Monday, January 23, 2017

The Surreal Life

The word of the year for 2016 has officially been pronounced by Merriam Webster and that word is "surreal".

Surreal; very strange or unusual. Having the quality of a dream. Marked by the intense irrational reality of a dream, unbelievable. Fantastic.

Well, I don't think I could have chosen a more accurate word to describe this last trip around the sun. So many people have kicked 2016 to the curb and relish posting sassy memes about how terrible it was. I know so many "surreal" things have happened this year in world news--and it's not that I want to gloss over that. But for me--this year personally has been the best ever!

This year after many many years of ambiguity, struggle, spiritual warfare, inner turmoil, waiting, and loss of hope (and other words and phrases I could continue on with) we were able to become victorious in our battle to become parents! I wish me from five or seven years....(even eight or nine) could read that last line. I know it was not 40 years in the wilderness but to me it was.

This past year I had the privilege to carry and give birth to person. A person made in Gods own image. She was made by the Creator of all things and I get to be a main cast in the story of her life. And the beginning of that is and was awesome and SURREAL!  It's not that it has been easy or perfect (because what is) but it has been amazing and wonderful and the best experience of my life to date!!! Sometimes I just stare at Sawyer and repeat to myself "you're a mom! You're a mom!" And pray it sinks in one day 😉.  And I have God and 2016 to thank. So many amazing memories packed into 12 months. And now I'm looking forward to what's to come. It's so nice (a luxury really) to not feel weighed down and to be excited for the future!!

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

What's in a Name?

I hear of so many couples who really struggle with choosing a name for their baby. I am so glad this was NOT something we struggled with! We decided when we got pregnant (still, so surreal to even say that!) to keep our names to ourselves--thankfully we had a boy name and girl name we BOTH agreed on...and had agreed on for YEARS! The name was LOCKED AND LOADED!  I'm so glad we were both on the same page. And we really didn't want anyone "ruining" it for us by announcing it ahead of time.  You know, you share a name you like and the persons face immediately sours? Or they say their cousins neighbors son who is prison for nefarious deeds was named your name in question? Yeah. I was not up for that.

When Sawyer was born and the name finally revealed (lol, so dramatic) the main question we got was "from where did you get that name?" and "How did you come up with that?" I didn't think she had a "weird" name but definitely not a super common one, especially for girls. (At least, it's not common for girls in our circles but there are TONS of little baby girls named Sawyer Jean and Sawyer Jane if you check your Instagram hashtags like I do, hah! It's definitely a thing!)

It's not a crazy story how we got her name, we just heard it so many years ago on a baby girl and I my radar went off and I immediately filed it away--like it was 2008 or 2009 that's how long the name has been top on my list. (And no, she's not named after Sawyer from LOST, just incase you're wondering!!!) It struck such a chord with me. It was sweet. A little tomboyish. It referenced literature and journalism. I just thought it was perfect! I didn't want something SUPER well known but not something super "out there". There wasn't a name I liked better and for so long, I just hoped by the time we ever had a baby the name wouldn't be too popular and "ruined" that way either!

The only thing that I thought was slightly disappointing about her name was the meaning of the name. It's a literal name, it's an occupation name. I love when names have meaning, weight. Because your kid, I mean, that's your whole world and you're trying to build a legacy in raising them. Giving them a name is not something you do on a lark. So I've been giving her name a lot of thought and I'll share with you the meaning I'm giving it, and it ties into it's actual meaning too.

The name Sawyer means;


Cutter of wood

Cuts timber

Of course, if you know me you know I LOVE the woods, trees, forests, and nature. So I don't love the idea of cutting down all the trees, you know? But of course I'm going to look at this symbolically--
and I have some verses picked out to back it up. And for Sawyer to keep for her whole life, her life verses so to speak. Ones I hope are special to her and speak to her of the story that lead to her life and how amazing she is. How special her story is!

Given all the struggles and the long and winding path, the large mountains it took for her to make her way to us, her name now means;

Sawyer- one who overcomes or removes obstacles,  clears a path where the path is unknown, one who changes the landscape of the world she lives in. 

Her verses go with her name meaning;

Psalm 16:11 

"Thou wilt she me the path of life;
in thy presence is fulness of joy;
at thy right hand there are pleasures forevermore".

Psalm 138:3

"In the day when I cried thou answeredst me, 
and strengthened me with strength in my soul". 

James 1:12 (NIV)

"Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because,
having stood the test, that
person will receive the crown of life that Lord has promised to those who love him".

Now, I love the meaning behind her name! Overcomes obstacles. Clears a path. Changes the world.

That's our Sawyer!!!

I can't wait to see her grow into her name.

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Ways to Battle Ennui, and a Vocab Lesson. I Miss Vocab.

