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    Views and opinions expressed in this blog should not be associated with Hyde Park Baptist Church unless specifically stated. You know the drill...this is just me and my thoughts.
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    "Worship is communion with God in which believers, by grace, center their mind's attention and their heart's affection on the Lord, humby glorifying God in response to His greatness and His Word." ~Dr. Bruce Leafblad
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Merry Christmas

I love these sort of light shows. Maybe it’s the music…maybe it’s the coordination…maybe it’s just the sheer amazement at the technology behind the production…but this one in particular I thought was special since it’s music is Amazing Grace. With all the hub-bub of Christmas secularism, this song reminds us of why Jesus came in the first place…to¬†save a wretch like me.


“Home, home on the range…umm, err, the block.”

It has been great. The past 5 nights and 6 days in the hospital have not been too bad. The hospital we were in to give birth to our first child has recently, within the past few months no less, completely remodeled their birthing and mother/baby units. Everything was state of the art. The nurses were still trying to figure out a few small things on the monitors during the labor process, but they all kept saying how cool it was. We only spent one night there, but both Heather’s bed and my “couch” of sorts were quite a long ways from comfortable.

The mother/baby unit was slightly more comfortable for me (some sort of couch-like thing), but Heather’s bed was considerably more comfortable…could have been the Perkiset too ūüôā The fact that we had our own full bathroom was nicer here. The other had only a toilet and sink. I guess women in labor don’t need showers, and their husbands are too busy taking care of her to have time for one…but, in the mother/baby unit, the showers were one of the most state of the art features. I’ve never had a shower with “flow control”. Basically, once you get your desired temperature, you can adjust flow control from a light trickle all the way up to full blast.

The staff in both cases were excellent. We did have one or two nurse techs (as they called it – attendants basically, or LPN in the old days) that were somewhat less than helpful or cordial or something I can’t quite put my finger on. Some RNs were better than others, but none were in any way bad.

Our doctors, Heather’s and Evangeline’s, are awesome. Very nice, open with information, highly skilled and knowledgeable…just great. I can’t even imagine what might have happened if Heather’s doctor didn’t see on those fancy new monitors something he didn’t like…in deciding to do the emergency C section, we found the cord wrapped around Evangeline’s neck and arm and the placenta partially released. He knew something was wrong just from the little ticks of Evangeline’s heartbeat in the womb.

As much as I’m thankful to be home…it’s still just temporary. Like the hospital was just okay compared to home…so earth is to heaven. Things now are somewhat comfortable, with some great gadgets for learning great things, and even highly skilled and knowledgeable people…but when we get to heaven, man what an upgrade! Not only are the accommodations built for me in specific perfection, but the people…and the leader of the people…beyond compare.

Hope you plan on being there with me.

God always knows what to do

My wife and I just had a baby…okay, well she did most of the work. Anyhoo, due to the somewhat emergency C section, we had a longer stay in the hospital than expected. We were supposed to leave on Sunday. Today is Monday, and tomorrow is the new plan for departure.

In the process, we’ve had several friends come by to visit. For some, of course, she’s been the perfect little angel baby. For others, well less than that.

I know I’ll get better at it…it comes with time. “It” however is quite illusive. I’ve had at least two occasions where I was holding little Evangeline and something causes her to begin crying. The usual sit down, recline back, and lay her on my chest routine didn’t work…either time. But both times, someone else was in the room besides my wife and when they would pick her up from me…screaming away…it was only a few, very few, seconds before she reverts to angel baby status.

My conclusion…I have no idea what I’m doing, but they do. They have “it”…I’m learning “it” and will have “it” one day, but for now, I’m content to pass her off to someone who can calm her down.

Lesson to me: God has “it” – all the time – in every situation – no matter the circumstances. We just need to relax in His arms, finish our crying, take a few deep breaths, and go to sleep in His care. God is so good.

It’s late…or early, depending on how you look at it.

It’s about 3 am. We’re still in the hospital’s Mother/Baby unit. If things had gone as planned, we’d be going home tomorrow (or umm…later today…Sunday). However, due to the C-section, we’ll be here a few more days.

Apparently the hospital’s brnd spankin’ new wi-fi internet only works between the hours of 1 am and 6 am, so in our frequent wake-ups during the night, I might be able to make a few posts here and there.

Thanks for all the well wishes. Thing are going very well. Evangeline is breastfeeding just fine…for a newborn. Hopefully she’ll get more efficient. She does have something that keeps her tongue attached at the base of her mouth that could become a problem in breastfeeding, but hasn’t seemed to be an issue as of yet. She also has a pretty good sized heart murmur. We’ll hear more from the Doctor on that sometime on Sunday.

