The View Around Here

This gallery contains 21 photos.

So, with each pregnancy I’ve debated maternity photos and newborn photos, and with each pregnancy I’ve ended up making the same decision: skip the maternity photos and don’t skip the newborn photos. So far, I haven’t been disappointed with my decision. Note … Continue reading

Letters to Phoebe: Birth

Dear Phoebe,

You had your own ideas about your birthday, didn’t you?  I feel like it’s unfair to you, but it’s difficult to not assume that you’re maybe just a little stubborn (you’d come by it honestly, at least), based only on when you were born. And even though I made jokes about it and I was tired and frustrated, and ready to hold you, I secretly cheered for you when you waited until the last second to decide on your birthday. That’s my girl!

September 15. That’s the date I came up with the day I got a positive pregnancy test. That’s the date my midwives told me waaaay back in February when I went to my first appointment. That wasn’t your birthday. And neither was the 16th. Or the next ten days after that. It got to the point that we started talking about trying to help you out.  I went to my midwife on Friday, and we set up the induction for Saturday. And I got home and I cried a little. Because I was hoping you’d come on your own. I was really looking forward to the experience of labor happening on its own this time around, and I was a little disappointed.  I felt silly for feeling like that, because I was also very, very excited to meet you. And very, very grateful that you were healthy. By the evening, after a lot of praying, and a lot of encouragement, I was only excited. Exhausted, but excited.  It was a funny feeling, after months of waiting and weeks of waking up wondering if it would be your birthday, to go to bed knowing that you would be born on Saturday.

I guess at this point, I’ll mention that I had been having contractions on and off throughout the day on Friday, but that was nothing new. It had happened a lot of other days only to stop and leave me a little bummed that we wouldn’t be meeting you yet after all.  I timed them while your daddy and I watched t.v. and they were about 10 minutes apart, but not really painful.  I made sure all our bags were packed and I went to sleep.

I woke up around 2am from painful contractions, but I honestly thought that I was imagining them. And I really wanted to be well-rested for labor, so I tried to keep sleeping. I dozed between contractions for the next two hours, until they got so painful that I had to wake your daddy up. “Sweetie, my contractions hurt really bad. I think…” He fell back asleep before I even finished the sentence. He woke up to me trying to make it through the next contraction on my own and failing. “I’m sorry, David, you have to wake up. We’re going to have the baby now.” They seemed to be coming about 8 minutes apart, so I decided to take a shower. Very quickly, the contractions got a lot closer together and stronger. We finished getting things together, called your Auntie Kelley to come stay with your sister, and left for the hospital.

I was so happy the entire drive to the hospital. You were finally on your way! I felt pretty sure that we’d be holding you by lunchtime. I was so excited to meet you and so grateful for the gift of a labor that began on its own. Over and over throughout this pregnancy, the Lord has continued to remind me to trust, to rest in his grace and his goodness. It was no different in labor.  I hope and pray, sweet daughter, that you will learn this lesson when you are younger than I am.

We got to the hospital at 5:15am, and met up with your Nana and our Midwife, Isabelle.  Part of the deal with the hospital was that I had to agree to monitoring for the first 30 minutes, so they hooked me up, and we started waiting. Isabelle started getting a room ready for us, and came back in towards the end to see how things were going.

7 centimeters. That’s how they were going. Apparently weeks of contractions and waiting had paid off. We headed down the hall to my room and I hopped right in that lovely tub. It was probably around 6am when we got to the room.  Contractions continued to pick up, and your daddy did such a wonderful job helping me through them.  The time between contractions was nice.  It was restful and for a while, we chatted about your arrival.  Itbecame clear that you would be born long before lunchtime. In fact, before we were even scheduled to be at the hospital for the induction, I was holding you in my arms.

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Isabelle helped me think about and work through my labor, and when I decided it was time to push, just about 2 hours after we got to the hospital, she helped your daddy catch you. You were born in water at 7:43am. September 27, 2014. 8 lbs. 10 oz. 20.5 inches. Our sweet Phoebe Evangeline.


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Dark hair, and big gray-blue eyes, just like I had imagined. Your daddy handed you to me right away, and I just looked at you, cuddled you, and kissed your sweet face.  It was so precious to have those two sweet hours to hold you and get to know you, to introduce you to your big sister.  She came right into that room, took one look at you and said “PHOEBE!” She climbed up next to me, kissed you, held you and played little piggy with your “toesies.” Like us, she had been waiting so expectantly for you. I pray that sisterhood will be a blessing for you both throughout your lives.

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Sweet Phoebe, we are so grateful for you. Our prayer for you is that you will be an example of and a glad witness to the “light of the gospel of the glory of Christ.” We pray that you will radiate the light of the Lord our God–that you will love the light, walk in the light, and give light to others as a city upon a hill. We pray that the good news of Jesus Christ will shape everything about you and that you will choose to devote her life to the advance of his kingdom.  We love you, sweet girl, and we’re so happy to have you in our family.

