Thursday, July 17, 2014

the birth story I never told

I really can't say that I have never told this story. Family and close friends have heard it, at least most of it. And if you've asked, I've told you because I have no problem talking about it. The reason I don't often mention it is because it's depressing. I'm pretty sure most people don't want to hear about a 36 hour labor that ended in me holding the lifeless body of my precious daughter and having to leave the hospital empty handed. I know it makes others uncomfortable. So for that reason, it's remained locked up in my heart.

But as I sat down this afternoon to write out Stella's birth story, I felt I needed to write this one down first. I guess because I know there are mothers who need to hear it.

I'm writing this not so you'll pity me or feel bad for me. Don't you dare feel bad for me.

I'm writing this not to show how strong I was because I assure you, I was weak. Very weak.

My reason for writing this is two-fold.

First, to give a glimpse into what it's like to go through such a horrible life event. Right now there are so many mothers facing the same, awful, grim prognosis for their child that I faced with mine. And those mommas want to know what lies ahead. I don't blame them. If you are one of those mothers, I don't want you to feel like you're alone in this because believe me, you are not.

Which brings me to the second reason for sharing this story: to show how I, a weak and scared first-time mom, made it through this process. The only answer I can give is Jesus. In my weakness, He is made strong. He is my Help, my Peace and my Comfort. He alone is the reason I made it through to the other side of this in one whole piece.

Oh, before I forget. If you're reading this and thinking, what in the heck is she talking about? Here are some blog posts that will help you out before reading the actual birth story:
*in memoriam: Isabella Marie
*five things I learned from the life and death of a baby
*don't give up on God

I'll be honest. This was 6 years ago so many of the details have been lost with time. But this is how I remember it.

It was a Wednesday morning that I went in for a routine OB appointment. The nurse was having a hard time finding a heart beat. Let's be honest, I already knew the night before that I had lost the baby. A mother knows these things. I just knew. My doctor did an ultrasound to check things out and as we expected, no heart beat. She was 25 weeks gestation.

From there I had the option of allowing my body to go into labor naturally or to induce labor. My doctor recommended we induce and being so naive to anything about anything, I agreed. Looking back I may have done things differently, but what happened is what happened. There's nothing I can do now to make things different. And I'm okay with that.

We checked into L&D on the following Tuesday morning at 7:30. Getting everything going was a long and boring process. Paperwork, getting things situated in the room, hospital gown, IV hook up, getting blood drawn. It felt like hours before my doctor actually arrived and we began the induction. Now, because I was only 25 weeks and because this was my first pregnancy, they couldn't just give me pitocin and go from there. My cervix had to first be ripened which was a long and gruesome process. Every couple of hours the nurse had to put a couple of pills up next to my cervix that would cause it to open slowly. Very slowly.

For basically the whole first day we did nothing but wait, and watch the Olympics and eat. I was hooked up to an IV from minute one, which was a dumb idea. I had to pee like every 10 minutes which meant rolling that dumb bag on a hook with me every single time. By the end of that first day, I don't even know that I had dilated at all. I'm not even kidding. It was awful.

Isabella 005

I hardly slept through the night. Like I said, I had to pee constantly, the bed was super uncomfortable, the nurse kept coming in and waking me up and let's be honest, I was very anxious.

Now, when you're in labor with a stillborn, they put some kind of sign on your door (at this hospital it was just a picture of a leaf) to notify everyone who comes in about the situation. At one point an L&D nurse came in, probably about 2 am, to tell me that she had just gone through the same thing only a few weeks prior. And that she understood what I was going through. Now, I get it. It was comforting to know that she wasn't alone, that there are other women dealing with a similar loss as she. But it really was not the time or place to tell me. Not while I was in the middle of labor with the baby I had lost and was about to lose. I'm not the most emotional person in the world so I just shrugged it off, but I remember thinking, what if she had come in and said that to someone who was far more emotional than me? But I guess that's beside the point.

At some point in the morning, I remember the nurse checking me and being dilated to 1 cm. Wow, what progress right? And I can't even remember if they had begun to give me pitocin yet or not. My doctor showed up soon after to make his rounds and convinced me he needed to break my water to help things move. Yikes. That was so super painful and way uncomfortable. And as it always does, it helped to really bring on contractions. Very intense contractions. And yet, I still wasn't progressing.

