Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Paul's Birth Story

I love blogging about my baby's birth stories. Usually the down time in the hospital is the best time and place :)

For starters, we missed our due date. I was kind of okay with that because I wanted to be a part of a recording with my church that weekend and was hoping he wouldn't be on time. My track record so far has been two weeks early with Levi, Aria was three days late and Simeon waited a whole week to come out. I was pretty sure I was just going to be later and later. It was a bit of a joke for me. 

I made it through the recording on Saturday praising the Lord. 

On Sunday morning Ben seemed to be getting sick so I went downstairs and started making him breakfast. Suddenly I felt a small pop and a leak. Oh dear, I don't think I peed my pants, I think that might have been my water breaking. I went upstairs, changed and put on a pad and prayed. Then I told Ben. And we kind of laughed. Of course, right when he's not feeling good. Then there was the debate in our minds as to whether or not to go to church (I would be playing the piano) or not. My body didn't seem to know it was supposed to be in active labor at that point so I hoped that maybe getting out and doing something would help it to kick in. 

Church was awesome, the Lord really spoke to our hearts and getting to worship Him in the fellowship of believers is always a beautiful thing. My heart hurts if I have to miss church. I had a few good contractions but nothing regular at all. I told a few of my friends about my water being broken, some of them thought I was crazy but I just asked that they would pray for me. That we would have wisdom about when to go to the hospital and that my body would start to pick up into a regular pattern of contractions. 

Now, I'm going to take this moment to explain that I am Group B Strep (GBS) positive. Since the beginning of the pregnancy I've had that curse upon my records. I've tried probiotics, komboocha, yogurt, garlic, GSE, and even in the last stage of pregnancy I cut out all sugar, refined flour and caffiene. All to no avail. 

I've done a lot of reading on GBS from both camps of medical and natural. We've been praying and with the .5% chance that it could kill him, I decided that I would sacrifice my desires for a more natural labor for the sake of my baby. I'm not trying to look like a saint or say I'm awesome or anything like that. I remembered how with Simeon's birth I walked in and just delivered him in 15 minutes and it was awesome and I would totally do it again. I knew I had to be at the hospital 4 hrs beforehand in order to get the antibiotics, I would have to be on the monitors (curse those uncomfortable things!) I would have to have an IV or heplock of some sort. These are things I did not want. But I came to the conclusion that if we could, we would try to get there early enough to administer antibiotics. 

In my reading I knew that a broken bag of waters would up his chance of infection, so I knew I couldn't wait a super long time. 

We went home after church and took a nap (the best sleep is usually in your own bed right?) Then I took a couple laps around the block and just still wasn't getting a regular. 

We decided to go to the hospital around 4:30, I know that's a long time to wait, but I just wasn't sure what the hospital would do to me. I'm a natural birther and words like pitocin and epidural give me the willies. 

I checked in and they confirmed that my waters had broken and I was slightly leaking, but not much. As it turns out, he had a second bag of waters... who knew? We didn't until he was descending, but that's for later. 
They finally got around to the antibiotics at 6:30, apparently hospitals like to dilly dally around and make you sign 10,000 pieces of paper and ask you a million questions, some of them you have already answered if they would just look up your records. 

The nurses were on the phone with my midwife whom I truly love. She is so gentle and kind and uplifting. She's a glass half full kinda gal and seems to know her stuff and is pretty lenient about stuff. So I knew when she suggested pitocin, she was right. I was in so much fear but I knew something needed to happen soon. 

The nurse told me she was going to give me a "whiff" of pitocin. For any of you who know about this stuff it was on a 4. I learned later that a normal dose is more like a 12-15. After about an hour of more consistent, more difficult contractions they bumped it up to an 8. This is maybe what drives me crazy about hospitals, she didn't really ask me. But I dealt with them. I will say that they were getting harder to breathe through and nothing was very comfortable. I am thankful that we get breaks between contractions. I distracted myself with Facebook and Instagram for a while, listened to music, and attempted to listen to my relaxation tracks. But even that eventually didn't help. 

The four hours passed a lot faster than I thought they would. I knew I needed to wait until 10:25 top deliver, but who in the world has control over those things. I think it was around 9:45 when I asked if they could stop the pitocin. By that time my body was in full force labor and I was having minimal breaks. 

