Day 7: bed rest at 25 weeks

Trigger warning: If you are currently pregnant with twins and you’re fearful about bed rest, be careful about reading this post. And exercise your freedom of choice to skip it if it begins to increase your fear factor. My story is just that – my story. It’s not every twin mom’s story. And I do hope to introduce you to a few more of my friends along the way who had different twin pregnancy stories which would reassure you. 

I think it would work best in timeline form:

  • June 29, 2010 – moving day! We had found our first home to buy once we knew we were expecting twins and would need to move out of our small 1.5 bedroom apartment in the city. After about a month of minor renovations and major repainting, our new home was ready for us. The movers came that bright, sunny Tuesday morning. I ran out to 7-Eleven to buy gatorade for them; dropped it off; and then left for my routine biweekly OB checkup at 25 weeks.
  • I was being closely monitored for the possibility of early preterm labor which meant that every appointment I had a routine ultrasound and saw my babies – such #relief! But not this appointment. As soon as the ultrasound tech saw what was happening: that the signs of preterm labor were there, a long anxiety-provoking medical pause occurred, followed by a grim pronouncement. The words sunk in like lead: “Your body looks like it’s trying to deliver these babies. You will be on strict bed rest for the rest of your pregnancy.” 
  • I began sobbing. My first question was, “Does this mean I can’t go to my brother’s wedding [in South Carolina 10 days afterward]?” The answer provoked more tears and panic rushed in like a dam breaking.
  • My husband turned over oversight of our move to the incredible deacons at our church and accompanied me as I was admitted to the maternal-fetal medicine ward of the hospital. The worst part was signing the consent to treat forms for my only 1.5 pound twin babies that I did not want to be born yet. They asked us if we had installed car seats yet, and our deer-in-the-headlights response conveyed the shock of two generally well-prepared people. We were thinking, Car seats? We don’t even have a change of clothes! Or a moved-in home to which to return!
  • The next 24-48 hours of hospitalization are largely a blur with moments of clarity: the reassuring manner of the MFM doctor who assured me that I was not in full-blown preterm labor but only early preterm labor which they’d been able to halt through medical interventions; the generous friends who brought over dinner to us that evening and other meals so that I did not have to eat hospital food; begging the nurses and medical residents/doctors to discharge me so that I could actually get some rest like they said I needed; the claustrophobia of the barren white hospital room; multiple ultrasounds reassuring me that both babies were fine and good despite their mama’s panic.
  • July 1, 2010: Discharged with strict instructions for bed rest and the hope that “if you make it to 28 weeks, we will all be amazed and your babies will have a much better chance of viability.” This terrified me. And drove me to desperate, bold prayers to the God who hears. We prayed and asked our family and friends to pray that our girls would make it to 34 weeks, a medical improbability according to my doctors.
bed rest

image from

Spoiler alert: They were born 2 days after I reached the 35-week mark! (I am breezing over the 10 weeks of strict bed rest – one trip up and down the stairs/day, no getting out of the recliner or bed except for bathroom visits and a brief shower, the only outing being my weekly doctor’s visits. For more read here where I blogged
through the experience and received so much support from so many.)

If you want to continue to follow along, subscribe to my blog or like my Facebook page “Hidden Glory” to get updates. For the month of October, I’m participating in “Write31Days” and my series is “31 Days of Parenting Twins.” 

Day 6: what to do about fear {when pregnant with twins}

image from

image from

With every pregnancy, fear is an unwelcome undercurrent. For me who already has a predisposition towards anxiety, the fears of pregnancy added to the fears of twin pregnancy almost undid me. As soon as my OB found out it was twins, she was upfront and honest – telling me that I was automatically in the high-risk category despite being otherwise perfectly healthy and that the greatest risk for twin pregnancy is premature delivery. All of this I tried to process at week 6!

And I couldn’t. So the fear grew along with my belly. Here’s a blurb that I wrote on June 25, 2010 – 24.5 weeks into pregnancy. The eerie irony of hindsight is that it barely four days after this post I was going to be hospitalized for the very thing I feared the most: early premature labor. Yet you and I, dear readers, have the benefit of knowing that the story ended well. If you could, try to suspend that knowledge and watch me as (a) I anticipated one of my biggest fears of twin pregnancy and (b) walked through this fear onto the other side.