Isabella 010

I wasn't ready to get the epidural. For some reason I was really hoping I could just get through the whole ordeal without one altogether. I had initially planned for a hypnobirth and some crazy part of me was still holding on to the hope that I could have that.

The nurse offered me some pain killers, which I agreed to and were inserted into my IV. Immediately I was high as pie. Having never done a single drug in my life and as someone who rarely even takes Motrin, whatever was given to me may as well have been heroin. In fact, it probably was some kind of opiate. It also made me incredibly nauseous, so they gave me some meds for that too.

After a couple hours of that, and still no progress, the head nurse came in and convinced me to just get the epidural. She was hoping that it would allow me to relax enough to let my body progress. And she was right.

By now I was on the "all ice diet" which is totally lame. So I ate popsicles the whole day. Which, can I just say, seems super healthy when you're in the middle of the most intense workout your body has ever been through? Anyway, some time in the afternoon I took a phone call from our pastor's wife who had lost her daughter at close to 40 weeks. She had been such an encouragement to me during the whole pregnancy and it was a little bit of a comic relief to hear her tell me that I was crazy to not have gotten the epidural sooner!

I don't remember a whole lot from that point until it was time to push, other than that I did get a chance to nap. I guess it was some time in the afternoon that I had reached 10 cm. The doctor arrived and prepped and with just a few pushes she was out. She weighed barely a pound.

The nurses wrapped her entire body up and gave her to me to hold for a while. We decided that I shouldn't see her because of her condition. It would have just been to difficult to deal with.

Probably minutes later, I had to be rushed into surgery and knocked out. My placenta didn't deliver before my cervix decided to close up completely and I could see the frustration in my doctor's face. He would need to perform a D&C. I handed the baby to Ben and they rolled me away. I breathed a few times with the mask on and was out.

I remember coming to and asking Ben how long I had been gone. And then I asked again. And then I asked again. And then I asked again. Anesthesia is a funny thing.

We held our daughter for a little while longer and spent some time alone with her. Ben prayed over me and then we handed her off to the nurses.

That night we left the hospital, empty handed. It was probably the worst feeling I've ever experienced. I'll tell you, it was the moment that the nurse wheeled me up to our car and I got in without a baby that reality hit me like a ton of bricks. I knew for months we would lose her. I knew for a week we had already lost her. I knew for 2 days in the hospital that she was gone. And yet it was then that it all came crashing down on me.

It's not fair for a mother to give birth to her baby and never ever get to bring her home. It just isn't.

The next few days are a blur. I felt like I had been hit by a bus and then run over by a train. I can't even tell you how many different kinds of drugs had been pumped through my body and how exhausted I was after being up for 36 hours and flooded with 10,000 different emotions and hormones. My boobs were so engorged and it was a miserable few days both physically and emotionally.

We visited the funeral home to make arrangements for her burial. They were so incredibly gracious to us and paid for the entire thing. We paid not one dime. What a blessing that was. A couple days later we had a small service for her and buried her in the Garden of Innocence. The pastor, who's wife I mentioned, performed the service. And our daughter is buried just a few feet away from his son.

Isabella 018

At this point I could get into the details about how God worked in my life during this season. But I've already written about that part. However, there is one more thing I'd like to share relating to that.

You know how when something major happens to you, over the course of time- either weeks, months or years- you only remember bits and pieces? Little experiences, conversations, snippets of the whole. There was one particular conversation that will always stay with me. It was during a routine doctor's appointment. I was in the room with my doctor and a student of his. My doctor made a comment about how strong I had been through this whole ordeal and basically how impressed he was by that. And the only thing I could say to him in response was, "Jesus. It's all Jesus."

Because it was. None of it was me. As I said before, I was weak. So very weak. My husband wasn't even there by my side until the delivery (he was deployed to the Middle East). I had family around me and yet I felt alone, except for the comfort of the Holy Spirit and the power of Christ in me. If not for Him, if not for His peace, I don't know that I would have had the strength to make it through without totally cracking.

And yet, because of Him I did. Because of Him I am stronger. Because of Him, the Comforter, I can now give comfort and support to others who are going through or who have gone through a similar experience. All because of Him.

Isabella 023 - Copy

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God. 2 Corinthians 1:3,4

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

things i don't do

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[I painted this for our entryway, inspired but this]

Last week I started reading Bittersweet. Have you read it? I'm really enjoying Shauna's writing style, especially the short chapters. I can pick up the book and get through 1 or 2 chapters in between picking up toys, putting food on the stove and wiping butts, so it's an all-around win.

