Thursday, November 22, 2012

Thanksgiving

Today was a hectic thanksgiving. We had Carson's first thanksgiving with both families.
Carson was passed around more than a football in the Detroit lions stadium, but he made it through.
Our first stop was with Jessica's family. Over 30 people in a house where Carson was the star of the show. He smiled for few, cried for everyone and slept maybe10 minutes.
Next we went to my families thanksgiving. There we were catching the tail end of things with the family but we got to meet our new family member, Sienna. Overall, after being sick this past week, and still on the recovery trail, Carson had a great thanksgiving.







Friday, August 31, 2012

Carson Andrew Ashby's Birth Story

On August 29, I (Mark) woke up like any normal Wednesday morning. I usually sleep in the guest bedroom because Jessica sleeps in on her day off. At 6:30, I am preparing to leave in the guest bathroom, when I hear the door to our master bedroom open.
I asked Jessica if everything was ok. As a joke, coming close to the birth, I would always ask if her water has broken. Again, I asked her this question, but she said she only was getting water and was OK.
As her husband, I know she likes to sleep in until at least 4PM. I know her being up at 6:30AM and being 9 months pregnant, there was something wrong.
I asked her if she was having contractions and she said a little bit. I asked her what she wanted me to do, and she told me to keep going on as a normal day. So I went to McDonald's to meet students for prayer breakfast, and then to drive them to school.
After I dropped them off, I called Jess and asked what she wanted me to do. She said go to church, and so I did.
At 10:00, after a tough morning of slaying zombies (Bryan Hamrick will probably be the only one to get this joke), I called Jess and asked her if I needed to come home. She said yes. So off I drove.
I walked inside our house to find Jessica sitting on our couch, butt in the air swaying from side to side, and her moaning in pain. I knew then we had to pack her bag, call the hospital, because Carson was on the way.
At 11AM, we were in triage at Phoebe Sumter. The nurses and doctors were great. We found out that Jess was 3CM dilated at that point.
After a quick room cleaning, Jess was admitted into the room. We called the future Grand Parents to come, because Carson was coming.
At this point, I knew my life was going to change. Holy cow, was I right (as usual, in my mind anyway).
Jess progressed very quickly! After a few contractions she got an epidural, to which her reply was, "Epidurals are AWESOME". She was smiling again, and not in pain moaning.
(In the picture to the right, the bottom line are her contractions, the higher the more intense.)

After hours of waiting, Jess' parents finally arrived. Her mom was beaming and her dad (as usual) was a quiet reserve. I knew he was excited also.
By 4PM, Jess was dilated to 9cm. She was moving fast and Carson was ready to come. By 5:40, Jess was ready to push. With the help of the nurse and the midwife, Jess started to push.
For over an hour, we pushed but to no avail. At this point, he was having some trouble making the turn in the birthing canal, so we had to call in Dr. Marshall to use forceps and pull him out.
After 15 minutes, Carson had his first breath in the world, and my heart flooded with a love for this new baby.
The little alien baby, that had the skin of an elephant and sounded like angry cats was now my son. I loved him and cried when I saw him. I can't believe that I was now a father.

I made the "Daddy Team" as seen in the first few seconds of this clip from "Facing the Giants" (only mine was not as dramatic and I didn't win the state championship in high school football).

Carson was cleaned up and was awake the whole time. At 6:53 PM, August 29, 2012 the 5.4lb 18 inch long little man came into our lives. The grand parents were elated, friends and our local "family" came to see him as well. He is healthy as a horse and really progressing well (2 days in).

I must say that I am going to be a father who makes mistakes (already made a few), I will forget, I will not always be right, but I married a woman who loves God first, loves me and her son, and I too love God first and my wife and son. Together we will raise our son to love God above all else. We will train him in the ways of which Jesus tells us to go and he will honor God and authority. We are a new family and it is all because of God. God gave strength to Jess to be able to give birth to him, gave Carson his first breath, and flooded Jess' and my hearts with love for a small boy who will grow up loving God and his family.

Thank you God for your unending blessings. Thank you for growing our family by one.

The Ashby's 
Jessica, Carson and Mark
August 29, 2012

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Full Term

Before pregnancy, the words full term meant nothing to me. They really meant a full college semester, or something along the lines of academia. Now, TODAY, Jessica is full term with Carson.
THIS IS CRAZY!

In Mid 2011, we found out that Jessica was pregnant, and we went crazy. We took pictures every day, read books, watched baby shows, bought the crib. We did the whole 9 yards the first 6 weeks. Soon enough, we received the devastating news that Jessica would have a miscarriage, there was no heart beat. There was lots of love poured out onto us through family and friends, but it was nothing compared to the hurt that Jessica felt. What was even worse, I couldn't do anything to make it better.

