Saturday, March 21, 2015

joy in spite of...

As I sit here this morning, doing my devotions and drinking my coffee, I feel pressed to write this blog. Of what, I am still not sure, as I have so many things stirring in my heart this morning. I have written in the past how I feel as though my life is a shaken snow globe; and while I find it immensely beautiful and captivating, others see a great deal of a mess. I dare say that God has never ordained our life, since the fall in the garden, to be perfect and peaceful. No, I believe that Gods plan is far more great and powerful then what we think would be ideal or, to say the least, far less messy.

One of my favorite sermons that a certain super awesome pastor once preached, was about finding joy in spite of. In spite of whatever is happening, are we choosing to find joy, to find God, in the mess, or are we choosing to reflect only on our sorrows and woes. I often think of this sermon whenever things are going, well, to say the least, less then desirable.

Life is hard. Life flat out sucks sometimes. People tend to revert to our fallen and sinful ways. They aren't as nice as they should be, aren't as supportive as they should be, aren't as gracious as they should be, aren't as sensitive as they should be, aren't as quiet and holding their tongue as they should be. But, it's not all the times. Sure, sometimes it feels that way... sometimes you are sure that the whole world has come against you, and walking out your door to face it sounds far to overwhelming and scary of a thing to do. But when that friend gives you a hug, and they hold just a little tighter and a little longer then normal because they can see, somehow, that deep within your soul, you need it. When that stranger passes by with a smile, and holds the door open for you, your soul lifts just a little bit. When, out of no where, a friend sends you a text message, or calls you, just to see how you are doing, or maybe to say thanks, just for something small you have done, or brings you a cup of coffee after a long day at work, you know that there is joy to be found.

God often reveals joy in spite of, through my children. Baby snuggles, smiles and joy in their eyes of the small and simple discoveries this world has to offer, their tiny small bodies trying to be big, trying to do what Mommy and Daddy do. I love when their creativity comes to life, and even though my world becomes all the more messy (quite literally) as their creativity grows, their is joy in watching them be who God made them to be.

See, and I'm sorry if I'm jumping all over this morning, but our adoption journey is just beginning. I have no idea what this process is going to hold, and what we will have to go through. I know it's not going to be easy, and I know it will be messy. I've already had people question our desire to adopt, or think we are crazy, or tell us that they don't think 'we're ready' to adopt. That's fine, they are entitled to their opinion, and quite honestly, I agree with them.

I do think we are crazy. Well, crazier then before, at least... never been one to be that normal in the first place... ahem. Anyway. It IS crazy to be a young couple, and have 3 young boys, and open our hearts and homes to children from across the world, to call them our own and love them. Those people aren't wrong who say it's crazy, it IS crazy! God has never been one to call people to logical things... or at least, my idea of logical. God didn't tell the Israelites to make boats, or plop a big ship in their path when they fled Egypt. Nope, He was like 'hey, no, that is far too boring of a story, and really? A ship? No, let's literally open up the waters and let them cross, that is much more fun.' And he didn't say 'here, take these logs and bulldozers and knock down the walls of Jericho...' instead he said, 'walk around the city, and although you may look like you are bonkers and no one will have no idea why I'm asking you to do what I'm asking, and do this for seven days, and then I'll let the walls of Jericho fall.'

I mean, really, Gods form of 'logic' is far from my form of 'logic' and, yes, he calls us to do the most 'illogical' things possible at times. But how else would we experience his wonder, his awesomeness, and find such joy in his ways, if things always went 'according to plan?'

As for those who say, 'I don't think you're really ready to adopt,' I must say, I agree. After all, who is ever really 'ready' to adopt. If every couple, or person waited until they were 'ready' to adopt, no child would ever find a forever home. God does not call the well rested. And we are by no means, well rested (hence the reason for coffee on this bright fine morning ;) ). And, I don't believe that orphans were ever 'ready' to be orphaned, to be abandoned, to be alone. So although I wholeheartedly agree that we may never be 'ready' for this crazy journey, I also wholeheartedly know that there are children who are never MORE ready for a family.

