the day we met

Friday, December 15, 2017

Being a stay at home mom has given me a ton of time to think. This can be very good and very bad ;) One good thing that I've thought a lot about is that I haven't written down our story of how Ben and I met, became friends, dated and got married. I love thinking about our story because I freaking love my husband and it is funny the way that WE began. Our story begins like most couples. Two people (who were very different) met and became friends. I'll walk you through it.

It was April of my Sophomore year at Baylor. My Sophomore year was my most extroverted year, I think. I did everything I could with my sorority, got together with friends/roommates/neighbors ALL THE TIME and really, I don't recall studying...ever. Sorry Mom and Dad. Well we get to the week of Dia Del Oso and that day I was mega thriving. Rollerblading everywhere, seeing all my friends, snow get the picture. The day after Dia is when I met Ben. Cue chorus of angels singing ahhh!

Me and my roomie Anna were planning on hanging out with our friend Grant who was a Senior at the time. We knew he was inviting one of his friends that he hung out with a bunch but we didn't know who he was. OoOoOoO oLdEr GuYs. Our plans were to go to a movie and then to a dance party outside at the Dr. Pepper museum. We had to pick up Grant's friend because he didn't have a car. We rode in Anna's car to LL Sams and picked up BEN in the parking lot. He walked up to the car with fluffy hair, cut off corduroys (I found out later he calls these "corts," like corduroy-shorts lol), Chacos, and a China Spring (a local high school) volleyball shirt. We drove to the Dollar General to pick up some candy before our movie, How to Train Your Dragon.

After the movie, we went to the dance party and this is when the fun REALLY started. That particular dance party ended up being a pillow fight and there were feathers everywhere. We danced forever, it seemed. Anna and I had gone to dance parties before and let's just say we let loose on the floor. We were craaaaazy weird dancers. While we were at the dance party, I began to notice Ben. In the midst of my crazy dancing, I noticed that he was really keeping up with us. He might have been an even crazier dancer than me! All 4 of us danced so much and sweat even more. We left and went back to our duplex since Grant's car was there. All of us went upstairs and were just talking and having
fun. I sat on the back of our blue leather couch (lol) and accidentally flipped backwards onto the glass coffee table and knocked off the incense oil thing that was there. Everyone was cracking up at me including myself but it was actually pretty painful!

Eventually Ben and Grant went home and I was left to thinking. My first impressions of Ben were that he had big hair, was a hilarious dancer and had oddly nerdy cute style. I really kinda loved the fact that he didn't care what people thought about what he wore or how he danced or which movies he liked. I am a CLASSIC people pleaser and so this quality immediately caught my attention. I also loved that he had this quiet peace about him. There was just something mysterious about this Ben Belz person. I never really had a friend like Ben. Someone so quiet and reserved, or so I thought at the time. All these first impressions caught my eye and I wanted to find out more.

I just texted Ben and he said his first impression of me was: "You were beautiful and funny and fun and just goofy/weird enough to handle my extreme weirdness. And especially after getting to hang out with you a couple times, I knew there was something special about you that I just wanted to be around more and more."

ALL THE HEART EYES. More on the next part of our story later... :)

judah kirk belz

Monday, December 11, 2017

Judah's Birth Story

I never thought I would write a birth story but here I am. Also I haven't updated my blog in so long, but YES we got pregnant and had a baby!!! Praise Jesus!!! I should tell you before I tell you our birth story that I have lots of maybe TMI details so if you're not into that sorta stuff, skip this post ;)

We waited for Judah for what felt like FOREVER. My doctor had told me that he would most likely come by my due date so we were ready in those last couple weeks. His due date came and went and at our doctor appointment the next week, we scheduled an induction for Friday which was 41 weeks. It helped me know there was an end in sight. My bestie Lauren came over that Thursday and we hung out all morning just talking. I felt kinda nauseous that morning and texted my friend Melissa about it too. I had a couple things happen that were "early labor signs" before and that day so I wasn't too concerned. I did feel different though, the nausea was new. When Lauren and I went to chick fil a for lunch, I didn't finish my meal which was a little abnormal considering I was super hungry and almost 41 weeks pregnant. When we got home, Lauren left and immediately after that I got SO SICK. My body was like, HA! GOODBYE CHICK FIL A. both. ends. I kid you not. My stomach was in a lot of pain and I thought OH YAY LABOR! But it kept getting worse and the pain increased as I was curled in a ball on our bed. I texted Ben and told him he needed to come home because I knew something was actually wrong and I was getting dehydrated (obviously bad but especially bad when pregnant!).