June 15, 2010

The next two topics I want to address in my “trusting God when you’re expecting” series are fears/anxieties and body image. Soon after finding out we were pregnant, I wrote this: “I think this pregnancy journey will certainly reveal the fear factory my heart often can be: there are truly an almost infinite number of things to worry about, over which I have virtually no control.” If the last post focused on how my heart is a desire factory, this one is about how my heart is also quite expert at producing fear, too. Pregnancy only magnifies this!

I have noticed that I have moved through different stages of fear along the journey of this pregnancy so far. Initially, there was the fear of losing the baby through miscarriage. I have had several friends who have walked through this grief, and I would imagine there are many more who have experienced this yet have not shared the grief with me or others. It’s such a private pain, really. I experienced some unsettling symptoms early on in our pregnancy that led us to think that I might be miscarrying. It was terrifying and dreadful as we waited for our first doctor’s appointment. The wait seemed to be forever – and then to finally be there and anticipate bad news … there just is no way to prepare yourself for that.

Here’s an entry from my journal early during those weeks of waiting:

“Lord, I do not want to be consumed by worry over what I cannot control anyway! So I’m officially crying out to you for help in a big way today. Make this refrain of Psalm 136 mine as well: “Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good, for his steadfast love endures forever.”

“…to him who led his people through the wilderness for his steadfast love endures forever; It is he who remembered us in our low estate, For his steadfast love endures forever; And rescued us from our foes [fear], For his steadfast love endures forever.”

Help me in my unbelief – in my insatiable desire to control the uncontrollable [having a miscarriage] and to know the unknowable [whether this baby is healthy].”

That’s the thing with anxiety: it is my attempt to control what I cannot control – and in fact, what is not mine to control. My role was to actively trust God, come what may. Easy to say when looking in the “rear-view mirror” of life but it feels impossible when you’re in the midst of the dark valley of death’s shadow. I remember repeating over and over again the words of Psalm 23 and Psalm 139, seeking to meditate on these truths of my Shepherd and entrust these little lives into His care. Practically, I also restricted myself from searching on the internet for more information, as this only served to increase my fear and anxiety at all of the “what ifs” out there.

As the fear of miscarriage faded a bit with each week, it was replaced with the fear of “how in the world will I take care of TWO babies?” This is an anxiety that I am still working through. It certainly comes in waves. For example, I remember the day I went grocery shopping and noticed how cute a mom and her baby were. Immediately following this was the realization that grocery carts don’t have space for TWO infants! And my “natural” fear/thought progression led me to the conclusion that I would never be able to even venture out to buy groceries by myself after the twins’ birth. (twin friends, please leave me in blissful ignorance if that is, in fact, true) I fear the loss of my independence.

Other fears that I experienced especially during the first trimester included:

  • fears of whether I was eating enough and the right kinds of food to nourish the babies
  • fear of unknowingly exposing them to harmful toxins (did using my aerosol hairspray once or twice damage them? What about the day they were refinishing the floors at my workplace and I smelled the fumes for a few hours?)
  • fear of how my fears and anxiety might have a negative impact on their growth and development

More than any pregnancy book I turned to for answers, reading this book on anxiety, Calm My Anxious Heart (by Linda Dillow), and hearing sermons on the book of Hebrews about the faithfulness of God reminded me of God’s care and provision. The God who created the universe is intricately involved in my life, speaking to my fears and reassuring me with His presence – in fact, inviting me into His presence. And I have many friends who helped to demonstrate this truth to me through their prayers and encouraging words and presence with me.

Where does fear show up currently? As I approach the end of my second trimester, I have (naturally) begun worrying about whether I’ll go into premature labor. This fear is certainly grounded in the risks associated with twin pregnancy. I find myself again in the realm of needing to actively trust in a God who knows when these babies will be born. This doesn’t mean that I throw caution to the wind. In fact, I have stopped exercising vigorously and I am more tuned in to resting when I’m tired (novel concept for me) and seeking to continue to eat well. Yet beyond that, the details of when these babies will arrive is really out of my hands.

