My Birth Story

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Laboring at home

I know several people have been waiting for this, and I’m finally finding the time to write since Little One is FINALLY napping, so here goes.

Every expectant mother has an idea of what they want their labor and delivery to be like. They show up at the hospital, birth plan in hand, praying for the best. Yet a birth plan is just that: a plan.

I had always wanted to have a water birth at home, but insurance wouldn’t cover it. So, I hired a doula, read multiple books on how to have a natural, drug free labor and delivery, exercised regularly, and ate well. I ran my list of questions through the multiple doctors that could be on call when I went into labor. I had everything planned. Or so I thought.

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Dallas comforting mama.

Friday, August 11th, one day past my due date, my water broke at 3:00am. Casey called my doula who had me monitor contractions and came over at about 9:00am. I labored at home until 5:30pm and then headed to the hospital.

They wanted to start me on an antibiotic since my water had broken so long beforehand. I signed a refusal form. I was doing this the natural way.

Hours passed.

Each time they did an exam I was afraid I’d be discouraged by the progress.

I was.

I remember at one point I told the nurse not to tell me where I was dilation wise. I pushed through the agonizing pain, walking around the room, sitting on the birthing ball etc., only to find out I was not that far along.

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More hours passed. I was progressing but VERY slowly. My body was growing weary. There came a time where the pain was so intense, my body was shaking, and I had the uncontrollable urge to push. “It’s COMING!!!! Where is Dr. Den Haese?!?!” I yelled. They legitimately thought I was in transition.

Still 6cm dilated and at station -2… This was after 32 hours of unmedicated labor! The doctor expressed his concern and explained that in his 15 years of practice, mine was the longest labor he’d seen. He recommended a c-section but knew of my desire for a vaginal birth, so suggested I get an epidural and pitocin to try and speed up the process.

I agreed to an epidural. I agreed to the minimal amount of pitocin. Both drugs I had read so many horrible things about. Both drugs I swore I didn’t want and wouldn’t take. . .

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My doula, Rachel Layman, helping me through the contractions before the epidural.

After the pain of the epidural placement, the pain went away, but with it, I was unable to feel or move my legs. They assured me they could turn it down for delivery, as I wanted to feel the pushing—feel the process of my baby entering the world.

Hours passed. Still 6cm and -2 station.

They increased the pitocin to intensify contractions.

Hours passed. Still no progress.

That is when my doctor came in to have the talk with me about a c-section. He once again reminded me that how the baby enters the world isn’t nearly as important as how you raise him or her. He called me a tough cookie, saying most women are begging for an epidural at 2cm dilated but I made it to 6cm (for quite some time). I was tired. I agreed through the tears.

Would I connect with my baby? Would that bond be there since the hormones that are released during a vaginal delivery won’t be released? I had read about all of the complications with bonding and breastfeeding after a c-section. I had skipped over the chapters about the surgery because I wasn’t going to have one…

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At 5:55pm on Saturday, August 12th, Shiloh James entered the world. I remember hearing him cry and tears filling my eyes. My doctor held him over the curtain so I could kiss him. I still didn’t know the gender until my doctor said, “Dad, tell Mom what it is!” (It was in my birth plan that I wanted it this way). Through the tears Casey said, “It’s a boy!” and my tears flowed all the more (I had been hoping for a boy). 🙂 They laid him on my chest and as soon as I was stitched up and taken to recovery, he was handed to me to breastfeed. I couldn’t believe it. Finally, after 9 months, after 38 hours of labor, my miracle was here, and I didn’t have any issues bonding with him. ☺️

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The days recovering from major surgery were long. Due to all of the operations I have had, I wasn’t able to get much pain relief which SUCKED. BUT…I was healthy, and I had a healthy, handsome boy.

When I reflect on my birth experience, and how pretty much everything in my birth plan went out the window, I am reminded of a verse in the Bible:

“The mind of man plans his way, But the LORD directs his steps.” (Proverbs 16:9)

I believe through this experience the Lord taught me that no matter how much I try to be in control, I am not. Thankfully I went into this pregnancy with an open mind that IF things didn’t go as planned and I ended up needing a c-section, I wouldn’t suffer from depression over my birth plan not going as planned. I shed a few tears before the surgery and got over it the minute I laid eyes on my healthy boy.

