Who but You, could breathe and leave a trail of galaxies and dream of me?
What kind of Love is writing my story till the end with Mercy’s pen? Only You.
What kind of king would choose to wear a crown that bleeds and scars to win my heart?
What kind of Love tells me I’m the reason He can’t stay inside the grave?
You. Is it You? Standing here before my eyes, every part of my heart cries

Alive! Alive! Look what Mercy’s overcome; Death has lost and Love has won Alive! Alive!
Hallelujah, Risen Lord, the only One I fall before I am His because He is alive.

Who could speak, and send the demons back from where they came with just one Name?
What other heart would let itself be broken every time till He healed mine?
You. Only You could turn my darkness into dawn; running right into Your arms

Alive! Alive! Look what Mercy’s overcome; Death has lost and Love has won Alive! Alive!
Hallelujah, Risen Lord, the only One I fall before I am His because He is

Emmanuel, the promised King the babe who made angels sing Son of Man who walked with us, healing, breathing in our dust
The author of all history, the answer to all mysteries The Lamb of God who rolled away the stone in front of every grave
Alive! Alive! Look what Mercy’s overcome;
Death has lost and Love has won Alive! I am His because He is alive. Alive!

Alive, by Natalie Grant

Posted in 2015 | Leave a comment



Today is Good Friday. Today we remember the sacrifice that Christ made for us on the cross, when He willingly laid down His life for us, suffering immeasurably so that we could have the ability to become sons and daughter of God, rescued from hell, now miraculously able to join Him in Heaven one day.

This has obviously been on my mind this week. One of the unexpected benefits of being far from family, and the normal holiday events that fill up our time leading up to these big days, is that I find myself with more time, more blank space, more ability to meditate on the true meaning of these holy-days.  Our kids are still young, so I am really pondering how I want our holidays to look going forward. Do I want Easter to be about pretty dresses and white patent leather shoes and candy filled baskets? I don’t think there is anything necessarily wrong with all of that. But what is more important to me is that my kids know the stories about their Savior; His humble beginning, His miracles on earth, and His ultimate sacrifice and then triumph over the grave. And yes, I should be teaching them all of these things every day, but there is an obvious advantage to using the seasons and holidays of each calendar year to reinforce these truths.

So with that in mind, I’ve been meditating this week on the sacrifice that Christ gave us when He laid down His life for us.  And the word forsaken kept catching my attention. Specifically, when Jesus was on the cross and cried out in torment “My God, My God, why hast thou forsaken me?” That sentence has just been stuck in my head all week.

I took some time on Tuesday to sit down and really study out the word.  When I am doing a study, I typically start with the definition of a word so I can really understand it. Forsake means “to abandon, renounce or give up.” It’s a depressing word. When I think on forsaken, I think of the term God-forsaken. “This God-forsaken land,” for example. It connotates such  desolate loneliness, such hopelessness. I have friends who have been forsaken. By spouses. By parents. By lifelong friends. The wounds left by being forsaken go deep. They have far-reaching, long lasting effects.

Forsaken occurs 76 times in the Bible, and the vast, VAST majority of them are in reference to the Israelites forsaking the God of their fathers. Pick any of the passages to examine (most are in the prophets), and you will feel the heart wrenching sadness God experiences as his people turn their backs on Him over and over again.

When Jesus was in the garden, he begged the Father to spare him from what was to come. He knew what the payment for all our sins would require. He knew the suffering that was coming.  He knew He was going to be forsaken.

And on the cross, as He suffered unimaginably to pay our sins in full, the Father turned His back on Him. While He became the spotless Lamb sacrificed to save us, God separated himself from Jesus in a way that neither of them had ever experienced. God poured out his wrath upon His Son, so that justice would be paid.

Is it any wonder then, what Jesus cried out on the cross? “My God, My God, why have you forsaken me?” I don’t think I’ll ever be able to comprehend how awful it was. I read a few commentaries on this passage and a few things stood out to me.This is the only time that Jesus does not refer to God the Father as “Father.” In His greatest suffering, He reached out for a scripture that adequately expressed His agony and abandonment, and quoted Psalm 22:1. He referred to Jehovah as His God, with humility but also possessiveness. He did not lose His faith in God, but rather it was what sustained Him. As Chuck Smith put it, “He was forsaken for a time, that you need not be forsaken forever.” I am so thankful for that!

