a battle field

Bitter thoughts attack me day and night.  Judgments made quickly, with a log blinding my eyes.  I think I’ve forgiven and moved on; I think I’ve surrendered my grudges to the Lord, but they come back fiercer than ever.

What if my thought life is a battle field?  What if I’ve been turning myself over to the enemy anytime these thoughts attack, instead of fighting back?  How could the darts of the enemy, or the brokenness of my flesh stand against Almighty God?  Would they not shrink back?  Yes, perhaps they would fight harder for a time, but if God is for me who can be against me?

No more pacifism.  I do not want to argue peacefully with my flesh, I want to kill it.

“But put on the Lord Jesus Christ,
and make no provision for the flesh,
to gratify its desires.”
Romans 13:14

“Why do you pass judgement on your brother?  
Or you, why do you despise your brother?  
For we will all stand before
the judgement seat of God.”
Romans 14:10

peace vs. intimacy

I have so much to learn.  Here, twenty months into marriage, I have found that everything I thought I knew is better unlearned.

A friend recently said that he believes wholeheartedly that God destroys before He builds.  And so it is.  God has destroyed what I thought- the rules and tips and foolproof ways to have a good marriage- and is now rebuilding.

Weekly dates, him providing, me keeping house, talking together, leading, following, sex, guarding our schedule from over-booking, spending time with others- these are all good things to do, but are not ways by which we become.  I do not think we can become anything by following a list of to-dos.

“Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother
and hold fast to his wife,
and they shall become one flesh.”
(Genesis 2:24)

What is a successful marriage?  Staying together?  The tips and tricks might get you that, but what about becoming one?  What about reflecting Christ and His bride?

Realizing that after only a year of marriage we sat across from each other on date night and had no interest in real conversation was telling.  The methods were not bringing about oneness.

In our efforts to not fight we had lost our ability to grow closer.

I had never heard of conflict being a good thing- a desired thing- until recently.  But here we are on the other side of only a few months of arguments and fights and closer to each other than the previous year of avoiding conflict got us.

Not to fight just for the sake of it, but to break down walls between us, to dig into a deeper understanding of each other, to rid ourselves of bitterness, to be broken and raw before our lover.  Did we avoid fighting because we didn’t want pain?

Physically pain indicates that something is wrong.  When you have a splinter, it often goes unnoticed until you step down on it.  But then, should you just hop around on your other foot in order to avoid pain, or should you go in and dig out the splinter, even though doing so hurts worse than letting it be?

Which do we do in relationships?

We found ourselves drifting apart because we refused to remove splinters and exchanged intimacy for peace.

These past few months have been far more tumultuous than the year before, far from peaceful, but such intimacy is worth it.

We find more splinters almost daily, and it’s the choosing to dig them out that’s difficult, but we are so much closer after we’ve pressed into the pain, given up our idol of peace and decided that we want to become one, not just stay married. 

has it really been six months?

So much has changed that it feels longer than that.  Years?  A lifetime?  Haven’t we always been parents?  What was it like before Cedar’s birth?  I don’t remember very well anymore.  I look at her smooth, round cheeks, miniature nose, chubby fingers and listen to her sweet noises and I can never drink it in as much as it feels I should.

Waking at night and pulling her close to me to eat while I fall back to sleep, watching as she takes in the mysteries around her, sinking my tired body into a warm bath and holding her as she splashes water on both of us, her touch on my cheek while I’m feeding her, the way she smiles proudly every time Aaron picks her up.

Beauty.

And then so many things are already over.  We recently stopped swaddling Cedar for bed.  Aaron used to have to walk her up and down the stairs for ten or so minutes until she was lulled to sleep, and that hasn’t happened in a few days… Is that over, too?  No more sucking on my finger, as her two little teeth are razor sharp.  Her bed, too, the wooden co-sleeper that Aaron made for her four days before she was born, she’s outgrowing it and we bought a crib this weekend.

Life is so full of hellos and goodbyes.