Fast forward to today. Jessica is 37 weeks pregnant, which is FULL TERM, in pregnancy rhetoric. This means that Carson is healthy and can really be born at any second. I look at how we reacted with the first pregnancy and how we took this one. This one, we were a little more cautious, a little more laid back. I wanted to do the day by day or month by month photo's but I didn't. We prepared the nursery the best way we know how. We cleaned the house.

Now, we are waiting on the arrival of our son. Carson Andrew Ashby will be here soon enough. When I think about this, I think about how excited I will be, but I also think how nervous and anxious I am getting. I am about to be a father. MY HEAVENLY FATHER MUST TRUST ME because He is putting another life into my hands to raise and take care of. At this point, I can only thank God for the amazing works He has done in our lives.

A year ago, we were excited about the pregnancy and now, through the hurt and pain that God has given us such an exciting blessing.

There are times I look at my life and I see where I have screwed up, where I missed the mark, and where I completely gave up. If I can do anything right in life, it will be to raise a son that will honor God and bless His Kingdom. As selfish as I have been in life, it is time to put away childish things. I have come to Full Term with myself. I see where God has brought me, but I don't know where He is leading me all the time. I know now, in this season of my life, I must be a Husband first, a father second, and a youth minister third. It will be a balancing act, but I know that God will bless this if I honor God first.

To all the new fathers, old parents, or grandparents, this is such an exciting time. I ask that you pray not only for my family, but for all new parents coming into the world today, tomorrow, and whenever. Also pray for those who have faith that God will grow their families in one form or fashion. Our Great God can do ANYTHING because....He is God.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

So Close

Friends, It is so close to the time that Carson is getting here and I feel like I am so unprepared for things. Life is getting crazy and my heart beats a little faster, I sweat a little more, and I have thoughts of what might go wrong when Carson gets here. I think this is all normal....at least I hope so.
Here is an update on our crazy life so far, when we are only 4 weeks out from the "due date".

First, Jess is getting to the point where she is uncomfortable, having trouble sleeping and her feet look like she has been stung by 1000 bees!
We realize this is part of pregnancy, but DANG! However, my wife is a trooper. She still "cleans" and does the laundry AND folds them. She will also do the dishes, walk around with me, and stay up late playing with Carson's toys before he gets a chance to.

As a future father, I am nervous. I have, in my family, generational sin and I have made a commitment to stop such sin in my life and the life of my son. I want to raise my family in a way that is Christ loving, Christ filled, and loving of each other. I want my life to be like the end of the movie "Courageous" where I will scream "I WILL, I WILL, I WILL!" I will raise my family, I will love God and teach others to love God, and I will also move towards pursuing Christ in all decisions and choices we make as a family.

I am so excited for Carson to get here and breathe his first breath. I am ready for both sets of grandparents to meet their grandson. I want to learn from both sets of grandparents. I want Carson to know what unconditional love is, the same love my family has always shown me, no matter how big or small my mess has become. 

Being an excited first time parent brings tons of joys and emotions, but I know two things have come from this experience:
1. The fact that Jess is pregnant shows that intimacy in our marriage is for and from Christ. It helps us grow with each other and our family.
2. Christ has given us the gift of another life to take care of. Carson is His creation and we can only love and cherish every second we have with him.

I pray that family members, friends, and the random reader that read these blog posts, goofy updates, and letters to Carson and not see a man and wife who are trying to appear Christian through a blog. I want people to see what life and love is about. Life and love are about Jesus Christ and His gifts and blessings to each of us, through His grace and full payment of my sin by dying on the Cross.

WE ARE SO CLOSE to Carson being here! I will be updating more and more as we get things done and prepare ourselves for Carson's birthday and arrival into the physical world.
Here is what he looks like in a bad 3D ultrasound picture. Please ALWAYS be in prayer for him but pray that God blesses ALL His creation first.

Love,
The Ashby's of Americus

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Letters to Carson

Dear Carson,
Today I thought about how quickly it will be before you get here. We have about 6 weeks left (according to the doctors calculations) and I don't know if I am ready. I have always questioned myself as to how I would be as a father. I don't know what mistakes I will make, I haven't read every book on child development, I am really as unprepared as I can be. I am nervous.

Carson, I look at friends on facebook and see their new babies. I see how happy they are. I am so excited to see you. We actually got to see you through a 3D ultrasound of you a few weeks ago. You have hair on your head, you have all your fingers and toes. This was absolutely crazy to think how much you have developed. And now, you will only be getting fatter as these next few weeks you will be gaining half a pound a week. We estimate you will be between 6-8 lbs.

