Saturday, December 28, 2013

From the Heart of a New Mama

Warning: This post may be a little TMI for my male readers. Proceed with caution. 
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For a moment, our house is peacefully quiet.
Felix snores away in his rocker, Seth sits at his desk, and I sit on the couch turned baby station wondering what I can accomplish before he wakes up again. 

The Christmas tree is all dried out. Who has time to water a Christmas tree when you have a newborn? 
The laundry is done, but it will probably be three days before I pull it out of the dryer. 
We have no food in the fridge, just things in the freezer I forgot to defrost earlier so takeout it is. 

I think about how comfortable I am to be back at home. Three weeks ago we would be happy to stay at our parents houses for as many days as possible, but now I yearn to be back at home in our comfortable place the moment I walk out the door. 

I think about what I could be doing between pumping, feeding, doing research about lack of breast milk supply, mixing formula, and of course writing this all down so I don't forget how much I fed him 3 hours ago. 

I try not to think about the bitter condition of my heart. How can I manage to be bitter when I have this peaceful, adorable bundle of joy in front of me? Don't worry, I think again, the bitterness is dying away with each passing day. 


Each new day I make peace with the fact that I will not be able to exclusively breastfeed this baby because of a condition called IGT, which I am just now finding out about. 

Every book about breastfeeding, every lactation consultant, every midwife, every OB/GYN will tell you that any and every woman can breastfeed their child. Yes, with enough pumping, latching, herbal supplement taking, tea drinking, hydrating, eating, and stimulating you will not have a production issue. Well, there I was at 2 weeks postpartum with enough breast milk to maybe feed a baby squirrel. Maybe. But honestly, I produce about 1/4 ounce between both sides. 

"Oh, you must not be drinking enough water."
"Have you tried to drink beer?"
"What about oatmeal?"
"Mothers milk tea?"
"Are you pumping?"
"Are you eating enough?"

I can check every box...and then some. 

Google is a very good thing. Google led me to find out about a very little known condition called IGT (insufficient glandular tissue) or mammary hypoplasia. Now, usually I'm not all for self diagnosing. But I was pretty much diagnosed by the first lactation consultant I saw in the hospital -- she just didn't tell me the gravity of what it meant for me and Felix, or that this condition had a name. 

At first glance at my well...chest, she had a concerned look on her face. Seeing that I had just given birth a few hours earlier and hearing about the trauma that ensued, she asked me two very direct questions without trying to seem harsh. 

"Did your breasts grow in puberty?"
"Did your breasts grow while you were pregnant?"

The embarrassment crept in immediately. 

No. And, No. 

"Well, you may have a production issue here..but let's see what happens." 

Let's be real here. I've always been well aware of my flat-ness, but to have her call it out to my face was tough. I have known my entire life that I was different in that department, and I have made it in to a joke to mask the pain and shame I feel about it. 

The lactation consultant didn't say anything past that so I figured everything would be fine, or someone would say something further. I was also made aware that because of my hemorrhage I would likely have my milk come in later. A bit of a double whammy if you ask me. 

At about the two week mark I started having suspicions that my hemorrhage wasn't the only thing to blame for my supply issues. I was pumping regularly and barely getting anything, and I could just feel that I wasn't making very much. I came across IGT on a search for help with low supply and the two main indicators were the exact two questions that the first LC I saw asked me: lack of growth in puberty & lack of growth in pregnancy. There are a few indicators that also match right up, not to mention the photos which made it obvious that this is what I am dealing with. 

This diagnosis is the only thing that makes sense for me. All of the indicators and symptoms match up perfectly. What the lactation suspected on Felix's first day of life was true, and maybe she was trying to protect me by not putting a name on it right away. Maybe she was hopeful. Maybe she just didn't want to be the bearer of heartbreaking news. 

So, here I am...a medical anomaly, at least as far as breastfeeding goes. The websites that exist to support women with IGT say that there must be a mourning process for the mom, I must give myself space and time to mourn that I won't be able to exclusively breastfeed Felix. There is a chance that I will be able to with future children though, as each pregnancy creates more breast tissue to work with. 

I know I'm not a failure as a mother, or as a woman. 
This was God's plan for me, for us. 
I will continue to breastfeed him and supplement as needed, at least for now.
I will continue to praise God for this little miracle we have. 

Thanks to everyone who has encouraged me in this journey so far, it means so much. 



Friday, December 20, 2013

Felix's Birth Story {Part 2} Proverbs 16:9

Welcome back for part 2 of our little squish's birth story.
Here is a link to Part 1...or just scroll down ;)

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1am.
 4 centimeters.
Somewhere between 1:00 and 1:30 I lost hope.
Back labor combined with annoying monitors, bothersome nurses, and a seemingly slow labor left me feeling pretty down and out.
The contractions picked up with intensity and speed as the hours continued. I watched them on the monitors with intent. There were no breaks in between. There was no climb up or climb down, each one was at maximum intensity all the way through.

I told Seth I needed the epidural.
He encouraged me to wait, that I was close, that I was almost done.
I pleaded.
I begged.
I didn't cry..I was more desperate than that. I was starting to get angry.
Seth was well trained for this to happen.
He knew I would likely hit this breaking point, but he told me later that he wasn't sure in the moment what to tell me when I asked for the drugs. He said he felt bad that he couldn't give me a better reason.
He just kept telling me no. That it wasn't possible. That they just couldn't do it. In my straight up delusion I didn't even question his reasoning (or lack of).
Somewhere in between the begging and pleading, Seth fell asleep.

THAT WAS MY CHANCE!

