{My Pregnancy Journal} 15 Weeks

photoSorry for the selfie. On Wednesday when I was working at the church, I walked by the bathroom mirror and realized that, without a maternity shirt or a big meal or my hand over my tummy, I really looked pregnant. It was an exciting moment. =)

This week, my app said that Yaffie is the size of an apple! I am not sure why, but the jump from nectarine to apple seemed huge to me and I was SO excited! The highlight of our week was hearing Yaffie’s little heartbeat thumping away at the doctor’s Friday. It was incredible, even better than the ultrasound. Andrew videoed so we can listen to it anytime.

Now I am eagerly awaiting feeling the first movement. My app said that some people feel their babies as early as 15 weeks, but with my first pregnancy it is likely to be a little later. I literally get tears in my eyes just thinking about feeling a little flutter inside me. (Yeah, I get suuuuuper emotional about happy/sentimental things these days.) Andrew thinks it’s so cute that no matter where I go, Yaffie is “just hangin’ out” with me. It’s the only time in my life when our baby will never be out of my sight.

We opened our stroller and unfolded it just to get a look. It’s perfect. I’m watching Craigslist for a changing table with drawers now. We have room against one wall in our bedroom for that.

I’m sleeping a little better now and getting up less at night. My jeans/pants, which were all about two sizes too big before the pregnancy, barely snap now. I guess there are perks to being too skinny for your jeans. =) If I’m seated, bending over (like to grab my purse during church) is extremely uncomfortable. Yaffie doesn’t like being crowded. =) The last few days the nausea has been generally less and easier fixed with food, and although I still gag a lot and very easily, it is more bearable. Hopefully this means I am finally headed out of this long season of sickness! Yesterday marked 10 weeks since I first threw up my prenatals. Whew. I’m glad I didn’t know then how long it would last.

Again, there is SO much to be thankful for! I was looking (and of course, bawling) over the photos on the Facebook page for Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep. It’s a nonprofit that provides professional photography to families whose babies are not expected to survive past birth. I am reminded that nothing should be taken for granted. God is so gracious to have given us Yaffie for these 15 weeks!

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{Seminary Journal} One Year DOWN!

10342448_10152463688788109_3686387471429485253_nTwo semesters. One (school) year. Done. It’s crazy! I can hardly believe how quickly that FLEW by. One moment I was crying ten gallon buckets of tears as we hugged our families goodbye, and the next, Andrew is finishing his second semester and we’re getting ready to watch dear friends graduate…friends we didn’t even know nine months ago. Three years sounded really long when we first made plans to move, but now I feel like if I blink, it will be Andrew’s turn to graduate. That’s not to say that some of the days didn’t feel long; they did. But overall, the weeks and months sailed by.

There is much to be grateful for as I reflect on these past two semesters. Andrew has certainly grown, not only in his Bible knowledge, but in his passion for it. How could you not, when you spend hours and hours immersed in it each week? I love to get a window into his experiences when he gets home from class and spills over highlights from his day. I love when he is so excited about what he learned, that he can’t tell me sitting down. I love when I get a mini off-the-cuff sermon and a tiny taste of what it might be like someday to sit under his preaching. I love to meet in person the guys he raves about to me at home. I love to hear about the conversations he is having with fellow students who love Christ. There is so much to love, I could go on and on!

Andrew has been not only an exemplary student thus far, but also an A+ husband. While somehow pulling off amazing grades, he has not neglected to care for me and see that my “emotional cup” is full. Sure, there is give and take. I have to be content with homework-filled weekends and evenings, and days when we don’t get to really connect the way we’d like to. But overall, despite a ton of homework, work, and other ministry responsibilities, Andrew chooses to make time for the two of us, usually at the cost of sleep or some extra studying. Not only does he spend time with me, he serves me in so many ways. Today when I got home from work, for example, he’d taken a break from his last homework assignment to wash the dishes, clean out the fridge, make the bed, and start two loads of laundry. With my current state, he’s a better housewife than I am! ;)

I don’t say this to brag, I say it to build up my husband and “publicly” thank him for being such a servant-hearted guy. I am immeasurably blessed to call him mine.

