Sunday, December 30, 2007

Can YOU guess the Word of the Day?

Susie is nine weeks along today. I really have never measured time in weeks, but I’m finding that’s the way to do it when you’re expecting. I’m also finding that this blog will be harder to keep up now that I’m back in the swing of things at work. I’m sure once school starts up for the spring semester it will be even tougher, but I’m going to try and post as often as I can.

I promised pictures, but haven't delivered on that promise yet. So for now you'll have to enjoy the next best thing: As you can see on the right side of the blog, I’ve added a Baby Gronseth widget. You can’t see our actual baby, but I bet if I could install a window on Susie's lower belly and shine a Mag light up close, that’s exactly what you'd see. If you click on the title, where it says “I’m 9 Weeks Pregnant,” it takes you to the page where the widget originated and it’s full of fun and facts. I found it amusing that one of the first things they mention on week 9 is that my baby already has a tiny anus. I mean, come on, of all the things they could have let me know right off the bat, and that’s what they chose. I guess I’m glad to hear it doesn’t already have a huge anus, but that’s more like endnote material in my opinion. I wonder if I am the only person that’s read that sentence and then went to the rotating model of the baby and looked for said tiny anus as the rear end rotated by. Ok, enough about anuses (is anuses the plural of anus? anusi? anese? nevermind). I’m sure diaper duty will afford me plenty of opportunity to see this kid’s anus after it’s born.

Over Christmas break I had a couple of those “am I really ready for this?” moments. The second of those moments occurred on the plane flight home. It was a pretty small plane, and we were delayed after boarding due to some mechanical issues with one of the engines (a better thing to figure out while on the ground than in the air if you ask me). I think every row had at least one child under the age of two in it. It was cold outside so they had the plane’s heater cranked, making it extremely stuffy and cramped. The babies’ scream boxes were set at super-turbo; you could barely hear the pilot when he would update us over the plane’s PA system. Once we got in air I think we plowed through every cloud between Memphis and Evansville, which (believe it or not) didn’t help all those babies sleep. So the screaming continued until we deplaned in Evansville. I guess sometimes I have this cherubic vision in my head of a baby and it takes something like this to make me remember that there will be times of screaming, and not all of those times will occur between 6 AM and 10 PM.

The first “am I ready for this?” moment happened when Susie and I went out to eat one night in Baton Rouge. We went to Ruffino’s which is a super great date place. It’s the Italian restaurant we went to on our first Valentine’s Day together. There was a table near us with a couple of families and a total of four or five kids. These kids were all over the place and were pretty disruptive. Did I mention that it wasn’t McDonald’s, but rather a fine dining establishment? The parents weren’t paying them much attention, so the kids were completely out of control in my opinion. Susie and I looked at each other and vowed that our kid would never be allowed to act like that. But I wonder... will this baby inside of Susie turn out to be an angel or a hellion? Believe me, I’m going to do my best to raise this kid the best I possibly can, but I can think of numerous examples of kids raised in good homes by attentive loving parents that were not what I would consider angelic. And on the other side of the coin I can point to model citizens that developed out of terrible childhood situations. So what’s the magic formula? I don’t know, and I guess that’s where I have to remember to swallow the twinge of worry that I feel sometimes and trust in God for wisdom. I do know, though, that when he or she gets here, I’m going to love on it and spend as much time with it as I can, no matter how big or tiny its anus is.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

I'm a list guy

I’m a list guy. That’s pretty much all there is to it. I think it’s the dorky engineering side of me. If I need to do something and I don’t put it on a list, I might forget about it. I use lists at work to help me remember everything I need to do. I use lists to help remember what I need to pack when going on a trip (I have forgotten to pack underwear before). I use lists to help me efficiently do chores and errands on the weekend. I think part of it is my fixation with crossing things out. I don’t know if this resonates with anyone else out there. I love looking at something on paper and symbolically telling it, “you are not a problem anymore,” with a simple stroke of the pen. Sometimes I’ve even listed things I’ve already done just to cross them out. And yes, I’m fully aware I’m an idiot.

I now have a new, mysterious, uncharted list to make. I know there are a lot of things that need to be done before baby gets here. I know about some of them. I don’t know about some of them. I’ve already started my list in my head, but the act of putting it on paper is what makes me nervous. I want to get it right. A major item is deciding where baby will sleep. This involves sub-list items like figuring out what he/she will sleep in, what room it will be in, what needs to be done to that room to prepare it, etc. (told you I was a dork). I also know I need to do a lot of reading before the baby gets here. I’m pretty sure there are certain items we will need to familiarize ourselves with and purchase before and after the baby arrives. And I know I need to update life insurance and start a college fund. Most importantly, though, I know that I need to be in prayer for my kid. These are some of the things that I know about.

