Monday, February 15, 2016

My Birth Story - Ivory Lane

The first contraction I wrote down was at 4:55pm on Tuesday. I had had a few before that, and realized that they were fairly consistent and stronger than Braxton Hicks, so figured I should start keeping track. When they had been coming about 10 minutes apart for an hour, I texted my midwife and a few friends to let them know tonight would probably be the night! I told my husband and my mom and we started getting prepared. 

All through dinner and the kids' bedtime contractions continued. There was a little pain to them, but nothing unmanageable. I would sometimes stop and breathe a bit, but could generally still talk through them. They were ever so gradually getting closer together. 

After the kids were in bed, all we had to do was wait! JM started filling up the pool in my birth room. I FaceTimed my sister for a while, sitting on a yoga ball, breathing through contractions, but otherwise enjoying my night. My mom was in the dining room creating a baby wreath for the front door. JM came and massaged my shoulders between contractions to help me release tension. 

Around 11pm we started discussing whether it was time to call the midwife to come over. I was still cheerful between contractions, but definitely having to focus and breathe and sway through them. They were coming 4-6 minutes apart. I still wasn't sure how close we were to the end, since I was still talkative, but fortunately JM hijacked my phone and notified our midwife that it was time to come over. I got in the water at that point, and OH HEAVENLY WONDERFULNESS. I love water so much during labor. It makes everything so much better.

The midwife showed up around midnight, and my contractions had slowed to 9 minutes apart, which is fairly normal when you first get in the water. I just enjoyed the break, rested, laughed, chatted with everyone in the room. I shifted positions in the water a couple times until I found one that allowed me to rest my arms and face on the side of the pool. Contractions began to get more intense more quickly, and closer together, and it was time to really concentrate. I wasn't laughing in between anymore. 

The rest happened so quickly, it was fantastic. I vocalized (a pretty loud moan) through a couple contractions, and then felt like, bless the Lord, this little baby was ready to come out already! I could possibly have pushed her out within a minute, but my midwife coached me (as we had discussed before) to slow down, breathe, and let my body do the work to avoid tearing. I did a pretty good job, if I do say so myself. 

Before I knew it, her head was out! The amazing thing about birthing in the water, which I've never done before, is that I was in position to catch her myself. I reached my hand down and felt her tiny head and waited for the next contraction, when her body slipped out (That one caused some tearing. Blast!) and I reached down and brought her out of the water and onto my chest. And that was it! It was over! I had my baby girl in my arms, born at 1:03am on Wednesday, February 10, 2016. The relief and joy and magic of that moment I will never be able to express, but I hope I will always remember.

It was a really good birth experience. There was so much peace in being at home with the people I love, so much comfort in being in the water, so much hope as I kept reminding myself that the pain was for a moment and I would be holding my baby soon. Birth is no walk in the park, that's for sure. It's the most powerful thing that a woman's body will ever do. But it can be a good experience and a precious memory, full of joy and hope. I feel so bonded with my Ivory Lane already, and I think part of it is due to having such a peaceful and joyful birth.

I really wanted to share my story to encourage all you ladies who have yet to enter motherhood that birth doesn't have to be the traumatic experience that television and our culture have made it out to be. You can do it, and it can be beautiful. I truly hope you find it so!


Monday, September 2, 2013

Hamble Ramble

Sit here do I awaitening our new roommate, whom is cometh from Germany and has been delayed til midnight forth. There. That was fun to write.

