Wednesday, February 18, 2015

a continual feast.

Welp, my kid rolled over for the first time last night.

[don't leave]

We have been expecting this milestone because my little one recently started showing signs that he was about to do it. Naturally we had our camera phones out each night recording every non-success in an attempt to catch the big moment. Naturally when it finally happened we did not have our phones nearby to capture his accomplishment.

It was not like I expected. We waited and waited for him to make one smooth move from back to belly.. Ta-da!! But in reality, we sat around cheering him on, watching him grunt and push and scoot, and saying encouraging words to him like he was about to break some world record, but to no avail. 

When he actually did it, he was working silently on the floor and he sort of just flomped from his back to his side (like he had done a thousand times before), then eventually figured out he could keep going and rolled over onto his right arm. It was stuck.. So we waited until he wriggled it out from under himself to officially "claim" the victory. Yay!!! 


[okay, okay, nobody cares. I'm getting to my point]

We celebrated him with everything we had. It was a sweet moment of praise for this little human in his little moment of accomplishment. What joy! It's silly, but it got me to thinking about how to translate that attitude to other areas of my life. 

To watch Harrison's face light up while we hugged and kissed on him in a celebratory fashion was a moment for me. We all like to be celebrated, even for the small things. There is so much competition out there, so much comparison. How can I do my part to truly "get there" with someone and genuinely celebrate little accomplishments in life as though they were the greatest?

It could be that your best friend made it throughout the day without having any negative self-talk. Maybe your grandma successfully figured out how to open and use the "instant gram" app on her new iPad you got her for Christmas. Perhaps after many failed attempts your neighbor finally perfected the backspin on his ping pong serve. 

It is so important to take the time to genuinely celebrate the little things. Celebrate the little people. Celebrate the little accomplishments. In both yourself and in others. For both yourself and for others. 

It is so often that in moments like these there is opportunity for joy and we run past it cheating both ourselves and others out of a few minutes of life-giving. 

So your wife had an extremely successful coupon-savings grocery run?
Tell me all about it! What'd you buy? You saved how much?? That. Is. AWESOME! Way to go! Look at you. Savin' money. You're great!

So your son memorized song lyrics to a fast-paced pop song?
Sing it! Sing it again! I'm so proud of you. That took a lot of practice and dedication! I love it!

These things are so mundane but they are so good. A continual feast.

"All the days of the afflicted are evil, but the cheerful of heart has a continual feast." - Proverbs 15:15

Sunday, February 8, 2015

our birth story.

photo credit: morgan blake

Yep. Ours.

Not just mine.

I decided late the other night to share the story of how our little one came into the world. Not only because I feel like a powerful tiger/warrior woman who conquered a HUGE physical, mental, and emotional challenge, but also to bring light to the power of a loving, supportive husband who is often lost in these stories. 

Yes, we did this together. 

My man was as much a part of bringing our boy into the world as he could be short of carrying him in and delivering him from his own body. 

So here it is. Our birth story.

It was just before midnight when I awoke to a loud "pop" and a dazed & confused thought that Harris might have just kicked me.. Only to realize that it's game time and my water had just broken. I excitedly scurried down the hall only to find myself contracting.. hard.. excitement gone. I was completely unable to find a comfortable position to sit/stand/lie in. My doc calmly recommended (via our midnight phone call) that I jump in the shower and head to the hospital. Well, shortly after showering, Harris noticed that my contractions were coming on much faster than how we had learned they would be from our birth class. I could hardly put one leg through my pants without doubling over with intense contractions. Forget looking cute and taking a couple "on our way" pics. We needed to hurry. 

We pulled into the carpool lane and ran. We stopped halfway as I awkwardly worked through another big one. Imagine a passionate church-goer getting into the spirit of worship: head nodding up and down, one hand on knee and the other on hip, an occasional arm raising, and lots of "oh Lord"s. 

We get checked in and I'm feeling sick. I can't keep last night's dinner down from pain and the sweet nurse asks me what I had in mind for a birth plan. Birth plan? Birth plan. Yes, we had some preferences, but words would literally not come out of my mouth, so I point to Harris. He knows. He was my words. This is our birth story. 

