rub my back during contractions.  The midwife had me lie down a bit and put my feet up on the squat bar, so I was still in the position of a squat, but now baby wasn’t wrapped around my pelvis.  I gave a few good pushes, and out was a blond baby boy!  First time we had a blond baby, and he was big—8lbs, 10oz! 

Then came the anatomy lesson.  After I delivered the placenta, the midwife said look at this. To which my husband was almost grossed out completely.  She said, look where the amniotic sac tore, it was 3 inches from a huge artery-looking thing.  She said this was a rare occurrence.  Usually the umbilical cord attaches directly to the placenta, but my baby’s had threaded its way across the amniotic sac before attaching to the edge of the placenta.  She said if the sac had torn 3 inches in the other direction both mom and baby would have died before we go to the hospital.  God had been merciful to us again! He not only gave us another healthy baby, but spared both our lives in protecting us!

Then came the other interesting trial.  The week of his due date I had developed a rash on my belly.  No fun in the middle of May.  I was terribly itchy and huge to boot.  After Josiah was born, the rash didn’t go away, it spread.  By the time I left the hospital, it was all over my body and spreading to even more unpleasant places.  For about a month after giving birth I wanted to peel my skin off.  Nothing brought relief.  Even my mother-in-law who frequently gets hives thought I looked miserable.  Eventually it faded, beginning with my belly, and I found relief in not having it.  They call it the PUPPs rash, and there is nothing you can do about it.  No one knows why it happens, and thankfully it only happened to me once!

~ Shared by Laura A.

Thursday, June 18, 2015

When Should I Go To The Hospital in Labor?

If you are planning a hospital birth, I am quite sure this question is on your mind. Is any time to early? Is any time to late? The answer is a bit complex, given we all have different expectations of labor and birth.

If your water breaks you need to go to the hospital. Your labor may not start right away or it could come on quickly after or you may already be in the middle of labor. Either way, when your water breaks you know your baby is headed into the world one way or another. It's time to head to the hospital.

Doctor's tell us that we need to go to the hospital when contractions are every 5 minutes for 1 hour. While sound advice, I have found many people are not yet in labor when they come in for this or they are still in early labor with frequent contractions that are not strong enough to dilate the cervix. If your contractions are strong and this frequent, then go to the hospital if you desire. With a first baby, it is likely you still have a ways to go with one hour of contractions like this. With subsequent babies, it is a good indication you are close. Pray and ask for wisdom if it's time for you to go.

If you are desiring an epidural for your labor, the above rule is a good one to follow as long as you are in active labor. If you are wanting to avoid an epidural, then stay home until you know it is close to time to deliver. You ask, "How do I know?" All I can say is, you will know. When you move into transition it is obvious. When you move from early/prodromal labor into active labor it is obvious. Pay attention. Pray throughout.

If you are in any doubt about whether you should go ahead to the hospital, call your doctor's office. Generally speaking, if you are contracting regularly they will tell you to go. That's just the way it is. Know, then, how you desire to proceed once at the hospital, and make your desires known.

How did you decide when to go to the hospital?

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

How Do I Prepare for A Non-Medicated Birth?

This is a question I am asked quite frequently, especially since I have had 5 births without an epidural. I'm sure everyone who has had natural, unmedicated labor has different things they would advise, so here are some general tips.

