Monday, July 25, 2016


Our MOST favorite summer (or anytime) treat are smudgies.  They are easy and only have 4 ingredients.  The best part is they can be whipped up in 5 minutes or less!

12-16 graham crackers broken in half to make a square (the amount depends on how full you like your smudgies to be)
2 very ripe bananas
2 Tbs crunchy or smooth peanut butter (or any nut butter)
1 teaspoon vanilla (optional)

Smash ripe bananas completely.  Whisk in peanut butter until smooth.  Lay out half of graham crackers on a cookie sheet.  Using a spoon spread the banana mixture on the graham cracker halves.  Use the remaining graham crackers as lids to make a sandwich.

They are so good, kind of taste like little ice cream sandwiches.  I freeze them partially on a cookie sheet, and then wrap them in foil in the freezer.  We like to let them sit out for about 5-10 minutes before eating so the inside gets soft.

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Book Review: A Woman of Strength and Purpose

I just finished this book by Cynthia Ulrich Tobias.  She has authored several other books including: "You Can't Make Me", "The Way They Learn", "Every Child Can Succeed" among many others.  She has become one of my favorite authors and speakers over the years as she shares a great deal about strong willed children.  I always can relate because I was a strong willed child myself and now have strong willed children. This book couldn't have been more fitting as it speaks to the strong willed woman.  I was so excited to read it and have a chance to review it!  Let's dive in...

One of the very first things I noticed when I began reading was this book is easy to read.  Trying to finish a book with 4 young kids can feel like a chore.  This book was easy to start, stay engaged, and finish!  I have been going back and rereading my favorite portions and have really enjoyed all of the tools and resources I gained from her writing.

The Second, and probably my favorite part of this entire book, is how she describes the strong willed women.  This is NOT a book of "Don'ts".  If you are a strong willed woman, don't you feel like all your life you have viewed your strong will in a negative way?  I know for me I often felt like being strong willed was a bad trait and that life would be easier for me if I learned to become more quiet and submissive.  I am not saying that we can't all learn to be more quiet and restrained, but I have never read such a great book on the positive qualities of being a strong willed woman (or a SWW as she writes it).

Cynthia starts off in Chapter one with this:

"When honoring God is our top priority, our greatest triumph is succeeding without cheating, dishonesty, or any other tactic that would dishonor Him.  As we're called upon to find unique solutions to problem or creative angles for attempting the impossible, we are fully committed to staying within the boundaries of God's law and direction and using our strong will to change the world for good.  One woman put it this way: "A strong will doesn't have to have negative consequences, especially if it keeps us following in the footsteps God wants us to follow.  It might be a lifesaver" (pages 4-5)

She really hones in on using your strong will for God's good purposes.  This book really delves in to the "Do's" of being a SWW.  I love hearing encouragement on how God can use your strong will for Good in His kingdom, after all didn't He give us our strong will?

Bringing God honor is something she also touches on a lot.  She does share the things that can hinder us from doing God's will or serving in His kingdom as SWW.  She also shares about when we give ourselves over to God's will and truly line up our lives with His will we can experience fruit and true purpose for our lives.  I loved this quote as well:

"Our desire to conquer takes a back set to our desire to keep our life in line in His will and to bring Him honor." (page 76)

It's encouraging to see that we can still have the desire to conquer and triumph as SWW, but our first priority must always be bringing God honor and living in line with His will.  In fact when we are walking in His will we can use those strengths to bring about His Kingdom purposes.

The third thing that is really neat about this book is it is filled with stories of other SWW.  You aren't just hearing from Cynthia, but tons of SWW who have similar but different stories.  It's neat to see things from different viewpoints and realize in the world of SWW there is so much diversity.  No SWW is made the same.

One of my other favorite portions is the chapter on mentoring.  I have a passion for mentoring and can see how beneficial it would be to have a SWW who may be ahead of you to pass down wisdom over the years.  I have grown as a SWW and believer and am not the same woman today that I was 10, even 5 years ago!  I think it's important that we make time for mentoring and being mentored.  So much good can come from making time to connect with other women in different seasons.

