Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Every Family Should Own This Book

This post is a little different that others we have posted on our blog. This isn't meant to be a shameless plug for the Westminster Bookstore -- but we just wanted everyone to discover like we did how great this particular book is.

Although there are thousands of children books available for sale, there is a lack of excellent books written from a Christian worldview.

This book does not feature dreamy, Sunday-School-idealized depictions of the real people found in the pages of the Bible. Instead, the illustrations are done in a style kids will relate to, as if drawn by a child themselves. While simple at first glance, their unique perspectives and honest humor will reward the careful viewer. Lots of material for discussion!

Of course, it is the wording of the book that set it apart, which is fitting, as God's Word, the Bible, was given to man in words that can be read, studied, and remembered. Just as God's message can be understood by the youngest of hearers, yet remain unexhausted by the wisest of minds, this little book will teach both children and their parents God's story of redemption.

What is so amazing about this book is that it shows how each story points to Jesus Christ, the Savior. We appreciate how the book shows the scope of God's plan as it is found throughout the whole of the Bible, instead of keeping familiar stories isolated and without meaning.

For example, at the end of the story of the Tower of Babel, author Sally Lloyd-Jones foreshadows the coming if Christ as a Savior by describing how man can never reach up to heaven on his own: ". . . he didn't need a staircase, but a Rescuer . . . People could never reach up to Heaven, so Heaven would have to come down to them. And, one day, it would."

Even young children can begin to understand the beauty of God's design for His creation, and start to see how their own lives are part of God's story.

To read sample pages from the book: click here.

So here is the shameless plug (you knew it was coming!) -- To get a copy for your own family at the lowest price anywhere: click here.

Has It Been a Month Already?

It is hard to believe that it has been almost a full month sine we last posted on our blog. Time really flies when you have a little one on the way.

So here is the scoop from our last appointment a few weeks ago:
  • The baby is in the 50 percentile for its size at its current age. If the trend continues the prediction is that the baby will weigh about 7 lb 4 oz at birth.
  • Eileen, however, has gained about two pounds too many. The midwife cautioned Eileen not to drink too much fruit juice because the pure sugar without fiber adds on lots of pounds to both mom and baby. (We thought it prudent not to mention to the midwife all the candy and cheese steaks we've been consuming of late).
  • Her current belly measurement is 40" and cute!
  • The baby continues to kick up a storm. One night it kicked so much that Eileen kept dreaming that she had gone into labor. In addition to little bops, the baby is sweeping its tiny hands and feet horizontally across Eileen's belly.
  • Even now we can begin to see the personality of our baby. When it is too noisy, the baby is very still. As soon as it quiets down the baby begins kicking again. Also, the baby tends to leap whenever Eileen eats.
We have also begun registering for what we need to welcome our baby home (we only mention this because people have asked). It is sometimes overwhelming trying to figure out exactly what we need -- especially since we have such limited space in our apartment. We have started registries at both Target and Babies R Us. We will continue to add to them as we have time.

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

First Glimpse

Here they are -- the first glimpses of Baby Bickford! It was amazing to watch the technician as she maneuvered around to find all the different parts -- we clearly saw the spine and ribs, we watched the little heart beating, arms flailing, and legs kicking. Everything was normal. The placenta (which we thought was surprisingly large) is a good size and all the measurements are in good proportion. Everything seems as it should be. The baby is currently standing in a breeched position -- but that is not a problem as (s)he will somersault around quite a bit between now and b-day. We still don't know if the child is a boy or girl -- the technician was very careful not to reveal anything -- words or images (notice that the pictures stop short at the tummy).

In this first picture you can see a little raised fist. The head is to the left with a big potbelly on the right.
Here you have a clearer picture of the face with the forehead, eyes, nose, lips, and tucked chin. And of course you can't miss that little raised hand and elbow. The black space in the middle of the belly is the heart.

If it takes you a little while to decipher what you are looking at -- don't worry -- it took us some time, too!