  1. Pray a lot! And when you think you have prayed all you can pray some more. Seriously, I could not have gotten through any of my labors without a lot of prayer. Many of my prayers reflect Psalm 23 or simply asking God for help and strength to get through this contraction.
  2. Know what helps you to relax. This is going to be different for everyone. Maybe it's music. Maybe it's having some one massage your back, feet, hands etc. Perhaps silence with minimal lighting. Know yourself and know what is going to help you to be calm in an intense time.
  3. Practice relaxing before you're in labor. Set aside a couple times each week at the very least to practice relaxing your body in the type of environment you would like to have for your labor. For example, if you plan to have music, put it on and practice relaxing with it. As you get closer to your due date, make this more frequent, with practice as many days as possible by 35 weeks. 
  4. Memorize Scripture. This is such a great way to help you mentally concentrate on the Lord and not your circumstances. Find a Psalm or passage that really speaks to you and your relationship with God and focus on it. 
  5. Plan to stay home as long as possible. You might think I'm a bit crazy with this one, but if you are healthy, the baby is healthy, your labor is progressing normally and your water has not broken, stay in your own environment as long as possible. Once you enter the hospital you are on their turf, their timetable and it becomes more difficult to get comfortable and relaxed. I have not had this luxury with most of mine, and am hoping this will be the case for my next one as my third, where I was home the most, was my best as a whole.
  6. Do Exercises. These help prepare your body for the stretching and pressure that come with giving birth. I find these very helpful to do regularly, daily if at all possible.
  7. Expect it to be hard. I really wish I had been better at this during my last labor. Because I had had fairly easy labors previously, I had forgotten that labor can be very hard. Prepare mentally for the worst and hopefully it will not be as bad as you are expecting.
  8. In labor, take each contraction as it comes. Once you think, "Is it going to get worse than this?" you are already on your way to needing medicine. Instead say, "OK, here it comes," then relax as you have practiced. Contractions will get more intense toward the end, generally speaking, but if you take each as it comes, you will likely make it. 
  9. In labor, ask your providers not to ask you if you want medication. They generally will tell you what medicine is available to you, but afterward you can say thank you for letting you know and that you will let them know if you need anything. 
  10. Know who you want in your room ahead of time. If you want the bare minimum number of people, then arrange that. Let people who might want to be there know that you desire for them to wait until after the birth. If you have unwanted guests and are uncomfortable saying something you can always ask your nurse or provider to be the bad guy and tell people to leave. If you want many, know that some places will not allow more than 3 or so extra people. Find out what the policies are where you are planning to deliver.
What is your advice? How do you prepare for a natural labor?

Revised from "Tips for Preparing for Natural Labor" on "Childbirth Conversations", May 15, 2014

Saturday, June 13, 2015

Talitha's Birth

From the Archives

After our last birth which ended in a week-long NICU stay, we were nervous about the birth of baby number three.  After having a boy and a girl, we finally decided to find out before-hand if we were having a boy or a girl, so I could have baby clothes ready.  She was due in the beginning of January.  Since our first was born on his due date and the second two weeks early, we had plans for the grandparents helping to come the week of the due date, and we would just muddle though if she came early.

Well, due date came and went with the in-laws in our apartment.  My mom and dad were due to arrive one week after the due date, and that day I started having regular contractions.  My husband and I checked with the doctor and she said I was at 4cm and having contractions regular enough to go ahead to the hospital and the doctor on-call could break my water. Since it worked well last time, we went ahead.  First we went to Jimmy John’s for one last meal before they put me off food till baby came.

We met the doctor, he said he had another mom in labor down the hall and didn’t want to break my water and then miss our birth while helping the other mom.  So we waited 4 hours for him to come back.  We played games, checked internet time-wasters, watched stupid TV, all while breathing through contractions.  Seriously, my husband is the best labor coach! My parents arrived and hung out in the room as we waited.

Doc came back, my dad took his book to the waiting room, and doc broke my water.  After he left, the contractions started hurting more.  No more distractions, just me staring the clock down, listening to my husband’s directions for breathing, and mom wiping my brow with a cool cloth.  I was done! We called the nurse; she said I was at 8cm.  I had another contraction and said I am done; get the nurse back in here to check.  She checked, I was at 10cm!  She used the phone in the room to call for the baby nurse and doctor. Now I was blowing the contractions away because I wanted to push, but no one was ready, the doctor came in, and as he was getting the gown and gloves on, baby girl, Talitha, popped out, while I was trying not to push!  He barely caught her!

