I Must Die 

“I am a dead man, and dead men have no rights, no inheritance, no remembrance of him.”

I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me. (Galatians 2:20 NKJV)

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The Last Time 

From the moment you hold your baby in your arms, you will never be the same.

You might long for the person you were before,
When you have freedom and time,
And nothing in particular to worry about.

You will know tiredness like you never knew it before,
And days will run into days that are exactly the same,
Full of feedings and burping,
Nappy changes and crying,
Whining and fighting,
Naps or a lack of naps,
It might seem like a never-ending cycle.

But don’t forget …
There is a last time for everything.
There will come a time when you will feed
your baby for the very last time.
They will fall asleep on you after a long day
And it will be the last time you ever hold your sleeping child.

One day you will carry them on your hip then set them down,
And never pick them up that way again.
You will scrub their hair in the bath one night
And from that day on they will want to bathe alone.
They will hold your hand to cross the road,
Then never reach for it again.
They will creep into your room at midnight for cuddles,
And it will be the last night you ever wake to this.

One afternoon you will sing “the wheels on the bus”
and do all the actions,
Then never sing them that song again.
They will kiss you goodbye at the school gate,
The next day they will ask to walk to the gate alone.
You will read a final bedtime story and wipe your last dirty face.
They will run to you with arms raised for the very last time.

The thing is, you won’t even know it’s the last time
Until there are no more times.
And even then, it will take you a while to realize.

So while you are living in these times,
Remember there are only so many of them
And when they are gone, you will yearn for just one more day of them.
For one last time.

-Author Unknown-

Photo credits to Karen Sim from The K Studio for this lovely image!

Reflections of a Rookie Parent 

1. You are never the same, ever again. Even if people have told you that in the past, it never quite sinks in till it happens to you. 

2. Baby’s sleeping time is a precious commodity. Treasure and use it wisely. 

3. I have never felt this helpless before, especially in the first few weeks of navigating through understanding baby’s cry. (its not always as simple as checking for feeding, soiled diapers, colic or baby’s  temperature. It could be many other things. Humans are complex creatures. Let us not forget that.) 

4. There will be many opinions pushed upon you. But ultimately, you learn by trial and error what works for baby, and yourself. Just as we are all different in temperaments and needs, so is every child. 

5. Working together as a team with your spouse in caring for the baby strengthens you not only physically, but also emotionally. Laughing together when baby does his projectile poop and pee makes cleaning up more bearable. Going through sleepless nights with bleary eyes. Figuring out baby’s needs when he is upset. So grateful for an incredibly supportive husband and super hands-on dad. 

6. You will somehow feel a greater closeness with other mothers like never before. So grateful for mummy friends who uplift and encourage (that includes some of our daddy friends too!). Whether it is checking on baby products or ways to handle a diaper rash, they are able to offer tips that they have tried with their own children. 

7. Every mother especially I think, will feel inundated by guilt (not making enough milk, not spending enough time with baby, doing too much, doing too little. It can be anything!) So please, please, try to be as encouraging as you can. It is very daunting to be a first time mother. Every eye is on you, watching, and you fear that they are silently judging you too. (boo hoo hoo!) 

8. That being said, you have to be patient first with yourself, patient with your baby and patient with the people around you. Hehe! 

9. There is no perfect parent. We just learn to be less imperfect parents. Ha ha! 

10. We learn about God’s love for us. How He loves us tenderly, faithfully and unconditionally. Nothing can make Him love us more or less. We can rest in the knowledge of His unchanging character. 

Well, here are just some musings as I pump and make fruitful use of baby David’s sleeping time! 

The ‘Mummy Look’  

The title makes me smile (I’m thinking Egyptian mummified Pharaohs, perhaps not too far off from my current physical appearance, lol!) 

{Note the inside out T-shirt and the designer bags under my eyes.} 

I’m consciously reminding myself to enjoy this season with my newborn. Though the nights can be long, the days will pass swiftly, and if I do not treasure this moments, they will soon be gone. 

“The Lord our God hath shewed us His glory.”

Charles H. Spurgeon

Morning, July 19

“The Lord our God hath shewed us his glory.”

