Tuesday, May 28, 2013

This Guy.

So there is This Guy.  This Guy is one of those guys who is totally "that guy."  As good ol' Churchill is quoted to have said, "He has all the virtues I dislike and none of the vices I admire."  Though we both received a significant amount of education in the same fields, both work in vocational ministry, and both subscribe to the same theological foundations, I am pretty sure we disagree on many aspects of what ministry is and how it should be done.  Everything about him makes me want to dislike and despise This Guy.  Even the way he dresses irks me!  If he were to say that all trees are green, you would probably find me painting my dogwoods, oaks, and elms red, just so I wouldn't be caught in agreement with him.  If it were me, a chicken, and This Guy stranded on a desert island together, it just might be the chicken and I who had a nice snack when the going got rough.

And yet, This Guy is always quick with a kind word.  He asks me good questions when we talk.  He was touchingly excited at Anna's birth.  He goes out of his way to include my wife in theological conversations.  He always smiles when he sees me.  He humbly hears those who disagree with him.  He receives correction graciously.  Because of this, though in my sin it is my instinct to dismiss This Guy, look down on This Guy, or even mock This Guy, I can't.

This post is not about my differences with This Guy, the ways that I believe This Guy is wrong, or even the ways that he may believe I am wrong.  Rather, it is about the startling love that paves the way for unity despite our differences, the startling love that This Guy shows to me.  Christ said that his followers will be recognized by how they love one another. Christ's repeated message throughout the final chapters of the gospel of John is that we, as his disciples, should love one another.  We all have a This Guy in our lives, and we must all guard ourselves against the sins of devaluing our brothers simply because we disagree.  I have been such a fool to be so willingly divisive in my heart.  Now don't get me wrong, I am not saying that I now agree with This Guy in everything - but his love is inarguable.  This Guy humbles me; I need This Guy.

May my life be so filled with Christ's that when I am off, when I am confusing, when I am uncool, and even when I am flat out wrong, God's love will yet shine undeniably in me - may I be found so loving when I am someone else's This Guy.  Thank you, This Guy.

- Drew

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Naming Our Daughter and the Birth Story!

