Monday, March 30, 2009

It happened to us!

You know how you hear stories of how God provided for people in miraculous ways? The stories are cool, often dramatic, and sometimes they give you the goosebumps. And you think "That's great! God is good. But that sort of thing will never, ever happen to me."

"Oh ye of little me work my miracle in your life." - Love, God.

So, the Monday after we brought Jenna home, Jared's car died. Yes, the purple Malibu (it's aubergine - sounds classier, but now that it's dead, I can call it purple). Jared knows this, but I haven't been the biggest fan of that car. So, I'm not the least surprised that it died when it did. We had invested a lot of money into its plethora of mechanical problems, to the point where I'm sure we could have bought another used car. Still, we had hoped that it would serve its transportational purposes for a little while longer. But that was not to be. After taking it in to the shop and told that it would cost us over $3,000 to fix it, we decided it wasn't worth it, and said our final goodbye. It now sits somewhere in the parking lot at Willow, its fate in the hands of the people in the Cars Ministry (well, at least it'll help us out with our taxes!).

Now that we were down to one car, we were a little anxious, but not too much. We figured that since I'll be home-bound for 6 weeks to recover from my c-section, Jared could use my Toyota. We had time to figure out what to do. So, it wasn't too inconvenient. Still, there was a nagging thought in our minds "what are we going to do?". That Monday night, we both felt an impression on our hearts that we should pray about this - not just pray about the situation, but to pray boldly and specifically. Jared suggested that we commit to praying for a whole month, and just allow God to work and see how He will provide for us. I don't think we've ever done this before. But that night before bed, we prayed specifically that God would provide us with a minivan, because, logically, that would be the next type of vehicle for our family. We prayed the same kind of prayer again the next day.

Wednesday morning, Jared took my mom to the airport - she was leaving for home after being with us for 4 weeks. It was an emotional morning for me as I said my goodbye to her. Jared came home a few hours later, and I was still pretty teary-eyed. When he saw me, he handed me his cell phone and said that I had to listen to a voicemail that he had received. I didn't want to, I was just not in the mood, but he was adamant. He had received this message while he was at the airport: it was a lady from a car dealership in Algonquin. She said that this was not a joke, but someone had anonymously purchased a car for us, and all we had to do is come in to sign some papers, and we could drive the car home. Everything had been paid for - taxes, title, etc. At this point, my mouth dropped, and I started bawling! I went from sadness to overwhelming joy and astonishment! What an emotional rollercoaster, and I was an emotional wreck! Both Jared and I couldn't believe it. How could this be? God had answered our prayers, and it was only 2 days after we decided to pray boldly for Him to provide for us. Needless to say, we were both quite speechless for a while. I kept thinking "No way, no way. Is this for real??" Jared called the lady back, and it became a reality. Someone had bought us a car!! WOW!! God heard our prayers, and provided for us! How cool is that!?!? We feel so blessed and are so thankful to God and to whoever it is that did this incredibly generous act of kindness. I will hold on to this experience for a long, long time! What a lesson for me to learn - that nothing is impossible with God. I just need to get better at trusting Him and have faith that He will provide for us. This car will be a tangible reminder of what God has done!

He didn't give us the minivan that we prayed for, but He did bless us with a 99 Land Rover (I didn't even know what a Land Rover was until now).

So, does God listen to our prayers? Does He still work miracles? Does He love us that much to lavish us with gifts, not because we deserve it (because we don't), but because He wants to?


May our God story be an encouragement to you. So, pray boldly!

Friday, March 20, 2009

Jenna is here!

Jared and I are pleased to introduce our daughter, Jenna Elizabeth Ahrens, to you! She was born on March 7 at 6:25am. She weighed in at 7 lbs 15 oz, and measured 20.5 inches.