“I hope that in the future they invent a small golden light that follows you everywhere and when something is about to end, it shines brightly so you know it’s about to end.
“And if you’re never going to see someone again, it’ll shine brightly and both of you can be polite and say, ‘It was nice to have you in my life while I did, good luck with everything that happens after now.’
“And maybe if you’re never going to eat at the same restaurant again, it’ll shine and you can order everything off the menu you’ve never tried. Maybe, if someone’s about to buy your car, the light will shine and you can take it for one last spin. Maybe, if you’re with a group of friends who’ll never be together again, all your lights will shine at the same time and you’ll know, and then you can hold each other and whisper, ‘This was so good. Oh my God, this was so good.'”

Iain Thomas, I Wrote This For You

A Birth Story {welcome, Cedar Faith!}

Welcome to our family, Cedar Faith!
 

Our precious daughter was born Wednesday, August 6 at 1:21am, weighed 7lbs. 1oz. and was 18.5 inches long.  We are absolutely in love!

I’ve tried to write this “perfectly” since Cedar was born, and it just hasn’t happened.  This will be a fairly scrambled account of things, I’m sure I’ve already forgotten much of it, and I’m sure it will be long winded, but here we go.

I had been experiencing prodromal labor since Thursday (July 31) evening.  At a checkup that day I had been checked and was 6cm. dilated and 80% effaced, so we knew it was only a matter of time.  Contractions got really hard in the evenings, even to the point that I couldn’t walk through them and they were coming every three minutes, but then the they would calm down in the morning.  This happened Thursday, Friday and Saturday evenings.

I had not been thankful.  I had not been joyful.  I had been griping and complaining and having pity parties a few more times than is really acceptable.  I wasn’t trusting in God’s timing and was pridefully thinking I knew better than He did.

Why wasn’t labor continuing?  Why did it keep stalling?  Didn’t God know this wasn’t the plan?

 I cringe now, remembering how ungrateful I was.
 

The Holy Spirit really started working in my heart.  I realized it was wrong.  I realized that joy was a choice, and I wasn’t choosing it.

I told Aaron that I felt helpless.  I felt like my emotions just take over and I can’t change it once I start feeling that way.  He encouraged me to pick out a scripture to repeat to myself when I felt ungratefulness coming on.

“And do not be grieved,
for the joy of the Lord
is your strength.”
{Nehemiah 8:10b}
 

This became my verse.  I repeated it often, made it my phone’s lock screen image and meditated on it throughout the day.  And I started to feel more able to choose joy when it was hard.

 Jesus helped me to see that I had no reason to be griping, and I had so much to be thankful for.
 
Sunday evening the contractions got a lot harder, which, of course, had been happening for the past few days, but unlike the other times, they stayed hard the whole night and were still going Monday morning.
 
I had my 39 week prenatal appointment with my midwife that morning, and I remember looking around the beautiful birth room, filled with morning light.
 
It won’t be long until I’ll be back here to meet Cedar.
 
The contractions had calmed down a little bit, but were definitely still going, and Cedar was super low.  I kind of just knew this was real.
 
I got home and within an hour things changed.  By 12:30 that afternoon I was beginning to moan through contractions and really had to concentrate through them.  Aaron was pushing on my lower back, because it hurt.
 
We started tidying the house in between contractions and Aaron finished up work.
 
I texted my midwife around 1pm, once contractions were looking regular, about 5 minutes apart, and she and the other two midwives on my birth team were nearby so they dropped by to observe me through a few contractions.  We determined that this was almost definitely the real thing, and they left us to labor at home as long as we’d like.
 
I was ecstatic.  Every contraction was confirmation.  Every time they got more painful I rejoiced.  Cedar was coming, and I was thrilled.
 
I ate some, and after awhile we called my mom and Aaron’s sister, Alexa, who would be photographing the birth, and they met us at our house.
 
All of us hanging out and visiting in between contractions was great.  It felt so right to be with people who were all excited to meet Cedar.
 
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 We went in to the birth center Monday at about 6:30pm. We got to the beautiful, midwife-run facility with just one birthing room and unloaded our bags and settled in.  I instantly felt more at ease, just knowing that we were where we needed to be.  They checked our vitals and then just let us be.  We turned on music, my mom picked up dinner for Aaron and a smoothie for me, and we just hung out.  Aaron would push on my back during contractions, and we visited in between them.  The four of us, Aaron, myself, my mom and Alexa, sat around a table talking, I sat on the exercise ball while we prayed.  They checked me and I was 7cm and my cervix was paper thin and Cedar was a +1 position.
 
