Friday, May 11, 2018

Answered Prayer: Keller’s Birth Story

I am very pleased to share that our son, Keller Michael Coburn, was born at 2:33am on Saturday May 5th. He weighed in at 8 pounds, 7 ounces and is doing great! 

The title of this post may seem a bit strange after I tell you that there were a lot of prayers said before and during my labor and delivery with Keller that seemingly weren’t answered. We prayed for a “normal” delivery at the Birth Center (easy/fast would have been great too but I was happy to settle for a fairly normal one) and without complications. But the labor was very long and difficult… I was in labor for 50 hours and pushed for at least 4! Things did not go according to plan… I ended up transferring from the Birth Center to the hospital across the street (after 3 hours of pushing and still feeling strong contractions/urges to push – that was a crazy experience!) and needed the assistance of a vacuum to finally be able to get him out. They had to cut the cord right away and take him to clean him off because he’d pooped quite a bit and needed suctioning so it was about 2 minutes before I was able to hold him. I also developed pretty bad hemorrhoids which complicated my recovery on top of getting an episiotomy (although that was better than tearing which I certainly would have).  It was the most exhausting and painful experience of my life! (And my poor, sweet husband – it was very hard on him emotionally and mentally to watch me through the whole ordeal!) Needless to say, there was a lot of very discouraging and disheartening moments.

But the truth is, God DID answer all of our prayers…. He just delayed many of them and said no to a few. I don’t know why. There were multiple times God didn’t answer my prayer in the timing I was asking for – especially in the pushing stage where one prayer I prayed was “Please Lord, let this be the time he gets below the pelvic bone” (he was not progressing past that point for quite awhile). Or later with “Please let his head come out with this round!” (Again, he was crowning for awhile but I didn’t get him out until the vacuum was used.) God delayed….

Why does God delay answering prayer? Why does He say “No” to certain requests? I don’t know. But I DO know that He is good, that He did answer many prayers….

Prayers God answered:
--I have a healthy, beautiful, perfect little boy! (I cried as I wrote this!)
--I was able to deliver vaginally and not have a c-section (Oh man, I could not imagine having to have gone through all that labor and then have a c-section & recovery on top of everything else!) Honestly, there were several moments where I thought “just take him out, I can’t do this anymore,” but afterwards, I was/am SO grateful to have avoided it!
--I had amazing midwives and nurses helping me along the way, and a great doctor at the hospital who pushed me through (and provided assistance with the vacuum) and helped me avoid the c-section. One nurse from the birth center who came over to the hospital didn’t have to stay but she did until he was born – she wanted to see it through. Everyone was so encouraging through the whole process and said that I did “just amazing”! (Apparently on my record more than one of them said I was “heroic”…  To God be the glory of course, but I do have to say, I was pretty amazing to do all that!)
--My husband was a rock through the whole thing! I’m so thankful for his encouragement and strength through the whole ordeal. And he’s already an amazing dad!
--God DID give me strength – I did it! I’m thankful God gave me the ability and wisdom to prepare my body ahead of time (I worked hard at eating healthy and exercising all through my pregnancy) and that I was strong and fit to endure the process.

All in all, while I certainly hope I never have to go through that long and difficult a process again, I am so grateful for God’s provision, grace and strength. Also, thankful for many family and friends praying before, during and since Keller’s birth.

Thank you, Lord, for my precious bundle of joy! (More pictures will come soon!)

