Lila-5 weeks

Nursing like a champ. Growing like a weed. Eyes are still blue. Loves tummy time with her puppies. Nothing calms her down like bouncing on the exercise ball (which may have a leak from overuse!). She loves her daddy– always able to find his voice in the room– and gives him all her smiles. Takes baths with mommy and hates getting out of the warm water. Sleeps in her bassinet (for part of the night). Legs are too long for most of her pants. And that hair just keeps growin’.

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Lila’s Birth

Labor started on Wednesday evening. Around 5 o’clock I started feeling what I thought were contractions. I started to pay attention but didn’t start timing because I half expected for them to go away– at almost exactly 40 weeks I was ready to not be pregnant, but I was defintely not looking to speed up the inevitable. By 8 pm they were coming regularly, about ten mintues apart. I called my midwife to give her a heads up and then I went to bed. The intensity didn’t change much at all through the night and most of the time they were still coming only every six to eight minutes, so I was able to sleep between and actually got a decent amount of rest that night.

By morning contractions were getting stronger. Most of the intensity was on my lower back due to Lila being posterior most of the pregnancy and during labor. I tried some different positions to get her to turn which she eventually did. But each new position was excruciating and seemed to intensify the contractions. At that point, standing was the only position that was bearable. We were keeping in contact with the midwife every hour. However at this point I pretty much lost all sense of time and it was Sam who was giving her updates. All I could think was that this could very well last another 12 hours and I was starting to doubt myself. Then things started to get real. See, I really thought that I needed to take a big 💩 (😂😂😂) so I went and sat on the toilet. As soon as I sat down I had the WORST contraction thus far. It kind of scared me how intense it was. Sam gave the midwife this update and I was ordered to go back to bed (she was on her way btw), which slowed things down a bit. However it wasn’t long (maybe it was long, idk ask Sam) before my body took over and I had the uncontrollable urge to push. At this point my water broke, which was a super weird feeling and I am pretty sure I could hear it pop. My midwife was on the phone with me coaching me to just concentrate on breathing and NOT PUSH, she was almost to our house (of course this is taking place during the only snow storm Indiana has seen this winter). Lila was starting to crown and Sam was preparing to catch her. I know this sounds like quite a panicky situation, but in all honesty I felt pretty calm. And of course, if Sam was panicking, he didn’t show it. The midwife did make it in time, anyway. I don’t know how many contractions it took to push her out. Maybe 4? All I knew once I started pushing was that I had to get her the heck out. And at 11:46 am on January 5th Lila Jane was born at home ❤

People have asked me if I would do it at home again and the answer is: definitely! My labor was so relaxed and Lila was born into a loving and calm atmosphere. I was as comfortable as I could be all through labor. I was able to eat and drink. And I was able to labor without interruption. It wasn’t gross or messy. I did bleed quite a bit, so I was given a shot of pitocin by my midwife. Also, because Lila was born with her hand by her face, as her elbow came out it gave me a third degree tear. Because of this I did have to go in and get stitched up shortly after. But even this didn’t prevent me from having skin to skin and delayed cord clamping. Lila even started nursing (kind of) right away. When we returned home, we found the bed made and sheets changed by the attending midwife. All the midwives were amazing and I felt so taken care of and safe during and after delivery.

We had planned for my mom to be here for the birth. However, she and my dad got slowed by the snow storm and didn’t make it in time. As much as I wanted her there for the experience, I think I was meant to go through it with only Sam. It was just us during all of labor. And it was so special to get through it with him. It was an experience that brought us even closer together as a couple and I wouldn’t trade it. I think I thought that having my mom there would make it easier somehow. But I was the only one who could do the work and it was simply something that I alone had to handle. And the best part is that I totally handled it. God designed my body to deliver my baby and He gave me the strength I didn’t know I had to get through it. I have never felt more empowered and I’m proud that I was able to give birth at home without any medication or inteventions.

Having my mom there wasn’t the only expectation I had for what my labor would be like. I had all sorts of things planned– music, birthing pool, essential oils. But that all kind of went out the window and I didn’t consider any of it in the moment. Not once did I read the birthing affirmations I taped to the bathroom mirror. I was in the zone and all I needed was to breathe.

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2016- It’s Been a Big Year

Since coming to Indiana I have felt like I’ve been living in a time bubble. Sam and I have been so focused on things like work and school that the last three years has slipped by very quickly. Especially this year, which has been a big one.

Sam has been enjoying his fourth and final year as an extern at two different practices. He graduates in May with his Aud. He’ll be starting the application process very soon which is exciting. We don’t have any idea where we will end up but we’re simply not concerned because we have seen God work in our lives and provide for us again and again. He guided us to Muncie, Indiana and there is no doubt in my mind that this is where we were supposed to be during this season of our lives. No doubt he will put us where he wants us next.

