There has been so much I have needed to write but the very thought and act of it causes more anxiety than I can seemingly endure. A beautiful friend and guide shared with me last night all of the reasons why this is important. So […]
January 19, 2013, 5:21am
8lbs 11oz, 20 inches
December 26, 2012 came and went, the original first due date. Sometimes it’s hard to really know whether the due dates given by doctors are the actual due dates or if the baby and God have a totally different plan. In the birth of Cohen, he and God definitely had a different plan; a plan that would prove to be the best, most divine plan of all.
Most of my pregnancy with Cohen was quite the adventure. I was put on bed rest and feet up more times than I care to recall and it seems even in the womb he was being formed with incredible intention and purpose not to be messed with by man. At every turn I submitted to the wisdom given but to say it was easy would be an understatement. I have two other beautiful babes that need their mama and oh how gracious they have been during this very long season of mommy not being able to jump and do for them all the things they have grown accustomed to. To say they were team players would be the understatement of the century. They went above and beyond the call of duty and that goes for their magnificent daddy too. He was burning the oil at both ends and never once, even to this day, have I heard him complain.
The news of my pregnancy was long awaited, most exciting news. Jared and I had prayed and asked the Lord for a son for over seven years to carry on the Adam’s name, to fill our home with even more joy and laughter. The fruit of the womb is God’s reward! I delight to know He would entrust me with this gift of all gifts.
I spent the first trimester sick with a virus and no voice. Funny how when God is trying to get a point across He will allow any measure to grab our attention. In this situation He was saying, Be Still and Know that I AM GOD! Those of you who know me surely know being still is a practiced behavior that I haven’t had a lot of practice at until now. Then the second trimester brought a subchorionic hematoma that had to be monitored weekly until it resolved. I can honestly say throughout the entire pregnancy there was a grace that ensued and God carried the baby and I through it all. I gained an amazing 67 pounds and every pound of that felt amazing. Sure I had my days of feeling like a hippo wondering how I would continue to make it up and down the stairs but nonetheless, I did, we did.
We watched Christmas come and go, a wonderful Christmas at that. We watched New Years come and go, a wonderful News Years indeed. Living out of backpacks that sat ready and waiting, we watched the first week of January come and go and the second, all the while making mobility a bit of a challenge, a challenge we got a few good laughs about.
It was the week of January 14, 2013 and i had been awakened with the sense of needing to contact a dear friend of mine, Melissa Eikenberry, whom I had walked through Counseling training with. It had been a while since we had actually seen each other but did our best to stay in touch now and again. I had asked her to pray and tell me if she was hearing anything from the Lord in regards to the arrival of our son. It was barely five minutes later and she responded with a clear message to “sing him out”. Well interestingly enough Jared and I had sensed something similar that very morning and God was using this relationship to bring confirmation to what was in our hearts. That evening at about 10 o clock, Jared grabbed his guitar and for the next hour he sang songs in the spirit that had never been written here on earth. Songs so powerful both he and I were in tears as we felt the tangible presence of the Lord in the room. I began to feel gentle movements and rhythms in my womb and fell asleep with such peace knowing God was surely in this place.
1:10am: I wake to use the restroom and shortly after fall fast asleep. 1:30am: I wake with a funny cramping feeling in my belly thinking surely I was dreaming. I fall back asleep. 2:30am: I wake with the same cramping feeling only more intense, I drop to the floor and begin intense breathing. I rise to get back in bed and drop to the floor again, soon realizing this was GO time. In between contractions I pat Jared on the arm and say, “this is it, he’s coming his own way, his own time”. The next hour becomes a quick blur and as I continue to stop, drop and breathe, Jared tries to gather our things to the car. Thank God the Eichenbergs are quick responders, they were here to watch the girls in record timing. Jared made a call to our midwife and after she listened to me breath over the phone she said if you plan to get to Spectrum you better call an ambulance cuz he’s coming fast. It was then we decided staying local was the better idea.
