Planted in Pearland

What's going on in the life of Covenant Community Church

Happy Birthday, Simon! May 22, 2012

Filed under: Kids — Sarah @ 3:22 pm

Oh, Simon, Simon Coe, Simoney, Simey, how in the world can you be two? I still picture you as a baby even though I know it’s ridiculous. I mean, not only are you NOT a baby, you are a big brother! How. Is. That. Possible? I have a feeling your birthday will forever cause me to shake my head and shed a tear, for your birthday will always mean that Jude’s birthday is a mere 6 weeks away, and that our baby boys are ignoring our pleas for them to stay little. Yup, that’s how Aunt Sarah rolls. Get used to it.

Your birth day was a crazy day, Simon. Your mom called me early on Saturday morning and told me that she had been having contractions all night and thought she needed to go to the hospital. I thought she was nuts. That’s right, there, I said it. I thought she was being too anxious. On my drive to your house, with Eliza in the back seat and Jude in my belly, I thought, “She’s 35 weeks. 35. This can’t be real labor. No way. She’s gonna get there, and they’re gonna send her home.” When Eliza and I arrived at your house, I just knew I was right. Your mom was acting totally normal. No heavy breathing, no painful looks, no discomfort really to speak of- just a pause every so often to let a contraction go by. I thought I was so smart because I had been taking a birth class to get ready for Jude’s birth, and I just knew that your mom wasn’t in enough pain to actually be in labor. I sent her and your daddy off, making them promise to update when they knew what was going on, but really assuming they’d be back in a few hours with a “false alarm” report.

I called Aunt Stacey and gave her an update (complete with my own commentary about how I thought it was a false alarm), since she was supposed to tag team with me on taking care of Reid and Annelise. I assured her she probably wouldn’t be needed, since your mom and dad would probably be back shortly. Imagine my surprise when I got a text message from your daddy just a little while later that said your mommy was at 4cm, that she was being admitted and that you would be born today. I was shocked! And then I started getting a tiny bit worried. I knew that your big sister had been a premie and had had a little bit of trouble breathing when she was first born, so I just prayed and prayed that you would be ok. Aunt Stacey did end up coming over with Hank and Zoe, and we played and had fun with your big brother and sister, ate lunch and then Aunt Stacey stayed with Reid and Annelise so that I could take Eliza home for a nap.

You were born a little while later in the afternoon, and sure enough, you were having trouble breathing, just like your big sister. I assumed that the problem was similar to the one your sister had had, just a little bit of fluid in your lungs from being born so quickly, and that after a day or two in the NICU, you would be right as rain. I called your daddy and mommy and made plans to visit you up at the hospital. Uncle Tim was scheduled to preach the next day, so he was working on his sermon and couldn’t make it up for a visit. I offered to stay home if he needed me to, but Uncle Tim knows me really well, and he knew just how bad I wanted to go see you and your mommy, so he sent me off with a promise to take lots of pictures and give everyone hugs from him. I made a quick stop at Olive Garden for some lasanga for your daddy and some black tie mousse cake for your mommy and sped off to the hospital, anxious to meet you.

When I arrived, I gave your mommy a big hug and apologized for being a dummy and thinking she wasn’t actually in labor. I asked how you were doing, and your daddy and mommy told me that you were still having trouble breathing and were in the NICU, but you were doing ok. Your mommy explained that the nurses and doctors had told her as soon as she was admitted that all babies who are born at 35 weeks or earlier spend at least their first night in the NICU. It was hospital policy. So, your mommy expressed thankfulness that at least she was prepared for a NICU baby this time, as your sister’s NICU stay was quite unexpected and therefore very difficult. I was thankful for this tiny evidence of grace in the midst of a trying situation.

Then, your daddy surprised be with the best news. He could take me to see you! I was shocked. I knew that there was only a certain number of visitors spots on the NICU list, and I had just assumed that I wouldn’t make the list (not when there were eager parents, siblings, grandparents, etc. who were coming to visit you). I was so excited that I would get to see you in person! I checked with your mommy to make sure it was ok with her if we left. You see, at the time, it was just your mommy, your daddy and I in the hospital room, and I remembered after Eliza was born that I didn’t want to be by myself. I know it sounds weird, but that’s just the way I felt. I didn’t want to be alone, and I wanted to make sure your mommy didn’t feel that way too. Your mommy assured me she was doing fine, and that it would be ok if we went to see you. I remember being amazed at how strong and calm she was. I was such a wreck after Eliza was born, and she didn’t even spend any time in the NICU! Your mommy is one incredible lady, did you know that? She is, and I remember being so thankful God was helping her, giving her peace and strength, at such a time as this.

I followed your daddy to the NICU. We had to check in and wash our hands and arms all the way to the elbows. No germs were getting on these NICU babies, no way, no how! I remember seeing you in your little bed and thinking how crazy it was that you were so big. You were 7lbs 10oz at 35 weeks! How big would you have been if you had gone to full term? Geez. You had these adorable chubby cheeks and roly poly thighs- not like any premie I had ever seen, that’s for sure. Of course, I thought were so precious and adorable. I was instantly smitted, as I tend to be by Davis boys, and I so desparately wanted to pick you up and cuddle you. But of course, with a zillion tubes and wires hooked up to you, that wasn’t an option. It was my first inkling of how hard this must be for your mommy. If I wanted so bad to hold you, how much more must your mommy have wanted to?