I had also planned to exclusively breastfeed for as long as possible and read books about that as well as the complications caused by giving a baby formula (not always). However, I’m not able to produce enough so have to supplement with formula (granted, it’s organic formula from Germany that is supposedly the closest thing to breast milk). 😉

I have learned a valuable lesson in all of this: hold onto your plans loosely.

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So here it is, pregnancy and infant loss awareness day, and a year ago I was blogging about the baby I miscarried last May, yet today I am writing about my miracle child—my rainbow after the storm. I just looked at the pictures that my doula took of my labor at the hospital for the first time and this was the very last one . . . A faint rainbow just outside of the Women’s Center. How perfectly fitting.

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My perfect little angel . . .

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Worship in the Waiting

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It’s been awhile. 😀 There have been times I have been moved to write but let the urging go dormant. I am 38 weeks and 5 days pregnant. The above picture was taken at 29 weeks and 3 days. My belly is a LOT bigger needless to say.

I’ve never been so happy to greet August again. It’s the birth month of my precious Babe, my rainbow baby—the promise after the storm. It’s 9 days until my due date, and I am finding it difficult to be patient. I’m so anxious to meet my Little One, yet I know that it’s all in the Lord’s hands, and I must continue to worship while I am waiting. I am praying for a natural birth without any intervention, but I am trusting the Lord with the process. Healthy mama and baby are key.

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I am overjoyed because the Lord has really been doing a work in me throughout this pregnancy. Initially I was gripped with fear of how I will care for a child without the support system most people have, on top of my disability, Casey’s work schedule, etc. Then I began worrying about having the birth I desire in the hospital after running my questions through several of the doctors that may be on call when I go into labor. I broke down in tears three times with one of them . . . Insurance won’t cover an at home water birth or birth at a birthing center. So, I hired a doula who will help me to labor as long as I can at home before heading into the hospital.

Then it hit me . . .

I wasn’t trusting the Lord with all of this. I was frantically trying to have everything in my control, and the thought of it not being in my control sent me into a spiral of fear and anxiety (which of course would hinder any chance of a natural birth). With each day that passes, each day that I choose to worship Him during this period of waiting, I can feel the fear chipping away and peace like a river washing over me. He is faithful. He has brought me through SO much, and He will see me through this. That is key to breakthrough—remembering what He has already accomplished in your life.

The fear has turned to sheer excitement for what is to come! I no longer focus on what I am losing by becoming a parent (sleep, freedom, etc.) but on all of the JOY to come! I can’t wait to see life through the eyes of a child (and play with toys without looking like a weirdo, particularly Calico Critters)! 😀 The best truly is yet to come!

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So, what is it that you are waiting for? Perhaps it’s financial breakthrough. Perhaps it’s a restored marriage. A marriage period. Perhaps you are waiting for a child of your own after many miscarriages or years of infertility. Perhaps it’s a new job opportunity, or a loved one coming to accept Jesus as Lord and Savior. Perhaps you are in the process of adopting a Little One in need of a loving home. Perhaps it’s physical healing . . . Whatever the case may be, know that you are not alone, and that the more you worship in the waiting, as difficult as it may be, the more peace you will receive, and the easier the waiting will become. Trust. It all comes down to trusting the good, good Father that we have. He loves you, hears your every prayer, and hasn’t forgotten you. Worship while you are waiting my friend. That’s all we can do. ❤

 

Hiding Place

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Do you ever feel like you need a hiding place? A temporary escape from the word? Let’s face it, at some point in our lives (maybe several points), we may find the refrain from Ray Price’s “Make the World go Away” playing through our heads.

I’ll be the first to admit that there are times I need a hiding place. Often times I will just get in the car and drive to no place in particular, tears streaking my face, asking God questions I need answers to. Yesterday was one of those days. It was my “first” Mother’s Day, as I am carrying life in my womb at 27 weeks and 4 days, yet it was the first day fear began to grip hold of me. Will I be a good mom? Will I have meltdowns in front of my child? Will I have the help I need raising this child with Casey’s work schedule and family relationships that aren’t as close as they once were? What about mom’s care and all I do for her?

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The truth of the matter is that yes, I have my faith, but none of us have “arrived” yet. I am a lot better than I once was, but there is always progress to be made. I understand that being human isn’t an excuse to act fleshly, but it takes the pressure off of expectations that we so often place on ourselves. Do I trust the Lord, yes. Am I constantly being given more opportunities to trust Him, you bet.

