Wednesday, March 30, 2011


Growth is a good thing! It's really important to kind of stop every once in awhile, and make sure that things aren't stagnant... That you are growing in your love for Jesus and His Word, that you are growing in your relationships and your ability to love.
I can recall, especially as a new mom of my first baby, feeling so proud every time I went to the doctor and saw how the baby had gained weight or grown in length by inches.
But today, I looked down and saw that Judah was already outgrowing his clothes. I have to start busting into the 3 month drawer. Oh man, it breaks my heart. I know it's a good thing-it means he is eating well, he is healthy, he is growing.
But it also means that there is at least a tiny bit of growth in my own mama's heart... because I am learning how quickly it all passes. I am learning not to wish the moments away... I am learning to embrace the crazy, and cherish the moments, because tomorrow comes too quickly.

"But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and forever! Amen." 2 Peter 3:18

This is how Judah tried to come out, with his hand near his face... I find him like this quite often!

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Judah Sean Hester

Judah Sean Hester was born on March 18th, 2011. He weighed 9 lbs. even, and was 21 1/2 inches long. With a big head! =) His name means "Praise God who is gracious!" Judah means praise, and someone asked where we got the name Sean. Besides being a cool surfer name, we found it by searching for names that mean God is gracious. It just seemed the most fitting description for the past year or so.
*This is Judah's birth story, so if you don't like reading birth story details, then stop reading now.**

Anyhow, as most of you know, I had been having contractions for the last couple of weeks. They would come in regular intervals, and then putter out. Each time they came back they would be stronger. It was frustrating for me, as a momma for the fifth time, to feel like I had no idea what was going on, or when it was actually "time." Not to mention the fact that I was just bigger than I had been, so my heartburn was worse, my pubic bones were killing me, and the ultrasound and the midwife were both telling me that this was going to be a huge kid with a big head. So, I was pretty ready for him to come!! We had our homeschool co-op on Friday in Oxnard, which is about 40 minutes away, and Ben said he didn't feel comfortable with me going. I felt lame, but I went ahead and called and let people know I wouldn't be there.

Well, at least twice last week, I thought for sure this baby was coming. Contractions 3-4 minutes apart, things looking good. But I knew to wait, and they would go away, leaving me with little sleep, and getting frustrated. Thur
Add Imagesday night, though, the contractions were coming, 3-4 minutes apart, with a lot of pain in my "area", so I thought maybe they might actually be dilating me. We called Karni (the midwife), and my mom, and both came over. Ben's adrenaline was flowing, we were all excited. The baby was coming!!! But alas, after about an hour, the contractions started to space out, and then they went away completely. Karni checked me and I was 80 percent effaced and only 2 cm dilated. That was my first exam, but I knew then, that this baby had changed his mind. So we sent everyone home. Karni had an appointment in Calabasas on Friday, which she was unsure if she should keep or not. I was frustrated. I told her, this baby is not coming.

About 4:30am, I woke up and started having contractions again. 3-4 minutes apart, definitely stronger and more intense. About 6:30, they started to space out to about 8 minutes apart. SERIOUSLY?? However, they were way more intense. Ben and I were trying to decide if he should go to work. We were pretty sure he would go, except that the contractions were intense enough that I didn't think I should be alone with the kids. Since we hadn't gotten much sleep, Ben decided to just take a vacation day and stay home. At 7:30am, Ben called Karni and just updated her on what was going on. She decided she would hang around Ventura. I felt hopeless, like I wouldn't know when to actually have her come. So I prayed that either my water would break, or that God would just put it on Karni's heart to know when to come! About 8:30am, Karni called and said she was heading our way, but she would stop for coffee. We called my mom to come over as well, but we knew she had to pick up my brother's kids at noon. About 9:15am, or so, both Karni and my mom were here. I went potty, and when I wiped, there was something weird. Ben and Karni came in and we all had a good laugh, as my bag of waters was bulging out of me!! AAHH! That is weird!! But, it meant that I was basically fully dilated. My contractions were still somewhere between 5-8 minutes apart, and not quite as strong, so we were waiting and thinking about pushing. Karni broke my water bag, and then things got crazy. She had me lay down, so baby's head could clear my pelvic bone. Then, I was kind of standing near the bed and the real work began. As I was pushing his head, Ben and Karni had me go REALLY SLOW because his head was REALLY BIG. It was super painful. Then, once his head was about stretching me to the fullest point, I had to sit and wait for the next contraction, at which point I thought I might pass out. =) Normally with my kids, once the head is out, the baby just flies out! Not this guy!! He had his hand up next to his face (probably trying to suck his thumb!) and so Karni moved his hand and Ben pulled him the rest of the way out and up to me. I had so many things running through my head... This was by far my most difficult and painful delivery. But, even now, I am amazed, how when that little one is in your arms....God's grace just covers it all.