A few years ago at a baby shower, a woman in my church who was pregnant with her fourth child at the time told me that pregnancy was the best opportunity she had been given to learn how to surrender completely to God because every aspect of pregnancy, labor, and delivery is really out of your control.That has stuck with me, and I pray that I will continue to grow in trust – rather than fear – throughout the remaining weeks of this pregnancy.

If you want to continue to follow along, subscribe to my blog or like my Facebook page “Hidden Glory” to get updates. For the month of October, I’m participating in “Write31Days” and my series is “31 Days of Parenting Twins.” 

Day 2: twin pregnancy, first trimester: nausea, exhaustion, and PB&J

If you were to ask my friends and family how they remember my twin pregnancy, you would likely get one of three answers:

  1. “Heather was always tired!” I vaguely remember the fog of deep exhaustion and the sleepless nights. It was such a bad combination – I would be exhausted all day, then could barely sleep at night. One Saturday early into pregnancy we walked around a museum with good friends who were visiting from Philly, and all I remember about that day is looking for the next bench on which to rest.  I was thankful that I didn’t have many counseling clients during those weeks because it was difficult to stay awake throughout the afternoon (much less make it past 8 or 9pm).
  2. “Heather ate ALL the time.”

“I remember she brought a cooler full of healthy snacks to our overnight women’s retreat. And she ate everything she brought.” -Maria

“We were signing closing papers, and Heather was eating a granola bar.” – our realtor, Jenn

“Every night, I had to make a PB&J sandwich and put it by her bedside table because she would wake up in the middle of the night hungry and nauseous.” – Seth, my husband

And it’s true. I ate at least hourly, and I would still be starving. It was incredible to try to keep up my caloric intake for two babies. My healthcare providers had conflicting opinions, which was confusing: my OB said to watch my weight; my midwife said to eat as much as I could, and then some more. I chose to follow my midwife’s advice. And I definitely put on the pounds. dr barbara luke twinsBut there were TWO babies, and I had read in my favorite twin-pregnancy-preparation book that the more calories you eat early on into your pregnancy, the better chance your twins had of fully developing before delivery.

2 – “Although Heather had it pretty good in terms of no throwing up; she hated the nausea the worst.” The constant eating was the only way to stave off the nausea and try to keep it at bay. It was counterintuitive to eat when I felt like anything but – yet eating effectively pushed down the nausea, at least until those calories wore off. Mornings were my best; afternoons and evenings the worst. I distinctly remember the evening that pregnancy nausea hit me head on: I found myself feeling increasingly queasy while watching Julie and Juliaa movie about Julia Childs. To the point that I couldn’t even think about that movie for months without my stomach turning. In fact, I don’t think I’ve watched it since – the power of negative associations. It started around week 8 and lasted until week 16. Which is *nothing* compared to many pregnancies, like my friends who were nauseous and vomiting the entire three trimesters. I felt like a wimp but I really hate the feeling of nausea, so this part of pregnancy was almost the worst for me. What helped me:

  • Jolly Ranchers for the first few weeks, recommended by a friend. The sour-sweet would immediately arrest my nausea and help me make it through important tasks, like grocery shopping. jolly ranchers
  • Eating only white foods for the next few weeks. Seriously I only wanted potatoes, bread, and bananas. It was weird! And Chick-Fil-A waffle fries. I could always eat those.
  • When all else failed, I called in for Zophran at week 15.5 because I simply couldn’t stand it anymore. And it was so helpful, so that before I knew it, I was out of the woods of the first trimester and into the second one.

That wraps up today’s post. I would love to hear your own stories as you’re reading.

If you want to continue to follow along, subscribe to my blog or like my Facebook page “Hidden Glory” to get updates. For the month of October, I’m participating in “Write31Days” and my series is “31 Days of Parenting Twins.” 

why completion is harder to write about than the struggle

When Sammy the plumber made his last visit to our newly renovated bathroom yesterday, I breathed a sigh of relief. First of all, please note that we know our plumber by name. We should. He has become a household name to my daughters over the past 4.5 months that we [Seth] has been working on renovating our master bathroom. This is because we live in a house built in the early 1900s and one that was remodeled by someone proud of their DIY mentality yet with little skill. Or maybe they just became lazy along the way. This “master bathroom” was one of their projects, and each stage of remodeling uncovered another layer of poor workmanship and shoddy structure. Such as the clothesline that held a few of the bathroom pipes together. Or the prefab shower that wasn’t actually attached to any structural part of the house – simply nailed up to the drywall. And the icing on the cake was the fact that they had actually cut through a load-bearing supporting beam of the house in this “remodeling” project.

