Thursday, November 28, 2013

Update Letter - November 2013

Written by Ben: 

It's quite amazing how quickly life has gone the past month and a half! We spent the last week and a half up in Indiana serving the church in Zionsville. During this time in Indiana we were studying Philippians 2 which gives us four different models of men who lived life with the focus on serving others. This has been very convicting to me with having a new baby at home! Often times I find myself after working all day or spending time preparing to teach that I get tired and want some "me time." The problem with this idea is that baby Wyatt, being 2 months old, doesn't see this need! The Lord has been changing my heart about what it means to serve. 

This morning I was reading Matthew 14 which is the story of Jesus feeding the 5,000. The interesting part of this story is what happens right before it. The story begins in verse 13 with Jesus just receiving the news that His friend John the Baptist had just been killed. It then says, that after hearing this news, Jesus departed to be by Himself. However, the multitudes around Him weren't concerned about His "me time" and they followed Him. It was here that verse 14 says that Jesus saw the multitudes and was moved with compassion for them. 

This has been a convicting model for me! Even in the midst of His own personal heartache and exhaustion, Jesus was still focused on others. I want this to be my outlook on life, so please pray for me as I seek to grow in this area!

The last month and a half have been very busy with travel to Chicago, Indiana, and Tennessee. During this time God has allowed me the opportunity to preach 5 straight Sunday's in 3 different churches! This has definitely been a learning experience for me as I have never prepared sermons on back to back weeks. It has been a joy for me to grow in this area. 

During our time back in Robbinsville, Colin's brother Bill and I are continuing our work to restore the old tobacco barn on the ETM property. This barn will allow us to store building supplies for upcoming projects on the property. Please pray for our continued safety as we continue working to restore this barn. 
God has been faithfully continuing to build a team that is able to support our ministry financially. Without that team behind us, our ministry here would not be possible! We do ask for your continued prayers as our current monthly support is below our monthly level of need. Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions about this. Please pray with us as we wait to see how God will continue to meet this need!

We love you all!!
The Thackers

Friday, October 4, 2013

My FAVORITE part of the Labor and Delivery Story...

I left out my favorite part of the labor and delivery story because I think it deserves its own space. So here it is.

First of all, my prayer was that whenever the Lord decided Wyatt should come, I wanted to glorify Him in the labor and delivery of this child. Secondly, part of the way that I prayerfully decided that would be, was through having Wyatt naturally. That was my plan at least, if all went well. I thought that was best for Wyatt and me. That's all - it wasn't to prove how macho this woman is or anything like that, at all. Plain and simple I wanted to glorify the Lord and I thought it might look like that. And it did for us.

SO! My favorite part of the story is that I so longed to glorify the Lord in this process. Did I know why having Wyatt naturally would do that? Partially, sure! I knew some of the side effects on the baby and mama when she is given pain medicine and birth inducing medicine, so I thought no one might ever know, but that's how the Lord would be glorified. However, the Lord SHOCKED me with a sweet opportunity!

People who aren't believers and are involved in the labor and delivery process will tell you that the true woman comes out in labor - and our birthing class instructor even warned the men in our class that they might not recognize their wives! Eek!

There were many times throughout labor that I wanted to quit. I wanted to a) not be in labor, but since that wasn't an option, b) I wanted DRUGS! And LOTS of them!! But each time I was ready to throw in the towel, I felt a calm and reassurance that only came from the Lord. I would asked to be checked and have progressed another centimeter. Father knew I needed that to keep going!

It didn't stop there. Even when I felt the pressure and the need to push, I wanted to be done! But really, there's no going back at that point, you can't just stop! Haha :)

All-in-all to say, that my favorite part was that I got to tell my delivery nurse and nurse-midwife about Jesus. And the reason? Because by God's grace I wanted to be obedient in glorifying Him in all things, even in labor in delivery and that was my prayer, and I received this opportunity to do that verbally!! The nurse and nurse-midwife could not some raving about how well I had done. That I hadn't complained. That I was happy, that I smiled, that the whole time I was just pleasant. Even going through labor!. I've never seen anyone in labor, but apparently they had never seen anything like that. But the SUPER FUN part about that is that it could have only, only, only been Jesus in me! And I got to share that with them!!! Anything good in me is Jesus. Period. Plain and simple!