So this post is a plea to the masses (or to both of you, whichever is closer to accurate) that have read this blog. Help me make my list. I am an open book. Any tips or ideas on any random thing from what kind of mattress we need to buy for the crib to any books that have helped you to in preparing or raising a baby to what kind of spit rag is the most absorbent. I’m like Ross Perot here: all ears.

ps – Susie has the cutest little pooch going on already. I love it. Pics to come. She’s already using the rubber band trick she learned from Jaci.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Merry Christmas!

What better day to blog about a baby than the day we celebrate the most important and expected baby in history? Merry Christmas to everyone reading! What a great day to stop and thank God for His gift to us. Susie is doing great so far and is just tired; not really suffering any sickness yet. I got to talk with one of my best buds from high school yesterday, and he just found out that his wife is pregnant for the first time as well. What makes it even cooler is that we have the same due date of August 3rd! It will be great to do this together and to be experiencing a lot of the same things for the first time almost to the exact date. Congratulations Matty and Moya!

Susie and I lead a small Bible Study of high school students and this past week we have been reading through the first couple chapters of Luke together. Though the passage is familiar, I am reading it with a new perspective this time, and I can’t help but wonder about how Joseph reacted.

Two Sundays ago after church Susie waited until I got home and pretty much ambushed me with the positive test (at least an ambush is what it felt like). I was speechless and tearful and all I could do was the slobbery laugh/cry combo because I was so excited. I have never had that feeling before in my life – it was incredible. I didn’t think that I could fall any more in love with Susie, but this has moved my love and adoration for her to a completely different level. I wonder what Joseph said…

The circumstances were extremely different for him. He and Mary weren’t married yet, so I can’t even imagine the feelings and thoughts going through his mind. It even says in Matthew that he was planning on just ending the relationship over her pregnancy. He had to be convinced by an angel to stick around. I mean, he knew there was no way the baby could be his, but how do you convince other people about that? And until the angel came to visit him I can imagine he had to be wondering about the Mary’s fidelity. And even after the angel visited him he still had the issue of convincing everyone else of his and Mary’s purity. I wonder what it was like facing Mary’s dad and/or brothers. It had to take an extremely good heart to do what he did. Joseph is not covered extensively in Scripture, but Matthew does say that Joseph was a righteous man. I just wonder what was going through his head – it had to be swimming. I don’t know if I would have reacted in as honorable a manner as him.

But God’s plan is perfect, and He always chooses the perfect person to take part in each particular facet of his plan, and Joseph was the right man for that job. I love that because I know that whatever comes out of Susie, boy or girl, short or tall, healthy or sick, whatever, He has picked me to be the father of this child. If I dwell on that thought too long I have both a feeling of confident joy and a feeling of humility, not quite sure if I’m up to the huge responsibility of this impending life-long task that’s bigger than anything I’ve ever undertaken. But God is good, and He has never let me down or failed to provide the strength needed to face the challenges of each chapter of my life. So I can’t wait.

Merry Christmas to everyone reading this, and thanks for reading. I appreciate your thoughts and prayers for the baby, Susie, and myself. Have a great Christmas day wherever you are and take care to remember why we celebrate.

Monday, December 24, 2007


I’ve been wondering how long all these different emotions are going to stick around, and since it’s been over a week now that we’ve known about the baby I guess I should get used to them. Maybe I’ll ask my mom if I can expect them to ever go away. Like I said in my first post, I am mostly filled with an emotion that would probably fall somewhere in between “ginormous excitement” and “everything is kind of a blur.” I mean, I cannot wait for this baby to come out. I can’t wait to see what it will look like, which characteristics it will have from me and which ones it will have from Susie (I hope that if it’s a girl it looks more like me than Susie because then I won’t have to worry about guys calling too much).

I’m trying to temper this rushing feeling by remembering a piece of advice I was given before our wedding day. I can’t even remember who told me this, but they told me to make sure I purposely slow the actual wedding day down and take care to savor each moment or else it will go by too quickly to recall. This is something I’ve tried to do during significant moments of my life. I can still remember what the cool dry air felt like, the perfectly manicured grass under my feet, the twinge of pain in my elbow, and the grayish color of the clouds when I threw my last pitch in college. I remember the way Susie tackled me when I proposed and the way the little pools of tears collected on the lower rims of her eyes in front of all those people we love when I gave her my wedding vows. I’ve been fairly good at slowing moments down. But now I have seven months while our baby lives in Susie, and then hopefully a lifetime of moments to slow down. Kinda feels overwhelming right now.