ENNUI. My favorite vocabulary word ever. Because it perfectly encapsulates something I struggle with from time to time, and I'm sure others out there do to otherwise IT WOULDN'T BE A WORD! #logic.


Noun-a feeling of listlessness and dissatisfaction arising from a lack of occupation or excitement. 

Synonyms-boredom, tedium, lethargy, listlessness, languor, weariness, enervation, malaise, melancholy, world weariness, Weltschmerz. 

So many of these synonyms hit home, nothing thrills me more than putting words to feelings!!!!
"World weariness". World Weary-feeling or showing fatigue from boredom with the life of the world and especially material pleasures. I think the world weary hits me hard when I spend too much time on social media. Like, everyone is doing and saying the same things so what does any of it even mean? Connecting with people online can be both wonderful AND detrimental. As "they" say, it's all about the balance!

It's all part of human nature, to feel the ennui. Because we're not perfect.  That being said I'm very very happy with my life and THANKFUL for where I am today. (SO THANKFUL!) But the ennui can get us at any time or place. I think for me it sets in around the holidays as there is so much pressure to have and experience this magical holiday time, sometimes getting overloaded on fun and excitement that nothing can really live up that build up. Then settles in the ennui. "The holidays are over! There's nothing to look forward to besides a long, cold, DARK winter" or "Why don't I feel as Christmassy as I think I should? I just feel regular! Shouldn't I be feeling tinsel-y inside?!?" And so on, haha. You get the idea.

So today, in anticipation of the good ol' ennui settling in at some point this winter (it's not always the winter for me though, it comes and goes throughout the year) I made a list of things to do to battle it. To be proactive! Because sometimes my baby sleeps and I need to do things during that time to be a person! I wouldn't say ennui is full on depression. No, not at all. I guess it could spiral into that for sure, but mostly it's more like I'm a character in an indie movie. One that does not do well in any of the festivals, LOL. It's like, with some work you can pull out of it. Or just fake it till you make it and it goes away. I think the ennui strikes those of us who spend too much time in our own heads. You extroverts will have to correct me if I'm wrong on that one, though!

Ok, so here's the list I worked on today with concrete ideas to battle any ennui feelings coming my way. I guess they could also double as just straight up goals too.

1. Having daily quiet time, prayer, and Bible Study (pretty self explanatory)

2. Work out!

3. Prayer time spent specifically on Sawyer, and her future.

4. Reach out to friends, make plans to get together.

5. Create a "to read" list. Work through it. Write about each book.

6. Work on or plan out a home improvement project.

7. Meal Plan and/or try cooking a new recipe.

8. WRITE WRITE WRITE WRITE WRITE. Ok, this one should be like number four.

9. Journal about Sawyer's life, scrapbook ect.

10. Join a mom's group and stay connected even when you don't feel like it. You know, due to "world-weariness".

11. Clean something.

12. Donate something.

13. Create something.

14. Make a plan/schedule for the day or week.

15. Encourage someone dealing with a tough issue, (vaginismus, infertility, ect).

16. Join the writers group thing at the library.

17. Make plans to connect with family outside of normal holidays.

18. Do something with or for my niece and nephews.

19. Listen to a Young House Love podcast! Find other podcasts!

20.  Stare at my baby and continually count my blessings outlaid and write them down

I hope this is helpful to anyone of you who may also have a little bit of the ennui sometimes. It's ok! We're built to thirst after more than this world. I want to learn to the lean on the Lord during these times and not just "muddle through". I'm tired of "surviving". I'm really enjoying this time in my life of "thriving" and I don't want to lose it!I didn't realize how sweet the taste of thrive really was and now I never want to lose it. I'm addicted! Hehe.  I realize, reading my list it all sounds kind of magazine-y pat ways to "beat the blues". Oh well. I think they will help me. At least I have a list of things to do and work.

That's all for today. Gonna go hang out with the baby, because she's the best! Take that ennui!

Monday, November 14, 2016

Zero Gravity

Little Sawyer is 4 months old! I feel like that is a huge accomplishment. She is healthy (praise the Lord as we know there are NO gaurantees), she is happy (most of the time!), and she is well loved.  It is truly a great privilege and pleasure to be able to be there to see every milestone and new skill, to set the tone for what her days look like, and to just get to know her after all the years of wondering what she would be like! When she smiles "it feels like glitter is exploding inside of me!!!!!" (Crazy Ex-Girlfriend anyone?) She's gone from basically being a feral animal, snorting and sniffing to find where her food is to getting "more like a real human" (my nephew) every day and it's the COOLEST thing.