I have continued working as a behavioral therapist since graduating last December. To be completely honest, I spent the past year putting off taking my boards. I had been content in my position (and totally attached to my client) that taking the test to become a Board Certified Behavior Analyst wasn’t something I felt I truly needed to do. I wasn’t confident in my ability to pass the exam. People in this field typically spend upwards of 20 hours per week over the course of several months studying for this exam– and still fail 2-3 times. I’ve never been diligent in studying and have a bad history of taking tests. I was so overwhelmed with the thought of putting in that much time and effort only to fail. I had planned to take the exam in May of this year, but in April we found out that we’re pregnant! And just like that every ounce of energy was drained from my body. I remember one day, before finding out, I was changing the sheets on the bed and literally stopped half way through, collapsed on the bed and fell asleep for an hour. I thought my laziness had reached unprecedented heights so you can imagine my relief when I discovered it was simply a human growing inside me sucking all the life from me.

Getting pregnant was something we only half planned. Basically, we didn’t fully expect it to happen as fast as it did. In all honesty, we weren’t at a place financially where we could start trying, but I didn’t want to wait only to have it take months or even years like it does for some couples. Well, we found out pretty quick the actual cost of having a baby and getting prenatal care without insurance. We applied for Medicaid and in the meantime I was able to get initial benefits through presumptive eligibility, which covered my first doctor’s appointment. At the time we were expecting to get approved through Medicaid and have all expenses covered, meaning I would have the baby in a hospital and *try* not to have interventions like pitocin or an epidural. But in the back of my mind I knew that if I had the baby at the hospital I would likely cave in and get the epidural. So when got denied Medicaid it was like a blessing in disguise because it opened doors to trust God and have a birth experience we wanted. We figured that if we were going to pay out of pocket, we might as well do it the way we saw to be best.

We started looking in midwives and homebirth. Looking back, it is so obvious that God was working and guiding us throughout this process. We attended a “meet the midwives” event at an office near Indy, which pretty much sold us on the experience of having a homebirth. The prospect of being able to have a baby and then get into my own bed is very appealing. Not to mention uninterrupted skin-to-skin time (assuming there is no emergency) and a postpartum herbal bath. The next step was to find the right midwife. The ones we met with at this event were great, but we wanted to know our options. Growing up my sister and I were friends with some girls whose mother is a midwife. I SO wish we lived near her so that she could deliver the baby, but she was able to get me in contact (in a roundabout way) with the midwife we have now. This woman means business (in the best way possible). She takes what she does very seriously with a very healthy understanding that while birth is completely natural and most of time requires no medical intervention it still takes hard work to make sure your body is ready to give you the best chance for staying at home. And it has been really hard work. Towards the end of my second trimester I had to start checking my blood sugar. It turned out that my fasting numbers were too high. Basically, I had to stop eating crap. Whereas a doctor more than likely would have been ok with my numbers, my midwife holds her mamas to high standards and so… I had to stop eating crap. Which kind of sucks when all people tell you is “you’re pregnant, eat whatever you want! You deserve it!” It has been hard work, but I am proud of myself for sticking to it as well I have and I hope to maintain these changes even after the baby comes. I have a much better understanding about how my body functions and how to keep my diet balanced. I’m thankful to have a midwife who challenges me to do better. See, I tend to be a pretty selfish person. I like to do what I like to do. And I am prone to giving up if I can’t see or feel the immediate effects of lifestyle changes. She has held me to a higher standard than I generally put on myself and it has prepared me to give my baby the best chance I can. It’s prepared me for a lifetime of self sacrifice ahead. It has prepared me, in a new way, to be a mom.

So, we found the right midwife, no doubt. We still weren’t sure how to pay her. Sam budgeted and there didn’t seem to be a way to make it work. But God provided every step of the way and we were able to pay her in full by 36 weeks. I seriously don’t know how it happened. Now, we were able to sign up for insurance in November to get coverage in January when the baby is due. God has worked everything out so perfectly. There is still so much uncertainty ahead what with maternity leave, and me working less but I have no doubt that God is going to work it all out. He has been building our faith in Him all year and I expect no less from 2017.

10 Months

It has been 10 months since I’ve been off Facebook. I received a lot of different reactions when I decided to leave. I don’t think most people understood why I wanted to, and I probably didn’t articulate my reasoning very well. The bottom line is I had some things to workout and Facebook was preventing me from dealing with it. Here are some things I’ve learned from my FB hiatus.

1. I have been blessed in so many ways. Turns out, when you’re not focusing on other people and what they’re doing you can put energy into your own life and make it what you want it to be. And that’s what I’ve been doing these past 10 months– focusing on me and my little family down here in Munice, Indiana, and discovering new ways that God provides and pulls us through to show us that life is beautiful regardless of one’s surroundings. We have one more year here in Muncie and pray that I take this lesson into the future when Sam is finished with his doctorate and we “settle down,” wherever that may be– I’m anxious to find out! Life is as beautiful as you make it.

2. I have learned how to be content with where I am, what I’m doing, and who I am with. My priorities have continued to change– focusing more on my life here, in the present and less on wishing I was somewhere else. When we first moved down here it was really hard being away from family and seeing pictures and videos of everybody getting together. Taking a break from FB has helped me learn how to cultivate a life for me and Sam. Having that extra bit of virtual distance allowed me to focus on what we really want as a couple and where we really want to go and what we want to see. That being said….