The next two years will be more challenging than the first, as we juggle this apartment manager thing with harder classes and a baby. But God’s grace is truly sufficient for all things, and I am confident that it will be another sweet season to treasure Christ and each other as we grow in new ways. Praise the Lord for His many undeserved blessings in our lives!

{My Pregnancy Journal} 10 Weeks

DSC_0363First, sorry for the messy hair and sleepy eyes. I just got up from an amazing Sunday afternoon nap!

At 10 weeks, we are 1/4 of the way through the pregnancy! Pretty crazy!

Yaffie is definitely still growing. I have had some pretty intense nausea this week. It is not uncommon for me to walk around the house gagging audibly. I tried to stifle it for awhile, but it seems just a hair easier to handle if I “let it go” in a gag instead of swallowing every three seconds. Don’t worry, I’m still exercising self control in public. But along with higher levels of nausea I also got some extended breaks from it, like Wednesday and Friday afternoons. It is nice to catch a glimpse of what life might be like again in a few weeks. I’m still so thankful not to be throwing up!

Toward the beginning of the week, I was having a hard time eating anything at all. But the past few days I can’t stop, despite the queasy tummy! I’ve downed SO much. I don’t know if Yaffie’s on a growth spurt or what, but I am definitely putting away more than 300 calories of extra food per day (which is what is recommended at this stage).

By the evening I look a lot more pregnant than I did in the morning. I read that this can be due to a number of things like bloating or just the back muscles loosening up and stretching out over the course of the day. I really haven’t felt bloated or constipated (fresh lemon water daily is warding off those issues) but clearly my prune-sized baby isn’t the reason for the “bump” yet. My abdomen area feels really tight and I guess partly, being short means everything has nowhere to go but straight out as my uterus grows. For once in my life, my jeans fit just right without a belt.

Tomorrow is our first “real” doctor’s appointment. I’m hoping the ultrasound I got in the ER at 6 weeks was accurate in estimating a November 23 due date.

We are pretty much set on our baby girl name and have narrowed our boy names down to three options. This is probably one of my favorite topics of discussion as we fall asleep at night. Meanwhile, Andrew can’t wait for Yaffie’s hearing to develop so he can start talking to him at bedtime. These are sometimes long but amazing days that I wouldn’t trade for anything in the world!

{Marriage Journal} Resetting

1613976_10152374377448109_1231145455_nAndrew and I have been married a little over three years now and it has been an amazing, rewarding, and fun journey together. As every  human does, we’ve encountered some valleys, varying in “categories” and levels of difficulty.

A few weeks ago, we hit a trial of a new genre. I hesitate to even call it a trial, because on the scale of difficulties, it ranked pretty low. But often whatever challenges God gives us feel very big in the moment, even if we know in our heads that they are comparatively trivial.

As I wrote in an earlier blog post, in the middle of the semester, we moved to our new apartment and immediately started functioning as the managers, taking care of the property, fielding dozens and dozens of phone calls and emails, and giving tours of our vacancy. We weren’t settled into our new home yet, I was extremely nauseous and exhausted almost 24/7, and Andrew was getting increasingly behind on his homework.

Tension started to build. Every time the phone rang, we’d exchange glances, hoping the other would offer to get it. Every “failed” tour left us more frustrated. Every new wave of nausea increased my stress levels. Every buzz at the door broke Andrew’s concentration. We began getting short with each other, feeling on edge and cracking under the pressures and exhaustion. Our edginess continued for about two days. We weren’t even really arguing, we just felt at odds and annoyed with one another, and we didn’t talk about anything but work.

