Forced To Rest

Rest. Why is it so hard? I like to be active, doing things, checking things off my list. In fact, when I do something that wasn’t on my list, I usually add it to the list just so I can check it off. Despite the fact that I know prayer and reading the Bible are so important in life and vital to a growing walk with Christ, I feel like those things don’t count as “things I’ve done today.” If Jeff came home and asked what I did, and my response was “pray and read the Bible…” I’d feel like I hadn’t accomplished anything.

Imagine my surprise when I was forced to rest.

It was really cold in surgery so afterward they put warm towels and blankets on me.

It was really cold in surgery so afterward they put warm towels and blankets on me.

When I was 21 weeks pregnant with Jack, a routine doctor’s appointment revealed that my cervix had shortened and labor was imminent, unless I underwent an emergency surgery. A few short hours later I was in surgery getting a cerclage (a stitch around the cervix to keep it closed), followed by four months of bed rest. I waited in my hospital room to see my doctor and ask what “bed rest” really meant.

Can I do laundry or make dinner? The horrified look on my doctor’s face was my answer. “No. And you’re sitting up too much right now,” the doctor said as she lowered my hospital bed to nearly flat. Strict bed rest meant laying flat in bed. The success of the cerclage relied on gravity: the weight of the baby couldn’t rest on that stitch anymore than absolutely necessary.

I knew the baby’s life depended on my ability to lay flat for four months. I took bed rest very seriously, because I knew the outcome if I didn’t. Before Jack, we had our son Caleb, who was born prematurely, just halfway through the pregnancy. While some women take bed rest lightly and still manage to do normal every day things, I knew that wasn’t a risk I could take. I turned bed rest into my job.

DSCN8810Thankfully I was surrounded by family and friends who made sure our meals were taken care of and that I was entertained during the day while Jeff worked. I was (and still am) astounded at how many people volunteered to bring us dinner, or who came over just to hang out with me. Many people came over who had never been to our house before. Thanks to the garage remote that worked from our bed room, people Photo on 2012-01-23 at 15.47would call when they arrived, I’d push the remote button to let them in and they’d find their way up to the master bedroom where I spent most of the day. Then when they left they’d honk twice and I’d close the garage. Some school kids saw the honk & close garage and were amazed. Haha! Fun trick.

God seemed to use times of rest in the Bible to show people that they could Trust Him and that He would Provide. Since I wouldn’t be going to church or Bible study on bed rest, I knew I needed to fill my mind with God’s word and prayer in order to not succumb to fear. It’d be easy to fear the “what ifs” but I knew I needed to stand firm in faith. I read the Bible every day and did Beth Moore video Bible studies for “church.” One friend even came over one Sunday morning to do church with me. Through it all, God showed me I can trust Him. He hears my prayers and answers me. He will provide for my every need.

IMG_2362If you’ve followed this blog, you’ve probably heard me tell the story or read about how Jack shocked all the doctors by arriving LATE. The cerclage was removed at 37 weeks, I was off of bed rest and allowed to do whatever I wanted, and the doctors (and me) expected Jack to come any day. Almost 4 weeks later, at 40 weeks 5 days pregnant, I was INDUCED and Jack was born. What a miracle he is! What a reminder he is of God’s faithfulness and answered prayers. From the day after the cerclage, we prayed for a full-term baby and believed that God would give him to us, according to Mark 11:24 (“whatever you ask for in prayer, believe you have received it, and it will be yours.) God answered our prayers.

The idea of rest is so foreign to our culture today. There are few people or businesses who pause and take a break on the Sabbath. But we can be different. Together we can recognize God’s command and example to rest. We can trust God to provide for our needs while we set aside a day to stop working, to enjoy our families, to worship our Lord, to be grateful for the many blessings He has provided.

In the hospital

In the hospital

By the seventh day God had finished the work he had been doing; so on the seventh day he rested from all his work. Then God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it he rested from all the work of creating that he had done” Genesis 2:2-3. 

Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is a sabbath to the Lord your God. On it you shall not do any work” Exodus 20:8-10

Watch You Sleeping

When I was registering for baby things I was on bed rest which meant I had time to do research on things such as baby monitors. A generous friend bought us our fancy video monitor and we’ve enjoyed watching Jack sleep. In fact I didn’t realize how dependent I had become until it broke.

Jack was playing with the parent unit which he thinks looks like a phone. And even though he was very gentle with it, somehow the port for the charger broke and the battery has been useless for a few months = no more monitor.