Heather and I are still both amazed at how beautiful and precious this little gift is. How could anyone deny God’s handiwork looking into the eyes of¬†a newborn baby? “Praise God from whom ALL blessings flow.”

What an awesome day!

I was once told that it is very difficult for anyone to truly understand how much God loves us, His children, until we look at our own children with the same love. I think I understand now. Our little girl was born today. Our first child.

We came to the hospital for a scheduled induction on Thursday evening (Dec. 18). Only at 1 cm dilated, they began cervidil that evening to “ripen” the cervix which, in turn, began some contractions almost immediately…though quite light at this time. About three hours later those light contractions began getting more intense. By 1 am, the contractions were an 8 or 9 on a 1 to 10 pain scale and things got a little crazy.

The nurse made the call to remove the cervidil to Heather’s delight…albeit almost as painful as the contractions themselves. The contractions continued and we were given the option to go ahead and get the epidural or just go with some general narcotics for the pain. Wanting to be as active as possible in the labor process (getting up, walking around, taking a bath/shower, etc.), we decided to go with the narcotics (since the epidural basically paralyzes you from the rib cage down.) The narcotic was given in two doses 30 minutes apart. The first one was clearly something Heather was enjoying! Though it did not curb the pain itself, it pretty much made her not care (as she said later). The next dose 30 minutes later actually worked on the pain itself. We were both able to get about 4-5 hours of off and on sleep…as much as you can with nurses coming in every 10 minutes to check on things and take vitals.

first-day-with-evangeline-001The next morning was strange. At about 6 or 6:30 am, they began the pitosin drip…which is the drug that actually starts the induction. It’s goal is to make the contractions stronger and more regular in occurrence. For Heather, it gave her 3 or 4 quick ones¬†– about 1 or 2 minutes apart – then a longer break of 8-10 minutes in between. That continued for about 2 or 3 hours and our mothers showed up. My mom and I left to go to the cafeteria to get some breakfast real quick. While we were out, the doctor came in and broke Heather’s water. This was quite the catalyst for the next few hours of mayhem.

Within about 15 minutes, Heather dialated from 4 to 6 cm. Within another 30 minutes or so,¬†was all the way to 10 cm (the highest you get…basically when it’s time to push).¬† The doctor came in shortly, and before I really understood what was happening, I was holding Heather’s left leg, pushing it against her chest, and listening to the doctor tell Heather to push as he counted to ten. “Wait, what? Isn’t there supposed to be a practice push or someone being told to go get the hot water or something?” It all happened so fast.

Well, unfortunately, after about 30-40 minutes of pushing every 5 minutes or so, the doctor was not impressed with Heather’s progress. With each contraction and coinciding push, the baby’s vitals seemed to dip lower than he was comfortable with. His instinct told him something else was going on and as suddenly as I found myself holding her left leg and hearing “Push”, I heard him saying, “As much as I hate to have to do C-sections, we need to do so here.” Within about 5 minutes, they had me a set of scrubs and were wheeling her out of the room for prep.

About 10 minutes later, they came and got me and we took¬†ashort 30 yard walk across the hall was the C-section operating room. Heather was a little bit upset. We really didn’t want to have to do a C-section. I did my best to console her, tell her everything was going to be fine…and at the same time listen to everything that was going on. The anesthesiologist sat me on a stool by Heather’s head and told me I could look over the short curtain to see what was happening if I felt I could handle it. Since it all happened so fast and I hadn’t quite wrapped my mind around the situation, I felt like I could look.

They had already made the incision – a short 8 or 9 inch horizontal one a few inches below Heather’s belly button. They were working deep inside and cauterizing some things so – seeing smoke rise out of my wife’s belly – I sat back down. Heather expressed some worries about not feeling the baby move as much as normal a few days earlier…she thought this whole thing might have been her fault for not calling the doctor about that lack of movement. Knowing that had nothing to do with this, I did my best to reassure her in that. Then I popped up over the curtain, saw them reaching deep into my wife’s belly and knew something was about to happen. I grabbed the camera, turned it on – thankfully – and got ready for the first shot of our little baby.

first-day-with-evangeline-007First the head. Then with some maneuvering, the rest of the body…then, what we did not know until this moment…it was a little girl. I looked down at Heather and told her it was a little girl – something we both wished for. The doctor cut the cord, walked around the table, handed the baby off to the neo-natal unit (standard procedure in a C-section), and said something like, “Well, let’s get him all cleaned up and weighed.” Wait…”him”? I looked at Heather, she looked at me…”Did he just say ‘HIM’?” Then, the doctor himself said…”Did I just say ‘him’? I meant her…” Then I asked him where he got his license. And we all laughed.