At this point, I still didn’t realize how serious your breathing troubles really were. I was still thinking you’d be there in the NICU for a day or two and then be home. So, after a few pictures and copious “ooooo”-ing and “aaaahhhhhh”-ing, I walked back to your mommy’s hospital room with your daddy. He took off to make some phone calls and send some pictures, and your mommy and I just chatted for a bit about how cute (and big!) you were and how much fun you and Jude would have together and when we thought Jude might actually join his new friend Simon on the “outside.” Your daddy came back in and asked how Uncle Tim’s sermon was going, and we talked for a bit about how weird it was that your daddy and Uncle Tim (and Uncle Dave and Uncle Justin) actually preach sermons and are pastors (it was still a new hat for all of them back then). I reluctantly left a little while later, after I had prayed for your mommy and daddy (and you), and made them promise to update us on your condition as they heard new news.

I went to bed that night with my heart full of thankfulness for the newest little Davis, praising God for this new little life and asking Him to sustain you and heal your little lungs so that you could come home quickly. It would be the days and weeks that followed that would reveal just how serious your breathing troubles really were, and it was then that my prayers would become much more urgent and tear-filled. Those three weeks you spent in the NICU were so hard, for you, for your mommy and daddy and sister and brother, for your grandparents and aunts and uncles and, last but not least, for your church family. We hated to see your family hurting and not being able to do anything about it. We delivered meals, watched kids as needed, prayed, tried our best to encourage, but it was really hard. We just didn’t know what to do. We did our best to care for your family as they were doing their best to care for you.

During those weeks, I remember being so discouraged when there was no improvement or change in your health and at the same time overwhelmingly thankful for the gift of modern medicine, doctors, nurses and equipment that God was using to keep you alive. I remember not knowing if I should ask your mommy about you (for the hundreth time) and at the same time not being able to help but ask, wanting her to know that I cared. I remember crying and begging God to heal you and let you come home, and I remember crying and rejoicing the day that you did.

Simon Coe, you are a precious and wonderful gift. I love your sweet smile and your jolly demeanor, and I cannot imagine life without you. I am so thankful that God chose not only to heal you back then, but to leave your little body with no trace of your rough start in life. What incredible, sweet grace. I pray that in a similar way God will choose to heal your sinful heart and give you a new heart that loves Jesus and wants to live a life honoring to Him. What even more incredible and sweeter grace that will be. You are loved and treasured, and I am so thankful to God for the blessing of your life.


Happy Birthday, Shepherd! April 16, 2012

Filed under: Kids — Sarah @ 4:18 pm

Happy Birthday, Shepherd! (Or Shep, Cheppuh, Sheppy, Sheppy Bubble Bird)

You can’t be three. Three. Ridiculous. We have discussed this with Eliza, and we will share this with you as well: Please stop growing. You are getting too big too fast. Just stop. Thank you.

We love you so much and are so thankful for your life. You bring so much joy to our family; you are Eliza’s best “fwend,” and we love how much you two love each other. You make your Uncle Tim and me laugh every time we hang around you, and you have never ceased (and, I predict, never will cease) to amaze us with your language and congitive ability. You are truly remarkable, precious boy. We have loved every second we have gotten to watch you grow, and we can’t wait to see how God uses you and the gifts He has give you for His kingdom.

Today, on your birthday, I can’t help but think, as I always have a tendency to do on birthdays, about the day you were born. From my perspective, your birth was unique in a couple of ways. First, you were the first baby born to a close friend of mine after I had become a mother. That doesn’t sound very important, but there is something different about anticipating the birth of a child when you know what it is like to have a child. I could anticipate what your mommy would be going through. I had new ways to encourage her and pray for her than I had ever had with friends in the past. I also knew firsthand the joy she would soon be experiencing, how much she would love you and treasure you; it made me anticipate that for her with an excitement I had never known. Second, because you were born by planned c-section, I knew right when you were going to be born, and I knew just what your mommy would experience, as my first baby had been born by c-section just a few months prior to your birth. It was a different experience than waiting for the phone call/text, “Maggie is in labor! Shepherd is coming!” But it didn’t make it any less exciting.

On the day of your birth, I woke up early and started praying. I knew that your daddy and mommy had to be at the hospital super early to get checked in and prepped for surgery. As I got up and began my morning routine of getting Eliza fed, dressed and ready for the day, I prayed out loud with Eliza for peace for your parents’ hearts, and I asked God to give the doctors and nurses strength and wisdom as they performed the surgery. I also asked God to protect you and allow you to be born safely. I remember bouncing through the morning, checking my phone every 2.5 seconds, anxious to hear that you had arrived. I am almost certain I even turned my phone and ringer on and off several times, convinced it must not be working. I finally got the message that you were here just before 9am. I don’t remember exactly what it said, but I do remember the part about you having a “full head of hair” and that you were “beautiful.” Beautiful, you hear that? Your daddy sent that message. He was instantly smitten with you, and to this day, that has never changed. He also mentioned in the message that mommy and baby were doing fine. This was important to me because your mommy is one of my best friends. I was so thankful to hear that you BOTH had done well in surgery.