So, I have a little time to reflect upon my life. Let's see if I can do a nutshell version, for all you all out there who haven't heard from me in a while

  • We have been in Redding two months past the one year mark. That went FAST. I mean, REALLY fast. JM is about to transition to another job at Bethel (which pays a little better, bless the Lord in heaven) so he'll have an even more steady schedule, which is great. It will give him time to work on the pedal board design company he has started and is super excited about. So, that's fun.
  • We have a few friends. Connecting with people is slow, but steady. A small group meets in our house, so that has been really great, and it's about to expand a little as we begin to reach out to the "young marrieds" who go to Bethel's Twin View campus. I look forward to making new friends there.
  • Samuel. Samuel is 19 months old and so much fun. He's putting together 2-3 word sentences. And he'll tell me all about something he did by using key words. "Walk. River. Deer. Bird. Kiss. Five." (He wants to give the animals kisses and high fives.) :) He is also developing his WILL. So that is an adventure. :)
  • Anybody out there read "Loving Our Kids on Purpose?" A great book on parenting that totally changed my perspective on the world, parent or not. It's too much to try to write about with my limited amount of time, but it's made me realize what a passive person I have been all my life, and the ideas in the book are empowering me to use self control and make my own choices, rather than just letting life happen to me. It is difficult to unlearn habits I've had all my life, but I know it's going to pay off in the end. Also, we may not end up spanking our kids (much), something I always assumed would be part of my parenting style. Are you intrigued? I highly recommend the book. :)
  • As I mentioned way up there^, we have a roommate coming from Germany tonight. She'll be a first year BSSM student and will be staying with us the entire school year. If she likes us, I guess. :) This is her first time in the States, so JM and I get to be her first introduction to American culture. That's kind of a big deal, huh? If we were pranksters, we could have fun with that. Anyway, she's just out of high school and seems like a fun girl. We're supposed to teach each other how to cook. Can't wait to make me some STRUEDEL. 
  • Speaking of cooking, I went on a 3 month diet trying to get rid of the thrush that Sam and I have had since he was born. I ate no grains, no sugars, no dairy (except yogurt), no fruit (except when I cheated with berries), no caffeine, no starches. What was left? Nothing. No, just kidding. Meat, veggies, yogurt, eggs and nuts, basically. I took probiotic supplements and antifungals. Ate loads of coconut oil. I survived it all, and guess what happened. Nothing. For real this time. Except gained 10 pounds. But the thrush is as bad as ever. Maybe I should just get PRAYER. I am at Bethel, for heaven's sake. Surely I can get healed of this thing.

So much for a nutshell. I'm sure I could think of more things to ramble about, but I guess I'll give her a rest. If you are reading this, know that I miss you and was probably thinking of you when I wrote it. Bye bye!


Wednesday, January 2, 2013

with a BAA and a MOO and a COCKADOODLEDOO

I figured the New Year would be a good occasion for an update of some sort. So, without further ado:

The Babe
What a different life I'm living than I was January 1 a year ago! Having a child has been the most wondrous, challenging, beautiful, fulfilling thing I have ever experienced. Who knew you could love like this? And who knew you could live on so little sleep?

Samuel is my daily joy, my laughter, my delight. He's so alert, inquisitive, watchful. And happy. He's a happy baby. Which is all my mommy-heart needs to know, even if I don't know how to get him to sleep through the night or not put the computer charger in his mouth or, for gosh sakes, to stop eating leaves. He gets so many comments from strangers about his big blue eyes. "Oh, he's going to be trouble!" they say. "Heartbreaker!" they say. Nah... he's gonna be handsome and kind, like his daddy.

But those eyes. Sometimes he looks at me and I think, "This kid knows me better than I know myself." He's deep, I tell ya. I imagine him in the future, carrying wisdom and understanding in a special way. Can't wait to see what he becomes.

I don't like to think about him being grown up. I know it will come way too soon. :)

And then we moved to Redding. It's been a good season for us as a family. JM has been busy running sound, working with the Worship Room and interning with the Bethel broadcast studio. We've enjoyed the more "normal" schedule, much different than the last few years we spent traveling.

I stay home much of the time. We put Sam on a nap/bedtime schedule soon after we moved, so that has limited my involvement with the Bethel community a little bit. They don't schedule things around baby nap times in the church world. Or anywhere in the world, for that matter. ;) But I did recently pick up a devotional set in the Worship Room once a week, and that has been good for me.