Jenna will be 2 weeks old tomorrow - it's amazing how time flies! Before more time passes, here is an account of Jenna's birth:

Thursday, March 5 - I went in for my 39 week appointment, and Dr. Keith said that I was 4 cm dilated (Praise God! I'd been waiting for this for a long time!). She said that I could check myself in to the hospital the next day at 4pm (unless things progress overnight, in which case, I'll be at Good Shepherd a lot sooner...but this didn't happen). She was going to break my water then to begin the labor process, and hopefully I'll be able to do a VBAC as I had intended.

Friday, March 6 - Both Jared and I were extremely excited! We were hoping to have the baby that day (03/06/09 had a nice ring to it!). Before we went to the hospital, we dropped Joshua off at Elmhurst, for he was to spend the weekend with Jared's parents. It was an emotional time for me (what's new?), as I realized at that moment of saying goodbye to Joshua, it would be the last time that we would be a family of 3. Things will be different the next time we see him. We even took one last picture of the 3 of us. Knowing that he was in good hands, we headed off to Good Shepherd.

We checked in at 4pm, and I was given the lovely hospital gown to put on, and was strapped to all these monitors. The nurse started an IV, and at 5pm, Dr. Keith came in and broke my water. So then, we played the waiting game. We had an awesome nurse, Dawn, who is a Christian and we were able to have some great conversations with her (in fact, that's one of the reasons why we chose to go back to GS because we loved the staff there. They're just very personable, and have a way of making us feel important, like we were the only ones there!). Anyway, I started to feel contractions - I know that I've mentioned in the past to most of you that I don't know what contractions feel like. Well, now I do. Not pleasant at all. Dr. Keith had told me that I could get an epidural at anytime. Being the whus that I am, and having stated that I don't need to be a hero, I decided to get the epidural sooner than later. By 7:30pm, the anaesthesiologist had come and gone, and I was able to relax and even get some shut eye. Periodically, Dr. Keith would come in to check my cervix to see if dilation had occurred. At 11:30pm, I was dilated to 8cm and 100% effaced. A good sign, and I was praying that everything would move fast now, and that I'll be able to deliver soon (even though it didn't look like we'd have an 03/06/09 baby - oh well!).

Saturday, March 7 - It was difficult trying to fall asleep because the nurse would come every half hour to help me turn to my other side, so that the epidural would work on both sides of my lower extremities. Also, I was anxious to see how far along I'd be. When 5am rolled around, I was getting discouraged because I was still at 8cm. At 6am, Dr. Keith said that the baby's head is having difficulty dropping because it was just too big for my small pelvic cavity. If I waited too long, the baby could go into fetal distress. Although I really wanted to try a VBAC, I was okay having another C-section. I just wanted the baby to be healthy. So, I consented to having a c-section. Everyone on staff was very encouraging and said that I had made a valiant effort to try the VBAC. I'm just so thankful for modern science and technology - that we have the resources available to help both my babies. I shudder to think what would happen if we didn't have the option of a c-section. Soon after I gave my consent, both Jared and I were prepped for surgery. Jared was by my side. I have to admit, I was scared - I don't know why. It's not like I haven't been through this before. My hormones were out of control! I was in tears one minute, and then in full-out excitement the next. I won't go into details about the surgery. Let's just say that I could feel everything (I would have rather that they knocked me out!).

At 6:25am, Jenna was born. I heard a cry, and we also heard Dr. Keith say something like "Whoa! You're a lot bigger than we all expected!". I vaguely remember seeing her, and soon after, the drugs really kicked in, and before I knew it, I was in the recovery room.

The nurse brought Jenna to our postpartum room (341) about an hour after surgery. When I held her in my arms for the first time, I was filled with so much love for this tiny human being whom I had just met. How is this possible? How is it that I am ready to do anything for her? To lay down my own life for her? Again, I'm reminded of how much our great God loves us. And how I feel about Jenna is but a fraction of how God loves us. Amazing!

After 5 days in the hospital, we were able to bring Jenna home. So, there you have it! Jenna is here. We are now a family of 4. And we are so blessed!