Without Him, my true self is angry, bitter, selfish, hateful, messy, rude. All by God's grace and to His glory I have joy and peace and love in my heart because HE has made me new and gotten rid of all that junk - and that's what they saw! They saw this new woman that Jesus has made me! I am still a work in progress but I am thankful that when my heart, my true self was revealed, it revealed Him!  Ahhh still praising the Lord for this!

(In addition, when I went back for my 6 week check-up, my nurse midwife was not able to see me. But she was still going on to people at the office about how well I had done, how pleasant and happy I was. That if she had another baby, she would want to do it like I did. SO I GOT ANOTHER OPPORTUNITY TO TELL THE NURSE I DID SEE ABOUT JESUS!!!! That anything good Anne saw in me was only and could only be HIM! Praise the Lord for what He has done and is doing in my life!!!!)

The End :)

(My disclaimer: While naturally delivering Wyatt was my plan, I also realized there was many opportunities for things not to happen that way. And I was okay with that!! Sometimes we don't know the best plan God has for us. I was open to whatever! Also, just because this is how I felt I could glorify the Lord, does not mean every labor and delivery needs to follow this plan to glorify the Lord. It just doesn't.)

Monday, September 30, 2013

The Labor and Delivery Story

I started to put down on paper write a blog containing all of the details of the labor and delivery story - mostly for myself so I wouldn't forget, and for a few others who might find it helpful or encouraging or quenching to the itch to know what happened (I think after you go through this, you want to know every one else's story, in extreme detail). But it became really personal. I don't mind sharing with anyone who wants to know, I just would rather not have it on the blog for everyone and anyone to see at any moment. Because it is personal. And it is gruesome. And there's a lot of more than I needed to know moments, a lot. So I will spare the majority of you, and for anyone else, just leave a comment and we'll get in touch :)

All that to say, here's the basic version.

