Thursday, March 31, 2005

The Great Baptism Debate

When my husband and I first moved to Houston in 2001, we started immediately visiting churches here and there. We would become discouraged and weeks would pass between visits. Finally in February 2003, we found a church that we have fallen in love with and have maybe missed fewer than 10 Sundays in over two years. The primary reason that it took us so long to find a church is that we were raised with completely different church backgrounds, meaning we were used to different styles of worship. He was raised Lutheran and was used to a slower-paced regimented traditional type service. I, coming from a Pentecostal type background was used to a much more vibrant, spirited, turn-cartwheels-across-the-pulpit type service. So, we knew it would be a difficult search to find something that we both liked. Interestingly enough, we have settled into a Southern Baptist Church.

Now, although we have been faithfully attending, contributing to, and serving in this church for over 2 years, we have yet to join. The primary reason is because the church requires that you be baptized by submersion in a Baptist church in order to become a member. That means that both of us would have to be re-baptized to join. My husband cannot reconcile this in his heart. He was sprinkled as a baby in a Lutheran church and feels that if he did it again, it would mean that his first baptism “didn’t count”. I am willing to do it again because I was baptized as a baby and would like to do it again as a symbol of me making the decision to follow Christ rather than my parents making it for me. So, my husband has been praying and studying to figure out what we should do for about a year now. Apparently, Baptists don’t baptize babies and only consider baptism to be a symbol of what Christ has done in your heart. Therefore, you decide to be baptized when you are “old enough” to make that decision for Christ. Alternately, Lutherans baptize their babies because baptism is for the remission of sins. Since we are all born into sin, babies need to be saved through baptism. The more my husband learns about both denominations, the more he realizes that there are major philosophical differences on the subject of baptism. So, in all of this studying and praying, we have come to no conclusion and now the matter is becoming more complicated because we will soon be parents.

We feel that one of our primary responsibilities for this child is to make sure that he/she grows up in a Godly home and has a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. My husband can’t imagine that we wait 8, 9, 10 years (as a Baptist family might) before the child is baptized. His heart tells him that that child needs to be baptized as a baby. He feels very strongly about this – and apparently his mother and grandmother do too. But, the thing is – if we have the baby baptized at his parents Lutheran church then, how do we raise the child in a Baptist church where he/she doesn’t learn the same things about baptism and its role in our faith? Plus, how do we keep going to this church that we are not members of? What does that teach the child? I don’t know how we fix this or what the right answer is. I am depending on my husband for leadership in this. I have faith that that Lord will reveal His truth to us in time for us to steer this child in the right direction.

Tuesday, March 29, 2005

Another Doctor's Appointment

We went to the doctor yesterday at the 16 weeks mark. For the most part it went great. We decided to get an "early" morning appointment at 9:10am. So, we slept in and got to the office right at 9:10am. Well, around 10am when we were still sitting in the waiting room, I started to get very upset and went to the receptionist to ask when I would be called back. Everyone in the waiting room had come in since I had been sitting there and some people were being called back after literally waiting for only 5-10 minutes. So, the receptionist called back to my doctor's nurse and said, "She says you can come on back". I was so, so, so upset! But, luckily, the nurse that I really like is back from maternity leave (ironic - don't you think?) so, that calmed me down. She apologized alot for my wait and explained that the doctor had an emergency at the hospital that morning. I, of course, began to calm down because if I were at the hospital in an emergency situation then I would want her to be there with me too.

Anyway, my blood pressure turned out to be a little higher than normal (136/82) which we kind of chuckled about because the nurse, my husband, and I attributed it to how heated I had become over waiting for an hour to get in to see the doctor. But, what blew my mind was the whopping 8 pound weight gain!! I have got to figure out why their scale is so much different from mine at home. I weigh myself casually at different times during the day at home and NEVER have I seen a number like I saw at the doctor's office!! I was shocked and appalled. The nurse merely wrote it down to be inserted in my permanent records. :(