That time was so pleasant- more visiting with each other, chatting, praying, anticipating.  Things seemed to slow down a little bit later that evening, so around 10:00 or 11:00 Aaron and I walked around outside for awhile, and that helped keep things going.  It was perfect, walking in the moonlight with Aaron looking forward to holding our daughter so soon.
 
I got super hungry at one point and ate a full dinner.  My mom said afterward that she’d never seen a woman eat as much as I did while in labor.
 
We stayed there the whole night laboring, but things slowed down enough for us to get about 3 hours of sleep. The next morning (Tuesday) things seemed to be stalling again.  My midwife told us our options, we could go home and labor there, or we could try to speed things up.  Aaron and I prayed about it and I really just felt like we needed to move forward with things.  I didn’t feel like I would have enough energy for delivery if we had another bad night’s sleep, I wanted to have her then and I had such a strong feeling that it was time.  I ate a good breakfast and then they gave me an herbal tincture and I used the breast pump and then went on a walk and used the pump again.
 
Things really picked up and got more regular and hard. Active labor started I think around 2:00 Tuesday afternoon. Things seemed to be going well and fairly normally for most of labor. Contractions got a lot harder, closer together and very painful, but kind of what I’d pictured.
 
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I remember at one point feeling discouraged because my contractions were never back to back; I always had a minute or two in between them.  I thought this meant I wasn’t in transition yet, and that scared me because it was so hard at that point.  I remember crying at one point and my mom started singing, “Tis so sweet to trust in Jesus.”  Aaron continued with, “I surrender all,” but he couldn’t finish very well because he was crying, too.
 
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Well, I was in transition, and my midwife said I could start pushing around 9pm.  I had a really hard time at first; it was so difficult to push hard enough and not run out of air.  Aaron helped me to find the best way, for me, to breath and push.  He would count to 10 and I would push with my mouth closed making no noise, when he reached 10 I would let the air out with a hiss.  We did this four times each contraction.  It worked so well, and he counted for the rest of labor.  After we figured that out it was a relief to be able to push, and I labored in a lot of different places. The tub was my favorite, but staying in one place too long can stall things, so I moved occasionally to the shower, the toilet, the bed. I’m not sure when my water broke, but it was in the tub and felt pretty crazy.
 
After pushing for a long time we decided to check me to see how things were going. I don’t remember much at that point, but I hadn’t progressed as much as we’d hoped. I was fully dilated but Cedar wasn’t descending past a point. They had me labor on my back on the bed for a long time while they massaged my perineum and stretched things and I pushed… I don’t know how long that went on, but it was quite awhile. They could see her head, but she just wasn’t coming any lower.
 
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I had been pushing for at least two hours by then, and I remember begging God to let her be born soon.
 
Please, Jesus!  Help her to come quickly!
 
I asked my midwife so many times how close we were, how much longer, why was it taking so long, was there any way to speed things up?
 
Finally, after a long time, Cedar did descend a little bit, but right after that her heart rate started to drop during contractions. They had me switch to my side, but it kept happening, so we tried the other side and it still was happening. They gave me oxygen and had me stop pushing (hardest thing ever!) and the heart rate went up after awhile, but then started dropping again. That was when they decided we needed to transfer, so they called an ambulance. I was in so much pain, way more than when I was pushing; I had lost the amazing rhythm I’d had for the past few hours.  Instead of hearing Aaron counting and having pushing to direct my energy toward I just had to deal with the contractions.  And I could feel my body pushing, anyway, which scared me.  I was still on oxygen and Aaron was in the front seat, and my midwife was back with me.  The rest of our birth team followed in their cars, and met us there shortly after we arrived at the hospital.
 
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I was praying the whole time, praying so hard that Cedar would be safe; gasping for more air, always more air for my baby and me.
 
We got to the hospital and they wheeled me into a room. Thankfully the on call doctor was already there for another patient and she was a miracle worker. I stayed on oxygen the whole time, and they hooked me up to the monitor.
 