All of this added up to what should have been a relatively quick and easy “re-do” becoming a long and arduous process. Thank goodness I am married to a man who is a perfectionist about these things, committed to persevering through details and behind-the-scenes-structure in order for it to be done right. At one point, he asked a structural engineer friend from church to consult with him as he worked on rebuilding the floor joists. After their brainstorming session, this friend graciously volunteered to come help Seth with that foundational work – which included building a temporary wall in our kitchen to support the floor above while they reinforced it. Wow.

I could go on and on about Seth’s work; my frustrations; interrupted naptimes; living in a construction zone. Etc. Etc. In fact, it would be easier to talk to you about the struggle of this process of rebuilding our 4′ by 8′ bathroom. It’s easier to describe the process with its highs (choosing a good paint color; finding a picture that perfectly complemented this bathroom; how the glass doors came in just in time) and lows (see paragraph above) than to wax eloquent about what it’s like now that it’s completed.

Isn’t that true about life too? It is in the process of parenting that we are prolific; in the waiting of pregnancy we hope and dream and speak – the birth comes and we are speechless. I find that when I am walking through a trial, words come more easily than when that trial is done. Or if I speak about a trial in the past tense, my words sound a bit empty – a little too “tie-a-ribbon-on-it” perfect.

As a “J” personality, I am always longing for closure. (Referring to the Myers-Briggs personality test – J or P – which are you? Also closely related to type A or type B.) And yet. When closure comes, there is a sense of emptiness in it. The home project, as beautiful as it is, is never quite as fulfilling as I imagined it would be. The successfully potty trained twins don’t make life 150% easier as I had pictured it. [Enter comic relief: we now do potty RUNS wherever we go, like the Virginia Aquarium this morning when I grabbed my two-year-old by the hand after she announced she needed to go potty; and we fought crowds like it was an emergency.] I think this is life this side of heaven. The completion feels great, for a moment, but never quite all it should be. For we are still longing for a Day of Completion to come.

Meanwhile, we’re in the struggle. And let’s write about it together, giving words and hope and meaning to the waiting.

A year ago today …

… I was trying to fall asleep in a hospital bed on the labor and delivery floor while being monitored for contractions and my babies’ heart rates. An IV line administered medication seeking to slow and stabilize contractions as well as antibiotics in case the babies had to be delivered. Various monitors beeped and nurses came in and out while I *tried* to drift off. Seth and I had planned to spend that night in our newly purchased home – our first home to own – but instead our house sat vacant except for unpacked boxes and furniture. I had not left the hospital bed since being admitted that morning after a normal OB appointment revealed indications of possible preterm labor.

I remember feeling both great anxiety and inexplicable peace. Anxiety that our daughters would be born at only 25 weeks along (and, no, I was not ready for that in any aspect of it) and anxiety at how my life had been altered in the course of a day (no traveling to my brother’s wedding, no more working through August as I’d hoped, no helping with unpacking and settling into our new home). But mixed with this, and in fact overriding it, was a sense of peace as I knew my Shepherd was with me there. He was caring for me and He was caring for our yet unborn daughters. And so eventually (in between nurse checks), I was able to drift off to sleep. If only for a few hours.

To think back on that day a year ago brings a wave of gratitude for God’s faithfulness to us, not only for the healthy daughters who now are exploring every inch of our house as they crawl and who miraculously waited 10 more weeks before birth, but also for so many of you who cared so well for us in this past year. Which prompted the letter of gratitude below – please receive it as a small token of our appreciation:

Dear friends and family,

A year ago today was quite a momentous day for us – the day we moved into our first home and the day I began what would be 10 weeks of bed rest before the birth of Lucia and Alethia on September 8th, 2010.  So much happened in such a short period of time: Seth had to find others to supervise our move in his place so that he could join me at the hospital while the doctors tried to discern how imminent my pre-term labor would be and how to stop or slow it down. I felt perfectly fine although my body was trying to go into labor to deliver our 25-week-old twin daughters. We were terrified many moments throughout that day as we awaited more information. A few days later, we were relieved that I could be discharged from the hospital but unsure how long before I would deliver and how we would make it day-to-day as I endured strict bathroom-privileges-only bed rest.