I remember being so thankful that you were born on a Thursday. You see, back then Uncle Tim worked every single day except for Thursday. If you had been born on any other day, we would not have gotten to go together to the hospital to see you when you were born. I am so thankful we were able to do that. We both were so anxious to meet you, and it would have been hard for us to wait.

I also remember being a little surprised as I realized that we couldn’t just go to the hospital as soon as Uncle Tim got out of class. Remember me saying you were the first baby born after I had my first baby? Well, this being my first time, I had forgotten that non-sibling children weren’t allowed at the hospital. We had to find someone to watch Eliza! Fortunately, there were lots of people who were just as eager to meet you as we were. My first phone call was to Aunt Stacey, and we agreed to do a kid-watching swap. So, after Uncle Tim got out of class, we headed over to Uncle Justin and Aunt Stacey’s house to stay with Zoe and Hank while they went to visit you and your mommy and daddy. Then, when they got home, we left Eliza with them and went to see you.

When it was our turn to go, I remember telling Uncle Tim that we had to be sure bring your daddy some food, snacks and diet coke. We knew to do this because we had just had a baby at the same hospital a few months before, and we knew that the hospital feeds mommy lots of good food, and that baby gets lots of good food from mommy, but no one feeds daddy! We didn’t want your daddy to be hungry, because we knew that your daddy needed strength so that he could take care of you and mommy, so we loaded up on food and drinks and brought it to him at the hospital.

I remember thinking you were were so handsome, and I was so surprised by your full head of dark hair. I guess I shouldn’t have been. Eliza was born with a similar head of dark hair, but for some reason, I just didn’t expect it from you. You looked so darn cute.

I remember praying for you. I don’t know if we prayed out loud for you with your mommy and daddy, or if I just prayed silently in my heart. But I remember praying for you while I was holding you. I thanked God that you were here and safe and praised Him for such a precious blessing.

I remember going to see you one more time before you left the hospital. Uncle Tim and I had a babysitter lined up for date night on Saturday. Uncle Tim asked what I wanted to do that evening, and I told him I wanted to go to dinner and then go see Shepherd. So that’s what we did. We used the excuse of “bringing dinner to your daddy,” but really we just wanted to see you and visit your parents.

There are so many memories with you in the following days. I had the privilege of encouraging your mommy, praying with her and giving her advice when you had some trouble with maintaining and gaining weight. I remember being so astonished that your mommy called me to ask me questions about your eating habits or her recovery or any number of things, and more than that, that I knew stuff to share with her that could be helpful. You see, for so long, I had been the one calling others to ask questions. I was always the one in need of help, in need of guidance with this parenting thing. And that has certainly not changed, even to this day. But what I realized when you were born is that now I also have guidance and help to SHARE. That is such a joy and honor.

I remember being absolutely amazed at your mommy’s strength and endurance as you struggled with your weight and with nursing. She loved you so much that she endured a lot of pain and hardship, several times a day for several weeks, in order to give you the best nourishment she could provide you with. She still willingly endures daily hardship and pain, though perhaps of a different kind, in order to love you and care for you the best she can. You are so blessed to have such an sweet mommy. It is a precious gift from God.

I remember praying for you and your mommy and daddy a lot, A LOT as you dealt with weight issues and nursing struggles. I just asked God to sustain you and give your mommy and daddy wisdom about how to care for you. Looking back now, it is striking to see how fast time really goes. At the time you were going through all that, it seemed like forever, but after a couple short months, you became a champion nurser and an expert weight-gainer and quickly made up for lost ground. It’s hard to believe the big, healthy-appetite boy you’ve become had such a rough start. It is simply because of God’s grace that that is true. Praise Him.

I could go on and on, Shepherd. About how hard it was to leave Louisville just a couple months after you were born, knowing how much you would change before your family joined us in Pearland. About what an enormous blessing it was to share our home with you and your family for a few months while you were so small and what fun it was to see you grow and develop on a daily basis. About how much we enjoy taking you to the zoo, having you over for date night and sleepovers and playing at the park. About how much we love seeing you as a big brother, now twice over. You are so precious to us, and we are so thankful we have the privilege of living alongside your family and participating in your growth and care. You are immensely treasured and loved by so many people. Happy, happy birthday, sweet Shepherd!


Happy Birthday, Simon! May 6, 2011

Filed under: Kids — dcjrdavis @ 7:19 pm

This month marks the surprising birthday of our baby boy, Simon.   His birth and the craziness surrounding it didn’t make for great writing opportunities.  Here’s his birth (short) story

On May 21st, I’d had some contractions but nothing major.  I slept all night.  Woke up a few times in minor discomfort.  Not a big deal.  The next morning, during the mad breakfast scramble before Daniel headed off for work, I realized that they were coming faster.  Every 7-9 minutes.  I hung out on the couch until about 9:00, but when they were every 5 minutes, we went to the hospital to get checked out.  I was 4 ½ centimeters.  I was 35 weeks and 5 days pregnant, so they/we decided to go on and let him come.  And he did.  Easy labor.  Easy delivery.   Docs and nurses had told us that since I wasn’t a full 36 weeks along, that a neonatologist and pediatrician would be attending his birth.  “Of course, of course,” we said.  It’s standard.  He’ll be fine, of course, though, just a precaution.  Simon Coe entered the world May 22, at 5:00pm. 7 lbs. 1 oz.