I love one of the chapters "things i don't do" and so I started to make a similar list of my own- the things I don't do and the things I do. Because we all work to be the best wife, mom, friend, sister, daughter, etc that we can be, but there are definitely things that just aren't worth the effort, right? And that's totally OKAY.

Also I think it's healthy to not do it all. And even better to write down the things that are worth doing and not doing. Um, plus it's sort of fun.

Things I Don't Do:
I don't sort the laundry (aside from diapers. those have to be washed separately). It's just not worth my time. I do all the wash in cold water, all together. White and colors and darks and delicates. They all get thrown into the same load. And I've never had an issue. There are just more important things that demand my time than dividing clothes into matching piles and then washing them. Once a laundry basket is full, it just gets dumped into the washing machine and done. I end up doing about a load a day this way and it works quite well.

Also, I don't buy clothes that need to be dry-cleaned. And I try not to buy clothes that need to be "line-dried." Just more effort and thought required than I'm willing to give it. It's easier to put everything into the washing machine and then everything into the dryer. Done and done.

I don't make our bed. Okay, I borrowed this one from Shauna, but I'm in total agreement with her that it's silly to make something that's just going to be undone that night. Plus I'm just that lazy. And no one is going to see it.

I don't have Facebook or Twitter on my phone. When I did, they just sucked up more time than I wanted to lend to them and so they will remain solely on the desktop computer.

I don't get pedicures (or manicures, because I bite my nails). Mostly because I also don't have the time or the money. But either way, don't be surprised if when you see me, there is no polish on my piggies.

I don't wear earrings. I pierced my own ears when I was 13. Okay, I didn't do it. My friend did. With a sewing needle, some ice and a potato. But you get the idea. Since that time, I've probably worn earrings a total of ten times. I'm not even sure the holes are still there.

I don't document my children's milestones. Horrible mommy alert! I started to with Isaac. I think I got 6 months in. With Eli I think I sat down a total of 2 times to try and make a list of when I thought he had started doing things. And with Stella, well, she's still not doing much of anything other than drink a whole lotta milk, puke some of it up, poop the rest of it out and sleep. And I'm totally okay with that!

I don't drink coffee. I just don't.

Things I Do:
I do make the time (almost) every single day to read scripture, journal through it, even if it's just a couple verses, and pray. I try to do this in the morning, before I get out of bed and face the big bad world- and by "big bad world" I mean two ornery, yet energetic boys who demand of me every moment of every day and a sweet but also demanding newborn. My relationship with the Lord is first and foremost and if I'm going to not only survive the day, but fulfill the purpose God has intended for me and glorify Him, I need to be filled with His Spirit and with His Truth.

I do make my husband lunch every day. My love language is totally "acts of kindness." There are a lot of things I do to serve and show Ben that I love him. But I also think it's important to speak to him in his own love language(s) and so I'm constantly working to show him love in those ways too. Aside from our own personal relationships with the Lord, the most important relationship within our family is our marriage. It's vital for our relationship as husband and wife to remain strong and for us to continue to grow even closer, for the benefit of our family as a whole.

I do cook dinner every night (okay, we do have those nights when I just don't feel like it or that I've designated as nights to "eat out" when I menu plan- yep, I do menu plan too, but for the most part we eat at home). And I don't just cook our dinners, I make our food. It's very important for us to eat real food, to avoid cans and boxes and GMOs, and to include fresh veggies and fruit- organic if we can afford it.

I do work to save babies and inform and encourage others about how and why they should do the same. If there is one single issue I believe to be the most important, political or not, it's life. If you've read this blog for any amount of time, I'm sure you are very aware of that. But here's the thing- I think it's important for everyone of us to determine what it is that we find to be worth fighting for, and then to actually do something about it. We should be involved in our communities, our churches, our cities, our states, our nation and even the world, working to make changes that we believe in and that glorify God.

I do see a lay midwife as my pregnancy care provider, and believe in natural home births. With Isaac, we desired a natural birth. With Eli, we attempted a home birth. And with Stella, we had a successful home birth. I believe very strongly that women were created by God to carry and birth children. Their bodies are not broken and they have all that they need to do it on their own. I also believe that we as women have such a unique opportunity to be discipled and strengthened by the Lord through labor and birth. (Of course I am grateful for the medical advances we have in this country and while there is definitely a time and place for medical intervention in labor, I think that intervention happens far more than it is actually needed and therefore robs women of the birth they should get to experience).