Ben took me to the doctor the morning before my due date for my 40 week appointment. They checked me there, I was 3-4cm (which I was PUMPED about!), and 80% effaced. The doctor scratched my membranes to spur on labor, and told me she would probably see me later that day. We needed to walk as much as my legs would allow me to. We continued to pray that the timing would be whatever would glorify the Lord for that day. I wanted this process to reflect Him and who I am / am not because of Him.
On the way home (we have an hour long commute - which Ben was terrified, ahem, nervous about) I started to feel some contractions. Nothing major. We went straight to the ETM office so I could wrap up the end-of-month work before hopefully going to the hospital! I tease Colin (the president) the reason the Lord waited until that day was so he didn't have to finish up all of my work, it was God's gift to him :) Then we hit the road ad walked around a path in town a few times. We headed home, I took a shower, contractions were lessening, so I may or may not have tried another method to induce labor including Ben, and laid down. 15 minutes later the contractions were on. At some point not long after, I was having contractions lasting a minute less than 5 minutes apart. Ben made the call that we were going to the hospital, now! My mom headed to the airport not long after :) So inside I was hoping and praying this was the real deal, otherwise my mom was just coming to hang with her pregnant daughter for a few days!
We got there around 6pm, checked in, and went through their procedure of checking to see if this was really labor. During that time my mom got on the plane without fully knowing if I would stay or not! Thankfully they admitted me, 5 cm dilated when I got there, 6 cm after an hour walking, 90% effaced. We walked those hospital halls a lot that night.
My mom got there around midnight, with a Big Mac for me. We hadn't eaten since lunch and I was so hungry. The nurses didn't know and I didn't ask, so I downed the Big Mac (sidenote: I never, ever eat those things normally! I inhaled it. I loved burgers during pregnancy). In that moment, it totally hit the spot. Mom walked and talked with me through the hospital. It was so good to be with her!
The contractions started slowing, the nurse talked to the nurse midwife, and the nurse midwife came in to talk over some options. The one we chose was for her to break my water. I have to go ahead and say that this was one of the weirdest things I have ever felt. Not just initially, but continually. Every time you move, every time you have a contraction, more comes out. And it's warm. So they put this diaper thing on you so you can walk more. But it's still weird. And sometimes you still leak.
Anyways, about an hour later, my contractions hadn't gotten much more intense, really at all. So the nurse midwife suggested Pitocin to kick-start things, and then they would take me off of it.
I think the nurse I had was somewhat new, she had another nurse come in that was talking her through the whole IV thing. By God's grace I was calm as a cucumber even though I knew this might take several attempts, I even told her it was okay! But she did just fine and thankfully it was one stick. Those suckers hurt!
Realizing it is almost 6am and the nurse midwife is no longer on call after 8am, she asks if it is okay for this other doctor to deliver for me. This doctor was the only one in the whole practice I was not a fan of, so I asked if there were any other options. She checked, and there weren't, so she decided she would hang around until 9am and deliver Wyatt if he came by then. That meant I was to say on the Pitocin.
Let's just say the Pitocin hit me like a truck and the contractions and the progression were ON. I can't really describe how labor feels, but it is the most intense pain I've ever gone through after the 7 cm point. I am so thankful to the Lord that He knew we couldn't handle labor to be constant and He made it come and go so that even just for a minute we could have a break from it. Looking back, you just go into this survival, primal mode. You zone out completely to just deal with the pain.
I have to be honest and say that I could not have done this whatsoever without Ben. He was amazing. He was with me at every point, holding me up (even though he had just had back surgery 2 weeks prior), rubbing the relief points on my back, reminding me to breathe, encouraging me.
At one point, I actually asked to be taken off of the Pitocin, regardless of who delivered Wyatt later that day. It was insane. We hit transitional labor quickly and guess what I saw again? The Big Mac. I threw up about 7 times, which I was pumped about because our birthing class instructor said that every time I threw up it replaced 10 contractions! (Ben almost through up with me, but he was a trooper holding the bucket.)  
At another point, I heard the woman across the hall screaming like she was dying. I have never heard something like that before. And it scared the crap out of me - here again I could not have done it without Ben - he told me to just focus on this moment, this contraction, not about the many that might still come or the delivery. Just this moment. And it worked! Ben was there, right beside me emotionally and physically the whole time. While my mom was the one getting the puke bucket or ice chips or whatever, it freed Ben to be with me. They were a great team, I was / am so thankful for them both.
During transitional labor I laid down for a bit and actually would fall asleep for the 1 minute in between contractions. That's how much they rock you. Kind of crazy to me still that I actually fell asleep for 1 minute.
Each time I wanted to give up, I had them check me. I think by God's grace I had progressed a centimeter each time, because each time I didn't think I could keep going that was enough encouragement. Eventually I felt like it was time to push - the first time it was not, but the second time I couldn't even help but bear down. Something I never knew was that when you bear down / push, the contractions don't hurt like they did. AMAZINNGGG! That was the best realization.
Anywho, then the nurse midwife came in, and maybe I'm bias because she helped me deliver a human being, but she is an angel in my mind. There is a depth of love and gratitude I cannot explain that I have for this woman I hardly know.
Anyways, Anne was amazing. She helped me know how to push, when to push; she would touch muscles I didn't even know I had and tell me to use each one specifically at different times (muscles I didn't know existed and I couldn't use again right now because I wouldn't know how. It is amazing how our brains can do that automatically - God is so awesome!). Anne and the nurse that held one of my legs (Ben held the other), were so encouraging and so helpful and helped me do more than I thought possible. They were definitely experts at this! I was so grateful.
They kept telling me he was coming, and I didn't believe them. A few times I had an out-of-body realization that I could not stop this process. There was nothing I could do. I was going to deliver a child. And today. This pressure I was feeling would be there for a while, and then a little boy would enter the world. I was definitely at the point of no return - it was crazy.
Eventually Ben saw Wyatt's head, so I knew I could believe it at that point. They told me to look and see the top of his head, uhh no thanks, I'll pass. They told me a little later I could touch his head and for some unknown reason I did it but it was SO strange! I did also see his head at one point and since I didn't know the top/back of the head comes first I was a little concerned he was going to have a tiny head although no one else seemed concerned about this :)
Ben said I went into warrior mode for pushing. That I was turning red and purple in the face. Ladies, it is work. Like muscularly hard. Haha maybe that was dumb to have surprised me?
After about an hour, at 8:29am, Wyatt came into the world. (By the way, to all the people with multiple children, I assumed pushing would be like you said it would be where they just flew right out! Little did I know that for your first it is not like that! I was shocked and scared when they said it usually took an HOUR!)
They put him on my stomach and all I could say was "oh! oh! oh!" repeatedly. My whole body was shaking from shock or muscle exhaustion or I don't know what. I could not believe it: he. was. here. Finally. After all this time! You feel an inexplicable high and joy and relief and love and things I can't even put words to.
After a while Ben cut the cord and then they asked if they could take him and do their newborn stuff. He never left the room, but Ben went with him across the room while they cleaned him up and did some measurements and testing.
They started getting me fixed up - oh my WORD the pushing on your stomach after to get your uterus to get all the clots out hurts! And I tore a tiny bit and got one stitch and that hurts too! You'd think after the trauma you would be numb down there but nope!
There was a moment when they put heated blankets on me, that was the best thing ever. Then they brought Wyatt over to me all wrapped up, Ben crawled into the bed with us, and we just laid there together as a family for a time. Apparently it was a while, but it didn't seem like it. It was precious. Words can't describe those moments.
My mom came in after that while, she was in love and so overjoyed. What a blessing to have her there!
Wyatt was here. This child we prayed about because we never knew would if he would come, this child we prayed for after we knew he was actually real, he was here. Alive and well, and in our arms. It was an amazing process to be a part of - it has only grown my faith and amazement and utter awe of the Lord, of our Creator. He is so worthy to be praised!

