Thursday, August 2, 2012

Dishes remain with us always...

"Mommy! Color! Color, Mommy!" echoed through my living room. My 2-year-old gazed at me with her big blue eyes, pleading with me to color with her. She's what I call a "Social Colorer." She loves to color in her coloring book, but she wants to do it WITH someone--not just by herself.

Feeling slightly exasperated, I looked at the piles of laundry waiting to be folded and the kitchen sink filled with dishes. I did not have time to color! Work needed to be done! But then I looked at those big blue eyes, and Christ's words flooded my mind, "For ye have the poor always with you; but me ye have not always." The words then changed in my mind, to become, "For ye have the dishes and laundry with you always; but this little girl ye have not always."

Feeling thoroughly chastened, I relented, and spent a delightful hour coloring pictures with my daughter, and felt much better afterward for making her little heart happy. Yes, the chores remain with me always, but these moments with my children are fleeting fast. I can not believe that two years have passed since Danielle's entrance into this world. Only yesterday, I held a small, fragile little girl in my arms...yet today, a thriving, strong, energetic, talkative toddler bounces through my home, and finds little time to sit and cuddle with Mommy.

As I realize how these past two years have sped by me, I am cherishing more and more each and every single moment I have with my adorable son. I cuddle with him whenever I have the chance, because I know a day is fast approaching when he will be too busy and active to want to sit and cuddle with his mother. I love each smile, every coo, and all the slobbery kisses he places on my cheek--for each one lasts only for this moment, and soon becomes part of the past that can never be reclaimed.

Yes, dishes remain with us always. But our children do not. Cherish the moment. Each one comes straight from the Father and is an invaluable gift. So forget the dishes, and sit on the floor and color with your little one today!

"Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning" 
(James 1:17).



Thursday, May 17, 2012

Timothy Luke Has Arrived! ~His Birth Story~

As most of my readers probably already know, I FINALLY had my sweet baby boy on April 21st. Life has been so hectic since then, that I am only now getting around to posting on my blog about it. I apologize for the scarcity of posts on this blog, but I have found that motherhood is a full time job, which leaves little time for writing.


This post is about Timothy Luke’s birth story. Shall we begin? *I apologize if I described anything about the birth too graphically--I tried not to*

My “due date” for Timothy was April 2. This was based on my Basal Body Temperature chart, and the supposed date of conception. Toward the end of March, I had my home visit from my midwife, and when I told her of some symptoms I had been experiencing (increased “twinges” on the cervix, increased discharge, etc.), she smiled and said that this baby might be due sooner than we think…but, as I was soon to learn, my body just likes to get ready REALLY early.

April 2 came and went, and still no baby. I was still pregnant, huge, and utterly miserable. That week I began having some rather severe pain in my pelvic floor when standing or walking. Donna (my midwife) told me to stay off my feet as much as possible (meaning no exercise!), and not to lift anything heavier than a milk jug. So, until my appointment with her later that week, I followed orders, and stayed on the couch most of the day.

By my next appointment, not only was I feeling better after my week of rest, but Donna concluded that the baby’s head was resting on a nerve, thereby causing the pain, and said I could resume my normal activities, which I gladly did (staying on a couch all day REALLY makes time drag!).

Two more weeks past, and I was considered 42 weeks pregnant. By this time I had tried many natural “safe” methods to induce labor (walking, squats, Evening Primrose oil, pineapple, etc.), and nothing had worked. We had to have a sonogram that Monday morning to make sure that everything was okay. Not only was the baby very active while on screen, but he had a perfect heartbeat, and amniotic fluids checked out all right. Donna prescribed an herbal supplement for me to try, saying that it would normally induce labor within 48 hours if your body was ready. I took it faithfully for the prescribed amount of time, but nothing happened.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012.

I awakened Wednesday morning with TERRIBLE chest congestion. I coughed and coughed all day long until I had lost my voice, and had an incredibly sore throat and aching chest. I actually went to bed that night praying that the baby wouldn’t come.

Thursday, April 19, 2012.

The next morning, I awakened with not only the terrible cough still present, but I also had a stuffy nose. I again hoped that I would not have the baby that day. Then, at 4:00 p.m., I began having some rather hard contractions at about 12 minutes apart. Despite my cold, I was excited. Perhaps today was finally the day!! That evening, when Donald got home from work, we went on a walk around the block. The contractions were still ranging from 10-12 minutes apart, and we wanted to see if walking would help.

