“Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord  your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.” -Deuteronomy 31:6

I never would have imagined the last two months would go as they have. They’ve been joyful, they’ve been painful, they’ve been surprising, and they’ve been exhausting. Through it all, they’ve continuously reminded me of the Lord’s love and faithfulness and that we can do nothing apart from Him. So thankful that He is with us every step of the way.

Our son was born on September 6th, and he is truly our little miracle from the Lord.

As discussed in my previous post, my pregnancy went well. I was able to teach, coach, be involved in middle school ministry at church, and really carry on with my “normal” time of life. Rylan and I were healthy physically and had very few hiccups along the way (although he seemed to have them often inside of me). I was so thankful for my time of rest in August when I could just breathe and take time for friends, family, and God. I joked around that I would be bored and rested up all of August because in September life would just be crazy. Of course I had no idea the extent of that statement (which was true), which brings me to September.

It was literally a day after I posted my last blog. I woke up on September 1st completely exhausted. It was ten days until my due date and I was flooded with emotions, but I was really excited. The entire time I had hoped that our baby would be born a little early, as long as he or she was healthy. For some reason, I had a feeling that he or she would be coming early, but I didn’t want to get my hopes up. The next three days seemed to drag. I walked, I worked out, I slept, I sat in the nursery, I paced the house. This baby would be here soon!

It was September 5th. I woke up and knew something was wrong. I called my doctor, who had me come in to get checked. Zach immediately left work and took me to my appointment. “You guys ready to be parents? You’re having this baby very soon!” our doctor told us. I remember how excited I was, yet very scared because of the prior, “You have pre-eclampsia. It’s time to go to the hospital.”

We arrived at the hospital at 4:30 and shortly after began the induction process. This wasn’t how I pictured things going, but I decided right then, “Just go with it. You can’t plan for this stuff.” That was the attitude I had, and thankfully felt peace (somehow) about the unknown of the next few hours. Our labor/delivery nurse was incredible. She was friendly, calm, and laughed at my stupid jokes–she dished them right back too. Zach never ceased to amaze me either. He helped keep me calm, and was the biggest support in the room during those hours. I think his job may have been more difficult than mine. Of course I wasn’t all calm and goofy the whole time, and when my blood pressure started dropping, then sky-rocketing, I was scared. This having a baby thing was terrifying, and nothing I could have read or learned about prior was going to help. The epidural, which was supposed to help regulate the blood pressure, backfired. Pain meds were not going to be an option as the night went on. I kept asking if the baby was ok, and the nurse assured me the baby was just fine. For about an hour, fear seemed to paralyze me and any progress being made for our baby to be born. People had joked with me that childbirth would be so easy compared to the 33 kidney stones I had throughout the years. “If you can handle that pain, having a baby will be a breeze!” What only a few people knew was that childbirth was actually my biggest physical fear in life. Kidney stones really didn’t seem that bad (they still don’t). For whatever reason, the thought of having a baby has always terrified me, and I knew the only way our baby would be born healthy would be with God’s strength. Our nurses, Zach, and then our doctor were huge encouragements to me. I was so discouraged and scared at one point, but they kept me going. I remember feeling angry that pain even existed in the world and thinking how nice it would have been for a stork to just drop off a cute little baby to us. It wasn’t until the last half hour (when my doctor arrived) that I remembered Jesus. Jesus dealt with way more pain than I could imagine–and lots longer than a labor/delivery time. I remember closing my eyes and seeing a quick, vivid image of the cross with Jesus nailed to it for our sin. It startled me. Here I was letting fear of physical pain get to me. This was nothing compared to what He took for us. At about 4:15 we all made guesses to the baby’s gender. To be honest, I had guessed a girl the last two weeks of my pregnancy, but I had a feeling this was not a girl. At 4:21 that morning, Rylan Zachary was born. He was the best surprise I could have imagined. The Lord helped me get through the pain. Holding Rylan for the first time is unforgettable. I remember closing my eyes and then picturing Jesus holding me. I already loved this little boy, and that could not compare to the love of Jesus or the joy of being in His arms.

I’ve never been so excited in my life. God had given us a son! I don’t remember much from the first couple of hours, except that my parents came to the hospital by 8:00 that morning. It was the best feeling to see them! Just as I had been their miracle baby at one point, Rylan, in a similar but different way, was ours.

What I have just documented in the prior paragraphs are definitely some of the points of joy these last two months. The following weeks have been the most difficult weeks of my entire life, but God has been faithful.