When Ben got home, I started vomiting non stop. I kid you not it has been a decade since I threw up! Before I vomited, Ben was trying to get me to drink water and I was crying because I didn't want to since I felt so awful. I thought he was so mean for trying to get me to drink water lol. When the vomit started, Ben went into go-mode. I've never seen him move that fast. He cleaned up the house and put everything into the car. We decided I was definitely dehydrated and called the hospital to tell them I'm coming. I told Ben, "GET ME THERE FAST." He said, "I've been training for this my whole life!!" LOL yeah right because he is the safest driver ever. But he drove very fast and there was zero traffic PRAISE JESUS!!! We got there in under 20 min, only possible by flying on angels wings hehe. The whole drive I felt awful and now know I was having contractions. Side bar: people said I would know when I had contractions and that was FALSE and I wanted to say "shove it" to them before I went into labor ;)

We got to hospital and went to triage. They got us in and checked my vitals. Meanwhile, still vomiting and having diarrhea. I was indeed dehydrated and they told me they thought I had a virus. How CONVENIENT!! They hooked me up to all the things and started IV fluids. They decided to keep me overnight so I didn't have to come back in the morning to be induced.

We got to our labor & delivery room and got settled. I started to feel worse and worse as my contractions got more intense and closer together. Our nurse checked me and I wasn't dilating much so they decided to start me on Pitocin earlier than our 5am induction time. I asked if I could shower before that since I still had vomit in my hair ;) After showering, they got Pitocin and Penicillin started (I had tested positive for group B strep). Meanwhile, I was still having the virus symptoms and having to walk to the bathroom with all my cords and IV pole every 2 minutes. I started to have pretty painful contractions 1 minute apart but when they checked me, I wasn't much further dilated. I told the nurse I wanted an epidural around 3am. I knew I wouldn't be able to contract every minute and still be going to the bathroom so much all night long. Stomach virus + labor = NOT FUN.

Okay here is where it gets good. After my epidural I finally got relief from my virus symptoms PTL!! EPIDURALS ARE FROM JESUS. I LOVE THEM AND I LOVE ANESTHESIOLOGISTS AND NURSES AND ALL THINGS. I felt amazing and so peaceful. Got some rest and they kept increasing my Pitocin as the morning went on. I developed a fever during labor (thanks stomach virus) so they had to give me medicine for that and would watch closely during the rest of labor. They checked my cervix about every hour to see how dilated I was. At one point I went from a 5 to a 9 and they told me I was going to start pushing soon. WHAT, YAY!!

My doctor came in and told me it would probably take me about 2 hours to push, so get ready! (Side note- we LOVE our doctor. Holy moly we love him so much and I hope every baby we have can be delivered by him!!! He is the BEST!) I started pushing around 2:15pm and it was great. Like, I love pushing. We had a lovely convo with our nurse the whole time about Nintendo (Ben's doing) and other meaningless things that I cannot recall :) After pushing for 30 minutes, our doctor came in again and said that Judah would be here in about 20-30 minutes. Again I was shocked, what!! Ben was doing a great job counting me down with pushing and fanning me with the room service menu haha.

I pushed and pushed and Judah was born at 3:14pm ❤️ Cue the tears!!! They put him on my chest and Ben and I just stared at each other with tears in our eyes. I kid you not, time stood still in that moment. I will never forget Ben's face!