I called the nurse.
I don't remember my exact words, but she offered me Fentanyl to take the edge off of my contractions. I hastily muttered how I wasn't getting any breaks and that I was desperate for anything to help.
She ran out of the room to grab the dose of Fentanyl. I remember seeing the syringe get plugged into my IV and the sweet relief that came with.
There was no relief of pain, but there was relief of the mind as the medication hit me. I was able to doze into oblivion in between contractions which actually helped me get through the next 3 hours.
I was given two doses of Fentanyl. Once the first one wore off I was writhing again in pain and grabbed the nurse for another dose. There was no concentrating through the contractions at that point. Somewhere in between the first and second dose, Seth woke up. I told him I was on my second dose of Fentanyl, he puzzedly asked "the second?".

Fentanyl doesn't last long in your system. By the time the second one wore off I felt an immense amount of pressure and the absolute need to push. In fact, my body felt like it was already pushing for me.
Seth grabbed the nurse and told her that I felt the need to push, she checked me -- I was now at 7.
Textbooks and TV shows tell you that you don't start pushing until 10 centimeters, but the nurse told me it was okay to start.
I started pushing at 4:30am.
The moment I started pushing was the moment I knew I wouldn't need the epidural. 

I had a hard time figuring out the right way to push. It definitely requires a lot of coordination and concentration, and at around 6:15am I had been pushing for almost 2 hours. My midwife (bless her soul) had been with me most of the pushing stage and was guiding me through each contraction very patiently.
I noticed that the nurses were in the stage of "getting ready". They were suiting up in the gowns, preparing the table..you know, just making me super anxious that we were getting close!
Towards 6:20 I felt him...well right there. I didn't feel crowning or the "ring of fire" as it is termed, just him hanging out right there. I got a little frustrated, seeing everyone in the room ready and them telling me how close I was...so in one huge gargantuan push, I pushed Felix out all at once. 


My exact words were, "Oh my God, Oh my God, Oh my God, Oh my God, Oh my God" as they placed him in my arms. I looked at him in amazement. Seth's face was simultaneously filled with awe and love. Surprisingly, I didn't cry and my sweet husband did. How can that be? 

In those first few moments, I could feel that something wasn't right with me. 
I noticed he was very bloody and his head was misshapen. Very misshapen.
Little dude turned himself in labor and had indeed come out sunny side up, making it so the largest part of his head came out first. Felix's already large head had a big fat bulge in the front, it was red, bruised and even had cuts from hitting my pubic bone. With him being bloody I instantly knew that I had torn. My midwife talked me through as she assessed the damage. She told Seth that tearing was normal, which was reassuring for him. But then she said....

"You're hemorrhaging"

The room flooded with nurses and doctors as my midwife quickly tried to stop the hemorrhaging. Felix was taken off of me, they quickly cut his umbilical cord and handed him to a nurse. I was given 3.5 bags of pitocin in an attempt to get my uterus to contract, I was also given two large shots of oxytocin into each of my thighs. It took about 15 minutes ( I think) to stop the bleeding, and another hour to finish stitching and cleaning everything up.
I had two second degree tears.
That nice large head of his was to thank, and the fact that I pushed him out in one huge push likely lead to the second tear.

Felix was born at 6:29am on Sunday, December 8th. Weighing in at 8 pounds 5 ounces and 21.5 inches long.



Everything was moving so quickly I didn't even have time to process it all, not to mention the blood loss had me floating in and out of consciousness. Seth stayed with me the entire time as they stitched me up and gave me a catheter. The stitching and catheter-izing were terribly painful, considering what I had just put myself through. I felt the need to remind them that I didn't have an epidural so I could feel everything they were doing. The "local anesthetic" was a but a drop of "relief" in an ocean of pain.  I've heard many times that the euphoria and adrenaline of meeting your child completely outweigh the afterbirth pain of stitches and uterus pounding.....well the lie detector has determined that that is a lie! All joking aside, I feel like they should revise the textbooks and prepare women for all of that afterbirth nonsense, its painful!

The hardest part of this whole thing was that I didn't get a chance to bond with Felix. All of that hard work and planning to have an ideal experience after his birth was thrown aside. Obviously they did what they had to do to keep me alive (and I am beyond grateful), but all I could do was look at him from across the room and wish I was holding him. Felix was very alert in his first few hours, he stayed awake looking at me through the entire stitching process. When it was all said and done I didn't even have the strength in my arms to hold him, so Seth got first dibs as I dozed off.


I ended up losing 60% of my blood. 

The doctors gave no real explanation for the hemorrhage. Only 6% of childbirths end that way and I didn't have any of the typical factors that lead to postpartum hemorrhaging. I still get all choked up every time I tell someone about it, or recall the moment my mom walked in and I told her what had all happened. 

While in the hospital I had two blood transfusions, I received 4 units of blood. After the first transfusion on Sunday evening I still didn't feel anywhere near normal, so the next day they checked my blood count and agreed that a second transfusion would be best. I am still anemic today, but feeling a heck of a lot better. The rest of Sunday and Monday were a bit of a blur. I do remember the nurses and how awesome they all were, and when they tell you that childbirth rids you of any modesty they are absolutely right. I was completely reliant on my nurses to tend to my every need, even grabbing my water bottle because it was often too heavy to lift on my own.



Family and friends floated in and out. It was exciting to see our brothers become uncles and our parents become grandparents. The emotions flooded for me as I started to process everything that had happened.  I jokingly punched Seth in the arm a few times..."I can't believe you wouldn't let me get the epidural, I just can't believe it!" 





Seth and I went home on Monday evening around 10pm. I was pushing for a late discharge before midnight when our co-pay would re-start and we would owe another $500! I was able to walk ok, despite my swollen legs and feet and I knew that both of our moms would be helping us all week as we adjusted.


In those first 48 hours after he was born, there wasn't a whole lot of euphoria going on. To be honest, I had trouble feeling that instant attachment and love everyone tells you about -- especially in the natural childbirth realm. But in hindsight, I had trouble feeling much of anything; the whole birth drained me emotionally and physically. I'm a little sad that I didn't get that experience -- that euphoria after pushing him out, that joy of immediate skin to skin, the alone time with Seth and the baby right after he was born. The important part, of course, is that Felix and I are healthy and when I look at his little face, I begin to care less about those things. 


