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wife. mom. adjunct professor. we homeschool. i'm a little bit OCD. i love math. bright colors and geometric designs make me drool. we live with a medical rarity, and Jesus saved his life. through that, Jesus is changing us. The american dream and status quo is overrated...and sometimes just plain wrong. our lives, our family, our careers, our faith are all now filtered through a new lens-- thank you Jesus. welcome to our crazy. feel free to take some of it with you, we have plenty to go around.
It's not the load that breaks you down; it's the way you carry it.
-- Lena Horne

The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.-- Jesus Christ

Thursday, October 10, 2013

And baby makes five.


I have to get this written down or it will surely leave my memory!!  Almost one week ago (tear, teeeeear, weeeeeeeeeeeping, sobbing tears...a week!) our third baby entered the world. A few friends have asked to hear the birth story, and while I never blog anymore, I do like keeping record of our life over here, so I thought this a great place to just lay it all out. So here goes.

We've done this pregnancy all different. Baby was a surprise. We decided to do things all surprise worthy this time- we didn't find out the baby's gender, we wanted to go into labor on baby's own time, I wanted to have a natural birth this time, we used a doula and hired a birth photographer (a photog friend was at R's birth four years ago, and those pics are some of my favorites even still. I highly, highly recommend a birth photog. and a doula :) ), I used a midwife for all my prenatal and delivery "stuff" this time. It was all just different. And fabulous.

The pregnancy was an easy one.  We have been seeing a chiropractor for almost a year, and I continued that throughout my pregnancy. This has helped me to feel well for the entire pregnancy. We also have eaten a paleo diet most of the year, and this helped me to keep my weight down (I gained a lot with my first two babies) with this pregnancy, where pretty much all the weight went to baby/fluids/etc instead of to .... other areas of my body.

We also took a 12 week Bradley Method birth class. Husband coached child birth. 12 weeks is a huge commitment when you have other kiddos to take care of, but thankfully family and friends helped out in watching the boys when we had to go to class.  It was a great time with a few other couples, learning what is, and is not, normal/necessary/etc in birth. The classes required a food diary, to keep you on track diet wise, and also a lot of exercises to help baby get in position as well as prepare you for labor and delivery (I highly recommend these classes, as well!)

So we were prepaaaaaared, people. Prepared.

Enter September 23rd. I have a febrile 4 year old, and contractions (not Braxton Hicks contractions...real ones) coming every 5-7 minutes. Husband at evening work that day. Easy contractions, but definitely regular. For six hours. Then...nothing. Fortunately, the 4 year old was well within a couple of days...but still, no more labor.

This pregnancy was a little different in the sense that my platelets were low the entire time. So I had a lot of labs that I would not otherwise have had. Towards the end of my pg, this meant weekly monitoring because we didn't want the platelets to get too low, and before that happened, we would've probably been strongly considering an induction. So we were hoping baby came before that decision had to be made (my first two were induced labors. They were fine. i just didn't want to do that again.)

So Tuesday, October 1st, I had a pressure massage to maybe get things going labor-wise.  My doula also taped a couple of pressure points with kinesiology tape in an experiment (thanks to her husband's brain) to help induce labor. Honestly, I had a few contractions pretty immediately.

Wednesday, October 2nd, was pretty slow going in the labor department. I had a midwife appt that day, where we discussed if we HAD to induce, how would we approach that?  It was a great appointment, my midwife is fantastic, and she was confident it wouldn't come to that and that my baby would be here within a week.  Because I used a midwife, I had no idea my dilation/effacement at this point because unless necessary or requested, she doesn't do vaginal checks.  I was great with this because it honestly puts pressure on a mama wanting a natural delivery (oh crap. I'm only at a 2 and I'm already at 40 weeks, etc).  Mind over matter. Brain body connection.  If I am relaxed enough to allow my baby to get here on time, my baby will get here in his/her own sweet time.