I guess I spent most of 2012 doing absolutely nothing musically or worship related. That was unusual, but I was OK with it. With my devo set, I feel like I'm kind of starting over... practicing piano, building song repertoire slowly, one by one. I feel like a beginner all over again, but I don't mind it. It makes me feel like I have room to make mistakes. When I felt like I was supposed to have it all together and be an awesome worship leader, it paralyzed me many times. I couldn't move forward for fear of failure. That fear probably still needs to be dealt with for real... but I am grateful for non-pressure situation to reintroduce me to stage ministry/worship leading after my little break.

Second Anniversary Date
Texas Brisket + Texas Pit Sauce
Friendships. As I said before, Sam's schedule limits me a little, so I haven't been able to take part in the Bethel community as much as JM has. JM and I have made a couple-friend, whom we love. The wife part of that couple and myself have hit it off, and I look forward to seeing how that friendship grows. I have to fight my homebody tendencies and actually make plans to do things... but when we do, we always have fun. I look forward to getting a little more involved (finding a homegroup/moms group of some sort) as Samuel's naptimes decrease. I'm pretty happy with a small number of friends, but I would like the number to increase beyond 2. :)

Spiritually... My life with God looks nothing like it used to. Sometimes I find Him in the day to day, and that is oh so sweet. I am comforted in knowing that I am not rejected by Him because of my spiritual inactivity, but that He is near me at every moment. But largely, I feel I could use an awakening of some sort. An awakening of my heart to love, desire, seek after Him as I used to. It will look different, for sure, with my mom-schedule. But to have the same desire in my heart for Him and all that He has; that would be good.

I guess that's all. And a few New Years Resolutions, for good measure:
  • Get back in shape! Need cheap gym membership with child care...
  • Learn to put things away immediately after I use them -- the key to keeping a clean house?
  • Schedule an evening devotional time after Sam goes to sleep. I think if I just sat and talked to the Lord for a few focused minutes a day it would change everything. I've just been so unorganized with my time... no more!
  • Read more Sandra Boynton.
That's it, y'all. Merry New Year!!!


Saturday, August 4, 2012

a DIFFERENT perfect house

          Settle down, it'll all be clear
          Don't pay no mind to those demons
          They fill you with fear
          The trouble it might drag you down
          If you get lost you can always be found

          Just know you're not alone
          I'm gonna make this place your home

The lovely Elizabeth Kosorski posted this song on my Facebook wall the other day, and her timing couldn't have been more perfect. It was the word of the Lord to us.

We were discouraged, see? Before we moved out here, we had an apartment all lined up and just needed to sign the papers, but JM and I both felt like the Lord had something better for our family. So we took a step of faith and didn't sign the lease. My brother-in-law's brother-in-law's parents (Larry and Suzanne) live in Redding, and very graciously brought us into their home so that we could be in the area while house-hunting. We thought for sure we'd find a place within a few weeks and be out of their home by August 1.
We applied a rental house which we thought would be perfect for our family. The day we were turned down for that house, we found a townhome that was possibly even more perfect for us. We were so excited! This must be it! Well, the townhome came down to a toss up between us and another family... and the owners chose the other family.

Enter discouragement. Our month was nearly up. We thought we had heard from God all along the way, but it wasn't looking good for us. I should know the faithfulness of God by now. And yet I was asking "Why, Lord? It came down to a coin toss, and you let us lose? Aren't you supposed to give us favor? What happened? Did we hear wrong? Should we have gone with the original apartment?" Sometimes I can't believe how easily I doubt Him.

I spent about a day feeling rather blue. The next morning, JM found a house on Craigslist that was within our budget, and he called and left a message about it. The owner called back and they talked about the house and JM ended up telling her that he didn't think the house would meet our family's needs.

Meanwhile, I was making lunch in the kitchen, and Suzanne came in and told me about how she had just come back from having lunch with a friend, and how this friend has a house for rent. Suzanne told her about us, and the friend got really excited. She loves to rent to Bethel students, and told Suzanne that she would love to rent to us if their house fit our needs.