Thank God Doran was a fast driver and fully believed in running any and all red lights because we almost delivered on the side of the road. As I had my face pressed up against the cold window, breathing on hands and knees in the back seat, I began to plead with Jared to phone ahead to get the epidural ready cuz’ surely no one could live through pain like this. Any woman claiming to have surely wasn’t telling the whole story. ☺
We arrive at the ER just in time for me to fall out of the car, lose my shoes on the way in and hit the ground just through the sliding doors of which continued to open and close through the next three contractions. I am on all fours needing to push and the sweet security guy is ranting, “ma’am, ma’am, please, please do not have this baby on the ground, please, the hospital does not look kindly on these matters.” After the fifth time of him repeating himself, my husband graciously says, “sir, she is in the middle of a contraction, there will be no reasoning with her.” In between contractions, I do manage to sit in the wheelchair for a good fifteen seconds until the next one hits with a vengeance. As I am being wheeled to an ER room, I see several nurses setting up for the arrival of our son, I see a doctor coming down the hall with his gown and mask on in a frantic state. I hear him saying, “OB wants me to check her, I don’t know why I have to check her, we need to get her upstairs stat.” Well, he does proceed to check me about four times and after each check he proclaims, “she’s fully dilated, this baby is coming.” I have several attendants holding my legs and we are breathing through the contractions and pushing. I am nearly stepping outside of my mind, I mean really, what else was there to do in this situation. Right about then, an angel of the Lord appeared unto me in the form of an OB doctor by the name of Dr. Goetjes. She got down to my eye level and with the calmest voice she said, “Sweetie, we will get you upstairs just in time to have this baby.” I asked her if I could have an epidural first and she said, we need to get you upstairs and then we will see. Later I realize that was her kind way of saying, no, there is no time. I barely remember the transport from the ER to the OB floor. I remember not seeing my husband anywhere but seeing my doula, Molly Kehrer right by my side. My husband got caught outside the elevator as the doors were swinging shut. He will have to blog about his own experience here because it is filled with much humor.
The delivery room was dimly lit, peaceful and reassuring. There was one nurse, one doctor, my doula, my husband and soon to be son. I pushed several times and was then told, “he is sunny side up, we need to get him rotated, let’s change positions.” Three pushes in a new position and little buddy had spun himself in the right positioning for birth. A few more pushes and we welcomed Cohen Orion Emersondean Adams into our world. What a sight for sore eyes. What a delight to our hearts. He came out most perfectly and rested quickly on my chest.
A few things I did not mention earlier that I will share now is that I was positive for strep B and because he came so very fast, there was no time to treat me for strep B or for the epidural I had requested. Our prayer and plan all along was that God would cover his little body from strep B and that delivery would move so quickly it would leave me no room to change my plan and opt for every drug known to man. I would like to think I am quite tough but when push comes to shove (no pun intended), I do sometimes wonder. I will also add, our three babies from Haiti should be home the first of summer. What an adventure it has been believing God each step of the way for their arrival. Angels have made their presence known time and again throughout this journey. I am so very grateful.
Should you ever wonder if there is a God, a supreme being, wonder no more! Surely He is here in this place!
And You oh Lord, are everything in between! As I sat here tonight deciding where to begin with my updates, my mind began to wander to something I read in the intro to the book of Revelations not long ago. “Our times are not propitious […]
Many people think that what’s written in the Bible has mostly to do with getting people into heaven, getting right with God, saving their eternal souls. It does have to do with that, of course, but not mostly. It is equally concerned with living on this earth, living well, living in robust sanity. In our scriptures, heaven is not the primary concern, to which earth is a tag along after thought. “On earth as it is in heaven” is Jesus’ prayer. Wisdom is the biblical term for this on earth as it is in heaven everyday living. Wisdom is the art of living skillfully in whatever actual conditions we find ourselves! Intro to the book of Proverbs written by Eugene H. Peterson
I found myself the other day in what I would like to refer to as a “sweet spot”. For the first time in a very long time I rose with not one thing on the agenda ( list, plan, outline, or the like, of things to be done, matters to be acted or voted upon). You see, the night before, my Mom had called and out of the blue wanted to pick up my sweet Chocolate and Vanilla for a sleep over. Due to her and my Dad’s very hectic schedule this does not happen often, so when it does, we grab hold of the opportunity as though it were our last and we go with it. The girls were beyond excited and to be honest, I did not initially share in that same excitement. I was happy for them, don’t get me wrong but the thought crossed my mind, “now what will I do tomorrow if I’m not caring for them?”
I spent the first hour of my morning sipping hot tea, reading and reading some more. An entire hour without one interruption? Had I just died and gone to heaven? I didn’t have to reread the same line twenty times to actually comprehend what I was reading. There was a flow and a rhythm to the context of the story line and it hit me, that was because I was reading without someone constantly needing me for something. I paused for a moment to ask forgiveness to all of the sweet authors that I had falsely accused of not knowing how to write a book that flowed. It wasn’t their writing after all, it was the fact that I hadn’t read an hour straight without interruptions in ages. It was phenomenal and I was grateful.
I then found myself finishing a sewing project that I had started over a month ago. I am a self taught sewer. I don’t feel right calling myself a seamstress just yet as much of what I sew, if looked at closely, would not pass inspection. However, I love the world of colors, fabrics, textures and more. I look for every possible chance to create something for the home with my humble, beginners sewing machine. Most often it is hard to find the time but not on this particular day. This day, all of the hours were mine. It wasn’t two hours later and my project was complete and divine it was! My very own window seat. A place to sit and read, sip hot anything or simply stare out the window and think of nothing.