Felix, 
you are perfect.
You have the cutest little nose, and as I wished, your dad's kind eyes.
You even sleep with your hands behind your head - just like dad.
We can't figure out who you look like yet, just a seamless blend of the two of us. 
We love you a lot - 
even though you poop and pee on us all of the time
and spit up when we're not prepared
and escape our tightest swaddle.
We call you "little dude".
We can't wait for all that you're going to become.
We think you're the cutest baby we've ever seen, and we're right.
You've changed our lives forever
and we sure do love you.



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Epilogue: 

Because of the hemorrhage, my pituitary glands shut down and completely halted my milk production. A nurse mentioned it on the side that I might have issues producing milk, but I never imagined the degree those "issues" would be. Here I am 12 days postpartum and I produce about 1/10th of what Felix eats every 2-3 hours. Within his first two days at home he lost 12% of his birth weight and we were forced to supplement with formula and syringe tube feeding until my milk comes in. My supply has increased only slightly, and yes I have tried everything. The hospital grade pump, the oatmeal, the beer, the fenugreek, the blessed thistle, the milkmaid tea....I have the cookies on order that are supposed to help boost production. I have not given up hope. I have done a lot of research on women that severely hemorrhaged and sometimes it took them 3 months to build up enough to supply for their little ones. Our plan is to try this for a month, maybe a little more than that..just to see if I can produce anything close to what he needs.

It took Felix 7 days to regain all of his birthweight, which in medical standards is very fast. We have seen the lactation consultants 3 times, and he now has a perfect latch! He has taken very well to the formula feeding. I continue to breastfeed him every 2-3 hours and use a syringe and a tube to supplement. The syringe is attached to my bra and the tube leads down into his mouth as he is latched on, it is quite the scene indeed. 

This is a really hard reality for me. I was so determined to breastfeed. I still am, but I have to come face to face with the reality that I may not be able to, and that is not my fault. I have no need to be ashamed about formula feeding my child, but I still am. It will pass, I know it will. As my love continues to increase for this miracle baby, dumb thoughts like that have faded. 

Would I endure natural child birth again?
I don't know. I'm scared to even think about any kind of child birth out of fear that I may hemorrhage again. I'm glad that I got to experience the extreme-ness of child birth, I literally felt everything.  I'm glad we were well prepared for the birthing experience. I'm glad we made a choice and stuck with it. I'm glad I proved wrong those who didn't believe in me, not to push it in their face but to encourage other women that it's not impossible and encourage men to believe in their wives. 

Either way...you get the BEST reward regardless of how your baby enters this world. 



--------------------
Proverbs 16:9
The heart of man plans his way, but the LORD establishes his steps.

Remember that birth plan? The one that requested no pitocin, no saline, immediate skin to skin, delayed cord clamping, no use of a catheter.....yea, you can see how well that all went. I guess there was a disclaimer at the bottom that said, "in the case of a healthy, normal birth these are our wishes.....".



God was writing a different birth plan and story for us. A story that broke me of any pride I might have. A story that put the final nail in the coffin of my thought that my plans ever work out! Whenever I think of my little Felix, which is all the time because he is attached to me most of the day, I think of Proverbs 16:9. God has written a story of my life that is way more glorious than one I could write for myself. I have learned that more than ever before in 2013. Let us think back to getting pregnant with Felix, I was on birth control and I only have one ovary -- no matter the earthly measure we took to prevent it, he was going to enter our lives either way! 

Thank you,
for following along for every step of this journey. 
We have felt so loved, encouraged, and lifted up during this pregnancy and our now lives as new parents. We are excited to watch him grow, and of course we will be sharing the steps of that journey as well. Felix is only the beginning of this wild ride we are now on called parenthood! 





Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Felix's Birth Story {Part 1}

This is a hard, but beautiful story to write.
A story of how our beautiful baby boy made his entrance into this world.
A story of this mama being humbled low as a routine labor became an unpredictable life event.
A story of sanctification -- how God directs our steps to make Himself more fully known.

This is part 1. Sorry it's so long.
Part 2 is way more dramatic, and includes a lot more cute, squishy baby pictures.

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On Saturday, December 7th, I went to the hospital for my scheduled induction.
I was 41 weeks pregnant. I could have gone to 42 weeks safely, but I was tired, emotionally drained, and in a considerable amount of back pain.

The week prior we tried lots of things to jump start labor. I went on long walks, ate pineapple, bounced on my exercise ball, took evening primrose oil, did squats, drank raspberry leaf tea..the list goes on. I desperately wanted Felix to come on his own, but the benefits of having him born sooner rather than later seemed to outweigh the costs -- especially with his large head circumference (I didn't want to give it any more opportunity to grow!).

We arrived at the hospital around 9am.  There were a few rooms ready, but not the one I wanted with the tub, so we patiently waited to have it cleaned for about 45 minutes before we got the ball rolling. There are of course lots of questions and papers to fill out when you get to the hospital, and that process seemed to drag on. In my head I was saying, "give me the drug already!".  I wanted to have the room with the tub because that was one of pain management methods we had practiced in our Bradley birth classes.

In regards to our birth plan, I had come to realize that because of the induction, there were a lot of things that were going to be thrown out the window upon arrival at the hospital. In hindsight, those things played a huge role in how tough my labor was, next time I will not opt for an induction unless absolutely medically necessary. The hospital was wonderful in respecting and making sure they understood our birth plan. They had it taped on the wall in two places, and it was discussed with each nurse and doctor as they switched shifts throughout the day.