During my devotional time this morning I was reading Psalm 32 and verse 7 stopped me in my tracks:

“You are my hiding place; You will protect me from trouble and surround me with songs of deliverance.” —Psalm 32:7

My eyes scanned the verse several more times. Hiding place. Protection. Songs of deliverance. The Free Dictionary defines deliverance as “rescue from bondage or danger.” So first the Lord will be a hiding place for us. I think back to when he hid Moses in the cleft of the rock with His hand. In Him we will find protection, and He will proceed to sing songs of freedom over us. Freedom from addiction. Freedom from depression. Freedom from fear. Freedom from guilt and shame. Freedom from whatever it is that is keeping us in bondage. The song “No Longer Slaves” by Bethel Music comes to mind. I know I have shared it in the past (It’s one of my FAVES), but I feel like it needs to be shared again.

“I am surrounded, by the arms of the Father. I am surrounded, with songs of deliverance. We’ve been liberated from our bondage. We’re the sons and the daughters. Let us sing our freedom.”

We have a Father. We have a hiding place. We have FREEDOM. Thank you Jesus. And thank you Mical for sharing this song with me way back when. ❤

Take Courage

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Photo I took Wednesday at Pass-a-Grille beach in St. Petersburg, Florida. The water was so still, so calm . . .

It’s been about and hour and half since my phone rang at 4:20am. Since I have it set to “do not disturb” where only certain numbers come through, I knew who it was: Mom’s nurse at her assisted living facility. She went to the hospital last week after laying on the floor most of the night after a fall. This morning the nurse said she had a laceration on her arm and her knee but was confused and didn’t recall falling. She also told me there was blood in her room on one of her figurines . . . (Mom had called the nurse from the bathroom).

She asked mom if she wanted to go to the hospital and she said no. So, she asked what I wanted to do. I advised her to keep an eye on her and I’d call in the morning (later on in the morning) to check in. I had just talked to mom last night and while she has been having issues remembering little things and I knew she is still sick and weak, she seemed “okay”.

I laid there in bed attempting to fall back asleep, holding my belly, feeling Little One move about, and my mind started going a million miles a minute. I thought about mom and all that is going on with her. I thought about my ankle and the pain I have been experiencing from day-to-day activities. I thought about my baby and the troubles he or she would experience in this life.

Then the Lord took hold of me. (Really, He never let me go.) I kept hearing the chorus of a Bethel Music song run through my mind, “Take courage my soul. Stay steadfast my soul. He’s in the waiting.”

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I began to recite Psalm 23 in my mind. I began to meditate on the hope believers have in Him. Life is but a test for what is to come in eternity and how we navigate through this life will determine how eternity is spent even as believers, as we will stand before the judgement seat and give account for all we did good and bad (1 Corinthians 4:5; Revelation 22:12). Oh how I long to hear, “Well done my good and faithful servant!”

But I must take courage. You must take courage. Mom must take courage. We ALL must take courage in this life.

And with that, I hear the first bird singing morning salutations. It’s as if he or she is shouting, “Take courage!” May you find the courage you need in the One who is above all things and worthy to be trusted. Enjoy this song, and this day!

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Promise After the Storm

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Rainbow over my neighbors house. She recently lost her husband and I texted this to her.

“Whenever I bring clouds over the earth and the rainbow appears in the clouds, I will remember my covenant between me and you and all living creatures of every kind. Never again will the waters become a flood to destroy all life.” -Genesis 9:14-15

It’s been awhile! I thought I should pop on for a quick post to update my follower’s on what is going on with me. I am back in school another semester but this will be my last . . .

My promise after the storm is on its way . . . I am 14 weeks pregnant! Casey and I saw the heartbeat at 7 weeks on December 22nd, and at 11 weeks and 2 days I heard baby’s heartbeat through a fetal Doppler! We are super excited and trusting the Lord completely as we know that we aren’t in the “clear” until that baby is in our arms.

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Our announcement on New Year’s Eve!

The Lord has really been working on me lately as I did a 23 day fast from FB and have been practicing spiritual disciplines from classes I am taking in school (Old Testament Survey, Theology 2, Evangelism & Mission, Christian Spirituality, and Isaiah). I’ve had so many “God moments” that it’s overwhelming at times. I want those moments to become so commonplace for me that to not have them is cause for concern.

God is good. And He is faithful.