I do sew my own curtains, paint my own walls, know how to use a drill and a hammer, create art for our home, scrapbook our family memories, grow my own tomatoes, buy everything secondhand, budget, share a car with my husband and plan to home school.

I do believe in hand written correspondence. I tell ya, I used to be really good about sending a few cards a month to different friends around the country and even those who lived nearby. But over the last few years I have gotten just plain lazy. So here and now I'm deciding to be better about writing notes and putting them in the mail. I know everyone loves getting mail. And I know everyone can use a few words of encouragement from time to time. I think about and pray for my friends often. I'm sure they'd love to know that!

So what about you? What are some things you do and some things you don't do?

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

when my perspective changed: a lesson in how to read the bible

2014-06-25 15.07.44

You know, I can't remember how I was first taught to read the bible. I do know that for a long time I didn't read it at all because it seemed so boring and unrelatable. That was my immature teenage self (I was saved at the age of 13). No one ever really took the time to show me or explain to me how I should view scripture, how I should approach it, how I should read it and study it.

Eventually my family landed in a church where we experienced expository teaching for the first time. I think it was then that I began to understand that scripture was more than just words on a page and a bunch of unrelated stories. I started to see how each and every word was God-breathed, straight from the Lord and there is a purpose to it all: Jesus.

But even then, for a long time, I always read the bible with a "me" perspective. What I mean by that is that everything I read, I approached with these questions: "how does this relate to me? what's in this for me? how does this change my life? what is God saying to me?"

And don't get me wrong. Obviously the word does relate to me and you, personally. We belong to a personal God. He calls us by name and knows us personally. He has an individual purpose, specific to each one of our lives. We have a personal relationship with Him and He absolutely wants us to read His word willing to be changed personally by the words contained within it.

But then again, it's not about me. It's about Him.

It's all about Him.

And when I applied that truth to how I read scripture, everything changed.

I have understood for a long time that everything I do in this life, all that the Lord has purposed for me, all that I am, is here to glorify the Lord. That's what it all comes down to. My life is about Him and His glory.

But what's funny is that I never related that to how I read scripture. I related it to how I treat my family and friends, to the activities I choose to be apart of, to the words I write on this blog, to the way I care for the needy, to the clothes I choose to wear, to the words that come out of my mouth, to the actions I take in everyday life. But I missed it in regards to studying the word altogether.

I'm almost embarrassed to admit this, but it wasn't until this year, as I sat and listened to David Platt teach at Secret Church, that it really hit me for the first time. The overall theme of his 6 hours of teaching was how the death of Jesus on the cross affects our everyday lives. One particular section was titled "Living Every Day to Love God With All Your Mind and Strength." The focus was on reading scripture.

He said something like, "You'll never fall in love with anyone by proxy. You need to read the bible personally, for yourself, with the desire for intimacy with God" (emphasis mine). I looked down at my study guide and right there, slapping me in the face were the words, "You will fall in love with the Author of the Book." And it was then that I realized, I should be reading the bible to fall more in love with Jesus. My desire and purpose in reading scripture should be to learn more about who He is, what He did and to know intimately Him and His story. 
Not mine.

Thus says the Lord“Let not the wise man boast in his wisdom, let not the mighty man boast in his might, let not the rich man boast in his riches, but let him who boasts boast in this, that he understands and knows me, that I am the Lord who practices steadfast love, justice, and righteousness in the earth. For in these things I delight, declares the Lord.” Jeremiah 9:23,4 (emphasis mine)

So I went home and I put it to the test. I started reading verse by verse through Colossians, journaling through each and every verse. Reading it in the ESV, the NIV and the Amplified Version (my favorite for studying!!). I memorized verses, wrote them in my own words, summarized them in my journal, prayed through them and I sought out Jesus in every.single.word.

And you know what happened? The more I read, the more I learned, the more I fell in love with Jesus and who He is and what He's done for me. My heart and my mind began to be changed simply by getting to know Him. Because when I know Him, I get to know who I am in Him. And I let Him in more and more to do the work in me that needs to be done.