Then we listened for the heartbeat. She initially put the doppler on the right side of my abdomen - no heartbeat but, lots of movement as we heard the fluid sloshing around. After about 20 seconds, she decided to move the doppler to the right side of my abdomen - again, no heartbeat but, we could hear distinct "baby movements". After another 20 seconds or so, she tried the middle of my abdomen - BULLSEYE!!! I saw my husband breathe a sigh of relief when we finally heard it. You could still tell the baby was moving around because as we listened, there was a distinct pattern to the heartbeat but, it would get louder and softer without any movement of the doppler. The heartrate was 154 bpm. I was kinda glad that she had to listen to different sides of my abdomen because it makes me more certain that there aren't two babies in there. My mother-in-law has prophetic dreams about babies (which is why she called us and asked if we were pregnant before we got a chance to call her first) and dreamed about twins over the weekend. So, since there was only one place on my whole abdomen where we could hear the heartbeat, certainly there is only one in there!

Then the doctor came in almost immediately. I think they were trying to be extra efficient with me since I had "complained" about waiting. She commented on my weight gain only to say that if I continue to gain 8 pounds a month then, I will undoubtedly be miserable this summer. Since I know that I have remained very active as far as working out and she didn't mention a health risk related to my weight gain, I am okay with it but, will try not to let it happen again. :) The doctor measured me for the first time - from my pelvic bone to the top of my uterus. It scared me at first because I am still in awe over this whole miracle that is pregnancy. It is amazing that I do nothing special and this person continues to grow inside of me. The doctor's comment on my 17 cm measurement was merely, "Perfect - you're right where you should be!" and then explained that I should be the same number of cm as I am weeks +/- 2 cm. Then she asked if I wanted the screening for Down's Syndrome, etc. and I assured her that we weren't interested.

Then came the way exciting part - we talked about scheduling my ultrasound!! :) She gave me the form for the radiology department at the hospital and adamantly advised me to not schedule it before 18 weeks. But, that's only 2 weeks away!! She also told us to make sure that we ask for the video tape. Apparently they tape all of the ultrasound sessions but, do not offer the tape to you - you must ask for it. We definitely want to rememeber to do that because the Grandparents will be so excited to see that! We have decided that we will digitize it and send them all DVD's of it. Then we talked briefly about the poor circulation problems that I have been having in my legs. She didn't speak of a solution but, just wrote it down. I guess that is something she will follow-up on next time. It concerns me because my mom was hospitalized and put on crutches while pregnant with my sister because of the poor circulation in her legs. I would prefer that we avoid that for this pregnancy! Then she assured me that I can fly until 36 weeks (which I knew but, wanted her to realize that I was planning to do some flying) and told me that she wanted to see me in 4 weeks. Painless - and only lasted 35 minutes once I complained to the receptionist. As I was leaving, the nurse assured me that if I ever had an unreasonable wait again to just walk back and talk to her.

So, on the way back to work, I realized that my impatient mother had called my cell phone while I was in the doctor's office. I decided to call her back but, my dad answered the phone at their house instead! How exciting!! That's the first time I've heard his voice since Christmas! He has been working in China since Dec 10 and just got back over the weekend. So, I talked to him instead and didn't talk to my mom until I was on the way home from work.

At work yesterday, I called and got my ultrasound scheduled for Thursday, April 14 at 10am!! That's so soon!!! :) Hopefully, they will be able to confirm my theory that this is a sweet little girl growing inside of me.

Monday, March 21, 2005


Towards the end of 2004, I spent alot of time talking to my friend, Brooke, about the possiblity of getting pregnant this year. We joked about how we would be big as houses because both of us have a tendancy to carry extra weight on our bodies. Well, now that this is becoming a reality (not that I'm a house...yet!!), I am having a very difficult time with it. There are noticable changes in my body since becoming pregnant and none of them would tell a stranger that it is only because I am pregnant! I am NOT dealing well with watching the numbers on the scale be consistently higher than any woman would ever want to see. I am NOT dealing well with thinking I should just wear my normal clothes since I don't yet have the pronounced pregnant belly but, I can't fit into ANYTHING except my big shirts. And although, I'm comfortable wearing maternity pants (because no one can tell that they are), I still feel silly pulling out some of the shirts that I've been collecting. I explained how unhappy I am with my body image to Brooke last Friday, Saturday, and yesterday. Her only solace is, "Well, we knew this would happen" and "It's not like you're eating a box of twinkies a day. This is all for/from the baby." Uggghhh...just not comforting when she's still sitting there in a normal-sized body (we used to be the same size!) and looking slimmer than I ever remember! I prayed about it this morning...just to have a better self-image during this in-between stage. I am 15 weeks today and I figure it can't be much longer until my body looks pregnant to everyone all the time. Hopefully that will help. No one ever told me that transitioning from a normal body to a pregnant body was so hard! My outfit yesterday was doing the trick to accentuate my belly. People noticed and I didn't feel quite as bad...

