Monday, September 26, 2011

Romans 12:12

"Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer."(Romans 12:12) This has been our prayer for the past year and a half, and we are so blessed for a gracious loving God. We are happy to be able to say that PAYSLI FAITH MATTHEWS IS HERE!!! Wow, what a long exhausting journey but one we are gracious for! Paysli Faith Matthews was born Friday, September 2nd, 2011. She weighed 8 lbs 10 oz and was 21.75 inches long. Tim and I are so in love and obsessed with Miss Paysli.

Paysli is now three weeks old and oh how much we have learned! We have had several days and long nights of learning how to care for a baby. I must admit, we were pretty terrified of learning how to care for a newborn, but we love it. Yes, even when we are sleep deprived or clueless about what to do, we still love it. The first few days we were blessed with amazing nurses. It is funny to think back to the first feeding, diaper change, etc. We were so nervous and probably looked pretty ridiculous caring for our daughter. I had to learn to not freak out every time she cried. Yes, babies cry... and it's okay! For Tim, he would constantly tell himself out loud "okay, just go for it" when diving into a diaper change, feeding, or burping. By our second day in the hospital, Tim was ready to go home and take on the challenge on our own. I on the other hand, was still in shock that we would be taking this precious little human-being home and be completely responsible for her. Tim and I had several entertaining conversations in the hospital where we would remind each other that yes this is our child, no we are not babysitting for someone, and she would be our daughter FOREVER. By the end of the first week there was a HUGE transformation in our care taking skills and we knew we would be great parents.

The second week I took on the role of being at home with Paysli completely by myself. After the first day, I realized how great of a baby I had (of course I'm alittle biased). My family and friends had joked while I was pregnant, that our soon to be daughter would probably be quite a handful. Between Tim being ADHD and me never being much of a sleeper, we had envisioned Paysli being up all hours of the day and night and having a strong personality from day one. My first day alone with her she proved to be much much different than we ever expected. Paysli definitely loves her sleep. So much so, I constantly poke at her throughout the day to make sure she is okay. She displays a pretty laid back personality. She loves being held, being put down, on her back, on her tummy, in a swing, in her crib, and anywhere else her mommy tries to experiment with. She did seem to have her nights and days slightly mixed up, but we seemed to have fixed this issue within a week or so. The second week Paysli was sleeping all day, and from about 9 PM to 1 or 2 AM she would have her "party" as mommy and daddy called it. This was when she woke up to see the world... finally! As exhausted as we were during this time, we were  excited to see her eyes and her personality so we joined her party. At Paysli's 2 week appointment she was 9 1/2 lbs and 22.5 inches. Our little girl is growing up!

This past week, Paysli has woken up quite a bit. Before, she would wake up to eat and be changed and was back to sleep by the time I finished feeding and burping her. Now she is up for 30 minutes to an hour after most feedings, except for the ones at night. I feel like she is changing daily! I can't believe she is almost a month old.

Tim and I still continually remind each other that we are parents. I love watching Tim with Paysli. He loves his little girl! I constantly catch him just starring at her, praying over her, and yes having conversations with her about "not needing any boy except for her daddy". Tim has also been an amazing husband during this new adventure called parenting. Being a hormonal mess after birthing a child, he has turned my moments of crying into laughter. He always has the best jokes or reactions to stressful moments. My favorite moment this past month has to be when we gave Paysli her first sponge bath. At this point I had not gotten over the fear of Paysli crying... and she was letting us have it while bathing her. I was frantic while trying to clean her up and noticed her booty was a little red. Tim went to get the Butt Paste and was going to apply it. I was waiting frantically for Tim to apply it while I held her. I finally turned around wondering what my husband was doing and why he was so quiet and calm during this time of chaos... ummm Tim was reading the directions on how to apply the paste. Okay, maybe it's just me but the title of the product seems pretty self explanatory... Butt...Paste. I anxiously told him (I may have raised my voice) to hurry up. And he did. But he put a handful all over Paysli. Before I knew it, I was re-bathing Paysli due to the mass amount of Butt Paste all over our newborn. When I asked him what he was doing (my voice may have still been raised) he replied "the directions say to apply liberally". We both began to hysterically laugh as our one week old continued to scream at us. It is little moments like this one that we will always cherish and laugh about.