Honestly, I was terrified to push him out. I'm just being honest. 

I didn't know how much more pain my body could handle and I just wanted a break. I told them several times, "I don't want to do this anymore!" "I'm so scared!" Ben and my midwife and nurse were all reassuring that I was doing great. I kept praying and breathing. 

I was asking what time it was and knew it was about time for me to push, I could just feel it. I got up on my hands and knees because I knew this was the best way not to tear and started pushing with each contraction. It was really difficult. All you want to do is get your baby out and at the same time you want some kind of respite from the pain.

Then finally, he was here. Ben got to catch him and then I turned over and they put him on my chest. He was so tiny and yet so big at the same time. He was here! I couldn't believe it. We got to wait to clamp his cord and then Ben did the honor of cutting it. 

It was finally over. All that pain and difficulty, but I got to hold my reward in my arms and marvel at this new tiny person. 

So many prayers were answered. I didn't have to get an epidural, it was almost 4 hours after receiving the antibiotic that I gave birth. I also was able to play the piano for our church recording and was able to go to church on Sunday morning.

This birth is a huge reminder that not everything goes according to plan, but God is still good. He is still in control.

:: edit ::

I hesitated to share this post because it looks like everything went successfully and smoothly. We have one other hiccup in the road now. Paul has come down with a fever and there are a few things that are going on with his health that makes it look like he might have contracted my GBS after all. Thankfully we are still in the hospital and he is receiving treatment, however, it looks like he will have to stay here another 2-7 days. I was just discharged and they are allowing me to stay as a guest for as long as they have a bed. Our hospital stay has turned out to be very good and I honestly have all good things to say about Centegra and their care.
I do have a longing to go home. I also want to be able to hold him without all the wires attached to him. I know this will happen soon, but it's just hard right now. I miss my other kids and my husband. Praise God, my mom is in town and being a huge help at home, but how I long for my own bed and some sense of normalcy.

More than anything though, I know that God is in control and we are in His faithful, capable hands. Lord, thank You for allowing us to trust You, thank You for difficult situations where we get to lean on Your everlasting arms. Help me to be faithful, help me to rest and trust in You.

Sunday, January 31, 2016

The Name Of Our Fourth Baby

I haven't posted in over a year.

No better time than now I guess.

I wanted to post about the name of our fourth child.

We have experienced so many changes since coming up here to Crystal Lake. The Lord has slowly but surely been cutting away our flesh and teaching us to walk more fully with Him. We have very much poured our lives into our church and our community around us. God has slowly been cutting away our flesh and helping us to lay down lesser things. Little things for me like TV shows that I loved or a laziness and maybe a bit of a complaining spirit. Little things that weren't big yet, but He's just shown me that I don't need those. So much of it is in the heart and maybe not always visible to others, but that doesn't mean it's not there.

The Lord likes to rid those things from us.

I won't cover what God's done in Ben's life, he could tell you if you ask him :) but it's always good and it's usually difficult.

So each of our children's names have significant meaning for what the Lord has been doing in our lives. Ben and I like to say that they are our monuments for the Lord.

Levi's name means "to unite" I felt like as our oldest child he would be the uniter of many children. The Lord was calling us to lay down birth control at the time (which terrified me) and I didn't know how many kids we would have, so leaving that up to the Lord I was trusting Him that He would number them.

Aria's name means wind or air. She was conceived around the time there was a Holy Spirit revival at our church and we saw a tremendous move of the Spirit. Our prayer for her is that she would be Spirit-filled and on fire for the Lord. You can read about it here

You can read about Simeon's name here

We have felt like the Lord was calling us higher into His Kingdom, closer to Him, more responsibility in our lives... all of that.
So we were looking for names that meant strength or ascension or high calling or something like that. None of them seemed right. Until one night Ben and I were on a rare date and talking about this little boy we knew we were having and the name Paul came up. He was a leader of the church and it's also Ben's dad's middle name. The interesting thing is that Paul means "small" it doesn't necessarily fall into the categories we were looking for. But then, it suddenly made sense... when God calls you higher, He also calls you lower. He calls you to greater humility, greater servant hood.