Interestingly, the word forsaken only occurs 6 times in the New Testament, after Christ’s death and resurrection. I wonder if this is because now, finally,  the New Testament saints understood. They knew they were bought with a price, and sealed unto redemption. They were certain that God (their Father) would no longer forsake them. They had security. What hope this brings me! We no longer have to cry out “God don’t forsake me,” He has promised that He never will. I am so thankful for Jesus’ sacrifice so that I could have that assurance!

May you have a wonderful weekend as we celebrate the death, burial and resurrection of our Risen Savior!


Posted in 2015, who God is | 2 Comments

Friday Favs Vol. 23

Favorite Moment of the Week: When we finally, finally, FINALLY won an offer on a house!! More details to come, but my goodness, I cried buckets.

What Javi is doing: Proving over and over that he is independent and competent. The boy has a list a mile long of opinions. We’re working on thankfulness and manners a lot these days. He’s also been soo helpful around the house. Pictured above are the kiddos doing their own laundry. They need supervision and a little help, of course, but how great is that? He also mopped the kitchen and bathroom floors. This kid is a keeper.

What Keilana is doing: Speaking, a lot! Putting together sentences like a boss. “Dada home? Dada at work? Javi in room? More toast, pease?” It’s adorable. She loves to follow her big brother around and attempt to do whatever he is doing. They’re best buddies and I love that. She calls Javi either Ja-Da or Ja-Dee and I love it so much.

How I’m feeling: Great. No really! Glad to have the stress of the house hunt off our shoulders. Meds are working well and I can eat just about everything now. I’m finally getting to experience that second trimester reprieve that I’ve only ever heard about before. :) I’m slowly purchasing the things we need for baby, and can’t wait to hold a scrumptious little newborn again. :)

So overall it was a good week! Started out very stressful, but finished awesomely. :)



Posted in 2015, friday favs | 1 Comment



My head is full of thoughts. I feel maxed, jumbled, unsettled. I know this feeling well. It happens to me every time I’ve gone through a stretching experience, something that has pushed me beyond  my comfort zone. Something like moving to Denver, or leaving my childhood home, or getting married, or having my first child.  And now that the initial stretch, that growing experience has let up a little, I start to process all the things I have learned  from this newest growth spurt. Its usually a time when I need to stop taking in information, stop reading, stop filling my mind, and instead give myself outlets to start processing. Usually for me that means writing, in some form or another.

It’s been hard to write lately with all of our house hunting. My days are literally filled with emails back and forth to our realtor, looking at houses online, chatting with Lover about said houses, going to see said houses, submitting offers (18 so far!) and discussions about what our plans should be. Obviously, this is alongside of everything else – caring for the kids, keeping the house some semblance of clean, doing laundry once in a blue moon, oh and did I mention I’m almost six months pregnant?… it’s been hectic. I feel scattered and maxed, and although I have about five posts in my drafts folder, it’s been really hard to focus and sit down and finish one.

But writing is cathartic for me. As I put my thoughts and emotions down in writing, my head starts to clear out, and I can breathe deeply again. So here I am, attempting to put together coherent sentences about what God is teaching me these days.

Someone asked me about four months ago to write on my blog about what God has taught me through this move. I didn’t know what to say because I hadn’t figured that out yet! I mean there’s the obvious things, God is always with me, He is always my sustainer, etc. Those are things I’ve been learning for years but I’ve learned another layer of them, if you will, with this move.

So what am I learning that’s specific to this move?

Fresh starts

I’m learning that I love fresh starts. The discovery of exploring new places, of meeting new people, forming new relationships. Of worshipping with a different group of the family of God, and learning new things about Him from them. It’s invigorating. Some people thrive on putting down roots, establishing long lasting relationships, and settling in. Others, and apparently I am one of them, thrive on exploring and discovering.

I’m not as much of a free spirit as some, I like to put down temporary roots, spend a few years in a place. Meet people, make a home, settle in. But then I start to get restless. I start to crave adventure again. I start to think about moving, starting over, meeting a new community.

Interestingly, I learned a few years ago that tumbleweeds are not actually dead. When they no longer like the place that they are in, they pull up their roots and let the wind sweep them where it may until they find a new desirable location to stay. Then, they put their roots back down and settle in. Isn’t that cool?

