Delilah Dior Dominica
A woman's journey exploring her passion for Faith, fashion and travel.

Monday, September 14, 2015

Goodbye to Summer

July 2015

Today I had to slip on a sweater. Not because the air conditioning was too cold, not because I had a slight chill from overpopulating my water bottle with ice-cubes. No, the air had shifted. In one simple movement, I declared this beautiful summer over. 

This summer has left me full of memories, lessons, love and blueberries. It was my very first summer as a mother and man, I can’t get enough of this stuff. The days passed quickly, as summers tend to do, but even more so than before because of the steps. The steps that get us from wake up to night-night are rhythmic and predictable and if I’m not careful they steal days right from under my nose. The “hi handsome’s” and “no thank you’s” and “kiss for mama?” and “the mama’s on the bus go shh shh shh’s” can mash together, separated only by new tricks. When this summer started, I could leave my son in the center of my bed and deliberate between outfits, brush my teeth, put on mascara and return to that find my sweet boy rolled a time or two moving a grand total of nine inches. June brought scooting, July carried in crawling and August left us with a curious child that pulls up on anything and everything desperate to stand. Somewhere between nursing breaks, stacking blocks, diaper changes, bouncing to sleep, cleaning the high chair tray, strolling through the neighborhood and smoothing bubbles over bellies and backsides, he changed. He is undeniably a baby to the untrained eye, but to me, his every day companion, he is something more.

 He is a little boy.

 I have spent the summer wishing away hours upon hours spend bouncing and shh shh’ing him to sleep. I’ve ached to not be clawed and yanked in directions I never thought possible while nursing a minimum of five times a day. I’ve stared at the calendar and flipped through the months left of not being able to eat the foods that feed my soul more than my stomach. And in all that wishing- I almost didn’t notice I nearly wished away my baby’s babyhood. This window of time is so magnified and consuming that it feels as if it goes on forever sometimes. But when I step back and really look at it, it’s hardly any time at all. Soon he will wake up in the morning and drink orange juice. He will leave drips on the toilet seat. He will play on his own. He will walk with his friends and eat his dinner with a fork. And at the end of a long day he will say goodnight, walk up the stairs and crawl into bed. “The days are long but the years are short” is written on my heart so that I never again wish away the sweetest days on earth. 

And now, a photo homage to the most gratifying summer yet- my first summer as a Mama

















You've been wonderful to us.




Wednesday, July 15, 2015

What's in a Name?


My name doesn't have much meaning. In fact, I was almost a Stacy. My older sister Kristen and I have always said we should have switched names, for she is far more "Jill" than I ever was. I had lavish dreams of having a unique name-Azure, Jade, something that made people say, "one more time?" I decided if I couldn't change my own name, I'd just have to live vicariously through my babies. At 8 I filled my diary with "V" names for my 5 girls: Violet, Vanessa, Victoria, Valerie and Vivian. When I was 10 years old, one episode of VH1's Lifestyle of the Rich and Famous left me dead-set on naming my children Bentley and Bacardi, regardless of gender. Praise the Lord that phase was relatively short. My next phase was unusual spelling followed by unnecessary letters. This continued until I met my husband, Oshiomogho. My husband is Nigerian and I was told when we first started dating that the grandparents name the grandbabies in his family's culture. I'll admit that at first I was a bit shattered. All my years of name planning and dreaming would dissolve before even fully forming-I was left feeling as if something dear had been stolen from me.  The first time I met his family, however, whatever fear hiding in me disappeared. I had arrived at the Mecca of unique names, and though the adults go by a shorter version, I was in name heaven meeting our nieces and nephews. Emike, Ozegho, Azumi, Onoshorere, Izenebu...the names dance on your tongue and make you wonder what they mean, where they come from, how they were chosen.

I spent my whole pregnancy worrying what our child's name would be. Not finding out the gender created an extra set of concerns and nothing seemed fitting for our mystery child. I flipped through a hand written book from our family's village and matched up meanings with names, often wishing I could mix and match the two. In late November, my father-in-law called and said he had picked out a name for my husband's first born when he was just a teenager. He said he was just offering it up as a suggestion but ultimately we could choose whatever name we wanted from the book. The name was Oshiolema. Oh-show-lay-ma. Four syllables. Nine letters. A world of a blessing behind it. The name means "God has made him perfect." The moment I heard it I knew that if we had a boy, it was the one.