A few days later I heard this scripture:
But Jesus called them to Himself and said, "You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and those who are great exercise authority over them. Yet it shall not be so among you; but whoever desires to become great among you, let him be your servant. And whoever desires to become first among you, let him be your slave- just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and give His life a random for many." Matthew 20:25-28

So with this fourth child, we are understanding that God's desire in our lives is not to be served, but to serve all the more.

We are naming his middle name Allen after my dad''s middle name which means "noble stone" and really, I'm super pumped about this addition because now his name Paul Allen means "small, noble stone" A friend commented, "And what can God do with a small, noble stone?" Ben and I responded in awe, "He can slay a giant."

I love it that the Lord chooses the small things, the insignificant things of this world to glorify Himself.

Lord, may we become less so that You can become more in our lives.

All glory and honor to God.

Saturday, February 28, 2015

Happy Belated Birthday Aria

*** I meant to post this back on January 8th when Aria turned three, but I seemed to have forgotten. I'm sorry sweet girl.

Dear Aria,

Wow, you are growing up. You are changing from a crazy two year old into a delightful three year old. And I love it. I love you.

When you wake up in the morning it's usually a joyful experience. Your hair does something crazy against your pillow all night and you have an enormous fuzz ball at the back of your cute little head. It definitely means you slept well.

You love to suck your thumb and stick your finger in your belly button. It's your safe place, your security. I see you go for it when you are in a new situation or when you're getting tired or insecure. You love your little thumb in general. So much so that your teeth are starting to shift around it. This habit needs to be stopped so that we don't pay $10,000 in orthodontia in the future.

Did you know that you have the most beautiful eyes? I love them. They are almond shaped and mysterious. So many times when I look at your china doll face with your perfect round cheeks I just want to kiss them.

I'm sorry I don't always do a very good job at cutting your bangs. I know sometimes they are slightly uneven, but I try. Maybe by the time you start to care then I will be better. You also wiggle a lot when I'm trying to cut them, so maybe I'm not fully to blame.

Aria, you are a treasure to me. Happy Birthday my love.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

A request for prayer

I am writing to just ask for prayers right now. Ben is having to decide between two very different jobs in these next few days, or it might be decided for him, we are still kind of in the waiting and I can't explain all the details… but if you could pray for wisdom for us, I would very much appreciate it.

Lord, You are our ultimate provider. We look to You for everything. Thank You for calling us to a life of faith. May we live it fully for You. I don't want all the treasures of this world, I want You and Your Holy Spirit and I want to do whatever I can to be more and more dependent on You. Ben and I are finding more and more that the things of this world are not satisfying and the only thing that will ever fill us to completion is You. We want to follow You wherever.

We need Your direction Lord! Open doors or close them, we are Your sheep, the people of Your pasture.

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Update and a Request

It's been pretty quiet on here lately. I think about blogging a lot but then I think, no, that's not that profound. Whatever.

This one might just be an update.

Just to document what is going on in our lives right now.

Levi is learning to read. We got the book Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons. I've been pretty impressed with the way that they teach. It's only 15 minutes a day and I help him a lot (because he's only four, he'll be five in November) but it's been exciting to watch. He loves encouragement and when I hug him when he does a good job. This kid's love language is for sure words of encouragement and physical touch.

Aria's potty training is going well when I'm on my A Game. If I forget to take her, we usually have an accident. I'm totally okay with that. It's really a mommy-training instead of a potty training. Levi did the same thing and he now goes all by himself. She continues to say as few words as possible. I feel like I'm watching a silent film when I watch her play. She's just quietly going about her business, maybe destroying something, maybe rocking her dolly, you never know. I do need to work on her pronunciation. I was so diligent with Levi and he speaks so perfectly, I was hoping she would pick it up, but I can literally barely understand her sometimes. It makes life pretty frustrating at times.

Simeon's officially mobile… he does the army crawl and occasionally gets up on his hands and knees to see how that feels. I have to watch him now and make sure he doesn't pick up some little thing and choke on it. You would be amazed at that little pieces of things he finds on the floor. He is a constant joy though. He laughs easily and loves all the kids, even though they can be a little crazy sometimes. I can tell he wants to be in there among them as soon as possible. He's eating table food and FINALLY sleeping through the night. I've found the fuller I feed him at dinner, the longer he sleeps…. Duh… He might be starting to put on some more weight now, which is good because his pants keep coming off when he crawls.