Monday, October 8, 2007

The Return of the Monday Maternity Measuring Moment

39" -- That is the magic number tonight. It was way back on August 20 we last measured Eileen's tummy. It was holding steady at 38". An inch may not seem like a lot* -- but the little guy (or gal) is growing fast and kicking hard. Micah likes to (gently) lay his head on Eileen's tummy and talk to the baby so that (s)he will kick his head.

Stay tuned for first glimpses of Baby Bickford.

*Disclaimer: Our measuring technique is essentially flawed. We find the largest measurement and go with that as opposed to measuring the same point each time. All tummy measurements are intend for entertainment purposes only and may not reflect the actual growth of Eileen's circumference.

Sunday, October 7, 2007

Over the Hill

We've made it 1/2 way -- 20 weeks pregnant and 20 to go! It only seems like yesterday that we found out that we were going to have a baby. God has been so gracious to us over these many weeks.

The past couple of weeks brought us the sad news of two infants who both died only days before they were due to be born -- one to friends of ours and another to the son and daughter-in-law of Pastor John Piper (Please click here to read his response to this sad experience).

It is so easy for us to forget that the birth of our child is not a certain thing. Everything is in the hands of our Almighty God who sustains all life and lovingly ordains all that comes to pass. We must not forget that his mercies are new every morning and his faithfulness to all generations.

As the weeks and months fly pass we must remember to give thanks to God for that tiny little heartbeat, those ever more frequent little kicks, and God's great goodness to us.

Tuesday morning we go for our ultrasound . . .

Thursday, September 27, 2007

WE'RE MOVING!

NO, not to a new apartment! Last night Eileen thought that she might have felt the baby move for the first time. It seemed too faint to be sure, perhaps more hopeful imaginings than real action. But today there is no doubt -- we have a little kicker on our hands. When you hold your hand on Eileen's belly, you can feel a forceful punch! Baby is skimming around in there, topsy-turvy and pushing the boundaries in all directions.

When little Evan Osgood was in the womb (he is now a more than one year old), he would begin leaping whenever their pastor would start preaching. Will our little one have that same God-ward excitement?

The tough thing now is that Eileen is no longer allowed to sleep on her back because she could cut off blood supply to the baby. She has had restless nights of sleep as she tries to stay only on her side. She first had to learn to remain on her back in order to breathe through the night with her baby-swollen sinuses, and now she has to break that hard-won pattern. Why is it that when you are told not to do something -- that is the only thing you can do? Well , I guess that is a discussion on the effects of sin -- for another day . . .

Thursday, September 20, 2007

No News Is Good News

Much to the dismay of some, especially Grandma and Grandpa Bell, we have been silent bloggers for the past couple of weeks. It is fun to know that we were missed in the blogosphere.

Last night as we reviewed paperwork in preparation for today's third visit to The Birth Center, we held up a book to Eileen's tummy that showed a baby at our stage of development in the womb. It was beautiful! The features are really forming and our baby is looking more like a lanky newborn.

To our surprise, we got to hear the heart beat for a second time (had we known in advance you would have another recording to which to listen). It had slowed down to about 150 beats per minute, which we learned was due to Baby's growing size. The midwife had to chase the baby around with the fetal doppler to keep a steady sound. It is funny to think of a little person wiggling around inside the womb.

Each visit to The Birth Center we meet with a different midwife. This is so that no matter when the baby arrives, we will know the midwife on duty. Today we were met with Kathy. Although we have appreciated each midwife we have met -- we particularly appreciated Kathy. As we chatted, we discovered that she too was a Christian, and that we have a mutual friend! What a blessing to come in contact with a sister in Christ.

The trip concluded with another jaunt to Ikea -- this time on a quick errand for Micah's work. But regardless of the reason, it presented the perfect opportunity for a fast lunch of Swedish Meatballs (for Micah at least, for to Eileen's sorrow, her tummy was feeling a bit achy at the time) and to bring home a box of Pepparkakor (Swedish ginger cookies).

The highlight for Eileen was the discovery of Minnen Kanin -- a
soft little bunny holding a large carrot. She says it is for the baby -- but time will tell if she will share!


