Sunday, August 4, 2013

One Year Ago Today!

It is Sunday, August 4, 2013: We had a wonderful morning at church, lunch at the house, and now Brandon is at his baseball game and Nelson is in his crib napping. The only sounds I can hear throughout the house are the dishwasher and laundry machine doing their job and it's the moment I've been waiting for...time for this mama to take a nap! As I take a quick look at the clock before I head upstairs, I see that it's 1:27pm...chills hit my body from top to bottom! Something clicks and I year ago today at this very moment, Brandon and I were in Chattanooga, TN at my parents' house...everyone was watching me like a hawk because I was due with our first baby on August 6th! So much for my nap today...I'd rather share this amazing moment with YOU! 

We had come to Chattanooga to have a home birth - since midwives are banned from Alabama and we were living in Birmingham at the time. I won't go into the whole story again since you can read about it here in a previous post we wrote last August. I will say that it was this day a year ago (Sunday, August 5, 2012) ... one day before Nelson's due date ... that we got a phone call that I will never forget. We were on our way to the pool for the afternoon when we got the voicemail from the midwife to call her immediately. I had turned my cell phone off the week prior so that I could get my mind focused on the Lord in the midst of preparing for this home birth. As any of you know that have gotten close to a due date before, the texts and calls to check in on you mean so much but at this time with some severe itching I had been having, there was too much to try and update everyone on. My liver enzymes (that normally are in the teens) had risen over 200, then over 400, then on the phone call we got a year ago to date...we found out they had risen to over 600! With things going the rate they were, my midwife did not want my Vitamin K supply to be depleted (which is common when the liver enzymes rise this much) and since the Vitamin K is what my body needed to clot, she did not want to take any risks by being at the house. On her call a year ago she made it very clear that it was time we meet at the hospital to try and get labor rolling and get baby Nelson here safe and sound! As you can imagine, going from preparing to have a home birth to packing my bags for the hospital when I wasn't even "in labor" seemed like the farthest from the plan type of thing to do BUT we had prayed from day one of pregnancy that if there were ANY red flags - for the Lord to make it clear. So far in each prenatal visit, every single thing was falling into place beautifully and right on schedule and measurement for where things should be. Then out of the blue at week 38 is when the severe itching started...first in the palms of my hands and soles of my rash anywhere...then continued to increase and was all over my body. It was beyond obvious that there was something going on and that is when my midwife was wise enough to suggest I get blood work taken. 

I will never forget what it felt like to get in the car and head to the hospital to have our baby and try and grieve the loss of a dream. Again, my phone had been off and continued to stay off and the only people that knew what was happening outside of our midwife was our doula and my parents - since that is who we were staying with at the time. Soon after that, our Lookout Mountain pastor and church got the news and we will always get teary thinking of the moment our pastor came and talked with us and prayed with us at the hospital. He was able to help us process how hard what we were going through was, but to also remember that God had us in the palm of His hand, and to remember that with each itch of the palm of my hand!! He helped point us to Jesus in a time where it would have been so easy to look at all the pieces falling around us...but instead, look at how He is providing for us. We realized that it wasn't going to be about "thinking positive thoughts" in the midst of what could be a negative situation - but preaching to ourselves the truth of the gospel at a time like this. I love how Tim Keller puts it: "We are more flawed and sinful than we ever dared believe, yet we are more loved and accepted than we ever dared hope at the same time." It reminds me of what our Nashville pastor, Matt Ballard, talked about this morning. Psalm 3:3 says, "But you, O Lord, are a shield about me, my glory, and the lifter of my head." He mentioned in the sermon this morning that "the shield doesn't keep us from the danger...the shield keeps us safe in the midst of danger" ... and that is exactly what we experienced on this Sunday one year ago when "our plans" seemed to change so drastically in an instant. I could share about this all day...but will close this part of the blog by saying that what we learned in lightning speed one year ago on that Sunday and Monday and Tuesday in the hospital, waiting for Nelson to arrive...are tools that the Lord equipped us with then to prepare us for this first year of being new parents! It's AMAZING looking back and seeing how even though things may not make sense in the moment, hindsight is 20/20! It's not about the home birth. It's not about the fact that we got to have a natural birth in the hospital. It's about Jesus. It's about how when we take our eyes off of ourselves, our to do lists, or hopes and dreams, and whatever else you can think of (that can even be GOOD things) ... but if it's not THE LORD, all these other things are finite and the desire we have to control them in our own strength is going to send us into a tailspin. 

