What We Learned

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Our little Dickison girl gave Elliot and me quite the scare a few days ago. She seems to want to come into the world a little too early. Of course, she doesn’t know that it’s better for her to stay in me right now, but I only realized what she was up to early Monday morning.

I began having a lot of painful contractions that seemed too close together, and after timing them for an hour, things didn’t look any better. We immediately called the hospital, and they told us we’d better head in for monitoring. So, grabbing some sweats and Dove chocolates (and with fearful hearts), we whisked away to the hospital for a very scary adventure.

Here’s what we learned over the next few days full of monitoring, medications, steroids, and one tiny girl’s consistent heartbeat. We learned how much we need God. For thirty weeks, pregnancy had been easy and painless for me. I knew I was fortunate and had thanked God for it. But whenever things are swimming easily along, there is always the temptation to rely on the ease of things instead of on God. And it wasn’t those “easy” thirty weeks of pregnancy that pushed me to realizing how much I need God. No, it was these last few days when things went south that did the trick.

Out of the blue, we found ourselves clueless in a dark hospital room in the middle of the night. They had me hooked up to a computer screen that showed our baby’s heart rate and movement, and another that showed each contraction. Right away, that squiggly black line went up in high waves every few minutes showing another dreaded contraction. We were both worried sick for our little girl. I was in a lot of pain, which no matter how much I prayed for God to take away, there was no relief.

Now I know there are many preterm labor stories which are much more dangerous than ours is so far. But this was the closest Elliot and I had been to wondering if our very own little girl was actually going to make it. A scary thought indeed.

I’ll never forget the dread we both felt when Elliot asked the nurse if this was common or not. She responded with a dispiriting “no.” Both our hearts sank.

So, since I didn’t have the relief from pain to rely on, we didn’t have the reassurance of a healthy baby ahead of us, nor much of a clue as to what was going on, we had to turn to Jesus. Elliot reminded me of this and pulled out his iPhone. He read his and my three most comforting Psalms – 139, 103, and 34. “When the righteous cry for help, the Lord hears and delivers them out of all their troubles. The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit.” (Ps. 34:17-18)  Our spirits were crushed, but Jesus was right then and there delivering us out of our troubles. Whether things were looking up or down, He was holding our little girl tightly in the palm of his hand.

“You don’t really know Jesus is all you need until Jesus is all you have.” – Tim Keller

And with that lesson learned a little bit better, Elliot and I fell asleep to the comfort of our little girl’s heart beat.

Boys vs. Girls

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Ever since we found out our baby is a girl, I’ve wondered a lot about what kind of dad my husband will be with a girl. On the way home from our ultrasound, I’ll never forget him wondering aloud “But Jill, what are we going to do with a girl?” At first I was dumbfounded. “You can do anything with a girl that you can with boys!” I answered. And then it dawned on me: Elliot grew up in a family of 4 boys. His childhood was surrounded with all brothers and boyish things. They ran around rough-housing behind their house playing Cowboys and Indians. They called the hilly pine-treed area behind their house the “Outback” (and still do). Elliot has a lot of really funny stories of the fun and weird things they’d do back there in the summers. It does sound so fun to me who, unlike Elliot, grew up in a family of mostly girls. I have 1 brother and 2 sisters, and though we did find ourselves outside a lot of the time, we’d be playing things like ‘The Boxcar Children’ or ‘Mommy and Baby’ or we’d go on penny walks. I remember thinking Cowboys and Indians was so boring and boyish. But now it’s the most interesting thing in the world when Elliot talks about the things he did with his brothers. A lot of it is just so foreign to me!

So yes, I am realizing that it may be a real shocker for my husband to have a baby girl. He’s been married long enough to me to know something about girls, but raising a girl? I am fascinated to see what it’s going to be like for him.

And who knows? She’s going to be half Elliot and half me, so she may just be a tomboy in princess clothes playing in the dirt!