You stepped into our lives at this point and helped us. You were the hands and feet of Jesus to us as you unpacked boxes, painted walls, completed tiling projects, did laundry, cleaned our house, brought us meals, visited me on the “long days of the recliner,” went grocery shopping and ran errands for us,  including picking up our baby furniture for us. Not to mention your constant support through your prayers and words of encouragement to us. And you didn’t stop after the babies were born, but continued to bring meals and provide help as needed. As we tried to remember all of you who had provided assistance for us, there were well over 100 people (and I’m sure we’re missing a few).

“Thank you” feels so flat, but we wanted to again tell you how much we appreciate your ministry to us during this difficulty. Our healthy daughters are themselves a testimony of your help to us and your many, many prayers on our behalf. So – thank you again, and know that you will always have a special place in our hearts for the way you met us at our time of need.

In humble gratitude,

Heather & Seth

a poem while waiting

For some reason, I thought that I would be delivering this weekend. And unless something crazy happens between now and midnight (less than 4 hours), I don’t think these will be Labor Day deliveries. I’m both relieved and also growing more eager to meet these two. So thankful we are now at 35 weeks! I found this poem that I wrote during my 29th week – to which this post itself is an answer to the prayer voiced at the end. And strange how I feel much the same as I did when I wrote this (except that I am now off bed rest, at least in theory – the reality is that my energy level and physical discomfort still keeps me from most “regular” activitiy).

Longing …

To be out of bed rest

Active again

Just one body, rather than three-in-one.

Muscles relaxing instead of stretching

Seeing face to face

Not just flutters, kicks, and bladder punches to communicate

Who will you look like?

Blue eyes, I bet, but what else?

Blonde hair, like Daddy as a kid –

Or brown hair, like me?

Big eyes taking in the world from moment one as I did?

Or scrunched in confusion and shock as you exit your cozy womb.

(I am not so cozy though)

Yes, there will be crying and feeding …

But also smiling and cooing.

Lord, how long?

I pray it’s longer still yet I also ask you to give endurance.

I feel like mine’s worn out.

Parenting book reviews

As promised awhile ago, here is my review of parenting and pregnancy books I’ve read so far:


Product Details

“Pregnancy: The Ultimate Week-by-Week Pregnancy Guide”by Dr. Laura Riley – As she takes you into your pregnancy week-by-week, she has a clear format with interesting and applicable facts for each week. I actually haven’t read any other pregnancy book in detail besides this one. I’ve enjoyed being able to read each week’s information about baby’s growth, my body’s changes, emotional changes, with questions & answers. She includes helpful info for husbands throughout the book as well. 

I did browse a friend’s copy of “The Girlfriend’s Guide to Pregnancy” which looked pretty hilarious – a nice balance to the intensity of some of the “what to expect” books on the market.


With twins, we know that we’ll be diving into the deep end of trying to figure out how to care for TWO infants from day one and so I spent most of my self-educational reading in this category.

“Dr. Turtle’s Babies” by Dr. William John Turtle is an “oldie, but goodie.” My grandmother gave this book to my mom to read when she was pregnant with me – and then she gave it to my brother & sister-in-law, who then passed it along to us. One day when I was reading it while waiting for my OB, she told me that she also read it when she was pregnant. If you can get past the fact that he calls mothers “girls” and refers to the baby as “it,” there is some good basic info about infant care, sleeping, and feeding that still holds true. With a few caveats – review it with your doctor! My doctor said, for instance, to disregard what he said about feeding babies sugar water in between feedings.

“On Becoming Baby-Wise: Giving your Infant the Gift of Night-time Sleep” by Ezzo/Buckman is one that I was admittedly wary of beginning because I had heard it was rather harsh. I was pleasantly surprised. I especially liked that he began by saying that what’s crucial to your baby’s well-being is your healthy marriage – that even babies can pick up on the affection and love between their parents and this is what makes them feel secure. He goes on from there to talk about how to put your baby on a schedule that works for your family. With twins, we really have no other option than to schedule them – and that suits our “type-A” personalities anyway!

