Thursday, July 30, 2015

Number my days


I have trouble forming sentences these days. When you're up all night and your mind is working 24/7, it doesn't quite function in the same way as it did before-and that's okay. It's working how it's supposed to right now. So bear with me--I am talking to myself mostly. I would put it in a journal, but I would misplace it so it's here for now...


This verse keeps coming up recently. And it has become painfully obvious that our days are numbered over the past few weeks. No matter the age, we aren't promised tomorrow. How am I living today? 


For me it's a reminder to choose joy when I'm soaked with spit up-knowing that sacrifice and service of the "tiniest of these" is a gift that yields literal dividends in smiles and snuggles that make the heart swell.  


And no matter how messy my house or hair is, I am making space for what's most important-which means there's no room for regret, fear, bitterness or envy. 


So as much as I want to cling tight to the imaginary reigns of control, there's wisdom in knowing I can't hold back time or speed up sleepless nights. I can only hold my hands open and heart open--inviting my people in to do life even when's it's not pretty. Because those who know you and love you at your messiest are your people. 


And last week, I lost one of my "people." Someone who listened to a young mama and cut through the surface level facade to allow me to be real. We couldn't be more opposite in so many ways, but it didn't matter because she spent time with me--really hearing my heart and sharing hers too. 


So my goal is to be like this "Mary" in my life and quit trying to be Martha. Trading Better Homes for better relationships--lived with eternity in mind. 

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Rowan's Birth Story

Sunday May 31st.  My due date had arrived and despite a warning that baby could come early like all of my other babies had, I felt like I was going to stay pregnant FOREVER! At this point, I had tried everything I could to "help" baby come, but nothing had worked. My belly was extra huge by now and my midwife had talked to me about c-sections and breaking shoulders at my last appointment, so each day that passed made me more concerned. Also, I had experienced some complications and thought I lost my baby earlier in the pregnancy that caused me to be more anxious than I normally would be, so I was completely dependent on prayer and scripture for peace. Although I was feeling discouraged and super uncomfortable, I was so grateful for friends who continued to check in & encourage me--now on a daily basis :)
Within minutes of posting this big ol' belly and praying/pleading with God to let me meet my little one soon, I felt a sharp pain. I had experienced prodromal labor over the past couple of weeks, but this was much more intense. Within 5 minutes, I felt another pain. Five minutes later, it was there again. By now, I knew I wouldn't remain pregnant forever and I was pretty sure that we were going to have a due date baby. Since contractions were pretty regular and my labor was quick last time, I texted my doula and decided it was best to give my husband a heads up.  Since he had worked an extra long shift and just got into bed at 10am, I told him I was in labor and asked him to change out of his pajamas so we could leave quickly when the time came but told him I would try to labor at home and let him rest as long as possible.  

I called my mom and she sent my sister over to help with the kids.  Cayleigh arrived just as I was trying to curl my hair while having contractions. I managed to curl 2 parts in the front before the next contraction hit and she said I looked like George Washington which almost caused me to burn my forehead. Thank GOODNESS that didn't happen :) 



When Megan, my doula, arrived contractions were about 3-4 minutes apart. She immediately set the tone by sharing some techniques to help me remain relaxed and in control during the intense contractions. Since my husband was sleeping and my sister was in charge of the kids, I don't know what I would have done without Megan. I was so glad that she wrote me weeks before after I shared my fear of having a huge baby and encouraged me. While I initially thought that I didn't need a doula since this was my fourth birth and I already had a midwife, I was so grateful for her help!

Contractions were so intense and it seemed like I labored at home all day--listening to music and preparing mentally for what was ahead. I joked around with my sister in between contractions, but when I was no longer able to speak in sentences I woke my husband up, he grabbed our bags and helped my sister load up the kids while Megan helped me into the backseat of our car.  By now, I was starting to regret staying at home so long since the contractions were about a minute apart and lasted about a minute, but Megan loaded in with me and began applying counterpressure that took the edge off.  When we arrived at the hospital, I carried my birthing ball and had to stop, sit and breathe through contractions a couple of times before we were registered and taken to a room.  Afterwards, one of the nurses told me that a precious two-year old saw me on my ball and ran toward it as if she was going to scoop it out from under me and literally "have a ball."  I didn't notice anything though since I was in the zone.

Finally we were in the room and the nurse checked me and I was 9cm. She started asking the countless questions they have to cover and I told her that I just needed to push. Megan spoke up and let her know that we would make sure that they got all of the information needed, but that I just wanted to answer the essential questions at this point. The nurse obliged and went quickly through what she had to cover and soon I was transferred to another room where a team of nurses joined her and she told me I now could labor as I wished.