The nurses weighed and measured Judah. He was 9 lbs 4 oz, 21 inches long. Our big boy!!! Everyone was so surprised and so were we. My Doctor made me feel like a superstar that I pushed out that big of a baby in an hour. I felt proud and still do :) Shortly after the initial things with Judah, they told us his blood sugar was low and that they would have to monitor it. If it didn't go up, he would have to go to NICU. I was feeling very emotional about this. Just the word "NICU" terrified me.

My mom came in to our room about an hour and a half after Judah was born. We then were transferred to a postpartum room. Judah ate so much immediately but his blood sugars never went up. He was admitted to the NICU a few hours after birth and we were so sad. It was really really hard to not be able to have him in our room ever. Ben went to watch them take Judah to the NICU and said it was super hard to watch. I got to go visit him around 11pm that night. It was very emotional to see our newborn with all those wires hooked up to him. You never want to see your baby like that! We felt so peaceful about his safety and care in the NICU though. We knew he was getting just what he needed.

Judah stayed in the NICU while we were in post partum. The nurses gave me a stool softener after labor which started up my virus symptoms again :( It was challenging with recovery and my virus to get over to the NICU every time we were able to feed him but I'm so thankful for that time too. Ben and I were discharged on Sunday and Judah was able to come home with us on Monday!! He was a champ the whole NICU stay and we always had good reports and improvements on his blood sugars.

We are SO THANKFUL for our son, Judah Kirk Belz. He has been an answer to prayer. Before he was born, we prayed he would be a good eater & sleeper and be a boy of peace. He is all that and MORE! Jesus is so faithful! We are so blessed to be his parents. I have wanted to be a mom for forever and I'm so thankful for this privilege to stay home with Judah every day. Ben is the greatest and most present father/husband. I have never felt more like a team with Ben than now! We are unstoppable!!! I am the most blessed woman to be a wife to Ben and a mom to Judah (and Fenway puppy!). Thank you Jesus!!

PS- Also if you made it this far, you are a superhero.

goodbye 2016, hello 2017!

Friday, December 30, 2016

Today I sat down and journaled about by 2016 year. I always intend to do this but it never happens before the year is over. I was spurred on by one of my best friends who did the same thing today as well. This is what friends are for!!!

I feel so completely encouraged and I feel like I need to share what I wrote with you....

Jesus, what do you have for me next year in 2017? I keep hearing "joy." Wow I would love that. I feel like my greatest joy would be to become pregnant with our baby and carry him/her full-term. Yes, Lord! Please bring that to pass. As I think about 2016, I think of pain and "limbo" feelings. Yuck. Grief of losing our baby, Praise, and limbo of waiting every day of every month to see if I'm pregnant. You know the desire of my heart is to be a mom. I want to be a joyful and happy mom! Yes, yes, yes!

I also see good in 2016 though. You gave us a house. Not just any house. Right where we wanted to live. The perfect size. You provided a way for us to put a lot down. Thank you Lord! You got me into FREE counseling during a hard season. I learned more about myself and how to be more healthy. You helped me process things relationally and I've been able to talk about hard things more easily. You sent us fully funded to Germany. We learned more about others and in turn, more about you and your heart/character. This year I've wrestled with if you want good things for me. I've tasted more of your Father heart towards me. You made me rest fully all summer. Psalm 23 came to life for me. You've given babies to so many friends who have longed for them. You renewed my love for reading fun YA books. You let me really scale back on lettering. Early 2016 you gave me abundant lettering opportunities. You let me dream about possibilities in the future and realize what I really want. You brought new relationships to my loved ones. You gave me a deeper friendship with best friends. You helped me say no to people and yes to others. You gave us a church and helped me be brave to volunteer. You gave me a year of learning how to better communicate and love Ben. Thank you for the gift of him and his love.

I keep hearing "joy" & "gratitude" and those will be my 2017 focus. I want to look at the good always and say thanks always. Focus on the great qualities my family/friends have instead of what they and I lack. Yes! Joy in you.