I guess you could say I’m more of a tumbleweed than a grapevine, instead of putting down roots that will last for centuries, I’m more of the, let’s pull up roots and find a new adventure! Kind of girl.

There are gobs of tumbleweeds out here. On one of our first weekends here, we drove north to Wyoming because neither of us had ever been to the great state of Wyoming. On the way up there, a massive storm was blowing in, and tumbleweeds were flying across the highway like paper in front of a fan. Some were little, no bigger than a beach ball. Others were enormous. At one point, we had to swerve to miss one that was the size of the front of our van! It was literally level with the bottom of the windshield! It was such a crazy, fun experience.

Every time I see a tumbleweed out here, whether it’s blowing across the road, or smashed up against a fence, I think of what I learned about them. To me they are a picture of our time here on Earth as Christians. I’m never really supposed to put down deep, long, far reaching roots into this temporal home. Instead, I need to keep my eyes fixed on eternity, knowing that what I lay up in store as treasures in Heaven are the eternal things. So that may mean being open to a move, or a new experience, a new relationship or a new calling from the Lord.

As we search for a home, our deadline looms up bigger and bigger. The reality of NOT having a place to live in a few weeks is a little terrifying. But God keeps using those tumbleweeds to remind me to stay flexible, to be open to whatever God has for us over the next few months. So if you see me these days, and I look a little windblown… well, now you know why. I’m learning to be a tumbleweed.



Posted in 2015 | 1 Comment

5 Children’s Books We ALL Love {For Toddlers}


Children’s literature is a tricky thing, is it not? There are thousands and thousands of books out there. Some are awesome, some are… less awesome. We’ve acquired a lot of books in the few years we have had kids, and checked out a bunch more at the library. It’s really important to me that my kids love reading. So I make it a priority to find books that I won’t mind reading over and over to the kids. We’ve gone through a lot of duds. But we’ve found a few that are definite keepers. Here’s a few of our favorites.


I Love you Through and Through

There are lots of “I Love you books out there.” I don’t love most of them. (Guess how much I love you? ranks up there with my least favorite books.) But our neighbor gave us this one shortly after Javi was born, and it’s great. It’s simple, sweet and silly enough to make us laugh. And I love the message that no matter what mood baby is in, Mommy and Daddy love you!


Horns to Toes and In Between

Anything by Sandra Boynton is a winner in our house. Her books are just delightful and funny, and you don’t get tired of reading them over and over. Her illustrations are great too. But I picked this one as our favorite because the kids love to touch the body parts that are named throughout the book, and it’s actually been really helpful for learning said body parts. And it’s funny.


Drummer Hoff

I found this book at Goodwill I think, and bought it because the illustrations were so cool. But it has become a favorite with it’s repetitive, rhyming, silly words (Sargent Chowder brought the powder!) and, of course, the huge explosion at the end! I’m fascinated by the reviews people have written about this book, so many scholarly words written about a book with so few words!


Little Quack’s Bedtime

This book is a rather recent addition to our home (it was a Christmas gift) but it is a fun read. Mama Duck is putting her five ducklings to bed and they each have an objection to voice before they can fall asleep. It’s eerily reminiscent of our household at bedtime. :) But it’s sweet and entertaining, and the illustrations are really pretty too. It’s one of those books structured on a repetitive rhythm so the kids can predict what’s coming really quickly. (Which they love)


The Story of Growl

We found this fun little book at the library. (Sadly it was shredded into tiny pieces by a certain blond member of the family)  It’s the entertaining story of a monster who loves to growl, which of course delights the kids to no end. It’s also very fun to give the neighbors in the story (who are irritated by all the growling) a British accent since they take afternoon tea every day.

So those are some of the favorites in our house these days. I’d love to hear what some of your favorites are!


Posted in 2015, kids | 2 Comments

The House Hunting Saga – Part 1

I mentioned a while ago that we would be buying a house when our lease ended in April. Well that’s still the plan, and we actually started our search at the end of January. We knew it would take a while to find a realtor, nail down the financing, and we wanted to really have time to explore the market, know what we could get at our price point, and figure out what neighborhoods we wanted to be in.

So, we’ve been officially house hunting for about a month now. And boy, are things different than house hunting in upstate New York! When we bought Wendhurst Castle, we had looked at lots of houses, and finally knew that the Castle was the one. We put in an offer, they countered, we accepted and – that was it. It was ours!