I had several post delivery problems, some including a high fever, high blood pressure, and because of that was hardly able to even feed our new baby. They kept us at the hospital for a few more days, and the nurses and doctors took very good care of us. We were so thankful for them. By the time we got home, I was still very sick, but it was nice to be back into my own surroundings. Within a couple weeks Rylan became sick, and we had many doctor appointments to help figure out what was going on. It was all a huge emotional roller coaster, and many days I didn’t feel like I knew what I was doing ( I still don’t). Rylan was having a hard time gaining weight, I was having a hard time feeding him, and we were having trouble for a little while figuring out what was going on with his stomach. My whole body ached and it was an effort to even stand without being dizzy. It was wonderful to have such a pain-free pregnancy, because these complications were sure challenging now. I was thankful for all the sleep and relaxation I had back in August.

There was very little sleep, lots of worry, not enough talking to Jesus, at times very discouraging. I knew that transition of having a newborn could be tough on a marriage, but I didn’t realize how tough. Many days and nights have been hard. Zach and I realized that it has been the toughest couple of months on our marriage, but also times that have pushed us to the Lord more than ever. Many days we forgot to turn to Him first, and instead turned to our own flesh. That always proves to be a disaster, but God is good.

I have never had a time in my life where I have learned so much. Taking care of a newborn, being a good wife, taking care of myself, and learning about my relationship with the Lord are just a few. I knew that I was always an independent person, but Rylan has helped show me how much more dependent I need to be on the Lord. When I look into those cute little blue eyes, I see a little boy who can’t survive without his mommy right now. When I see his smiling face, it brings me the greatest joy. If I were to turn my back on him for even an hour of life, things would be a mess. In the same way, if I turn my face away from the Lord for even a moment, life will downward spiral.

Many times over the last several weeks, I have forgotten to eat, which is something I never thought would be physically possible for me. I felt hunger pains after hours of not eating, and realized the negative effects that it had on my body. I see how much Rylan loves to eat, and it makes me laugh because it consumes so much of our lives right now. One night while feeding him I realized it had been a while since I opened up my Bible. The Bible app on my phone was going to have to do it for now. It was also more convenient. I realized that I was more weak spiritually than physically. I wasn’t feeding myself spiritually or  going to God‘s word as much as I should have been, and  distance from the Lord is something I never want to experience like I did at times during those days. Just as little Rylan was chowing down on his food, I needed to be digging deep into God‘s word not just daily, but hourly. I love the hours spent in the nursery rocking him and feeding him. It is uninterrupted time to pray and read God’s word.

Speaking of food, we were blessed with so many meals during the last couple of months. Friends, family, coworkers, etc. were so wonderful in providing food and being there for us.  It was such a good reminder to me that this was a time I could not be independent, but had to be dependent on others and that that was OK. I love taking care of other people, and many times I forget to take care of myself. Thank you to all of you who stepped in and helped out, and continue to help us out. You are a greater blessing than you’ll ever know.

During the last couple of months, I’ve been able to spend time with people that I haven’t been able to in the past. A few of my friends had babies within days or weeks, and that is been so fun to reconnect, to have “play dates,” or just talk about being a mom in these early stages. It’s fun to know you have a group of friends you can text or go to during the early hours of the morning because you know they’re awake with their babies too. They’ve been so understanding and I am thankful for each of them. I’ve had support from the ladies at church to MOPS, which has also been a huge blessing,

Zach, my mom, and my sister have been there for me during the most difficult hours of life .They’ve listened to me vent (which involves a lot of crying usually), prayed with me, and been such an encouragement. It’s been a blessing to have a sister who was right in the newborn stage just a few months ago. She has spent hours of time helping me physically and emotionally. My mom has dropped everything to come help me, to listen to me on the phone in the middle of the night, and to just be an encouragement and tell me how proud of me she is. I also love hearing all she went through with me as her first newborn and how even though it was difficult, it was good. Zach has been an incredible husband to me and dad to Rylan. I could write a book of all the help he has been to care for our family.

I could go on about the experiences we’ve had, the good, the bad, and the things that I have been learning, but those are better discussed (and more fun) over a cup of coffee, which finally tastes good again.

This, by far, has been the greatest transition I have ever gone through, and continue to go through. It is definitely the most difficult. I absolutely love being a mom, and I love all the things to learn about being a mom, and seeing God’s hand and faithfulness each and every day. There have been many good days. There have been memories that I will remember forever and experiences that I am so thankful to God for. There have been many hard days, very scary days, and days where I just don’t know what to do.  Every hour of life forces me to turn to God right now, and even though it is difficult, I am so thankful for it. So much has gotten better and easier over the last couple of weeks, but there are still challenges and always will be.  Zach goes in for foot surgery tomorrow, and I have my final kidney stone surgery in a week. The thought of having a newborn with all of that seems overwhelming, but God will be taking care of us, just like He always does. Nothing that He’s given us has been too difficult to handle without Him, and He gives us strength each day.

Thank you again to our friends and family who have been so supportive and loving on us during this crazy, but wonderful time of our lives. Rylan is blessed with a number of little friends his own age, dozens of babysitters, both sets of grandparents, five aunts and three uncles, and two dogs who already want to play with him. Two months flew, but I wouldn’t change any of it.