We cannot thank our friends and family enough over the past year and a half. We can't wait to tell Paysli about how many people  were praying for her before she was even on this earth.  Through all the hurt, sadness, doctor appointments, surgeries, medications, etc. we would not change a thing. We have learned so much about ourselves, our marriage, and our faith. We get goosebumps when we hear or read the prayer that our pastor prayed over us at our wedding.  "Father, grant them enough tears to keep them tender, enough hurts to keep them humble, and enough failure to keep their hands tightly clinched in Yours. Yet please oh God enough success to reassure them that You are their God and You walk faithfully with them." He is our God and He walks FAITHfully with us!

Friday, May 20, 2011

I Will Praise the One Who's Chosen Me to Carry You

"Is this your first baby?" This simple question is one of the hardest questions I think I have ever had to answer. I never in my 25 years thought this question would be one that puts a knot in my throat and makes me feel completely akward. So, this is my attempt to share our story of our sweet and precious babies... yes, in plural form, babies.

In October and November of 2009, I began to experience excruciating migraines that were accompanied by tingling in one side of my lip and one of my hands. I had just started my first job as a speech-language pathologist, so we first thought the stress of a new job and becoming accustomed to the real world was just taking it's toll on my body. As work began to settle down, and the migraines and tingling continued to stop me in my tracks, we knew that I needed to see a doctor. After a few blood tests and  evaluations, I was referred to a neurologist who explained I was experiencing "stroke-like symptoms" as a side effect to the birth control pills I was taking. He explained these side effects obviously meant I wasn't a good canidate for birth control pills and advised me to stop taking them immediately. Tim and I quickly re-evaluated our previous plans to wait to have children till our late 20's. Because we believe our God has plans for us that we may not have for ourselves, we decided God would lead our lives in the way he intends and was ready for whatever he had in store for us.

In late December, we were suprised to find out that I was pregnant. While we were brave in putting our trust in God's plans, we were shocked that He intended for us to get pregnant so soon. When getting that first positive pregnancy test, I nearly fainted while Tim continued to enjoy his daily banana and grinned from ear-to-ear. I quickly began to ask a string of frantic questions like "How will we have room for a baby in this tiny one bedroom apartment?", "What will it be like financially?", "What will I do about work?", " What will we do for daycare?"... and so on. Tim just hugged me and laughed while I began crying in tears of shock and excitement. That afternoon my doctor had me go in to confirm that I was in fact pregnant. I remember asking him before I left, "What do I do now?". He smiled, told me to relax, and come back in 2 weeks for my first sonogram. At 6 1/2 weeks I went back in for my first sonogram, and at that time the doctor told us our baby wasn't measuring the correct size based on what it's gestational age was. I remember him asking me if I was sure I was almost seven weeks. This was when I first new something wasn't right. He asked me to come back a week later to see if the baby was growing like it should. It was at that next appointment we were told  we were experiencing a "failed pregnancy". As many of you know, Tim and I do not like the word "fail" and it was the first sense that I had some sort of control in the result of my pregnancy. My doctor sent me home and prepared me with information on what a miscarriage would be like. After 2 weeks I had not experienced any symptoms of a miscarriage, so I was asked to come back to the doctor. They informed me a D & C was needed since my body was not miscarrying on it's own, which could cause an infection that may effect future pregnancies. The next morning, I went in to the day-surgery center to where the D&C was performed. I cried the rest of that afternoon and that night. I remember laying in bed and just rubbing my lower stomach while imagining the sweet little one God had blessed me with. I remember thinking I would never know what this child would look like, act like, or whether it was a boy a girl. I wondered if there was anything I could have done differently. Was I too consumed with the stresses of work? Was I working out too much? Was it because of the cold I had? I remember telling myself how nieve I was to think having a baby was something so easy. Before my first miscarriage, I just pictured 10 months full of joy, laughter, suprising everyone with the news, baby showers, a growing belly, feeling the precious baby kicking, and bringing him/her home for the first time. I never once thought of unexpected loss, tears, frustration, medical procedures, how to tell people you lost the baby, and moving on. My mind wondered all night and into the morning until I was preped for my procedure. I remember looking at the nurses and doctors who were about to be a part of my procedure and thinking, "they are going to take my baby away".  I tried to think of worse scenarios that many mothers unfortunately have had to endure to make my experience seem much less devastating. I thought of those mothers who lose their children at later stages in pregnancy, early in a child's life, and even later in their child's life. I remember thinking of the pain I was feeling, and how immaginable those mother's pain had to have been or still is. The procedure was completed, and I continued to mourn the loss of our first child, but little did I know what was to come.