Deuteronomy 5:24

God’s great design in all his works is the manifestation of his own glory. Any aim less than this were unworthy of himself. But how shall the glory of God be manifested to such fallen creatures as we are? Man’s eye is not single, he has ever a side glance towards his own honour, has too high an estimate of his own powers, and so is not qualified to behold the glory of the Lord. It is clear, then, that self must stand out of the way, that there may be room for God to be exalted; and this is the reason why he bringeth his people ofttimes into straits and difficulties, that, being made conscious of their own folly and weakness, they may be fitted to behold the majesty of God when he comes forth to work their deliverance. He whose life is one even and smooth path, will see but little of the glory of the Lord, for he has few occasions of self-emptying, and hence, but little fitness for being filled with the revelation of God. They who navigate little streams and shallow creeks, know but little of the God of tempests; but they who “do business in great waters,” these see his “wonders in the deep.” Among the huge Atlantic-waves of bereavement, poverty, temptation, and reproach, we learn the power of Jehovah, because we feel the littleness of man. Thank God, then, if you have been led by a rough road: it is this which has given you your experience of God’s greatness and lovingkindness. Your troubles have enriched you with a wealth of knowledge to be gained by no other means: your trials have been the cleft of the rock in which Jehovah has set you, as he did his servant Moses, that you might behold his glory as it passed by. Praise God that you have not been left to the darkness and ignorance which continued prosperity might have involved, but that in the great fight of affliction, you have been capacitated for the outshinings of his glory in his wonderful dealings with you.

Baby David’s Testimony 

Baby David’s Testimony 

What do you do when things don’t go according to plan? 

There were two things very specifically that I wanted and prayed for in regards to David’s delivery and birth. 

1. I wanted to deliver naturally, and kept the option of an epidural open, depending on my threshold of pain on the day of labour. 

2. I wanted to breastfeed David immediately. Hence, I reminded my husband more than once (3987 times, to be exact), that I wanted immediate skin to skin contact with my son once he was born. I read that having immediate skin to skin contact not only allows mother and child to bond immediately as well as promote a sense of well-being for the baby; it also helps the baby breastfeed quicker and more easily. 

Both did not go according to plan. 

Due to my SLE condition, my doctors (both in the government and private hospital) advised me not to prolong my pregnancy to the 40th week (full term) as it would carry risks to the baby. 

So at week 38 on the 20th of July at 1am, I was induced. Barely an hour after I was given the medication, I started cramping really badly and initially did not realise them as contractions. But 6am the pain had grew intense and by 9am I was already dilated to 7cm. I really wanted an epidural by then because I didn’t want to fight the contraction pains anymore, but it was not possible due to the baby’s weak heartbeat. By then baby D had pooped in my womb which signalled distress. At 11am I was fully dilated but somehow could not push little David out, even with the help of vacuum extraction. I was then wheeled in for an emergency C-section. 

I was fully conscious during the surgery, but had no sensation waist down from the spinal anaesthetic. It was not long after that, when someone came over to me, started cleaning me up and told me that the surgery was over. 

“What do you mean, my surgery is over??”, a warning sign came up in my head right away.  

“Where’s my son?”, I asked the lady. She promptly turned and walked away. 

Again, I turned to the other man on my left and asked if my son was alright. They all ignored me and avoided eye contact. 

It was then, I knew something was wrong. I slowly turned my head to look around the room and saw in a corner, a medical team huddled over my baby. My baby. 

Before I knew it, I was wheeled into the recovery room. I hadn’t the faintest idea if baby D was alright, and neither could I see my husband. I just wanted to be wheeled out pronto! 

Finally when they did wheel me to the corridor, Nick got to come to the hallway and meet me. As he held my hand and kissed me, I could tell that he wasn’t quite alright. With a slight tremble in his voice, he told me that baby David was not doing well and was being attended to immediately. 

Thankfully I had family there to accompany me post-surgery in the ward while Nick waited anxiously outside the NICU. Four excruciating hours passed before he could speak to the doctors in there. David had suffered from meconium aspiration syndrome (MAS), where the baby has passed meconium (stool) into the amniotic fluid during labor or delivery. MAS may occur if the baby breathes in (aspirates) this fluid into the lungs.

David had to be transferred to the neighbouring hospital, a separate building a few blocks down the road from where I was warded. Because of that, I could not see him until the 3rd day after I was discharged. 

David suffered a few episodes of seizures in his first few days and also had to be assisted by a ventilator in his breathing. He was such a fighter! Despite his frail state, he was feisty enough to pull at all his tubes! 