We barely saw him before they whisked him away in an incubator.  That first week was dark.  We couldn’t touch him.  For days.  He was 1 week old before I held him.  His lungs were underdeveloped.  Docs told us he just needed time.  I was a wreck…leaving the hospital without my baby and no idea how long he’d be in the hospital.  Seriously, I get shivers just writing this and tear up at the thought.  It still feels too soon to relive those weeks.  I’ll save that for a future post.  Maybe distant future.

May 22nd will always be Simon’s birthday.  May 24th was the day Reid and Annelise met him for the first time. But May 29th will be the first day I held him.  June 9th was the day we brought him home.  June 19th was the day he was taken off the oxygen and the pulse ox.  So many joys during such a hard time.

Simon’s name means “God has heard.”  God heard our prayers and those of our church community and so very many of people who were praying for our baby.  He heard and chose to heal our son.

And now, we celebrate a year.  The first year of a boy who brings so much joy wherever he goes.  The joy he brings to our family just seems impossible.  Our hearts overflow.  He has so many nicknames – Simey, Simoney, CoeCoe, Cocoa Bean, Coconut, Cocoa Krispy, Chubber Bear.  Some from Reid and Annelise. Some not.  I won’t say which

He’s our third child, but I am just amazed at what we’ve learned during his short little life thus far.  Patience.  Endurance.  Um, when I say these things, it does not mean that they were learned easily or with a happy heart every time.  My heart is stubborn.  We’ve learned to slow down.  We’re definitely laid back with Simon.  I feel like I can never have enough Simon hugs or smiles.   He is cherished.  He is loved.   He taught us how to love stronger and faster than we had ever known how to before.  Maybe that’s what trials do.   And maybe the sweet thing is that Simon seems to love that way too.  Maybe he’s learning that from us.

Happy Birthday, Simon Coe.


Happy Birthday, Eliza! December 13, 2010

Filed under: Kids,Parenting — Sarah @ 2:15 pm

Eliza turned two about a month ago. Two. I can’t believe it.

Happy Birthday, sweet Eliza Joy.

Daddy and Mommy are so thankful for you, more thankful than we could ever express in words.

You taught us how to be a daddy and a mommy. Your cries, your squeals, your squawks, your gurgles, your smiles, your giggles and your sighs were our teachers. We didn’t know anything about babies before we had you. We are so thankful we had such a cute, sweet little girl as a teacher.

You have given us more joy than we ever knew was possible. Daddy and Mommy were on our own for a long time. It was “just us,” and we were happy with that. We had no idea what we were missing. Then we had you. And we knew. We can barely remember our lives before you. It seems like you’ve always been with us. We like it that way.

We have watched you grow in amazement. Every milestone you reach is incredible. Every day we think you can’t get any more fun… and then you do. Watching you learn and change and develop has been one of our greatest joys ever. We can’t believe we get to be on the front row seat of that show for the rest of our lives. What a delight.

We love you, sweet girl. Daddy and Mommy love you so much. It’s not possible to tell you how much because words aren’t enough. So we try to show you how much we love you. Every tickle, every hug, every smile, every meal, every prayer, every bath, every discipline, every cuddle, every correction, every book we read, every song we sing, every diaper change, every rebuke, every kiss. We hope it communicates how much we love you. Sometimes, the message comes across loud and clear. Sometimes, because Daddy and Mommy are sinners, the message is muddled and confused. Sometimes, a different message comes across completely. But we keep trying. Because we want to make sure you know you are loved.

More than anything, we want you to know that God loves you. Daddy and Mommy’s love isn’t anything compared to God’s love. Daddy and Mommy mess up at loving you because we are sinners, but God’s love is perfect. You see, God loves us so much that he sent his Son Jesus to die for us. Jesus died. He took the punishment we deserve for our sin. Then, he rose again. Jesus defeated Satan, sin and death. Through faith in Jesus, we can be saved from our sin and freed to follow Jesus with all our hearts.

That is real, perfect love, baby girl. Daddy and Mommy try to show you that kind of sacrificial, radical love, but we fail every day. We keep trying, by God’s grace, praying that God will use our poor example to show you the truth about His real, perfect, amazing, holy love. That is our greatest prayer for you, precious girl, that you will understand God’s love,  your own sin and believe in Jesus for salvation.

Eliza Joy, each day with you is a blessing. Daddy and Mommy are continually amazed that God would be so kind as to give us the privilege of being your parents. The past two years have been more wonderful than we could possibly have imagined. You are so precious to us. We are so grateful to have you in our lives.


Daddy and Mommy


Kidisms: Eliza Edition October 25, 2010

Filed under: Funny,Kids — Sarah @ 4:01 pm

My dad (“PopPop” to Eliza) and mom (“KK”) came over to see Eliza, but she had a fever and was pretty sad, so we put on some Baby Einstein videos for distraction. One of the videos, “Baby Noah,” has a bunch of different animals on it. We’ve been working on naming them as she watches, and she’s done pretty well, so when the koala came on the screen, I asked her, “Eliza, what’s that?”  Normally, she says “backpack” (she has a backpack with a koala on it), or she will say “koala” (pronounced “tawahwah” of course).

Anyway, this time, when I asked her, “Eliza, what’s that?” she answered confidently, “PopPop!” So there you have it, folks, apparently PopPop is a koala… Who knew??