{side note: I was Group B Strep Positive with this baby, so the only thing looming over my head was the "need" for antibiotics upon arrival at the hospital. this stressed me out for a few reasons. One, antibiotics destroy good bacteria AND bad bacteria. So the bad would be removed, but so would all the good bacteria baby gets passing through the birth canal. i wasn't really okay with this.  One option is to decline the antibiotics. I'd declined a lot this pg, so it wouldn't have been surprising at all :) i also knew with zero antibiotics, the odds are incredibly small that anything would be wrong with baby. So the risk was minimal. very minimal. like...half a percent. So we decided to go ahead and do some natural protocols at home to help decolonize the bacteria, and I also was treated by my naturopath to eliminate the colonization. So we were confident it would not be an issue, but agreed to receive the antibiotics upon admittance. They are administered for 15 minutes, 4 hours apart...and I needed to get 2 doses. i had no confidence at all that i'd be in labor that long with my third baby, so I fully anticipated not receiving both doses, bc I knew it would be impossible}

Continuing with October 2nd. I dropped the boys off at church, visited with a few people...i was starting to feel kind of crappy-- sweaty and sort of tummy-achy.  I thought it was because I really realllllly had to pee and had been holding it a long time for a pregnant person, or even a non pregnant person (I know. I shouldn't have done that).  Anyway, after taking care of that, the contractions (which is what was going on) didn't stop. I picked the boys up from church, got them in bed, and did a few things around the house. I was texting a couple of friends and one suggested lying down.  I did, and began timing the contractions. While working/standing up they were coming every 2-3 minutes and lasting at least 45 sec. When lying down, they spread out to every 5-7 mins but were still close to a minute long. And these hurt. They weren't like the ones ten days before. I texted my husband, who was at evening work that night too, to come home early.  He did and we both thought we'd be going to the hospital soon.  I kept my doula up to date, and finally went to sleep. At 2:30 I woke up, and after that, contractions subsided. Nothing. Again. All day Thursday, nothing. I worked in the yard, I made some vegetable stew to freeze, just went about my day.  That night, I got in bed early, because i'd been pretty tired that week. at 11:45 I woke up with terrible contractions. I had to pee, so i did that, got back in bed, and tried to sleep through things.  at 11:51 I woke up to the same hard seemingly unbearable contractions. I knew i couldn't sleep through these. Eventually I clawed B's back until he woke up and said, "Are you OKAY?" and i said, "no...they hurt...i can't do this!" and I tried moving positions and finding some way to bear the pain. He was ready to go to the hospital, I wasn't convinced. We were texting our doula, and i was texting a friend of mine. Our doula calmly encouraged us to not rush, get things together, eat if I was hungry, etc.  I wasn't hungry, which should have probably been a signal for me that it actually was time to get out of the house and go. She wanted to know, when we'd decided to go, if she should meet us there. We both felt confident she could wait because check in would take forever, etc.  We called my friend Erin and her husband came over to sit in case the boys woke up while we were gone. I still was not convinced this was the real deal, but the pain was getting worse, and i could not talk through the contractions. My mom was on her way to stay with the boys, but she lives about an hour away, so we didn't wait on her. We got in the car and left, and got to the hospital about 1:40 AM.

When we arrived, I told B to park the car, we didn't need valet, it wasn't that urgent (um, by the way, laboring in the CAR? that is hardcore, people. There's no way to be comfortable!  Grab that handlebar thing by the door and just bear down, basically.) We parked, I got the camera while B got the other stuff, and we started in. i had to stop halfway in the parking lot to brace myself through a contraction, then we continued in the hospital. We told the labor and deliver door person we were there to have a baby. they let us in, we went to triage/admitting, where i began filling out paperwork while I contracted away. :)We got to triage, where I had to go pee. "Pee in a cup for me, ma'am" Okay. I can do that. i return with pee in a cup and find out I have to have a dilation check. Nope. not in our birth plan, sister. so i calmly explain this, and am told it doesn't matter in the middle of the night, i HAVE to be checked. If I'm not at a 5 they can't admit me or call my midwife.   So we ask the nurse to leave, and we try to talk through it. Contractions are incredibly painful by now and are coming at LEAST every 2 minutes, lasting for about 60 seconds. B is in the room, but leaving occasionally to call our doula and birth photographer. A few contractions I go through in the triage room alone (yes, we should have let our doula come sooner! rookie move for us! I just assumed I had 3 or 4 hours left to go...but..keep reading).  Finally at 2 AM the nurse returns, I agree to let her check me but tell her she better hurry because she has about a minute before my contractions pick back up. B is in the hall calling our doula asking her to bring me a ponytail holder when she comes...The nurse checks me (that's super fun) and leaves the room. i told her i did NOT want to know my dilation, because if I was in that much pain and at a 3, I did not even want to think about it. So she left the room, ran to the front desk apparently, and B asked her upon her return (outside of my earshot) what my dilation was. I knew I was past a 5, because she was looking for a midwife.

