All you need is love

 I’ve always found it a bit weird sharing so much of my life with people, but I have found that if I want to share faith and my love for God in any forum, I have to share my life.  How can I explain or discuss how great God is, and why I believe certain things if I cannot also share my life and experiences as well.  Who likes to read textbooks rather than stories?  No one.  And that is a great part of life, right?  To live a life that is worth hearing about, and carve out a meaningful slice of existence for ourselves!  People want to live a life of worth and value, and the best way to do so is to share one’s life with others.  The blogs that I love the most are those that share their points of view on life and love, and to see how others have figured out different ways to align themselves with God’s truth. Those are the best blogs.  Those are the blogs worth reading.
I am not trying to win awards for my writing.  I am not trying to push my points of view on life and family on others.  I simply want to share.
“By love refined” is a book that I read soon after I was married.  Someone in my marriage prep class suggested it, and it had a very big impact on the first few years of my marriage.  In the book Alice VonHildebrand writes letters back and forth to a young bride, giving advice that would help the young woman direct her life and marriage to God.  It’s a beautiful book, and the title alone is such a thought-provoking line.  The idea that love itself is what refines us—this is a beautiful reality of life.  Love perfects us and polishes all of our ugliness when we embrace it and we use it as the primary tool in our lives.  Through love, the young wife can get beyond petty things that might lead to early destructive thoughts and feelings about her husband.  Through love, the first time mom can overcome her frustrations at getting up four times a night for a fussy baby, or her quick reflex to anger, when she is really feeling exhausted.  Love lifts both beauty and hardship in life up to God.  Love submits to the cross, and lifts us up in every act towards salvation.  In all greatness one accomplishes in life, and in all suffering that one experiences—both can be lifted up to the cross through love.  This is because in the cross Christ carried out the most beautiful and gracious act of love that ever was.  He carried out the greatest act of love in the history of the world: his passion, death, and resurrection.  He turned one of the ugliest things into the most beautiful, by lifting up his crucified body, through his great love, so that all might obtain salvation.  It is Christ who teaches us first that it is by love that we are refined.  He teaches us that there is no greater thing than loving God above all and in loving our neighbor more than ourselves.  Not only that, but he opened up the way and showed us how to love.  He is our great model, and when we submit ourselves to him and his way, we truly will find ourselves “refined”. 
This is why I named by blog By Love Refined. 

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“Beloved, let us love one another, because love is of God; everyone who loves is begotten by God and knows God. Whoever is without love does not know God, for God is love. In this way the love of God was revealed to us: God sent his only Son into the world so that we might have life through him. In this is love: not that we have loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as expiation for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we also must love one another.  No one has ever seen God. Yet, if we love one another, God remains in us, and his love is brought to perfection in us.”—1 John 4:7-12

–Lauren
 
 
 
 

The Main Event

Hello Everybody!

I decided to start a little blog for our family.  I really want everyone who wants to keep up with every crinkle and wrinkle on this little man to have a direct source (other than Facebook), and I think that this might be the best way to do it. 

 

OK, so I am just going to jump right in and let everyone know what our past 5 days together have been like!

So the few days leading up to the birth were quite stressful.  I could tell something was going on with my body, yet nothingwas happening.  I was going insane!  With every contraction I had (all Braxton) and with every weird sign my body was giving me, I was convinced something was up.  Yet I continued telling myself I was crazy and to ignore any sign, because up until the day Elijah arrived, all signs pointed to, “Go back home Lauren and quit being crazy!” 

                                  In all the craziness we still managed to venture out into Black Thursday the night before for our new camera!

Yet, despite these crazy feelings, come Friday morning I felt like something was happening.  Something that at least shouldn’thave been happening.  I felt like my water had slowly been breaking for days, but since we had just gone into the hospital to have almost the exact same symptoms checked the Sunday before, I definitely (and Joe most surely) thought that I was being paranoid.  But still, we went. 

And guess what! I wasn’t crazy this time!  Sure enough my water had broken (A-ha! I wasn’t just peeing myself!) and I was admitted at around noon.  Come 1:30pm we found out, with a wild gush of water, that what had been breaking at home was my forebag, and the real waters were yet to come. 

Joe pumped and ready to go!
 