The next big question was about whether or not to get an epidural. My thought after going through birth classes was, since I am usually pain tolerant and I had yet to experience this type of pain, that I would give it my best shot as naturally as possible then just get the meds if I came to a breaking point. Well, she checked me at this point and I was at a 1.5cm. [This is where I had been for two weeks].. Are you kidding me?? All I could think about was the stories women had told me of the 12, 24, and 32 hour labors they had, and I about passed out! No way could I keep this up for that long! I barely had time to breathe from one contraction before my next was right there. Epidural.. you're looking mighty fine right about now.

I get checked into my delivery room because there was no doubt my contractions were hard and strong. At this point I couldn't even imagine laying in the bed so I jumped in the shower and stayed there for approximately 2 to 2.5 hours. I continued to progress and the heat felt good, so I stayed. And stayed. 

And stayed. 

Funny side story: You know how throughout the course of taking a shower you get used to the water temp so you periodically turn the faucet warmer and warmer? [maybe not, but you probably would if you ever took a 2+ hour long one] Well I was doing that but the water was getting colder so I decided that I had run the hospital out of hot water. I was sobbing. The only comfort I had was gone.. and I told Harris all about it. He calmly noticed what I had actually been doing and said softly as he turned the faucet to warm again, "Tay, you've been turning the faucet colder each time". I cried again. I am so thankful for warm water.

Harris kept checking on me but was the perfect balance of being present and supportive yet also being out of sight and quiet. A necessary balance. He advocated for me during this time because I was simultaneously begging for an epidural and refusing to get out of the shower. [and as the saying goes, you can't have your cake and eat it too] He communicated this to me lovingly and didn't push the envelope either way. He let me lead and he patiently followed without making me feel rushed. This is our birth story. 

When I got out, I had progressed to 6cm. We were moving along! I started to think that maybe my labor really would be unique to me and not like others I had heard. I had to be in the bed to get fluids for about an hour before I could get the epidural, so labor in bed I did. 

My quirky pain-coping mechanism: each time a contraction came along I grabbed and squeezed whoever's hand was nearby with my right hand, pointed my toes REALLY hard (that's the dancer in me), and tapped my left hand on the bed really fast. Weirdo. 

Harris stood by every time telling me how proud he was of me and how strong I was. This is our birth story.

Well, they decided to go ahead and give me the epidural before they checked my progress so that it wouldn't hurt so bad when they did. I signed the consent form (barely legibly, Harris later informed me), and I got the meds. He held me while contractions tried to bury me alive and a foot long needle was slowly inching into my spine. [I'm dramatic.] I started to feel an urge to push almost immediately after getting the shot. The doc said that I should start to notice the meds taking effect.. I didn't. He then checked my progress when I confessed that the epidural was not working, only to find out that I was already at 10cm! Oops. Go time.

Before the nurses could get ready, I was setting myself up to push. Thankfully at 10cm and a few pushes in, the epidural started to work. Harris was ready by my side. [Real man points go to him for being so strong during such an intense and foreign experience.] The whole 45 minutes or so of pushing he was right there with me because, after all, this is our birth story. 

Finally our son arrived. He's here. He's healthy. He's ours. It was a total of 6 hours and 46 minutes after my water broke until he was in my arms. From what I have been told, that's a whirlwind pace for a first time mama. It was indeed a whirlwind, and a story I will cherish forever. Harris was with me each step fighting alongside me to get our son here. He saw a side of me he had never known before. We were running the race together and the prize was our son. 

The gift of marriage is that we get to do this, and everything else, together. We get to do life, including bringing our son into the family, together. What an incredible gift it is! Now the three of us get to do life together. 

To my single sisters: baby delivery is a part of marriage you may not necessarily be thinking about when butterflies are happening in dating. I didn't. Let's just say that it's one of those moments where to have a man with humble strength and a commitment to the covenant relationship is worth the wait. 

Every woman's story is different, and you will probably hear many (especially if you're pregnant and do NOT want to hear them). As I said, it's like telling people about your warrior alter-ego. It feels like you went to battle and did the dang thing and you just really want people to know about it! So cut us a break. You'll want to tell yours too. 

God has a plan for your life, and He is good. Whatever your story (or birth story) looks like, He will provide. I am just over the moon thankful for a God who loves me, a strong supportive husband, a healthy baby boy, and an incredible experience I'll never forget.