My life, yes, is a shaken snow globe that appears messy, with no direct path on where the snow will fall, and which way the wind will take us. But I know that it has been stirred, and shaken with love. For in spite of the mess, in spite of the chaos, there is beauty in the wind. There is beauty in watching our world spin around us, in an array of sparkling flurries, and finding joy and wonder in the places where they land. We know not where things will fall, no more then those who are watching from the outside, and we may not be ready for all of it... but that is what makes it beautiful. We are choosing to look for the joys in spite of. There is joy in the every day, in spite of the hard, in spite of the pain, in spite of whatever is going on, there is joy. May God open our eyes and hearts to forever and always find the joy in the small things he has laid before us.
My morning coffee... 

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

his family...

I've heard that the adoption process is one of deep refining. That God will forever change you. Excited and scared, I embraced this thought, expecting it to be hard, to be changing. What I did not expect, is that the refining process starts immediately.

Right now, I hear all those who have adopted before, laughing. And that's ok ;) I think they are laughing because it's true, laughing because they might be thinking 'oh you have NO idea!' or laughing from joy... either way, I'm ok with that.

For me, from the moment we decided that this WAS happening, which really, was not that long ago, I started to see some things in a new light, and God slowly scratching a few surfaces of my heart. I'm excited, and again, scared, to see all that God has in store for us over this journey.

This story touched my heart deeply. It says so much, and when the father said 'Hi Jacob, I'm your Daddy' I couldn't help but think that this is how God reacts when we fall before him, in repentance, and accept the gift that he has offered us, to be adopted into HIS family!

Can you imagine, coming before God, broken, with nothing to give but ourselves. And God gathers us in his arms, knowing we are helpless, that we are weak, and with tears in his eyes says, 'Hi Kayla, I'm your Daddy.' and forever adopts you into HIS family. 

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Put it on the mantel...

Some great friends of ours who have gone through the adoption process before, and will more then likely be going through it again, told us 'put it on the mantel.'

What does that mean? Put the adoption paper work on the 'mantel' and pray for God to provide the money that you need to send those papers in to the adoption agency. So, we did. And God has already started to show His hand by placing it on a friends heart to donate.

Seriously, how amazing?!?! This morning as I prayed, as I was questioning everything, I prayed if God wanted us to do this to 'Please send people to rally around us and let their love and support be evident.' And as I checked my email tonight, with a notification that a dear friend had donated on our gofundme account, that I wasn't even sure I should create, I cried. I giggled at God's goodness, and cried. How good is our God?!?! Amazing! Thank you Lord, for your goodness and grace!

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Shaken Snow Globe

Have you ever shook a snow globe? Most of us have at one point or another. I remember as a little kid, shaking my precious moments snow globe as hard as I could, and then was completely mesmerized as I watched the snow slowly fall into place at the bottom of the globe. As you shook it, you never knew where the pieces were going to fall, but you did know one thing, no matter how crazy the snow whirled inside that small globe, it was beautiful.

My life is like a snow globe. And it has recently been picked up, and been shaken. Right now, I'm standing in the middle of my life, watching things getting thrown in the air, having no idea that these things even existed before, and watching as they swirl around me. I'm not sure when they will settle, I'm not sure where they will land, but while I watch this beautiful mess around me, I am mesmerized. Mesmerized by the beauty, by the mess, by the wonder, by the adventure!

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Jared's Birth Story

I finally got around to writing Jared’s birth story! Ignore any grammar errors; it’s late at night! I actually wrote the whole story, detail by tiny detail a while ago, but I just didn’t know how to truly write it… and I still don’t, to be honest. Jared’s birth, on one hand, was great. I got to labor, I got to try every way possible to birth him, and I made my own decisions and wasn’t scared into anything. It was different from my other two, and in those ways, it was great. But, it was also awful. Ok, ok, I know, people have even said to me ‘oh my gosh! How can you say that? Your baby was born healthy, how dare you say it was sad/awful/not good…’ and those people, I just don’t know how to explain things to them. Jared’s birth was truly a blessing, and it was also terrifying and so hard. So as I try to write it, and truly portray how things were and what we were feeling, stick with me J

Jared was a VBAC baby. My second time, to be exact, attempting a VBAC. My first attempt was with my second son, Eli, and the doctors never let me try. They freaked me out into have another C-section to fit their own agenda even though baby and I were both doing well. After birthing two babies via C-section, and having both babies taken away within minutes of giving birth, and not seeing them for hours after, was, to put it frankly, traumatic for me. It just does something to a mother to separate her from her baby’s immediately after birth, whatever the circumstance. So, with Jared, I was determined that I was going to give birth naturally so that for once, I could actually be with my baby after he was born, and not have the separation anxiety, not miss his first moments, and not miss the immediate bonding time.  I found a doctor who supported me, did loads of research, prepared myself, mentally and physically, to birth my baby, and waited for him to come.