There is a very nice question list in the back for each chapter.  This would be perfect for a book club to get conversations started.

All in all I am so happy with this book, and glad I was able to glean from Cynthia's wisdom.  You can find out more about the book and purchase it here.  

I received this book from blogging for books  My unbiased opinion of the book is all my own! 

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Days Gone

My Grandma turned 93 this year.  She is a personal hero of mine. The past several months she has been enduring a very big health battle.  She has been unable to eat and lost a lot of weight and a lot of independence.  She has had many procedures to try to repair her esophagus, some have made the problems worse.  It has been painful to watch her suffer.  She has been blessed with great health for so many years, this has hit all of us very hard.

Since the health problems started my Grandma has done a lot of reflecting and pondering.  She has also been planning her funeral.  Something about being a part of all of this has had me thinking and reflecting a lot more as well.

One day, Lord willing, I will find myself growing weaker, and older, and having nothing but time to reflect on my life.  What will my regrets be?  What memories will stick out the most?  What things will I wish I did more of?  Less of?  Because I am in the season of motherhood where it's easy to become too introspective and evaluate everything and feel guilty, I am hesitant to give in to this too much.  Some reflection can be good though.

The days with the kids can feel like a blur.  I can feel so burned out, so over touched, and overstimulated.  I can regrettably say there have been times my kids have asked for a hug, and I say no.  I get easily overwhelmed.  That is something that surprised me when I became a mom.  The crying, the noise, the mess, it tends to overwhelm me at times.  I want to love and enjoy these days, but find myself wanting to crawl into a corner at times and be in complete silence.

Today I really wanted a break, I wanted to nap and catch up on some missed sleep with the baby last night.  But Micah was not feeling that plan and didn't want to nap himself.  I was so ready to snap at him,  but when I looked into his eyes and saw a little boy who just needed a moment with me.  My eyes teared up as I looked into his and realized in that moment he just needed me.  I laid down with him and we talked for a few minutes and I gave him a hug.  As I was hugging him I started to remember just last year, whenever I needed a nap during my pregnancy he would snuggle up next to me and we would drift off to sleep.  It seems like just yesterday...but those days are gone.

Seasons come and seasons go so quickly.  I sometimes long to go back and have a conversation with 2 year old Miya.  So often I wish I could get a glimpse of those early days with each kid, their newness and fragility.  But other than Moriah, those days are gone.  And even with her those days are passing quicker than I would hope for.

The reality is, our days are like grass.  Here today, gone tomorrow.  I just wrote about joy -vs- enjoy and I have to walk the line between being overly introspective, but also reflecting in a healthy way to live my life to the fullest.  I want to find that balance in life.  I want to freely enjoy the "todays" but also feel free to grieve the "yesterdays".  I think it's healthy and normal to miss days that have gone.  The day I sent Miya to kindergarten and cried over her leaving.  The day Milo learned how to walk.  The day we met Moriah for the first time and I felt so overwhelmed with love for this 4th baby that we didn't think we would have.  The day Micah said my name for the first time.  The days are gone, I think it's ok to miss them a little.

I think sometimes when we grieve over the yesterdays, it helps us to enjoy the todays a little more.

Enjoy -vs- Joy

I have been pondering this a lot lately.  Joy is something we are called to fight for.

"Rejoice in the Lord always, again I say rejoice!"  
Philippians 4:4

So, with that in mind what about the hard days? The days when you wake up feeling weary from the go, and no one feels sorry for you and you just want to go back to bed and reset?  Still called to "rejoice?"  Well I had this epiphany.  We are called to fight for joy, but there is a difference between having "joy" and "enjoying" difficulty.

A few weeks ago I had one of those TKO weeks in motherhood.  It was like a volcano erupted and even though each individual thing wasn't all that bad, it was everything combined that was so heavy I felt crushed under it all.  