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Update Letter - September 2013

Written by Ben: 

It's really quite amazing how much life can change in just a matter of weeks! I wrote our last letter laying in bed in constant pain, and Jes was 9 months pregnant. Since that time, I am now on my way to recovery and we are a family of three!!

After much prayer and counsel, we decided that surgery was the best option to restore my (Ben's) back to full strength. The surgery took place in early August and we were thankful to have had my mom here for a couple of days to help with the recovery. The full recovery period will take up to 4 months. Up to this point, recovery has been slow but I am feeling better and stronger each day. I am very thankful for the relief from the constant pain! Jes was full-term in her pregnancy when I was operated on, but she was in great health and was a phenomenal nurse to me during my slow recovery!

About two weeks post-surgery God blessed us with an amazing blessing by allowing us to be parents to Wyatt Benjamin Thacker! He was born on his due date, September 4th, at 8:30 am. He was a healthy 8 lbs 7 ounces and was 21 inches long. Watching Jes go through the process of labor and delivery was absolutely amazing! She was a great example of experiencing the peace of God through extremely difficult circumstances! All of the nurses who took care of her commented on her sweet spirit and it allowed her to point those ladies back to the Lord in the way she was handling herself. She never complained, and was a beautiful example to me in the way she made glorifying God her focus during that time.

During these two major events I have continued to learn more about what it means to work as a team. When working as a team to make disciples, the goal is always making your teammates as effective as they can be to minister to others. There will be times in all of our lives where we must rely on the strength of our team to get through the day. I was fully reliant on Jes to meet my physical needs during my time of bed rest, and I learned much about what it means to receive grace. During her recovery from the birth, I have enjoyed the opportunity to serve her and to work to once again restore her to a place of being most effective for the kingdom of God!

This past week we have had the great privilege of spending time with our colleague in ministry, Jim Caminata who is working to make disciples in Italy. Jim is a part of our ETM team and has spent 2 weeks here in North Carolina and in Indiana watching how we work as a team in ministry. Pray for Jim as he goes back and seeks to build a team to equip Italy.

We do ask especially for your prayers concerning our financial support. Working at Eternal Truth we receive funding from individuals and churches who financially support our ministry. We are not paid through ETM, we live based on whatever support comes in for us in a given month. Our current monthly support is not enough to sustain our needs as a family moving forward. Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions about this. Please pray with us as we wait to see how God will meet this need!

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Little man makes his arrival!

Our little man made it into the world, healthy and strong! Wyatt Benjamin was born Wednesday, September 4, 2013 at 8:29am. He was 8 lbs, 7 oz, and 20 inches long! All praises to the Lord!