Monday, March 14, 2005

To Work or Not To Work - Part I

Ever since I've started telling people that I'm pregnant, I have received a predictable selection of questions as the initial response. Many of them even come in this order:

  1. How far along are you?/When are you due? - This one is the easiest to answer.
  2. Was it planned? - This one is fun to answer because we kinda planned it about 15 minutes before we did "it" and it worked!
  3. Do you plan to go back to work after you have the baby? - I am beginning to hate this question and thus the topic of this blog entry.

About 2 months before we ever tried to get pregnant, my husband and I sat down and agreed that I would continue to work my current job even after we had a baby (assuming the baby would be coming in the next year or so). It made sense for our financial situation and that is his primary concern. Plus, I was loving my job back then and couldn't imagine not going there ever day. Well, since that conversation last October, I haven't necessarily changed my mind but, I have begun to see benefits and disadvantages to both situations.

Just for background purposes: I grew up in a two-income home. My mom went back to work when I was 6 weeks old and has often told me that she was bored out of her mind even during those 6 weeks. She proceeded to work days, nights, and weekends until I was about 12 or 13 so, a working mom was a completely normal way of life for me. My parents frequently paid extra for our after school care because my mom could never meet the 5:30pm deadline to pick my younger sister and me up. But, we had lots of luxuries while growing up that may not have necessarily been attainable without those two incomes. We went on lots of vacations and trips, took all kinds of lessons, went out to eat 3 times a week, and there was never anything that my sister or I wanted for and did not get. I think having my working mom as a role model was a good thing for me. I think it has made me independent, ambitious, and goal-oriented. While I've never wanted to be like her (ewww!!!), I see myself being more and more like her and it's actually a good thing.

Meanwhile, my husband grew up in a one-income household where his father was not even a salaried worker. He was paid hourly and would forfeit overtime hours to spend time at home with the family. His mom did not work. The whole family went to everyone's basketball games, dance recitals, track meets, etc. - very supportive people. He remembers them "struggling" financially though. They never even ate regular name brand foods (which was unheard of for me as a child). They didn't go on many trips unless it was a 3-hour car ride to Kansas City to his grandmother. My husband makes it seem as though it was worlds away from the way I grew up. Just to contrast his mom and mine: I remember about two weeks after we were married, my husband went on a work trip and I was home alone for a week. His mom made a point to call me most nights that week to keep my company...especially since we didn't know anyone in this brand new city. Anyway, I remember that she spent about 2 hours talking to me about how she didn't need a career to validate her and how she could stay busy doing things that she wanted to do, blah, blah. I thought she was out of her mind. I was fresh out of college and ready to blaze up the corporate ladder at that time!

So, of course, his main consideration in deciding whether or not I work is financial stability. He says that after seeing how hard it was on his parents to raise a family, he always said that it would be easier for his own family. Meanwhile, I have this "we can't struggle because I never have" mentality that he cannot understand.

Last night, we had a pretty heated discussion about this that led to many tears on my part and a lot of visible frustration on his. All he wants me to do is make a decision so that we can start working towards a plan that will facilitate the success of that decision in 6 months. I contend that I can't make that decision until I have met this baby face-to-face. I have been praying about this for a few weeks and I really feel like God is going to lead us one way or another in his timing. I am not leaning either way right now. I am waiting to see how things unfold. Most women that I have talked to about this agree with me. They understand why I need to see the baby in order to really make a decision that I'm comfortable with. My husband doesn't understand at all. He worries about the fact that I just finished my Master's degree in December and can't believe that I would want to "through that all away". He also selfishly (he admits that) argues that whether the baby is in day care or at home with me will have no bearing on the amount of time that he spends with it so, he doesn't have a problem with our child going to day care. I totally don't agree with that statement. I also don't care that I just finished my degree. I really, really, really just want what's going to be best for this family and what will make us all the happiest (my husband argues that extra income will facilitate that). How could I know the best decision having not met 1/3 of the family members!?!?