It started with Mo going from peaceful angelic baby to screamer like the flip of a switch.  She was screaming sometimes on and off for hours in the evening and that is enough to grate anyone's nerves.  Then she seemed to get a cold along with Miles as well which resulted in some sad whiny days, but I was still hanging on at this point.  But after a few days of the screaming I was feeling frayed, cue Micah throwing up all over the living room and I lost it.  NOT pretty.  In front of all of my kids, while feeding Moriah, looking like a crazy lunatic I sobbed. Miya being the tender one she is sobbed with me telling me it would all be ok. I don't remember actually saying anything intelligible between the sobs while Lew tried to comfort me, but I think something along the lines of "I can't take one more thing, I can't do this!"   I know it seems dramatic, but can I just say why is it that kids don't seem to know they need to throw up?  And WHY do they move around while throwing up only to spread it as far and wide as they can?  That will forever be a mystery to me.  Either way after my sob fest I manned up and we proceeded to tackle the mess and create a bunker for the sick one who I was determined to keep from the other kids.  Only I turn around and what is Miles doing but drinking out of the cup that Micah had been drinking out of all day.  More tears from me.  

We made it through that day and after 2 days I was feeling a little secure with the fact that no one else got it, although Miya wakes up with a fever.  Dun Dun Dun.  I decided to keep her home, hoping her tough immune system would begin fighting soon.  Friday comes and we greet the day of the "procedure". Lew had put this on the calendar pretty much immediately after Mo was born.  He was counting down as if it was an awesome vacation, or a sporting event he had been waiting for.  Only, it was just a vasectomy.  But still, he was so so ready to have it done.  I was hesitant.  What if one of the other kids gets sick, what if Miya starts throwing up?  How will I handle it all on my own?  I still had PTSD from the trauma of a few days prior.  I was not sure I could handle anything else.  But I knew he was not going to be ok with rescheduling.  So, he leaves for his procedure.  

An hour later Milo comes wandering down with no clothes on, not all that weird for him.  I get him dressed and we go about our morning.  An hour later I go upstairs to his room to discover chunks of orange all over his floor, all over his bed..and it hits me.  Throw up.  Everywhere.   More tears, but this time I had to think fast.  No backup meant I really had no choice but to "do".  Began grabbing things and throwing them in trash bags trying to pick through what to keep and what to just trash.  Stripping sheets, and attempting to get an idea what had been touched and honestly I think he just about touched everything, bless his heart.  At this point I am still hanging in there, probably running on adrenaline. I run downstairs to start what will be many loads of laundry to find an empty bottle of laundry detergent.  Waaaah.  I feel like this is just a bad dream. But I have some amazing friends who drop off detergent and carpet cleaner AND encourage from a safe distance that everything will be ok. 

Lew comes home and the poor guy is having to hear about all the drama of the morning and of course he is helpless at this point.  And to top it off he was using padsicles as ice packs because I forgot to buy him an ice pack.  But we made it.  By the end of the day I think we both felt like we had been through a war.  It was rough, but we survived.  The days that followed were better, but still rough.  Miya ended up with an awful case of Hand Foot and Mouth that caused sores all over her mouth and pretty much led to her feeling awful for a week.  

The bottom line, I guess, is that I think as Christians we have the freedom to fight for Joy and ask God to fill us in the hard moments or days, but at the same time admit that we are not "enjoying" the struggles.  That we can freely soak up the sweet moments for what they are, while simply enduring the difficult ones just fighting to make it through.  I sometimes think there is this intense pressure as Moms to soak it up, live every moment knowing it will go fast.  That is SO true.  On the other side of it though I think we feel such guilt when we have a hard day, or a hard stretch and we feel like we should have "enjoyed it more".  And typically, as you endure you are met with an unexplained joy.

So, I made a decision that I will consciously soak up the sweet moments, every single one of them.  But in the hard moments, when I am struggling in those "stripped bare" moments of motherhood,  I will fight for joy, while giving myself the freedom to simply endure. I know the days are long and the years are short, but I also know that for freedom I have been set free not to submit to a yolk of slavery (Galatians 5:1). I think we can easily set ourselves up to be slaves of "soaking it up" that we forget we are just humans with human emotions.  It's ok to not enjoy scrubbing vomit out of the carpet.  It's ok to endure car trips with a screaming baby and at the end say "glad that's over".  Freedom.