Having said that, I was still freaked out. I was freaked out that a C-section was going to happen, and that we were going to be separated after birth. A few things fed this fear, like last minute changes from the hospital, or misinformation, so I wasn’t prepared for having new things thrown at me at the very end of my pregnancy. So, when I went into labor a couple of days before my due date, I actually managed to freak myself out of labor. Don’t think it can happen? Oh yes, it can J It’s called our flight or fight response, and I was so scared, my body took the flight response and made labor stop… which was such a bummer, because after that, I could not ‘let’ myself go into labor. Soon I was one week past my due date, and then almost two.

I stared to try everything to make myself go into labor. I tried every natural method possible because I did not want to be induced with Pitocin. I knew it wasn’t a good option for me, and that it was more then likely just signing me up for an automatic C-section, and after my doctor appointment two days before being a full two weeks overdue, my doctor decided it was a bad option too. Actually, multiple doctors at the hospital decided it wasn’t an option for me (which was fine because I already didn’t want it), because Pitocin adds risks to any laboring mother, and much more so for a VBAC mama. But, alas, none of my natural methods worked because I honestly believe I was still in ‘flight mode’.

So it was decided that I was to come to the hospital on Thursday morning for something. Whether we tried to break my water or something, baby was going to happen. The next day (Friday) I was going to be two full weeks late, and I think we had all decided that waiting any longer just wasn’t good for me or baby. Normally I’m all for a Mama sticking it out and waiting for however long for baby to come, but I knew it was time… plus, everyone at this point already thought I was truly crazy ;)

So Wednesday, the day all these decisions were being made, I came down with an awful headache. Worse then I had ever experienced before. I got a prescription because it was not going away, and was told if it did not lighten up, to go to the hospital immediately. I hadn’t shown any other signs of pre-eclampsia besides the headache, so they were willing to let me go home and see if the headache would subside with the medication. But, it didn’t. It just got worse and worse. But, knowing my body well enough, I knew that there could possibly be one other reason for this headache, so I had some chiropractic work done. And, it worked! For the most part J My headache subsided, though it didn’t completely go away (stress!), and that night, after a one last ditch at natural induction, I went into labor… sort of.

‘Labor’ started around midnight, and was every 7-10 minutes apart, but I could totally sleep in-between, contractions, and, I think, even through contractions. Except, hella back pain. Seriously, it was like someone ripping apart my back. I had back labor with my other two, so I knew what it was, but it was 10x worse this time. Anyway. Then they spaced out, and then got closer together, and spaced out again, and so the cycle continued. At one point they were 3-5 minutes apart, and then 30 minutes later they were 15 minutes apart. And then they just disappeared, and I was only getting them every 30 minutes. So Josh and I tried walking, the birthing ball, acupressure, but nothing was keeping them consistent, or even increasing them. My body was just doing whatever my body wanted to do. My doctor called me early in the morning to check if I was still coming in, and I told them I was going to be late because I wanted to see if I could get labor to go more, and I would come later in the morning instead of right at 7 or 8. After every attempt, and getting super frustrated, we decided to head to the hospital.

We got to the hospital, went on their monitors, walked around a lot, prayed, and slowly started to get my contractions back. I was at 4cm when I had got to the hospital.

Well, my options were few. I could either sign myself up for a C-section, walk around and try to get labor to increase, or possibly have my water broken but that wasn’t guaranteed to work to make my body go into labor. So, I walked. A lot. But walking hurt my back more then helped, and eventually, I opted for a birthing ball. Nothing was really working though, contractions weren’t getting any closer, and when they were coming, they were so painful. My back was so jacked up this pregnancy, and throwing back labor in with it, was just a mess. My minor contractions were hurting worse then my intense contractions when I was 9cm with no pain meds with Gabriel. I could not find any position or trick to lesson the back pain, it was just so intense. My physical therapist had said I had one of the worst backs of pregnancy she had ever seen, so when some people say ‘oh I totally know what you mean’ I kinda laugh, because I honestly don’t think anybody could understand it, haha! It’s like your back being broken, but times 10.