Happy Birthday, Reid! August 30, 2010

Filed under: Kids — Sarah @ 2:14 am

Reid turned four years old… over a month ago now. Reid’s birthday brought to mind some things I wanted to share. Better late than never right?

I’ve said in a previous post that one of my favorite things about birthdays is the re-telling of birth-day memories. Well, I don’t have a detailed birth-day story from the day Reid was born. We had only met Daniel and Joy a few weeks prior to Reid’s birth, and we were still in the “acquaintance” category with them. However, I do remember that my neighbor Kelly (the one who introduced us to Daniel and Joy for the first time) called me on the day Reid was born, and as soon as I picked up the phone, she squealed, “We’re aunties!!” Her excitement was infectious, and I squealed back, “We are?!?!?” She gave me Reid’s stats and told me everyone was doing great. I was excited, but I had no idea at that moment how much this newborn baby would come to mean to me…

It was the days, weeks, months, and years that followed that would provide me with countless memories of Reid. (For example, I remember the first time Tim and I babysat for Reid, he was probably 6 weeks old or so, and Daniel and Joy were back from dinner in less than an hour. I remember thinking that was so weird and telling Tim as we were leaving, “I don’t think they trust us.” Ha!)

So, in leiu of having a detailed birth-day story to recount like I did on Annelise’s birthday, in honor of Reid’s fourth birthday, I’d like to share four things I’ve learned from Reid:

1. Children are a blessing.

Our culture tells us things about children that simply aren’t true. We hear that children are an inconvenience. We hear that they are a financial liability. We hear that they are a nuisance. We hear that they are a drain on the earth’s resources. We hear that they are something to have only after we’ve accomplished and done everything else we’ve ever wanted: completed our schooling, gotten our dream job and climbed the ladder as high as we desire, paid off all our debt, gone on our dream vacation or trip around the world, bought our dream house, car, etc. Only after all that should you even THINK about having children.

I’m ashamed to admit that I had bought into that thinking lock, stock and barrel. When I met Daniel and Joy and saw how obviously pregnant Joy was, I thought, “Oh these poor people- saddled with a baby in the middle of school (seminary)- what a bummer.” However, Daniel and Joy’s excitement over Reid and their enthusiastic embrace of parenting was the first thing God used to (painfully) slowly undo that kind of thinking in my head. Daniel and Joy LOVED their son. They never complained about how much time, energy, money or effort he required of them. They never lamented having to “miss out” on concerts or movies or whatever else would be occupying their time if Reid wasn’t around. I was shocked. It got me thinking that having a kid may not be the inconvenience I had always understood it to be.

Scripture is clear that children are a blessing. “Behold, children are a blessing from the Lord; the fruit of the womb is as a reward” (Ps. 127:3). Shamefully, it took a very, very long time for God to convince me of this truth, but I am grateful He used Reid to give me my first glimpse of its veracity.

2. Motherhood is beautiful

I guess this is something I learned from Joy rather than Reid, but since Reid is the one who made Joy a mother, I’m going to keep it in the list. Once again, our culture tells us things about motherhood that aren’t true. We hear that motherhood is a demeaning job, that changing dirty diapers and cleaning up spills is a waste of intellect, schooling, skills, etc. We hear that motherhood is not enough, that it’s OK to be a mom, as long as you have a “real job” as well. We hear that motherhood can only be fulfilling as long as you have an additional project or job or position in which you are contributing to society or the economy as a whole.

Once again, I shamefully admit I had been convinced of the truth of these lies. And once again, God used Reid (and Joy) to begin dismantling these lies from my heart and mind. Joy was (and is) such a wonderful mom. She read so many books and pursued so many other more experienced moms for ideas on how to do this motherhood thing well. She worked hard to learn to care for her new baby well and to care for her home and husband well too. She never complained about having to stay home with the baby, and I never heard her describe herself as “just” as stay-at-home-mom, as if it was something to apologize for. On the contrary, she made motherhood very attractive. It was easy to see the joy and satisfaction she got from caring for Reid and being home with him.

3. If you want to make friends, serve them

This point is not meant to sound like I’m patting myself on the back. It is only by God’s grace that it is true… We babysat for Daniel and Joy. A LOT. For free. I remember thinking, “Oh this poor couple, having a baby a zillion miles away from family and friends, we HAVE to babysit for them!” I just remember thinking I would want someone to do that for me. Again, this is not because Tim and I are so amazing. Instead, I know for sure that God is the One who place that thought in our hearts- left to our own devices, we certainly would not have come up with an idea like that. God gave us the DESIRE to serve this couple. Only He can do that, and I am so grateful He did.

God used the time we babysat Reid to knit our hearts together with Daniel and Joy’s hearts. At first, we were simply babysitters. We’d arrive, receive instructions, watch Reid, give a report when they got home, and leave. And we were happy to do it. However, it soon happened that we started arriving earlier than they had to leave in order to just visit for awhile. Or we would stay after they got home and Reid was in bed to hang out. Conversations ranged from the trivial and silly to serious and spiritual. Over time, God gave us two of the best friends we’ve ever had. I’m sure He could have forged that relationship some other way, but I’m so grateful He did it by placing a desire in our hearts to love Daniel and Joy by serving them.