The doctor had me push through quite a few contractions. Cedar still wasn’t descending like she should, and the heart rate was still dropping, but then they lost it altogether. It was so terrifying to have to keep pushing for the rest of labor without knowing if she was alive or not.  Her heartbeat had been so steady and strong throughout our whole two days at the birth center, and now we couldn’t hear it at all.  I remember telling myself that it didn’t matter, that I needed to keep pushing anyway, because she had to come out either way.
 
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I remember the doctor saying something about waiting for the next contraction and then we would do something.  I lost it at that point.
 
I don’t care about the next contraction!  Do whatever it takes.  Do anything, I don’t care!  Do whatever it takes!
 
We did work with the next contraction.  I continued pushing and the doctor used the vacuum to hold Cedar’s head so it wouldn’t go back in in between pushes and contractions.  We did that through a couple contractions, but it wasn’t enough, so she performed a pretty serious episiotomy and then used the vacuum to hold her while I pushed.  It still took quite a few contractions.
 
I remember everyone telling me to push harder, to keep pushing, to make this contraction count.  It was difficult to be pushing as hard as I possibly could, and still it was never enough.
 
When she came out her cord was splurting blood all over the bed and floor.  It had torn in multiple places.  The doctor removed my placenta and the cord was only about a foot long.  The whole thing looked like it was shredding.
 
By the end I had been preparing myself to deliver a dead baby.  I had been praying so hard, but not hearing the heartbeat for so long had almost convinced me that we were too late.  I’m so thankful that Cedar cried quickly.  That sound was so beautiful!
 
The reason she hadn’t descended for so long was that she was being held in by an extremely short cord. I was pushing against the cord.  When she descended right before her heart rate went down it tore the cord, and then when they pulled her out it tore even more.
 
Looking at the cord was crazy, it had been weakened in so many places. Basically this happens in 1/5000 births. If we had waited much longer at all to go in Cedar would have bled out in my womb, and I was in danger, too.
 
They took her to the warmer and quickly evaluated her before they placed her on my chest.  That few minutes felt like forever.  My mom went over next to her so that she had someone nearby, and Aaron and I were calling to her.
 
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Cedar!  Mommy’s right here, Cedar!  Mommy loves you!
 
They gave her to me and the student midwife on our birth team helped me breastfeed the first time while the doctor was stitching me up.
 
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It was much more emotional and hard than we anticipated, but I’m so thankful right now.  So thankful for the beautiful laboring experience we had at the birth center.  So thankful that my midwife didn’t hesitate to transfer me to the hospital.  So thankful for my whole birth team.  So thankful for Aaron.  So thankful for the doctor and nurses and modern medicine.  So thankful that Cedar is healthy and came away from that with only a few scrapes on her head.
 
Through all of it I saw God’s hand.  He was so involved in every detail of the birth, and I’m so humbled and grateful.
 
“He has made everything
beautiful in its time.”
{Ecclesiastes 3:11a}
 
Yes.  Yes He has.
 
Cedar and I are both doing really well.  I was extremely exhausted after pushing for four and a half hours, it was hard to hold her the first day because my arms were so tired,and my eyes were swollen for a couple days from pushing so hard.  I have a lot of stitches I’m healing from, but I’m recovering a lot faster than I thought I would, and Cedar is doing just perfectly.  She’s nursing really well and is already gaining weight quickly.
 
Another crazy part of the story was that the closing date for the house we bought kept getting pushed back.  They ended up sending the escrow officer to the hospital the afternoon Cedar was born so that Aaron could sign on the house.  God definitely has a sense of humor.  She was born the 6th and we moved on Saturday the 9th.  And again, God’s timing is always best.  We had so many people helping us clean, pack, move, unpack, bringing us meals… I just feel so blessed.
 
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Obviously life is a bit crazy right now, but I’m excited to share bits of our new life with you soon.
 
Love,
 
~Emily
 
–The first three photos were taken by my mom and the rest by Aaron’s sister, Alexa, of Gabrielle Photography.

Preparing {pregnancy, week 36}

Well, “calm” certainly isn’t a word I would use to describe my life right now.

Thankfully, Cedar has stayed put and I just reached 36 weeks, so I can deliver with my midwife!  I’m so thankful that she’s still safe and growing where she needs to be.  She’s been super active the whole pregnancy, and hasn’t slowed down yet, which is fun.

