Thursday, October 21, 2010

Young and in love: a birth story

Before you begin reading this, I just want to say that this story is NOT for first time Mother's to read. If you have

One of the gifts that I was given in life was determination. I am the youngest of four kids, so I got the amazing privilege of seeing them all date- by age 12, I was determined to NOT experience the heartache that I saw them go through. (don't worry, we'll get to the birth here soon)

I began to pray for my husband. The list of "wants" changed over the years, but one desire stayed the same: I wanted to date only one guy, and I wanted him to be a virgin. I began to really resent the fact that God honored my request, when I was 18 years old and STILL had not been asked out on a date. Looking back on it now, I am so very grateful that God honored that prayer. I met my husband when I was 20 years old, he also had never dated anyone. Neither of us had experienced a "relationship" and got to discover everything wonderful about each other without having any baggage to carry around. It is a gift.

BUT, it was also a whirlwind! We started dating in March, then we were engaged 6 months later , then married 6 months later in March (the anniversary of our first date), and then 6 months after that, we were pregnant with our first child. I had absolutely no clue about any of it. EVERYTHING was new, so I relied on my convictions, and plowed ahead.

I was terrified of having a baby, but I always knew I wanted to be a Mom. I was absolutely thrilled when I discovered I was pregnant. It was scary and intimidated, and I had no idea how it would change our lives, or if we could even afford a baby, BUT I was truly happy. I had had dreams before I was married, that my first child was going to be a girl, so right away I knew I was going to have a girl, and I was right!

We had planned on moving to Kansas City, MO to be a part of a church called IHOP (International House of Prayer), but nothing was coming together to make that move, so by the grace of God we decided to stay. I am so very very grateful that we did. I had no idea where to begin when it came to looking for a doctor (I had not discovered the beauty of midwives then). I didn't have any girl friends to rely on for advice, so my husband literally got out the phone book and called the first set of Doctors that seemed best to him- and we ended up using him for the rest of my delivery. In all fairness, I really did like him as a Doctor, he was the Old fashion type and very kind, but I still didn't feel like I was "understanding" the process very well.

I really had an amazing pregnancy, I didn't get sick, I ate to my hearts content, and really enjoyed the experience. During the end of my pregnancy though, I started having weird episodes of blacking out and getting dizzy. They never did discover why it happened, and my Doctor just looked at me strangely every time I asked him about it.

Isabel was due to arrive on June 11th. On June 10th, I began to break out in an intensely itchy rash. It first started as a tiny little patch on one of my hands, and then it spread to covering both of my hands, feet, and all of my stretch marks. I went to the emergency room twice because I was in so much discomfort that I was having mental breakdowns (literally). The only way to relieve any of it was to take an ice cold shower. It was crazy, and again they never figured out why I had it.

On June 13th, I went to the hospital due to my maddening condition. After using the restroom while waiting in the waiting room, I felt a small gush. I found out immediately that if the ER hears anything having to do with a "GUSH" they will automatically rush you to Labor and Delivery and drop you off so that you are not a bother to them. It was wild- and so not what I expected. They hooked me up and asked me an enormous amount of questions, and gave me an ambien. I had my first night of good sleep in weeks. When I woke up in the morning, they kicked me out- I was obviously not in labor, and I must have just lost control of my bladder. I was really bummed- but still determined to not be induced into labor.

On June 14th, I had another mental breakdown and fell asleep crying my eyes out. I woke up at 5am and turned over in the bed, and another big gush came out. This time I knew it was not a lack of control. I was determined to stay at the hospital this time around, so I wrapped up my underwear in a plastic bag, and we were off to the hospital again. They were quite frustrated with me and argued over whether I had experienced a "gush" or not, and then I revealed "the bag"! After testing it, the nurse told me that it was "grossly positive". wow.