Here in Denver, things are an entirely different matter. There is a serious shortage of housing for the amount of people that have moved to Denver in the last few years. When we were apartment hunting, someone told us they were building 15,000 apartments over the next year. Denver is growing! Which means a few things – houses sell really, really fast, and for significantly more than list price. Our realtors counseled us that if we found a house we liked, to go ahead and put in an offer, immediately. Denver’s purchase contracts are set up to protect the buyer so you can basically withdraw your offer for any reason. So the idea is that if you see a house you think you might like, go ahead and put in an offer, and hope that it is accepted.

To date, we’ve put in offers on *7* different houses! We submitted one our first weekend house shopping, and lost on that one. We submitted an offer for a lovely house with a lofted hallway  and a beautiful yard, and lost. We submitted an offer on a gorgeous house that reminded me of my grandparents’ house, with an escalation clause that offered up to $30,000 over asking price, and lost. That house received 24 offers in a single day, and sadly ours was not the winning bid. We were pretty sad about that one.

We have won one of our offers! Last weekend Denver got an “epic” snowstorm. It wasn’t much of a storm by NY standards, but just about everything was shut down, church was canceled and few houses were listed. We submitted an offer sight unseen on a property that looked really promising, but ultimately withdrew the offer once we visited the property. It just wasn’t the right fit for us.

We’re also waiting to hear back on a bank owned property that is taking their sweet time responding to our offer. It’s little fixer upper that would be a fun project to take on. But, it’s been almost two weeks and we have yet to hear from the bank, so our hopes are not high for that property.

So we have about two weeks left to find the “perfect” house. After that, with closing dates and such, we’ll be up against our end of lease deadline so we will have to find a house, any house, that works. We decided to buy here in Denver since rental prices are already very inflated, and would have gone up even more had we stayed here or tried to find a bigger rental. Our kids need a yard, we would like another 1-2 bedrooms for kiddos and guests, and it just makes a lot more financial sense to own rather than rent in this market. We would appreciate your prayers over the next few weeks as we really work to find a house that will work for us!


Posted in 2015, denver, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Getting out of a Mom Funk

There are some days when I am just done with my kids. Do you know what I mean? It’s usually after we’ve been cooped up from being sick, or a new developmental stage has brought on lots of a)clinginess b)whinyness c)tantrums d) all of the above. Usually I start to feel at the end of my rope and start getting easily frustrated… and everything deteriorates from there. Of course, that’s also when some older mom (whose kids are out of the nest) will typically tell me something SUPER helpful like “I wish I had played more with my kids when they were little” or “aren’t you just loving every second of parenting littles?” or (my favorite) “boy, you sure have your hands full!” It’s always something along those lines that does not, in fact, make me feel better about my current state.

At those times I’m also not reassured by the opposite spectrum – the mommy blogs where everyone pats each other on the back for “getting through one more day”, “surviving being a stay at home mom”, or congratulates each other for sticking the kids in front of the TV for hours on end because “mom time.” I’m not really interested in “surviving” these years, I’d prefer to thrive.

So I’m learning that there are a few things that consistently pull me out of my funk when I get like this:

Time in the Word. Typically, when things change and/or we go through a difficult stage, it means that I have not been reading my Bible or praying much (beyond “please God, help me to make it through this day/hour/second!”) So I start making that a priority again. I often refer to I Corinthians 13 (the love chapter) when I’m feeling at the end of my rope – that passage tends to give me quite the kick in the pants. :)

Music. This helps me diffuse the tension, sometimes we dance silly dances, and oftentimes it just lessens that feeling of loneliness that can sometimes creep on me from staying home with my kids all day.

Reaching out to another young mom. I have a few friends that I know are “safe friends.” I can call them to vent, and chat for a bit, and they will not judge me for being at the end of my rope, nor will they say maddening things like “oh, my kids have never really been tantrum throwers.” :)

Getting outside. It’s amazing what a difference taking the kids outside makes. If it’s nice, we can go for a walk or play at the playground, take our time and enjoy the outdoors leisurely. If it’s cruddy, just fifteen minutes of fresh air and sunshine will boost everyone’s moods and change the dynamic enough to turn the day around.