I realize now how much time and energy I wasted trying to decide on the perfect short-version in advance. The sequence of letters is tricky and didn't offer any predictable nicknames. I needed something cute and quick and fitting; I settled on Ollie. Now, six months later, I have called him Ollie less than 5 times. The thing about nicknames is that they have to be earned. He is my honey, my angel, my handsome boy, my stinker, my silly, my Lems.


I thought I'd jump on the opportunity to call him anything but his full name, to be honest. When I met my husband, no one but the occasional NFL announcer ever called him by his full name. His family calls him Shum, his friends call him Oj or Juice and I only knew him as Oj. At some point in the first year of our marriage, he made a hard-and-fast switch to owning his full name. Now, everyone he has met within the past 3 years only knows him as Oshiomogho (and legitimately has no idea who I'm talking about when I say Oj. Slacker wife award). His name, given to him by his grandmother, means God owns the day, only God knows my destiny. After sustaining back to back injuries and be if forced to retire from the NFL after just 8 years of playing when his life goal and dream was to play for 15, his world opened up to opportunities he never would have known existed if life had carried on the way he envisioned. My husband realized his name was a reminder of the truth over his life. I want our son to take pride in his name in that same way. To see that it may not look or sound like anyone elses, he may not be able to find his name on a license plate keychain at Disney World and people may never feel comfortable saying it. But it is special. It is beautiful. And it is his.

My in laws call him Oshiolema, my whole family calls him Ollie, some of my husbands friends call him Oshi and some settled on O. I love all of them. It's such a cool feeling to see who he is to all those who love him. I have come to take more pride in his name than I ever thought I would. To be honest, if I look at him, Oshiolema doesn't exactly feel like "oh yeah! That's exactly what he looks like, an Oshiolema." It's a lot of name. But it is his name. His blessing. I've noticed that when most people ask his name, upon hearing it they respond with a "wow" or "that's interesting" or even "you don't say;" but most commonly, they ask "what's his nickname?" This presents an issue for me. Why should it assumed that we don't call him his name? With the same amount of letters as Elizabeth and Stephanie, the length can't be the issue. Sure, it can be intimidating to sound out but shouldn't be too challenging to repeat. It's certainly worth a try.

The next time you hear or see an interesting (i.e. intimidating) name, I urge you not to ask for a shortcut. Instead, do your best to master it and inquire about it and repeat it until you know it. I can't tell you how much it will make someone's day.


(Please don't feel like we'll be offended if you don't call him by his full name! We rarely do. But he will always be introduced by his name and as you come to know him more intimately you'll find a fitting nick-name on your own. Gummy Bear is one our personal favorites ;) )

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Stretched

 (mom days before giving birth to her fourth baby)

Growing up every single night once the clock struck 8:00pm and my mom had cleared dinner from the table and helped with math problems, she announced it was time for her bath. Some evenings as I walked down the hallway, now smelling of sweet soap and lotion, to say goodnight I would find her changing into her light blue nightgown baring her stomach lined with marks. Silvery purple marks lined the edges of her stomach, crawling a little bit up the sides and dancing around her naval. The older I became, the more I understood those marks meant she had been stretched. Stretched probably in ways she never would have imagined, and each stretching left visible evidence of its difficulty and her strength.

Being the third oldest of seven, I saw the pregnancy cycle. Flat tummy, big tummy, baby. I knew at a young age and understood better than many of my friends that a woman has to stretch physically in order to bear a child. It wasn't until I left for college I realized a woman has to stretch in every sense of the word to raise a child. I stretched my mom's patience; sneaking into her bathroom to use her comb and getting my hair grease all over it because I was convinced the comb was the missing link to make my hair like hers. I stretched my mom's trust; though I went through a phase of lying more often than telling the truth, she always gave me the benefit of the doubt and had faith in the woman I could become. I stretched her pride; selfishly confiding in my best friends' mothers and shutting out my own. I stretched my mom's energy; playing a sport every season, taking art classes, participating in school plays and begging to spend any free time at a friends house because their families were "so cool." I stretched my mom's grace; deliberately disobeying my parents and the Lord by succumbing to physical temptation as a teenager. Instead of abandoning me she prayed for me, started a devotional for me and took me to the gynecologist to protect me. It became very evident to me though pregnancy may have stretched her stomach, being a mother had stretched her soul.