4. Babies aren’t really all that scary

I know this sounds ridiculous, but until I got to know Reid, I was a little scared of babies. I mean, I thought they were cute, and I liked to hold them- but only if they weren’t crying, fussy, dirty, stinky or anything like that. It seems like I had only known babies who cried a lot and were really discontent and unpredictable. That scared me- thinking that at any moment, they (babies) could “go off,” and I would have no idea what was wrong.

Reid was not like that. Not that he wasn’t a challenging baby- Joy will tell you that he definitely was- but Reid was pretty predictable. I remember being amazed when he would do EXACTLY what Joy would tell me he was going to do. At the time she said he would be hungry, he was, and he would down his whole bottle. At the time she said he would be tired, he was, and he went right to sleep when placed in his bed. I remember calling Daniel while they were in a movie because Reid would not take his bottle, and I had no idea what to do- Daniel told me to put some Orajel on Reid’s gums, and sure enough, no more fussing, and he ate his whole bottle. I was so impressed. Without even being present with him, they knew how to help stop his crying. Until Reid, I had no idea that you could predict and anticipate a baby’s needs and pre-empt crying and fussiness by meeting those needs on a schedule. It started me thinking the baby thing may not be as scary and stressful as I thought it would be.

OK, I know this was supposed to be four things for Reid’s fourth birthday, but I have one more, so how about “and one to grow on”?

5. It’s possible to love other people’s kids as if they were your own

Before I met Reid, I had no idea what it meant to love other people’s kids. I mean, I liked other people’s kids just fine, didn’t mind playing with them or whatever, but I didn’t think I’d really love a kid until I had my own. I was wrong. Reid quickly grabbed a hold of my heart and wouldn’t let it go. I loved being with him. I would miss him if I didn’t see him for awhile. Interacting with him gave me so much joy and made me laugh and smile. I delighted in watching him grow and seeing him learn new things. I taught him things that were just for us (like pounding his chest for “peace out”). I got so excited the first time he said my name (“Ee wawa” = “Aunt Sarah”). I thought he was the smartest/cutest/funniest/etc baby I’d ever seen. I’m writing in past tense because I’m thinking of baby Reid, but this is still true to this day. I love Reid so much, more than I ever thought I would or could.

Happy Birthday, Reid. Aunt Sarah has learned so much just by getting to be around you and watching you grow. I am so thankful for you, and I love you so, so much!!


Finally, Jude’s Birth Story! August 19, 2010

Filed under: Kids,Parenting — Sarah @ 3:33 am

Warning: this post is ridiculously long

I woke up on Saturday morning July 3rd at 8am with some pretty uncomfortable hip pain. I didn’t think anything of it at first because at 38 weeks pregnant, I always had some sort of achiness or discomfort going on. I figured I had been lying on one side too long, switched sides and went back to sleep. However, this pain would subside and then return, again and again, regardless of how I positioned myself. So I decided to time the pain just to see. Sure enough, it was coming about every 5 minutes. However, I had never heard of hip pain in labor before, so I was not convinced it was labor. I got up and googled “hip pain labor,” and I found a discussion board with a few women who claimed to have experienced hip pain in labor before, so I texted Tim and told him I thought maybe I was having contractions (he was at a men’s theology breakfast) but not to rush home because I didn’t think it would last.

By the time Tim got home, they were still coming every 5 minutes. The only way to describe the pain was that it felt like someone was trying to twist my hips apart. It wasn’t unbearable or anything at that point, just really very uncomfortable. Tim asked if I had called our doula (a birth coach/labor assistant). I hadn’t because I really thought it was false labor. Well, by about 10:30a, with the contractions still coming consistently, Tim called our doula. She said she thought it might be the real thing because of the consistency but was also confused about the hip pain, so she came over the check on me. Meanwhile, Tim called my parents and asked them to come over and help with Eliza so he could focus on helping me with the contractions.

While we were waiting for our doula and my parents, I was trying all different labor positions to relieve the pain. At one point, I was on my hands and knees on the bed, rocking my hips back and forth. Eliza came in and wanted to get on the bed with me. Tim put her on the bed, and she crawled right underneath me, laid on her back, looked right into my eyes, and with this big grin on her face, tried to put a cheerio in my mouth. It was like she was saying, “Here, Mommy, eat this. It will make you feel better.” It was so adorable. Even through the contraction, I had to laugh.

My folks arrived and took over Eliza duty and a little while later our doula came in. She checked me, and I was only 3cm. After making sure the baby’s heart rate and my blood pressure were all fine, she suggested a few positions to try to get the baby to move (thinking maybe the hip pain was being caused by the baby sitting on a certain nerve or something). She also encouraged me to eat something, since up until that point, I had only had juice all day. She said she’d come back after lunch.

Well, I ate a sandwich, walked around the house, tried different positions and did my best to rest between contractions. I also figured I better take the chance to take a shower while I was still at home. That felt amazing. The shower helped so much with the pain, I didn’t want to get out! By the time I did get out though, our doula had returned and checked me again. Still 3cm. And the contractions had actually stretched out- they were about 5-7 minutes apart now. We tried everything to make them kick up a notch- walking, squatting, pumping. Nothing.