This year I want to memorize Psalm 100:1-5 in the Passion Translation:
¹Lift up a great shout of joy to the Lord!
Go ahead and do it—
Everyone, everywhere!
²As you serve Him bring your gift of laughter
And be glad as you worship Him!
Sing your way into His presence with joy!
³Try to realize what this really means—
We have the privilege of worshipping the Lord, our God!
He is our Creator,
And now we belong to Him!
We are the people of His pleasure!
⁴Come right into His presence with thanksgiving!
You can pass through His open gates,
With the password of praise!
Come bring your thank offering to Him
And affectionately bless His beautiful Name!
⁵For the Lord is always good
And ready to receive you.
He’s so loving that it will amaze you;
So kind that it will astound you!
And He is so famous for His faithfulness toward all!
Everyone knows our God can be trusted,
For He keeps His promises to every generation!

I am so excited for 2017 and I'm so thankful for 2016. I'm thankful we end every year with two of the best holidays ever. And the music that comes along with it. How Jesus is the thrill of hope, the weary KAMBLY rejoices!!! 

Ben and I have decided to not really do New Years Resolutions this year as much but to focus on our "Jerichos" that we will sow into with prayer. We are going to walk around and blowing our horns of scripture and Truth and hope and faith until we see breakthrough! One of my friends gave me this image last time I posted about our fertility journey and we just LOVE it. I'm so thankful!!! I can't wait to march all year long and see God's promises fulfilled!!! 

What a year 2016 was. I can't wait to see what 2017 holds. I almost forgot that another one of my friends felt like this next year was going to be a year of JOY....CAN'T WAIT!

I didn't know.

Thursday, December 8, 2016

Dear Ben,

I love the way that you love me. Seriously. You just make loving me look easy, which I appreciate because I know it's probably not. I feel like the Christmas season reminds me of our story so much. The beginning of our story, that is. And I'm just so thankful you never gave up on me.

Thanks for taking me to Salado on that date 6 years ago. I remember we walked the streets and held hands and later you asked me to be your girlfriend.  I didn't know then that I was saying yes to the man who would let me take his beanie because mine is gone. I didn't know I was saying yes to the man that would get a fluffy white dog with me and live in a tiny apartment.

You're the smartest guy I know. You make me ramen when I'm sick. You hold my hand at fertility appointments and cry with me when things hurt. You support my ever changing obsessions and it's currently young adult novels. You bought a house with me and hung lights all over it for Christmas just for me!!! You caught me a snorlax on the way home from work. You put ice cubes in my milk because you know I like it COLD. You sing my made-up songs about all the things.

I didn't know I was saying yes to the man that would help my dad go to the bathroom so I didn't have to see that. But I DID know I would marry you when you did, and I've never looked back.

You're the best yes. 

I love you!

hello + update

Sunday, November 27, 2016

I updated my blog! It's been forever since I've written and today I kept thinking about writing. I don't know what God is doing right now but it seems that in hard seasons, He wants me to write. So here I go.

Gosh so much has happened the past few years. I used to write in this space a ton and it helped me process the grief during my Dad's journey through ALS (Lou Gehrig's disease). You can read more about that in my previous posts. I honestly haven't even looked at my past posts but be forewarned that I started this blog while in college so who knows ;)

Today, I've felt the nudging to write about our current season. Oh how I wish we weren't here. It feels really vulnerable and like I'm opening my heart to everyone. But I guess it is. There's risk in vulnerability and I'm willing to risk. You'll need a little background to understand. About a year ago, Ben and I wrote a lot of hopes, dreams and prayers onto a rubber ducky that we put in the shower. We prayed for the things on the rubber ducky every day when we saw it in the shower. One of the things on the duck is "future family." We were in no way ready to have a baby and we were both very adamant about not wanting kids anytime soon. But God. He has a way of changing people's minds and as we started to pray for all these hopes and dreams, He changed our hearts. Ben and I had a conversation one day and I told him I was ready to start trying to have a baby and Ben told me he felt the same. We decided to start trying after we bought a house. Jesus worked in an incredible way and provided finances for us to put a significant amount of money down on a house and we moved in at the beginning of March.