I swept the kitchen floor, not because it was on a list but because I could. I threw in a load of laundry that I did not transfer to the dryer until hours later. I organized a kitchen cupboard which inspired me to read a Better Homes and Garden magazine. I thumbed across the most divine looking cake on page 180. I grabbed a pen and wrote the ingredients on my left palm. I took Selah, our black lab for a brisk walk around the lake at a faster than normal pace as I didn’t have to look back to make sure everyone was keeping up. After the most wonderful walk, I grabbed my keys and drove to the grocery store and proceeded to purchase every ingredient written on my palm. Walking through the aisles I was pert near giddy at the thought of making a cake just for the good enough reason
of eating it.
Minutes after returning home I got out nearly every kitchen baking tool I had and began to whip up the most amazing dessert I have tasted in quite some time. It was so amazing that I will share it with you at the end of my story. As I was artistically creating in the kitchen, a sweet sister of mine popped over for a visit. She sat at the counter while I continued creating. We talked of everything and nothing and the hands of time slowed for just a bit so I could be present to those moments. Thirty five minutes later the cake was done baking and I was ready to add the berries and cream. I grabbed my phone, captured its beauty and grabbed a handful of forks. Within seconds the first bite was taken and then it hit me, I heard the words, “today is a Celebration of You.” “This is what I had in mind when you rose this morning.” This day was a celebration of me, a celebration of Christ through me. Today, I practiced wisdom. Today I practiced the art of living skillfully in the actual condition I was in!
1 cup flour
1/2 cup Cornmeal
1/4 cup pistachio nuts, ground
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup butter, softened
1/4 cup honey
1/2 cup milk
2 Tbsp orange juice
1/2 cup mascarpone cheese, chilled or cream cheese, softened
1 cup whipping cream, chilled
2 Tbsp honey
1 pint strawberries, halved or sliced
Preheat oven to 325. Butter 9 x 1 1/2 inch round cake pan. Line bottom with parchment paper. In medium bowl combine flour, cornmeal, ground pistachios, baking powder and salt. In large mixing bowl beat butter. Add 1/2 cup of honey beat 3 minutes til fluffy. Slowly beat in eggs one at a time. Add 3/4 of flour mixture. Mix in milk and remaining flour mixture. Pour in batter. Bake 30 to 35 minutes. In small saucepan heat remaining 1/4 cup honey and orange juice. Poke warm cake with toothpick and pour in warm mixture. Cool Cake. Add cream and 2 Tbsp honey, beat to soft mounds. Spoon on cake, drizzle with additional honey, top with strawberries and chopped pistachios. Nourishnetwork.com
I could hardly wait to blog today. Normally I don’t have time to blog but I am slowly learning (because I can be a slow learner) that you have to carve out time to share your story. So here I go in no particular order, […]
I never really thought this is how my life would go, the wounds, the pain, the scars, the brokenness, the separation, the divorce. Wait a minute, wasn’t I living out my childhood dream? The dream of being married to a Pastor and my love for music blessing the lives of others. On the outside that is exactly how my life appeared. On the inside since the very first night of our honeymoon, I was married to a very angry man. A man so locked up inside his own anger and mistaken identity that he couldn’t love himself, so how could he ever love me? He was convinced a child would make his life better. 3 1/2 years of fertility medications, shots and procedures and still no child. An ovary removed due to tumors. 3 1/2 years of lonliness, bruises, heartache, countless pleas with God to take me in my sleep, 22 and hopeless. Surely someone had stepped into my life’s story with a chapter from another book. Everything I thought I knew about a loving, caring Father disrupted by the pain from another human being. My hope in mankind diminishing, caught in a downward spiral of despair. Toward the end of the 3 1/2 years, God sent an angel, in the form of a Pastor of a large church no less. God had given him a dream. He spoke the words, “if you do not make a change in your life before the end of the year, you will be dead.” He had no idea of my situation other than the word he had spoken that day. It was then, I told him and his wife everything. I left no detail out. God sent them to help me find my way out.
One year after the last page had been turned in that chapter of my life, my path crosses with a very dear friend who I had not spoken with in quite some time. He was a gentle giant, a John the Beloved sort of guy with an incredibly funny side. He at one time was my guitar instructor but with my circumstances, I had to quit lessons to focus on getting better. We had lost touch for a long season. He was living in the town where I was working for a booking agent. Coincidence? I think not. It was the beginning of a new chapter in my story and although very much afraid, I had a deep knowing that this man was different. This man carried a pastors heart without the title of pastor. I could see his brokenness from previous years of pain but it was layered with such forgiveness. It wasn’t long after our reunion and we were married. A simple wedding with a whole lot of peace and redemption. Little did I know that this would be the beginning of our life of making music together and so much more that we had never planned. Step by step God was orchestrating our lives. April 2002 I am sitting in a women’s conference with a group of my closest friends. This incredible women named Joyce Meyer stopped in the middle of her sermon and stepped from behind the pulpit. Her speech and demeanor had changed and she spoke the words, “if you have been desiring children for a very long time but the doctors have told you it would never happen, stand up right now.” I shot up like a rocket without even thinking of what she had just said. There was something deep within my being that knew there was a miracle waiting for me and I wasn’t going to sit there and let it pass me by. There were about 150 women standing up that day and she said, “within six months to one year, you will be pregnant and the doctors will be astounded.” I began to weep uncontrollably. I knew I would not be disappointed and that God was moving within me and all around me.