The nurse hooked me up for a 20 minute fetal monitoring strip, and began getting things ready for my iv antibiotics and lab work.  I had an intense contraction at this point and had to lean over the bed in the triage room (i was standing). Immediately when that one ended, another began and the nurse said 'talk to me through it, tell me what you feel' I felt like smacking her for asking me to talk through it (she wasn't being ugly, I was)...but the answer to her question was, "i feel like I'm going to push or poop." To which she responded by picking up the phone and saying "we need a room right now." B had me get on the triage bed, and they began wheeling me into the only clean room available, a room on the high risk ward (I wasn't high risk, that's just all there was).  as soon as we get in the room, the nurse says to another nurse "you're going to have to catch this baby. she doesn't want to know her dilation, but she's going to deliver soon and i can't find a midwife or anyone. where does leanna (my midwife) live?" the answer-- edmond. too far.  B tells me at this point "you need to know your dilation. you need to. you're at a 9. The baby is going to be here soon, and no one is going to be here. you need to know that- erica (doula) is on her way but won't make it on time, tavia (photographer) isn't going to make it, you need to know-- there isn't going to be time. we are just going to have this baby."  The nurses are there, I am screaming like an insane woman-- totally out of body experience that I could not recreate if I wanted to, because I don't fully remember it. one nurse says "i can see the head" in a totally calm voice, which totally freaks me out.  We had been told when you need to push you will know, the urge will be too strong to ignore...this is absolutely true.  Between that moment and the next, somehow I get moved to a regular birthing bed.  i didn't intend to birth in a bed, but...that's what was going to happen. no labwork for me. No antibiotics for me. it was go time.  I get on that bed, nurses are charting/getting things ready/etc.  b is at my feet telling them "who is going to catch this baby!??! am I!? because this baby is coming soon. when she starts pushing, it will be one or two pushes, you need to know this!!!" and no one is really moving my way.  i scream again, push to the best of my ability, and look up to see a doctor I don't know gloving up and getting kind of in position. :) nothing is prepped in the room, there is no draping down to protect the bed or the floor, and as soon as I look up i feel something i haven't felt before so I say "what was that!???" and the doctor responds "that was your water. it broke." my defensive response "did you BREAK IT?!?!?" because I did NOT want that to happen and things were going so fast there was no time to even talk about decisions like that before they were made. she said "no. I'm dr. Arnold and I am going to help you have this baby. I heard you from the hallway and came in to help."  Bless you dr. Arnold because there was no one else coming.  Another resident (dr. arnold is also a resident, I believe) entered the room and Dr. Arnold was able to get me focused enough to remember the right way to push. The terribly frightening annoying screaming that was coming from my lungs continued, and after every bout of screaming I apologized for the crazy screams and for the fact I was going to poop...but three pushes later and our baby was earthside (screaming subsided, and no poop ever occurred). Oh my. The intensity. The pain that was gone as quickly as it exhilarating!  and there was our baby!  Another BOY!!

Arrow Scout Cary, born at 2:19 AM (yes, time is right. We got there 1:40 AM. vaginal check at 2 am. Baby at 2:19 AM. insane)....9 pounds 5 oz!!! 21 inches long. beeeeautiful.