The problem with having a mother as remarkable as mine lies in the comparison- how will I ever be able to do what she did? I feared I wouldn't be able to patiently wait while my child misses curfew and doesn't return my phone calls. I feared I would never be able to spend the better part of my waking hours chauffeuring my bickering, crumb scattering children to volleyball, track, basketball and swim team. I feared I wouldn't quite have the selflessness it took to stay up late looking for a soccer uniform, school uniform, or Halloween costume. I feared that my selfishness would hold me back from allowing my body to be an incubator and bottle year after year after year. Simply put, I feared my ability to be stretched. But since having a child, when I look in the mirror, I see my mother's stomach. You see, I have already been stretched. We all have. We are capable of stretching as far as we're willing to go.

When our son was a few days old, a friend of mine asked if I was left with any stretch marks. Disappointed, I lifted my shirt to reveal a slew of squiggly flesh and burgundy colored scars. She said, "that's okay! It's a  reminder of what your body went though." If I was ever going to need a visual reminder for an event, this was not the one. Trust me, I remember what my body went through. I remember the pain, the waiting, the pushing, I remember it all. Four months later, I finally realize these scars aren't to remind us what our bodies have been through but to remind us what we are capable of. How far our stomachs can expand to carry life, how the Lord allows us to carry those extra 25 (or 38) pounds under our shirts, how much we can stretch for love. Once that realization hit me I decided these marks aren't so bad. And while it's very unlikely that any of us will ever become the type of mother I was blessed to call my own, I have the marks to prove that I'm at least headed in the right direction.

(me weeks before giving birth to my first baby)

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Essentials for Baby's First 3 Months



I am a mother of a three month old baby boy. Three months. I can't say "It seems like I blinked and here he was-three months old," because I am fully aware of each hour I have spent with him. The days seem to have stretched out so that each hour is double what it once was and yet I wouldn't slow it down if I had the power. I adore this child of mine. He is hilarious, sweet as can be and such a testament of God's grace. That being said- man oh man has he rocked our world. Even before I was pregnant I loved reading what a wide variety of mothers would say helped get them through those first three months. There are always some staples that seem to make everyones list and some items I had never heard of before. One thing rings true: every baby is completely unique and no one will know your baby the way you do. Here are our "Couldn't Have Made it Without You" essentials.

Colace: Yes. The very first thing on the list. I was told to follow this rule the first two weeks post-partum: "don't skip a day. don't forget. don't skimp." I foolishly disobeyed those rules one day ( yes ONE day) and I will never do it again. Just trust me.

Baby Connect App
: Our friends told us to download this when I was about 35 weeks pregnant and I can't sing it's praises enough. We keep track of every feeding, pumping, diaper, sleep, mood and thought on this thing and it syncs to whoever has it with Oshiolema's name. I can have a babysitter download it (when we reach that point) so I can keep an eye on his schedule while I'm away and my husband loves seeing the "stats" while he works all day.

Mommy's Bliss Gripe Water: Whew. Those first few days are just a doozy. Oshiolema cried because he was sad, cried because he was hungry, cried because he was tired, cried because it was cold, cried because he was hot, cried because he liked it. He cried a whole lot. Most of the time we had no clue what was wrong but the majority of the time…he cried because of Gas. He had a lip tie and a tongue tie which ended up needing surgery so he didn't breastfeed efficiently. This left his poor tummy with tons of gas. Our pediatrician recommended this Gripe Water given with an eyedropper and it was kind of a miracle. Hiccups stopped immediately, the tears dried up and a look of content wiped across his face. We rarely use it these days but it is an absolute must in the beginning.