This verse came to mind:

Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.

Hebrews 12:1-2

Even Jesus despised the shame of the cross. He ENDURED the cross. He didn't enjoy it. He had to persevere in joy. And because of Him we can do the same.

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

On Growing Up

I can't even believe that the last time I blogged was the birth of Micah.  How does that even happen?  How exactly is it that I have 4 children (2 since that last post).  It's a profound mystery folks.  When I was blogging back in the day, I seriously felt like I was writing for an audience.  I mean truthfully an audience of maybe 10 or so (mostly made up of family) but an audience none the less.  As I have gone back this week and read those old posts I see I was really writing for myself.  Those moments, thoughts, and ideas captured, it's like a snapshot into history, and as I read them I feel like I am reading a history book of my life. These snapshots are like gold to me.  Let me tell you, when you are in the "throws of it" you naively think "I will have no trouble remembering this!".  But I am here to say that is just untrue.  You think it will stick with you, but as I look back I see how little I actually remember from years past.

Looking back two things stick out to me more than anything else.

1)  I am not the same person, not even close.

2)  The things that I considered "troubles" or "worries" aren't the same anymore

I have been shaped and molded these past several years.  I feel like I have gone through the fire and come out changed.

Life has happened.  I look back and I see a woman desperate to find her place in this world.  Trying to figure out motherhood, friendships, faith, marriage.  Looking at me now I am still figuring those things out.  What is different now is I know I don't have to have all the answers.  I have seen friendships come and go.  I have made mistakes, a lot of them unfortunately.  But I have learned what grace really is, and have learned to be gracious with myself.  I have learned that it's ok to mess up, and own it without beating myself up.

I thought that blogging would be a great way to capture my kids growing up.  But what it has really captured is me growing up.  I am no longer that 20 something girl who worried so desperately about what people thought of me, or what the future would hold.  I am no longer naive to loss or someone who views the loss of my toddlers naptime as "suffering".  I have watched and comforted friends burying their children,  parents, siblings, and have seen what suffering really is. I have been a student to these experiences and have learned a few things about God that I couldn't have learned any other way.  Life has become so raw these past few years.

I have seen a church and community crumble under tragedy and scandal, something I never thought would happen.  On the other side of it, I have seen people scatter to different churches, and different communities and be used in ways they never dreamt of.  This was all born out of tragedy.  It's a beautiful thing to see beauty come from ashes.

 My husband and I have spent the past 2 years digging ourselves out of a broken marriage.  Broken trust.  Both of us have made mistakes and the result was bitterness and an overall lack of unity.  When you are newly married you never think you will be that couple.  The ones who all the sudden wake up and say "what the heck happened!?  how did we get here?" But that is all part of the growing up too.  You learn through mistakes, pain, heartache.  We are mending now.  Stronger in so many ways, all because we admitted we are weak and need help.  All because God opened our eyes to the broken foundation we had built our marriage on all these years.  What the enemy meant for evil, God meant for good.

It's an imperfect process, growing up.  Nothing could have taught me the lessons I have learned over the past few years, other than pure experience.  No amount of reading could have prepared me.  If I could have gone back in time and told the person of the past that "xy & z" will happen, and here is how you survive it.  Not only would I not have believed it, but it wouldn't have worked.  You can't appreciate loss, hurt, or sorrow, until you have lived it.  You can't appreciate the beauty that rises out of ashes, until you experience the fire and come out on the other side.