Here are a few specifics from our birth plan:
- No offering of pain medication -- we will request it if necessary but please do not offer it.
- Intermittent monitoring
- Freedom to labor in different positions
- Immediate skin to skin contact & delayed cord cutting
- No IV saline, mom will stay hydrated by drinking fluid
- No use of catheter
- No use of pitocin in case of "stalled labor"
- No eye ointment after birth 
- No Hepatitis B vaccine

The list was longer, but these are some of the major parts. If you have any questions about why wanted things this way, please feel free to ask. 

Going into the hospital I knew that I wasn't dilated, so I wouldn't be given pitocin right away. Pitocin is only administered if the mom has some dilation already -- I was actually glad that I wasn't dilated after all of the horror stories I heard about pitocin contractions. Had I planned on getting an epidural that wouldn't have mattered but the plan all along was to avoid the epidural. 

The midwife on call that day was the sweetest old lady that reminded me of my Grandma. She had whiteish purple hair and smelled like mothballs and Chanel #5. She checked the baby on the sonogram to see what position he was in. At 36 weeks he was posterior meaning he would come out face up, which usually means agonizing back labor, tearing and a slower labor. I was happy to see he had indeed turned and that meant we may avoid back labor and any of the other complications. 

I was given my first dose of Cytotec around noon. Cytotec is meant to ripen the cervix which hopefully starts contractions as the dose increases and makes your body more ready to deliver. After 3 successive doses in 4 hour increments, my body was more than ready. While we waited for active labor to really begin we had both of our parents and family visit. We also got to meet our friends baby who had been born in the same hospital just 2 days before! These friends were from our Bradley birth classes and our due dates were very close. They were just about to check out of the hospital, it was so sweet to know that we would be in their position very soon! We also ate dinner, watched a few episodes of Tosh.0 and Mad Men on my Ipad and Seth even got a chance to eat pizza with his brother and bff in the waiting room!

The contractions started to pick up pretty heavily around 7pm, if I remember correctly. I was definitely annoyed with all the monitoring they required as I attempted to navigate the contractions in different positions. "Intermittent monitoring" means 20 minutes on, and 40 minutes off the monitors. But, if you do not get a "good" 20 minutes, they make you start over -- meaning if baby changes positions or they lose track of his heartbeat or your contractions at any point then they have to start over. The monitors would frequently lose track and I would be stuck in the bed for an extended amount of time laboring in discomfort. Also, nurses must come in every 30 minutes and check all of your vitals and readjust the monitors -- basically nullifying any attempt to labor in a different position for more than 10 minutes. 

 Also despite the nurses being very understanding of us wanting to labor naturally (and MANY moms who come to this hospital have the same wishes) it seemed that they had no regard for the mom in the middle of a painful contraction. I was sitting there eyes closed, sometimes moaning, sometimes breathing heavily, lights off in some strange position they would come in and turn the lights on and start talking to me! Seth was great at communicating that they needed to wait until I was in between contractions to try and communicate anything to me. Also, Seth was really great during this early labor time. He held my hand, rubbed my back, listened to any command I gave him, spoke to the nurses and basically did everything he needed to do to keep me as comfortable as possible. 

Here is Seth hanging out in our room. We happened to snag the biggest room with a full couch, Seth was able to rest close to me as we prepared for a long night! 

Here is a glimpse of the rest of the room. Nothing too exciting. Lots of water bottles, monitors, and blankets flung everywhere. 


My water broke at 10pm. I had been on my side for quite a while when I had the urge to pee. I had to frequently get up and go to the bathroom which was super uncomfortable but it allowed me to be off the god-forsaken monitors for a few minutes so I was happy for that. It broke right as I stood up. I was shocked. My words were "Oh my gosh I'm peeing. How is this happening? Oh my gosh thats my water. My water broke!". Seth held my hand as we called for the nurse and waited for what was next. I felt bad that it happened on the floor right next to the bed, but oh well, labor is unpredictable! After grabbing a test strip to make sure it was my water that broke, the nurse confirmed that my water had indeed broken and wrote on the care board the progress we had made. We knew that in general contractions start to get a lot more intense after the water was broken, and from 10pm-1am they definitely picked up with a vengeance. 

During the next few hours I was in definite active labor, and I was convinced I was dilating very quickly in regards to how much pain I was in. Many people will wonder how on earth one can deal with contractions without an epidural, and the key for me was concentrating the pain in one part of my body, my uterus. The one word I kept repeating to myself was "concentrate", and it actually helped me focus and clear my head of thoughts of pain and the desire to tense up and hold my breath. During this time I also realized that all of my labor was happening in my back. Oh dear, the dreaded back labor was actually coming true for me. I used a warm compress on my back -- I happened to bring my microwavable rice bag from home which helped marginally take some of the back pain away during the contractions. I also was able to take an hour long shower. After begging my nurses to let me use the shower they finally let me -- it was sweet temporary relief for my back! At this time I also realized that I didn't get a very long break in between my contractions -- maybe 30 seconds max. I naturally started to worry how much more of this I could handle if the contractions were going to be this close all night. 

At 1am the midwife came in to check my progress.
4 centimeters.
My heart sank. Seth and all of the nurses quickly tried to push the water out of my sinking ship by telling me that I had made so much progress and that I was doing so well.  I couldn't get the thought out of my head.."There is no freaking way I can do this. No freaking way" 
I may have thought something more harsh than freaking. 
Maybe. 

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Ok.
There you have it.
Part 1 of the most intense experience of my life. 

Come back in a couple days for the second half!
Until then, enjoy this picture of my adorable child.
EEK. I have a child.







Friday, December 13, 2013

Welcome to the World, Felix.


As I sit down and attempt to put words to the most overwhelming experience of my life, I am lost at where to start.

What they say is true, nothing can prepare you for motherhood. Nothing.

My heart has expanded to 100x it's capacity, yet is contained in one little eight pound human. My relationship with my husband is forever changed. My identity as a woman has forever changed. 




I'll share the details of his birth story one of these days, I can tell you that God didn't let us get away with our plans. Surprised? Kind of. Surprised at how wildly different the whole thing went than we thought. That's ok though, just another humbling experience on this glorious journey of becoming more like Jesus.