At around 3PM, I made a decision with my doctor. It was kind of a shot in the dark. My contraction had dwindled off and we all knew something had to happen. I wasn’t about to just sign myself up for a C-section, so I chose my last ‘natural’ option, I told them to break my water. One thing I did know, was that if the breaking the water worked, my ‘cushion’ was going to be gone. Which meant those contractions, and mostly, my back, was going to hurt so much worse. And that thought was completely unbearable. So I told them that before we broke my water, I wanted an epidural. So, that’s what they did! I got an epidural, and the doctor came in to break my water.

It worked! I was finally in a consistent labor pattern and progressing! By 9-10pm that night, I was 6cm. By 7am, I was 9cm, and by 9am, I was 10 cm.

My epidural had been one that I could still feel most everything, and still move around a bit, which was helpful because I was able to get in some positions that I knew were a little bit better then just laying on my back. But, Jared was quite picky and didn’t like me in numerous positions or his heart rate would drop, so I was more limited then what I would have liked.

I started pushing at 9am. Jared was at +1 when I started. My contractions at this point where more spaced out then the average women’s, but at the same time, were also longer. So I was able to push 3-4 times every contraction, rather then the average 2-3, and then would just have a longer break in between. I could tell my epidural was starting to wear off. My back and hips hurt so badly, he was literally sitting on my spine, and he was posterior, and it hurt! I knelt, I squatted, I did side lying, everything, nothing lessened the back pain, and, apparently, nothing made him move down. I pushed and pushed, for almost 2 hours, and he hadn’t budged a millimeter. They attempted to turn him at one point, which at first I thought helped, but I don’t think it did. He wasn’t budging, and it still felt like he was faced the wrong way. But, I was determined to have him. So, I pushed, and pushed, and pushed some more. I tried a towel trick, and we had one doctor pushing ‘things’ apart trying to give Jared room to move down, and it just wasn’t working. I pushed for 4 hours, and when I started, he was at +1, and when I stopped, he was still at +1.  Four hours of pushing and not one little millimeter to show for it! He just wasn’t coming.

My epidural was useless at this point, had completely worn off. I had tried every trick I knew of to give Jared the most space to move down, and nothing. Everyone in the room knew he wasn’t coming at that point. The two doctors I had, mine and the OB on call, were actually really bummed, they had really wanted to see me have a VBAC, and they had given me every opportunity to do so. They had also said that they had never, in all their years of delivering babies, seen anyone so determined to have a vaginal delivery or had seen someone push so hard. But, alas, baby wasn’t coming.

So, it was decided to have a C-section. And, at the time, I was completely ok with that. I knew I was within the hours at the hospital that my baby would be kept with me the entire time, granted I did not have to be completely put to sleep for the surgery, and I wasn’t going to miss a moment with my new baby. So, I signed the papers, and moaned and breathed through the contractions, all the way down to the surgery room.

When I got to the surgical room, a doctor came up to me, and asked me if my epidural had worn off, which I had said yes. From my understanding, and from talking to a friend who is actually an anesthesiologist, at this point, they could either give me more epidural medicine, which at this point would be pointless since my body was already used to the medicine and no longer working, or they could switch me to, I believe it’s called a spinal, which would be guaranteed to work and not let me feel anything from my chest down. Well, my anesthesiologist decided to give me more epidural medicine, instead of switching me to a spinal.

So, unknowing what I was in for, I got on the surgical table, and waited to feel completely numb like I knew I was supposed to feel from having gone through this before. The pain had decreased for the most part, but I could still wiggle my toes, and I could feel them draping things and what not. And, having gone through this before, I knew that they weren’t going to start before asking me if I was numb and testing if I could feel this or that.