I have never been the emotional type.  I would cry over the occasional hallmark commercial or love story, but haven't ever been one to cry easily. I even remember always mocking my Mom and teasing her when she cried over every movie and even over the news (sorry Mom)  Now, there are straight up waterworks over the most random of things.  Last night I was looking back through old letters I wrote to Miya when I was pregnant with her (more on that later), but when I began to go back through these letters I began to sob.  I know she thought I was crazy as she sat next to me and I wept through these letters.  As I read them it hit me, how far God has brought me.  How far he has brought us.  As a family.  As individuals.  We are on this journey of growing up together.  Many times I don't feel a day over 20.  But my reflection tells a much different story.  Sometimes I catch my reflection in the front glass door, or walking by a mirror and it startles me a bit.  I see a woman who has weathered a few storms, spit up almost always on my right shoulder, skin that could really use more moisturizer or even concealer, hair that hasn't been combed yet for that day or maybe event the day prior, and a muffin top that I have learned to embrace for the now.  I see all this, and I am surprised by how comfortable I have become with this woman that I see.   Not to say I don't aspire to take better care of myself when the newborn fog passes.  But I have grown to respect those hips that are wider because they birthed 4 children.  Those wrinkles that stand out more representing each passing year of life.  The spit up that marks another miraculous human that is growing right before my eyes, fed and sustained only by my body.   That muffin top that I know will eventually go away, but that I kind of don't want to lose too soon because that means my baby is getting older.

I have found myself, that person who always thought "what's next!!?", longing to hold on to today a little longer.  Longing to hold my toddler who in a blink won't want to snuggle on my lap.  Longing to hold on to that newborn who is still so fresh and who will be my very last. It pains me as I type those words.  It pains me to reflect on the passing of time, to acknowledge that time waits for no one.  These days, as hard as they are, are the most beautiful and I am certain the sweetest days of my life.  As I type this I hear my baby girl waking up on the monitor after a 20 minute cat nap that took an hour to achieve.  This imperfect life has shaped me.  I see God in new and wonderful ways.  I just kind of want to linger here for now.  I know in a blink I will be looking back and crying over these words I just typed. But for now, I will just live and try not to worry over how quickly that day will come.  

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

The labor of a lifetime :)

Our sweet little Micah James is here! Born 8/16 7:43 am 7lbs 6oz 20.5 inches, and so far he is doing great!

Though this labor was shorter than Miya's (36 hours vs 48 hours) it was different is SO many ways and so much more intense. I can't even describe how I saw God's hand at work through this labor and delivery and so here I am about 12 hours after delivery documenting my "story" because I don't want to forget all the fun details :)

So buckle your seat belt and prepare for a LONG story (more like a book):

Things really started last Tuesday the 11th, I had been having regular strong contractions on and off for days but they finally picked up this day so I was told to head into L&D. Because of my history of a c-section and my desire for a VBAC they pretty much wanted me to come in if I had regular contractions lasting more than a couple hours. After 8 hours in triage being monitored and making no progress we had to choose whether we would stay and be admitted most likely needing to use pitocin to pick things up, or to go home and just wait things out. Since we were hoping for a natural birth I really wanted to avoid pitocin if possible so we decided to go home, slightly disappointed, but really at peace with the decision. Pretty much off and on the entire week I had strong regular contractions that would pick up and slow down. The midwives kept saying "this is just prodromal labor...and unfortunately some women have this for weeks before they deliver" yikes not what I wanted to hear! So we just kept waiting for things to pick up and were told to call when things contractions were stronger, longer, and closer together.