While on the walk, they actually sped up to 4 minutes apart. I thought, “Surely, this is it!” But, once we got home and I sat down, they immediately slowed down again. Dread flooded over me, as this was exactly how my labor with Danielle (53 hours with her) had gone. I contacted my midwife, and she told me to take a warm bath, and then try to get some sleep. I did as she said, and while the warm bath didn’t stop the contractions, it did help me relax a little, and I was able to go to sleep.

Friday, April 20.

After a very restless night of being awakened frequently by contractions and coughing fits, I awakened to find that I was still having contractions about 10 minutes apart. Thankfully, my midwife appointment was that morning. My sweet mother came to take me to the appointment, so that I wouldn’t have to drive in that condition.

Once we arrived at the birth center, Donna was able to watch and feel my belly during a few contractions, and concluded that I was experiencing prodromal labor (essentially, false labor). Again, this is what the first 30+ hours of my labor with Danielle had been, and I must confess, I was rather “put out” that I had to go through this with the second child as well. Donna told me that for some unknown reason, some women just feel their bodies getting ready to go into actual labor more than others, and that I must be one of them. But she was confidant that I would be having the baby VERY soon.

Her confidence and knowledge reassured me. I must confess that while still knowing that everything was okay (baby was active, had a good heartbeat), that there was a tiny little spot of fear niggling in the back of my brain due to some very kind, well-intentioned friends who basically told me that I should see a doctor, due to the fact that pregnancies as far along as mine could develop all sorts of problems—including the death of a child (and trust me, that is the last thing that should ever be told to a 42+ week pregnant mother—she has enough to worry about as it is!). But Donna assured me everything was okay, and then scheduled a sonogram for later in the day just to double check.

While waiting for the sonogram, my mother, sister-in-law (who is also pregnant and had just finished her appointment with Donna as well), and I went out to a wonderful, relaxing lunch at IHOP, followed by going to BuyBuy Baby to “window shop.” That was so much fun! Definitely something I needed at the time.

Finally, at 2:00 p.m., we went to the sonogram, where once again everything checked out as being perfect. Donna talked with me again, said she didn’t know why my baby was late or why I was having prodromal labor, but that she was sure everything was going to work out according to God’s perfect timing. Her sweet confidence, reassurance, and trust in God settled me, and I left the sonogram knowing that everything was ultimately in God’s hands, despite what people might be trying to tell me.

I went home and took a 1 ½ hour nap, and then awakened to find that the prodromal labor had intensified, but had not picked up speed. Throughout the rest of the evening I just relaxed and watched movies with my mom, sisters, and husband and breathed through the contractions when they came. (I was determined not to make the same mistake I made with Danielle. With her labor, I didn’t realize the first 30 hours were prodromal, so I just kept walking and doing things to try to make the labor speed up, so that by the time it actually became active labor, I was worn out and had a really hard time of it through the rest of the birth. This time, I took it easy and relaxed and slept. I now fully realize the wisdom of that choice.)

Finally, around 10:00 p.m., I reported to my midwives, and they urged me to take some Benadryl (which would either slow down or stop the contractions to let me sleep), take a warm bath, and then go to bed, and that hopefully they would see me in the morning.

I continued watching a movie until I began getting tired, and then around midnight, I took the Benadryl and sat in a tub of warm water until I began to get drowsy, and then headed to bed.

Saturday, April 21

The Benadryl knocked me out for a couple of hours, but then I awakened around 4:00 a.m. to extremely intense contractions at 10 minutes apart. These were much more intense than the ones I had been having, and I began moaning as they hit me—and to my surprise, my husband (who is a very light sleeper) never even stirred.

All through that miserable hour, I kept wondering if this was real labor, and whether I should call the midwives or not.

At 5:00 a.m., I began feeling very weak and hungry. I instinctively knew that I would be having the baby that day, and also knew that I would need my strength. I shook Donald awake and asked him to make me some scrambled eggs. He got up without even asking how I was doing (poor guy—he was still half asleep!), and headed to the kitchen. My mom (she and my sisters had spent the night, just in case) was sitting up in our living room, and asked him how I was doing. He told her I was asking for food. She decided to come investigate.

I had gotten out of bed, and had decided to sit on the birthing ball for a while. Right as she came into the room, I decided that the ball was a BIG mistake, as it made the contractions much more intense, and I could barely stand the pressure from the baby’s head. However, moving from the bed to the ball definitely got things rolling…I immediately began having contractions at 6 minutes apart.

Mom watched me through a couple, and then decided that we needed to at least call the assistant midwife (Judith Hynds) who only lived 10 minutes away. We called her, and I talked to her and described how I was feeling. She told me she was on her way. No sooner had I hung up, than I began having incredibly intense contractions at 4 minutes apart. I decided we had better call Donna too, as she would hate to miss the birth, and I could tell it was coming quickly. I was now in active labor—that was for certain.