The residents were rockstars at helping me out as well as honoring my birth plan, which they had certainly had zero time to read, but they cooperated with every request we made.  being unmedicated, I was of totally clear mind and able to say "we want this, don't do this, etc." and my husband was fabulous at advocating for me.  The residents were awesome to double check before doing ANYTHING "is it okay if i..." etc.

Shortly after Arrow's birth, our doula and photographer arrived (ha!). both stayed for a good long while and were excellent encouragers/support people to have around.  Bless them for giving up some time...some sleep!  A little while later, they left, I got out of bed, went to pee, and the nurse took me and Arrow up to the mama/baby floor where we settled in for about 36 hours.  everything was awesome.  and my baby is awesome.

A few things to note:
Arrow was big, so they wanted to do a glucose test, and if he failed, they'd give him formula.  totally unnecessary action-- colostrum is plenty. So I refused that. Later I found out he was literally barely big enough to warrant that test. a tiny bit smaller and no test would've even been requested.  While they may not always agree with your choices, I appreciate OU because they do realize they are MY choices.

We did have a CBC done because of R's history with bleeding. Arrow's labs were pretty much great. we delayed cord clamping, so his hemoglobin was ridiculous-- like 19.5 (this is high. he is a very red baby!)

His heart screen didn't check out great, because the blood pressure machine was being finicky.  The pediatrician was not worried about it, so we were discharged. Our pediatrician also is not worried about anything, his heart sounds great, so we are moving right on past that.

All in all, that day, those moments, were some of the best of my life.  I'd do it again that way in a second.  Totally exhilarating. Terribly painful. but short.

I can't get over my baby. He is so wonderful. The Lord is so good to have blessed us with another son. So so gracious.  Every day i am a little sad that Arrow is already growing. He will be a week old in six hours. He is a relaxed baby who only cries at diaper changes. My big boys love him.

why arrow?
Because, the Lord makes it clear in Psalm 127--
Behold, children are a heritage from the Lordthe fruit of the womb a reward.

Like arrows in the hand of a warrior are the children of one's youth.
Blessed is the man who fills his quiver with them!
He shall not be put to shame when he speaks with his enemies in the gate.

That's why. Every child the Lord sends our way is a blessing. He is sovereign over all things, and who am I to question who he will send to this little family (or big family? :) ).  I trust him. I trust that anyone he sends to us is truly sent from him. A blessing. How humbling that in these little tiny beautiful babies, the Lord is blessing us. Rewarding us. Truly he sanctifies us through parenthood, so there will definitely be trying days. But praise be to God our Father for smiling upon us and sending us this precious Arrow. He truly is fantastic. God gave me a good thing in my babies. God gives us good things in our babies, parents.  Good, good things.  Hug them. Breathe them in deeply.  See them each for the blessing they are, even if maybe we don't know exactly what that is yet.  The Lord has seen fit to send you the children he has sent you.  He has blessed you, indeed.  I have prayed this entire pregnancy that this baby would be a redemption of sorts. The last baby we had was a through-the-fire experience, where the Lord completely changed us through that forging. We are grateful. I am relishing in every moment with this baby, trusting the Lord's grace and kissing the sweet chubby cheeks off my baby's face every moment I can. Blessed indeed!

Thursday, April 4, 2013

well hi there.

Here's the thing. I'm not a blogger. Apparently.  I mean, my last post was...five months ago.  This is record craptastic blogging, I'd say.  I mean, I know people who've blogged one or two times. Period. And they get to just stop blogging and I won't think anything about it, because they never really got started. But...I used to be a regular.  I assume there's something to be said about not just rambling to ramble.'re welcome for the five month silent treatment.

I had a friend email me the other day (hello, friend) saying "remember when you used to blog?"

ha. nope. when was that? like...forever ago.

Quick recap on our hap hap happenings:
1) Kids are good. big one will be 7 soon. Little one 4 soon. Third one on the way, eta October.
2) Little kid still doing great. line's been out two years, and almost two years since last transfusion.
3) uh, literally, that's all.  I mean...the big one has been losing a lot of teeth this year. That's kind of new and exciting and strange.  The little one will be our first child to break a bone; I will take bets if you don't believe me.  He climbs. He is reckless. He is fearless. Sigh.