But you know what? Someone asked me if it felt like "just yesterday" she was born. And I said "nope!!!" It's felt like a lifetime? Not in a bad way, but this has been a huge paradigm shift in my life and it's wonderful but it DOES take some getting used to thats for sure! It's like learning to exist in a world without gravity. All the elements of your preexisting life are there but with one major difference that effects everything single thing you do.

So let's dive in, before these memories fade. The beginning, it was, to borrow a phrase...

It was the best of times.
It was the worst of times.

I wasn't prepared for how difficult my recovery from giving birth would be. I really think I was so terrified during pregnancy of things going sideways that I didn't really think about giving birth or after very much? Like at all?! Like I was genuinely surprised to have a baby in my house when we got home. Excited, yes. But also surprised! What the heck, self! I was just so concerned with every doctor visit and so on that I would just think about what the next one thing was. I didn't want to get so attached just incase. I'd waited so long my mindset was "I'll believe this when I see it". Well, it happened! She arrived and NOT on schedule (read her birth story for that, well, story).  For a really long time it felt like a bowling ball had been ripped out of me and it was hard to sit or stand. It felt like my tailbone was broken (I think it was severely bruised). So many stitches! And super hard. And I didn't love it. And neither did she. And it wasn't working. And I prayed about it and God gave me a DIRECT answer and our whole fam bam is way happier. Phew! He cares about us and the details of our lives and I'm SO thankful for that!

Another thing I wasn't prepared for was the amount of "company" we had in those early days. I know it's customary for people to come over and see the baby. But man I felt so crazy, so gross, so in physical pain I wish I would have rested more and just let it be. I was so psycho about feeding the baby, making main floor guest ready, making myself presentable, trying to organize the whole day into fitting around when whoever was coming. I know no one who came to see us would have cared, they just wanted to bring us food and encourage us. I legitimately felt crazy the first month. So much anger. So much crying. Yikes. People would ask "is she sleeping though the night?" (No. And she never will). They would say "when is her bedtime?" (Also never. The answer is never.) Also "are you getting any sleep?" (NO!!!) Even if she does sleep I still can't sleep. I'm busy poking her and mentally WILLING her to stay alive with all my might 24/7. That is exhausting. But nope, still can't sleep. Also the first month we were trying to get her to gain enough weight, which meant waking her from day naps to eat. SHE WOULDN'T WAKE UP THEN but yet somehow she NEVER SLEPT. How those two conflicting stories are both 100 percent true, I'll never know. I guess she never slept at times when I also could sleep, that was her whole mantra. "I'll use all of my cunning to keep mom awake at all times."And no, "tickling her foot" or "changing her diaper" did not wake her up. So yeah, if one more person had told me to tickle her darn foot they were also getting punched along with anyone talking about breastfeeding or sleeping through the night. I'm getting so riled up now thinking about it all!

So the first weeks were basically stressing over her eating and gaining weight, doctors appointments, visitors, crying, punching, rage, insanity from no sleep (I was getting double vision ), pain and discomfort down south... getting mom neck and shoulder (I mean seriously, this is a thing!) But the first few weeks felt like an eternity. I told that to the pediatrician and they looked concerned. But when you're not really sleeping, time does seem a lot longer, I mean, right?!?! I was like come on, this CAN'T be the first time you've heard this Doc!

After four weeks--Ted went back to work. I was both sad and glad. I needed to assert my dominance and confidence at this mothering business. You know what they say about having two cooks in the kitchen. But also having two sets of hands for so long was amazing. I love that we are both competent with our baby. I'm proud of Ted. He was hands on from the start and we have all those first memories of all three of us!!!  But getting into our rhythm just me and was good for all of us.  The newness was wearing off for everyone and we started to see glimmerings of a new normal. I would worry though, worry I wasn't doing enough for her mental development, having enough of a schedule, fending off these "evil bad habits" so many people talk in letting your baby nap on you, not making them sleep in their crib, not making them cry it out at the ripe old age of 6 weeks. NOT MAKING THEM CONFORM TO YOUR STRICT SCHEDULE BECAUSE WHY DID YOU HAVE A BABY IF NOT TO PUT THEM IMMEDIATELY ON A STRICT SCHEDULE!!! The second month (and third month) were about gaining the confidence to get to know my baby and what works for her. She's not ever gonna sleep 12 hours in a row. Deal with it, Babywise! If I make her go to bed at 7pm she will not "sleep longer". She will be awake at midnight and ready to PARTY!!!

I really struggled in the fear department (and many days I still do).  I had so many fears the first few months--I feared that she'd never be a "happy" baby. I feared I'd never be able to put her down and cook or clean or walk to the bathroom. I feared we would never have an "easy" coexistence. I feared she hated me sometimes! (I think that had more to do with the weaning than it did with her actually hating me...I hope? haha). I feared she would NEVER sleep through the night and that I would NEVER sleep even if she was sleeping. I feared I would never want to have another baby because I wasn't strong enough to do this. How could one tiny baby make me doubt everything so much?!