Nose Frieda + Little Noses Saline
: In week 1 we must have used this combination at least twice a day. His nasal passage is so narrow and the adjustment from cozy womb to dry winter air is tough for any baby. Since they are pretty much exclusively nose breathers (especially while feeding) its important to have a clear nose. The concept was just repulsive at first but it is SO easy and not gross at all! The little hospital bulb didn't work for us and I don't like that it can't be cleaned. This product saved us.

HonestNipple Balm: I had a tougher start to breastfeeding than many but every Mom I know across the board would jump to slather themselves up with this in those first days. I had to use the over-the-counter version but this was great later on.

Netflix: The real MVP. I have been Netflix's #1 fan from the beginning. There's nothing like seeing the "Are you still watching?" screen pop up six times in one day. I must say, however, that I had no grasp of my binge-watching capabilities until those first few weeks with a newborn. It seemed like I was nursing 22 hours a day and nothing accompanies hibernation with a baby strapped to your chest like sitcoms, lifetime movies, food documentaries and of course, Friends.

32oz Mason Jar: I'm a bit of a water guzzler. Even before pregnancy I drank a minimum of a gallon a day. I was told that I would never be hungrier or thirstier in my life than I would be while breastfeeding. They weren't lying. I keep one of these at every nursing station (family room, nursery, our bedroom) so I drink the whole thing while nursing. I am constantly thirsty so this prevents me from being stuck parched.

White Noise App: If we could have two things to assist us in keeping our child sleeping soundly and keeping us sane this app would make the cut. At the very beginning 'vacuum' was his go to but now 'heavy rain' is his jam. Babies are so easily startled awake and sleep best to the sound that they fell asleep to. If we were watching TV while he fell asleep and turned it off- tears. If it was dead silent when he fell asleep and we started a conversation- tears. We discovered this his first week home and by now when he hears it he knows its time to rest. We play it as loud as possible for every time he's supposed to go to sleep on my old phone and keep it room when we're home and diaper bag when we're out. It's a must have for us.

Rock N' Play
: Our goal was to have Lem's in our room while it was essential and move him out when we were ready. (Not he, we). His very first night home we placed him in the bassinet portion of our pack n play. Such rookies. He despised that thing. Imagine going from a hot tub cocoon to a giant flat slab of rock; not so pleasant. Thankfully I had read that babies love the Rock n Play and set it up just in case the week before he arrived. He slept in that wonderful invention for every single nap and nighttime of his first month. He's super long so at around 5 weeks I didn't like how cramped he looked in it and we switched him back to the 4 Moms Pack N Play (which we love) to get him prepared to sleep in his crib. We moved him to his crib in his own room at 2 months old and he (and we) sleep like a champ but I can't imagine that first month without the Rock N' Play.


Aden & Anias Swaddles: We use these for everything. In the beginning this was his favorite swaddle but he started to be able to break out of them pretty early. Now I use it to drape over his car seat when it's a little too sunny or if he's sleeping when we're out and about, as a light blanket, as a surface to lay him on and as a burp cloth when it's in arm's reach and a burp cloth isn't.


Miracle Blanket Swaddle: Dear friends of ours who have a son three months older than ours sent this to us right before the baby was born. He couldn't fit in it at the beginning so we put it in a drawer with five other (different kinds of) swaddles. When the day came that Lem's decided the Aden & Anias swaddles were a joke we went through each and every swaddle for each nap time and all five were a failure. When we put him in the Miracle Blanket, after watching the tutorial video no less than twelve times, he had the best night's sleep of his life up until then. Game Changer. We have used it ever since for every sleep unless we place him on his tummy for nap time. ( I know they say it's not safe but we only do it when he's napping during the day and we can watch him on the monitor. Now he is strong enough to turn and lift his head if need be and he sleeps wonderfully this way.)

(He's almost past the weight limit for this swaddle and consistently busting out of it so we're going to give it up in the next few weeks)

Kimono style pajamas and Zip pajamas: There's a lot going on in that first week. Keeping him content and asleep were our two priorities and pulling super tight onesies up over his head for every diaper leak was pretty awful. (the No...we didn't know at the time that the onesie was made to be pulled down. That's also a great tip that would have saved us lots of poop glazed hair). We loved the kimono style separates to help dry up that umbilical cord stump and avoid the over-the-head thing and still snatch up anything zippered because no one has time for 387 snaps at 4am.