Reading the word with the perspective of "what does this mean for me?" becomes empty really fast. I can personally testify to that. But when I set that perspective aside and understand that the story isn't about me, the impact is profound. It's when I simply enjoy, love and delight in the Lord, knowing Him personally and intimately that He will be most glorified in me. John Piper said, "God is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in Him." The best way to be satisfied in Him is to know Him. The best way to know Him is to read His very word with the intent on getting to know Him better. It will change everything about your relationship with Him and in the end it will change you too.

Now this is eternal life: that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent. John 17:3

I've gotten several inquiries about how exactly to find the David Platt talk I'm referring to. You can find the entire Secret Church message here. There are 4 sections total and it's about 6 hours. I refer specifically to Session 2.  

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

the birth story I prayed I would be able to tell: Stella Rae

For a while there, I thought Eli's birth had ruined me. (part 2)

It was long, tiring, no- down right exhausting, and in many ways disappointing.

But it resulted in such an incredible child being brought into this world. And as time passed, that's all I could think about when I looked back on it. And soon the feelings of disappointment faded and the memory of the exhaustion and pain disappeared.

And 10 months later, we were pregnant with Stella.

I prayed from day one of her pregnancy that the Lord would give me the home birth I had so desired with Eli. I spent so much time in the word, preparing my heart, my mind and my spirit for her labor and birth. I sometimes worried that things would go exactly how they had with Eli. But instead of succumbing to that fear, I chose instead to submit all my anxiety to the Lord. I chose to believe instead, that He is ultimately in control, no matter what may happen. And I chose to believe that He would write my daughter's birth story and that it would be exactly as He planned.

I went into labor with no expectations. I wasn't longing for a super short labor (although I would have appreciated that, no doubt!) and I wasn't scared of having a terribly long and arduous labor. I was simply ready for whatever lay ahead of me because I knew with my whole heart that God is my help, my strength and would uphold me (Isaiah 41:10). I knew He would grant me peace (Isaiah 26:3) and patience (Colossians 3:12) as I needed them . And I knew that in Christ I have everything I need (Colossians 12:9,10). 

My roughly estimated due date was June 10. I had no idea what my LMP was and only a best guess of the conception date. Our 20 week ultrasound showed her measuring right around that gestation, but as we neared the end of her pregnancy, I was consistently measuring about 2 weeks behind that. But, I still guessed that she would be here some time between the 10th and the 15th. 

And turns out, the Friday (June 13) that landed during that week just happened to be the full moon.

I began having false labor that week, for about 3 days. By Friday morning I was beginning to get a little more than irritated and a lot tired. The contractions didn't hurt, and I could totally sleep through them, but they were annoying and not getting any closer together or longer. And all I kept thinking was, "it's that dang moon!"

By Friday evening they started to pick up. I put the boys to bed at 8 and it was around then that my contractions were becoming more consistent. Not very long, and not close enough together to get really excited, but they were at least doing something!

I picked up the house and started prepping things for when labor really began. I heated a crock pot full of water, added some lavender essential oil and filled it with wash cloths. We put our $1 thrifted sheet on the bed (that would likely be ruined) and a plastic shower curtain underneath it. I lit my favorite coconut candle in the bedroom. I made sure I was drinking plenty of water, grabbed a snack and then I laid down on the couch to try and get some rest. By now it was past 11 o' clock. And by now, I could not sleep through my contractions.

Each one woke me up and they were getting intense and closer together, but still not much longer.

In fact, they never did get consistently longer and closer together. Some were longer than others. Some would come back to back to back and then some would be 5 minutes apart.

At 1:30 am, I decided to take a shower and that's when things got really intense. Over the course of 30 minutes I had 6 contractions and they were serious. Like, I had to lean way over, squat super low and grit my teeth to get through each one. By 2 o' clock, when I got out of the shower, I was borderline feeling like I needed to push.

So I called my midwife. At first I was hesitant because even though the contractions were really intense and I knew things were moving along quickly, they still weren't a minute long and they still were 5 minutes apart. But we wanted to be sure, so she agreed to head over along with a colleague of hers and a student.

They arrived at the house around 2:30. I was laboring in our bedroom, leaning over the side of our bed and breathing through every contraction. Ben would put a couple of hot wash cloths on my back during each contraction, which felt wonderful. In between, I would lay on the bed on my side. Sometimes there wasn't enough time before the next one came to get on the bed. Sometimes I had a good 5 minutes to lay there and rest. At one point, a contraction came on while I was laying down and I didn't even have a chance to stand up to get through it (I had to be standing to get through each one!). And then it hit me, the nausea and I totally threw up. At that point I thought, "oh good, we must be at transition!" But I also thought, "ew, yuck, gross."