Have you ever heard baby's first 100 days of life called "100 Days of Darkness"? It is called that for a reason! But oh, the pay off. If you just hang in gets WAY BETTER. I mean, I know there is an ebb and flow to this whole thing but if you just brace for impact and find a way to survive the early days without *actually* punching anyone....

With time those specific fears have slowly retreated. She is so happy and can often play on her mat or play quilt for a long time! She literally grins and beams at me now.  BEAMS. And laughs. She thinks I'm funny! Phew!!! And I'd say she loves me! Some days are really hard and some days fly by in a haze of easy togetherness--playing, learning, loving, life. And everyday is SO GOOD, even the days that are hard.

And the difficult first days are just a drop in the bucket compared to a whole life of her! And the first days are so precious. I'm so so so thankful every day I get the opportunity to experience all these things, even when it's hard. And every screaming session, every diaper change, every snuggle, every time she fell asleep on me...that's how we bonded. That's how she knew if she needed something I was her person (well, and Ted!) And when I read other mom's accounts of reflux and milk allergies and colic and so on, I! Our little gal is easy in comparison! I love that she needs me. And she has NO IDEA how very much I needed her!

When we first got her home from the hospital she was so so so small. We were so tired and I didn't realize then how scared.  Even though I knew I was going to have a baby at some point I was in shock. Frazzled. Nerves raw.  I remember just sitting down on the same spot on the couch where a few days before I was timing contractions and calling the doctor, holding her and kissing her cute little cheeks over and over and telling her how much I loved her. I felt like I loved her so much it physically hurt, like I had a stomach ache with how strong the feelings were. The feelings were so big they threatened to burn me up and eat me alive--but those feelings are good because they keep you going when you have nothing left but love to give. They get you through the first days. You're willing to physically fight a bear or lift a car or WHATEVER. You channel those feelings to get you out of bed, to hold her tight when everyone is sleeping but you (because she slept the best right up next to you), to try feeding her again even though the pain is too much, to take a deep breath and try to explain the unexplainable to your husband (how you can be so blissed out and content and full of rage and angry at the same time). You take those feelings and you run on pure adrenaline for as long as you can. God gives you enough, even when you think you have nothing left, you find just enough. Even when I worry I'm not enough for her, God reassures me that just being me and doing my best is QUITE enough for Sawyer.

The moment she was born, I was reborn too. I'm a new person even though I'm still the old me. So we're learning this together. She's physically young and I'm new to being her mom. Every fiber of me is thankful to be on this journey and I can't wait to keep telling our story. I love you Sawyer Jean, and thank you for making me a mom! It's the best gig I ever had.

Thursday, October 13, 2016

This Time Last Year

This time last year was a strange mix of hope, fear, joy, peace, and managing expectations.

We were FINALLY on the last leg of our journey to start our family. After so many years of ambiguity and struggle it felt odd to be taking concrete steps that could POSSIBLY make being pregnant a reality. (I still have a hard time wrapping my head around it and she's already here!) One way or another we were going to get some direction. Either our fertility treatments would work, or they wouldn't. We would know. It was so exciting and so daunting.

This time last year we celebrated our 8th wedding anniversary. We spent a lot of time enjoying nature. We spent time going to concerts and traveling and enjoying friendships. I remember even though I was anxious there was an underlying peace about everything---when you feel like the weight of not getting pregnant has been on your shoulders for years it's such a relief to know there would be medical intervention! I didn't have to "control" everything anymore. Not that I did or was ever able to control anything...

This time last year I spent a lot of time reciting verses to myself. Speaking truth to my head and heart. Listening to calming music. Basically I was constantly re-swaddling my renegade emotions. September and October 2015 was such a landmark time in my life and I don't ever want to forget it. The colors, the music, the VIBE (for a less millennial word; "reassurance") that no matter what, everything was going to be ok. While I spent so many years feeling so stuck, life was taking a giant step forward. AND I WAS MOVING WITH IT!

This time last year I haggled with the insurance company and spent a lot of time on the phone with nurses.  I did a lot of really scary stuff that I was really happy to get the chance to do. . I tried to live every day just in that day. In that moment. Instead of constantly worrying about the future. Every single day was like a whole universe to me. I kept thinking all I need to do is do today well. All the "what ifs" were so overwhelming that baby steppin it was the only way I could manage.

Real joy can't exist without trials. Real gratitude can't exist without having gone without. I truly hope my time of waiting has made me into the person I am meant to be, the best person to be Sawyer's momma!