So I have debated back and forth about sharing my birth story on this blog.  I decided to share the story because it's a beautiful story about how our little girl was brought into the world.  Sure it was full of pain, but that doesn't take away from the beauty of the gift of childbirth!
   Anna was born on February 22nd at 10 am.  I woke up that morning around 3 am, and I needed to use the bathroom.  After going to the bathroom I came back to bed, but I just didn't feel right.  I tried to go back to sleep, but I woke up 45 minutes later and needed to go to the bathroom again.  I noticed in the bathroom that I had bloody show, and I immediately called for Drew.  He rushed into the bathroom in his sweats, looking like Kramer from Seinfeld!  His hair was standing straight up and with bleary eyes he asked what was going on.  I told him that I think labor is starting.  I laughed at his appearance and I think that was the last time I laughed until the baby arrived.  We pulled up all of our knowledge from our Bradley class, and remembered that in early stages of labor it is best to rest.  So we did, but it only
She presented with her head forward, hence the large lump
lasted 2 minutes.  I was already very uncomfortable and was unable to lay on my side.  We went into the living room, and Drew blew up the yoga ball.  I started trying to time my contractions and they were about 10 minutes apart.  We called our doula and I texted my friend Steph in Scotland since she was the only friend awake.   The doula said to rest and call her when the contractions are closer, and she would start getting ready to come over.  I did my best to rest, but there was no relief.  I paced in the living room, I sat on the living room floor with my head in Drew's lap, but really the only place that was the most comfortable for me was the toilet.  I began to throw up and we called our doula again.  She said that this was pretty normal in early stages.  I decided to try to take a shower since I had hopes of looking nice for labor and all those wonderful pictures (HA!).  I labored for a while in the shower until the hot water ran out, and I was only able to wash my hair. I threw up again in the shower.  After the shower I sat back on the toilet.  I am pretty sure I went through some sort of transition on the toilet because I had thoughts like, "I can't do this!," "I want to go to the hospital and have a c-section!"  I never voiced any of these thoughts to Drew, but just kept moving forward.  We were trying our best to time the contractions, but they were all coming so fast.  We called our doula again and told her that the contractions were about 4 minutes apart from what we could tell.  She said to go ahead and call the midwives because they would want us to come in, and she would leave her house and head over.  The midwives told us to come in right away. Drew was running around trying to get everything together.  He would try to talk to me, but I actually just wanted him to be quiet.  I was in the zone!  I do remember him saying how beautiful the sunrise was that morning!  I was going from hot to cold and was in a lot of pain!  It was probably 45 minutes after the midwives told us to come in that I was able to get off the toilet, get dressed, and walk to the car.  I saw Drew's fleece on the table I grabbed it, and said "LET's GO!"  Thankfully the birthing center is only 5 minutes away.  We arrived and I walked inside around 8 am.  The midwife told me later that she didn't think I was very far along when she saw me.  I got inside and she checked me, and she said that I was 8 cm dilated, and that we would be having a baby soon!  I was so thankful that I was so far along after all that painful work at home.  My blood pressure was reading a bit high so they had me lay on my left side.  It thankfully went down.  I heard the midwife call the nurse and say, " I needed you here 10 minutes ago!"  My baby was coming!  I labored on the bed on my left side for about another hour.  I remember when I finally felt the urge to push, it was real!  Our nurse Laurel came and sat by the bed, Drew was there, a student mid-wife, and our doula Annie all helped me.  Annie applied pressure to my lower back, Laurel covered me up because I was cold, but then I was hot.  They all encouraged me so much in my pushing, and gave me updates as to where I was.  At one point they were still a little concerned about my blood pressure so they wanted to see if I could give them a urine sample.  Walking to the bathroom was MISERABLE, and I wasn't able to go.  As I walked back I had to squat and push a few times.  I held onto the student midwife, and they also tried to listen to the babies heartbeat.  They were not able to find it because she was so far in my pelvic bones.  They did though hear sounds from the placenta so they knew everything was ok.  All I can say was the sound of the Doppler heartbeat finder thing was DRIVING ME CRAZY!  I finally made it back to the bed.  I rested for a few minutes, and started pushing again.  Drew was with me, and I remember saying I love you to him.  I think I was feeling guilty because I wasn't hanging onto him.  He responded with, "We have nothing to prove here baby, I love you too!"  I love that man!  Everyone's encouragements were so helpful as I pushed.  I remember them telling me that her head was crowning.  I could hear the excitement in Drew's voice.  They told me to wait a minute in order to prevent too much tearing.  I gave another push and the babies head was out.  The baby made a squeak, just with it's head out.  Everyone awed at that.  They called Drew over in order to let him deliver the baby the rest of the way.  I pushed again and Drew pulled the baby out.  I heard him say with tears in his voice, "Linds, it's a girl!"  I was overwhelmed with it being a girl, and so thankful that she was here.  They let the umbilical cord pulse the rest of the way, and then Drew cut the cord.  He is pretty proud that he got to make her belly button!  The nurse asked if she has a name, and we said "Yes, Anna Catherine."  I only had a 2 degree tear, and the nurses stitched me up while Drew cuddled with Anna.  They cleaned me up, and propped me up on the bed.  They left Drew and me alone, and we called family and friends to announce the arrival of our daughter.  Many of the family members were guessing height, weight, and gender, and so it was exciting to call and tell everyone the wonderful news and to see who was closest! The nurses weighed her a little later and she was 6 pounds 15 oz and 19.5 inches long.  She passed all the tests, and began nursing easily.   Drew's mom and brother brought us food which was awesome!  I showered around 4 pm, and we left the birthing center to head home around 5pm.  We were greeted with banners and 'Its a Girl!' signs!  We are so thankful for our experience at Special Beginning Birthing Center, and for our wonderful doula Annie!

Our daughter Anna is named after the prophetess Anna from Luke 2:36-38.  Anna the prophetess was a faithful servant who spoke to many about God as they waited for the redemption of Jerusalem.  Our prayer for our little Anna is that she would tell the story!  That she would tell the story of our Savior Jesus who came to bring redemption to this world.  We pray that she knows and loves this story for herself, and that she shares it with compassion to those around her!
All dressed and ready to go home!

We are blessed to be her parents, and are so thankful for her life!