We are about to finish our first year of Classical Conversations, a homeschool program we've joined this year. It is fantastic.  Lots of memorization. Lots of songs. Some handy dandy classical learning going on.  Amaaaazing what the boys can hold in their brains through rote memory. Of course, we learn past that and apply what we are able to apply, but the memory alone will prepare them for critical thinking at such a young age.  This program is truly, truly phenomenal. I mean, mathematically, my kid knows formulas some of the adults I teach don't retain. Sure, he can't apply them yet, but that will come.  He will know them when the time comes. He won't need a formula sheet, or some last minute memory efforts to ditch after an exam. He will know them. They will be stuck in his brain. And take me to goodness. I hated History, my entire academic life.  Good riddance.  Then...this year.  We have learned chronologically all major events from Creation up to present day.  Next week, the kids will learn all of our nation's presidents from Washington to Obama. Every week we learn 7 timeline events, and then we camp out on one major idea in history for that week.  There are (usually) fantastic songs that go with virtually all of the memory work, and I have learned things I never learned before (okay, I probably was taught them in elementary and high school, but I do not recall them at all, because did I say how I hated history? hated it. read the book, answer the study questions, cram it all in for an exam, forget it the next day. I seriously have a recurring dream where I forget to go to a class for like an entire semester. It is occasionally Calculus, which is nonsensical, because who'd skip THAT class? That's some good stuff. :) But, typically it is World History or some other History class. And I fail.  And the teacher usually has some sort of mean thing to say to me for my lack of attendance.  Rightly so.) Anyway, this stuff is good stuff, man. When the mom can't even read through the timeline cards without weeping some weeks, well, you know you're learning some good stuff. :)  It has been wonderful to cross paths with other families to do life with- families with similar vision for their children, families desiring a redeemed education, one that will equip our children with learning through knowledge AND understanding.  I had some spot on, wonderful, caring, fantastic teachers growing up. Really really great teachers. and I always loved school.  Nerrrrd.  But, a lot of what I learned, I didn't retain, for whatever reason, and it is nice go back to the beginning and really learn it. All of it. But, I'm still a nerd!

Holy Week and Resurrection Sunday are still fairly close in our rearview mirror-- and can I just say this is my most favorite time of the year? As a believer, every day is a day to be in awe of the grace I have received, certainly. But this specific week turns me to mush. A sobbing, ugly mess most days. We spent the week lightly- did the schooling we needed to do, and spent time during the day doing a little studying of the Bible regarding the Triumphal Entry through the crucifixion and Resurrection. The days were filled with some small crafts/mementos, and we had some candlelight times several weeks leading up to this week/weekend.  This year, we had a family Seder- we tried that last year and all loved the time so much, we have adopted it as tradition in our family.  It is humbling (sob sob bite my lip fight tears back) to read through the story of our Redemption, our freedom from sin because of the sinless Lamb. Anyway, it was/is a refreshing family time.  How humbling this monumental time in history was/is for us.  We, who are so undeserving, completely undeserving, totally unworthy, have been literally redeemed. redeemed. by the One who had no sin. No sin. No need to die. No need to be forsaken. No need to be alone.  No need to suffer. He took it. In our place. For the utmost Glory of God.  No matter how many times you look at it, if you really look at it, it is overwhelming.

See ya in five months.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Saint Nicholas Day

It is cold here- this morning. It will be nice again this afternoon, but this morning, it was finally cold.  This "winter" has not started out very...wintry.