Can you guess? It was the same house JM had found on Craigslist that morning, and Suzanne's friend was the one he had talked to on the phone. Ha! So he called her back and said maybe we would come look at the house after all! We went and fell in love with the house and with the owners, put in an application, and within two days we were approved! Praise Jesus!

He does take care of us. Every time. Now we have a wonderful house, plus wonderful landlords who will be living across the street and want to get to know us and make sure we're not alone out here. The Lord is surrounding us with family and meeting our needs. He is so faithful.

Our House! Nice little porch on the front, for sitting and spying on the neighbors.

And this is what the inside looks like right now.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Six Months

Samuel had his 1/2th birthday this month. My little newborn became a six month old. How did that happen? This is how life goes from here on out, I guess: FAST!

Milestones: This month he decided to try everything at once. He's sitting up, lunging forward, rocking on his hands and knees, pulling himself to standing while holding onto our hands. He's adventure boy! I love watching his wide eyed wonder about the world he's just discovering. He's gonna be all over the place before we know it.

Sleep: is for wieners! (I wish I were a wiener.)

I put Sam, asleep, in his own bed at the beginning of the night, in hopes that he'll stay asleep longer than he would if he were in bed with us. (All just wishful thinking, of course) He wakes up every 1-3 hours to make sure I'm still there, and to have a little snack. After the first waking, I just bring him to bed with me so I don't have to get up and down again all night long. This would be a bigger problem if I had to get up and go to work every morning, like many moms do, or if I had older children who needed me. I don't know what I would do if I did right now. As things are, I'm able to stay in bed til late in the morning to try to make up for the sleep I lose at night.

I have mixed feelings about the nursing-all-night issue. On the one hand, it would be wonderful to experience just 4 or 5 hours of unbroken sleep every night. On the other hand, to watch him nestle down to sleep next to me, so peaceful and happy, is the sweetest thing. We both feel right, laying there together. There's such a feeling of well-being. I may try to encourage other sleep associations for him here in the next few months, for the sake of us all getting a bit more solid sleep. But, for now, I think I'll just enjoy the closeness.

Likes: Waking up next to Mommy and Daddy; his new stuffed monkey that sings the ABC song; ice water; long kisses on the cheek; rhythm and melody; chewing on carrots; to be held horizontally as though he were flying; climbing and grabbing all the things!

Dislikes: Smashed banana; getting stuck on his tummy where he can't get to his toys; his carseat, with a passion; playing with the same toy for more than 30 seconds.

Mommy: is the comforter after bonking one's head; is able to accomplish a little more during the day than she was a few months ago; is snappy when tired and is learning how much she needs the work of the Spirit to make her more like Jesus.

Daddy: is FUN; makes Sammy laugh a lot; is the one Sam looks to for affirmation after accomplishing something new, which I think is interesting and very cool.

Most Common Grocery Store Comment: "What a happy baby!" That makes a momma feel good. 

Sam's first taste of banana.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Update on the Move

Here we are. Redding, California. Which, by the way, has a pretty decent 4th of July fireworks show. Especially when viewed from a back porch on top of a hill overlooking the city. We spent the holiday with some new friends, extended family really, who opened their home to us until we can find a place to live here in town. Such a blessing.

I think my definition of family is being expanded a bit. Nothing will ever replace my parents and siblings as my first and closest family, but I am finding family now in unexpected places. I think this has got to be the grace of God for this season, as JM and Samuel and I are moving farther away from family than we've ever lived before.

Anyway, we arrived here July 1 and frantically began searching for our new home, in hopes that we would be able to move in before the Fridenparents went back home to Phoenix. We had hoped to avoid putting our things in storage, just to move it all out again a few weeks later. So we looked and looked, but nothing came up. We were frazzled and pressured and exhausted from the drive and the unsettled lifestyle of the last week. Moving across the country is no walk in the park!