Judith arrived not long after, and I told her I could barely walk to the bathroom, due to the intense amount of pressure I was experiencing on my pelvic floor. I described it as “needing to go to the bathroom really bad, but I just can’t!” She checked me, and found that the baby’s head was incredibly low, and that I was dilated to a 6. This was encouraging news! After a little while, I moved back to the bed and lay on my left side. The birthing ball and I just weren’t getting along, and I found that being in the bed on my side was the only way I could relax and deal with the contractions.

Donna arrived sometime around 6:00 a.m. I don’t remember exactly when…by the time she got there, I was completely out of it. Everything from here on out is a blur. I dimly remember seeing Judith and Ashley (the student midwife) preparing all the birthing supplies, and I remember Donna sitting on the edge of the bed, stroking my arms and legs, and telling me I was doing great. My mother was also there, encouraging me through all the contractions (and since she’s been there 8 times herself, that really meant a lot!).

I also remember my sweet husband. He was never far from my side, and was usually behind me, putting counter pressure on my back, as that was the only way I could somewhat cope with the incredible back labor I was experiencing. In fact, I remember at one point that he needed to get up to do something, and I actually felt a little perturbed that he left me, as I needed that counter pressure badly! Poor, sweet guy. His arms were definitely worn out after that!

Finally, close to 8:00 a.m., I remember feeling a slight, indistinct urge to push. Donna’s trained ears must have picked up on the difference in the sound of my breathing, because she asked right then what the contractions were feeling like. I told her I thought I might need to push soon. She came over and checked me, and told me that I was at a 10, and that I could begin pushing whenever I was ready. This was a HUGE relief, as one of my fears was that I wouldn’t dilate all the way (as had been the case with Danielle), and that she would have to push the cervix back—which wasn’t exactly pleasant.

I went through a few more contractions, and then suddenly, my body began pushing involuntarily. I then began working with my body, and pushed as hard as I could. With the second push, I heard a loud pop and felt a gush of fluid between my legs. Donna told me my water had just broken (such a strange feeling! My water never officially broke with Danielle…). Donald had just left the room for a moment, and when he came back, he expressed his disappointment at having missed that part. He had really wanted to see what it looked like! While the contractions only became more painful at this point, it was such a relief to not have to lie there and concentrate on relaxing, and to actually be able to do something!

I’m afraid I became rather vocal at this point, and began crying out to God for help. I honestly felt that I couldn’t go through this part again, yet knew it was necessary to achieve the end goal—that of holding my sweet boy in my arms. The contractions were much more intense than with my labor with Danielle. Partly, I believe, because it was so fast! I would just finish one contraction and would think I could rest for a little while, when another would be upon me! Inwardly, I groaned and complained to God, asking Him if I couldn’t just have a little bit of rest between them!

But, after having waited so far past my due date, I guess my body was just ready to get that baby out! And I completely agreed! God gave grace for each contraction, and so by focusing on the joy that was set before me, I kept pushing.

My sweet hubby came over to the edge of the bed and knelt beside me, giving me his hands. He said I squeezed them far harder than I ever did during Danielle’s birth. I’m actually surprised I didn’t break or at least bruise them! But as each contraction came, and I pushed for all I was worth, his dear hands also got squeezed. Squeezing them seemed to take my mind off of the pain, for some reason.
Donald holding my hands and praying over me as I push. The wet cloth is on my head because I became incredibly hot!

Finally, Donna told me she could see Timothy’s head. I had known instinctively that his head must be starting to show, as I well remembered the feeling of the stretching that begins at this point. However, this time, I literally felt like I was about to split in two. Never have I felt anything like that! As his head slowly made its appearance, I heard Donna’s gentle voice saying, “Breathe, Melody, breathe him out!” That was the hardest thing I have ever had to do. It takes much more effort to breathe a baby out than it does to push him out.

Once his head was out, Donna instructed me to push once again. I heard a loud popping noise (almost like the vacuum on a suction cup being broken—really weird) and his shoulders shot out of my body. Again, Donna instructed me to push. At this point, I remember thinking, “His head is out now, and surely the rest of him is out too. Why am I still pushing? Can’t I stop already!?”