So we waited and waited, it was truly agonizing. I wasn't in a rush to get him out, but I was having such a hard time discerning when I was really in labor with all the contractions I was having! So night after night I would be awakened by strong painful contractions that would go on for a few hours then like switch would just turn off. By my due date (8/14) I felt weary and exhausted. I shed a few tears and I think I had started to convince myself that he was never going to come! In the meantime we are at church that day and I notice I am having contractions throughout the day that are definitely painful and at times regular, but with my track record I just disregarded them and tried to get on with the day. By about 5 pm they were coming 3 minutes apart consistently. Now I know you are thinking: "wow 3 minutes apart you better get to the hospital!" but apparently this is just what my body does, at some points I could have them 2-3 minutes apart yet they wouldn't really pick up in intensity and eventually would taper off. So, with that in mind I just decided to wait it out. We decided to drop Miya off at my parents so that we could at least have the freedom to walk etc.. to see if things picked up. A dear friend Ana who had been a doula for many woman came to stay with me so Lew could rest. Having her there was priceless. We spent the night walking, bouncing on the ball, and trying to relax. My biggest enemy seemed to be my nerves, things would pick up I would get frantic and that anxiety would slow things down. By 2am that is just what happened. I was exhausted, my contractions were spacing out and I just started to panic. I couldn't see things just tapering off again, I was tired and just wanted to have this baby! I was knew I needed sleep but I was so afraid if I tried to sleep that things would stop progressing and it would be just like starting over again. But thanks to the persistence of Lew and Ana I decided to go to sleep and try to rest for a few hours. I even decided to sleep sitting up so at least it would make it easier for things to progress if they were going to. At 530 am I woke up to a really strong contraction, and from that point on they kept coming 3-4 minutes apart (and even closer when I was walking) and more intense than they had been. By 9 I had talked to my midwife and we were on our way in to the hospital.

When we get there we get into triage. I was hopeful that with all these contractions I had been having that maybe I would see some progress past the 2cm I had been the past week. Well much to my surprise I was still the same old 2cm I had been, the midwife tried to be encouraging by saying "it's a good 2 cm", but to me it was still no progress. I was once again given the choice of staying and possibly having to help my contractions out with pitocin, or going home. Lew and I both felt like the best decision was to stay since it really seemed like my body was ready. I laughed and looked at the midwife and said "We aren't leaving without a baby" :). So, we were admitted and amazingly the "no turning back" feeling was SO calming to me and I was finally able to relax and just let labor pick up. But much to my dismay after about 6 hours of regular contractions I still was stuck at a 2cm. The midwives were about to switch over at 7pm and they basically presented the option of doing a small dose of pitocin to help my contractions to get stronger and closer together. At this point I was already having to be monitored the entire time, so without being able to walk etc... they didn't think things would pick up. Not only that but the OB who was back up on call for the midwives that night was one of the only ones who would approve pitocin for a VBAC so this was really my only chance. So, we went for it. I was kind of hesitant because I had really wanted to go natural (no pain meds). Why? Because I'm crazy :) But I knew we had tried everything to get things to pick up and if getting pitocin meant needing an epidural that still was much better than having to get another c-section in my opinion. So we started pitocin at 6:30pm.

At first it really freaked me out because the pitocin had started and I just completely stopped having contractions for about a 1/2 hour. I called the midwife Dusty in and she explained that pitocin works on a negative feedback loop so it takes a while for it to get into a good rhythm with your body's natural oxytocin. Thankful within the hour they were coming on at about 4 minutes apart and picking up in intensity. By about 11 if I remember correctly I was having to breath through them and really feeling a lot more pain by this point, but I remember still being really happy and talkative between contractions (Ana and Lew will have to verify that for me :)) Dusty came in to check for progress, and I knew from previous experience to set my expectations low. Thankful that I did because I was only 3cm and while I was 100% effaced baby boy still hadn't dropped very far. Dusty wasn't comfortable breaking my water because He wasn't low enough and I hadn't progressed enough. So we just kept going up on the pitocin and trying to encourage things along. At this point the "bomb" was dropped that the back up OB coming on in the morning at 7am was not supportive of pitocin in VBAC's so I was down to about 9 hours of having the pitocin and hopefully making progress. We all chuckled and looked at each other like "no way I'll still be in labor at that point". If only I knew :)

This is where I lose track of time some. I think by about 3am the pitocin was really in full swing contractions were coming about 2 minutes apart and all the sudden out of the blue I started to have the most wicked back pain I had ever felt in my entire life...actually I would say worst pain in general that I have ever felt. When the contractions would come on it would feel like my back was just going to break under the pressure. The weirdest thing was the pain was right under my rib cage, it made no sense and no one had ever seen that kind of pain in labor. They were thinking it was just referred pain. The only way I could survive a contraction was to have Ana or Lew put a lot of pressure right over the spot where it was hurting. Even still with that I was barely coping with contractions. And by 4am I was shaking, crying, and probably doing a lot of yelling/groaning. Amazing how quickly I lost my composure :) The nurse came in and saw me and said "uh-oh, let me get the midwife to check your progress" I thought for sure this intense pain would mean I was making some descent progress, at least I hoped!