Tim and I quickly became motivated to try again for another precious baby as soon as my body recovered from my procedure. I remember researching chances of a second miscarriage and felt fairly confident our miscarriage experience was just a one-time thing. Surely a 24 year old healthy girl wouldn't endure multiple miscarriages. I also remember praying that if our Lord did not see a biological child in our future that he would take away my ability to get pregnant so I didn't have to think about a child of ours passing away if another miscarriage were to occur. In the middle of May (about a year ago from now), we found out that God had blessed us with our second pregnancy. While we were overwhelmed with excitement, our excitement felt much more guarded. I was no longer worried about if the square footage of our house would support a new baby, if we were financially ready, or what we would do for child care. Instead we prayed that Christ would put his hand over this child, and that no matter how long we were blessed with this precious baby we would love it as if we could already hold it in our arms. At 5 1/2 weeks my doctor wanted to have an early sonogram done to make sure the baby was forming correctly, in which it was. At that time there were no questions or concerns and it looked so far so good. At 7 weeks, my doctor had Tim and I come back in to see the heartbeat. Tim and I went in to the doctor's office with very low expectations that day in efforts to guard our hearts from the pain and greiving we had just experienced 3 months prior. I remember laying down and quickly looking only at Tim as if it would hurt less if I didn't look at the sonogram in case the ultrasound technician did not find a heart beat.  Within a few seconds into the sonogram with big wide opened eyes and the look of amazement on his face, Tim  quickly set up in his chair and said "There it is!". He had already found the heartbeat on the screen before the technician had time to identify it for us. I was in complete shock. Sure enough, our baby (which still looked like a tadpole) had a heartbeat that we could see. A huge weight was lifted off our shoulders and we both began feeling more confident that we would become parents. I researched the percentages of miscarriages after getting a heartbeat, which made me feel fairly confident we were going to get to hold this precious baby in several months. At 10 weeks, we went back in for another sonogram. This time we were told we would get to hear the heartbeat and our baby would begin looking more like a baby. We went in with complete confidence that day and quickly told our sweet nurses and doctors that everything with the pregnancy was going great. I had no signs/symptoms of a miscarriage like I previously had, and I was experiencing typical fatigue and a few food aversions. Our doctor had complimented my hormone levels and how they had progressed perfectly. Tim and I prepared for the sonogram with smiles and a sense of pride. Within a few minutes, our hearts sunk lower than we previously thought they ever could as the ultrasound tech asked us to wait patiently as she went to go get our doctor. Tim and I were silent for a few minutes. I began crying because I knew what I was about to be told. Tim tried to comfort me while we waited. "There is no way we will lose two", "We already got a heartbeat", "Remember the percentages of a miscarriage after a heartbeat?". A few minutes later the doctor came in and confirmed my fear. We had lost our second precious baby. While Tim was overwhelmed with sadness and tears, my heart became bitter. I was angry. I wanted to know why. I had no symptoms of a miscarriage, great hormone levels, and I felt pregnant. As much as I hate to admit it, I remember being angry at God. Why would You bless us with an amazing child with a heartbeat and take it a few weeks later? After talking to my doctor, he told us he would be referring us to a Fertility Specialist.