April 2003 Jared and I find out via a blood test that we are expecting our first child. My doctor of 15 years came into the room and if only her face could have been captured by photo that day. It will forever be engrafted in my mind. Tears rolled down her face and she confirmed what we had suspected. Hearing the words, you are pregnant are some of the best words I have ever heard in my life. December 2003 we welcome our first born, Faith Annagail into the world. Not only has she changed our lives in ways only parents can understand, she has brought gifts to our family that we could have never imagined. July 2007 we are a busy family of 3, Faith is 4 and we are knee deep in running a health care recovery business and playing shows on the weekends. Our lives rich in travel and meeting amazing people. It was a sunny day and a phone call came in from one of our dearest life long friends. The voice on the other end was joyful yet filled with concern. In a desperate search to find a family for a little girl she helped bring back from Haiti, she asked would we please come to the hospital to pray over this child. She thought of everyone and knew when asked, we would spring in to action and come. This precious baby girl was barely 2 months old and was brought to the US on medical visa to have a large teratoma tumor removed from her tailbone. Her mother had stopped feeding her because the doctors in Haiti said she wouldn’t live. God sent 2 angels to rescue her. He knew her destiny. A week after, we were asked to come and pray. We received another call. Would we be the temporary respite family to give her after care for no longer than 8 weeks. 8 weeks turned into 3 months, 3 months turned into 6 months and at the one year mark through tears, I told my husband, “I cannot do this anymore all the while knowing she would be removed from our home.” She had become my second child. The child I didn’t carry in my womb but the child I had never stopped praying for, the child I carried in my heart. The anguish and pain we went through on a daily basis, knowing she would soon be removed from our care. Our hearts were being ripped out of our chests at the thought.
Christmas 2008 we were given clearance to begin adoption processing. We had no idea what we were getting ourselves into. The adoption journey will be saved for another blog but suffice to say, we had to daily stay steadfast and secure in knowing He who had begun a good work would be oh so faithful to complete it. Through 6 medical visa renewals, 8 train rides to Chicago, fingerprinting, 3 lost dossiers, numerous trips back and forth to the hospital, 1000 bags of frozen breast milk from another mother, interviews, forms, forms, forms, 3 years and a lot of money later she became our forever daughter and we her family. She received her new name Gracelynn RoseMichelle Adams. God was making our Sundae and oh how divine it was!
We had never stopped trying for more children but for reasons we couldn’t understand, I was unable to get pregnant again. I even thought maybe if I sit in another Joyce conference, surely then. Faith is now 8 y/o and Gracelynn is 4 y/o. In November we decorated our 4th upstairs bedroom into a nursery in anticipation of our baby boy or girl to come. In December 2011, I got very ill with high fever and cramping. It was at that doctors appointment where we learned we had just lost our baby. I was a little over 8 weeks along. Devastated doesn’t come close to the way we felt. I never thought I could come out of such a dark deep hole of sadness. I knew it was something I had to allow myself to walk through and I knew that nothing was to ever fill the void of my lost child. I walk around daily with her memory around my neck. Daddy named her Amber Eileen, it means God’s soft jewel. Every time I hear, read or say her name, I cry. I know she is with Jesus in Heaven. I know she is not forgotten and I believe deeply I will hold her and kiss her someday. Everything belongs in God’s kingdom. Nothing is lost.
February 2012. A dear friend of ours sends me an email. I read it, I see the photos of the most beautiful little girl from Haiti I have ever seen. I hear the words, she is my gift to you. God was asking us to care for a very wounded little girl. Just like me 13 years ago. There was hope for me, I was broken but not beyond repair. The circumstances surrounding her are hard to hear about, hard for anyone to hear about. Our daughter has been through a lot of pain at a very young age and we recognize fully she needs healing; spirit, soul and body. She has the most beautiful eyes, there is pain in those eyes. We know the road ahead is treacherous. We know we will need your prayers over the next several years. We know we will need to lean heavily on our God in every moment. Our daughter is not beyond repair. God prides himself in our redemption through His love. God gave us our daughter Amber for 8 weeks in my womb. He then finds a need for her in Heaven. Barely 8 weeks later, he brings us our new daughter, The number 8 means new beginnings! There is a saying on the wall of the nursery that reads, “IT IS HE WHO CAN!” We are walking out the words, it is He who can! Need I say more.