At that point, I was experiencing very mild contractions, but my Doctor and I decided that we should induce labor so that I could keep my sanity. I labored for 5 hours in a rocking chair, and it was so intense for me. Everything I had read said that I would get a break in between contractions, it never happened. After 5 hours, I had made it to a 5 (I had started out as a 2). Knowing that the hardest labor was to come- and knowing how completely exhausted I was from all I had already experienced, I elected for the epidural.

This was a turning point for me. I realized immediately that I hated having an epidural. The anesthesiologist put the epidural in wrong, so that it went into a blood vessel thus only numbing half of my body. I was in intense pain and began to feel extremely uncomfortable, so they gave me an extra shot of it- my heart rate went through the roof and I watched it on the monitor. I began to black out, and I thought this was the end. No joke. Immediately, I was given oxygen, but by this time I was so panicked that I started hyperventilating.

I had never experienced a panic attack in my life. It took all of my energy to focus on breathing normal. Anesthesiologist number 2 came in and gave me a proper epidural, and now I was numb all the way up to my chest. I immediately asked them to back off of the epidural. I did not like being that numb.

I prayed a lot.

During my entire labor, I listened to Jason Upton's cd: "Open up the Earth". There's a song on there called : Breathe. This song kept me going. Ryan was by my side the entire time, but he looked just as scared and worried as I felt.

By 8pm, I had dilated fully, and it was time to push. The nurse I had a for a pushing coach, was pregnant with twins and was counting her contractions in between my pushes- wild! She had me push in the strangest positions, and when my Doctor came in an hour and half later, he was not happy. He coached me the rest of the way, and after pushing with him, he decided to use forceps, and an episiotomy. Two and half hours later, Isabel came rushing out, and I'll never forget that feeling.

The Jason Upton was singing in the background "There's a new child coming".

My first thought was: She's so big! A close friend of mine had a 7 pound baby just the week before, and here comes Isabel almost 9 pounds! She is gorgeous and feisty, and has the exact personality of me. We named her Isabel Jean. Isabel after my Great- Grandmother from Scotland, and Jean, which is my middle name, my Grandmother's middle name, and my Great- Aunt's first name. It means- Consecrated to God, God is Gracious.

*The photo shown above was taken by my Uncle who is an incredible photographer of Children. This photo has become quite famous, with over 20,000 views. Isabel was about 2 at the time.*

Stay tuned for baby number two's birth story: Discovering Midwives!

Saturday, October 16, 2010

A Lawn Mower and An Ant Hill

Yeah, so recently I've been struggling.

Really struggling.

Not the "I don't want to get out of bed" or "I just want to cry all the time" sort of struggling. Mostly the "Who am I really?" and "Do I have what it takes?" sort of struggle.

There has only been one other time in my life that I have wrestled with myself this much, and that was 5 years ago. I was in a situation where I was being accused wrongfully- and I knew it.

BUT, it made me begin to doubt myself. I thought about that situation every day. I was constantly having to pray through things and "let it go". I had never doubted myself so deeply, until recently.

Again, I've experienced another one of those situations that I was misunderstood. I hate being misunderstood. If I could right one wrong for my life, it would be that I would never be misunderstood again.

So, I was outside with my kids once again pondering this whole situation in my head, and I got fed up! So, I decided to pour my energy into mowing my lawn instead of fretting over what I "did" and "didn't" do right. Right as I was at the very end of finishing up, I felt all these little pin pricks on my skin- yep. I had walked right over an ant hill without knowing it. I completely panicked and started stripping my clothes off as fast as I could! I literally had ants crawling up my pants. yeah...meanwhile my daughter, Isabel is laughing at me and yelling out that she can see my "underpants".

I broke out in hives, and if it weren't for my Mom talking with me over the phone, I think I would have passed out, because I panicked. Once my husband came home and gave me some water, I calmed down and the hives went away almost immediately.

I realized that I feel like emotions got attacked by a bunch of ants- it was sudden and out of no where, and I panicked. And it still hurts. But, I know as soon as I begin to let go of my panick, and trust that God is with me, I know the pain will eventually subside. I know He's there to help, as soon as I'm ready to trust Him.