I can tell you that because of the way the birth went, we are having some issues with breastfeeding and I am extra weak, which makes things all the more frustrating. Seth and I are taking things done day at a time. We are letting the tears flow, the garbage overflow, and the bed go unmade all for the sake of our sanity. 

We have the sweetest baby boy to be thankful for. He is a blessing straight from heaven. From his tiny little toes to his slightly bruised head, we are in awe of what his life means.

Pray for Seth and I as we navigate this new chapter. We need grace more than ever. We need patience that abounds. 

I'll be back to share more soon.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Finding Peace in the Gray: Confessions of an Overdue, Hormonal, Sinful Mess.

A highly respected professor of mine once told me, "Jamie, I think you're a Christian because you like that it makes you into a good person, it gives you all the right answers."

Those words stung. They still sting, 2 years later.
Stung because he saw straight to the core of a messy sin I don't like to talk about. He saw that I often pursue Christ for the sake of being right, rather than for Christ's sake.
Rather than caring about seeing the Gospel go forth and watching lives change, I pursue righteousness so people can see more clearly that they are wrong, and I am right.
And then I delight in my rightness, not in Christ.
Amidst the constant blessings on my life I struggle to find joy, because I don't find my joy in Jesus but in the crap that I'm desperate to be right about.

In my world, things are black and white. Only.
From politics, to parenting, to marriage, to fashion, to friendship, to music...
the sin runs in to the deep corners of the basic things I believe about everything.
Gray is wrong. Gray isn't definitive. Gray allows room for error, and excuses, and ambiguity.
Gray means that I might not get the glory. My pride runs from that idea.
Yet my regenerated heart filled with the Spirit draws me back to that idea, it prods and pokes at it until i breaks and is swept away.
God IS and will continue to break me of this sin until my last day. I have confidence in that.

"BUT GOD."
 But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved. 
Ephesians 2:4-5

If Jesus was a color He would probably be gray.
Some things were definitely black and white for him.
He is the son of God. He is the atoning payment for our sin. He is the only possible savior.
Black on black on black.
He dined with whores and lepers. He could of called down legions of angels while on the cross but He didn't, because of LOVE. He broke every cultural norm of His time to go and find the lost.
Gray on gray on gray.
His love doesn't make sense.
His kingdom is upside down.
He hangs out in the gray because He has already accomplished and perfected the things that are black and white. He hangs out in the gray because thats where His dear ones are.

I find that I struggle most with this sin when things are happening in my life that I have no control of. (Go figure)
Like being "overdue".
For months we have been planning on having a NUCB (natural unmedicated child birth) and I pursued the idea wholeheartedly.
But, as my due date has come and gone and an induction is scheduled for Saturday morning, our plans are being thrown out the window. Then trampled. Then burned.
All kinds of ugly emotions are spewing out of me with this impending reality.
Now I'm seeing that I have made that pursuit and hopeful accomplishment of a NUCB more about having the "right" kind of birth, because I have the "right" ideas about parenting and childbirth -- not because I believe these things are best for me and my child.

I was thinking last night about our perfectly printed birth plan, and how I'm going to look like a fool showing up at the hospital on Saturday morning for an induction that crosses about half those things off the list by default.
The thought of induction brings shame, sadness, fear, and a deep sense of failure right to the surface of my heart.
But, God has been keeping me awake all night walking me through this idea and saying "child. its OK. Pursue ME because I'm good and that's the only way you'll ever have even a CHANCE of being good. Pursue ME for MY sake and MY glory -- because as soon as you try and separate yourself from My glory to get credit..yours fades instantly like a flame with no oxygen."

So.
Praise God I haven't given birth yet.
He has taught me something in the past few days that I needed desperately to hear.
If I had gone into labor on my due date, had everything go perfect, had all of our boxes checked off our birth plan, had a baby with the face of an angel...
I still would have pursued all of those things for the sake of being right -- and attributed our "success" because we did everything right. Not because God's way is perfect and trustworthy.
My sin-ridden heart would have been dissatisfied with a perfectly healthy baby boy because our plans didn't go exactly how we wanted. Because our plans were "right" and anything deviating from that is inherently wrong.
That's ugly.
The saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am the foremost. 1 Timothy 1:15

Forgive me for pursuing righteousness for my own sake.
I still believe our birth plan has good intentions and wishes. I still believe it is the best-case scenario for mom and baby.
But I will stop with the crap about being right for rights-sake, now. I will start remembering all of the reasons we made these decisions in the first place.
I will let go of the desperate, emotional, hormonal, messy mess I have created in my head.
I will trust God with His birth plan for us. It might be gray. It might have some black and white, like we wanted.
But it is already written, sealed, and accomplished, and that is GOOD.

This God—his way is perfect;
the word of the Lord proves true;
he is a shield for all those who take refuge in him.
Psalm 18:30



Ok Felix,
For real though.
Now that we've dealt with that sin.....
you can come out now.
Like seriously.
You are stubborn little guy, aren't ya?
Can't imagine where you got that from.


Saturday, November 30, 2013

40 weeks: Oh Hey, D-Day.

Well folks. Today is my due date and baby Felix is still tucked safely away in my belly.
I've had lots of symptoms but nothing consistent...so we wait. 
Here is some 40 week hot mess real-ness for you:


It's amazing how quickly a pregnant lady brain can go from normal to crazy.
One month ago I would have said that NEVER in a MILLION years would I think about desperate home induction attempts like Castor Oil.
And I'll be real. Last night I honestly considered heading to Rite Aid to buy some. 
I didn't.
I thought long and hard about it. 
And I'm still thinking.
Don't hate me for that. I know he'll come when he's ready. I just really was hoping he'd be ready today. 