Freshly Picked Moccosins: I'm a huge fan of these shoes because despite the glaringly obvious lack of necessity, baby shoes are pretty stinkin cute. Sneakers are my go to for his little feet but he is a ninja and kicks them off all the time. These moc's are a favorite of mine because they stay on without being too tight. They recently came out with 'Crib size' which I recommend for 0-6 months because the size 1 is pretty huge…and yet his giant feet don't fit in the crib size anymore.


Sponge: We have the 4 Moms Tub which has all the bells and whistles and I was super excited about it. Fastforward to every bath of his first two months of life: screaming, furious, uncomfortable baby. I found this sponge on Amazon Prime and when it showed up two days later the child had his first tear-free bath. We stick it in the sink when we're traveling and in the tub at home. It's brilliantly simple and we'll use it til' he can sit up on his own


Activity Gym: I will say that Oshiolema has been very strong for his age since birth. His neck strength is especially impressive so we had him doing tummy time on this mat pretty early. At first he wasn't too into this. On his back he would just stare past the owls and birds because his first love is the ceiling in our family room and lights of all kind. He doesn't discriminate. But at about two and a half months those owls and birds became his best friends and he absolutely loves playing on this mat. At three months he's just showing off and plays like a ten year old with those guys so we may be moving to an exersaucer quite soon. I cringed at the thought of this permanently in my family room and looked for something neutral but in the end, babies love colors and patterns. I had to suck it up.

Two months 

Three months 

Hip Peas Cradle Cap Care
: My mom said she was 7 for 7 with Cradle Cap. We all had it and so does my boy. It was pretty bad at one point and we overnighted a few remedies. This one is pretty magical and cleared everything up in 2 days. We still use it every other day to prevent his scalp from drying out again.


Amazon Prime: No question. Having something show up two days later without paying extra shipping is just a no-brainer. I can't even count the number of Amazon boxes that have showed up since finding out we were pregnant. 


Enjoy Life Products: Just before Lem's was 2 week old we started noticing his diapers were looking strange. Our pediatrician said it seemed like a dairy intolerance. It turns out many babies are intolerant of dairy, soy and whey while breastfeeding so I cut it out of my diet right away. Since then we have had many stages of scary things in his diapers so I don't eat dairy, soy, whey, nuts, eggs or gluten. Lord willing, I'll be exclusively breastfeeding (with solids added when it's time) for just over a year so missing out on some of my favorite foods for that length of time seemed a little daunting until I came across this brand. Nearly every single kind of chocolate available in stores has dairy in it, and nearly every baked good has butter, gluten and eggs. After being completely turned off by sweets my whole pregnancy I was really looking forward to indulging once he arrived. Major bummer. Enjoy Life cookies are ridiculously good and they hold themselves to the highest standard of allergen-free baking. I use their chocolate chips to bake granola bars and banana bread and go through boxes of cookies faster than I'd like to admit. This brand has helped me keep some sort of normalcy in this season of life.

I also highly recommend the Bugaboo Chameleon stroller, the Crane humidifier, Solly Baby Wrap Carrier, Ubbi diaper pail (you can use any trash bag you want and it's really pretty) and our Restoration Hardware crib. Babies don't need much besides love and care but these things have added control to the chaos of being rookie parents. Oshiolema is one of the smiliest, sweetest, snuggliest three month old's I've ever met and I'm so glad he's mine.


Is there anything you had to have for those first three months that I missed? I'd love to hear it! 

Monday, February 16, 2015

One Month In

Our sweet boy is one month old. I'm not a person who finds every month to be monumental, but arriving at four weeks is truly something to celebrate. Something to marvel at. Something that in those first few hazy days seems to be a lifetime away.

There were sleepless nights, as promised. There were nights I talked to the pediatrician more than I talked to the Lord. Nights I spent the hours he was asleep watching to see that his chest rose and fell with every breath. Nights where my confidence was shattered and patience tested. He lost his voice screaming through his first bath (the water was too warm). He wet his whole outfit every time he peed (his diapers were too small). He broke out in a rash nearly every time he ate (I needed to give up dairy) and yet somehow, with all of our shortcomings, he is still ours. He still reaches his teeny arms and giant hands up for us to rescue him, still trusts that I will always feed him and hold him until he's resting peacefully enough to move, and still believes that daddy will sing him to sleep no matter how long it takes.