We have been excited in our house for this day for awhile.   This past year, Santa has been revamped in our house.  And so, today, we celebrate the true St. Nicholas.  There is a wealth of information at , but quick summary would tell you that Saint Nicholas was orphaned during his teen years when his parents died.  They left him wealthy, though.  And one eve, he heard a girl crying.  He asked her the issue, and she explained that she and her three sisters were all in love with men they wanted to marry, but they could not, because they were too poor, their father had no dowry money.  So, Nicholas left, and that night, and the two subsequent nights, returned to their home, and tossed a bag of gold coins into the chimney of the girls' home.   He did this in secret.  The father did catch him the last night, but Nicholas asked him to just thank God for answering his prayers, and please to not tell anyone.  That spring, he attended their weddings. :)  He continued to help people, and everyone loved him.  He set an example of how to live, and he was named a Saint.  He loved Jesus.  He was imprisoned for his faith. There is some who say he argued with Arius at the Council of Nicea, about whether there was a time when the Word didn't exist (Nicholas believed the Word always know, 'In the beginning was the Word" and all), and punched Arius for his heresy.  I have heard that he apologized :).  Anyway, the gift giving to those in need-- in secret, the devotion to the Lord, the passion for Christ, the kindness....THIS is a St. Nick worth celebrating on this December 6th, St. Nicholas Day.  Why?  I pulled these from the St. Nicholas Center site hyperlinked above, but here's why:
  • To learn about the true Santa Claus and Father Christmas: St. Nicholas, a man of faith who lived his life in devotion to Christ
  • To focus on giving more than receiving: St. Nicholas cared for the needy
  • To emphasize small treats and family fun: St. Nicholas loved children
  • To provide a bit of special festivity early in the waiting weeks of Advent: St. Nicholas points to Jesus, the heart of Christmas
  • To offer a spiritual dimension to gift giving
  • To tell the story of a Christian saint, whose model life inspires compassion and charity
  • To honor St. Nicholas honors the Christ Child who selflessly gave the greatest gift of all—himself

 So today, we awoke to chocolate gold coins in our sweet little red pouches that I thought necessary. :)  The kids know the candy is from their daddy and I, but the excitement and fun still hangs in the air preceding, and at, and after, the discovery.

But before the kids rolled their bedheaded selves out of their bunks, their daddy came in and whispered, "Birdie has had two pups."  What a fun day to add excitement and anticipation.  Our sweet (but too hyper for me) old girl is working on delivering her (most likely to be) last litter of pups.  She doesn't really like an audience (what's wrong with her?) but she is doing well so far.  A boy and a girl, both look to be orange and white like their daddy, Tucker.

So while we wait in anticipation for the litter to be born today, we are about to have some blackberry muffins for breakfast, the boys are coloring pages about Saint Nicholas, we will read oodles of books and watch a movie or two today, the babes will be treated to lunch out, and we will pick up a dozen yummy cupcakes (thank goodness that Groupon extended its expiration date! Totally forgot about that sweet treat).

We will also give a gift in secret.  I am most excited about this part! Is there someone you know who is in need? Or could use some encouragement?  Or maybe a stranger will cross your path and you will be able to meet a need of theirs today.  In the spirit of Christmas. The spirit of taking what we have, though it be little, and using it to meet a need, or be a blessing, to someone else.  Maybe even sacrificing a bit.  In this anticipated season...the season where we can "sing out for joy, for the brave little boy, who was God but he made himself nothing. Well he gave up his pride, and he came here to die like a man." Jesus.  Who left heaven to come to earth.  The begotten of God, our Rescuer.  He brought the free gift of salvation-given to us out of his great mercy and sacrifice.   Glory.  Glory to the Newborn King.  (quote is from Andrew Peterson's album, "Behold the Lamb of God," which you can listen to almost in its entirety for free here)  .  It is excellent for Advent, and for the entire year! :)

Come, thou long expected Jesus, 
 born to set thy people free; 
 from our fears and sins release us, 
 let us find our rest in thee.  
 Israel's strength and consolation, 
 hope of all the earth thou art; 
 dear desire of every nation, 
 joy of every longing heart.

Born thy people to deliver, 
 born a child and yet a King, 
 born to reign in us forever, 
 now thy gracious kingdom bring. 
 By thine own eternal spirit 
 rule in all our hearts alone; 
 by thine all sufficient merit, 
 raise us to thy glorious throne.
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