Bed rest, baby boys and brownies


The words "church family" take on new meaning for expectant mother

by Crystal Nachtigall

When I was 33 weeks pregnant with Sam I was put on bed rest for five weeks. The nurse told me that I’d regret any work I’d done if I had a tiny baby that I had to leave at the hospital for several weeks. My due date was April 16, so when we were driving to the hospital late at night in pre-term labor February 26, I vehemently resolved to take all medical advice I received because I was determined to have a full term, April baby.

My husband, Josh, was able to take the first week off work at the beginning of my bed rest. Josh’s mom and my mom were able to jump in and help out at a moment’s notice. For those first few days, our little family basically learned how to function without Mom being upright.

Violet, then almost 2 years old, loved it. Suddenly, Mommy was available to snuggle and read books anytime. Three-and-a-half year old Evy loved it. We played a lot of Candy Land and watched a lot of princess movies. But the house didn’t love it. And the dishes, laundry, housework, yard work and even the dog began to rebel against my new immobile lifestyle.

The doctor said, “Get as much help as you can.” And that’s when the term “church family” took on a whole new meaning to us. For the entire month of bed rest, I never spent a day alone with the kids. Every single day someone from our church family or biological family was at our house to help out.

Friends and family members shopped for groceries, diapers and kids’ allergy medicines. Helpers dressed my kids for me, changed diapers and let the dog in and out. Other moms from church brought their kids over to play with my girls while they did my dishes, set up Sam’s nursery, switched out loads of laundry, planted flowers in my yard or just sat with me on the couch to chat.

Some moms with older kids came over and got down on the floor and played with my kids in between sweeping, vacuuming and an everlasting stack of dishes. I lost count of how many saints loaded and unloaded my dishwasher while I explained from the couch where things belonged. One friend got to church early so that when the girls arrived with Josh, she could dress them, do their hair and take them to Sunday school while I was home resting.

And the meals! Friends and family brought over delicious foods and an almost constant supply of brownies—my favorite. Even moms that were pregnant themselves brought meals to us. One friend was so thoughtful she even brought paper plates and cups so Josh wouldn’t have to do the dishes.

Others helped spiritually. Prayer warriors prayed diligently for my health and Sam’s health. Prayers were not only sent up from Bethany MB Church here in Fresno, Calif., but also from saints all over the country at all hours. One warrior woke her husband in the middle of the night and they prayed for Sam and me.

People felt so sorry for me: “Poor Crystal, on bed rest for a month with those little girls to take care of.”But it was actually one of the most special months of my life. The blessings were overwhelming—being surrounded by friends and family that loved us so much and wanted to see us have a healthy baby with no complications. I treasured the face-to-face conversations that I had with friends who came over to bless me with their help, support and prayers. I treasured the savory meals and delectable desserts. I treasured having my “feet washed,” in Pastor Roger Poppen’s sense of the phrase. I was humbled to be served by so many brothers and sisters in Christ through their agape love for our family.

When Jesus speaks to this at the end of Matthew 25—“I was hungry and you gave me food, I was sick and you visited me”—I think I could add, “I was on bed rest and you came to clean my house.I was on bed rest and you brought your kids to play with mine.I was on bed rest and you prayed for my baby.”This is church family.This is love.

Samuel Joshua was born a few days after my bed rest ended, April 5, 2013. He was a whopping 8 pounds and 12 ounces, 22 inches long and completely healthy; certainly not a preterm, tiny baby.I blame the prayers, the help and the love…and the brownies.

Crystal Nachtigall, Fresno, Calif., originally shared this testimony on the Bethany MB Church blog, and it is reprinted here with her permission.


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