I also have other emotions that I try to keep at bay. I have a small part of me that wants to keep my excitement reserved. A good friend of ours has recently undergone some extensive testing to examine her unborn baby for different disorders. I have only seen an image of our baby once and it was during the ultrasound. As you can see by the picture on my first post, it still looks like a bean. But seeing the flicker of a heartbeat inside that bean created this new feeling of connection that I can’t say I’ve ever felt before. I’d be willing to bet that this feeling intensifies when I actually get to hold him/her. I love little kids. There are a few that I really love to see and love to play with, but despite how much I love them, the affinity for all the other little kids in the world pales in comparison to what I’m feeling now. This connection to my bean has caused me to have this concentrated fear of something bad happening to it. It’s a protective instinct and I’m guessing that it will stick around for the rest of my life. The thing that’s hard for me is that I haven’t waded through this enough yet to sort out if it’s an instinct rooted more in worry or more in love.

Jesus is crystal clear in Matthew 6 where he rhetorically asks, “Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?” He mentions the birds and the flowers and how God takes care of them and implies that we are so much more important to God than the birds and the flowers. I recently downloaded a talk by Tony Campolo where he talked about how even if eternal life wasn’t part of the deal he would still become a Christian. He would still become a Christian because it takes away the guilt of the past and the feelings of worry about the future. We spend so much emotion and time feeling guilty about the past and worrying about the future that we forget to enjoy and savor the present. God has removed the sins of our past so it is fruitless to dwell on them (Psalm 103:12), and He has established an incredible plan for our lives so we can rest in the assurance that we don’t have to do it ourselves (Jeremiah 29:11, Ephesians 3:20).

So the challenge for me so far, and the challenge that will probably face me from here on out, is to take the worries and fears that come along with opening your heart up to loving someone and to stuff them away and not acknowledge them. I have to choose to wallow in the expectations of a little baby growing inside Susie and live each day and take each breath and acknowledge them all as the gifts from God that they are.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Blows my mind...

So I’m back and I don’t think anyone besides Susie has looked at my blog yet, but I’m having fun writing, so I’m going to keep going. Today Susie is eight weeks along the baby measures about one inch. Susie fortunately hasn’t suffered any sickness but is just more fatigued on a regular basis. If sleeping were an Olympic event she would have easily taken the gold medal before she was pregnant. Now she’s at the Tiger Woods level of sleeping. It’s amazing. I take a half hour nap and I can’t sleep at all that night. She takes a nap all afternoon, wakes up for dinner, and then goes to bed. Incredible.

The doctor gave us a book to read about pregnancy and babies and all that stuff. I’ll admit that I’m an ignorant guy when it comes to this kind of stuff, but this book starts with the very basics, and I think it starts there to give guys like me confidence and momentum to forge through the rest of the book. So when I read the first chapter and it talks about how a baby comes to live in its mommy’s tummy I think, “Hmm, I already knew that part of the story, I think I could handle another chapter or two.” Pretty slick, those writers are, because now I’m sucked in.

But then it starts to blow my mind. This is not a pregnancy book from a Christian perspective, but just reading about the development of a baby screams out that there is a God out there that loves little babies and cares for them and has designed them in an intricate manner. Psalms 139 states that he knit us together in our mother’s womb. The word “knit” is appropriate because it’s so obvious the love He pours into this process. But then my nerdy engineering mind is engaged as well by some of the medical descriptions. Let me give you an example:

While in the mother, the baby lives in a fluid filled sac called the placenta. Up until recently I had a very crude understanding that this was just a baggie whose ziploc came open when it was time for birth. But God is not that simple, this bag is amazing. As you probably know, the baby is connected with the placenta and the mother by its umbilical cord, from which the baby gets its nutrition. This is where it gets crazy. The umbilical cord contains two blood vessels; one that carries the baby’s blood to the placenta skin and one that returns it to the baby. This is how the baby gets rid of the waste in the blood. See, you and I have kidneys that filter our blood. But the baby’s blood is taken to the placenta where the waste is absorbed by the mother’s blood and filtered in her kidneys. The amazing part is that this happens without any exchange of blood between mother and baby. It’s not just a ziploc baggie.