In sum, the mom-to-be, dad-to-be, and baby-to-come are all doing well.

Monday, September 3, 2007

In Memorium of Edwin Jackson Holm


One week ago Eileen's father unexpectedly passed away. As difficult as this week has been, we are grateful for the grace of God that has sustained us. The funeral was beautiful reminder of the resurrection hope that we have in Christ.

Eileen’s dad was so excited about being a grandfather and we remember fondly two days prior when we took him to Babies-R-Us. He was captivated by the baby slings and enjoyed test driving the stroller around and around the store.

The above photos were two of his favorites from his portfolio. They formed the cover of the funeral service program. The one on the left was taken in the 1960s in an abandoned house he had discovered in rural
Ohio. Ed returned to the house to record its sleep throughout the four seasons. The one on the right is of a ship’s hull and the ocean current was one of Ed’s most favorite from his portfolio. It appeared on the cover of Skipper Magazine in November 1966.

We miss him dearly, but rest in the goodness of God.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Holding Steady

Eileen's tummy measurement remains at a steady 38" despite indulging in Chinese food and Chick-fil-a and an occasional bag of taffy. Sitting here drinking prune juice (per the midwife's orders for her low iron), Eileen wants everyone to know that she really is working hard at eating balanced meals and snacks -- most of the time.

Contrary to Eileen's urging, we will not be having a weekly measurement of Micah's tummy circumference.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Baby Beats

Tuesday was our second prenatal appointment. The blood results from last month show that Eileen has low iron so she has been instructed to eat lots of iron-rich food. Micah is looking forward to more steak in his diet!

More exciting was hearing the heartbeat of our little child. The midwife warned us that it might take a little bit to locate it, but as soon as she placed the doppler on Eileen -- a quick, little, bunny-like heartbeat emerged, thumping away at a healthy 160 beats per minute.

It is amazing to realize that a little child is growing in there. We are reminded of Psalm 139:13-14, “For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother's womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well.” What a great gift God has given us.

Here is a little sample of what we heard:

A Vision of Things to Come

No, we haven't disappeared from the face of the earth -- we have just had one thing after another with no time left to blog.

A couple of weeks ago we spent a fantastic ten days vacationing in Maine at Micah's parents. The ocean air did us good. Eileen's usual afternoon slump vanished as we climbed on rocks and hiked the trails at Acadia National Park. Baby's "first" camping trip was a success.

For Eileen it was all the better because she and Micah's mom hit the thrift shop jackpot for maternity clothes. Pennsylvania has great thrift shops -- but the dregs for maternity clothes. She came away with 7 pants and 7 tops -- all like new. She is now set for when her belly "pops" (even now things are a little desperate, but nothing that safety pins and a long shirt won't solve).

Here is one preview of her new wardrobe.

Note: Eileen is NOT this big at 12 weeks -- that would be very disconcerting. Rather the hidden prop of a pillow creates the desired effect of things to come.

Monday, July 30, 2007

Monday Maternity Measuring Moment

Eileen's waist size is holding steady at 38 inches. She did loose some circumference last week, which is not uncommon -- but is now growing again.

The Name Game

We have decided that we will wait until until the baby is born to find out whether we will have a boy or girl. This means that we need to come up with two names (or one unisex name). So we thought that we would give everyone the opportunity to give us name suggestions.

Martha gave us the first a few posts back with Ikea (fourth comment).

Micah is currently voting for Albert Herbert, with a nickname of Bert-Bert (Hat-Tip to Jonathan and Beth).

Now for the disclaimer: We have already chosen names, but they will remain top secret until the baby comes! However, we reserve the right to change the secret names at anytime, without notice, should Micah convince Eileen that Bert-Bert (or any other suggestion) is a worthy name.

Have Fun.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

What is The Birth Center?


"More than 5,000 babies have bee
n eased into life by the nurse-midwives who work here. Located in a cozy house across from Bryn Mawr Hospital, this freestanding center provides warm, nurturing, and totally professional care from early pregnancy through post-partum."
(From Philadelphia Magazine's 2003 Top Hospitals: Where to Get the Best Care).