Judah Sean Hester is amazing. He is utterly adored in this household. Emma wants to hold him all the time. Even Ezra has been pretty gentle with him. Newborns, I think, are such a perfect picture of the gospel. You love this person, not because of anything they do or don't do... You love them because of who they are. We are loved because of who Christ is, and because being united with Him makes us heirs, sons and daughters. We have performed so badly, but God treats us so kindly, because Christ has performed well on our behalf, and has made us sons and daughters.

Praise God, who is gracious.

Thursday, March 17, 2011


I think every pregnant mom finds those last few days/weeks just a tad difficult. The anticipation of the new little one, being huge, not getting sleep due to heartburn or just being uncomfortable. I am bigger this time than I have ever been. No, no... it's true. Many have confirmed it. My heartburn is worse, and I have this pelvic bone problem where I can't lift one leg at a time, or turn over without excruciating pain. I have what they call "prodromal labor" which means I get contractions, real ones, which will come regularly, and then go away. Makes it very difficult to know when the baby is ACTUALLY coming, but also tends to lend itself towards very quick deliveries (hence Ezra).

But, these last few days or so have reminded me that how we wait reveals a lot about our character. And boy, have I come up lacking. We have good days, where we still do some schoolwork, and we laugh and play Just Dance on the Wii trying to encourage baby to come and join this big, fun family. But other days... well, other days are just glaring reminders at how much I am lacking in character. I am so thankful that the Gospel is ever before me.... What perfect timing that we have been marinating in these truths: I HAVE PERFORMED TERRIBLY, and yet because of Jesus Christ, GOD TREATS ME SO KINDLY.
And His kindness comes in so many ways... like a mom, who lets me bring all the kids over and makes the waiting less.... miserable. This morning we made green shamrock pancakes for the kids, and then walked to the thrift store and SCORED on books, which has kept the kids happy for the rest of the day. Like fresh, yummy bread from Westridge Market.

It seems almost ironic that one of my favorite songs is John Waller's, "While I'm Waiting." I will serve you while I'm waiting, I will worship while I'm waiting...
How you wait says a lot about your character...
And while my heart's desire is to wait for this sweet little one WELL, today I am basking in a Savior who performed well so that I can be treated kindly even when I don't. Thank you Jesus.

Wednesday, March 02, 2011

Almost Done....

I know, I know... poor subsequent children who don't get as many pictures taken, or stories written down, or baby book entries as first kids. I feel like I have barely written anything about this pregnancy. But, even though I haven't written much, it doesn't mean that I marvel any less-in fact, I think it is the opposite. I may not have to time to record it all, but that's because I am too much in awe, just trying to take it all in. This time, I know what's happening-there's a baby inside of me, who will grow way too quickly into a little person, with tons of personality. And the love... man, I think on your second child you wonder how you will ever love another child the way you love that first one. But by this time... I am used to that amazing multiplication process, and I just know that my heart will feel like it will burst because there is just. so. much. love. In many ways, it already feels like that.
Today, I am feeling so many things. The rain is gently falling outside, and I am just keenly aware that soon, there will be a baby. This pregnancy has been a difficult one!! With my back trouble, and pelvic bone pain and heartburn which keep me up most nights.... And yet, I
am looking around our room thinking, "We're almost done. There's going to be a baby..." In some ways, it doesn't feel real. But in other ways, it is so close I can touch it and smell it. And so, I find this verse particularly relevant to my heart:

"For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us. For the earnest expectation of the creation eagerly waits for the revealing of the sons of God. For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of Him who subjected it in hope, because the creation itself also will be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation groans and labors with birth pangs together until now. Not only that, but we also who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, eagerly waiting for the adoption, the redemption of our body...If we hope for what we do not see, we eagerly wait for it with perseverance...Likewise, the Spirit also helps in our weaknesses...." Romans 8:18-23,25,26a

Such a rich passage. So much to feast on. Such clear pictures for me right now. My body groans and aches to hold this little guy... I am eagerly waiting with perseverance. And praise be to Almighty God, whose Spirit helps us in our weakness....because right now, my weakness is great. =)

Ultrasound at 35 weeks: 1 1/2 hours in the waiting room with all four kids. Finally get in, they rush, rush, inform me that baby's head is measuring 39 weeks, and he is already 7 lbs. REALLY????? Because my biggest baby was 7lbs. 4 oz. So, yeah.... this should be interesting.