 Below I'm posting some pictures from this time last year with some of my favorite verses. I don't want to forget the days leading up to the beautiful miracle that is Sawyer. The millions of tiny things that had to go right to get our baby. I am so so thankful. Thankful to be on this side of the wait, and thankful to God for getting a hold of my heart and rescuing it from wallowing in bitterness and "why me". Thankful to God for giving me Ted and our life together; married almost 9 years before our girl arrived and we managed to make the most of it! Thankful for autumn; when everything around us starts to get the most beautiful before it dies for the winter--but now it will always be a time that represents new life to me. Let the emoting and remembering commence!

"You make known to me the path of life, in your presence is fullness of joy, at your right hand are pleasures forevermore". Psalm 16:11

"I will hold your right hand and I will help you" Isaiah 41:13

"Whenever I'm afraid; I will trust in you" Psalm 56:3

"Those who sow in tears will reap with songs of joy" Psalm 126:5

"But the Lord is with me like a mighty warrior" Jeremiah 20:11

"I will go before you; and make the crooked places straight" Isaiah 45:2

 "The Lord himself will fight for you. Just stay calm" Exodus 14:14
 "Out of difficulties grow miracles" I Peter 5:10
"I sought the Lord, and He heard me, and delivered me from all my fears" Psalm 34:4 
"I waited patiently for the Lord; he turned to me and heard my cry". Psalm 40:1

Thursday, September 15, 2016

A Sawyer Story

Today she is 11 weeks old. At 2:28 (or 2:26, we can't remember which) am to be "precise" she has already been in our arms for 11 weeks. I have tried so many times to come down to my little office space and write this out because it's such an important thing to remember and document! I couldn't quite grasp this aspect of life before she came; the not being able to do things no matter how hard you plan and cajole. But seriously I have tried for weeks to do this and have been foiled at every turn!!!! (Imagine Sawyer doing Dr. Evil hand and laughing maniacally). She's a baby who sleeps (SUPPOSEDLY) a lot and isn't mobile. How have I not been able to do this?

 Right now the house is a mess. Laundry is piled up. I have birth announcements and thank you notes that may or may not ever get sent out. I think the biggest testament to how time in many ways has stood still (except for her growing, my goodness) is the fact that my calendar down here still reads "June". Because that's when my life changed for forever, and for the better, no matter how tired, out of sorts, and run down I feel. I guess I'm hesitant to turn the page (literally and figuratively) because it's all gone so fast. I know, it's so cliche. Thats what everyone said would happen but it has indeed gone fast. (And slow, I think the pediatrician was concerned when I said her time with us has seemed like one really long day instead of weeks. But when you no longer have sleep to help delineate the line between day and night it DOES feel like one long day!!!)

I have soo much to say on every single thing and every single thought, but it's hard to capture specific thoughts and expound. My brain is a fog even though our days are getting (sometimes) more patterned and predictable. So for this post, I'm gonna write about her birth. I KNOW, I always rolled my eyes at birth stories before I had one. Now I can't get over what a miracle this whole thing is even though it happens every day. I feel proud of myself and Ted and also a bit traumatized, haha. I guess I better dive in before she wakes up from her catnap!

The last few weeks before our due date I was on bedrest. I was having high blood pressure and swelling. I mean, it was pretty hot and humid too which didn't help! There were 2 a week non stress tests and ultrasounds to make sure everything was ok. It was scary but reassuring. Many times during the non stress tests they would have to prod her awake to make sure she was ok. If only she'd sleep that well now:) But it was a bit nerve wracking! During the pregnancy I was seeing whoever was available at my closest office, I prefer seeing MY doctor but I liked all the other one's too. But once the high blood pressure kicked in I determined only see MY doctor. She had been with us from the start and I know she would take the precautions necessary to see us through! 2.5 weeks before our due date my doctor came to chat with me in the exam room after the ultrasound. She told me that Sawyer was in a transverse position even though she had been head down the week before. She gave me the option of C-Section of trying to "flip" the baby. I know, most people would choose trying to flip the baby but after thinking about it for the night I called to let her know I wanted the C-Section. She had said there was a chance I would need it anyways so I liked the idea of "knowing" what to expect and when to expect her. I was so anxious about labor!!!! I thought maybe this was God's way of giving me some peace about the whole thing. Looking back and rationally thinking it's like the baby is gonna come out one way or another at some point in time---so calm down! But no I was so uncomfortable and in no way calm.  She'd warned me that going into labor wouldn't be good for the transverse position because she could NOT come out that way. Then after a painful exam (those freaking cervix checks!!!!!!!) she told me confidently I wouldn't be going into labor anytime soon. That was Tuesday June 28th. (And spoiler alert---this was my last full nights rest maybe EVER!!!)