Finally, our doula regretfully informed us that this looked a lot like false labor- regular contractions with no cervical change. After checking the baby’s heart rate and my blood pressure again (all was well), she left, advising us to just eat some dinner and go to bed early, taking something to help us sleep if we could. By now, I was pretty discouraged. I had been texting “my girls” all day, keeping them updated and asking them to pray, so I sent out one more text asking them to pray that the labor would either pick up for real or stop completely- I was getting annoyed with the consistent hip pain, especially since it didn’t appear to be accomplishing anything. A little while later, a friend called and was so sweet and encouraging. She told me all about her experience with false labor during her fourth pregnancy and gave me some good advice on how to deal with it. Mostly, hearing her story gave me the second wind I needed- I had been getting grumpy and annoyed and wanted it to be done.

We ate dinner with my parents and Eliza- I ate another sandwich since it was all I thought I could keep down. We put Eliza to bed around 7:30pm and explained to my folks that we were just going to take Benadryl/Tylenol PM and go to bed ourselves. We told them we thought it was false labor, so they were free to go home if they wanted, or they could sleepover in Jude’s room if they wanted to. They decided to stay “just in case” (which I was fine with, but I was convinced by now that nothing was going to happen, so I thought they were just being too concerned). So, Tim took 2 Tylenol PM, I took a Benadryl, and we went to bed. Tim was asleep in minutes. I lied there and tried to sleep/rest as much as I could between contractions.

Eventually, around 9:30pm, I had a contraction unlike any of the others all day long. It was still concentrated in my hips but was WAY more intense. I figured it was a fluke, but a few minutes later, I felt it again. Then another one. They were so intense, I could barely breathe through them. I knew I needed help. I woke up Tim and asked him to call our doula and then help me with counter pressure and focus on breathing.

Our doula said this sounded like it could have finally kicked into the real thing and asked if we wanted her to come over or meet us at the hospital. I figured we might as well know for sure if it was real before we went to the hospital. So Tim woke up my parents to let them know what was happening, and he helped me with breathing and counter pressure until our doula got there. She checked me, and I was 4cm! Finally, the cervical change we had been waiting for! We quickly changed and left for the hospital at around 11pm.

On our way to the hospital, Tim called the on-call doctor to let him know we were on our way. I was doing my best to breathe through the contractions, but sitting in the front seat made the pain in my hips even worse. I remember looking at the clock and asking Tim if he thought the baby would be born before midnight. Tim kind of chuckled and said, “I doubt it.” “Well,” I said, “looks like we’re gonna have a 4th of July baby after all.” (My refrain for the previous several weeks had been, “I don’t care when he comes, as long as it’s not the 4th of July.” Well, surprise, surprise 🙂 Isn’t that the way it always goes?)

We got to the hospital at 11:30pm, and I walked up to the maternity floor. The nurse  who greeted me asked me to get on the scale then said, “Now, honey, are you here for a c-section or normal delivery?” I remember thinking she was totally insane. Did she really think I would have let the contractions get so bad if I was planning on a c-section? I remember squeaking out, “Normal,” between contractions, so she took me into triage, had me change, etc. Then the doctor came in to check me- I was 6cm! From 4 to 6 in less than an hour!

After a seemingly endless list of questions, the nurse took me into a labor and delivery room and told me my nurse would be in a minute. When my nurse came in, she explained that she wanted to get the heart rate monitor on me in order to get a 30-minute strip with the baby’s heart rate, and if all was well, I could get up, walk around, get in the shower, etc. I looked at her all confused and said, “You know I’m a VBAC right?” She said she did. I explained that my doc had said I would have to have continuous monitoring. She said she would just do the 30 minute strip and if all was well, she would just check every 15 minutes. I wasn’t about to argue. I didn’t want to be confined by the monitor anyway.

I sat on the birthing ball for 30 minutes while they monitored the baby’s heart rate. Our doula was so helpful in reminding me how to breathe, and Tim was praying and whispering to me encouragingly. After 30 minutes, baby’s heart rate looked fine, and my nurse said I could get in the shower or whatever. The hot water felt so good on my back and hips. I just sat there, breathing, moaning, taking each contraction as it came. Tim was standing right there, and I kept hearing him say, “You’re doing great, babe, you’re doing great.” Our doula would tell me what I should be feeling, ie. “Tell me when you feel…XYZ.” Then when I would feel it, she’d say, “OK great, tell me when you feel…XYZ.” It was so helpful in breaking the labor up, kind of like setting smaller goals throughout. Throughout the time in the shower, though, the contractions kept getting more and more intense. I finally looked up at one point and told our doula and Tim, “I don’t think I can do this anymore.” Just as I said this, our doula told me the nurse had just come in to let me know that my doctor was going to come in to deliver once I was at 8cm, so she wanted to check me and see where I was. This was the boost I needed- I had been thinking this whole time that my OB was out of town (it was fourth of July weekend after all), so it was a real pick-me-up to know she would be there to deliver after all!

Getting on the bed to get checked was the worst part of the whole thing. I kept begging to get up- the hip pain was unbearable while I was lying on my back. I had two contractions while she was doing the exam, and it was awful. However, after she was done she said simply, “You’re complete.” I was so confused, “Huh, what? What does that mean?” I will never forget the kind of joyful, half-laugh that our doula did when she said, “Sarah, that means, you’re 10cm, you’re done, you made it, you’re there!” I could NOT believe it! It was just before 2am, we hadn’t even been at the hospital 3 hours yet, and I was ready to push.