3. I have learned that FB is just so darn convenient. I had hopes of becoming a better, more intentional long-distance communicator without it, but what has actually happened is I keep in touch far, far less.  I miss being able to tell them all how beautiful their children are and how much I miss them. I still hold that FB is considerably superficial, but it’s as close as I can get to the people I love without physically being there. In addition, there are amazing people I’ve had the privilege to know here, who have already come and gone. These are people I’ve come to care about and want to keep in contact with. Facebook is just too darn easy.

4. I have learned that if you are a procrastinator, deleting your FB account will not suddenly make you more productive. You will find other pointless ways to fill your time (i.e. Pinterest, Twitter, Netflix, lying in bed staring at the ceiling). This was never the real reason I deleted my account, but I was really hoping it would be a side effect. Like I said, I had some stuff to work through and even though Facebook wasn’t the cause, deleting it was my best solution at the time.

5. I have learned that FB isn’t bad, even though it isn’t always good…

I’m glad I decided to get off Facebook when I did. I’m starting to feel like I’m ready to enter that world again. In the end, it’s more about being conscious and intentional in every aspect of your life. It’s about finding balance and knowing when enough is enough. It’s about being present– appreciating the gift of having contact with your loved ones with a single click while at the same time gratefully attending to your own.

I appreciate all those who have supported me with this decision and allowed be to figure all these things out on my own– even though you may have already learned these lessons for yourselves. And who knows, maybe you will be experiencing a little more of my internet presence in the near future.

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Coming Up for Air

The past few months have been pretty brutal. Classes haven’t been harder, per se, but have required more of me– especially in terms of forcing me out of my comfort zone. Both classes this semester include group projects that require meeting with complete strangers via google hangouts. I was beyond irritated when I first learned of this requirement. But I have to say that it really hasn’t been that bad. In fact, I’ve met some pretty cool people and it’s really nice to actually meet people in my same online program. My biggest complaint this semester is the load of busy work. It’s frustrating because while I’m getting through just fine in terms of grades and completing assignments, it leaves no time to actually study the material! I will be done with the program in less than a year and feel so unprepared for what’s ahead of me. The pass rate for the boards to become a BCBA are not very encouraging. Most people have to take it at least twice… Luckily, I work for truly amazing people who are willing to invest in me. My BCBA has been amazing about making time to meet with me and I have no doubt that I can depend on her help to get me through.

This winter has been brutal. Not as bad in terms of weather, but I have been so stir crazy stuck in the house. Indiana does not have much going on as far as outdoor sports/activities are concerned–especially in the winter. So, I’ve been stuck dreaming about far away places and trips I can’t wait to take this summer, all the while feeling as though we’re spending our best years stuck in school. We know it will be worth it. And even though I know I sound like a big complainerton, I do realize how blessed I am.

Here are some things getting me through:

1. Spring is so, so close.

2. We got a new puppy a few weeks back. His name is Copper. He’s a german shepherd/boxer/lab mix. His paws are huge, which is probably a good indicator of what’s to come. But I can’t get enough of his cuteness. It’s too much.

3. We just got a handheld milk frother and it has changed my life. I may or may not be on my third latte of the day.

4. Yoga. I can’t say enough good things about it. I don’t really like to exercise all that much. Yoga is the only thing I’ve really been able to stick to because it just… feels good! I have no interest in throwing my body around at a cross-fit gym. While I admire the girls who can lift like that, it’s just not my thing. Yoga feels good. I get a workout without even realizing it. I always suggest Yoga with Adriene on Youtube if you’re interested in starting. #findwhatfeelsgood

5. I know that truly, the only reason I get through anything in this life is because of God. And that holds true, even now, when I’m in the midst of a winter freeze in terms of spiritual things. My heart feels hard and the desire to be close to God is often outweighed by sleeping in or watching Netflix. I know that all relationships ebb and flow… but I need a more steady flow. I just can’t seem  to get flowing, ya know?

Just wanted to take a quick second to come up for air. Put things back into perspective. Spring is coming. And at the end of this post, suddenly something comes to mind: “Ask the LORD for rain in the springtime; it is the LORD who sends the thunderstorms. He gives showers of rain to all people, and plants of the field to everyone.” Zecharia 10:1

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Grateful > Thankful

It’s easy, I feel, to be thankful. There are so many things for which I am thankful: a house, an education, a job, ect. But having all these things and recognizing that I need them and the fact that I like having them is too easy. It’s flippant. When what I truly feel is grateful. I am grateful that I live in a warm two bedroom house that I love coming home to. I am grateful for an education that I never thought would be fully possible for me. I am grateful for a job that I love and am passionate about– a job that allows me to really help people desperate for support and direction. I am grateful for a husband who not only loves me, but takes care of me every single day and who continuously puts my needs before his own.

I’m not just thankful for God. I am grateful to Him for pursuing me every single day of my life. I am grateful that He never gives up on me despite my complacency. Thankfulness is easy. I want to live a life of gratefulness.

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