So that’s what works well for me. Do you have any thoughts or advice for when life with littles gets really hard?


Posted in 2015 | Leave a comment

Javi Jokes Around Vol. 2

Javi: “KK, I hold your hand and you can’t fall, ok?”


To the smoke alarm: “Fire smoke, you all done beeping?”


To the deer at the refuge: “hey deer! This camera’s not working!”


Lifting up his shirt: “Mommy, Look! I have apples!”


Me: Javi, are you stinky?
Javi: NO!…but, maybe, yes.


In the bath: Mommy! My fingers is twinkly!


Me: Javi, what are you doing?
Javi: I breaking stuff!


Javi: Mommy! It’s a beetle.
Me: Yeah?
Javi: I died him.


Javi: Mommy, can you ask Javi likes to move it?
Me: Javi, do you like to move it?
Javi: “I like to move it, move it. I like to MOVE IT! sing with me! I like to move it…”


To KK: “KK, you have a boo boo? It’s a pretty boo boo!”
KK cries.
Javi: I know, KK, I know.


Javi: “We sing fish in the mountains?”
Me: “um…Which song is that?”
Javi: “Higher than the mountains…”
Me: “Sparkling like a fountain, all suFISHent grace for even me…OH!”



Posted in javi | 1 Comment

Friday Favs Vol. 22

My adorable troublemakers

Favorite moment of the week: Long conversations with Lover as we house shop – discussing what style of house, how big we want it to be, how we would tweak and remodel each house to suit our family… I love house shopping and we’re really enjoying the process. But we’re also hopeful to find something soon, so we can get everything set before our lease ends in April.

Our weather was absolutely gorgeous here this week, so we spent a lot of time outside, although that was thwarted a bit by us all catching a nasty cold! So it was a balance of time outside playing and time laying on the couch watching movies. :)

What Javi is doing: Starting to practice the letters of his name. He particularly likes writing the “J”. He still loves doing preschool, and never lets me skip a day! He’s very polite, and often says “Sanks, mom.” it breaks my heart a bit because I am not ready to drop the “mommy!” He’s also working on learning how to get dressed and undressed by himself. His favorite thing is to put his pants on “silly” where he sticks both legs all the way into one pant leg and hops around the house. :)

What Keilana is doing:  Responding “yea” in her cute little voice to any questions. Adding more words like hippo, apple, and making us name all the members of our family repeatedly. Having lots and LOTS of opinions on dresses, shoes, hair bands, and any other aspect of getting dressed.  Starting to walk up stairs on her own, without support. Taking care of her baby doll by tucking her into blankets, giving her a binkie, and lots of little kisses. The cutest thing you ever did see!

How I am feeling: I am 18 weeks along, and feeling pretty good. Nausea is lessening, thank the Lord! I still can’t eat most of the things I like best (chocolate! caffeine! sweets of any kind! cheese!) and I miss them, but I’m adjusting to this (hopefully temporary) diet. I started working out this week, and I’m hoping that will give me some more energy as well as keeping me fit throughout this pregnancy!


Posted in 2015, friday favs | Leave a comment

Keilana’s Birth Story

It’s time to share the story of how Keilana joined our family. She arrived two days after her due date, and it was by far a completely different experience from Javi’s birth. Keilana has been her own person from day one!

On my due date

My pregnancy had been uneventful, if a bit of a rocky road in terms of hormones. (If you ask Lover, it was more than a “bit”.) But I was healthy, the baby was healthy, and we were finally in the final stretch. I had an appointment with the NP on my due date, August 26, and she assured me that everything looked good. Although I was nervous about another birth, I was really just hoping that this time my body would figure things out and go into labor on its own. Induction is not a pleasant experience, no matter how well it may go. So, the NP scheduled me for an ultrasound two days later, on a Wednesday. I took their first appointment that morning so that Lover could come with me and be my advocate in case the doctors thought there was a problem.

Wednesday morning I woke up and headed out the door with Lover. My dad had come over to hang out with Javi while we were gone, and my brother Ben and his girlfriend were still asleep. We slipped out the door and headed to the hospital where the ultrasound center was. The ultrasound itself was pretty uneventful, although the technician took all of her measurements and then came back and did them all again. When the doctor came in, he told us she had repeated them because they were concerned about the size of the baby – they were predicting she was 9lbs 13oz! I freaked a bit at the thought of delivering a baby that big, but they assured us there was no cause for concern, and we were fine to wait another five days until my 41 week cut off.