Nights are made of whispers and white noise, tip toeing and soft singing. As we kneel down next to his bed at night, praising and seeking and offering him up over and over again, I'm reminded that I can no longer make it through the day on my strength alone. This past month has allowed me to live in the absolute truth that "His mercy is new every morning" and I need every last drop of it to be the wife and mother I was created to be.

I can see his face changing and my heart feels heavy in my chest when I see how much bigger he looks in my hands already. This is the child we prayed for, the boy God set aside for us, and I have never felt more joy in all my years. He is everything I dreamed he'd be. We love you with all we have, sweet Ollie boy. Thank you for changing our world and completing our little family.




My birth story is proving to be the most special and challenging thing I've ever written, but I wanted to share some of the moments my sister Jackie captured during labor. I'm so blessed to have had her there with us welcoming this boy into the world. I can no longer remember the pain or exactly what each phase of labor feels like- I only see the magic of it all. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

That's the Way Love Goes

 Our beautiful son is one week old today. Last night, after being up with him for what seemed like the hundredth hour of the evening, I realized what love is. As I waddled back from the bathroom and looked at my husband resting with Oshiolema sleeping on his chest, I truly realized how much our lives have changed. My Boppy was on the couch draped in a burp cloth, A table stocked with water, snacks and a breast pump was off to the side and we had the TV on a volume that was practically quieter than mute. "This is crazy." I whispered. My husband smiled back at me, "No, this is love."


Love is your husband helping you up from the toilet and sitting on the bathroom floor helping you relax enough to forget about a pretty serious set of stitches. Love is how he looks at you when you're limping in a nursing bra and compression band and says "you are more beautiful than ever." Love is your little sister committing to stay with you until the baby arrives and supporting you through every minute of birth despite being one of the most squeamish people you know. Love is your friends bringing over a meal expecting nothing in return (not even to wake the baby up to snuggle him). Love is your mother stopping everything to come cook, clean, fold endless loads of laundry and hold the baby when we can't keep our eyes open. Love is gazing into the eyes of this baby boy and realizing the Lord gave His only son so that I may be free. Love is realizing that every part of your body aches and yet you'd do it a hundred times over to be able to call this child "son."

I thank you, my sweet boy, for showing me what love really is. You've been ours for a week, but really, you've been ours all along. I'm so proud to be your Mama.



Sunday, January 11, 2015

Spiritual Amnesia


Well, friends, here we are. I am 38 weeks pregnant. My belly has grown exactly 15 inches since May. My hips refuse to stay in place, I have a new stretch mark every day, my nights are just short of sleepless and my waddle is almost comical. As I was draped over my exercise ball last night, sharing with my husband just how badly I wanted to have this baby, he whispered, "it's almost over, love. But stay present in these moments, they're special too."

It got me thinking about spiritual amnesia. I think as believers we all suffer from it from time to time-some cases are severe while others are easily cured. I have learned that the best way to prevent spiritual amnesia is to hold tightly to the moments when The Lord reveals himself to us; to be full of gratitude for His faithfulness. So, despite sharing the story so many times this pregnancy, I've decided to put pen to paper and record how incredibly faithful The Lord was in giving us this child.

From as early as our honeymoon, my husband and I expressed that we wanted to wait three years before having a baby. I was 21 years old and had two more years of college when we said "I do," which played a big part in our decision. We also chose not to live together until marriage and actually spent half of each year long distance, so having the time to build a strong foundation of oneness and friendship was really important to us. Here's where it gets tricky: we didn't use any contraceptives.

I totally understand the look on your face- I had the same one. After we had been married for about a month and my birth-control hormones were turning me into a complete nut job my husband said "I think we should trust The Lord to give us a baby in His timing." Well, duh, I thought. I fully and completely was trusting Him for our baby.

 In three years. 

Then I'd get off birth control and pray like crazy, "trusting" His timing. The flaw in this, my husband explained, is that we are still taking matters into our own hands and telling The Lord when we're ready to have a baby rather than trusting that His timing is far better than ours and He wouldn't give us a child a moment too soon.