Theres still a lot of hours left in today. 
We are going to get our Christmas tree, and maybe go to dinner with my dad.
Because after all, today is Grandpa's (my dad's) birthday -- and that would be the most awesome birthday present to your dear old Grandpa, wouldn't it Felix? 

My brother was born on my Grandpas birthday, so it felt really, extra special that Felix was due on my own Dad's birthday. 

I digress. I know many (most) first time pregnancies go past their due date. I know the national average for pregnancy is 41 weeks and 1 day. 
But still. 
I have an appointment scheduled on Monday, at which point they will start talking induction and all that stuff we don't want. I'll probably agree to get checked and have my membranes stripped, too. Just to see. And I'll continue to think about that castor oil. But I probably won't do it. Probably. 

I'll keep you updated. Check FB and Instagram for the most recent updates. 
His cute little self will be in this world SOON, and I'll just have to remind myself of that every hour until "soon" becomes "right NOW". 

In the mean time, I still am working on some orders for my shop since theres no baby here yet. 
So if you were planning on ordering...you better order..NOW. The clock is ticking. 
And there are some awesome deals this weekend.

Double wrap scarves - normally $38 - are only $28 -- and there is a coupon code this weekend for 25% off. That's a seriously great deal, you guys. 


Coupon code is "THANKS25"

Also, boot cuffs are coming. And they are CUTE. All I have left to do is find the perfect buttons for them, so hold tight. Here is a sneak peak. 


Dear Felix,
You are hereby served an official eviction notice.
You must vacate the premises of my belly. 
You have approximately 1 week before the doctors make plans to forcefully evacuate you.
And about 3 days until your mama gets hella desperate. 
No hard feelings, ok?
We're just so excited to meet you.
There are tons of people that are. 
Maybe your holding out a little longer because your worried about all the love you'll be bombarded with.
Don't be scared little buddy. Love is a very good thing. 
Love,
Mama.




Monday, November 25, 2013

39 weeks. 5 days till D-Day.



Well guys, I'm still pregnant. Womp Womp.
I was kinda hoping Felix might be here by now. But I'm not overdue yet so I'll keep the complaining for if that happens.

Today I cried because Wendy's ran out of chocolate Frosty.
I stormed out of the drive through line and headed to McDonalds for a McFlurry. Please don't judge me.

Just understand that I've been carrying this bundle of joy around for 9 FULL months. I can no longer reach my toes, or ankles...or calfs. I get stuck in chairs at restaurants. I crave sweets non-stop. I get out of breath walking to the car. I cycle through the same 3 pairs of yoga pants because all of my other ones don't fit anymore.

I really would like a margarita.
I would also really like to meet my little boy already.

I had almost 3 straight hours of regular contractions yesterday. And then they quit when we got home.
That was sad.

I'm doing lots of squatting.
And bouncing on the ball thing.
And third trimester tea drinking.
And evening primrose oil taking.
And walking.
And praying.
And asking others to pray.

I know, I know he will come when he's ready.
And the day he gets here will probably be the day I wished I had more time.
I know life is about to change drastically, so I should be soaking up every silent moment. Every moment alone with my husband. Every adult conversation. Every clean towel. Every clean...everything.

Dear Felix,

We get to meet you SO soon, little boy.
 We are terrified, excited, and so anxious to meet you.
 You are so loved. So very loved.

I hope your eyes are kind like your Daddys. I hope you are funny like him too.

 I hope you know soon how much Jesus loves you, and how His love is bigger and better than the love we could ever supply.

Your parents don't quite have it all together yet. Your first years will probably be spent in apartments and condos. You may have to share a room with us for a while. But, we're pretty clean for the most part.

You will probably know more about airplanes than all of your friends. I bet Grandpa already has an RC airplane picked out with your name on it. Your Dad and Uncle Micah will probably have you on dirt bikes, motorcycles, and other dangerous things much before I'm ready -- but that's ok, sometimes your Mom is much too afraid of the world.

I will probably try and dress you up like a Grandpa for a long time. You know, cardigans, bow ties, corduroys, and suspenders. Your Dad thinks I'm silly for thinking old guys are so cute, but not to worry little man, Dad's the only one who could steal your Mom's heart.

Come soon.
Oh, and turn face down while you're at it. I don't like my eggs sunny side up -- and I'm pretty sure I don't want my baby that way either.

Love you.
Mama.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

38 weeks. 11 days till D-Day.

How far along? 38 weeks & 3 days.



Baby size? Felix is about the size of a head of celery. He weighs about 7.5 pounds at this point.
What's he up to in there? 
Rolling around and making mama uncomfortable.
Eating has become a chore, so is sitting up. Every time I try to sit straight up his fit go right into my ribs which is really uncomfortable!

Total Weight Gain?
35?
Not sure. They didn't tell me at my last appointment - hallelujah. One less thing to stress about.
That may have been why my blood pressure was so much lower than in the past -- they've stopped stressing me out about things I don't have a whole lot of control over!

Stretch marks? 
Yep.
I think I'll take up being a tiger in my spare time after baby gets here.

Sleep?
This week I'm sleepig surprisingly well.
I've been getting 8-9 hours every night and usually only have to get up once.
I'd say thats pretty dang spectacular.

Best Moment?
On Sunday my girlfriends from Garden City surprised me with a sweet time of prayer and fellowship.
They had printed out verses for me to put in a jar for when I need encouragement.
It was so sweet!
I love the women that Jesus has placed in my life.

Another great moment was when a woman shouted across the grocery store to me how beautiful I look. 
When you're super pregnant and wobbling awkwardly everywhere you go, those words are like sweet, sweet music to your ears. 

Miss anything?
Comfort in general.
This baby bump has gone from "cute" to gigantically enormously obnoxious in the past few weeks.

 Movement? 
Still lots of hiccups!
I wish this little man would move his way down and out soon! 
Cravings?
sweet stuff.
At the mere thought of chocolate, or cookies, or sugar my mouth starts to water.
I overheard the word shortbread in line at the post office today and hightailed it to the bakery afterwards.
I wish I was kidding about that last bit.