Over the years we have talked to many friends who have had both hospital and midwife maternity care. While some have told good accounts of hospital births, those who have experienced midwife care can not say enough of their experiences. Now facing the choice ourselves, we wanted the midwife model for ourselves.

Last Thursday, we returned to The Birth Center for an informational seminar explaining their child birthing philosophy. After an extensive Q & A time, a tasteful video of a Birth Center delivery, touring the birth rooms, and having already attended our first appointment the previous day, we are even more excited to be under care of this excellent facility.

Here are some impressive stats from The Birth Center:
  • C-Section -- 14 % (Hospitals average 29.1 %)
  • Episiotomy -- 4 % (14 % including hospital transfers) (Hospitals average over 39 %)
Should complications arise, Bryn Mawr Hospital is located conveniently located right across the street.

Instead of cold, sterile hospital rooms, The Birth Center offers bedroom- style birthing suites. This atmosphere promotes a more relaxed environment to focus on the job at hand and pain coping strategies. Eileen is encouraged to move freely or relax in the jacuzzi -- whatever is most comfortable for her as she is coached by a midwife.

There is also a kitchen, dining room and living room that is shared by the three birthing suites. Because no drugs are used during delivery, the mother-to-be is encouraged to eat during labor, keeping up her strength . This means that after giving birth the new mom is much stronger and Mom, Dad, and Baby can return home sooner.

For the next couple of days a midwife will call and check-in on Mom and Baby. After 2-4 days a midwife will make a home visit.

We are looking forward to our continued care and the birth of our child at The Birth Center.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Eileen IS Pregnant!

It has been confirmed -- what we expected all along -- Eileen is pregnant. This was the final conclusion after our appointment that lasted 1.75 hours.

We filled out a lot of paperwork, insurance forms, questionnaires, etc. and had a brief exam. The people at The Birth Center were very nice and willing to answer the many questions of this first-time expectant couple.

We will return tomorrow for an official orientation and birthing seminar (we will enroll in a 5 week birthing class at a later date). Our next appointment is in four weeks. At that time we should be able to hear the baby's heartbeat.

The most exciting thing, according to Micah, is that our baby might be a Leap Year baby. According to calculations, the due date is February 24. Our midwife told us that first babies are usually late -- perhaps even early March. Nana Holm is hoping to receive a grandchild as a present on her own birthday, the 26th. But Micah is hoping for a Leap Year baby -- that would just be cool.


In other exciting news, Eileen fulfilled her life-long dream of visiting Ikea. It was everything she ever imagined. She is reported to have gasped, "It is like Magic Land." The trip to the thrilling store was capped off with lunch in their Swedish Cafe -- complete with lingonberry punch, Swedish meatballs, and a life-sized Dala horse. Eileen told Micah, "This was the best date ever!" In the end we left empty-handed, but inspired, and proceeded to our relatively boring appointment.

First Appointment

Today is our first prenatal appointment. We are going to a place called The Birth Center. We will write more later.

Monday, July 16, 2007

The Blogging Bickfords First Post

This being our first post and seeing that we are already almost 9 weeks along, we thought we would bring you up to speed on a few things.

The 9 week mark is an important time because it marks the transition from embryo to fetus. Scientific words aside, this means that all the organs necessary to sustain life are present in our baby.

So far Eileen has had it pretty easy. Just very tired and an internal thermostat gone haywire. She describe eating her favorite foods as simultaneous delight and revulsion. Red sauce is the most appealing. So we are eating a lot of pasta!

Last Sunday she had her first morning sickness which translated into her crackling cracker wrappers in the middle of church so as not revisit her experience just prior to leaving the house. After the service, we apologized to the family that sat in front of us for the noise. They didn't mind -- they thought it was one of their own kids! Already the Bickford Baby is casting blame on other innocents.

Eileen is spending lots of time reading and researching the pros and cons of all the different baby accessories. Her big obsession right now is strollers. Who knew that this could be so complicated!

Today Eileen's belly measures 38 inches. So the little guy (or gal) is growing fast.