Thursday, March 10, 2005

Starting to Show?

Okay, so why am I convinced that my stomach is all poked out and so obvious to anyway who has eyes that I am pregnant and yet - even my husband says I'm not showing., of course, rather than just believe him, I insist that it's just because he isn't observant about my body! Tonight we even took a couple of pictures so that I could see if I was making it all up. I definitely see it in the pictures, he looks at the pictures and says, "Told you - you're not showing!". Oh well...I'll show him in just a few weeks....

So, I think I have experienced a couple of obvious changes as my pregnancy is progressing into the second trimester (even if my husband doesn't think that "showing" is one of those right now):

  1. I have stopped running to the bathroom in the middle of every single night. I think I've only been once in the month of March in the middle of the night. Where as, I think I didn't go only once in the whole month of February.
  2. I have finally overcome the exhaustion that I was feeling.

My husband and I went maternity clothes shopping together last weekend on Saturday, I think. Why did I think it was a good idea to take him shopping for maternity clothes if I'd rather slit my wrist than take him shopping for my regular clothes? But, surprisingly, it wasn't that bad - probably because I wasn't really pressed to get anything necessarily. So, the fact that he liked NOTHING in Old Navy didn't bother me. I mean, he didn't like ANYTHING!!! He's so picky. So, there is a JC Penney right beside that particular Old Navy so, we just wandered in there to see what they would have. Okay, I would NEVER buy real clothes in JC Penney - just not my style but, I was loving some of their maternity stuff. Actually, I guess I only loved 4 pieces that they had and ended up buying those 4 things: 2 work shirts, 1 t-shirt, and 1 pair of jean capris. But, the best news is that I actually ended up wearing maternity pants for the first time on Monday. I was in Ft. Worth at a conference for work. Since my group and I were in "uniform", I needed to wear black pants and my regular black pants are no longer even zipping up. So, I wore a pair that I ordered from about 3 weeks ago. It was weird but, very comfortable...and, of course, the maternity pants made me look more pregnant that ever! (in my eyes)

Wednesday, March 02, 2005

The Heartbeat and Birthday Update

I can’t believe it’s been a week since I heard my baby’s heartbeat for the first time and I’m just not getting around to posting about it. In a word…it was awesome! We went last Wednesday (my birthday) morning. The heartbeat was 150bpm, which is apparently in the good range. The doctor’s visit was short and sweet beyond that. I just don’t have a lot of questions for the doctor right now because there doesn’t seem to be anything wrong. I feel great most of the time. I did gain another 3 pounds according to the doctor’s scale. That put me at a total of 9 pounds at the 11w2d mark. But, I will say that my scale at home is still at the 6 pound mark and my exam was in a different room (therefore, different scale) than I’ve had at my last two appointments. So, maybe I didn’t actually gain anything and that scale is just calibrated differently. That’s my story – I’m sticking to it. Regardless, this has driven me to exercise harder than the 2-mile walks that I’ve been doing. They haven’t been challenging and I know my body can do more. So, I’ve started doing some of the videos that I have at home…harder workouts and I’ve been feeling less like a bum. I even see my quads starting to tighten up again.

I have to talk about the awesome birthday that I had. We had a great party at work and then I my hubby and I went to Outback and to see the movie Hitch that night. It was a really cute movie. On Friday night, I had a surprise birthday party. It wasn’t a huge surprise because it became pretty obvious as the evening was unfolding but, it was a great time anyway.

This week has been weird. I somehow contracted a bunch of cold/flu symptoms over the weekend. With those symptoms has come more constant nausea than I’ve felt through the entire pregnancy. What’s funny is that I first started to feel it on Monday, which was my 12 week mark – isn’t that when things are supposed to start calming down!?!? Anyway, I came home early from work on Monday to rest and it did a body good! I’m feeling better now. Just still dealing with a stuffy nose. Everything else has subsided for the most part (except the nausea!!!!).