Once the floodgates had opened (so to speak), labor truly begun.  I began feeling contractions slowly throughout the day, and I worked through them diligently as best I could.  My main focus was breathing.  Breathe, breathe, breathe.   Joseph was amazing helping me in any way he could, and I worked through triumphantly.   Then, it got to the point where “working through them” no longer seemed like a viable option.  Getting through them when they were at their worst meant screaming out, shaking anything I could get my hands on, and rocking my body in any way that would distract me from the pain.  At one point I even thought to myself, “Oh man, I am that girl”.  Pretty sure the whole hospital heard me wailing, and possibly all of southern Kansas City as well. 
It is amazing now looking down at our beautiful boy and thinking back to (almost) 5 days ago when I thought I would truly die.  I know some of you will attribute this to my flare for the dramatic—but no kidding…I thought that was the end of life as I knew it (or, I wanted it to be).  Every contraction was like someone internally stabbing me with a knife.  Every breath I took was like my only lifeline and solace for the pain.  It was a wild ride.  I went about 8 and a half hours until I couldn’t take it anymore and asked for the relief.  I thought I would feel disappointed in myself at not being able to fully do this thing without it, but looking back now I don’t think it could have been any more perfect.  Because I got the “juice” so late (40 minutes even after I asked for it), I really was able to be present and active in my whole labor.  The drug helped me catch a breather for the last few contractions, but I could then definitely tell my body was ready to push (whether or not Iwas).  I was able to still feel the labor pains and him making his descent and I am thankful I was not numb to that.  My husband, the doctor, and our nurse coached me through the pushes, urging me to keep going when I felt I couldn’t any more.  They cheered me on and they told me that I was a “great” pusher (and you know how flattery works on this gal).  I pushed for probably 15 minutes, and was sooooooo relieved when the baby finally came out.  It was like a breath of fresh life.  I was so overcome with relief from the pain that it took me a second to refocus my attention to our sweet boy.  They placed him in my arms, and thatwas the end of life as I know it.  THAT was the moment when everything leading up to this—all the waiting, anticipation, and ultimately pain—became the most significant and beautiful moment in my and my husband’s life.  I could never experience anything as truly painful and simultaneously glorious as this again.
Now THIS is love at first sight!
 Well, maybe not for another couple of years or so.  J
Elijah James Montgomery was born at 11:07pm.  He was perfectly pink, and 7lbs, 9oz.

                                                                               Vitals were golden

        Hey world, check ME out!

 
    Daddy watching our baby

 

 

 

                                                                          Last moment at the hospital.  Time to go home buddy!
Menorah hospital was great to us.  We had a wonderful nurse, and couldn’t have asked for a better doctor.  But, by the end of it, we were definitely glad to get home as well!

 So far we have learned that Eli is a big eater.  He loves to eat!  He also is a night owl (perhaps like his gma T?).  He loves to sleep all day, and keep us up all night.  This made for a few very tiring days, but now that we know what to expect, we have learned tricks to keep him awake at day and more asleep at night (as were our pediatrician’s orders).  We all finally had a very successful night of sleep last night with minimal crying spells.  Praise God!  Elijah LOVES his hands.  No matter how the swaddle is he manages to shimmy those fingers to his chin—his favorite spot.  He loves to be cuddled and kissed, and he truly is the most perfect thing that I have ever laid my eyes on!  He also loves to stretch out wide (see below), and I believe this is probably because his little mommy did not provide the most comfortable of spots for him to hang for 9 months.   

1st pediatrician visit went perfect! We loved her and all signs point to a healthy baby!
Oh and Lyla!. She was so freaked out by his crying when we had our first night together, that she army crawled under our (VERY short) bed.  We couldn’t get her out!  It was hilarious because she has never done anything like that before.   She was quite confused by our new addition at first, but she is adjusting rapidly.  She now watches us with Elijah with care and last night she even slept by our door, extremely excited to sniff the baby this morning.  We’re very glad!

We praise and thank God for this amazing gift.  I am so thankful that He allowed us  to share in bringing life into the world, and SO thankful that our baby is healthy and happy.  God is great, and our lives are immensely blessed because of him and his love!  Our family grows in happiness daily, and it is all because of his goodness. 

For those of you at home in NM, we love and miss you immensely.  We will be giving this baby your love everyday till you see him. 
Love you all,

Lo, Joe, and Elijah