My midwife ended up being on vacation, so just like my other births, I wouldn't deliver with the practitioner I was used to.  The doctor that delivered Baron was making rounds at the hospital though and stopped by. She took note that I was definitely NOT that big with my last baby and asked if I was having a 10lb baby. I assured her that I was not (sincerely hoping that I was correctly). She offered to deliver if needed, but a midwife from the practice was on her way and I needed a dose of antibiotics, so I waited for the Katie, midwife, to arrive.

I cannot express how incredible the team of nurses was. After Megan explained my birth plan, they worked together and literally bent over backwards--even lying on the floor to monitor the baby's heart moving to keep track while I sat on the ball or swayed or propped on the bed. When the pain became intolerable, despite my plan, I begged for an epidural.  Without any hesitation, my nurse said "I will do whatever you want me to do, but I know you wanted to go without one and we're almost finished and getting one right now would most likely only make you numb after you've had your baby." That was just what I needed to power through. Megan also kept me reminding me that we only had to get through "30 seconds."

Finally, Katie arrived just in time for me to start pushing.  With a few hard pushes my water broke and a sense of relief washed over me as the pressure was gone and the massive amount of fluid indicated that the baby wasn't the one taking up so much space. After a few seconds of relief, the contractions came back with a vengeance and I was ready to finish this challenge and meet my baby. Mentally, I went to a place that was so beyond me. The pain was unbelievable, but I kept hearing voices of encouragement--especially my husbands. Through the pain and my doubt that I could make it through, I prayed over and over and sang...
"As Your love, in wave after waveCrashes over me, crashes over meFor You are for usYou are not against usChampion of HeavenYou made a way for all to enter in"
The song that had been my anthem for the past year and a half came on as I welcome my baby into the world.
"So I will call upon Your nameAnd keep my eyes above the wavesWhen oceans rise
My soul will rest in Your embraceFor I am Yours and You are mine 
Spirit lead me where my trust is without bordersLet me walk upon the watersWherever You would call meTake me deeper than my feet could ever wanderAnd my faith will be made strongerIn the presence of my Savior

Spirit lead me where my trust is without bordersLet me walk upon the watersWherever You would call meTake me deeper than my feet could ever wanderAnd my faith will be made strongerIn the presence of my Savior

Spirit lead me where my trust is without bordersLet me walk upon the watersWherever You would call meTake me deeper than my feet could ever wanderAnd my faith will be made strongerIn the presence of my Savior"
And the minutes that seemed like forever passed as I challenged all that I had to help the little life that was growing inside me make its way out into this amazing world. Relief and loved washed over me. And my husband, the one who helped in the creation of this precious gift and encouraged me throughout the entire birth process, shared the surprising news with me that we now had a new DAUGHTER!  After the nurses cleared her passages, she was in my arms and I was again in awe as I took in the the incredible wonder of our Creator and Savior.


This man stayed up well over 24 hours and still coached me through natural childbirth, looking as hot as ever. 

Fresh baby!

Me & my girl--with a little help from an IG filter ;) 

My amazing doula Megan

Because we were so surprised that we had a GIRL, we didn't have a name yet. But that didn't stop us from introducing our sweet baby girl to her doting brothers and sister. 

 Big sister, who thought she wanted to be the "only girl" obviously changed her mind as she ecstatically loved on her new sister!

Little brother, who is normally full of energy, calmly and lovingly took in the reality that he was now a BIG brother. 


And the biggest brother was overjoyed as well.  
 \

We were so happy to share our new daughter with visiting family and friends, but she still needed a name. So we cuddled with her and got to know her. Then, we prayed and asked others for suggestions. 

I had fun discussing different names with my husband who happened to veto most of them until we talked about "Rowan."

I now believe that I was probably influenced by the sea songs that welcomed her into this world and a picture of friend "rowing" on Instagram. Although Rowan isn't related technically associated with the sea, it is a type of tree that is known for it's beauty and hardiness. The Rowan tree has red berries (my favorite color) and beautiful blooms. 

It also reminds me of this verse:

1 How blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked,

Nor stand in the path of sinners,

Nor sit in the seat of scoffers!
2 But his delight is in the law of the LORD,
And in His law he meditates day and night. 

3 He will be like a tree firmly planted by streams of water,

Which yields its fruit in its season

And its leaf does not wither;
And in whatever he does, he prospers.
Psalm 1:1-3 
We discussed Caroline as a middle name since it was a classic name that reminded us of my husband's family in North Carolina & it was a "part" of my name too. However, after we decide Rowan fit our little gal, we went with Carolina since we felt like it fit better and I LOVED that it meant "song of joy/happiness" according to several of the sites we looked up.

So within an hour of leaving the hospital, we finally had a name for our baby girl.

Welcome to the world Rowan Carolina, we can't wait to see what God does in and through your life!