Queasy/sick? 
Just blech.
I feel stinky, tired, groggy, achy and...blech.

Gender? 
B-O-Y

Labor signs? 
Braxton hicks & some cramping...
but nothing consistent.

Belly button?  
It is still not fully out..and it seems to have moved lower which means baby has dropped -- woo!

Wedding rings on/off?
 Still off.
I miss them a lot. 


Mood?
I feel quiet. Most days I don't feel like making eye contact with people or creating conversation...not for any particular reason either, I guess I just don't feel very social. I'm hoping that is not the beginning of baby blues or a foreshadowing of PPD. PPD would be ironic because I cant think of anything that would make me happier than getting this baby out of me!

Looking forward to?
Meeting this baby!
Come on, dude...make your grand appearance already!

Anything else?
25% of all orders until Thanksgiving will be donated to victims of Typhoon Haiyan. Now is a great time to place an order in my shop!

www.etsy.com/shop/letsbuttonup

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Sunday Morning Virtual Coffee Date

It's been a while since I've done a "coffee date" post...

So, if we were go out to coffee on this lovely, crisp, Sunday morning I would probably wobble in - order a decaf vanilla latte and smile as I slowly lowered my very pregnant self into the chair across from you. I would tell you that no - I don't only drink decaf, but that I've been up since 5am and had my first real cup shortly after my eyes opened.

I would smile and answer politely the same questions I'm a little sick of answering these days -- but that's ok, I know it's just because you care. Yes, we are excited. No, I haven't had any major labor signs quite yet, though I do have regular braxton hicks contractions. Yes, I'm uncomfortable, crabby and ready to have Felix here. Mostly because I want my body back but I'm sure that won't matter when I see his little face. Yes, we are still planning a fully natural labor -- and no I don't think I will give in to the meds. Mostly because my husband says he wont take me to the hospital until I'm practically ready to push. I'm just happy he's actually supportive...I'm getting tired of people telling me that I'm completely insane for wanting a natural birth. That being said, I'll report back on how that all goes. And yes, I know I don't get a medal for going natural.

Yes, life is about to change drastically. It's hard to say how easy that adjustment will be. I have fears, yes. Fears that it wont feel natural to be a mom. Fears that my relationship with Seth will change, will be more difficult, will take more work. I worry about silly things like the kitty suffocating our little boy. I worry that breastfeeding will be really difficult. But I'm excited at the same time. Excited for a new chapter, a new blessing, a new door that God is walking us through.

I'm excited about what God is doing in us. I'm excited to see what the next few months holds. Becoming deacons and neighborhood group leaders. Being challenged more in our roles as husband and wife, mom and dad. Meeting and befriending other newlyweds and new parents.

I would attempt small talk at this point. So much of the focus seems to be on my life lately that I am eager to hear about other peoples lives and other events!

I would tell you that Penelope and I have gotten particularly familiar with each other now that I am home a lot. I have discovered that she sleeps all...day...long. I would tell you that she likes to hang out on our bed acting cute. Or on the couch being cute. Or sometimes in the shower being cute. I would also tell you about the stray kitty that she fiercely attacks through the window every time he's on our porch -- it's the most excitement she gets during the day so I try to not let the moaning and the bonking of her paws hitting the window bother me too much.


I would tell you that we saw Captain Phillips last night at the movies. It was fantastic. And thrilling. And I practically bit a hole in my lip. I would tell you that almost all of the previews looked really good and that I hope Seth and I can score some date nights in the next few months to see all of the new great movies. Maybe you would volunteer to watch our little man while we go out? Maybe.

I would tell you that I'm reading John Piper's 'This Momentary Marriage', and how it is a wonderful, wonderful book about marriage, the church, and the beautiful mystery that is marriage. I would encourage you wherever you are at -- single, married, divorced -- to read it and soak it all in.

I would tell you that I've already decorated for Christmas -- not entirely because we don't have a tree up yet -- but that our house got all Christmasified last week -- mostly because I'm afraid it will never get done if I don't do it now.

We might talk about Obamacare, because, well that's a hot topic and you know I have an opinion about it. I would shake my head in disappointment of the whole situation. What a mess. Those who are losing their insurance could outnumber those who couldn't get coverage before -- and those who are able to "keep" their insurance have premiums that have been quadrupled. The worst part to me is the money hungry hospitals and insurance companies. The government isn't helping a whole lot but the fact that health care seems to be this countries biggest money maker is disgusting. I saw an "investigative report" story on the news yesterday, people are starting to ask about hospitals and their ridiculous billing systems -- IT'S ABOUT TIME. $87 for purified water? Give me a break, people. I'd get off my soapbox and return back to reality -- knowing that I have absolutely no control over the situation but sometimes one just needs to blow off steam.

I would ask in between about your life. Ask you what your favorite part of the holiday season is. What you are most thankful for. We might discuss theology, and Christmas, and hopefully Jesus -- I'm trying to get better at that. I would give you a hug and wish we could do this more often, and ask what I could be praying for your for.

I would slowly get up -- readjust my pants which have probably fallen way lower than they need to.
I would probably go pee -- maybe for the 4th time since we've been sitting down.
I would grab an ice water as I'm walking out the door, because pregnancy means there is absolutely no means to control body temperature.
I would smile through the urge to hit everyone that stares at me as I wobble out the door.

On the drive home I would pray. I would mostly be thanking God for a friend I could share all of these things with. I have discovered that in the past year my friendships have changed so, so much -- mostly with women. That transition has been hard and it's cause me to do a lot of soul searching and changing. I do a lot more tongue holding, thinking through my words, and pride swallowing. I've been trying to be more like Jesus in my relationships -- because the best way to be a witness is to actually walk your talk, because my walk talks louder than my talk ever talks.