Josh had come in and was holding my hand, and I started to freak out. I was feeling cold on my belly, and I could hear then talking over the noise of the machines by my head, and no one was asking me if I was numb. All the sudden, I started to feel pain. Lots of pain, in my stomach. I flipped. I told the anesthesiologist behind me that I could feel pain, and he was like ‘oh, it’s normal to feel a little bit during a C-section, don’t worry’ and I was like ‘I know what you’re supposed to feel, I’ve felt it before, you’re not supposed to feel pain!’ and he just said his speech again. I felt more cutting and snipping and the pain was just, unbearable. I asked them to stop, to give me something else, but I guess, since they had already given me such a large dose of epidural medicine, and since surgery had already started or something, that they could not give me anything else. I was told that they were going to try to do the C-section as fast as possible, and that I was just going to have to breathe through the pain, or, be put to sleep, but I didn’t want that because then I wouldn’t be able to be with my baby afterwards, so I chose to breathe through it.

There was lots of screaming involved, on my part, during the rest of the surgery from the pain, and I about broke my husband’s hand, and then all the sudden it stopped… but nobody said anything. Nobody said ‘he’s here!’ or ‘it’s a boy’ or ‘he’s healthy!’ Just nothing. So I listened, and was whispering ‘where is he? Is he here? I can’t hear him!’ and I was truly starting to freak out (well, more then I was, it was a new level of freaking out). Then I heard a sucking noise and remembered that they had said that he had probably inhaled meconium while he was inside me and that it would need to be sucked out, and finally, I heard him cry!!!! Then I started to cry J

They brought me my really beautiful, really big, baby boy! And I actually got to hold him! They laid him on top of me and for a moment, I got to hold my new baby boy! It was something I never had with my other two, so I was soaking up every second of it! But, then, I started to feel pain in my stomach again. They had started to stitch me up, and the pain was too much again. So they told me I had to give Jared to Josh, so they could give me a relaxant, to hopefully get me through the rest of the surgery. I had agreed as long as Josh held Jared next to my head so I could see him. I did not want to be parted.

Apparently, the relaxant put me to sleep, which would have been fine, because I would have just woken up a few minutes later and would have still been able to keep Jared with me. But, I guess, I must had still been able to feel the pain, or my body was in shock, or something, because apparently I started to moan and thrash around like I was in pain (no duh), and they had to officially put me to sleep to stitch me up so I wouldn’t hurt myself.

So I woke up, in the recovery room, not knowing what had happened, and my baby was nowhere to be seen. I remember saying the same thing over and over again. At first I kept saying ‘it hurts, it hurts’ over and over again, and then ‘where is my baby? Where is my baby?’ repeatedly. I remember starting to cry, I remember that I stopped breathing multiple times, every time I would start to fall asleep, I would stop breathing, and the alarm would go off and wake me up again, or they would shake me awake so I would take a breath in. They told me that I couldn’t go upstairs where my baby was until my pain was under control, so I lied and said it was so I could see him.

The trip up to the room was painful, but I finally got to hold my Jared again, and cuddle him for a bit. I think they gave me more drugs at that point, because I was still in hella amounts of pain, and I don’t remember too much for the next few hours… I think I tried to feed him, or something, I really don’t remember… I remember my nurse sucking, and I kicked her out, and I remember my husband holding Jared, and I remember seeing the indent around Jared’s head from where he had gotten stuck.

For the remainder of my hospital stay, I held Jared as much as I could J I slept with him, held him all the time, and watched him like a hawk every time he was with someone else J

Jared Michael was born November 8th, 2014 @ 2:00PM and weighed in at 9lbs 7oz and was 21 in long! Big and healthy!

So, there you have it! There is my birth story, the good, the bad, and the ugly. It’s not perfect, it’s not all sunshine and roses, but it’s what happened J I can say that I am pretty darn proud of myself for sticking to it, and trying everything in my power to have a vaginal birth, even if it meant being in labor all together for like 38 hours or whatever it was, and pushing for 4 hours, and for sticking it out during surgery even though it hurt like all hell, just to be able to hold my baby and be there when he came out! I wouldn’t trade that moment for anything! I can say I don’t talk about my birth much, or think about it much, and that is on purpose, so writing this all out took a lot of mental strength on my part. Whenever my husband starts to talk about it, I usually make him stop, because I remember the pain of the surgery, and I just don’t want to think about it. But I still wanted to write it, I still wanted it all said, and I still wanted it told.

The end J