Thursday, October 29, 2009

Getting Ready to Transition

When I took over Children's Ministries at Morning Star three and a half years ago, my goal had been to develop my team to the point of me stepping back to part time to start a family in three years. I think the reality of reaching that goal still hasn't struck me. There were several times over these past few years that I didn't think we'd make it. The thought that I'd never be able to have kids crossed my mind a few times. But now, I'm just two months away from working only 12-15 hours a week (and then one more month until I take a two month maternity leave). Wow.

While the official transition has just begun, we've really been transitioning for three years. In that time, we've had four different staffing combinations. But each change has moved us closer to our next transition. My team is amazing, and I fully trust their abilities to run their programs. But no matter how great Lucy, Jared, Jan and Mackenzie are, our change would be impossible without the support of my Executive Pastor.

In January, I brought up that Nolan and I would like to start a family, but needed to know if I'd have a job after having a baby. Ken wanted to know how soon I was talking about. The next week, I brought it up again, asking if he'd thought about it at all. The response was, "Wait, you're meaning you want to do this soon?" The next week his answer was, "Why are you in such a hurry? You just got a dog, enjoy some kid-free married life a little longer. You're young." (All this was said in a lighthearted tone. I could tell Ken liked things the way they were.) The next week I provided him with a staffing proposal that lined out what each of our current salaries are, what they would be after the change, and what our job descriptions would be. And the week after that, Ken told me he was ok with my plan, but he wanted me to do research on how other Children's Ministries directors have transitioned from being a kidless director to a director and a mom.

As I looked around online (Kidology, google searches, blogs, etc.) I found that there are very few things written about this kind of transition in Children's Ministries leadership. So, either most women in my role began it after having babies, stopped working when they had babies, or just haven't posted their experience online.

Our transition is obviously very unique to Morning Star, but I think I've learned some valuable lessons along the way, and maybe someone else can benefit from them. My next few posts will be about how we're transitioning. And oh, does it excite me to be writing these! It's all a testimony to what God has provided for us.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Baby Update!

Our ultrasound went well yesterday--Jace was very cooperative and didn't cover his face at all! The tech was able to point out to us that Jace's lip was complete and showed us how there would be a black line if Jace had cleft lip. And then we just got the call from our doctor that after looking at three different angles, it looks like Jace's palate is complete as well! So, unless there's a surprise when he's born, it looks like he doesn't have any clefting.

We're praising God for it. I'd rather give God the glory and say He healed my child than blame it on a faulty first ultrasound. And I know that God is going to use all this knowledge we've gained about it for a reason.

It's actually kind of strange to think of Jace as not having a cleft now. For the past four weeks, the entire time I've been able to identify him as a boy and with his name, I've envisioned him with cleft lip and palate. My looking forward to the future with him always involved a cleft. When I looked at pictures of babies, my mind would then imagine that same child with a cleft lip. I embraced the cleft possibility, knowing it would be better for me to be ready for that result rather than so hopeful that it wouldn't be there that the news of a cleft would be devastating. So now, it's almost like there's a different child inside of me. I am thrilled his lip and palate are complete. I am so thankful that he won't have to have the surgeries. But I would have loved him just the same regardless of the outcome from this ultrasound.

I've already been asked if we're still keeping the name Jace, and the answer is yes. We chose that name because it meant healer, and I know that God healed him. I've been so blessed by all the notes of encouragement from our friends and family. This experience has meant my child has been lifted up in prayer more than he would have been otherwise. I'm just sure God has great plans for his life, and if it's to be a healer in relationships with other people, then this name must stay. And who knows, maybe he'll be a very rough and tumble little boy who gets hurt a lot!

Thank you for all your prayers! God is good!

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Let's Get a Little Personal

As I've posted before, I'm pregnant and due February 1. Nolan and I are so excited to welcome our little boy into this world in just 4 months! We went in on September 9 for the ultrasound to find out his gender and make sure he's growing properly. Our doctor called the day after the ultrasound saying that when she took a look at it, they saw that he might have a small cleft lip/cleft palate, if one at all. So we're going back in for another ultrasound on October 5 to hopefully get a better look. She's thinking that a month of growth between ultrasounds will help them see clearly if he has it or not. We're glad to hear that it isn't distinct enough or big enough for her to be conclusive at this time (from what I've read online, you can spot cleft lip as early as 16 weeks, and this ultrasound happened at 19 weeks). So we're hoping and praying that 1) if he has it, God might heal it before the next ultrasound or by time he's born, 2) he doesn't have it, or 3) if he does have it, we're praising God for medical advances and what they're able to do for this these days!

Cleft Lip/Cleft Palate is most common in boys, and 1 in 700 babies born in the US has it. So it's much more common than we thought it was. This in itself is a testimony to what a great job doctors are doing with it, in that you'd never realize how many people have had it.

If he does have it, we'll get set up with a team from Dornbechers up in Portland. Cleft lip is typically repaired when they are 10 weeks to 3 months old, and cleft palate repaired around 9 months. So while it's so treatable, he could still have quite a first year of surgeries in store for him (and potentially many more surgeries ahead of him if it’s cleft palate).

All this made me REALLY want him to have a name already--to give him more of an identity. And I wanted his name to mean something, since he'll have so much to face at first. I started looking through names that meant things like strong, God heals, etc. Finally, we decided on "Jace" (which comes from Jason, but that won't be his name). Jace means healer, and on some websites, it also meant God is my refuge. Both fit well we thought. Plus, Nolan loved that it's unique, since he likes names that he hasn't really heard before. So as of now, baby's name will be Jace John Nelson (Nolan’s middle name is John, it’s also his father and grandfather’s and great grandfather's name).

We really have an incredible peace about the whole thing. I’m so thankful for a doctor who’s thorough and spotted this. From what I’ve read, not all doctor’s catch it. What a blessing to be able to know what we’re heading into and to be prepared for it! We're sad for the pain he could potentially face at such a young age, but at least he won't remember it as he gets older.

He'll be beautiful no matter what. And I'm just sure, if he does have cleft palate/lip, he'll be a much stronger person because of it. Please be praying with us as we go in on Monday. We are confident that God's plan for our baby is perfect, so cleft or no cleft, we're content. Our biggest concern at this time is that he actually let us see his face during the ultrasound. Please pray that his face will be easily seen and that the doctor and technician will be able to correctly diagnose him.

Sony Style USA