A slice of my heart in this newborn world of ours

 
Being a mom has rocked my world – little Adeline has stolen our hearts and has us eating out of her teeny tiny little hands. (You can read her birth story here!) Our lives have changed so drastically in the last three weeks, but I can’t imagine it any other way. 

Most days and nights consist largely of the same thing – feedings, sleeping in intervals and changing what feels like a million diapers – but I’ve loved every minute. 

I can’t get enough of the newborn cuddles and giggling with Jacob at all her facial expressions and noises. Watching him be a dad has transformed my world in a way I didn’t know was possible. What they say is totally true – you feel love in an entirely new and different way once you’ve had a child, and watching my husband with her is like falling in love with him over and over again. 

But truthfully, motherhood has also been incredibly hard. 

Since we are breastfeeding, I am the sole provider of food for Adeline, which means I’m at her beckon call to eat at all hours of the day and night. I’ve adjusted fairly well to the lack of sleep/increments of sleep, but I have my moments y’all. 

It’s easy to sink into bitterness in the wee hours of the morning because I have to be up whenever she needs me and Jacob does not. And, believe me, he helps so much! He gets up to change her, rock her, hold her when she just won’t sleep, etc… But the truth is, he can’t feed her (yet – I need to work on pumping so he can!). 

So in those moments I want to resent him because he can sleep or watch TV in peace, I have to choose to remember these moments are fleeting. The way she wraps her little hand around my finger and looks at me while she eats is absolutely heart-melting. I love every second of it, and these days are already numbered. 

I’m learning that parenthood is a long journey of sacrificing myself over and over again, much like marriage – but kind of harder in this sleep deprived stage at least 😉 – and I’m trying to learn to sacrifice joyfully. 

Jacob, I love you and I appreciate you so much. Thank you for dealing so patiently with my grouchy self at all hours of the day, but especially in the middle of the night. Thank you for holding her at 3am so I can sleep in peace and waking up with me all throughout the night. Thank you for the endless treks to get me water, more diapers and fresh clothes at 4am. You are an awesome dad and a sweet husband. 

Adeline, I love you, too, sweet girl. And I’m so grateful for all the cuddly moments we get together and I hope you’ll let that continue for a long time. I love being your mama and am incredibly grateful that God gifted you to us in this life. I plan on soaking up every waking moment with you and cheering you on as you discover who you are. You are beautiful, baby girl. 

I hope she gets these parts of him.

Pumpkins Pregnancy Announcement

As we get closer and closer to meeting our little girl, I get so excited to see her face. I can feel her moving all the time now – I feel very connected to her in that way – but I long to touch her face and little fingers and kiss her little cheeks!

Thinking about actually getting to see her soon makes me think about all the traits she will get from us. Of course, I would love for her to have her dad’s beautiful, flawless skin and white shiny teeth, but there are other traits of Jacob’s I really hope she takes after.

I hope she is patient like him. I am sometimes too fast-paced of a person that I can’t bear to let others even finish their sentences (ugh, I know, right?! I’m one of those people). But Jacob is quick to listen and slow to speak – the very things that enable him to love others so well, and the things I lack that often get me in trouble!

I hope she is servant-hearted like him. He’s never one to hope for recognition, but he is almost always the first to lend a hand. Whether it’s helping people move or giving someone a ride, anything to meet a need, he is there and does so gladly. I’m so grateful for those parts of him and challenged by his actions to grow in this area myself!

I hope she works hard like he does. If there’s one thing I’ve never doubted about Jacob, it’s his worth ethic and dedication. I’ve never worried he wouldn’t be able to provide for us because he’s shown me again and again that he will do whatever it takes, even if he doesn’t like it. When he isn’t appreciated, he still works hard. When he doesn’t like his job, he still works hard. When he’s growing through a season of hurt, he still works hard and gives all of himself to what he believes in. While I am quick to complain, he is quick to press on. I hope she is strong like he is.

I hope she loves like he does. Pregnancy has rocked my world a bit – I’ve become uncomfortable, out of sorts with my emotions and quick-tempered. Jacob has remained steady and loved me through my tossing and turning night sleeps, grumpy morning numb hands, sciatic nerve pain that keeps me glued to the bed or couch, and ever-expanding belly that threatens my self esteem. He has continued patiently loving me and supporting me, even when I haven’t been the quickest to love and support him. I hope she sees Christ’s love reflected through the ways he loves me and the ways he will love her.

I can’t wait to watch him love her.