It’s about 8:30am, and we were headed home, but made a stop at McDonalds first for breakfast. As we pulled into the drivethru, I felt a pretty strong contraction. This wasn’t the first time I had felt contractions in this pregnancy, I had felt them a couple of times but they never  increased in strength or duration. So I just kept an eye on the clock while we waited for our bagels and mcmuffins, and had three more contractions while we sat in line. As we drove home I continued to get a strong contraction every five minutes, and I casually mentioned to Lover that he might want to stay home for another hour or two and see what happened.

He gave me a panicked look and said, I really need to go into the office today, there’s a lot going on. I agreed, knowing that he was only fifteen minutes away and he assured me he would come right home if I needed him to. So Lover dropped me off and went to work. Javi, my dad and I sat on the front porch and I ate my bagel while Javi sneaked little bites here and there. I told my dad how the appointment went, but didn’t mention the contractions. He kissed me goodbye and said he had a bunch of errands to run, leaving us on the porch.

At this point I was timing the contractions and they were consistently coming at 5 minutes apart. They weren’t really painful, just required some concentration to get through. Rocking on our glider made them completely manageable. Once it had been about an hour of the regular contractions, I called my OB and they encouraged me to head into the hospital. I texted Lover and he assured me that he would be on his way in about fifteen minutes.

Javi and I headed inside and I took him upstairs to get changed and out of his pajamas. I needed to throw a few last things into my hospital bag, and I figured I could get all that done while I was waiting for Lover. When I lifted Javi up to the changing table, that contraction hurt quite a bit. Just that little bit of walking around and moving accelerated the contractions to about 3 minutes apart and they started to really, really, hurt. So we headed back downstairs and outside, and I texted Lover “please tell me when you are on your way!” At that point I was getting a little nervous. He didn’t reply, but less than a minute later his car rounded the corner. He told me later that after he texted me to wait 15 minutes, he thought, “what am I doing? She’s in labor!” grabbed his stuff and headed out the door.

Lover arrived just in time because at that point the contractions really started to hurt, and I couldn’t focus very well. I managed to tell him what else I needed him to pack, and he took Javi downstairs and woke up my brother to watch him. About five minutes passed and I managed to gasp out to Lover that we needed to go, like NOW. He helped me into the Buick and we headed out.

The 20 minute ride was one of the longest of my life. Lover tried to talk to me to distract me from the contractions, but it didn’t work. I just kind of clenched my teeth and focused on the fact that we were almost there. We parked at the Labor and Delivery lot (Lover offered to drop me off but I refused) and I got out of the car right after a contraction let up. I managed to walk two spaces towards the door, and then got a massive contraction. It was so strong that I leaned against some stranger’s car for support, just trying to breathe and make it through. It was immediately followed by an equally strong one, so I stood there, swaying, head on the trunk of the car, thinking to myself, well, at least I am in the parking lot. Maybe they can come and get me. Through the fog of the contractions, I hear Lover talking to someone.

She is asking, “are you all right? do you need anything? what’s wrong?” I am insanely annoyed and focused on making it through the contractions, so I ignore her. She continues to ask what’s wrong, stating that she is a an NP and can help. Lover finally says in a somewhat irritated voice “well, she’s in labor!” The NP says “OH! Well, let me run and get you a wheelchair!” I just couldn’t believe that she had no idea what was going on. I mean, I’m standing in the L&D parking lot, hugely pregnant, clearly in pain… doesn’t take a rocket scientist to put that all together!

So she brings us a wheelchair, and I get settled in. Once again, like the glider, the movement instantly eases the pain of the contractions. I’m able to focus a bit more, and Lover whisks me up to the triage desk of the wing. That’s when I realize that I forgot to preregister, and I now have to fill out all the forms while in full blown labor. And of course I have to do it, because I am the patient. Curses! The nurses are very compassionate and kind though, and I fill out the forms in between contractions. Lover rocks the wheelchair for me which is still helping a lot, and I manage to finish the $*&$* forms.