The next day was Wednesday June 29th. Our C-Section was going to be either Friday or Saturday and Ted had the day off. We had plans to go out and have one last "fun" (as fun as being 9 months pregnant and anxiety ridden can be). When I woke up I knew something was off. I attributed it to the high blood pressure and thought I had an upset stomach. I kept trying to use the bathroom to no avail. I thought "this is what I need right now, stomach issues!!!") I was determined not to be the whiny pregnant person who claimed every ache and pain was the worst ever. I had been resting for weeks why was I feeling so weird?! So I got ready for the day. I should have known what was happening but I didn't. I'm dumb. I've never been in labor before and I wasn't accepting that labor could be a possibility?! SO DUMB. I should have known I was in labor when I couldn't bear the sound of Ted talking until the "feeling" passed. Didn't realize I was having contractions because they didn't feel how I thought they would? Again, dumb!!! I put the brakes on our plans for the day because I was feeling so out of it. We went to lunch though and I just remember feeling like "I'll never feel better again. I'll always feel this way. There's no way out. What is happening to me!" As the afternoon progressed I finally told Ted we should probably go to the hospital just to "rule out" contractions due to the C-Section ect. Cue a very uncomfortable 40 minute car ride. He dropped me off at the door and I hid in the bathroom again. I kept thinking "if only I can go I'll feel so much better!" (DUUUUUUUUMMMMMMMBBBBBBBBBB!) Sitting down and leaning forward was the only thing that even remotely helped.

When Ted got in from parking we took the elevator up to triage. They got my info and took me back to the tiny room and hooked me up to the machine. The nice nurse said yes I was having contractions (argh!!!!) and the ultrasound they did revealed she was HEAD DOWN AGAIN. I started to panic!!! This meant I was really going to have to push this baby OUT OF MY BODY. After another painful cervix check the nurse told me my contractions just weren't strong enough to really start labor so I was to go home. Zero dilation. At this point I thought "if these aren't strong contractions then I don't think I can handle this!!!!" So I waddle out of the hospital defeated and scared and really just wanting to sleep and forget about it all. I kept thinking a lot of women say they have contractions for DAYS and I just thought maybe I can sleep it off? Maybe they'll go away? I'm still days away from my due date after all. If I have to endure this feeling for weeks I'll need all the sleep I can get!

When we got in the car it was rush hour and the freeway was backed up so we took a scenic route home (i.e. long route). I couldn't talk. I couldn't think well formed thoughts or sentences. I just kept thinking "I can't feel this way for days. I just can't. Lord help me!!!" When we finally got home Ted put our hospital bags in the car for "just in case". I came right in and said I need to sit on the couch for a few minutes before going to bed. The "feeling" was coming a lot close together and sooooo much more intense. I felt like a wild animal the pain was so much. At one point I remember crawling on the floor, trying to find some position to MAKE IT STOP!!! I never made it upstairs to "go to bed" lol. Finally I downloaded an app on my phone to time the contractions (aka "feelings" haha). They were coming 4 and 5 minutes a part! I should have crawled back to the car but I was so afraid of riding back to the hospital and not being admitted AGAIN that I was determined to not go back until I was officially in full blown labor. (news flash--you ARE in full blown labor!!!!) We called the on call doctor and I was sobbing. "Please don't make me come unless you will admit me!!!!" The doctor on call said "I can't check you over the you'll need to come back". So Ted helped me out to the car for THE.WORST. CAR RIDE. OF. MY. LIFE! I couldn't talk. I couldn't think. I was almost in a whole other plane of existence. I can't describe it. I was trying to be brave. I kept reminding myself I wasn't dilated so I'll probably have to live this way for days. I thought I would probably die first. I thought this SERIOUSLY. That I couldn't live like this for any amount of time much less DAYS! (So much drama). We finally get back to the hospital where Ted says "you can walk from he parking lot right?" I glared at him with the power of 1,000 suns until he dropped me off at the door. I hid in the bathroom again. (Sitting and leaning forward was the only position that I felt I could even remotely handle the pain). I yelled at Ted to get me a wheel chair when I came out. (I'm realizing this was all very "sitcom-y"). We land back in triage where I see the desk nurses smirk to each other as in "look who is back already". I could no longer be pleasant. I could no longer keep it together. I hid in the bathroom again when the triage nurse asked me to give a urine sample. I couldn't. There was none. I was kneeling on the floor thinking I'd like to just lay down and black out. The nurse kept trying to make jokes. I wanted to cuss and scream. I kept an intense face and tried to endure the pain through out all the talking and questions and Ted ASKING ME WHAT MY SNAPCHAT USER NAME WAS. (Now is not a good time, TED!)I told the nurse if she didn't admit me I would scream in the lobby until someone knocked me out with drugs.  Finally we came to yet another cervix check. It hurt so badly and she kept wanted to keep going. (AM I DILATED OR AM I NOT LADY?)! She said I was dilated to four centimeters from what she could tell but "it maybe wasn't accurate because I couldn't lay still". YOU LAY STILL WITH PERPETUAL ONCOMING CONTRACTIONS WOMAN! But I was getting admitted! The pain was so bad and constant I started begging for an epidural. The nurse said I needed the IV first and then an entire bag of liquid before the epidural. (FUDDDDGGGGGGGEEEEEEEEEE!) They finally get the IV in after MANY tries. The nurse kept trying to make jokes. I love jokes. I'm sure on any other day of my entire life I would have seriously appreciated her jokes. But I've never wanted to kick anyone and run away so much in my life. (Well, waddle away). We get the word we're going up to Labor and Delivery. I'm assuming I'll be there for like a day being in labor. I was in so much pain but so thankful to being just that much closer to an epidural. I know it's weird, but honestly I wasn't even thinking "this much closer to seeing my baby" because I was assuming it would be 24 hours or something. You always hear first time moms are in labor for days while slowwwwwwwwly dilating and then pushing after being in labor for forever.