Ben is still on the job market. We are encouraged with the amount of exposure he's been getting. It seems there might be some promising futures on the horizon and he might actually get a choice at where he gets to work… but you never know. We are praying for an opportunity right now for him to work remotely with this one company. It's been nice for him to work at his desk in the basement and then be able to come up for meals. It saves a ton of money on gas and food for sure. :) Lord, You are our Providor. Apart from You we can do nothing. You give and You take away, let us bless You in every circumstance.

I'm learning to walk in step with the Lord. I'm learning a lot about having self-control, taming my tongue, being slow to speak, quick to listen and slow to become angry. It's good when you have a loving community of friends around you to point out things to you. Stuff I might not have been aware of otherwise, or excused away because I was "stressed out" or "upset" … I'm learning not to give excuses. :)

More than anything, I think I would covet your prayers for my friend, sister, mentor, housemate and  fellow mother Debbie. She found out she was pregnant with a surprise baby number four in August. She persevered through that first trimester like a champ, we were all so excited about this surprise blessing on it's way. At twelve weeks she had her first appointment with a midwife (she's a home-birther) on a Friday. During the appointment the midwife was unable to find the heartbeat. It might have still been okay, but she needed to go get an ultrasound to make sure everything was alright. That next Tuesday a devastating ultrasound revealed that the baby did not survive. The days that followed have been difficult. It's been a time of grieving a life hoped for. The thing is, the hardest part is not yet over. She has had no bleeding, the baby's remains and everything are still inside. So she still has to go through what we are expecting will be about a third of labor and a third of a physical and emotional/hormonal recovery. Our prayer is that it would happen soon. Since Debbie's a natural birther it makes sense that she would want for things to come out naturally instead of going to a hospital and being put under for a DNC. Debbie is a strong woman and I hate utmost respect for her. My heart breaks for what she is having to walk through right now. So I just ask for prayer for her in these next difficult weeks to come.

Lord, You see all of this. You walk with us through all of this… life in this broken, fallen world and all the hurt. We are desperate for You. You were a man of sorrows and well acquainted with grief. Jesus, thank You that You are not some far away priest, but You walked this stuff of loss and tragedy. Be with us. Walk with us. We need You Holy Spirit.

Sunday, August 31, 2014


I should be going to bed, but instead I wanted to post on my blog. I've been having a lot of thoughts lately and I just wanted to get them out. Just so I could look at them and see what I am really thinking.

Ben is still looking for a job. He had an awesome interview the other day but he probably won't get it because another person within the company is applying for it and will probably win out in the end. Oh well, we know that we are in the Lord's hands and He is totally taking care of us.

Food continues to come in through our front door for our many little mouths to feed. We are praying about how we can be a blessing to the community around here and really begin to reach out to the poor and needy.

Debbie is pregnant.

I can't even believe that one. I'm totally pumped for her. Four kids by the time she is 30 is quite an accomplishment. Today is her birthday and she is being whisked away by her husband to spend a few days away from it all. You'll probably find out more about it on social media later from her if you want details.

Six kids ages six and under is still no small challenge, even for two moms. Sometimes I think it's harder because there are two of us and we are each only responsible for our own children. We don't spank each other's children but it's kind of an awkward conversation when you're like, "Hey, your kid hit my kid, can you please give them a spanking?" or "Your kid just talked to me disrespectfully and refused to obey, do you want to do something about that?" … I don't know, it's just challenging at times. Honestly, we just need a lot of grace for each other and love for each other's kids. Two year olds are just difficult. So are three and four year olds and even six year olds at times. Sometimes you just want to knock their little heads together and tell them to get a clue. But you can't do that, so you try as hard as you can to be a patient as you can and pray to Jesus that He will not allow you to do any permanent damage on their precious little spirits.

We are about to add another single girl to the commune. Can I call it that? That means that 12 people will be living here. Gabriel's mom AKA: Emmie, or as I would like to call her: an Angel From Heaven Above is here for two weeks so she makes 13. Between us all we have two and a half bathrooms. There are six bedrooms being utilized … and one washer and one dryer. Whew. We can do this.