They cleaned her up, lowered the foot of the bed and finished up with me.  Then they let me hold her, and Mom went to get Dad.  It was neat to have them both there right after.  We sent Mom and Dad to our house to have dinner with their other grandkids, and to put them to bed so the other grandparents could come up and meet Talitha.  It was the only time both sets of parents got to meet a newborn grandbaby the same weekend.  It was also only the second time they had all been together, the first time being our wedding!

Fun thing about her, her name is Talitha which means “little girl.”  She was my smallest baby, seven pounds, two ounces.  And she is still petite. She weighs less than her younger brother, though she is a head taller.

~Shared by Laura A.

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Psalm 121

Last week during some of my preparation I ended up reading Psalm 121. I have discussed before about memorizing a hymn and a Psalm to prepare for labor as well as the importance of memorizing Scripture to prepare for labor. Psalm 121 really spoke to my heart as I read it. I wish it had stood out to me sooner so that I would have my whole pregnancy to learn it, instead of days or a few weeks, but I am planning to meditate on this Psalm to have alongside Psalm 23 that is my go to for everything!

Psalm 121 says:

"I lift up my eyes to the hills.
From where does my help come?
My help comes from the Lord,
who made heaven and earth. 

He will not let your foot be moved;
He who keeps you will not slumber.
Behold, He who keeps Israel
will neither lumber nor sleep.

The Lord is your keeper;
the Lord is your shade on your right hand.
The sun shall not strike you by day,
nor the moon by night.

The Lord will keep you from all evil;
He will keep your life.
The Lord will keep
your going out and your coming in
from this time forth and forevermore."

How this shouted at me about preparing for giving birth! Where does my help come from? From God! He created the heavens and the earth and He created birth. God does not sleep, but He keeps us. Whether our labor is 1 hour or 48 hours long, He does not sleep, He is right there with us. He is the One who keeps our life. 

I hope this Psalm brings you as much encouragement as it has me.

What Psalms do you find helpful?

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Pregnancy Prepares Us For Birth

From conception until birth is somewhere around 40 weeks, over half a year. Why is that? I believe this time helps us prepare for birth and being mothers. If we could just drop babies without any preparation it would be very overwhelming. Don't get me wrong, it's overwhelming even with 40 week prep, but we need the time to help us prepare for our births.

Let's be real, for most women pregnancy is not very much fun. There's nausea, vomiting, fatigue, dizziness, growing and stretching, the use of muscles you didn't know you had, sleeplessness, restlessness, pulling, swelling and more. At times it can be very uncomfortable and even painful. But it is preparation for the hard work of labor and delivery and motherhood. Everything in this time period takes sacrifice on our parts. No matter what you want in your birth, it is a sacrifice to bring a baby into the world. Pregnancy begins to teach us those sacrifices.

Towards the end it can get almost unbearable. When visiting our hometown, my friend Ashley said, "We have to be miserable at the end so that we will welcome labor." And I thought, that is so true. Labor is painful. It is hard work. But by the end of our pregnancy we are generally ready to meet our babes and labor is a welcome relief, even if it is painful, because we know that the end of the physical pain is in sight.

I need this reminder, because I often do not welcome pregnancy as I should, especially at the end. But I am thankful for each pregnancy that has taught me more about my God, and for each birth that has shown me God's provision and love for me.

How have your pregnancies helped prepare you for birth?

Saturday, June 6, 2015

Hannah's Birth

From the Archives

I had an uneventful pregnancy.  Just the normal all-around nausea, evening heartburn, all-day fatigue, you know, I was pregnant. I was due the second week of December, but my doctor and I agreed with how low I was carrying I probably would go early.  So Black Friday our little family went out shopping.  I was timing contractions by the dash clock and by my husband’s stopwatch in the mall.  By about every 8 minutes apart we went home to put our 2-year-old down for a nap.  Since my last labor was over 12 hours after my water broke, we felt we were in no hurry.

