If there is one thing we have learned from being parents, it is that life is messy.
But within the chaos and unpredictability of life, there is beauty in the imperfection. We have to be very intentional about living in the moment, breathing – taking it all in. In a second, the day is gone and routine pushes us along like some perpetual rollercoaster. Silence, a rare gift, and one we don’t find often, but certainly cherish when we are blessed with it. On occasion we will fill it with the sound of a shutter in an attempt to slow the train of fleeting moments we so desperately cling to. While we live them day in and day out, I know we will look back and wonder where those little faces went and think how did we do it? The answer will always be by God’s most amazing grace!
Grace. That place we want to live, yet struggle to find the air necessary to breathe a sigh of thankfulness. Pray. Our daily walk to live closer to our Heavenly Father asking that he would continue to direct us on his path. Faith. Believing that through all the challenges and failures that lie ahead and behind us, God is, was, and always will be there looking out for out eternal good.
Our daughter came into the world in a hurry; something tells us that she will be living up to her name. She was longed for and is so full of life and light. God is gracious. We have truly enjoyed this first week of Eveline’s life and are very much looking forward to all the sweet memories we will make together, Lord willing.
Time is so very precious. We are learning how to be stewards of all we have been given, especially our children. Katie and I are still in awe of how God answers prayers and not just our own. So often we forget to write down all the ways that God has shown Himself to us through His word and answered prayers.
God gave us a daughter
She is healthy
Mom is healthy
Our hearts are not anxious
We want for nothing
God has governed our time and schedule
God has given us opportunities to share the Gospel
He forgives us
He fights for us in our defense
He is patient in showing us our sin
He is fostering relationships we have yearned for
Our children love Jesus
Our hearts are full
My uncle is alive
Season filled with remarkable clients
This list should and could continue for pages, all undeserved gifs. We are eternally grateful. Truly blessed and not because we deserve it.
The Birth of a Child and a Mother
9,113 days. That is how many days I lived without my little peanut in my arms. I knew I wanted to be a mother. I just didn’t know if I should be a mother. Would I be a good mother? Would my husband love me the same? Could we even have children? Was I ready? In reality, nobody is ever ready. You will never have all of the answers. You will never have “enough” money. You will never be at the “best” spot in your life. You just have to roll with the punches. Thus, the journey began…
309 days. That is how many days my husband and I tried to conceive our little peanut. The moment we were married we decided to start trying to conceive a baby. I sure thought this would be an easy task. It seems that people get pregnant from drinking water these days. My husband and I were young and relatively healthy. Month after month and pregnancy test after pregnancy test I literally thought I was going crazy. Scratch that. I was crazy. I was an obsessive, pee-happy, hallucinating, crazy person. Why was there still only one line on that stick? Then the game began of “seeing a second line”. “Line eye” as the Trying To Conceive community would call it. I was peeing on stick after stick. After seven months, I was completely discouraged. Not only did I still not have a baby, but also my intimate relationship with my husband became a chore. Intercourse was no longer filled with love, passion, and emotional connection. It was a daunting task that was resulting in no little peanut for us. My original fears were becoming real. “Could we have children?” Apparently not. I convinced myself that I was not getting pregnant because I would be a bad mother. Not only were all the tests negative but my cycles were a mess. I was having a hard time even tracking when I could get pregnant. Therefore, I decided to go to the doctor and see if she could regulate me. At that appointment, I learned that I did not ovulate. Well, that sure answered my question as to why I was not getting pregnant. It sure helps if the sperm has an egg to fertilize, and I wasn’t dropping any eggs. After a few more doctor appointments for both my husband and I, we began to try again. This time, we had the help of Clomid. Clomid essentially makes you ovulate. Round one began! And… was followed by nothing. Round two began! And… by golly there were two lines. What!? Two lines!? Not possible. I couldn’t get excited. I mean, I was excited but I had also turned into a crazy person during this time while hallucinating that I saw two lines before. I couldn’t trust myself. The blood test, ultrasound, heartbeat, morning sickness, mood swings, and everything else confirmed that my little peanut was in my belly.
291 days. That is how many days I carried my little peanut in my womb. Now the fears really began. People asked me all the time what my fears were. Money? No, I’m great at saving money and budgeting. Lack of sleep? Not really, coffee is amazing. No social life? No, I don’t really like people anyway. Okay, I like people, but I’m a homebody. Love. That is what I was worried about. Will my peanut love me? Will I love my peanut? What if I dreamed about this baby, tried so hard to conceive this baby, carried and birthed this baby, and then didn’t love this baby? Or, what if my peanut didn’t love me. I couldn’t shake this fear. The months flew by and the due date was getting closer and closer. I wasn’t afraid of the pain, although I should have been. I wasn’t afraid of anything really, except those fears I just expressed.