I keep reminding myself of this:

There are people in this world who have like ten people all living in a single 10x10 room or smaller. There are people who have to use a communal squatty potty (I've been to the refugee camps in thailand, I know this firsthand) There are people in this world who don't have running water. They don't have dishwashers or refrigerators or washing machines or vehicles (between all of us we have a RIDICULOUS amount of vehicles). The truth is that we have it GOOD. We have showers and sinks where water magically comes out if you just turn a simple handle. It's amazing. We have phones and computers which allow us to be connected to the rest of the world. We have AIR CONDITIONING that allows us not to get too hot in our house.

We. Are. Blessed. Period.

If you hear me start to complain about needing some more space or something like that, just slap me upside the head please.

All in all I'm really excited about this new girl moving in though. There is a depth that you get to know someone when you see them in the morning and then at night and you just hang out with them on a very regular basis. You get to see them at their best and their worst. It's a beautiful thing. I'm very excited about her coming to live with us.

Lord, thank You for perspective. Let me never lose a heart of gratitude. Show me how to be thankful for each day, for each moment and each treasure. Help me to live and breathe in You. Please teach me to walk humbly, to love mercy and to do justly. I need You God. I desperately need You. On my own I do this stuff very poorly, so help me depend on You.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Life Lately

Okay, so I haven't had much time to write lately. I feel bad because I'm sure a lot of my Little Rock friends are wondering what is going on with me lately.

Here's what's happening: we're still alive. 

I guess you could tell that from my Facebook and Instagram anyways. 

We are deep into community and communal living. Can I just say this? I love it. This is the way we were meant to live as believers. We need each other and we need new perspectives. I love living with the Mayes and I love it that we have a single guy who lives with us as well. We are able to encourage one another, help each other, serve one another in so many ways. I'm praying that if or when God moves us out of this house, He will give us another family to live life on life with. 

Don't get me wrong. It's not been all flowers and roses. There have been some hard moments when my actions have been called into question or our parenting has needed some critique. Those things have nit necessarily been easy to hear, but they have been good for us to hear. I was reading in Proverbs 12 today. Verse one says "Whoever loves instruction loves knowledge, But he who hates correction is stupid." Yep. Lord, teach me to receive correction, let me change to be more Christlike in my character, in my parenting, as a wife and as a sister in Christ. 

Ben is still on the hunt for a job, we are continuing to trust The Lord and pray for His provision. So many times lately He has provided groceries (basically the only thing we are helpng pay for other than gas) just from other dropping off food or getting food pantry items. It's always exactly what we need. We have also found ways to be frugal but still have fun. Last week we rode the train to a neighboring town and walked to their park and brought a picnic, the train was only $6 for all of us. The week before we went to a beach here in Crystal Lake, it was after 5:30, so we got in for free and then picnicked on the beach. It's been a lot of fun and forced us to be more creative with our resources. 

Levi is loving having constant playmates around.  When he's not building Legos with Gracen he's usually playing mommy and daddy with Darby or cars with Deacon. Aria and Deacon have finally become friends. I think before they just tolerated each other but this past week they have actually started playing together. I mean like, for real playing. I think they now consider each other friends ... Maybe. It very much reminds me of when Levi's cousin Caroline came back from Africa two years ago and for the first month or two they fought constantly, we could not leave them alone together. But by the end of the four month period of her being here they were best buds.  I still look back on that with fondness in my heart. 

We are attempting some potty training this week with the two year olds ... So keep Debbie and me in your prayers if you think of us.

I feel like God just keeps stripping away layers and layers of pride in my life. I was thinking, they I'm pretty awesome, we are going up to help with a church up here in Chicago, we got this... But I thni more than anything God is wanting my humble submission. I'm struggling a lot with taking the humble place. Well, maybe not struggling with it, I mean, I'm doing it or it's happening, that's one reason why I haven't blogged in a while, because I have been asking, am I doing this for my glory or for God's? I'm coming into a place of questioning all of my motives, and it's a good thing. I feel like The Lord had to pull us out of our normal lifestyle in Little Rock and bring us up here to where we would be uncomfortable and where we would have to depend on Him even more. 

Lord, please change me. 
Teach me to be humble. 
Teach me to seek You with all my heart.
Show me Your ways and Your paths, I need You. 

I have nothing else.