Day 5, some tubes were removed from his body, and I was able to carry David for the first time. 😭

Each day brought different progress and David recovered remarkably, we give all glory to God for sustaining him, and also us throughout the 10 days he was in the NICU. 

Towards the end of our pregnancy, Nick and I had being doing catechism studies together as a couple. The first question we had learnt was – what is our hope in life and death? And the answer is that we are not our own, but belong, in both body and soul, in life and death, to God and to our saviour Jesus Christ. It is this very promise that we were assured that David’s life was in God’s hands. 

When I had suffered a threatened miscarriage earlier in my pregnancy, I had also come across a verse in Psalm 118 that I saw as a promise for David’s life. “I shall not die, but live, and proclaim the wondrous works of the Lord”. 

All these promises that the Lord gave to us prior to the delivery strengthened us for the uncertain days in the NICU where doctors could not give us answers, we rested in the knowledge of Him who is sovereign and in control. 

Over the 10 days in the NICU, we witnessed God’s faithfulness to us in so many ways. Grateful for loved ones who surrounded us with prayer, love and support and for family members who brought us food as well as provided practical help. We had to ‘camp out’ at the hospital each day, spending 7 to 12 hours there to ensure we could spend as much time with baby David there, as we believe strongly that human contact and our voices were vital in his recovery. 

Through all this, we remember and have been strengthened by the devotion that we read during our prayer together just before we went to be admitted to the hospital on July 19. (Devotion to be attached in the following post). We give thanks for the Lord’s wonderful dealings with us; for His working in all this to reveal our weakness and helplessness, and to show to us and through us, the outshinings of His glory.

A week after his birth, we witnessed many miracles. David was very alert and responsive, and opened his eyes clearly for the first time when I called his name. We then tried skin to skin contact with David, and he started suckling almost immediately. We know that this is a remarkable milestone as David has been fed intravenously all these while, and even with his improved condition, been fed by cup or syringe. 

The Lord seemed to answer all our hearts’ desires, for David also cried (very lustily) for the first time. David also had his MRI done and we were so grateful to know that he has suffered no brain damage despite the fits he went through the previous week. 

We are so glad to have David home now. It is both a sacred and joyful time for us, as we savour this humbling process of learning to be parents as well as enjoying our time together as a family.

We would appreciate your continued prayers for us that we may raise David up to be a man after God’s own heart, wholehearted in His pursuit of Christ. 

Pregnancy Notes 

I thought I should blog a little more before my hands get full with soiled diapers, milk bottles and a myriad of baby paraphernalia. 🙂

Some random facts about our first pregnancy

1. It was a surprise. However unprepared we felt, we saw God’s hand in baby D’s life from the time he was conceived. In the fragile first few weeks of his implantation in my uterus, God prevented Nick and I from travelling to Tamong (a mountainous village with treacherous road conditions) through a terrible cold I developed which lasted a week. We would have gone, if not for the dreadful cough and fever that kept me awake for many nights, as I was unaware of my pregnancy at that time. After all, I wasn’t due for Aunt Flo’s visit till the next week. Through this incident, we look back and realise that baby D’s life has truly been covered with the fingerprints of his heavenly Father since the very beginning.

God also revealed to us baby D’s gender way before it was revealed in an ultrasound. At week 5, Nick and I already had a word given to us from the Bible (individually, at different times and through different passages) that we would have a son. (The gender of a baby is usually only known at week 16).

This brought us comfort and joy; knowing that despite our feelings of unpreparedness and inadequacy, God has already ordained all the days of our son.

The day we found out that we were expecting, a butterfly emerged from the cocoon we had earlier kept to observe.

2. I gave my poor Hubby and loved ones a headache during the first 5-6 months of pregnancy with my incredibly restricted diet. I felt too sick to stomach any Chinese food, meat especially poultry, and often craved for Japanese food and McDonald’s. (which obviously, is not available where we were in Kalimantan). 😄

Thankfully for my poor husband, I managed to win in two sushi competitions, one which won me a two hundred ringgit voucher at Sushi Tei, and another free thirty plates of sushi at Sushi King. We believe God had mercy on the both of us. 😂 I got my sushi cravings fixed, and our household budget was preserved. 😂

Now, I’m happily making up for lost time and enjoying my ayam goreng, chicken rice, Nando’s and KFC. Tee hee hee.