The next morning, I happened to read a chapter in a book claiming that love is truly tested in times of trial. I was immediately convicted as I realized that this season was a new “hard” for us, and we were letting it pull us apart instead of coming together and growing stronger in our commitment to and love for one another. At a time when we needed each other, we were functioning independently. Talk about a humbling eye-opener!

I came home and poured out my heart to Andrew. We talked for a good long while about the various frustrations and pressures we were feeling. We asked and granted forgiveness for the ways we had sinned against each other. We promised to choose to make this new season of life draw us closer together as a team instead of letting it distance us. We discussed our need for one other’s support. Most importantly, we acknowledged our need for our Savior and His sustaining grace at every turn. Ultimately we’d gotten our eyes off of Him in the midst of the craziness.

What a change this conversation brought about. It sort of “reset” our relationship and helped us head into the following days with zeal and different perspective and goals. We’ve learned how to work together, give and take in the responsibilities, and communicate clearly our expectations/desires so that we can work out a plan instead of just guessing each other’s thoughts. We’ve been happier, more efficient and successful, and grown closer as we work as a couple in brand new ways. The challenges haven’t disappeared, but how we face them has changed.

If you are in the midst of a day or a week or a month of being at odds with your husband, don’t wait. Stop and communicate, humbly acknowledging your part in the tension and asking him to help you work out a “plan of attack” going forward that will keep you playing on the same team and keep lines of communication open. It’s miserable to waste hours disgruntled with your best friend; it robs you both of joy and accomplishes nothing good.

I’m grateful for a husband who is willing to listen, talk, and implement change, and for a God who always forgives and lets me start over when I have failed. It is deeply encouraging that we can totally blow it but start fresh the next day, going forward in the grace of Jesus Christ. We are never beyond His reach and it is never too late to repent and begin anew!

A Chronicle of Recent Craziness

20140415-002506.jpgI haven’t blogged much in the last month because life has been just a wee bit crazy.

On March 17, Andrew and I accepted a position as apartment managers. This meant more responsibility, but free rent in a quieter, cleaner neighborhood…plus a little monthly cash on the side. I cried and cried and cried at the thought of moving and leaving our cat, then fell fast asleep on the couch.

On March 20, I found out why I’d been unusually emotional and easily exhausted. I took a pregnancy test, purely to assure myself that I was not pregnant. Shocker of shockers, two little lines appeared immediately. I took a second test. Same result. We were parents! We laughed and cried and kissed goodbye as I headed to the airport to visit my grandma. (Talk about a torturous parting!)

On Marcy 23, morning all day sickness struck, and I wondered how mothers have more than one child. After three days of vomiting every evening, I switched prenatal vitamins, which has kept the puking almost entirely at bay, praise the Lord! The nausea decided to stick around.

On April 2, we started moving into our new place, in the middle of Andrew’s school week. My mom flew down last-minute to help move do everything for me. She is amazing.

On April 4, before we’d even had a chance to set up our bed or move the last of the furniture, we were already showing a vacant apartment to prospective tenants, taking phone calls, and answering questions about things we didn’t know…I, while constantly feeling just on the verge of vomiting, and Andrew, while having a growing stack of homework waiting on him.

And since then, it’s just been days of trying to catch up…wrapping up at our old place, transferring accounts over to our new one, updating our address everywhere, getting hours of training for our new job, filing paperwork, answering a 2:00 AM call because someone’s bathtub overflowed and flooded the neighbor…you know, all the fun stuff that comes with getting your apartment for free. I worked 45 hours last week, which would normally feel very doable, but under current conditions, felt more like 80. I am nauseous almost all day most days, and fight insomnia about two out of three nights. (I keep thinking about women who throw up throughout their pregnancy, and I’m reminded of how good I have it.)

We are both ridiculously happy. It is an odd thing to be so physically miserable and spent, and so giddy and joyful all at the same time. With each new wave of nausea, I am trying to remember to thank God that He is still growing our baby and ask Him for the grace to respond humbly to the challenges He is allowing. The stress of the new job and the move in the middle of a tough semester has been difficult, but has ultimately pulled Andrew and me closer together as we learn in new ways how to work together as a team. Most importantly, it has shown me my need for God in every moment. I am utterly dependent on Him and His grace on every step of this new journey. He is so faithful.