Pumpkins Pregnancy Announcements Fall

Photos by Kaitlin Bagby.

25.

Another year full of firsts and lasts. Today is my 25th birthday! My quarter of a century, I’m-officially-halfway-through-my-twenties birthday. And so much has happened.

This past year I changed jobs, leaving my first out of college “real” office job to come on staff at our church as a Worship Arts Pastor at our new campus. I was (and still am) blown away by the ways God ordained every small step in that process – I love getting to use so many of my gifts in my profession. And what a privilege it has been to stand up with my peers and lead us all in proclaiming the truth of Scripture, confessing our need for God, and showing up week after week to worship through corporate services. I am wowed by all God has done in my own heart through this job.

I got my very own guitar for my birthday last year – an incredible gift from Jacob and my parents that showed their investment in that season of my life and their belief in my success. I didn’t think it was possible, but my love for music has absolutely skyrocketed because of that guitar. I wrote my own songs this past year and mustered the courage to share them with friends and our congregation. Again, a “secret dream” I had been harboring for a long time, really even unknowingly to myself.

We found out we are expecting our first child in August last year. A shocking and, again, incredibly forming experience for us. I don’t even recognize parts of myself because of how much God has changed me over these 7 months of being pregnant so far. I loved being pregnant during Advent and anticipating the coming of the baby Jesus while also waiting expectantly for our own child to make her appearance this year. It has always sounded so cliche to me, but I can only imagine how much God will change me through motherhood. I haven’t even met our daughter yet and he has already done so much work in me because of her.

We received life-changing, world-turning news that threatened to leave us bitter and without hope. But again, God works patiently in our hearts and has done so much already. We still have some serious work to do in our hearts and in healing, but without the bitter, life couldn’t be nearly as sweet. For everything there is a season, after all.

This past year I read a ton of books, invested in deeper friendships, failed miserably with other friendships, laughed, cried, sang like nobody’s business, cooked and meal planned better than the year before and became (slightly) less OCD about having a clean house. God reignited my love for Scripture and grew me in the discipline of meeting with him. Jacob and I watched way too much Netflix, finally canceled the gym memberships we never used and got serious about saving money.

As I look to 25, I see motherhood, a strengthened marriage, further discovery of our giftings and how we can put them to work, new and old friendships blossoming, the humbling beginnings of parenthood and deeper relationships with Christ that infiltrate every thought we have, decision we make, and word we speak. God, I am looking to this year with expectant hope that you will be ever near to us and show us your glory, your plans, and your love. We are waiting with hope.

The Day We Found Out

I’ve hesitated to share this post for some time now because our story isn’t a fairy tale, we’ve-been-dreaming-of-this-moment-forever story. And I know a lot of you can relate to that, and a lot of you can’t. 

We were surprised and not yet trying to expand our family when we got a positive test. But because of how much God has changed our hearts and grown us to count the seconds until Little Albrecht gets here, I wanted to record the whole process. This journey is a testament to us of God’s faithfulness – in providing when we didn’t fully understand at the time and in drawing us nearer to him because of it.

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The day we found out.

To be honest, I said a bad word. When I walked into the bathroom, fully expecting to see only 1 pink line, but instead saw TWO, I was shocked. And overwhelmed. And scared out of my mind.

It was Monday, August 3rd, early in the afternoon. We had just returned from taking a group of students to Maryland for CIY the week before, so I was home catching up on laundry and straightening the house. My period was a couple weeks late by this point, but I had taken two tests before we left for CIY that were both negative, so I assumed my cycle had gotten messed up and my period would show up in due time. While we were away, a friend encouraged me to take one more test when we got back, just to be sure.

I fought her on it, saying that I felt completely normal. I hadn’t experienced any “symptoms” like nausea, exhaustion, headaches, etc. I had just spent the week with teenagers 24/7 for goodness’ sake! But sometime early that Monday afternoon, I remembered my conversation with her and that I had an unused test in the bathroom. So I peed on it, left it on the bathroom counter and laid down on our bed while I waited.

Believe it or not, I actually forgot I had taken the test and got sucked into checking every possible app on my phone – ha! When I remembered (about twenty minutes later), I headed to the bathroom and  pulled up Erica’s text thread on the way there. I started typing, “Took another test – no worries…”

But thankfully I looked up before pressing send and then promptly erased everything I had typed. There were two lines on the stick.