Over the next several months I struggled. I struggled with how to greive, when to greive, who to greive with. Some days I was sad, others angry, and other days I felt blessed to even experience pregnancy although for a shorter time than I had hoped. It makes me sick to say, but I began to struggle in my faith. I dreaded going to church. There were beautiful children everywhere and amazing sermons about enduring the struggles of life and putting your faith in Christ. While I needed my faith more than ever, I felt bitter. I remember being angry at Tim when he attempted to motivate me to continue my daily time with the Lord. He was persistent in his walk with Lord, probably more now than ever. I on the other hand could not look at my Bible or think about church without tearing up. Tim and I reached a breaking point one afternoon. I told him I was weak physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. I was tired of walking around with a smile on my face and acting like I was strong and okay. I was chasing a dream that God wasn't allowing at this time. I wanted to be in control, and it killed me that I couldn't be. I told Tim I didn't understand how his faith had grown so strong during such a bad time. Why wasn't he feeling what I was feeling? Tim was amazing over the next several weeks and months. He never became angry or upset with me. He didn't get frustrated or tell me to stop feeling sorry for myself. He continually prayed for our marriage, me, and our two precious babies who had left this world to be with our God. Over the weeks and months, my bitter heart became tender once again. Tim prayed that God would give him the wisdom to lead me and our family towards God's mercy. He prayed that God would take away my pain and anger. And he prayed that God would take care of our two precious babies.

I soon began going to church, reading scripture, and growing once again in my faith. I found several amazing passages, stories, sermons, and songs that inspired me and helped me through this time.

When I was able to admit to myself that I wasn't strong enough to pull myself up, I prayed that Tim would continue to be my strength and truly "Lead Me".

During a bible study I was going to at Prestonwood's North Campus, I came across this story engrained in my bible study booklet. I quickly stopped feeling so sorry for myself. I was immediately envious of Angie Smith's complete faith in Christ. I prayed that I could continue to praise God through the good and the bad and say "My Jesus is the same as he was when I walked in the door" to find out we had lost our babies.


The following verses I  read, wrote in my journal, and prayed over for the next several months:

"Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer."
Romans 12:12

"Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance."
James 1:2-3

"We do not want you to become lazy, but to imitate those who through faith and patience inherit what has been promised."
Hebrews 6:12

"For I know the plans that I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future."
Jeremiah 29:11

"Turn to me and be gracious to me, for I am lonely and afflicted. The troubles of my heart have multiplied. Free me from my anguish."
Psalm 25:16-17

"He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will abide in the shadow of the Almighty."
Psalm 91:1


Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Three Years in the Making

Well, after three years of wanting to start a blog to keep family and friends posted on latest events within the Matthews Household, it's official. It is our hope and  prayer that we use this blog to not only keep in touch with new and old friends and family all over the country but also share the word of Jesus Christ and how He has impacted our lives. Tim and I are not ashamed to say that our God has taught us a lot in 9 years of ups and downs that we call our relationship. We are amazed by how our God knows when to bless us beyond measure but also when to bring us to our knees to depend solely on Him. We have experienced the joys of graduating together in high school and college, playing collegiate sports, being a part of the MLB draft, and starting our lives in the real world. We too have had our glimpse of tragedy and grief in our earlier attempts to start a family in the recent years of our marriage.  On January 5th, 2008 our dear friend and pastor Byron Wethersbee prayed a prayer over us during our sweet wedding asking "Father, grant them enough tears to keep them tender, enough hurts to keep them humble, and enough failure to keep their hands tightly clinched in Yours. Yet please oh God enough success to reassure them that You are their God and You walk faithfully with them." For the past 3 years our hands have been clinching the hands of Christ as tight as ever while we proclaim that He is our God and He is faithful.