Next up is bringing me into triage so they can verify that I am in labor. I will never understand this part. I’m visibly sweating, in massive amounts of pain, past my due date and clearly on the verge of dying. Yes, I am being dramatic, but is that step really necessary? The nurses start getting me hooked up to machines, asking questions in between contractions. The room is about the size of a closet, and Lover, the nurse and I pretty much fill the room. Suddenly I am hot, so hot, so very hot. I ask Lover to find something to fan me with, and my very amazing husband spends the next 30 minutes vigorously fanning me with some magazines he found. Paula, our nurse, asks me what my pain management plan is, and I say “DRUGS! ALL THE DRUGS! We get through all the preliminary questions (finally!) and the midwife and some poor resident who is doing his L&D rotation come in to check me. The midwife is very calming and friendly, the resident looks like he is about to hurl. She takes her time with the examination, encouraging him to repeat everything he is doing. He does so, timidly, still looking like he may lose his lunch at any point. He looks visibly terrified to be dealing with a laboring woman. The two of them confirm that I am, in fact, in full blown labor.

The contractions are so strong at this point, and coming closer together that I am worried I won’t get an epidural in time. I lay there while they finish their monitoring, curled on my side and trying to breath through the contractions, doing my best not to fight against the pain. I keep my eyes closed and tune everyone out unless they ask me something. I try the breathing techniques they taught me with Javi, but it doesn’t help much. Then I remember an article I read about how childbirth is natural and glory giving to God, and that if I open my mouth and sing praises to God during labor, my body will also open up and release my child. It strikes me as so funny that I begin to smile through the contractions, and it helps bring the pain down a bit. The nurses assure me we’re almost ready for a room, and compliment me on how well I am managing the contractions. I am ridiculously pleased at this, as if they just gave me gold star for my report card.

Finally, finally, they wheel me into my room. Switching beds is difficult, but I manage it with Lover and the nurse’s help, in between a contraction. Now my biggest concern is how I will be able to sit still enough during these contractions for the epidural to work.

Enter Dr. Worth. He is kind, efficient and works incredibly fast. He has no problem letting Lover stay in the room, which calms me. I hold Lover’s hands while they prep me for the epidural, and then once a contraction passes Dr Worth begins. The epidural hurts quite a bit going in, but I feel almost instantaneous relief. The pain begins to ramp down from “this will break me in half” to “ok, I can breathe and look around again.” Dr Worth and Paula work on taping all my tubes in place, but I’m literally drenched in sweat, and the tape just slides right off my back. They redo it, and I discover later that they had to tape most of my back in order to hold things in place.

The epidural takes full effect in about twenty minutes, and I feel fantastic. I can talk again, I relax and lay back and Paula assures me that everything is progressing great. Lover looks relieved that I can talk and smile again. We chat with our nurses, Carol and Paula. Carol is training Paula and has over twenty years of experience delivering babies. We joke about how she is more qualified to deliver this baby than the doctor, and she just smiles quietly. I’m amazed at how the doctors and nurses are taking their cues from me. So different from my first delivery.

In the middle of normal conversation, our nurses suddenly insist that I lay down flat and start pulling up the rails on my bed. Nurses and the midwife rush in, and they are so busy and focused that they can barely answer my questions. All we can gather is that the baby’s heart rate suddenly plummeted, and they are prepping me for an emergency cesarean. The midwife checks me and they discover that the monitor had slipped causing an incorrect reading. Whew! Things calm down and we go back to normal.

After a little while the midwife (and the poor resident) come back in and check me again. They break my water, which I am still unsure what the reasoning for that was. I was still progressing normally, so I thought it was unnecessary, but they don’t ask and then it’s done. As they leave, Dr Tripp comes in. (He’ll be delivering the baby). He wants to discuss my ultrasound from this morning. (Only three hours ago!) He’s worried about the potential size of the baby and has concerns about her getting stuck. He’s estimating that she’s at least 10 pounds. He examines me to make sure that there is room for the baby, and I make a joke about big hips finally coming in handy. He’s worried and tells me that he will let me try to push for a few minutes, but that he thinks it highly likely I will need a C-section to get that big of a baby out. I tell him that my son’s head measured in as a 10lb baby’s head, and I got him out. I’m confident I can get this one out. He reluctantly agrees to let me try, but he’s not happy about it.