11 days. That is how many days “overdue” I was. I had been dilated for weeks, was pretty much completely effaced, and had been having contractions for quite some time. Of course, why would I think my body would do what it was supposed to… it hadn’t this whole time! Tuesday, December 17th, I called the Family Center to set up a time for induction as my doctor had recommended. I really did not want to. I wanted to let nature take its course and let my body do what it was supposed to do when it was ready to. I thought, maybe if I schedule an induction, my brain will chill out and things will start happening naturally. In addition, I figured I would have another three days or so until they would fit me in. “6:00 AM,” the nurse says, “Come on in at 6:00 AM tomorrow.” Oh yeah, did I mention it was almost 5:00 PM when I called? Umm, yeah… talk about freak out. The crazy person had come back. After a few hours, I went back to being normal, and got ready. Morning came and my husband and I made our trip to the hospital. I came bearing gifts of Christmas cookies for the nurses. They got me all set up and ready to go and we began our first dose of Cytotec. Cytotec helps start contractions and you can slowly increase the dosage to make the contractions stronger. I chose this option instead of Pitocin, which I was told, makes your contractions go from zero to sixty in the blink of an eye. Yeah, I chose the slow and steady route. Here we go! 9:00 AM I got my first dose. This continued every hour, all day. Sure, I was having contractions, and they “looked” intense on the monitor, but I didn’t feel a thing, except the tightening sensation. Obnoxious. There I was, stuck in that awfully uncomfortable bed, just waiting. Waiting and waiting and waiting. Still, no baby. Not even a sign that baby was coming soon. 7:00 PM was my last dose. The doctor said that we would start Pitocin in the morning. Now I was just frustrated, and drained, and scared, and annoyed. I was so annoyed with my husband and I’m pretty sure he was annoyed with me. Why? Oh, just because. Our spouses tend to be our emotional punching bags. It’s not right or fair, but that’s the way it seems to work out. I was a nervous wreck and he was calm, cool, and collected. How was he not feeling what I was feeling? Why wasn’t he anxious and crying and frustrated. Well he was anxious; he was just being a solid place for me, which I wasn’t appreciating for whatever reason. My husband doesn’t talk when he is nervous or stressed. He just paces or stays quiet. I’m the opposite. I’m that obnoxious person that talks about anything and everything to try to distract myself mentally. Clearly, our own coping methods were clashing and I was angry. Night came and we tried to sleep.
7 hours. That is about how long I labored to get my peanut in my arms. It was roughly 10:00 PM when we went to bed. Of course, I had to get up to pee every half an hour. Nothing new there. I was running on minimal sleep from the night before and was emotionally drained. Apparently, my bladder was not drained. Shortly after midnight, my fourth bathroom break since I went to bed, I had one of those forever pees. You know, the kind where you sit there for what seems like 20 minutes still peeing. Still, nothing totally abnormal, pregnant or not. As I was going back to my bed, my husband woke up and asked me if I was okay. I said I was fine and sat down. I wondered if my water had broken… but I didn’t want to hit my call light and tell a nurse that my water broke and then have it not be true and then feel like an idiot. So, I sat there. Then, I peed everywhere. Okay, now my water broke. Oh, crap! Crazy lady was back! I looked at the clock and it was about 12:30 AM. Ouch. Painful contractions had finally made their appearance. I was finally dilated to a four, as opposed the one centimeter I had been at for weeks. I tried to stay moving, walking, bending, leaning, anything to try to ease the pain. My husband followed me around and became a railing for me. I looped my arms around his neck and dangled from him, I leaned on his lap, and I leaned against his side. Nothing really helped and I couldn’t concentrate very well. Helplessly, he asked if there was anything he could do. I finally looked him in the eyes and found my pain relief. I stopped focusing on the pain and just focused on his beautiful crystal blue eyes and hoped that our peanut would have his eyes. I could feel my body relax just looking at him. “Count” is all I could say. As a result, he counted. He counted to ten repeatedly for hours all the while keeping eye contact with me. He made the mistake of breaking eye contact and I had a mini flip out moment where I panicked until our eyes met again. It was just my husband and I working on getting our peanut in our arms. I can’t tell you how many people were in the room or who was in the room. However, I can tell you I have never felt more love for my husband before. Every girl dreams of having a man to be your rock and to hold you when you are weak and this is exactly what he did for me. He held me and kept me calm. I had been so angry with him for being calm and collected before and now his calm demeanor was the only thing keeping me focused. It’s funny how things work out sometimes. Within a few hours I was nearing seven centimeters and was totally ready for the drugs. The rest of my experience is somewhat of a blur. I remember getting an epidural and it most definitely eased my contractions. However, I was still throwing my legs in the air and had complete feeling of them. That was a scary thought. I thought that was all supposed to be numb… but what did I know. I was a first time mom that had never done this before. Things calmed down some and I was checked again to see what progress we had made. I was ready to start pushing. Well, technically my body was ready for me to start pushing. I was nowhere near ready to start pushing. Too bad so sad. I had to push. The first few pushes were easy. I thought that the rest would be a breeze too, with this epidural and all. Ha. Wrong. Oh my holy searing pain. I had to keep pushing. That was the only way to meet my peanut. After a few more pushes, she was out and in my arms at 6:51 AM. My heart melted and my chest ached with love. Within seconds of seeing her, I loved her so much that it actually hurt. “Happy Birthday,” I said. Of course, they swoop your baby away so quickly. “Come on baby, breathe,” I heard somebody say. I couldn’t see my peanut at this point as she was surrounded by nurses and my husband. So I looked at my sister (in-law if you want to be technical), best friend, and birth photographer and said, “why isn’t she breathing?!”She smiled oh so sweetly at me, waved her hand in the air, and said, “she’s fine, there is nothing wrong at all.” Phew, I breathed in relief only to hear the doctor say that she was going to start on my stitches. The what!? Oh no… “how bad is it?” I asked my doctor. She replied, “mmhmm”. Gee, thanks for the comforting words doc. O well. My peanut, Arawyn Mae, was finally here. She was in my arms and she was breathing. She was here and I could kiss her and love her.
Forever. That is how long I get to love my peanut, Arawyn Mae. My birth story is a blur, as I’m sure is the situation for most women giving birth. I barely remember certain parts. Even with all the pain and fear, it was the fastest seven hours of my life. Luckily, my story has been captured in photographs. I can look back at those photos and be told by others the parts I don’t remember. I can look back at those photos and become overwhelmed with emotions. I can cherish those memories and the story of Arawyn’s arrival.