They drop me in our room with a nice nurse who pursed her lips when I asked to go to the bathroom. I knew I didn't have to go but sitting on that darn toilet and leaning forward was THE ONLY THING that could help. They said it could take an hour for my fluids to transfer. I did NOT want to lay on my back for an hour with the constant pain. I begged for the epidural NOW. Ted was texting (our friends and family to update). I felt wild. Like I wasn't a person anymore. Like I would do or give or say anything to not be in pain anymore. The nurse said "based on how you're acting, I'm gonna call the anesthesiologist now instead of waiting". PRAISE THE LORD. Trying to arch my back and sit still during this was soooooooo hard. I didn't know if I was going to be able to do this. I was so fearful that it wouldn't take and I'd be left in this pain for hours. Thankfully, God helped me. He held my hand in the form of Ted and the nurse and worked a miracle for me to sit still. When they had me lay back I could still feel the contractions which the monitor was showing were constant. No break in between. CONSTANT. The doctor checked me (and no pain! hallelujah!) and everyone started rushing around. I was almost to 9cms! The anesthesiologist actually came BACK when he heard that and gave me another hit of something. This was VERY shortly after I had been admitted. Take THAT nurse who said my "contractions weren't strong enough!" Ugh. Leave it to my body to do that, lol. I was in heaven though. I could still feel and move my legs and feel the contractions but it was no longer pain. Just feeling. Then my heart rate dropped. 15 people rushed into the room. They helped me roll side to side and did a bunch of stuff that I wasn't paying attention to. I didn't care what was happening. I have never been so thankful to not be in pain. Ted was standing off to the side looking panicked. A doctor came over to reassure him everything was going to be ok. Whatever was happening righted itself (side effect from the epidural) and it was time to push. TIME TO PUSH. I was shaking from head to toe. Another side effect from the epidural. Finally I told Ted "I guess she wanted to come in time for Wimbledon". He smiled and knew I was feeling like myself again if I was feeling up to making jokes. The doctor and nurse taught me how to push effectively. Breathe, hold my breath, then push while counting to ten. After a few tries I got it down. They said the baby was stuck under my pelvic bone and I would push for no more than 3 hours before deciding to do something else. Then the doctor left and it was just me, Ted, and our nurse. She was friendly, blond, had hilarious stories, and was encouraging.

I was still stunned that we had went from expecting a c-section in a couple days to already PUSHING OUT THE BABY. But I was relieved the hard parts were over. I wasn't in pain. The baby was ok. I felt enough adrenaline and now I was prepared to push. I would push as long as it took as long as I wasn't in pain, lol. Ted was a really good coach. He and the nurse pushed my knees back and counted for me while I pushed. They kept me entertained. They kept me talking. Ted texted my mom and Andrew and Christen updates. A few times poor Ted looked so woozy the nurses brought him cookies and juice, hah! He doesn't do well with blood so I know he was being brave too. The doctor (who was VERY nice) came in to check on us a lot. They said the labor and delivery floor was full! I think the shift in weather had sent a lot of us into labor. After about 2 hours and 15 minutes of pushing the doctor said it was almost time. They got everything set up to catch her. The doctor spent a good amount of time stretching me out (thank you, thank you, thank you, epidural) and with one final push she all of a sudden came out! After 2.5 hours of pushing she was here and kicking and screaming! I was in shock and shaking uncontrollably from head to toe. They put her on me and she opened one eye to give me a once over. The look said "are you my mom?" and then she settled down. It was so surreal and I couldn't stop shaking. After what was I'm sure only seconds they gave her to Ted. I needed stitched up and they couldn't do it with me shaking so much (mix of hormones and the epidural). Oh the stitches. It took forever. Second and third degree tears and a severely bruised tailbone. At that point I didn't care though. I kept staring at the back of her little head while Ted was holding her, skin to skin. She was OURS. She was HERE. And we were ALL OK! After all the years of waiting she was in our arms. I pushed her out. She had lived inside of me. And now she's sitting next to me in her car seat miraculously sleeping long enough for me to make an attempt to put it all into words. I can't put it into words. But I need to try. Because it's so important. And I don't want to forget any of it, even the hard parts.