In case you're wondering, I choose not to be checked for dilation during labor. It makes me anxious to know how far along I am. If I'm not as far as I had hoped, I get discouraged and I just don't want that. Instead I choose to just follow the cues that my body gives me

From that point on I was squatting at the side of the bed during contractions. My midwives were monitoring the baby's heart rate periodically. And then my water broke. And I was definitely feeling the need to push. I tried to squat as I pushed but my legs were just too tired and jello-y so I ended up back in the bed. I labored on my side for a bit, pushing as hard as I could. 

By now I have no idea what time it was. I flipped to my back and continued pushing through each contraction. Ben was coaching me to push and I was beginning to wonder if anything was happening. At this point with Eli and Isaac both, I would push, they would move down and then as soon as the contraction ended, they would slip back up and I could feel it happening. This time I was wondering if the same thing was happening, although I wasn't feeling her move back. Ben and my midwife both assured me things were happening differently this time. She was moving down with each push and she was staying put. Part of me didn’t believe them. But part of me thought, "okay, we're so close, let's get this baby out!" 

I was exhausted, so stinkin' tired. There is a reason it’s called labor after all. I would look up at Ben between contractions and tell him I couldn't push anymore. To which he would reply both sternly and lovingly, "yes. you. can." I prayed for the strength to get through the last bit of this labor and kept going. At some point Ben turned on music. One of my midwives held my hand and with just a few more pushes, she was out. That last push, I tell ya, I did not think I pushed nearly hard enough and yet, there she was. Ben said she was crying the moment her lips touched the air. And with one more push she was completely out and laying on my tummy. Born at 4:45 am and I did it, all on my own! No assistance from a vacuum required.

And she was so tiny!! That's the first thing I said to Ben. Because she was! She was a whole pound smaller than Eli.

The next few moments were my favorite part. She stayed with me, all was calm and peaceful, my favorite pandora station playing, Ben by my side. No beeping, no nurses running around frantically, no rush to cut the chord, no one asking me a zillion questions about the vaccines and eye ointment we chose to deny. Just us, able to enjoy this new little life, uninhibited. This incredible blessing: our daughter. 

I nursed her soon after. She was a natural. Then we got to measure her. She weighed 7 pounds, 5 ounces and was 20.5 inches long. A tall skinny little lady like her momma.


My incredible midwives cleaned up and were gone within the hour. I am so blessed to have had a great team of women by my side, helping me, assisting me, and encouraging me during labor and throughout my pregnancy.

My mom showed up around 7 to pick up the boys for the day- who, to our surprise, didn’t wake up once during the night. And their room is next to ours! I thought for sure at some point Isaac would hear something: me yelling, someone walking back in forth in the hallway or see the lights on and want to check out what all the raucous was. But no, he and Eli slept soundly through the night and woke up to a meet their brand new baby sister.

While my mom fed the boys breakfast and held the new baby, Ben and I were able to get a short, but wonderful, post-labor nap in our own bed. It was glorious. She headed out soon after to leave me, Ben and the baby alone for the day.


We spent the entire day on the couch, watching the World Cup and eating turkey sandwiches (always my first meal of choice after labor. I mean, hello, I’ve gone 9 months without it!).

I can’t even tell you how nice it is to just be able to stop, have a baby and then get right back into the swing of things. Obviously I took some time to rest afterward, but life still goes on, especially with multiple kids. Children still need to be fed, changed, bathed and tucked in to bed. The house still needs to be picked up. Meals still need to be prepared. I love that we didn’t have to stay overnight somewhere else and that even though we had people who were willing to keep the kids overnight, we didn’t have to. We were all able to sleep in our own beds, eat food from our kitchen, take a shower in our bathroom, use our potty, grab fresh clothes out of our closet and rest in our home.

All in all, it was a pretty uneventful birth, which is exactly what my heart desired, and what I had hoped for all along. In many ways it was redemptive, after 3 previous births that didn't go how I had expected. In many ways it gave me relief, knowing that I am capable. And in many ways, it was exactly what my heart needed. Praise be to God. He is so faithful. 

And how fun that we can say this little lady was born in the same place she was conceived?!!