Dusty came in and checked me...and boy was I shocked to hear I was only 4cm. At this point Dusty said "I think you are fighting against yourself at this point, I really think some pain control would help you relax enough to progress" That's all I needed to hear. Through tears I shouted "get me that epidural" :) The anesthesiologist came in and I have to say this was one of the hardest parts for me. I have a terrible fear of needles, and trying to stay still through not only the fear but the terrible contractions was very hard. Poor Lew had his hands squeezed to death, I am so glad I didn't break any of his fingers. Once it was in I only felt really numb on one side. But for the most part the back pain was gone and I was finally relaxed. Dusty broke my water at this point and said she would come back to check me again within the hour. The only bad part at was another nurse had temporarily taken over for my nurse and she didn't seem totally competent, or very nice at that. She wouldn't explain anything she was doing and just mumbled everything under breath. At this point I was so tired so I almost didn't care. I had sent Lew and Ana to sleep for a little bit, and had planned to try to rest myself. But at 430ish that same fill in nurse came in and just started flipping me around in the bed and I saw her turn off the pitocin and at this point she is still mumbling under her breath. I guess my feisty side came out as I asked her what on earth she was doing and she said "oh the baby". I'm like "the baby what!?" To which she said "baby's not liking this, we need to turn you." And at this point I say "Ummm, shouldn't you turn me on my left side and put some oxygen on me?" Never good when you are having to tell a nurse what to do, and I always try not to do that, but really? Anyways she turned me over and I just laid there crying. With my labor with Miya she had started to not tolerate the pitocin at the end and soon after I was getting a c-section. I was so afraid that we were heading in that direction after all this hard work. Plus we were losing precious time on the pitocin as I had only 2 hours left to be on it.

By 5am Dusty came in and checked me, I was only a 5. She started the pitocin again at a really low dose since Micah's heart rate had been stable again. While she was still hopeful she had to drop the bomb again...but only this time she had to mention the possibility of another c-section. She said I know you don't want to hear this, and I don't want to say it, but really by 7am we will need to keep the pitocin off. And if there is little to no progress by that point the on call OB will probably start to push towards a c-section. At this point I became totally determined and focused. I knew it seemed impossible that I would show enough progress in 2 hours especially since it had taken me almost 34 hours to get 2 cm. But I knew God was bigger and so Lew and I started calling/emailing people to pray.

By 530 am I was feeling some crazy intense pain and pressure despite the epidural. Contractions were no longer spaced out at all but coming right on top of each other. I started to feel really out of it and was shaking uncontrollably and gripping as tightly to the side rail as I could. They called the anesthesiologist in to give me a re-dose of the epidural. He came in and saw me and said "how far along did they say you had progressed at the last check?" I said "5cm" he said "I think you are further than that now!" Music to my ears. But I was too much "in the zone" to process anything. The epidural was working again but the shaking and pressure I was feeling was so intense. The nurse just looked at me and said "I think you are in transition, and I think you are in the home stretch." I was too afraid to admit that was true, because of the little progress over the past 34 hours, but I also knew I had never felt this way before. Plus from what I had read on transition this pretty much looked just as it was described. I started to tell Lew and Ana "I feel something, I think it's his head, but I don't know." I think they thought I was crazy at that point, I don't think any of us could believe I had progressed that far in less than an hour.

Dusty came in at 6am and looked at me and said "oh boy let's check you". She didn't have to do much checking because she immediately said "ummm yup you're feeling all this because his head is right here." We all just laughed and celebrated. I had just progressed 5-10cm in less than an hour and was ready to push. I don't think any of us had expected to actually make the 7am deadline, but we did, and I was practically giddy at this point. Dusty laughed and said "I did what always works to get a woman to progress: mention a c-section, and go take a nap!" They got the room geared up and it was time to push.