I didn’t feel full of joy, but I didn’t feel disappointment,  either. I felt overwhelming shock and fear for what’s to come. All I could think was I’m not ready to be a mom – I’ve even told people I don’t WANT to be a mom right now. What is this going to change about our lives?

I immediately texted Jacob asking him when he’d be home from work and told him I had something to show him. He responded, “On my way!” and I thought that surely meant he may suspect the truth, but come to find out he just thought I bought him something. Ha!

I showed him the test and said, “This means I’m pregnant.” His eyes widened, I nodded and then promptly started crying, but he wrapped me up in a hug and said it would all be okay. (He was right of course.) I explained to him my fear and shock and he agreed. We hugged more and eventually broke into laughter because of all the feelings and the pure shock.

Ready or not, our lives were changing.

And at 27 weeks along already, I couldn’t agree more – our lives are changing drastically. But we are both looking forward to it. Praise God for his faithfulness, provision and his tendency to take us places we couldn’t have imagined for ourselves.

7 things we didn’t expect after marriage

+ That I could possibly fall in love more. I thought I was in love when we were dating, and then again when we got married. It’s amazing how much a heart can grow when you spend every day together.

 + That your wedding is a beautiful, fabulous day and your honeymoon is literally paradise … but then you come back and live totally normal, everyday lives together. There is so much more to marriage than your wedding and your honeymoon. The every day life lived after is the best part.

 + Sometimes my heart literally overflows with joy when I watch him genuinely laugh.

 + How did I not know the name of his childhood friend or how he loved the lunch lady in elementary school? I thought I knew everything about this man and yet, everyday I learn more.

 + That you literally have a partner in everything from your wedding day on out: money spending and saving, dreaming, moving across the country, making new friends, trying new restaurants, seeing movies, roadtripping, etc. It’s so comforting knowing that I have a go-to person and he will always be my person.

+ That some nights would look like lying in bed, watching YouTube videos, and cracking up with laughter. It’s so fun.

 + That I would ever need someone so much that I get frazzled when I have to make my own coffee in the morning or have to lay a pillow next to me all night when he’s gone so I don’t feel alone.

Now that we’ve officially sapped you out, go say hi to Samantha, who co-wrote this post with me!

My favorite part about marriage is that I’m still learning more about Jacob almost every day… they may be small things, but there’s something to be said about knowing someone better than just about anyone else in the world. I’m excited for a lifetime of that. What’s something you have learned or noticed after marriage that you didn’t expect?!

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It’s okay not to have babies

If we were 100% in charge of the timing, Jacob and I very clearly tell people we aren’t ready to have kids. But in all reality, I know we aren’t in charge of that timing, so I’ve been hesitant to write out this post in case the next week our entire reality changes. 😉

But it’s my blog, so I can do what I want here, and I want to document these feelings. We have several good friends who are expecting, for whom we are very excited, but it’s weird to be in that stage where now announcing babies is almost more typical than announcing engagements.

The more we talk about kids, though, and think about how much our lives would drastically change once we have them, we aren’t ready. We’ve been married for two years, but there’s still so much I have to learn about Jacob… not to mention how to love him and honor him and minister to him above anyone else on earth! I can’t imagine how complicated that gets when you throw kids into the mix – I don’t want our lives to become so focused on our children that we lose each other! Is that a normal fear to have?

It often feels like you’re supposed to go to college, get married, have babies, grow them up, send them to college, etc… those are just the steps you’re supposed to take. But they aren’t required and they definitely shouldn’t be rushed. I don’t want to live my life always looking to the next thing – I want to be happy with where I am now. God has given me so much, in such abundance… and most of which I don’t even appreciate fully.

But most importantly, and maybe even more truthfully, neither one of us feels the tug to have kids right now… and that’s enough reason not to. Granted, if tomorrow I found out I was pregnant, we would be excited and life would move forward in a drastically new way. But there’s absolutely nothing wrong with not wishing for that every day. We just aren’t there yet, and that’s okay.

So for those of you in similar places, it’s okay. If you aren’t sure about having kids, that’s okay. There’s no pressure – it isn’t something you just follow the crowd into doing. If you do want kids, that’s awesome, too. That’s the beauty about life – we can (mostly) go where we want to go, when we’re ready to try it. There may be obstacles, or giant mountains, blocking the way, but that’s part of the ride. Your adventure is yours. Don’t let anyone else pressure you to do something you aren’t interested in or ready to do.

What are your thoughts? If not about babies, do you feel pressured in another area of life? I hope these words today can give you strength to go where you feel lead, not where you feel pushed.