We heard Jesus tell us to start trying right before that. I remember when we bought prenatal vitamins, we were SO EXCITED and I was dancing down the Target aisle. I felt like Jesus told me I was going to get pregnant right away but I was so fearful that something would be wrong blah blah blah. Ben is the ever optimist and thank the Lord for that!!! We took a test on Mother's Day and found out I was pregnant! I think I took like 5 tests that day and we told both our families :) When we went to the doctor, they told us the test came back negative. Cue all my fears coming to reality. I was terrified. TERRIFIED. And so confused. The next week I kept having to get my blood drawn and at the end of the week, the doctor told us that we would miscarry. I did and we were so sad. We named our baby Praise and there is something incredibly bittersweet that my Dad got to meet our baby before we did in Heaven.

The next few months were spent "trying" and every month of disappointment felt so grievous. I know grief but this type of grief is completely different. It's like all the stages every month and it is THE WORST. Side note: I know we haven't been trying that long according to the doctor or others who have walked this journey much longer than us. I can't imagine how it feels for those who have spent years longing for a baby. 

Well I switched doctors and got into one of the best in Austin (THANK YOU JESUS). At my appointment it took him 2 seconds to tell me I have cysts all over my ovaries. Cool. He put me on birth control and a fertility medication. The first round failed. Now we are on the 2nd round.

I never thought I would be here. Every time someone would ask me what I wanted to do when I grew up I would say, "I want to be a mom." Every. Single. Time. Even in college. So you can imagine how devastating it feels to have to go to a doctor and be handed a packet about Infertility. I feel like my hope has been deferred for so long and it feels completely unfair. It hurts when people tell me we haven't been trying for that long because it FEELS LIKE A REALLY LONG TIME. I know I know that in the grand scheme of life, it's not.

To be honest, I've really felt distant from Jesus in this season. I told Ben that I feel like I can't trust him with the desires of my heart because all the BIG things I've prayed for haven't been answered with "yes." I was thinking of my Dad being healed, our baby Praise living, Ben being healed from diabetes etc.

Then I had the thought, that's a lie. Jesus showed me the big things that have been answered YES to: marrying the greatest man IN THE WORLD, my heart being healed from brokenness, having best friends like sisters, restored relationship with my mom, finances for a house, my family being freed from debt, addiction broken for a family member, the perfect dog for us...and so on. He showed me that He is faithful in the big. He is. He told me it's okay to feel so broken right now and to still feel a little broken from the grief of my Daddy.

This is who I am right now. I'm hurting. And I really think it's okay to not have a big silver lining. I've read about Abraham and Sarah over and over and I know our time will come because I know that Jesus created me to be a Mom. But right now, it's really hard and it's really painful. I'm glad that I feel deeply because I know that when we have our own baby in our arms, it will all be worth it and we will be that much more grateful for the life He gave us.

We know He's in the waiting and I'm working on letting Him reveal all the places He is there during this season.

don't give up.

Saturday, December 5, 2015

Never give up is what my family's motto has always been. Never give up is what my mom and dad always used to tell me.

When I was in middle school, I remember that I decided to play volleyball. I'm not sure why, because no one in our family was particularly skilled at this sport and I certainly wasn't. All my friends were playing so I decided to as well. One day, my dad was trying to practice "bumping" the ball back and forth and I sucked SO bad. Gosh, I was terrible. My Dad was getting visibly frustrated. I remember thinking, "Oh great. I knew I was bad. I knew it." Coming from a family of 3 brothers who are all exceptionally skilled at baseball, I was so ashamed to be so bad at something that should be easy for me! It has a ball! I have hand-eye coordination! Why wasn't this working!? But my Dad would NOT let me give up. When I started to cry because I felt so terrible, he told me, "Kam, you're going to get better. Keep practicing. Never give up!!"

I was thinking about that today because I have been in a serious funk. It's caused me to have a storm of thoughts and emotions constantly bombarding my mind and making me feel like crap. "Never Give Up!" But what if I want to? What if I feel there are no other options? What if it hurts so much to keep going and to not give up?