One year ago when we were waiting on Nelson's grand debut!!

In our last post, we asked if there was anything you wanted to hear specifically from us on and we loved hearing what you wanted to know! We will do a little Q&A here to hopefully shed some light on what these things look like with Team Nall. We will post one Q&A at the bottom of our posts for as long as you all keep asking! So if there is anything that you want to hear from us on...keep asking and we will get to your post soon! For the rest of you that asked something, stay tuned as we will get to your Q&A in the upcoming blog posts!!

Question from Regina: "I would love to hear how team work looks now that you have a little one and how each of you manages time with the baby, each other, the Lord, and friends. I know that was a struggle in the beginning for us, but we seem to have figured out a good took time though. I just enjoy hearing how others navigate the challenge of time after having a baby. (Sometimes I learn new tricks)"

Answer from Team Nall: Regina! We chuckled when we read your question because this seems to be an ever evolving thing and certainly a work in progress at all times since we are navigating these new waters together in this ever changing new season. I would sum it up by saying we are learning to "dance" ... what I mean by this ... take for example that May/June/July/August is the heart of baseball season for the Baseball League that Brandon plays in. With time already being limited like it is, you can imagine that having my hubby gone to his baseball game each Sunday afternoon, plus one or sometimes two weekday nights, can be a challenge at time. We are already striving to find time for each other in the midst of busy schedules and then add that to the mix and it can be a lot. What I have noticed that has really worked this season is that when I give Brandon my blessing to go out there and have fun and let this be a life-giving thing, he in return is able to come home and be refreshed by his time away and really be a team player around the house. Whether that is helping to hang some pictures, loading the dishwasher, straightening up the living room, taking out the trash, fixing a lightbulb...he comes home ready to help and that means the WORLD to me! Also, we have realized the value of planning in advance. When I know that the expectation is for him to play in his game at either 1:00 or 3:00 on Sundays, I enjoy our family time going to and from church, having lunch afterwards, and send him off with a positive attitude come game time -- not sulking that he is leaving us on a "family day". Then we pray for the Lord to multiply our time when we are together. Nelson goes down at 7:00pm like clock work every night, so that is some time in the evenings for us to set aside time to be together. Sometimes this looks like dinner on the porch, other times this looks like Brandon having some "cave time" and watching a game on TV while I run out and do some errands. We also cherish the date nights where Brandon and I get to go somewhere out of the house - more on that specifically in an upcoming Q&A! ...We have found that the evening time is usually a great time for us to carve out time to Bible Study -- or of course any day during the week when Nelson is napping for me, if I do not nap at the same time as him that day which I often do. We both enjoy starting off our day in the Word as well - but have more time at night for extensive reading and all. ...Since I am with Nelson all day every day, Brandon's time with Nelson is when he gets home from work in the evenings - before Nelson goes down for bed. We will often times eat dinner together as a family, sometimes go on a walk around the neighborhood, and then Brandon and I together help dress Nelson for bed (diaper, pajamas, socks and snowboard ... which these days is quite the production since Nelson can hardly sit still for 5 seconds because he is Mr. Man On The Move!!) We have really learned to guard our time as family on Saturday mornings since that is a cherished day having the three of us home with usually no plans and we can enjoy each other and take time to just be and take the day as it comes!! ...As far as the time with friends go...Nelson and I see friends throughout the week which is a blessing to have a play date or errands with different people, and then Brandon is able to connect with people usually on Friday nights or Saturdays and of course, Sundays at his games. As I mentioned at the beginning, it's certainly a work in progress and a prayer for the Lord to show us new ways to prioritize and balance our schedules on an ongoing basis!! Being flexible, trying to think of the other first and the whole "out serve the other person", and planning ahead to talk through expectations has helped tremendously! Time management is key!!

PS - This was our 100th blog post!! I feel like that is quite a milestone :) Thanks to our faithful friends and family and followers for taking the time to read what we share as we open this window to you to take a little peek into our lives and our journey!