Love,

Momma

Phoebe.

A sweet new baby finally decide to join our family on Saturday, September 27, 2014 at 7:43am.

Her birth story should be finished in a few days, but for now, say hello to Phoebe Evangeline.

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A Lake is not a Leak.

This is a little embarrassing.

While was chatting with the midwife at my appointment today, David brought up my “leak.”

“Lake.” she corrected.

Oh. Lake? To be fair, with her lovely French accent, it kind of sounds like the same word.

Now I understand why all my Google research was so very unsuccessful. A placental leak is not a thing. I’m not entirely stupid. I kind of wondered if I had misheard when Google kept asking me if I meant placental lake.

I David was able to ask some more questions and our Midwife was very helpful. From what I’ve read, placental lakes, while abnormal, aren’t actually connected with any pregnancy complications and it usually isn’t even mentioned unless there are several of them. Assuming I didn’t misunderstand everything, I only have one tiny one.  She went on to explain that an OB might not even send me for the second ultrasound, but that Midwives have to be a bit more careful. My upcoming ultrasound is just to rule out any other deviations from “normal” as a precaution. Basically, the impression that I now get is that its primary purpose is to cover my Midwives’ you-know-whats.

Oh. Ok.

Even though I feel a little silly for completely misunderstanding a word…and for telling people that I have something that doesn’t even exist, I also feel really grateful.

If I’m completely honest, I have spent a lot more time concerned this pregnancy than I did in my pregnancy with Eliana. I think it’s something about looking at my sweet baby and knowing that there’s another sweet baby growing inside of me. Somehow, it’s not as abstract as it was the first time. I so desperately want to meet her. I so desperately want to get to know her, to have her personality revealed to me day by day, to watch her play with her older sister.  These last few weeks have had me leaning so heavily on Jesus. Asking him to remind me that he is the one who loves and cares for my sweet children perfectly. He is the one to whom they belong. He is the one writing the story of their lives.

I am only their mother.

I love them. So intensely, so deeply, but they don’t really belong to me. They belong to Jesus. I mentioned in my first post about this that it seemed like a great opportunity for Jesus to tend the garden of peace in my heart, and my friends, he has been so faithful.  Each one of you who took a moment to pray, each of you who took an extra moment to let me know that you were praying, thank you for helping him.

I was hesitant to write the first post back in April because I thought maybe everything will be just fine and then this will just be silly. But remember how I talked about thinking and no more lies before? I don’t want to pretend that I don’t worry about things that are silly. Because I do. I don’t want to only write stories that are finished and have good endings and resolution. Because a lot of times, there’s at least one story in my life that doesn’t. But Jesus meets me there. He meets you there. In the worry or the anger or the suffering, in the unfinished stories and the ones that end sad. He stands there with us.  I don’t know what new information, if any, we’ll learn at our ultrasound in two weeks, but I am also not living in fear of it.  The Lord is still teaching me to trust, in his goodness, his wisdom, and his faithfulness. Not that things will always be good, but that He. will. always. be. good. 

I still treasure your prayers as the Lord teaches me to trust him with my life, my plans, and my family.

Mom Things: Reflections on Life with a Toddler.

Things that have happened today:
“Don’t eat food out of the garbage can!”

Followed by a quick look into the garbage can to see what she might be eating. The good news is I was greeted by David’s leftover cereal, which was piled on top of a clean paper plate, so…

 

While trying to make a packing list for our upcoming vacation, one little hand on my knee, one clutching a book. The question “Do you want to read some books?” was immediately followed by a vigorous head nod and beeline to the bedroom.

 

I heard a loud crash during “nap time” and found this in her room. Apparently we weren’t tired today.

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That’s all for now. Another stack of books is accumulating next to me on the couch.

Bittersweet

For the first time in almost 15 months, I went all day without nursing.

I think Eliana’s just about done with it. And while it’s nice to have a small break, since Little Sis is due exactly 4 months from today (WHAT?!?!), I can’t help but feel a little bit sad.

I mean, I knew this was coming. It’s fairly common for babies to quit nursing when their mommas get pregnant, and she’s just been less and less interested the more interested she becomes in the world around her. But this has been a journey. Despite a bit of a rough start, things were fairly smooth after the first couple of weeks. I quickly became one of those mommas who loves nursing.

I’ve been thinking a lot about Eliana’s newborn days lately. I remember crying a lot that first week or two.  I was an overwhelmed, fearful, overjoyed new momma. That crazy cocktail of new momma hormones definitely had something to do with it, but I’m also an emotional person by nature (duh) and I was convinced my two week old was just growing up too fast. 

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And the Lord saw that momma.

