Friday, August 27, 2010

Living among pests.

I'm certainly not referring to my children. Or even the dogs. I'm not even referring to the many gangs, screaming children, and constantly barking dogs that take up residence in and around this neighborhood. I'm talking about the fleas, cockroaches, and newly discovered mice that are sharing this rental house with us. When we discovered the "droppings" that confirmed for us that cockroaches aren't our biggest concern anymore, I finally cried.

The last time I cried I was hugging my best friend goodbye.

When we first decided to take this job at The Crossing, Derek told me to be prepared for it to be hard. Not just packing-up-and-moving-halfway-across-the-country hard, but really hard. Whether it's been God throwing the curve balls or God allowing Satan to throw a few, Derek was definitely right.

I am so grateful that nothing catastrophic or tragic has happened. I find myself constantly thanking God for that. It seems He reminds me of that whenever I try to focus on the little things, like cockroaches. We're together, safe, and healthy so far and that is more blessing than we deserve!

But it's still been hard. Emotionally and much more so financially. We took this job on faith that God would provide another job on top of it. This job, as it seems with way too many ministry jobs, simply does not cover the bills. And this job, like most ministry jobs, involves a lot of unpaid after hours investment. We have no idea what God is going to do to cover the bills. We're a little nervous about when He will. But we're still a little excited to see how God's gonna do it. I can only imagine! While we know God will provide, we are still expected to pray. And pray we are. Not only for provision, but also patience and faith while we wait for it.

Today, in particular, was a strangely emotional day for me. I've missed home (the Scranton one) like crazy since we've moved. But I worked really hard to sort of detach myself from the pain of it. I started working on that the day we told our best friends we were leaving. It's been 6 weeks since I hugged and cried with Stacey. I think today was the first time I felt that sting since then. And the weirdest thing brought it on. Someone we were talking to today mentioned a friend named Dustin. I wanted to ask if it was the Dustin that I know that works at Riverfront. (This was definitely not the first time I completely forgot we weren't in PA anymore). Before that thought finished crossing my mind, I was stung with that ache for home. Dustin? Really? I hardly know the guy. But he's the only Dustin I know and he lives in Scranton, works at Riverfront, and was a part - a minuscule part, but a part - of our lives there.

All that being said, I know we're supposed to be here. By here I mean Indiana. I'm not so sure we're supposed to be here in this house. Or maybe it's just the pests that aren't supposed to be here in this house! Anyway, I know we're supposed to have made this move to Indiana and taken this job. God confirms it regularly. I'm just missing Scranton. If only we could have the best of both worlds... which would include that tall blue house on the corner of 5th and Emmett... No pests live there!

Friday, August 13, 2010

Lactation Consultation

I am not a Lactation Consultant (although my husband often says if I were to pursue a different career, an LC would definitely be the way to go). I don't have any professional training in the area (other than the one class I took at the hospital before Marie was born. Everyone MUST take a breastfeeding class pre-baby!). In fact, I haven't done a whole lot of my own reading or studying on the subject. BUT my experience qualifies me to give all new/soon-to-be mothers who happen across my blog some knowledgeable advice.

Be warned - my spiritual gift is prophecy with a side order of mercy. This is where I'm being merciful: I'm warning you that I will no longer be merciful following this warning.

If you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant, educate yourself! Why breastfeed? Figure it out for yourself! If you've studied up on the benefits of nursing and still decide you prefer to formula feed, stop reading. (I will throw in a little mercy here and not say what I would like to about the pre-baby decision to formula feed). I could go on forever about the necessity of nursing, but there are qualified specialists that can prove that better than I can. After learning what you need to know, decide how important it is to you. I decided that nursing was the only option for me. I decided this before I had any idea that nursing could possibly be difficult. But I made it a conviction, that conviction was seriously tested, and I passed.

So piece of advice #1 - Decide that breastfeeding is the ONLY option.

Breastfeeding is HARD. For some people, it's barely hard at all. For others, such as myself with my sweet Marie Love, it's NEARLY impossible. But it is possible. It is incredibly important that you understand that, while it's supposed to be natural, we live in a fallen world, so sometimes there seems there is nothing natural about it.

So piece of advice #2 - Be prepared for breastfeeding to not go as planned.

I strongly encourage anyone who only has one child or is expecting to become a new mom to do whatever it takes to make nursing work with the first baby!! If you don't work through nursing issues with your first, you'll more than likely have issues with the following babies and it'll be significantly harder to deal with them having an older child to raise at the same time.

So piece of advice #3 - Breastfeed your first child.