Unfortunately, the closing date on the house we’re buying has been pushed back twice, and is now the 30th of this month, which is only a week before my due date!  And, we gave our 30 days notice for our rental and thought for a few days that our move-out date would be the 31st.  Whew.  Thankfully we were able to extend our rental move-out date by another week, so we have it until the 9th, and we have lots of people who want to help, but it’s still a bit stressful.

ready for a day of errands

ready for a day of errands

Trying to “nest” while in the process of moving has been difficult, too.  Emotionally it feels almost wrong to be packing our house up when I’m wanting to be settling in for our baby.  But it will all be worth it once we’re in our new place and I’m holding my girl.

I’ve been the list queen lately, making lists for everything- must-haves for baby, birth center bag, diaper bag, birth plan, packing outline, daily to-do lists.  It’s been kind of fun, and definitely helpful.

I washed all of our baby clothes a few days ago and folded them neatly in a box which is sitting next to our bed with our moses basket resting on top of it, just in case Cedar comes before we move.  It was pretty wild folding those clothes and knowing she’ll be wearing them so soon!

God has been teaching me so much about trust.  I didn’t want our closing date to get pushed back.  I wanted to have a few weeks of settling into our new place before our daughter joins us.  I wanted to be able to nest and set up the nursery and paint… And I probably won’t be able to do that before she comes.  But God is constantly reminding me that, while these things surprise me, He is always in control and none of this is a surprise to Him.  Jesus’ love is so all-encompassing and He knows exactly what is truly best for us.  He isn’t shocked or flustered that we’re moving so close to my due date- He orchestrated that!  He has a reason that maybe I’ll never understand, but it’s there and that is beautiful.

And when I really think about it, we’ll have a pretty awesome story.  I mean, moving a week before my due date?  And she hasn’t exactly been acting like she’ll stay put until she’s due… We’ll see.  Life is a beautiful adventure and it’s so much better than I would have planned.

Love,

~Emily

A Daughter {pregnancy, week 32}

Yep!  If you follow me on Instragram you probably already heard the news…

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We’re having a girl!!

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Her name is Cedar Faith.  Cedar trees are strong and deeply rooted, and we pray that she will be strong and deeply rooted in her faith in the Lord.

We hadn’t planned on finding out, but when I was having so much difficulty feeling connected to her and processing the pregnancy, we started considering finding out.  We ended up deciding not to, but then when my midwife recommended we get an ultrasound to check my amnionic fluid level during all of the preterm labor drama a couple weeks ago, we decided that we’d find out, after all!

I’m so glad we did!  I feel so connected and bonded with this precious daughter of mine!  I can hardly believe we’ve been blessed with the privilege of raising a GIRL!

I am so excited about teaching her to help me cook and bake in the kitchen, helping her sprout her own seeds in the garden, having tea parties and playing dress up with her, drawing pictures for her daddy with her, watching her hair bounce as she runs across the lawn or dances around the house.  I just can’t believe it!  I’m so thrilled!

I had a dream a few nights ago that she was born and I was holding her, studying her face.  She had Aaron’s nose (SO cute!), big eyes and lots of hair.  I’m so excited to find out what she looks like in a few weeks!  I can hardly believe we’re already so close to the due date!

Here’s me listening to her sweet, little heartbeat with our amazing midwife, Aimee.

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Love,

~Emily

P.S. I started a board on Pinterest for little girl stuff… It’s been SO fun dreaming and planning!  Check it out here. =)

1 Year

Its been a year since I married my man.  12 months since I changed from an “I” to a “we.”  365 days, with a million things behind us and a million more in front.  God has taught me so many things this year.  So much has happened!

It was 103 degrees on our wedding day.  I could hardly sleep the night before and I woke up feeling like a coiled up spring.  Things ran behind, I forgot to eat breakfast and two of my bridesmaids made it for me, I was impatient for my hair and makeup to be done and I was nervous.  I remember seeing my bridesmaids putting on the headbands I had gotten them and thinking, “What are they doing?  Those are for the wedding day!”

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But when I got out of the car at the park where Aaron had asked me to be his girl forever, as I walked through the trees to where he was waiting, all of the stress left and I was overwhelmingly excited to see him.