Healthy sleep habits, happy child [Book]“Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child” by Dr. Marc Weissbluth also talks about the importance of sleep and setting a routine for your baby. I found it helpful the way he discussed how to look for signs of sleepiness and seek to put your child to sleep before she becomes overly tired. Another motto that sums up his philosophy is “sleep begets more sleep” as he discussed the importance of day-time napping for a baby to be able to go to sleep at night. It generally makes sense, and I especially love that he has an edition specifically for twins that came out last year – this was perfect for us.


Ok – if you’re like me, you probably had no idea that there were so many books on twins out there. All of these were extremely helpful, and I’ll try to categorize these as “best for …” in order to differentiate between them.

When You're Expecting Twins, Triplets or QuadsBest for twin pregnancy, labor & delivery (includes sections on bed rest, a recipe collection at the back of the book, specific weight gain goals, what to expect if your babies spend time in the NICU):“When You’re Expecting Twins, Triplets, or Quads” by Dr. Barbara Luke and Tamara Eberlein

Best for practical tips and advice for pregnancy through year one of twins “Twinspiration: Real Life Advice from Pregnancy Through the First Year” by Cheryl Lage – by a mother of twins with lots of humor thrown in to make you laugh as you think about how in the world you’ll make it through … !

Juggling Twins Best for practical tips and advice from newborn to toddler phase of twins by a mother of twins who is also quite humorous. My mother-in-law read this book and she said she found it very helpful – that it covers everything and gives specific ideas. “Juggling Twins” by Meghan Regan-Loomis

Product DetailsBest balance of medical advice and practical wisdom for the first 5 years of twins by a mother who’s also a pediatrician. She is straight-forward with helpful advice and not a lot of “fluff,” but her style is readable and practical – like she goes into specifics about how to actually transport twins from your house to the car when they’re still infants. “Raising Twins: From Pregnancy to Preschool” by Dr. Shelly Vaziri Flais

Product Details

Best for very specific sleeping schedule and feeding advice for the first year of twins with some British English “translation” required – such as deciphering that “dummy” refers to pacifier/etc. It’s a combination book, written primarily by a British nanny who’s an expert on child-rearing with introductions to each chapter by a twin mom: “A Contented House With Twins” by Gina Ford and Alice Beer

Not worth buying or reading: There’s just one in this category that I just didn’t find very helpful – “Twins! Pregnancy, Birth, and the First Year of Life” by Agnew, Klein, and Ganon


“A Mother’s Heart: A Look at Values, Vision, and Character for the Christian Mother” by Jean Fleming reminded me of the beautiful and high calling that it is to be a mom. I loved her mix of practical and pastoral teaching on being a mother. She is balanced, biblical, and grace-infused in her approach. I found it very easy to read, and I think it will be a book to return to in years to come. She gives specific ideas and focuses of how to pray for your children, including praying for creativity in connecting with them.

“Parenting by the Book: Biblical Wisdom for Raising Your Child” by John Rosemond offers some practical wisdom and exposes our culture’s current tendency toward “child-centered” parenting and homes. He gives a good initial corrective to this, but I did not find that he talked enough (or at all) about grace and reaching a child’s heart instead of merely producing good behavior. I did like the section where he discusses seasons of parenting, and this is a good starting point, but for a book claiming to be founded on Biblical wisdom, I didn’t find his approach very Christ-centered.

“Don’t Make Me Count to Three: A Mom’s Look at Heart-Oriented Discipline” by Ginger Plowman is a book I read during a “Counseling Children” course at Westminster/CCEF. I am sure that I will return to this book as my girls approach their toddler years for her gospel-centered approach in how to highlight the heart of the matter in your child’s misbehavior. She takes the approach and philosophy of Tedd Tripp’s book, “Shepherding a Child’s Heart” and makes it very practical.