Now your child is born and you're doing the nursing thing, but the tiny child (that did not seem so tiny coming out of you!) is losing weight or not gaining weight as quickly as Dr. Quick Fix says he/she should be. This is the point that prompted me to write this post - a HUGE pet peeve at this point in my life. Do not supplement. I repeat, do NOT supplement. Just in case you didn't read that correctly


Any lactation consultant will tell you that breastfed babies gain weight slower than formula fed babies. You want to know why? Well I'm going to tell you why anyway. Because breastfed babies are getting the amount God has intended while formula fed babies are getting FAT. Okay, because I can't completely ignore my secondary spiritual gift I must say that by no means are all formula fed babies fat. I'm just trying to make a point. The doctor says as you're leaving the hospital, "Your baby is not up to birth weight yet. He/She must not be eating enough. You need to feed him/her a couple ounces of formula after every feeding so that he/she gains weight as quickly as possible." I appreciate doctors and all, but the moment you hear your pediatrician say that or any variation of that - FIND A NEW PEDIATRICIAN.

When Jack was 8 days old he was still almost a pound under his birthweight (which put him at about 9lbs 12 ounces). He was being very sluggish and didn't seem interested in eating, so I brought him in to have him looked over. As it was a last minute appointment, I did not get my usual pediatrician (who is wonderful). The nurse weighed Jack before the doc came in and he was 9/10. While we were waiting for the doc, he was acting hungry so I nursed him for no more than 2 minutes. Then the doc came in and weight him again. He was 9/12. The doctor literally weighed him 3 times, then took off his diaper and weighed him again. He didn't believe that he had gained 2 ounces in 2 minutes of nursing. In spite of the fact that Jack had gained 2 ounces in 2 minutes, he told me to supplement! He decided that Jack gaining weight was more important than Jack getting the essential nutrients from nursing. Needless to say, I totally ignored his advice. Came in for a weight check the next day and Jack was up another 2 ounces. His sluggishness was caused by the ridiculous humidity and our lack of quality air conditioning.

The moment you start supplementing, you might as well say goodbye to nursing. Your body will learn to produce just the amount of milk your baby is eating from you. So after just a couple days of supplementing, your body will no longer produce enough milk for your child who has been eating too much. (And there is no pump out there that can keep your milk producing the way a baby will. You might be able to get away with it for a while, but it'll end long before you want it to).

So final piece of advice (for now) - DO NOT SUPPLEMENT.

Maybe I shouldn't be an LC. I'd probably make too many hormonal moms mad.

If you have any desire to know more about my breastfeeding story, I'd love to share.

In closing, please understand that none of this is directed toward anyone and is not meant to be offensive. I've gotten real frustrated lately with doctors pushing supplementing in spite of the importance of nursing. Instead of ranting just about that, I wanted to share some advice. I never think less of a woman who does what is best for her child and her family (which can mean not breastfeeding). The only woman I may think less of is the one who decides not to even attempt nursing at all. That, I think, is wrong.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Home is where the heart is.

We've all heard the phrase, "Home is where the heart is," but I never thought much about it until God moved me to PA. And I've been reminded of it now that we've moved back to Indiana. My heart is where ever my husband and children are. But pieces of it are also with my extended family here in the midwest and out east. Other pieces are with my wonderful friends in PA. Still more with the amazing church we left behind in Scranton. I have many "homes" and I'm so grateful for that. Soon we will be placing pieces of our hearts in Russia. I think this is the way it's meant to be - to live and to love everwhere and anywhere that God has us. It makes it much harder to leave, but so much more beautiful while we're there... where ever "there" is.

So now we're here in Elkhart, and it's been quite the adventure! And I'm so pleased to admit that it's been a wonderful adventure! There have definitely been the downsides, like moving into a house that wasn't finished being renovated so all four of us were sleeping in one room. And when I had 102 degree fever for 3 days. And when Jack suddenly decided to be colicky after being a perfectly content baby. But, even amidst the down sides, there were so many ups. Like when my sister and mom helped with Marie while I was sick. And when my younger sibs came over to help us unpack and organize. And how I didn't have to cook for the first week because of the wonderful people at First Baptist. And how my littlest brother has a way with a colicky Jack! God never gives us more than we can handle!

We've been VERY busy since moving here, and I kinda like that! We got here just in time for the Elkhart County 4H fair. We went twice and had SO much fun! Marie loved it!

We've also gotten to attend 2 family birthday parties! We always had to miss them in the past. It's so nice to be a part of everything! I still feel like we're just visiting sometimes, though! It's bittersweet. I love that we don't have to leave, but it makes me sad thinking that we're not going back.

We got to check out some houses the other day! I've officially hired my sister-in-law to design for DandLs DangLs! And I've thoroughly enjoyed watching my baby girl interact with her extended family and being daily amazed by how much she's learning and growing!

Also, PRAISE THE LORD, Derek LOVES his job! More on that another time. I've rambled on enough. Time to get the girl down before the boy wakes up... and maybe catch a little nap myself!

Special THANK YOU to all our wonderful Scranton friends for helping us with food and with moving. We love you!
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