He turned around and smiled the special smile that shows his dimples extra deep, placed a beautiful diamond around my neck and more in my ears and then we kissed.  It was our first.  Cheeks had been kissed before, but never lips.  Magic.

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A few moments to ourselves and then photos were taken of the two of us.  We went back to my parents’ home and went up to the balcony.  He had touched my cheek for the first time on that balcony, months before.  We were sitting out there together, watching the new litter of kittens playing.  I leaned my head on his shoulder and he stoked my cheek.

Now we were back on that same balcony to wash each others feet.  A lunch just the two of us after that, and then back downstairs where all of our family and friends were waiting.  We prayed together in the living room, all of us.  Eight bridesmaids, eight groomsmen, four flower girls, ring bearer, mothers and fathers, asking the Lord’s blessing on that day and the days ahead.

I watched through the window as they all gathered in order on the back porch.  Grandparents, mothers, groomsmen, Aaron and his dad and brother, bridesmaids, flower girls, Sarah and then it was my turn.  Walking down the stairs and through the yard with my dad was so strange feeling.  It felt pretend, and yet so vivid and real all at once.

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We promised each other forever, and became husband and wife.

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We spent two amazing weeks on a road trip together through California.  Two weeks after that was settling into our lovely little rental, sleeping in late and sitting on the couch together talking until lunch time.  Normal routine started after that, with Aaron working from home and me trying not to distract him.

The wildfires were bad last year and our valley filled with smoke at the end of July.  We left town and went on a mini road trip with Aaron’s grandmother up to Seattle.  We spent Aaron’s birthday there, celebrating with a trip to Pike Place and seafood by the Pudget Sound.

Later in August we went on our first camping trip as husband and wife.  It was amazing making him meals on a little camp stove outside of our borrowed tent, cuddling next to the fire at night and eating marshmallows to the sound of praise songs and guitar music.

September we discovered that there had been a reason for me feeling a bit sick for the last part of August.  We found out I was pregnant only to find that we’d lost our first baby.  The Lord drew us closer together through that, and we helped each other to heal from it.

October we decided we really wanted another baby, and started trying.  It didn’t take us long because December 3rd I took a test and showed it to Aaron.  We were thrilled.  I had already been feeling sick for about a week by the time we found out, and that lead into three months of morning sickness.  I was very blessed to only have those three months, and to still be somewhat functional during that time, but it was definitely a relief when it stopped.

During December, January and February Aaron was trying to work full time while feeding me breakfast and lunch, and sometimes dinner, and taking care of the house most of the time.  I married an incredible servant and I’m so thankful for his selfless giving of himself.

The months since then have been full of trying to get back into some sort of schedule.  Working hard to make cleaning house more second nature instead of the last thing on my mind.  Mastering meal plans and getting our grocery budget figured out.  So many lessons.  So many failures.  So much forgiveness and patience.

Now we’re only a month away from moving into our dream home and only two months away from welcoming our sweet baby.  Life has changed so much this past year, and it’s about to change even more.

I’m so excited to see what the Lord teaches us in this next 365 days together.

Love,

~Emily

All photos taken by the talented JewelCee Photography team.

 

Laying Aside My Plans {pregnancy, week 31}

Whew.  This week has been insane.

Aaron and I had planned a few months ago to take a trip this past week to Santa Cruz to celebrate our first anniversary.  We had a beautiful Bed and Breakfast reserved, dinner reservations at a great restaurant and plans to go ocean fishing.  The plan was to leave Wednesday and stay through Sunday, the 8th.

Tuesday I started noticing some cramping and tightening in my belly.  It continued all day and got a little worse in the evening, so I texted my midwife and she recommended an epsom salt bath and a few herbal supplements, along with drinking tons of water.  I did all of those things and the tightenings continued.  We started to wonder if we should leave the next day, and decided to put off the trip until Thursday.

Wednesday the tightenings were harder and more regular, so we went in to the birth center and talked things over with my midwife.  We took some tests, listened to baby for a long time (silly little one loves to kick the fetoscope!) and I got two bags of IV fluids to hydrate me, as we were pretty sure I was at least somewhat dehydrated.  She checked my cervix and unfortunately I was slightly dilated and it was pretty thin.