No matter where you find yourself, no matter what storm you are going through right now, don’t forget the promises of God. He loves you. He is for you. Keep your eyes to the sky and watch for the slightest glimpse of your rainbow. It’s there just beyond the clouds. I’m looking to the sky intently until my rainbow appears (around) August 10th. Be blessed! ❤

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Pregnancy & Infant Loss Awareness Day

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Today is the day we remember our babies that were gone too soon. My heart goes out to all of the women out there who have had to endure the kind of pain this brings. I would like to share an uplifting story.

A couple of weeks ago I decided to buy a necklace for a friend who lost her baby too soon. She was further along than me, and we were due around the same time. I went to Etsy and ordered her a necklace that said, “And if not, He is still good.” She had encouraged me after my miscarriage and said (regarding her pregnancy):

“…whatever the outcome may be, the best or the worst, He is still God and deserves glory regardless; whether that glory comes in the form of new life, or in a powerful testimony like the one you now have to share.”

I was able to remind her of these words after she had to release her daughter into the arms of Jesus, and she was so very thankful I did. So, I ordered the necklace, and shared with the seller why I was buying it. I told her I recently miscarried, and that my friend and I were due around the same time. She then told me she wanted to send me the same necklace! I was overcome with gratitude, and shared the blog post about my miscarriage with her. This was her reply:

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The title of my blog was, “Thy Will,” and in it, I shared the Hillary Scott song that got me through that difficult time in my life. How sweet was that??? So, all because I wanted to bless my sweet friend, I in turn was blessed DOUBLE. Isn’t that how our awesome God works? I want to encourage you to check out Lara’s shop on Etsy. She has so many encouraging pieces of beautiful jewelry, and you know that you are supporting an amazing woman with a heart of gold. Here is the link to her shop, Redeemed Jewelry.

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Today, on Pregnancy & Infant Loss awareness day, I encourage you to light a candle at 7:00pm in remembrance our little ones. Also, I encourage you to reach out to someone you know who has miscarried or lost an infant. We aren’t statistics, we are real people who suffered great loss, no matter how far along in the pregnancy we were, or how long our infant had breath in his or her lungs, and sadly, many suffer alone in silence. But thank you Lord for the hope we find in you! You feel our pain, and hold our hearts all the more tighter. May we feel your love not only today, but every day. Thank you Jesus!

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Yom Kippur (Day of Atonement)

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I decided to pick up my Life Journal after not having used it in awhile (I have been using a different Bible reading plan) and used it for my Bible study this morning. I flipped to the assigned reading for today: Nehemiah 7 and 8, and Acts 1. It wasn’t long before I found the verse I would journal on:

“All the people went away to eat, to drink, to send portions and to celebrate a great festival, because they understood the words which had been made known to them.” Nehemiah 8:12

You see, Ezra brought the book of the law before the people and translated it from Hebrew to Aramaic so they could understand it. The people wept (v.9) because they had not obeyed the law, but Nehemiah said, “Go, eat of the fat, drink of the sweet, and send portions to him who has nothing prepared; for this day is holy to our Lord. Do not be grieved, for the joy of the Lord is your strength” (v. 10).

Conviction of sin brings sorrow, but true repentance brings joy and celebration! We should live in a constant state of humility and openness to correction, just as these people did. What stood out to me was the commentary in my Bible. It says, “Conviction of sin caused the people to weep, appropriate to the Day of Atonement but not to the Feast of Trumpets and the celebration of the completion of the wall.”

In Theology class yesterday I did a presentation on the Christus Victor theory of atonement, and it recalled to mind a classmate telling me a few weeks ago that the Day of Atonement was around the day of our presentation. So, as I read the notes in my Bible today, I decided to look it up. Today is the Day of Atonement. How appropriate that I “happened” to read what I did today? I almost skipped my devotional time today as I got a late start to the day and have class at 12:00pm. However, I didn’t, and decided to open up my Life Journal and do the recommended reading for the day (The Day of Atonement falls on different days each year so the Life Journal didn’t know this would happen). It wasn’t by chance, but by Design.

If you aren’t familiar with this Biblical Holy Day, it is the day forgiveness of sins is asked of God, and is usually accompanied with 24 hours of prayer and fasting. You can find out more here: Yom Kippur.

Aren’t you glad that we have a loving, forgiving God who casts our sins to the bottom of the sea? My prayer is that as we study His word we receive more and more revelation and understanding so that we can walk of the life of abundance He has planned for us. ❤