Son, I am super nervous. I look at people around me who are great dad's! They are great men in the world and community. They are great Christian people as well. I have lots of faults. I fail at a lot of things. My eyes get bigger than my stomach on a lot of things. I always want more. I have come to realize that I need to be satisfied with my possessions that aren't really mine to begin with. I sit around and see the things God has placed in my life, and then I look at my phone screen and there you are. My life will change so much when you get here. I am praying my bond will be instant as everyone says it will be.

Carson, I will always love you. I will fail as a father. In fact, I have failed many times in my life already, but throughout life we learn and adapt from mistakes we have made in the past. I want nothing more for you than to be a healthy human being who loves God and loves people. I want you to have a desire that God gives you. I want nothing more than for you to find love in your life from your Heavenly Father and from a woman who will become your bride. I think about what you will sound like, what you will look like, what quirks and kinks you will have in life. I wonder if you will like to read or watch tv.

I have NO idea who or what you will become in life, I want you to know that I will do my best before God and my beautiful bride, your mother, to be the best father I can and to raise you in a home that loves Jesus first and foremost.

I love you son!

Love,
Your Father


Thursday, May 31, 2012

Letters to Carson: 6 months, 1 week, 2 days

Dear Carson,
It has been a while since I have written you a letter. For this time, I have been in prayer for you and your mother. You see, I am more nervous for when you arrive into this world. We have an idea of when that will be, but we never know. Carson I love you, and I want to be a living example of Christ to you. What excites me more than anything is that I know my Heavenly Father is knitting you together in your mothers womb. You will look like a mixture of both of us. We have no idea what kind of personality you will have. How much or how little hair you will have. What colors your eyes will be.
Over recent months, I have been watching people with children closely. Looking at characteristics of parents, the child, their personalities, and everything in between. Suddenly, my heart becomes over filled with love and joy for you.
If there is one thing I know in this world, it is that you will be loved the most by your mother and me. She will care for you at times I can't, offer words of encouragement, pray for and with you, and help mold and shape you into a young man. I hope to do the same thing.
I have no idea what kind of father I will be, but I will always love you. This past week, you reached the 6 month mark on your developmental journey. For us, this is so exciting. We can start to see you poking out of your mother's stomach. She has a small bump now because you are growing. I am so thankful that you will be here soon.
You are going to amount to great things in your life and will be a sign of intimacy in a marriage blessed by God, joy for your Heavenly Father has placed you into our family, and peace because we have now extended our family by one.
I love you so much already. I wonder what you will look like, what color eyes and hair you will have, what your personality will be like, what you will sound like. For now, I just will be praying you arrive into this world safely and healthy.
We are so excited for you! We are making your room around the story of Noah from the Bible. The reason we chose this is for two reasons: It is a biblical theme and we wanted to surround you with God, and second because Noah followed God's plan. He didn't know what the outcome would be, but Noah always knew it would be great.
We don't know God's plan for you or for us as parents. I have a feeling that your mother will be the best mother in the world, because she loves so much. I can't wait to see you. I love you Carson. Your mother loves you as well.

I can't wait to hear your heart beat again and see you on the screen! We love you and Happy 6 Months!

I love you,
Your Father

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Letters to Carson- Day 5

Dear Carson,

This week I have been preparing my heart for a lot of things. I feel this new sense of compassion for things and I know that, even though I am a jokester and I like to use sarcasm, I have seen how it can also be taken the wrong way. God has been pouring over me about His grace and for me to rely WHOLLY on Him!

It was also an exciting week because I got to feel you kick around for the first time! We used the advice of my cousin to drink some coke. Your mother drank a whole glass of it and you were bouncing around like a bouncy ball! I felt you moving all over the place, which tells me you HAVE to be my son if you love Coke products!

Carson, this weekend we are going on our spring retreat with the youth group. This will probably be the last one your mother goes on for a while, because we will be preparing the way for your arrival into the world. I had another dream about you the other night. I was holding a very healthy and beautiful baby boy, which I assume was you! In the background or I was humming the song Jesus Loves Me. It reminded me that I am not the one that is giving you life.

Carson, I can't wait to tell you stories of the Bible, stories of my life. I want to read you all kinds of things, I want to see you smile for the first time. I want to see you crawl and then walk. I want to hold you. The more I think about you, the more and more I fall in love with your mother, because she is the one that is going to go through much physical pain for such a beautiful result.

I can't wait to see you. I can only dream for now and see fuzzy white pictures of you from the ultra sound machine, but I know you are there. You're growing too, because your mother is getting a small belly! We are so excited.

Carson, I pray that as you grow older, you will understand that I and your mother are blessed to raise such an amazing life that yours will be. There will be struggles and hardships along with joys as well! I know that life will be fulfilled in you and God will use you in GREAT ways! Your potential is amazing and you are not even here yet. Carson, I love you with all my heart. I want you to keep strong. You have made it to the half way point, and now we are in the home stretch.

I can't wait to see you! I love you so much.

Love,
Your Father