Now, it gets crazy: I had to wait for my OB. She asked to be paged when I was 8cm… and here I was 10cm, ready to push. My nurse went to call her, and I asked how long it would take- by now I was feeling the urge to push. My nurse said, “Oh, she lives really close by, it usually only takes her about 20 minutes or so.” I remember thinking, “There’s no way I can wait that long!” I kept telling our doula, “I have to push!” And she just calmly kept breathing with me, helping me to cope with the urge. Finally, my nurse came back in and said, “OK, let’s do a few practice pushes before the doctor gets here.” And I’m so glad she did- pushing is hard. I didn’t realize there was a right or wrong way to push until we started practicing. I was so bad at it at first. First, I let my breath out in a scream. Then, I held my breath the wrong way, up in my cheeks. Then I was pushing toward the wrong point. Our doula kept coaching me with the breathing, and my nurse kept helping me understand what I should be feeling during pushing, and I finally I got the hang of it.

After a bit of practice pushing, my nurse was like, “OK, hold it, we have to wait for the doctor.” Apparently, he was getting close. Just then, my OB walked in. She quickly observed the situation and left to get scrubbed in. It couldn’t have taken her more than 5 minutes, but the whole time, I was just begging for them to let me push. They kept telling me to wait for the doctor. When my OB walked in all scrubbed up, my nurse told her my water had not yet broken. The doc said that was OK, she’d break it. Well, she didn’t have to- almost as soon as she said it, it broke.

Finally, doc said I could push when I was ready. I was more than ready to be done with this by now, so I closed my eyes and concentrated on all the instructions I had been given/was being given. The doc directed me to push harder/softer/faster/slower, etc. After about 10 pushes, maybe fewer than that, she said, “Mom, open your eyes.” As she said it, I opened my eyes and saw my son being born. She took him and immediately put him on my belly. The baby nurse scrubbed him furiously, and he cried and cried. I couldn’t believe I was holding him, staring in his face, watching him cry.

With Eliza, I remember hearing her cry and being so thankful for the sound, but because she was delivered by c-section, I couldn’t hold her right away. They took her to the baby station to work on her and then Tim had to hold her while I was being closed up. With Jude, he was immediately in my arms. I was cuddling him, holding him, staring at his sweet face so close to mine, when he had been inside me just seconds before. It was amazing.

In the days that followed Jude’s birth, I would often just stare at him and another wave of awe would wash over me as I remembered how he had entered this world. God is so kind; it was all by His grace.

There are so many things I am thankful for when it comes to this delivery, there were so many answered prayers:

  1. Most obviously, I had prayed for a healthy baby and healthy mom, regardless of the manner of delivery.
  2. I had prayed that I would be able to have a successful VBAC. While I was grateful for my c-section with Eliza (in that it provided a way for her to be born safely when she was in distress), I wanted to avoid another major surgery if I could. I am thankful God provided a doctor who would allow me to try a VBAC and that by His grace I was able to delivery normally.
  3. I had prayed that Jude’s heart rate would stay strong the whole time and that my water wouldn’t break until the very end (Eliza’s falling heart rate was the reason I ended up with a c-section, and it fell even more once my water was broken). BOTH of these things happened!!
  4. I had prayed I would be able to handle the pain of labor. I’m not really in the pro-natural childbirth camp. Really, truly, I’m not. Until my pregnancy with Jude, it was something I had never seen myself doing. Never, never, EVER. I admired women that went drug-free, but I had always said I wanted the drugs. As far as I was concerned, there was no reason to go through that much pain if I didn’t have to. However, as Tim and I discussed VBAC and everything that was riding on it being successful (finding a doc who would let me deliver normally after two c-sections would be pretty much impossible), I just felt that I wanted to do everything within my power to make sure it “worked.” I didn’t want to end up back in the OR and wonder if it was the epidural or any other intervention that had put me there. So… that left me with the natural childbirth option. I was scared of the pain; I didn’t think I could handle it. But God provided a fantastic childbirth class with an amazing teacher (who was also our doula!) to help prepare me for what I would experience. He provided some sweet friends who had done the natural thing who talked to me about their experiences and their ways of coping with the pain. And then He provided me with a wonderful birth team in Tim and our doula. There’s no doubt it was the worst pain I’ve experienced in my whole life (I definitely had moments of shouting, “help me, someome please help me” … and I think I yelled at Tim once “you have to DO SOMETHING!”) but mostly the tools I had been given, coaching I received, allowed me to make it through. I did it, and I could never have done it without them!
  5. I had prayed Tim would be able to handle seeing me labor. My husband is wonderful. He loves me and cares for me so well. As such, he hates seeing me in pain. Even something as small as a headache causes him to feel bad for me, want to help, want to “fix” it. I was afraid he would not be able to handle seeing me in pain for hours and not be able to “fix” it. But, he was amazing! He was my rock and my encourager for all those hours that we labored at home together- helping me breathe, get in different labor positions, applying counter pressure, encouraging me when I got discouraged. Once we got to the hospital, his whispered prayers and encouragements were incredibly helpful as I concentrated on getting through each contraction. He did an amazing job!

Honestly, it really just could not have gone any better. God is so good; it was all truly only by His grace. And I am so grateful.