Our winning entry for Sushi Tei, accompanied by a poem I wrote for it’s caption.

3. I really love the feeling of baby D’s movements in my tummy. It makes up for all the physical discomfort I feel at each stage of the pregnancy, be it nausea and Dizziness, back pains, heart burn or indigestion. It feels so good to know that this precious little one is growing, woven by the skillful hands of His Father in heaven.

Spot the little bird saying hello to baby D 🙂

4. Despite all the challenges of pregnancy, my friends who are mothers already say that pregnancy is a breeze compared to actual motherhood! I believe them. 🙂 Nick and I feel so in need of God’s grace and wisdom as we charter into this unknown territory of parenthood.

Nick has been an amazing husband and support during this period, I could not ask for more. So glad that he’s with me in this together!

5. We are also treasuring our last few moments together alone as a couple (every day feels like honeymoon for me still, even after 2+ years of marriage). Hehe.

6. Lastly, I personally feel so blessed and grateful to God for His providence to us and baby D through the love of the people around us. Baby stuff can be so pricey and confusing at times for newbie parents like us, but everyone has been so kind to rally around us with their support, availability and all the wonderful hand me downs and gifts we have received. Most of our baby stuff are pre-loved items from relatives and friends who have generously given/loaned us stuff without hesitation. Personally, we would rather use hand-me-downs for these reasons – we save a lot, we don’t have to go back and forth deciding on the brands, prices and benefits and disadvantages of each product that we are considering to purchase (my husband is extremely thrifty and OCD, haha) and each product has been tried and tested from its previous owner. Anddddd, we just feel really blessed and loved as we sorted through the different items we received from family and friends.

Through this pregnancy, I’ve also come to experience for myself God’s providence for His children. Even though we have chosen in some ways to give up many things in following Him, He has proven Himself faithful to provide & we have never lacked anything.

Can’t wait to share all these stories with you, baby D. See you soon! 😚

Thoughts on Injustice

It will always seem as though the good guy finishes last, and that there is no justice on earth. 

But I know the God who is the avenger of the weak, the meek, and the helpless who cannot speak for themselves… 

It is a far more terrifying thing to mistreat that sort of people, for behind them is the God of wrath and justice, the Father of the fatherless, the refuge to the lowly, the Word that promises this – 

Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.”

Romans 12:19 ESV

It may seem like a never ending battle on this side of eternity. Turning the other cheek, not returning evil for evil, and the need for unending patience, hope and perseverance. 

But He is faithful, He will help His remnant endure until the end. 

{especially remembering those who have to live under seeming injustice & unfairness in this lifetime} 

Little Moments 

The character and quality of our life is forged in “little moments”. {Paul David Tripp} 
It is a profound thought because it is in the little moments that our marriage is strengthened or weakened, either by our concern and care for one another or our indifference to the things that are important to our spouse but seemingly insignificant and unimportant to us. 
I’m thankful for a man who shows his love in a thousand ways to me in small but faithful acts each day. 
Love and appreciate you, darling.

Blessings (Laura Story) 

We pray for blessings, 

We pray for peace, 

Comfort for family, protection while we sleep. 

We pray for healing, for prosperity, 

We pray for Your mighty hand to ease our suffering. 

All the while, You hear each spoken need, 

Yet love us way too much to give us lesser things. 
‘Cause what if Your blessings come through raindrops

What if Your healing comes through tears, 

What if a thousand sleepless nights

Are what it takes to know You’re near. 

What if trials of this life are Your mercies in disguise? 
We pray for wisdom, 

Your voice to hear. 

And we cry in anger when we cannot feel You near. 

We doubt Your goodness, we doubt Your love, 

As if every promise from Your Word is not enough. 

All the while, You hear each desperate plea

And long that we have faith to believe… 
‘Cause what if Your blessings come through raindrops, 

What if Your healing comes through tears, 

What if a thousand sleepless nights

Are what it takes to know You’re near. 

And what if trials of this life are Your mercies in disguise… 
When friends betray us, 

When darkness seems to win, 

We know that pain reminds this heart, 

That this is not, this is not our home. 

It’s not our home… 
What if my greatest disappointments

Or the achings of this life, 

Is the revealing of a greater thirst this world can’t satisfy. 

And what if trials of this life, 

The rain, the storms, the hardest nights, 

Are Your mercies in disguise…