And he spoke to her, maybe in a way he’s never spoken to her before. Because the change, my friends, seemed instant. The way that peace washed up over her heart and her life and still washes up over her every. single. day? He didn’t scold her for her fear. He didn’t chastise her.

He invited her.

He invited her to make the choice between a life with grasping hands and squinted eyes– always straining to see the future instead of looking at what’s right in front of her, always snatching at moments as they pass instead of feeling the way they gently move through her hands the way sand does– and a life with open eyes and open hands, ready to be filled and emptied, filled and emptied.

He invited her to be filled and emptied. Over and over again.

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Willingly.

But  how can she be sure that once she’s emptied, she’ll ever be filled again? How can the fullness be enjoyed if it’s only meant to be given away?

Is this not the beauty of the Gospel, sweet friends?

“It’s what God had been doing from the beginning, of course.  Taking the nothing and making it everything. Taking the emptiness and filling it up. Taking the darkness and making it light.”

When he met that momma that day, there on that brown couch while she held her newborn baby with tears running down her face, he gave her a gift. A gift of trust. Trust that grasping and squinting don’t make things slow down or become more memorable. Trust that this abundant life is in the seasons, the time coming and going. That “hurry up and get here” doesn’t make for an abundant life, but neither does “wait, wait slow down.” She didn’t want to be one of those mommas always lamenting that her first baby was growing up too fast. Because she isn’t. She’s enjoying and living each day that the Lord graciously gives her, and shouldn’t her sweet momma do the same?

To this momma who had been told the lie that she would have to be perpetually sad that her children were growing and growing and growing, Jesus spoke the truth that growing and growing and growing is a gift to be cherished by giving and giving and giving.

Maybe to you it seems like I’ve overspiritualized something that’s just a part of everyday life, but I think my point is that everyday life is deeply spiritual, if we pay attention.  And I think that this is why I don’t have to be depressed about my sweet baby not nursing anymore.  That even as I lose a part of our relationship, I can celebrate. Because she’s growing and growing and growing.

And I get to find new ways to give and give and give.

New ways to trust.

That empty hands will be filled again.

That abundant life doesn’t mean clenching up, it means opening up.

That I can say “yes” to all that Jesus has for me without squinting first to try and figure out what it is.

That He is good.

And then, last fall, I found myself saying “YES! YES!” as I read a post by Ann Voskamp who says it so beautifully:

You can have it all” — isn’t the whole truth.

No matter where you are— it’s never all easyA crop is made by all the seasons and the only way to have it all — is not at the same time… but letting one season bring its yield into the next.

This is how to have no fear —

each season makes a full year

The only way to have it all…  is to have Jesus – and like Him — to give it all away. 

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Belly.

I thought it would be really adorable to start explaining to Eliana that her baby sister lives in my belly right now. She kind of gets it.

Meaning that every time I sit down to nurse her, she grabs my stomach and kisses it while squealing, “BABY!” Followed by either a wave to her sister or a tummy drum solo. On my tummy.

The other day, I walked in while David was giving Ellie her bedtime bath to see her pointing at her belly button and bending over to try and kiss her own tummy, “BABY!”

Oops. My kid is all kinds of confused.

My plan was to have an adorable picture of Ellie kissing my belly right here.

This is what I ended up with:

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Real life, people.

Leak.

“Everything looks good except one little thing.”

Not exactly the words I was hoping to hear from my midwife at my follow up appointment. She went on to explain that our sweet baby is growing right on track, has a strong heartbeat and looks wonderful. My placenta, on the other hand, has a leak.

I’m not really sure what this means, but she suggests that it’s common for it to resolve on its own and is usually not a cause for concern. She doesn’t seem worried about it at all. They’re referring me to a specialist so that they can look more closely at the placenta, but that won’t be for a few weeks. My attempts at questions are met with reassurance that nothing is wrong, and there’s nothing I can do in the meantime.

My favorite! I love it when there’s nothing I can do, when things are out of my control, when I don’t understand. When all I can do is pray for my placenta.

I get that this is prime weather for the Lord to continue to tend the peace he’s growing in my heart, but I don’t really like it. I am struck by the idea that maybe this new information shouldn’t really change anything. My hope can’t be founded on bringing a healthy baby home from the hospital. My peace can’t come from the evidence that my body has sustained a healthy pregnancy in the past. I can’t even find solace in the fact that “at least I have one sweet baby.” Because none of that is guaranteed. None of it is stable. All of it shudders under the weight of the assurance that I need.

The things I have to trust and lean on are these: that the Lord is faithful to act according to his will and for his glory, that he loves and cares for my children much better than I ever will, and that his eyes see and his hands reach places that mine cannot. So, by grace, I choose to hope and to trust in him. I choose the garden of peace rather than the brush pile of worry.

But I’m still asking you to pray for my placenta.