Amazingly this was the the part I feared the most, yet it ended up being by far the easiest part. Poor Lew had the job of holding my leg which was pretty much dead weight at this point. I think the funniest part of the labor was when he accidentally let go to get a drink of water and my leg fell on the midwife, thankfully she was paying attention and caught it, I think otherwise it would have knocked it out. Another funny part was just how giddy and happy I was while pushing. I think I was just so relieved to be almost done, and so thankful for my epidural :) A half hour through the pushing I was almost there and was even offering Lew sips of water between contractions. It was pretty funny. Almost an hour in I just knew this was going to be my last push, and it was, our little guy was born at 7:43am and it was seriously one of the most amazing joy filled moment of my life. To actually be an active part of the birth was so much different than my c-section with Miya, I was just so thankful to be able to see him and hold him right away. Not to have blue curtains separating me from him, and to have no one snatching him out of my arms after only 5 minutes. I got to hold him for a good 45 minutes after the birth and the room just was full of happiness. The nurses were great, the midwives were great, Ana and Lew were the best supports I could have asked for. It truly was one of the hardest and most amazing experiences of my entire life. And yet even in that moment I'm pretty sure I looked at Lew and said "I could do this 10 more times" and Lew got a nervous look on his face and said "umm maybe" The amnesia that follows birth is probably one of the most miraculous parts of it all.

After the deliver was just so peaceful. I felt like I was surrounded by friends and it was really just a great experience. I was full of energy which was incredible because I had only slept 3 hours in 48 hours. But I felt so good, and so proud :)

That's the story! So far the recovery has been great. I feel good, and have to keep being reminded to rest because I feel so "normal" it's almost hard to remember it's just been over a week. I am so thankful for the gift these 2 kiddos are. I know big adjustments are ahead, especially for Miya. But all in all I couldn't be more thankful.

Blogger isn't letting me post pictures, so you can check out the facebook album here.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

36 week update...

Had my 36 week appointment this week, seriously having a hard time believing we are really that close (I will actually be 37 weeks the day after tomorrow, yikes!). So far Micah is head down (yay!) I am 1cm dilated and 50% effaced. About what I expected at this point. The midwife said he is in a "good" position, I'll take her word for it :) Our goal is to go for a VBAC (avoid another c-section) and so far the midwives are very hopeful that I will be able to do that, Lord willing. So what's on my agenda the next 3 weeks? Well I decided to schedule myself up until my due date, it helps keep me moving and so far I am still feeling really good physically so I figure why not? Sleep hasn't been great, but that isn't a surprise, and amazingly my body has gotten used to sleeping in 3 hour increments and somehow I still make it through the day without feeling too bad.

The common question I have been asked lately: (I guess it's twofold :)) "Are you ready?" and "is the nursery ready?" I just have to chuckle about the nursery question because my answer is a resounding.... No :) I have been totally unmotivated this time to work on his room. I have some things to hang and a few ideas, but I just keep thinking that he will be in our room for a little while and I'm sure I will have time while on my maternity leave to work on his room. And hopefully we will be have miya out of the toddler bed by then so we can turn it back into a crib for Micah. Until then, little man will just room in with us, and if that doesn't work then he can sleep in his pack-n-play. We still need to get some furniture for his room and I am so caught up in just keeping up with the day to day that this hasn't been high on my list....but eventually it will get done, and little man will be none the wiser :)

Hard to believe he could come any time now. Miya is getting excited and keeps asking "when we going to da hospital to get baby micah?"

Friday, July 15, 2011

Motherhood is a Calling

If you haven't read this yet, I suggest you hop over to desiring God to check it out, you won't regret it!!

Motherhood is a Calling

It's an article written by the woman who wrote "Loving the Little Years: Motherhood in the Trenches" one of my newest favorite books. A huge plus is you can read the book in one sitting if you want.