Samsung said they’d fix it for $45 but I wasn’t sure I wanted to spend that on a monitor that wasn’t my favorite after using it for 21 months. While I made up my mind on what to do, I borrowed my parents’ baby monitor leftover from my brother who is now 25 years old. Obviously it doesn’t have video abilities, but at least with the audio I could tell if Jack was awake (as if the thumping on the walls didn’t clue me in).

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Apparently two consecutive days of use was all this elderly monitor could take and just like that we were without a monitor again. [However there seemed to be a nostalgic factor to this antique, so instead of throwing it out I gave it back to my parents. They plugged it in and it works again….??]

I told Jack the monitor is broken so when he wakes up he has to yell “Mama!!” Some days he does, other days he just kicks the wall until I come upstairs. Really the monitor is necessary for the beginning of nap time. Is he sleeping? Is he pooping?

Speaking of which, monitors should really have a smell sensor. They are so high-tech these days with wi-fi and video recording and night vision, you’d think someone would have invented a smell sensor so you know when the baby poops. Because inevitably pooping interferes with naps.

Maybe I’ll take my Smell Sensor Baby Monitor* to Shark Tank for a deal. (*Patent pending)

[Anyway…. I had this post written then added a picture and it deleted half the post… rewriting…]

We bought a new monitor that I scored for a great price on Amazon. Turns out it was a great price because it’s not-so-great a monitor. Jeff remarked the video quality wasn’t very good. I thought it was fine. “The crib slats aren’t supposed to look wavy.” Then we mounted it – two more holes in the wall – Jeff hates holes in the wall – and the night vision doesn’t work at all. So we can see nothing.

Now I’m doing monitor research again, except I have less time than when I was on bed rest and they all seem so expensive. Do I really have to pay another $200 for a video monitor? Don’t we have some kind of old camera laying around that we can hook up to something … ?

Well, this post has been thrilling. I promise to write more interesting things in the future. For now I’ll start engineering my Smell Sensor Baby Monitor* and I’ll take any recommendations you have for a functional video monitor. Since you made it to the end of this post, I will reward you with some pictures.

Role reversal: Jack is blogging while I nap.

Role reversal: Jack is blogging while I nap.

Jack won't sit next to me on the couch anymore. He insists on sitting on his side. #bigboy

Jack won’t sit next to me on the couch anymore. He insists on sitting on his side. #bigboy

Kilimanjaro or Bed Rest?

Climbing Kilimanjaro or bed rest, which one is harder, a friend asked me recently. Both take mental strength, but I didn’t have to run and lift weights for nine months to prepare for bed rest. I posted previously about how our vacations have prepared me for bed rest, but it’s always fun to talk about Kilimanjaro so lets dig in.

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5.5 days to the summit (19,341 feet) and 1.5 days to get back down. Below 10,000 feet is a lush rainforest but beyond that Kilimanjaro has almost no vegetation. On day 1 we passed 10,000 feet, making us above the rainforest and above the cloud line. The ground had changed from green to dusty dry rocks. It reminds me of a story Jesus tells in Matthew 13:

When anyone hears the word of the kingdom and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what has been sown in his heart. This is what was sown along the path. As for what was sown on rocky ground, this is the one who hears the word and immediately receives it with joy, yet he has no root in himself, but endures for a while, and when tribulation or persecution arises on account of the word, immediately he falls away. As for what was sown among thorns, this is the one who hears the word, but the cares of the world and the deceitfulness of riches choke the word, and it proves unfruitful. As for what was sown on good soil, this is the one who hears the word and understands it. He indeed bears fruit and yields, in one case a hundredfold, in another sixty, and in another thirty.

When people hear God’s Word, there are a few responses:
1. Hears it, receives it with joy, but has no root, and falls away when there are hardships
2. Hears it, but is too concerned about worldly things, and therefore bears no fruit for God
3. Hears the word, understands it, and is fruitful

When we were walking through the rainforest of Kilimanjaro it was hard, it was steep, but there was shade from the trees. There were animals to see. We were surrounded by beautiful green trees. Walking on the dusty rocks was difficult. It was dirty and hot and hard to balance on some of the boulders. There was no vegetation and no animals. The only scenery was the summit, which always seemed miles and miles away.

Looking at the list, I want to be number three. I want to hear and understand God’s word. I want to put into practice what I learn in the Bible. What do you want to be?

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