“How Children Raise Parents: The Art of Listening to Your Family” by Dan Allender is the one I am currently reading. I have enjoyed it immensely, as he turns the focus to what purpose children serve in a parent’s life — that having children is part of God’s journey and story for me as a parent and it will be a large way that God sanctifies me in the midst of the parenting process. His central idea is that we as parents are to reflect God’s mercy and strength to our children by answering the two questions they are asking: “Am I loved?” [YES!!!!] and “Can I get my own way?” [No]

 Here’s a quote as he talks about our dreams for our children – and a fitting end to this blog post:

It is our privilege to dream far bigger dreams than that good things happen and bad things don’t happen to our children. We are to dream and pray and desire and speak to the possibilities that pain and tragedy and pleasure and glory will weave our children into beings who hunger to touch the face of God. … To dream for our children is to lean into the quiet cries of the Holy Spirit that call out the true, God-given name of our child.

September already!

There are many reasons why I can hardly believe that it’s September. Like so many of you, I’m asking, “Where did the summer go?” Yet unlike many of you, my answer is rather mundane: umm … it passed while I sat in a recliner observing the comings and goings of our Norfolk neighborhood, wondering how close I was to delivering these twins. There is some grief – that I couldn’t make it to Bryan & Megan’s wedding, that Seth & I only spent a couple days at the beach together (in contrast to last summer when we took full advantage of being only 30 minutes from the beach by going every Saturday), that my favorite of seasons is almost gone, that hanging out with friends and family was always in the same atmosphere: our house. Of course, I would say that it was all worth it – and certainly will be once we meet these daughters of ours.

I am certainly in a very different season of expectancy now. All of my self-given “projects” are over; leaving me to read and write and chat with friends. I feel like “circling the wagons,” in the sense of wanting to soak up each minute of time left when family time still consists of just Seth and me. We are as prepared as we can be, knowing full well that there is nothing that will quite prepare us for the chaotic joy that is ahead of us. I am not sleeping well at night because I can’t get comfortable, and then once I do, I inevitably wake 1-2 hours later and then can’t get back to sleep. I’m not too tired during the day, surprisingly, but I wish I could store up more sleep for the sleepless days & nights sure to come.

And there’s a hurricane coming through this weekend. Three people have told me that the low barometric pressure brought on by such a storm makes labor much more likely. There is some interesting research that seems to support this. And so now that I am at 34 weeks and now that we are in September and now that I feel like there’s really nothing left I need to do … I can’t help but wonder if this weekend (Labor Day weekend, incidentally) will be “the” weekend. Part of me is scared and part of me is excited. It’s similar to the way I’ve felt before each mission trip I’ve embarked upon (to Haiti, Mexico, Ireland, New Orleans): once preparations are completed and it’s the night before leaving, I have a sense of exhilaration mixed with fear. Like I am diving off of a cliff and can’t quite see what’s below. Yet each time, my faith in the God who flies with me – who not only beckons me beyond the comfortable but also goes with me into the unknown – has been strengthened tremendously. I see new sides to God that I never would have noticed had I stayed in the comfortable. Certainly becoming parents to twins will be even more faith-building as we must trust God in ways we cannot even anticipate. Here’s to the journey ahead … which will take me far beyond what has been a comfortable (albeit boring and mundane at times) summer.

all things pink (and brown)

I think that the reason that “nesting” is so much fun when you’re pregnant (whether you’re doing the nesting yourself or just asking others to do the work for you … !) is that the nursery is the most tangible symbol of the baby (or babies) that are on their way. [Besides the pregnant belly, of course, but you can’t really spend time decorating and organizing it …] Once these babies arrive, their nursery will fade into the background because THEY will be here – the ones we’ve been preparing it for. An analogy comes to mind – God our Father’s promise that HE is “preparing a place” for us, His children, in His heavenly kingdom. Our arrival there is more certain than our daughters’ arrival to the nursery we’re decorating. This certainty comes not because I’m good enough or ever will be, but precisely because I’m not good enough and I rest entirely on the goodness of our Savior, Jesus Christ. He is certain, and I can trust Him to bring me safely Home one day.

In the meantime, as I await for God to bring forth these babies on their birth day known only to Him … I’m having fun with watching the nursery come together. Here’s a few pictures:

Mom's gorgeous curtains she made for the nursery!