After all the craziness, we’ve just been enjoying listening to her little coos, hiccups, and sneezes. Her cries are even music to our ears at this point (yes, I know that will change). She’s taken to breastfeeding quite well with at least 2 good-long 30 minute feedings. The others have been as if she were too tired to latch on and have been a little frustrating. But…the nursery offered to take care of her tonight so we could both get our sleep. They’ll bring her in if she¬†gets wily and let her breast feed, then take her right back. It will be a great night of restful sleep.

Heather said to me, “Has your heart grown two sizes already?” (We had just watched Kim Carey in “The Grinch” the night before – The Grinch was so mean because “his heart was two sizes too small.”) I said I think more than two. SHe concurred.

first-day-with-evangeline-011It is so amazing what God has done. From the dreaded “infertility” word at one doctor’s appointment, to finally getting pregnant, having an uneventful pregnancy, with doctors and nurses telling us that the early progress looked like this was going to be an easy labor…to the trip across the hall into the operating room…God was there, comforting, assuring, guiding. When we got to hold our little girl for the first time…that instant bond that no one but parent to child can know…to hearing her sleep, burp, hiccup, sneeze, cry…there is nothing left to do but worship God Almighty.

To God be the glory forever and ever.

See more photos in a photo album on my Facebook page.

Baby time

Those of you that know me and my wife, or have been paying close attention to this blog, know that we are expecting our first child very soon. Well, that time is upon us now. We go tonight to the hospital for all the preparatory stuff and tomorrow morning they’ll begin all the drugs and what-not so that labor will be induced. So, hopefully by Friday morning, afternoon, or evening, we’ll be parents.

I keep getting the strangest question…”Are you excited?” How do you expect me to answer that? “No, not really, my life is over as I know it.” Or “Well, I guess I don’t have a choice but to be excited since you’re asking that question with a silly giddiness on your face.”

So…of course, we are excited. This is a chapter in our life we’ve prayed for for years. The two of us, before we met, were thinking about what it would be like to have children in our future families. Plus, afterat least one miscarriage, after almost a year of being off birth control, hearing the dreaded “infertility” word, and another¬†6 months or so of fertility drugs before becoming pregnant, not to mention almost nine months of pregnancy…the day has finally arrived. So yes…we are excited.

But…of course…we have no idea what we’ve done. My only sibling, my sister, is 4 years older than me with two children. I didn’t get the privilege to be¬†a good uncle and have any more than a casual meeting with both of her children. My wife, however, has four older sisters and a plethora of foster siblings who have a number of children that she’s been actively involved in their raising. But, they were never her primary responsibility. This one is…there is no one to hand off the baby to and say, “Okay, I’m going home now. Thanks for letting me take care of your baby for a short time.” This is our baby…given by God to raise in a Godly home…our responsibility. We greatly covet your prayers in this.

That being said…I will try to continue with some semblance of consistency. My blog on worship may turn toward baby stories or something, but I hope to continue. I guess I can write more now with all the sleep I’ll be losing!

Sorry…I stink at consistency

It really is a joy to talk through my days with you. It is sort of a journal for me. I went back to read through a few things tonight and am really impressed with some of the things that have come from under my fingers. I hope God can continue to use this small little corner of the blogosphere to bless me in remembering little God-moments in my life as well as encourage you in your everyday life as you seek to worship Him.

So, saying this, why the title of this blog entry? A few things come to mind.

I’m really sorry for the inconsistency in posting. I know that it really isn’t that hard. I know that each day is filled with too many things to write about how God is moving. And…I have no excuse. Those of you that speak to me personally, please continue your supportive words. If I continue to know it’s help to others, it makes it more of a priority to accomplish.

Secondly, I’m just like the average Christian. My own consistency in studying the Bible, memorizing Scripture, and a focused prayer times is lacking. I struggle with that on a daily basis.

Thirdly, my wife and I just spoke today with each other about how we might change our lackluster habits in order that we might better raise our soon-to-be-here little one in a Godly household. He/She will be here this weekend. Our individual habits are so inconsistent and we desire to be Godly parents so much that we have agreed more needs to be done in our own lives…in our life together as husband and wife…and in our new family’s life. Please pray for us in that. Old habits die hard!

So…as you may have picked up on there, my wife is scheduled to be induced on Friday. We go to the hospital on Thursday evening for all the set-up stuff and the process begins. So, hopefully, by Friday evening, it will no longer just be the two of us Craig’s, but the three of us Craig’s. I’ll try to keep you updated throughout the weekend…during all my sleepless hours!

Have a great day!