We took our son to the friend’s house, and headed to the hospital when the contractions were every 3-5 minutes.  The receptionist was skeptical that I was having labor contractions that close together since I said I was only 38 weeks pregnant.  But she hooked me up to a monitor, and I was indeed in labor, just not in pain.  So I settled in for another long day and evening.  The on-call doctor arrived and said if he broke my water I could have a baby by dinner time.  That sounded lovely, though I was still skeptical since my last labor was so long after my water broke spontaneously.

He left to check on another mom and we talked about it.  We were all for trying to speed things up.  This time my contractions were closer together, just not painful.  So when he came back in we asked him to go ahead, and in came the amni-hook.  It looked like a mean, long crochet hook. 

Sure enough, he was right, about three hours later I was begging for something to take the edge off the pain.  My awesome husband would encourage me to make it through one more contraction, and he would help me with random patterned breathing techniques.  Finally I pushed the nurse button and asked for something to help.  She came in and checked my cervix first, and said, “The good news is you’re at an 8, the bad news is it is probably too late to get anything that would help.”  My husband cheered me and I wanted to cry.

One contraction after the nurse left, I said, “I’m done. I don’t want to do this any more.” My husband smiled and called the nurse.  He knew we were really close, when I want to give up it’s time.  She came in and said I was “complete” and she would call the doctor in.  As soon as she said this, I had a contraction so strong I had to “blow it away” because I wanted to push, but there was no doctor in the room.  He came in just in time for the next one and two pushes later we had a beautiful baby girl.  She was perfect and they sucked the gunk out of her lungs and we got to hold her.

Sometime in the middle of the night she fussed but didn’t sound like I remember my son sounding as a newborn.  So I called the nurse and she came and got her to check her over in the nursery.  Hours later she came back without my baby.  She said as she was wheeling my baby down the hall her color got more and more dusky.  She was not breathing well on her own and needed to go to the children’s hospital.

I was devastated.  I would be staying here and my baby would go across town!  They wheeled me to the nursery to say good-bye.  Her nurse, Kimberly, said we went to the same church and she prayed for me as the EMT’s waited to take my baby and husband away.  The pastor’s wife came to sit with me in my room as I waited for my mom and sister to arrive.

My son came to visit Mommy, and my family took him home.  I was grateful for a healthy delivery, and grateful we lived in this city with a great children’s hospital.  I was very sad that my baby was across town though.  I would cry when I heard my neighbor’s baby cry.  I cried as I set my alarm to wake me up to use the breast pump to save the precious colostrum for my baby to use in the NICU. 

The next day I was released and my husband took me to see my daughter.  She was in the highest level NICU and was next to a baby on a heart-lung machine.  Thankfully she only needed a ventilator for 3 days and improved rapidly.  After she came off the ventilator, she was moved to the special care nursery and I was able to hold her and nurse her.  My husband and I divided our time between her and our son.  We were both exhausted.  My mom and sister kept up with the house and our boy. 

One week after she was admitted to the children’s hospital, she came home!  When I look back at the pictures of her and prayers from friends, I marvel at God’s goodness and mercy.  She could have easily died.  He spared her and now she looks at those pictures and says she wants to be a nurse-mom like our good friend Kimberly, so she can take care of babies like Kimberly did her.  Again, God used this to draw us closer to each other, Himself, and His church.  They were wonderful in caring for our family at that scary time!

~Shared by Laura A.

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Prepare Together

Tuesday I talked about my Mama's Day Out preparation for birth. I ended the day talking to my husband, Jim, about my day and things that had come to mind that I needed to share and work through with him. This is the first time I have ever done this, and I am so thankful God afforded us the opportunity to do this. I will be honest, it wasn't pretty. I'm a bit of an emotional mess right now. But, it helped to let Jim know where I was struggling and to attempt to give him some idea of how to best help me in the little time we have left.

It was also helpful to know where he is and what he is struggling with. Childbirth is stressful for men as well in a different way. As the leaders of their homes there is a lot on their shoulders and they need to prepare with God as well. In Angie Tolpin's Redeeming Childbirth, she gives some great insight into how to prepare together. This is not a one woman show. There is also a section from her husband Isaac to the expecting fathers that is an encouragement to them in leading well during this time.