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She gave me another herbal supplement that was supposed to help relax my uterus and we decided to have an ultrasound to make sure I had plenty of amniotic fluid, since I had been dehydrated, so we set that up for the next morning.  The contractions slowed down some after I’d gotten the IV fluid, and they weren’t getting any harder, so I was sent home with orders to take it really easy, watch a good movie, drink tons and get plenty of rest.

By Wednesday evening, though, the contractions were harder and much closer together.  They were consistently 2-4 minutes apart and lasting 1-2 minutes.  They still weren’t painful, but were getting more uncomfortable and we were concerned that they would be effecting my cervix.  I talked to my midwife for awhile and we decided it was best for me to go to the hospital to be monitored.

We were there from about 10:30pm to 1:45am Wednesday night.  They checked me and my cervix hadn’t changed since earlier at the midwife’s, which was encouraging, but the contractions were still a little too regular for comfort.  They put me on the monitor to track contractions and monitor baby, and they recommended I take a medication that should help slow the contractions.  I’m so thankful that one of our student midwives was able to meet us at the hospital, because having her input really put me at ease.  I took the medication and stayed on the monitors for a few hours.

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The contractions did slow some, and when they checked me before I left, nothing had changed, so that was good.

We went home and got a little bit of sleep, but I woke up at 6:30 and couldn’t get back to sleep because of a horrible headache- a side affect of the medication.

We went in for an ultrasound Thursday morning and it was amazing seeing our little one again.  Sweet turtle is doing really well, has a nice, round tummy and is in the 75th percentile.  I have plenty of amniotic fluid, and my cervix was measuring right about what they had estimated.

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Unfortunately the contractions were still going and that afternoon they got a lot harder.  It was really discouraging.

My midwife recommended that we meet with an OB that she’s worked with some before and have me monitored there.  That way I could start building a relationship with the doctor in case we were looking at preterm labor.  She was super sweet and our other student midwife and my mom were able to stay with us while I was being monitored there.  My cervix still hadn’t changed, which was encouraging, and the contractions weren’t hard enough to concern the doctor.  We talked about what I could do to hopefully help stop the contractions, drinking lots, not eating anything that might upset my stomach, low activity etc.  She wasn’t too concerned, but definitely wanted to be proactive, which I appreciate.

At this point, contractions have finally slowed down, though they are still happening, but I’m encouraged by the fact that they aren’t getting worse anymore.

We’re going to start joint care with this OB and my midwife- meeting with the OB weekly to be checked and build a relationship with her in case I can’t make it to the 36 week mark, when I can deliver with my midwife, and also continuing care with my midwife.  I feel pretty good about this arrangement, and it feels like we’ve made the best decision at this point.

But it is hard.  I’m the one who didn’t want a doppler used at all, but I was strapped to doppler monitors for hours.  I didn’t want any ultrasounds, and we’ve had three.  I don’t even take tylenol (not even when I’m not pregnant!), and yet I took a pretty serious medication at the hospital.  It’s been really hard, emotionally, laying all of my plan aside and just doing what is best in this situation.  God is constantly reminding me that He is in control and that none of this is a surprise to Him.  He is with me in the hospital late at night.  He is with me at the OB’s.  He is with me if I give birth prematurely and He is with me if I give birth at 42 weeks.

I’m so thankful for everyone who has been there for us through this!  We have had so many people praying for us and checking in on us, it’s been overwhelming.  My mom spent an evening with us keeping me company and then a few hours with us at the OB’s office while I was monitored.  Aaron’s mom brought us the popsicles and snacks I was craving, along with some essential oils that she had heard might help.  Aaron’s sister gave me a book on essential oils and a few articles along with three bottles of oils that are supposed to help with preterm labor.  Aaron’s brother and his wife brought us dinner Friday night.  Our student midwives gave of their time to sit with us at the hospital and OB’s, and those situations were so much easier because of that.

We are so loved by so many people!  This precious baby is already so loved!  I feel so blessed!

We obviously aren’t spending our first anniversary in Santa Cruz, but it will be a lovely day, anyway.  We’re planning on going out to dinner and maybe moseying around shops and parks in one of the touristy towns nearby.  It will be lovely.  Time with just the two of us is precious whether it’s in a local spot or 8 hours away at the beach.