So…the craziness of life has kept me from writing, but I hope to blog more about this new adventure. We’ve known about Yaffie (our baby, name explanation forthcoming) for a month exactly, and it is crazy how much we already love him/her. Several people have asked if I will be sharing a pregnancy journal. I do plan to post some regular updates on the joys and jolts of my first pregnancy as it progresses. I have the tiniest little baby bump started, which is the most exciting news I have to share so far. =)

I am only 8.5 weeks, and this baby still belongs to God and always will. But Lord-willing, I will have many happy stories to share over the next seven or eight months and beyond. Either way, I am beyond grateful for every day that God allows me to be a mom.

Let’s talk soon!

Abigail

 

Sweet Days

10012987_10152362752693109_1585019742_nThese are sweet days of seminary life. Andrew is quite buried in homework, but continues to love everything he is studying. In addition to my administrative job, I am enjoying a few hours a week at the bookstore, checking customers and shelving books.

Over the weekend, we enjoyed time with my grandma, uncle, aunt, and cousins. My grandma had just had a round of chemo so I had the opportunity to help out with a few things around the house and just spend time with her. It was a special time.

Last night, Andrew took me to a fancy little organic bakery in Sherman Oaks. They have an amazing selection of gluten free desserts! I have been nibbling on a delicious blondie and I am saving a mouthwatering piece of salted caramel chocolate cake. Mmmmm. Afterward, we popped in on a few of our good friends and enjoyed some spontaneous fellowship.

Lord-willing, we will be moving to a smaller apartment in a cleaner neighborhood next week. It’s time I started thinking about packing, but I haven’t done a thing yet. This weekend, we are looking forward to a couple of nights at a lodge a few hours away. It is owned by a Christian couple who lets seminary students stay for two nights free! Andrew will be taking homework and I will bring a stack of good books.

I miss my family a lot, but I know that June will be here before we know it. We are making many small but sweet memories during this season, and I am so grateful that this is where God has us.

{Seminary Journal} Our First Shepherds’ Conference

    1972323_10152333440573109_40077871_n Life has been bouncing along down here in LA. Last week was our first Shepherds’ Conference at Grace Community Church. Thousands of pastors from around the world flocked to the campus for fellowship with one another and refreshment, encouragement, and exhortation from God’s Word. It was a tremendously joyous week for many of us involved in various capacities. I already can’t wait for next year!

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The conference kicked off with the seminary student body singing O For A Thousand Tongues and Lift High the Cross. I proudly watched my dashing hubby from the conference bookstore, where I enjoyed working most of Wednesday.

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The event’s highlight for us was having my parents fly down. My dad attended all three days of the conference with Andrew, which was a blast to observe, and my mom and I spent hours cooking, laughing, eating, and talking books, marriage, and ministry. Both my parents were able to meet most of our close seminary and church friends throughout the week. It is always a huge treat for me to introduce my family to my friends, and vice versa. I also had the privilege of taking in one of Al Mohler’s sessions online, and John MacArthur’s closing session in an overflow room. Andrew and my dad came home every day overflowing with all the excellent teaching they had taken in and spilled it over to my mom and me. It was a joy to see them so encouraged and built up in the Word.

Andrew and I came home with stacks of new books, many of which I’m excited to dive into and hopefully review here in future months. The biblical resources available to us were endless!

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There’s no way we could have planned the events of the week to work out better. It was a special gift from start to finish. My parents spoiled us rotten with a couple of delicious meals out, and my mom and I squeezed in an IKEA field trip as well. That store is a lot more fun with her than by myself! All-in-all, last week was one we’ll look back on with fondness for years to come. I miss my parents, but my heart is overflowing with the precious memories we shared.