Today we are blessed that our husbands can be present with us in our births, but that means we need to be on the same page. Believe me when I say if you are not on the same page it is far more difficult than you could ever imagine.

How can you prepare together?

Each of you pray and strengthen your relationship with God daily
Pray together regularly
Talk with each other regularly- make sure you make space to discuss fears and frustrations as well as desires for birth and what your desire for your family to be like post baby is
Be open and honest
Practice relaxing together- This helps in preparing for birth and teaches you what you need him to do to help you relax during labor

In preparing together and going through birth together, it will strengthen your marriage as you learn to love and serve each other to welcome new life.

How do you prepare with your husband?

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Redeeming the Division

I am breaking from my normal routine to share with you an online course that I am privileged to be apart of. Redeeming the Division: The Quiet Fight Among Women is a new course by Angie Tolpin that seeks to aid women in coming together to love each other as Sisters in Christ and learn from one another instead of being silently divided. This was inspired by the first two chapters of Redeeming Childbirth, "Every Woman Has Her Story" and "Redeeming the Division." It was through this book I first met Angie. I joined the launch team for this course, because the vision of this course is the reason I began Childbirth Conversations, to help women come together to talk about birth, share experiences and learn from those who have gone before. Redeeming the Division seeks to do this beyond birth, which is why I am sharing it with you today.

I will be working through this online course and writing about it on my personal blog, The Manor Manor, throughout June (or until I have my baby). I would love for you to go through it as well and share what you are learning. There is currently a pre-purchase discount throughout the launch month of June, so grab it now.

During June there is also a giveaway, where Angie will be giving away a free course and an Apple iWatch. Jump on over and check it out.

How have you experienced the quiet fight in birth?

*This post contains affiliate links

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Mama's Day Out 2015

Yesterday I had my Mama's preparation day for our 6th baby. I was really blessed this year as a couple months ago I won a massage, manicure and pedicure from Tranquility spa at a homeschool mom's retreat I attended. I was able to use it for my Mama's day to get a prenatal massage and have my hair and nails done. This was such a treat, especially the massage. I love them, but cannot afford the expense. Dawn was my massage therapist and she was wonderful! I highly recommend her. I spent almost 3 hours there relaxing, which was much needed during a stressful season. After my spa time I went to get a free frap from Starbucks and went to Panera for lunch. I'm so thankful the Panera near our house has small 2 seater booths that are out of the way to help concentrate. I ate a delicious Italian sandwich as I read and prayed. I reviewed Scriptural Encouragement from this post at Passionate Homemaking that has helped me so much with reviewing God's truth the past few pregnancies. This year Isaiah 26:3 stuck out to me. It says:

"You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on You, because he trusts in You."

How I needed that reminder yesterday and everyday. I love my God, but in challenging seasons it can be difficult to really trust Him. I prayed for complete Trust in God during this time. I prayed that His peace would rule my heart, that my mind would be stayed on Him and not my circumstances. I asked for fear to be removed. I prayed for stress  to be relieved and high emotions to disappear, for Him to take them and let me be at peace. God reminded me of His presence with me. He has never left me, nor forsaken me. He is my God. He is my strength. I know that no matter what happens with this birth, God will be right beside me holding my hand, guiding me, strengthening me, teaching me His ways. He is what I need for this birth. Everything else is a blessing. 

I also was reminded how much I need His word in my heart and mind. I prayed for His word to penetrate my being so that I would focus on Him. I have 6 weeks or less until this baby arrives, but I want to memorize and write down as much of His Word as I can so that it is with me at all times. 

My day ended short as I began to not feel well. I went home and took a nap. I was able to end the day sharing some of what I had reflected on and my feelings with Jim. This was helpful as he learns how to care for me in this delivery. I pray that God will give me the time I need to rest and pray over the days to come so that I will be as prepared as I can be to welcome this new life.

Share your Mama's day experience!