 In my phone the pictures went from this LAST bump shot to this little squishy squish!

 Our funny and awesome L&D nurse:)

 Sawyer said "seriously is Wimbledon STILL on?"
 7 lbs and 10 oz of squish! I feel like she looks like a totally different baby now! 

 Couldn't sleep in the hospital. I look so out of it. I was. 
 Going home from the hospital! 

 Kindly strangers had to help us with the car seat, haha. These "easy" one click deals are gonna be the death of us. 
 It's funny when they still have tags on them, like you went to the store and picked one out! We would choose her a million times over if that was the case. Maybe we would have spent extra on a 1 year sleep warrantee LOL

 Family of three. 

Cuddles are by the far the best thing about this gig!

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

The Things We Learn in the Valley

Let's talk about Mother's Day.  A day wrought with emotion for mothers who are waiting to receive their official title. Especially women in the church who are still waiting.  From my observations from the sidelines, (which are many, and not the most reliable point of view of course) in many Christian circles it's basically a race to achieve life milestones the fastest and all within your timeline. (Married no later than 22. Kids and lots of them, 18 months a part, done by 30,  then boob job and tummy tuck, don't wanna be an old and unattractive mom, I want to be a young grandma! And an attractive one at that!) All of those "mandates" have all been things said to me or in my presence--I'm not making this up! (I'm not really worried about being an attractive grandma?! I guess thats something some people worry about from a young age?! Am I taking crazy pills?!) Nothing is wrong with wanting a family, or even wanting a family when you're on the younger side. Everyone's journey is different (she said obligatorily, but really meaning it as well).  It all starts to feel like one big "mom-petition" if you will. And sometimes children being used as notches on a belt.

ANYWAYS, I really didn't intend for this post to be a whine fest about church culture. I'm glad God didn't listen to my timeline wishes (we all have them!) I don't know why it's so seducing to see yourself as "so young, but so together". I prefer a bit of patina to my life.  I needed time to grow up. It has been a long and difficult journey, but I know that I am a better person for it (thanks to His mercy and grace) and more fit to be a better parent to this particular child who is coming to us.

Throughout our marriage and struggles,  I can look back and see that God was using all of it. I sounds so cliche! I KNOW IT DOES. I'M HEARING IT TOO! The cliche red flags are waving violently at me! I'm so thankful He got a hold of me at the moments I was truly at my lowest...letting me know He was still good. Even if I didn't get what I wanted, I was worthwhile and He had a plan for us. It's soooooooo hard to hear this when you're going through it. You can't see the plan, you're stuck in a tiny mosaic piece with no hope of ever seeing the big picture. You're stuck in pan in mode when all you want to do desperately is to PAN OUT and see what you're life will look like! Each of those pain filled bricks I was building with was building a foundation...and it could be a firm one or shoddy one, depending on how I reacted to my circumstances, not depending on my circumstances. I saw a quote that spoke to my heart the other day:

(quote courtesy @Chad Veach, Author of "Unreasonable Hope")

Oh, I love this! I think I had quite a few years in the valley. And for far too long I wanted nothing to do with the valley. My eyes were all mountain top. I could see it looming in the distance and I watched as so many others reached the summit. I wanted what they had. I didn't want to put in the work, either. I wanted it to happen MAGICALLY!!!!  I wanted to skip being cured from Vaginismus and go straight to being parents. I was trying to rob my marriage of what God wanted. And try I did. Thankfully He closed a lot of doors and kept kindly redirecting me (just like a preschool teacher) back to what I needed to be working towards. I didn't want to train for mountain climbing! I didn't want to endure the process, because there was no guarantee it would even get me to the top of the mountain I wanted! Being stuck and and camped out and STARING AT THE MOUNTAIN took up a big chunk of the journey; stubbornly willing the mountain to come to me. Slowly I began to move, or God dragged me, pushed me, prodded me into taking baby steps. Seriously. I want to wear my valley experience like a badge of honor. While I'm so happy to be nearing the mountain top (although I know there are so many things that could go wrong ect)  I would not trade my valley experience--there really are things that only the valley will teach you, if you let it.