Your continued prayers would be so appreciated.  Prayer that contractions would completely stop.  Prayer that as I process all of this I would turn to the Lord for comfort and clarity.  Prayer that our little one would continue to grow and have good health.  Thank you all so much.

Love,

~Emily

Baby, House and Thankfulness {pregnancy, week 30}

As I write this I’m sitting on the couch watching Marley and Me while Aaron is washing dinner dishes.  He made dinner, fish tacos, while I relaxed and he read 2 Peter 1 to me after we ate.  I had my 30 week prenatal appointment today and was told to take it easy and drink lots because I’m dehydrated and have been more sore lately.  Aaron bought a watermelon on the way home from my appointment and made sure I ate a good amount before dinner.

I’ve been pretty emotional lately.  I’m not sure exactly what it is… I think it’s just that I’m pregnant, but I wish it could be explained away and fixed easier than that.

I’m 30 weeks along.  Only 10 weeks until the due date.  Little one is going to be here before we know it and everything will change forever.

I don’t really even feel like it’s sunken in that I’m pregnant, and our baby is almost here.

I don’t feel like I’ve bonded with our little one like I thought I would.  I’m not sure why, but it’s hard to believe that there’s a baby inside of me.  I don’t find myself talking to or getting excited to meet him or her.  I wish it felt more real to me.  I wish I was super impatient to meet my child.  I wish I felt like I already knew him or her a little bit, at least… But pregnancy has been so different than how I thought it would be.

We found another house!  We put in an offer and then accepted their counter, the inspection went really well and now we’re just waiting for the final details to be ironed out.  If all goes well we’ll be moving in July 12th.  It’s a beautiful place, with an upper story, more square footage and a larger lot than the last one.  Aaron will have an awesome office, the nursery is beautiful, the kitchen is a dream and we’re so excited to have bar-b-ques on the patio.  We’re kind of in shock… It’s our total dream house.

I’m excited to settle in, decorate the nursery, paint a little and hopefully feel a little more ready before the baby comes in August.  I hope decorating the nursery and setting up a home of our own will help me feel more ready to welcome our little one.

In the meantime I’m just amazed at the man I’ve been blessed with.  I asked him if he could make dinner and he didn’t even hesitate, even though I don’t think he’s ever cooked fish in his life.  I’m so thankful for him.  I’m so thankful for marriage.  He’s always reminding me to thank the Lord for the blessings He’s given us, and it really helps.

Pregnancy is hard.  The mood swings are brutal and totally unexpected.  The backaches are hard to handle.  The cravings and food aversions are obnoxious.  But I am so blessed.  I have been given salvation.  I have an amazing husband.  I live in an adorable little rental and we’re in the process of buying our dream home.  I am carrying a precious child.  I have family and friends who love me.  I live in an incredibly beautiful town in a gorgeous state.

And you know what?  It will sink in that I’m pregnant.  I will bond with our baby.  Mood swings will not last forever.

Love,

~Emily

House Hunting Volume 2

Well, we decided to withdraw our offer on the sweet little house we’d fallen in love with.  We had an inspection done and there were a few pretty big issues that we’re not quite prepared to deal with right now.

Surprisingly, I feel good about it.  After the inspection Aaron’s enthusiasm over the house really went down, but I kind of tried to pretend that it hadn’t.  I wanted this house, so I said all the reassuring things about how the seller would possibly cover the cost of repairs and how it was still a charming place that was a great investment.  I talked about the neighborhood and the nearby park that was so lovely.  I talked about how none of the other houses on the market really compared.  I talked about how much fun it would be to make it our own.  But really, I was trying to convince Aaron that he still loved it, and that just wasn’t right.

The things Aaron wants in a house started coming out a bit more.  He wants a larger yard, he wants an upper story, he wants room for our family to grow.  I had been so wrapped up in what I wanted that I was ignoring his interest in houses with these features.  I was being selfish.

So, the hunt continues, this time with some new criteria.  This time we’re looking at larger square footage.  This time we’re looking for a second story.  This time we’re looking for a large yard.  This time I’ll listen a little better and wait to fall in love with a home until we can both fall in love with it.

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We’re not looking for Emily’s dream home.  We’re looking for the Sleadds’ dream home.

Love,

~Emily