Looking at my sweet baby after he was handed to me.
But I followed instructions, and kept pushing. Finally, I felt his little legs and feet slide out, and at 8:25 a.m. (after only 4 hours of active labor and 26 minutes of pushing), my son entered the world. Then followed a rather unnerving moment on my part. When Danielle was born, she came out screaming at the top of her lungs. When Timothy was born, I heard nothing. I anxiously asked if everything was all right, and Donna assured me that he was okay. Little did I know that during this time they were unwrapping the cord from around his neck.

Once they had unwrapped the cord, they handed him to me, where he began making a little growling/cooing noise. It was so sweet sounding, and I instantly fell in love. We spent some moments bonding, and then 12 minutes later, I pushed the placenta out, and I was officially “unpregnant,” according to Donna.
Admiring our new son together.

After I nursed him, we had a lovely, wonderful, incredible, soothing herbal bath (I just don’t like that part at all…can you tell?). ;-) As I sat in the bath, I began noticing how large my “little” boy was. His body was covered in rolls of fat. I began thinking that all the avocados I had eaten during my pregnancy must have done the trick. Little did I know just how well!

Big sister was brought in to meet her new brother.
Once we were both cleaned up, and I was settled back on the bed, it was time for the newborn exam. With much anticipation, I watched as Donna laid him in the sling to weigh him. How big would this new little one be? Danielle had been 7 lbs., 12 oz., and he looked a lot bigger than her. Donna lifted the sling in the air and looked at the scale. My jaw nearly hit the floor when she announced, “He’s 10 lbs., 4 oz! It’s no wonder you were so miserable!”

Ashley—Donna’s apprentice—said, “That’s just what the sonogram said he would be!”

“Really???” I asked.

“Yes. We decided not to tell you,” replied Donna.

"10 lbs., 4 oz!"
“I’m glad you didn’t tell me! It would have scared me big time!” I answered.

The newborn checkup continued, with the result that not only did I have a perfectly healthy baby, but Donna also determined that he was born right on time. All indications showed that he was full term, but not as overdue as we thought. Donna said my dates must have been a week or so off—which is highly possible, as I was still nursing Danielle at the time I conceived, and my cycles were extremely irregular at that point. Also, he was 22 inches long, with a 15 inch chest, 17 inch shoulders, and a 14 1/2 inch head (circumference, of course). It's no wonder I felt like I was going to split in two! Yet, as big as he was, I had no tearing! Whereas I did tear with Danielle (she was 7 lbs., 12 oz.--a much smaller baby). God is good!

Timothy’s birth just goes to show that despite all the dire predictions of others, worries, and attempts on my part to induce via natural means, God still knows what He is doing and ultimately is the only one Who knows when a baby is supposed to be born. Timothy is a wonderful baby—perfectly healthy, and a wonderful eater. In two weeks, he gained a pound above his birth weight, and looking at him now, I have a feeling he is now over 12 pounds (I’ll know for sure tomorrow, as I ordered a baby scale, and it’s supposed to arrive then!). If he had come earlier—when I thought it was time—he might not have been so healthy, and I might have had difficulties with him.

Big Sister holding her new brother for the first time!
My beautiful son!
Also, another praise: During the entirety of my labor, God spared me, and kept me from having any coughing fits! A few hours after the birth, I began having trouble with them again, but what a relief it was to be kept from that during labor! His mercy toward me during those hours was incredible!

Since the birth, I have had a round of my mother and sisters staying with me to help me, but as of yesterday, the last sister left, and now at 3 ½ weeks postpartum, I am officially on my own with my two children. While this is exciting, my fatigue from nursing around the clock presents a bit of a challenge. But, God ordained this part of my life, and I know He’ll give me the strength to press onward.

I have almost completely recovered from the birth. Indeed, a week after the birth, my mom practically had to sit on me to keep me from overdoing it. There’s definitely something to be said for a 4-hour labor versus a long, 53-hour ordeal! 

Our first family photo!
My INCREDIBLE midwifery team! Couldn't have done it without them!
While Timothy’s birth was just about the most painful thing I have ever experienced in my life, not long after he was born I turned to my sister Grace and said, “Well, Jesus was right again, as always.” She looked at me quizzically, and I said, “In John 16, Jesus said, ‘A woman when she is in travail hath sorrow, because her hour is come: but as soon as she is delivered of the child, she remembereth no more the anguish, for joy that a man is born into the world.’”

And verily, the memory of the pain and anguish has faded, and I am left with an intense joy that my little son—Timothy Luke—is here. I pray that he lives up to the meaning of his name: A God-honoring Light Bearer. May he let his light so shine before men that they may see his good works and glorify his Father, which is in heaven. Amen and Amen. 

Timothy Luke at 2 weeks old! Isn't he handsome?