After this they start asking me every two minutes if I need to push. I still can’t really feel the contractions, and nothing feels different, so I just think it’s a weird question. In my head I’m thinking I’ve only been in labor for five hours or so, I won’t be ready for a while. Finally, I get a contraction that feels “different.” This puzzles me, and I mention it in an offhand way to our nurse. She presses a button or something, to page the doctor. Within about a minute, they are all in my room. This shocks me. Oh, we are really doing this? OK!

Dr Tripp, the queasy resident, his nurses and my nurses are all in the room. Dr Tripp says, “ok, let’s break this.” I’m like “Hold on, what are we breaking?!” I’m having visions of them breaking my pelvis or something to get this enormous baby out. “Me?” They smile and say, no they are breaking down the bed to make it the most accessible for the doctor to help me. I relax and they say, ok, with your next contraction, PUSH! I’m still shocked that we’re already at this point, but I pull my legs up and get ready.

I push, I think I get in two pushes on that contraction. I’m frustrated with myself, thinking that I’ve forgotten how to do this. I can’t feel much, and I’m upset that I don’t remember how to do this.

I push again on the next one, and say something about how I’m not doing this right. They all rush to assure me that, in fact, I am doing it right, because the baby’s head is almost out! This shocks me. When her body comes out on the next push, I feel the weirdest feeling. I can almost literally feel as she is disconnected from my body and becomes her own person.

She is pink all over and chunky! And wailing up a storm. The staff is laughing I think. They put her up on my chest immediately. I’m mildly grossed out (she is slippery and coated with all sorts of gunk.) But her eyes are open and I’m kind of in awe. She is so alive. I shush her gently, whispering, “It’s ok, baby girl.” I’m crying. I look over at Lover in wonder, I can’t believe how ok she is. I was mentally prepared after Javi’s difficult birth to have another bad one but this little girl is just perfect. She looks at me and wails a bit. I say “Shhh, mommy’s here baby girl” The nurses tell me to let her cry, that it’s good for her. I think “I’m not really trying to make her quiet, I’m just being her mommy.”

The hospital plays a lullaby when a baby is born, and I hear it now, while she’s on my chest. Lover has a huge smile and I’m still crying. It’s awesome. Keilana is still goopy though, and the nurses want to weigh her to see how big she ended up being.

She’s 9 lbs 2 ounces, and 21 and a half inches long. Not as big as they thought but still a big baby. She is so ridiculously soft and pink and plump.

I’m shaking uncontrollably. (It happens after each of my deliveries, apparently) I shake and shake and shake while Keilana gets all checked out, and the doctors do the nasty pushing on my belly thing. Dr Tripp asks the resident, what is this procedure called? I respond “torturing the poor woman who just gave birth” Dr Tripp laughs. The resident still looks traumatized. :) My guess is this guy did not go into Labor & Delivery when he was through with that rotation. The nurses bring me some warmed blankets that I hug tightly, which finally helps the shaking subside. Once I’m all fixed up and stable again, I get Keilana back, and we take our first picture with her. I feel absolutely fantastic. The epidural hasn’t worn off yet, our baby is perfect, and life is good.

We surprise everyone when we call to tell them the baby is born. She was born at 2:20pm, less than 6 hours after that first contraction. We spend the next couple of hours cuddling her, updating Facebook, and feeling awesome. I am so thrilled she is healthy, there were no complications, and I am no longer pregnant! Family trickles in throughout the next day, and my Uncle brings Javi late in the morning. Lover is holding Keilana, and I invite Javi up onto my bed and give him a big hug and kiss. Then Lover hands me Keilana, and we introduce him to his baby sister. He’s wide eyed and very careful and gentle. She starts to cry and his eyes fill with tears. He has loved her from the very first moment and has always tried to take care of her.

We beg and beg to get released early from the hospital. In the end, although they are not thrilled about it, they let us go around 6pm the next day. We are so happy to be home. We asked my uncle and aunt to keep Javi one more night, so we have a quiet evening at home just the three of us. The next morning we take Keilana to her checkup, and then pick up Javi on our way home. Now we’re all together, starting our adventure as a family of four.

Our beautiful Keilana makes us smile every day. She’s gorgeous and fierce and brave and sweet. Her laugh is one of the best things on earth. Her will is a force to be reckoned with. She loves her daddy, mimics mommy in everything and adores her big brother. We can’t imagine life without her. Welcome to the world, baby girl!


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