Then we realized that everything would be closed July 4. At first we were irritated, because that meant that we were losing a day and would pretty much have to put our things in storage because the moving truck was due back. But the holiday ended up being a blessing. It forced us to relax a little bit and remember that we were in God's hands and that He has a plan for us. Boy, was that a relief!

So. Our things are in storage, and we're still searching for a home. But we're with family, and in God's hands, and I think this is all going to work out.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Unmedicated Birth: You Can Do It!

This is the first of a couple of blogs about labor and birth, so IF any dudes are tempted to read, beware! I've kept it pretty PG, but I'm sure there are some things I'll write that you're really not gonna want to think about. :o)

This blog is for mommies-to-be who are interested in having an unmedicated birth, and for all those who have heard the horror stories of labor (oh, how we women like to tell them!) and caught the terror but not the wonder of it all. After the unmedicated birth of my first baby in January, I wanted to shout to the whole world of women: It's awesome! You were made for it! You can do it!

All said and done, my labor was about 18 hours from my first real contraction to Samuel's birth. There were no complications, he was in the perfect position, and it went smoothly. So my experience is based on a pretty much perfect scenario. I know many times there are issues with women's bodies or the baby's position, and that these introduce more difficulties into the process. But I just want to alleviate some of the fear about labor in general, and the idea that it is to be feared, dreaded or avoided. Labor, at its best, can and should be a bearable and even exhilarating experience!

My testimony is that it was exactly that! For sure, it was the most intense thing I have ever been through, and there was definitely pain involved, but our bodies were created so amazingly that if you work with the process instead of fighting it, you can actually enjoy it!

Here's the thing. Left alone, our bodies release hormones that work like natural drugs. Oxytocin, prolactin, adrenaline and noradrenaline, and beta-endorphin are all involved in the process of labor and delivery. My favorites, if I can have favorites, are beta-endorphin (your body's natural pain-killer) and oxytocin. Oxytocin is the hormone responsible for your contractions, among many other things, and also for a euphoric emotional high when the hormone peaks at delivery. I like to call it my "happy drug." I was FLYING emotionally all the way from the pushing stage til 48 hours after Samuel was born. It's these hormones that help you cope with the intensity of labor and delivery, and come out of it all with the most glorious memories.

It has been noted that the use of epidural anesthesia actually inhibits the release of these hormones. Likewise, pitocin (the synthetic form of oxytocin, given to intensify or speed up contractions in the case of a slow-moving labor) is injected straight into the blood stream and doesn't enter the brain and therefore doesn't contribute to a post-birth "high." Pitocin can also reduce the mother's own oxytocin production/release.

Our bodies were made to handle the physical stress of labor and delivery without any man-made drugs. When you prepare for the process as adequately as you can, and learn to work with your body, relaxing and surrendering to each contraction instead of tensing up against the pain and fighting the process, it really can be a wonderful and exhilarating experience.

Oh, and the fear of tearing? Don't worry about it. I was freaked out about the idea all throughout my pregnancy, and when it came down to it, I tore and got stitches and the whole shabang, but it was the least of my problems. It was really no big deal. I know some people have a harder time with the tearing thing than I did, but I don't think worrying about it beforehand does any good when it comes down to it. :)

Here's something you may not know. In the book of Genesis, when the Lord curses woman by saying "I will greatly multiply your pain in childbirth," the word for "pain" is exactly the same word that's translated "toil" when He curses the ground and says to Adam "in toil you will eat of it." Having children is that: really hard work. And yes it hurts. But it shouldn't be unbearably excruciating, any more than a farmer's (do those still exist?) work is unbearably excruciating. AND you get a baby out of the deal! WIN!!!

So, that's my bit about that! As I was first writing this blog, I started to include my birth story, but then realized it would be WAY too long that way, so decided I'd put that in another post. So again, my whole message to women who will one day soon bear children is this:
It's awesome! You were made for it! You can do it!