I would pray for more grace. More recognition of it on my end -- and more ceaseless extending on His. The latter is really unnecessary but more for peace of mind.

I would drive back home, settle back in on the couch with a cup of third trimester get-this-baby-the-heck-out-tea. I would have my crochet work in my lap, and the TV remote in the other, recognizing that I may fall asleep during said activities -- and for now, that is perfectly ok with me.



Monday, November 11, 2013

The Wall.

I've hit that infamous pregnancy wall.
I'm 37 weeks and 2 days pregnant. 19 days to go. 19 days feels like a lifetime.
The wall where I am so done with being pregnant, yet still have so much to do before he gets here.
So much to do but no energy or desire to actually do it.
I was thinking of making a list, but that might make it worse...so I'll jut rant for you today.

I posted this the other day..it describes what's going on perfectly.


I just called Merry Maid service, they are going to come and give me an estimate of how much it would cost to deep clean our place before baby gets here. I won't even pick up large chunks of food if they fall on the ground, let alone vacuum or scrub or wipe anything at this point.

Last night I had the strangest series of dreams..it included a squirrel infestation, a rocket ship suburban air plane, and my friend suggesting that I pee directly onto my baby to help him be soothed.

The baby's crib is filled with junk, but I'm afraid if I take it out Penelope will try to hop inside and sleep there. Another thing looming over my head with her is the need to train her to stay out of our bedroom. As gentle as she will likely be with the baby, the fact that she likes to sleep on top of me and Seth at night means she will likely try to do the same thing to Felix.

The hospital bag is barely packed -- I think because in the back of my mind we will 1)be in labor at home as long as humanly possible and 2)not wanting to stay 48 hours after because it costs $500/day to do so. But I know it's still necessary because we should always expect the unexpected.

I know I should be walking more to get this show on the road...but pants, shoes, and walking are all things that take way too much energy to do at this point. My back aches like none other and the effort it takes to consciously NOT waddle is a lot. I noticed that because of the pain I'm arching my back when I walk which is probably making it worse. My belly is so big that pants don't fit and everything cuts into the lowest part of my bump. My feet swell and lose feeling all the time. I know pregnancy is not designed to be fun but dang I want my body back already!!

Getting up from sitting down, or getting out of a car, or really doing anything that requires me to move takes an incredible amount of effort. If I lay too far back on the couch I get out of breath because of the pressure on my lungs.

I'm also on a true emotional roller coaster.
Saturday I cried about a rock song I couldn't handle any more of.
Yesterday I cried about a sandwich.
I really wonder what today holds. Maybe crying over a q-tip? a piece of lint? a fork?

I have many things to look forward to though, so I will stop my ranting and complaining and rejoice in the little things.

My sweet husband asked me on a date this week, which I am so excited for. I think we are going to Monterey for an evening. Hubba hubba.

My shop sales are doing really well -- I appreciate all of your guys' support. It is truly helping our family out a lot in this time.

We've been doing lots of preparation the past couple weeks in the form of classes and carseat installation. I think this is as ready as we will ever be.



Thanksgiving and Christmas are fast approaching -- my two favorite holidays. I can't believe we're going to have a baby by Christmas, that just sounds so crazy to me. And since I'm due around Thanksgiving and likely will not get to decorate for Christmas at that point -- that means I get to start decorating NOW!

All discomforts aside, I feel incredibly blessed to have a supportive family, an amazing husband, a healthy baby thats still growing, and a gracious God who gives generously without looking at my sin. I have so much to be thankful for and will keep reminding myself of that on the hard days.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Pintertest Kitchen: Easy & Amazing Crockpot Tortellini

These days I try to make something new for dinner once a week.
Thats about all this tired pregnant lady can handle.
I recently remembered that having a crockpot during said pregnancy is the best thing ever...and I intend to use it more often.
Happy husband = well fed husband.
5 minute dinner prep time = happy wife.

I saw this pin last week:

The entire recipe was in the caption. 
Which was new for me & slightly concerning. But it looked yummy enough for me to give it a go.
I'm glad I took a chance on this pin!! 

Ingredients:
- 1 (19oz.) bag frozen cheese tortellini -- this took me FOREVER to find at Safeway but I finally did..it's there in the freezer isle but you have to look real hard.
- 1 lb. Italian sausage
- 1 bag fresh spinach
- 2 cans Italian style diced tomatoes
- 2 cans low-fat chicken broth
- 1 (8 oz.) cream cheese, cut into cubes <--that is important 


Directions:
1. Brown the sausage in a skillet on the stove top until cooked and crumbled. Drain.
2. Add the sausage and the remaining ingredients to a 6-quart slow cooker. Stir to combine.
3. Cook, on low for 5 hours, stirring occasionally. 
4. Watch and smile as everyone in your house is happy. 


You guys. 
This was SO good.
Like SO SO SO SO good.
Creamy, delicious, and the perfect consistency.
And SO easy. Took 5 minutes to cook the sausage and throw the rest of the stuff in the pot! 
It was kind of a cross between soup and sauce. Definitely not overly soupy, but I wouldn't eat it on a plate. 
We both had seconds, and ate the leftovers the very next day. 
I could make this a few nights a week forever and be perfectly happy. 


Yay for crockpots. 
I hope their inventor is smiling down on all the happy mamas who don't have to work too hard to make an awesome meal. 

Thanks, Jess for the always fun link up!

Also,
Have you guys heard about the giveaway going on right now for my Etsy shop?
I'm trying to build my facebook audience and get 100 "likes" -- once I hit 100 I will do pick a winner. The winner will receive a signature infinity cowl in the color of their choice, a $28 value! 

Heres how to enter:
2. Share a link to my shop on your facebook page, blog, or instagram -- make sure I see it by tagging my name!
3. For two entries - place an order!!

Maximum 4 entries per person. 

Hopefully I will get to 100 likes soon so I can pick a winner!!