A close-up of the curtains

the crib (Babi Italia from Babies R Us) & bedding set (

Dad & Seth - proud painters of the nursery

These last two pictures are of a diaper clutch a friend made for me and brought over as a gift today – isn’t it adorable?!  Check out the rest of her high-quality and high-fashion bags/etc. at Barefoot Bags

living in expectancy

You might be getting tired of posts on the topic of waiting and expectancy, and at moments I find myself getting tired of waiting and being pregnant, too. Yet this is my season of life right now. And I want to embrace it for all that it is, knowing that as the Ecclesiastical wisdom goes, a time for waiting and resting will inevitably transition to a time for birth and parenting that we’ve been waiting for – which will be a season of busyness and activity. Knowing that the end [of pregnancy] is near loads each new day with meaning and anticipation. Knowing that the end date is unknown gives a sense of urgency and purpose to each moment (or at least a heightened desire to be purposeful). I often find myself asking the question, “If I go into labor tonight, what will be most important for me to accomplish today?” At the beginning of bed rest, that question was answered rather simply: finish well with those I had been counseling by referring them to other counselors and complete the grading for the distance ed course I had been proctoring (great course, by the way: CCEF’s “Counseling and Physiology” taught by Dr. Mike Emlet). Gradually my priorities shifted to finding a childbirth preparation DVD since Seth & I couldn’t take the class we were hoping for,  packing a hospital bag (umm … yes, this probably should have been my first priority but I think it was part of living in denial the first few weeks), and making sure the preemie-size clothes were washed and ready.

The point of this post isn’t to give a checklist for “preparing for labor and delivery,” as there are MANY out there which are helpful, but rather to draw the analogy to how I want to be living in this same sense of expectancy every day of my life as a Christian. By definition,  being a Christian means that I am one who is a member of God’s family because of the grace of Jesus Christ for me and therefore I belong not to my own kingdom and this physical home, but to God’s Kingdom where I will be at Home only when I am face-to-face with Christ (and “away” from this earthly body – after death or Christ’s return). Two sermons I’ve heard during this season of bed rest have caused me to meditate further on this reality – and to long to live all of my life in expectancy.

The first one was preached by my husband on faithful endurance on July 18th, and a key phrase of the Hebrews passage he preached on stood out to me in particular:

“…you knew that you yourselves had a better possession and an abiding one.” (Hebrews 10:34)

He preached on the fact that so many times we are so focused on building on our earthly possessions that we forget about this better possession (all the riches of heaven and knowing Christ) that is to come. And we fail to endure faithfully when we suffer on earth because we think that this is all there is – that THIS is life. This is life, to be sure, but it is only a shadow of the Life to come. And that should make me not less engaged in each day, but more engaged. More purposeful, more desirous to live according to priorities that reflect the Life that is to come. Just as our priorities are being rearranged by the two lives that will soon be coming …

The second sermon that also struck me was by our pastor, Rev. Jack Howell, the following Sunday (July 25th) on Hebrews 11. Here are a few verses that stood out:

“These all [Abel, Enoch, Noah, Abraham, Sarah, Isaac, Jacob] died in faith, not having received the things promised, but having seen them and greeted them from afar, and having acknowledged that they were strangers and exiles on the earth. For people who speak thus make it clear that they are seeking a homeland. … But as it is, they desire a better country, that is, a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared for them a city.” (Hebrews 11:13-16)

I am waiting for a Home that is to come. I am living in expectancy of it – so then why am I so frustrated when life doesn’t seem to work out the way I was planning? (i.e. – going on bed rest the same day we moved into our new house) This is not the season to be totally settled and completely at “home.” Similarly to bed rest. If I thought this was how my life would be indefinitely, each day would be much harder (and I do have great compassion for those who are bedridden without an end in sight – my heart goes out to you!). But I know that eventually, these babies will be delivered and I will be “delivered” from bed rest. I am not completely settled with my life right now that mainly consists of sleeping, reading, blogging and emailing, eating, hosting visitors, with frequent bathroom breaks. I want to be out of this recliner and active. Especially on such a beautiful beach-worthy Saturday as today. Yet I digress …

The point is that viewing this particular season as temporary and without knowing when it will end (but being assured that it WILL) gives meaning and purpose and urgency to each day. How much more so if I viewed all of my life as that – temporary, with a definite end yet unknown to me, and true Home ahead of me? How much more purposefully would I live? I hope to keep this lesson from this season of expectancy with me all of my life … thus preparing me better for the Life that is to come.