This notion brought me back to a class I took in college called Transport Phenomena. This class dealt in part with the movement of molecules through membranes. I understood nothing. I passed thanks to partial credit for getting my name right on my exams and making friends with the teacher and the smart kids. So now there’s this placenta in Susie that is somehow moving waste material from the baby’s blood through a membrane into Susie’s blood so it can be removed from the body without exchanging any blood. Who designs this stuff?

God is so accurate in Isaiah 55 when He says that His ways are higher than our ways and His thoughts higher than our thoughts.

Saturday, December 22, 2007


So I’m not really sure how to start this except to acknowledge that this is really my first attempt at a semi-regular blog. Within the last week my wife, Susie, and I learned that we are pregnant, and I have had a lot of emotions raging through me (98% of them are beyond ecstatic, I’ll get to that later). Though I don’t do it enough, I’ve found that I deal with thoughts best when I can organize them onto a piece of paper (or computer screen), so this blog is an attempt to make sense of my thoughts and feelings and update anyone out there that might be interested in the progress of the pregnancy. And if I’m having fun it just might turn into a baby update when he/she arrives! I have no idea how often I’ll update the blog or how long each post will be; I guess that will just have to evolve as it progresses. And since it’s my blog, I might digress into thoughts on life in general and you can read them or skip them if you want. The picture I attached is the sonogram at 7 weeks and 2 days (according to the technician). He/she is the lower left little white kidney bean.

I’d like to start by saying that God is beyond incredible and start by giving the credit solely to Him for His provision and timing. There are so many times that I think I know what’s best for me and I come to find through life’s circumstances that I am completely wrong and that I don’t really know much about anything. A baby is something that Susie and I have been praying for for quite some time now. I heard Beth Moore once say that when we pray sometimes God tells us to wait instead of a quick yes or no because He just enjoys conversation with us and if He gave us everything right when we asked for it we’d be conditioned to only talk with Him when we want something, sort of like going to the store. I could give many examples of my failures in this area in my life and frustrations brought upon myself and might devote a future blog to this idea because it’s obviously something that is taking multiple repetitions for me to learn.

I’m not a big fan of the phrase “we’ve really been trying for a baby.” When I hear a couple say that phrase it conjures up thoughts and images that I really would rather not have. So I won’t say that phrase, but I will say that for almost two years now we have not been actively trying to prevent a pregnancy. During that time I have carried on a dialogue with God regarding a child, because I really felt that our decision to not prevent pregnancy was brought on by the idea that we were ready to have a child. When people have asked when we are going to have a kid, I’ve often used the response, “we’ll have a kid when God decides I’m mature enough to be a dad.” This usually elicits a laugh, especially from people that know me and my childish side, but within my own spiritual journey I really never fully believed that statement until recently. I had this idea that we were in a stable situation and therefore I automatically was mature enough to be a dad. I think that sometimes God waits for us to be content in our situation before he adds and I think that was the case with me and wanting a kid. I was impatient for quite a while, and only recently have I truly become content with where I am and completely dependent on God and His timing.

Timing is everything in life, and I’m learning that God’s is always perfect, whether we realize it at the time or not. Susie’s due date is August 3rd. This is the perfect due date for our lives. Susie is currently pursuing her Ph.D. in Instructional Systems Technology at Indiana University. An August 3rd due date allows her to complete her spring semester prior to being “really pregnant.” (Please realize that I may sometimes refer to pregnant terms in complete idiotic ignorance partly due to the fact that I’m an ignorant guy and partly because we’ve never done this before. I have no clue what it’s like to be “really” or “less” or any kind of pregnant and am quite thankful that I’m a guy, because I’m probably too much of a major wuss to carry a child.) An August 3rd due date allows Susie to finish her pregnancy without the added stress of exams and deadlines of assignments and papers. She’ll be able to take stock of how she’s doing and then decide on whether she’ll take a semester off or not. And because she is in school, there is a lot more flexibility in her schedule in caring for a baby. See? I told you God’s timing is amazing. He waited until Susie was established in her student-hood, then set her due date up just right. We also get to enjoy this news right before Christmas; it’s the perfect Christmas present.

I have a lot of thoughts I’d like to get down but I’m in the Memphis airport and my plane is about to board, so I need to shut the computer down. Hopefully I can use this Christmas break to work through a lot of my thoughts. I can’t wait to spend time with Susie’s side of the family over the holidays and share this joyous occasion with them during our joyous celebration of Christ’s birth. So I guess that’s all for now… I'll definitely be back later with more ramblings.