This made me sweat. I still had two more years of school! What if I got pregnant that month? What if I missed my youth and resented the baby, or worse, resented God? This required a level of blind faith I hadn't experienced before and truthfully, I didn't know if I wanted to experience. I poured my heart out in prayer, asking God to reveal His will to me. If His desire was for us to give up all contraceptives, then I would be obedient. Within a month's time, I had every single side effect on the birth control label ( have you ever seen the end of a birth control commercial? The endless rambling of possible side effects? Yes. Each and every one...including "heaviness of the underside of the arms." What even is that?!) We heard Him loud and clear, dumped the full pack of birth control in the trash and never looked back.

Every doctors appointment for the next two and a half years would begin the same way; "Are you trying to get pregnant?" "No, not yet." "Are you currently using contraceptives?" "No, we're not." "...so you're trying to get pregnant." This concept was foreign to everyone we know. I was completely fine with the guessing game, trusting that The Lord gave us the desire of our hearts and that I wouldn't be pregnant for three years. I took a pregnancy test about every month (just for good measure) but still had such a confidence in my heart. This confidence wasn't shaken until a little over two years ago, when, while hanging out with some of my husbands friends from college a seed was planted that grew bad fruit.

The wonderful thing about having a husband who graduated from Stanford is that he has smart friends. Like, really smart friends. We happened to be laughing the night away with some a pair of these smart friends who just so happen to be married and in their residency at Harvard Medical. After we talked about babies for a while, the bomb was dropped. "You guys aren't on birth control? You're not using anything at all? No woman can be consistently sexually active for two years and not get pregnant without something being wrong with her." Bam. She wasn't saying it out of malice, she was simply stating medical "fact." This "fact" shook me to my core, causing me to reevaluate this decision we had made. Suddenly, instead of thanking The Lord that I hadn't yet gotten pregnant and praising Him for the peace I had and for my health and His perfect will, I became terrified. Why hadn't I gotten pregnant? Was something wrong with me? What if, when we started trying, it would take a long time to have a baby? What if I couldn't have a baby?

Five months later, a regular checkup at the gynecologist brought news that only nurtured and watered this fear growing in me: I had pre-cancerous cells growing on my cervix and would have to have my whole cervix frozen in hopes of killing all the cancer. The day I had the procedure was a dark day as I'm certain the fear in me had grown so large that it shaded and choked out any faith I once had. I was angry that we were being punished for our faithfulness, betrayed for our trust. Once I fully recovered, I started begging my husband to let let us "start trying" earlier. "What if it takes a long time?! If we wait until the exact three year mark and it takes a year to get pregnant, I don't think I could bear it!" He assured me that right when we started trying, we would be pregnant. His faith inspired me and frustrated me at the same time, but one month before our three year anniversary I decided to trust The Lord with all of me and surrender to His timing.

We had spent the better part of the year planning a two month vacation in Europe to celebrate three years of marriage and act as our last trip before trying to have a baby. After a beautiful ten days in Rome, a week in Florence, four days in Capri and two days in Venice we arrived to the morning of our anniversary. I had been feeling like I was on a boat (but we were in Venice, after all) and couldn't shake a hunch that something was different. I told my husband I was headed outside to take some pictures and scurried around town trying to find a grocery store open that early. Just before calling it quits due to very poor navigational skills and no way to communicate with the mr. if I got lost, I said "Lord, if you want me to take this test, please reveal it to me." The next corner I turned was a drug store. I bought the test, took the test, and on the morning of our three year anniversary, this little Italian pregnancy test confirmed that I was indeed carrying our first baby.

God is faithful. We need only trust Him
. Yesterday I caught myself looking up ways to naturally induce labor. My body is tired, this baby is surely ready. But this story reminds me that God has not forgotten us. Before I was formed in my mothers womb, The Lord knew the day I would bring this baby into the world. Each day of this pregnancy has been written in His book, why would I stop trusting His perfect timing in the end? The cure to my spiritual amnesia is right here-in these words. I pray that whatever you are facing, no matter how tempted you are to try and control your situation, that you would trust The Lord instead. I can assure you, He will never let you down.