There are things that I wish I could talk to my Dad about. I wish he could talk to me about my questions. I wish he was here and could tell me how he got through the pain he went through and the bankruptcy and the heartache. I wish he could tell me to never give up, one more time.

It doesn't haunt me consistently like it used to, to think about my Dad. I picture my mind is like a fortified castle. When a thought penetrates my mind's outer walls about my Dad, I assess the threat. Is it a good thought? A good memory? Will this memory cause me pain? Will I cry and will my heart ache? Most of the time, I don't let the thought get too far. I don't let it really sink in. Because there are 16 other people around me and I can't cry to them and tell them I don't know why my Dad isn't here anymore. I don't know why. But sometimes, I do let the thoughts get through the outer walls and they do crush me for a time. It's okay, I know, but it hurts so badly and I don't like it. I hate that people don't have the words. I understand, but it sucks. I hate that I don't know why my Dad wasn't healed when I asked Jesus persistently.

I don't know how to explain the feelings I feel when I really think about how there are so many things I don't understand. I have asked Jesus . He reminds me that He's good. That it's His character to heal and it's His character to save and it's His character to bind up the wounds. I know that He's still good. I'm so thankful that my Dad showed me a glimpse of the Father heart of God.

Tonight, I imagine my Abba Father. He's holding my hand. He's telling me not to give up. He's telling me that it's okay to have funky seasons that don't feel right. He's telling me to keep going. Patience and waiting are refining me. He's telling me that I'm becoming more beautiful even though I don't think so. Anxiety will not win. Don't give up on the fight. You're not alone.

the last time I saw him.

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

the last time I saw my dad was the day before he died. I was home for almost a week in round rock. driving back and forth from my parent's house to the Christopher House in east austin. I really hated that place. seemed like a place that people went and didn't leave. at this point, my dad couldn't talk really. it's so hard to remember. i've been trying to go back in my mind lately to remember things that are so painful that it hurts. but I feel like it's necessary and it helps to write out.

dad was in so much pain. I can't even imagine. when I get a migraine and feel like I'm going to just collapse in pain, I think about the pain my dad lived through for almost 4 years. it literally makes my heart break. not necessary to dwell on. moving on.

dad was in the Christopher House for a little less than a week. it's basically a hospice place. he barely ate anything. I can't even remember if he did. he was so frail. so so thin. I can't remember why, but they said that dad could go home. I think he was sick and had gotten better. we thought, at least I thought, that he was on the mend. when we got home, he wouldn't eat but he drank coke. I got to feed him coke and it gave me so much joy because he wouldn't ever drink it while he was sick.

the night I left, I was reading God of the Impossible by Susan Peters (really recommend), to my dad. there is a part in the book that has healing scriptures and I just kept reading them to my dad. after that, I asked dad if I could worship with him. I sang mainly since he couldn't. he was laughing at my voice I think :) I remember I didn't want to leave that night but felt like I should to be home in waco. I don't know why. an emotional break I suppose. I left thursday night. he died in the night on friday.

I never thought he would die from that crappy disease. I really believed he wouldn't. when my mom called me in the middle of the night, I just ached. the worst pain in the world is getting that call in the middle of the night. packing for a funeral. packing clothes that your dad will never see again.

it's so hard to think about the painful parts of my dad's death. really most of them are painful because I miss him so much. but I think that right now is the first time that I realized that the last moments I had with my dad, were in worship. in church the other day, the pastor was saying that everyone remembers the last words that you have with a person you loved that has died. I don't remember the last words my dad ever physically spoke to me. but I do remember that our last moments together were worshipping Jesus. I hope that I can leave a legacy like that.

I miss him so much. no one will ever replace my daddy. now he's doing exactly what he probably left earth doing. his last breath here on earth was his first breath with Jesus and eternal life and freedom from pain.

I love you daddy and I miss you so incredibly much.
you're little girl forever,

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