Monday, April 23, 2018

Thoughts on Preparing for Motherhood

I’m currently 38 weeks pregnant…. and very ready for this little guy to come! I kind of meant to blog more about this season, but oh well, here we are! I fluctuate at times between being very excited and slightly panicked… I’m going to have a little person to take care of and raise!!!!! It’s scary, humbling, but oh SO amazing! I am so thankful for this blessing, and for my wonderful husband who’s doing this with me!  
Preparing for motherhood is much more than scrapbooking your pregnancy (although that was fun). It's also a lot more than putting the car seat in the car or setting up the baby's bed (all very exciting stuff!). In some ways I have been preparing for this my whole life. If you’d asked me when I was 8, 13, 16 what I wanted to be when I got older I would have said “A mommy!” (This involved getting married first of course! My first dream came true in the form of my husband Mike, and the second is coming true very soon!) I spent several years as a teen and young adult working as a mother’s helper, teaching a kindergarten class at church, working with youth group and babysitting a ton. So, I certainly didn’t lack experience with children and babies. I came across this book recently that I’d saved from when I was younger because it’s what I earnestly dreamed for.  
 My mom, having been a great mom to me, has been very instrumental in who I am and how I am approaching motherhood myself. I am blessed to have had a great mom who I want to be like (for the most part anyway) and have learned so much from. Also, having an older sister who has four kids has been immensely helpful as I’ve walked through pregnancy and preparing for motherhood. She is not only one of my best friends but an amazing example as a wife and mother, and I am so grateful! Pictured with me below at a baby shower last month is my mom, my sister and my sister’s two daughters (I was 35 weeks there).
I’ve read a number of books so far in regards to pregnancy, birth and parenting. The main ones (all very helpful) were: Mama Natural Guide to Pregnancy & Childbirth (by Genevieve Howland), Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth (by Ida May Gaskin), Baby Wise (by Gary Ezzo – focuses a lot on sleep training, we’re going to try it and we’ll see how it goes!), The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding, and Parenting (by Paul Tripp).

I’ll (hopefully) be giving birth at a birth center about 35 minutes from our home. There we were also required to take three classes: Breastfeeding, Childbirth, and First Days At Home. There was a lot of content that I already knew from my personal reading, but good review and questions/answers. I feel very blessed to be so educated about how to take care of myself and my baby… many women don’t have the same support or experiences or don’t take the extra time to learn.

Preparing for motherhood is a journey… one that you can never fully prepare for, you can just do your best. As I’ve read and learned I’ve been remind of how much I need JESUS to be a good mom. I am going to make mistakes, disappoint my children and even sin against them. How thankful I am for God’s grace that will continue to teach and grow me as I seek to be a mom who raises her children well. I pray for the humility, wisdom, patience and the grace that’s going to be needed every single day.

I am looking forward to this new adventure and sharing news of our little one’s arrival with you in the near future! 
                                                       (with my husband at 37 weeks)

Saturday, February 17, 2018

Reading List: February 2018

Finished since last post:

Things I Wish I’d Known Sooner by Jaroldeen Edwards

The subtitle for this book is “Personal Discoveries of A Mother of Twelve”. It was a neat read from an experienced mom not just about parenting, but personal and spiritual discoveries as well. Great thoughts and meditations for any mom!

“Home is a living, breathing thing – a laboratory for living. I believe we should create a home that makes people think, ‘I want to be in that home,’ not ‘I wish I owned that home’.” (p. 77) “I realized that any growth that comes from pain and challenge can come only after we have stopped asking why… The firs thing we must do in order to begin to gain the lessons from pain is to accept what is past and let it go. Then we must begin to ask ourselves the what questions: What am I still able to do? What am I learning? What goals should I set?” (p. 101)

The Secret Thoughts of an Unlikely Convert: An English Professor's Journey into Christian Faith by Rosaria Butterfield

This was a super interesting testimony and story from a former lesbian turned pastor’s wife! Just hearing her journey from lesbian feminist professor to Christian was inspiring and convicting… there were people who loved her no matter what and invited her into their home and patiently answered her questions. (There was one short chapter on her view of only singing Psalms in worship which I pretty much skipped - 0 Biblical support as far as I’m concerned – but I digress!). It also goes through her experiences as a pastor’s wife which was also really interesting.

Between Worlds: Essays on Culture and Belonging by Marilyn Gardner
Marilyn (Brown) Gardner grew up the child of missionaries in Pakistan. I knew her parents, one of her brothers married my mother’s sister. This was an interesting account of being a Third-Culture Kid (TCK) – a child who is raised in a different country than it says on their passport and how their sense of “home” is rather… confused, and comes with challenges that others have a hard time understanding. It was an interesting read and I really appreciated her openness and honesty about her experiences and journeys. 

The Shaping of A Christian Family by Elisabeth Elliot
This subtitle of this book is “How My Parents Nurtured My Faith”, and it’s about Elisabeth’s parents, their own history and how they nurtured and raised their 6 children. It’s one families’ story, but it is beautiful, inspiring, convicting even. She talks about her parent’s individual walks with God, how they instructed, disciplined, dealt with work and play, how they particularly nurtured and taught each child, learned to trust them to God as they made life decisions (some of which maybe they weren’t thrilled about) and learned to let them go (Elisabeth along with several of her siblings went to the mission field). It gave me some great inspiration about how I want to raise my children in the Lord.

Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth by Ida May Gaskin
This was written by a woman who, when she wrote this book, had been a midwife for 30+ years and overseen hundreds of births. This book is a MUST-READ for every pregnant woman! It is a powerful book that has put me in awe of how amazing God created the female body! Birth is not a thing that we need to fear (although it must be taken seriously). It is a natural thing, not something to be treated. Babies were meant to be born and women were made to give birth to them. Yes, there’s pain involved, but it’s not the kind of pain you need to dread…. In fact, the birth experience can be the most amazing of your life! As I get ready to have my child in the next 3 months, I am excited and ready to trust God and my body to do what it was made to do.

The Duties of Parents by J.C. Ryle
I have really appreciated J.C’ Ryle’s books in the past so wanted to read this short work as well. Very simple, but important advice for parents on raising their children in the ways of the Lord.

“Train [your children] with this thought continually before your eyes that the soup of your child is the first thing to be considered.”

Dissolving Illusions: Disease, Vaccines, and the Forgotten History by Suzanne Humphries, MD & Roman Rystrianyk
This was a book written by two individuals (one a medical doctor) who have spent years researching and studying health, disease and vaccines. They take a detailed look at the history of disease and how vaccines were created and what their actual impact was. Did vaccines really cause the eradication of smallpox and other diseases? Or is there a lot more to the story? Very interesting and informative book!

“Beginning in the mid-to-late 1800’s and into the 1900’s, the mortality rate for all infections diseases dropped. The deadly threats that were once so commonplace slowly faded into the past. By the end of the 19th century, it was apparent that sanitation was making a significant impact against the bacterial diseases, typhus and typhoid fever, without any vaccine.”

Currently Reading:
Grace-filled Parenting by Paul Tripp (great so far!)

Saturday, December 9, 2017

Reading List: December 9, 2017

Finished this month:

Turning Points: Decisive Moments in the History of Christianity by Mark Noll
I love reading about history, especially how it related to the Bible and Christianity. This was a really interesting book on key events in the history of Christianity. There are many others of course, but the author has carefully chosen 12 that he believes are the most impactful. They include The Fall of Jerusalem, The Council of Nicaea, The Great Schism (division between Eastern and Western churches), the Protestant Reformation, Counter-Reformation, the French Revolution (this was a very interesting one!) and more. Interesting read, well-written and I learned a lot!

Taking God at His Word by Kevin DeYoung
The ladies Bible Study read through this book this semester. It’s filled with good reminders about why God’s Word is “knowable, necessary, and enough”. It has chapters dedicated to the authority, necessity, clarity, sufficiency, and power of Scripture. I found this book a little basic (I’ve been to seminary and read a lot more detailed stuff on this subject) but for newer/younger or not as well-read believers it’s a great resource! Very encouraging reminders of how wonderfully sufficient and powerful the Word of God is!

The Beginner’s Guide to the Gift of Prophesy by Jack Deere
If you haven’t read Deere’s book Surprised by the Power of the Spirit you should read that first, but this is a great book if you are interested in learning about and pursuing the gift of prophesy, or if you want to know how to be more discerning when it comes to listening to prophets. How can you learn to discern the voice of God? What pitfalls do you need to watch out for? How do you know when to believe to a prophet or not? What about when a prophet is wrong (i.e mis-understands/mis-applies) what God is speaking to him? This was a very helpful book that was also convicting… the human heart is easily deceived and easily proud and those are big dangers that not only greatly hinder our growth and ministry, but we constantly need to fight against.

You May All Prophesy by Steve Thompson
This was a very interesting and balanced book. Informative about what prophesy is and how to grow in or encourage the gift in the church. The author also gives many warnings about how pride and other sins get in the way of this gift being used rightly, and how to learn to be discerning in things you “hear”. Great follow-up book to the previous one I read!

Mike and I also finished listening to The Hobbit which was fun.

Currently Reading:
Five Views on Sanctification edited by Stanley Gundry. Also listening to some fun fiction with Mike, and also currently reading through Baby-Wise by Gary Ezzo (there are various opinions about this book – some have found it to work and love it, for some others it hasn’t and they hate-talk it, but it’s interesting at least and there are good principles to put in place. Stay tuned I guess!)