Monday, May 27, 2013

Memorial Day

The simplest of things, I hold most dear.
And it is with a grateful heart, I say, 'thank you...'

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Dear Lulah {month 2} and a video

Dear Lulah,

You are 2 months, 13 pounds, and a stealer of all hearts.  My peaceful, gentle baby.  You continue to make our lives fuller and richer.  You love to smile and I love to receive them, so it works out pretty great.  You are certainly finding your voice.  Lucy thinks it is hilarious and throws her head back laughing because you are trying to 'talk' to her.  But guess what?  I've heard your laughter.  Not the squeals, squeaks, and squawks, but the true blue baby chuckles.  You save them just for me, but I look forward to when you share them with the world.  It's audible love.

Lulah, I want to also take this time to share your arrival story.  I want it down in print, but I imagine plenty of years spent curling up together, stroking your hair and recounting this story to you.  A story of shock and peace and joy and laughter.  Your entrance...

Please let me get through my store anniversary!

That was your father’s one request.  He was half joking, half pleading.  The actual anniversary date was Sunday March 17th, but he had events planned for the whole weekend leading up to it and then was scheduled to work the floor that Monday the 18th, for the last time in the month of March.

Monday the 18th at 4:50 pm, amidst dark grey clouds and rolling thunder, I felt the first distinct labor inducing contraction. 

The end of his Monday work day.  Your daddy owes you a thanks.

Knowing your dad would be home soon, I just sent him a simple text…

I believe it has started J

I charted for the first hour.  Every 10 minutes, clockwork.  Also listening as the rain fell harder and harder.

I love that first stage.  When each contraction actually brings on a smile, knowing that each one was bringing you closer.  You were on your way.

Dinner on the stove, last minute laundry started, I decided to go ahead and get Lucy in the bath. 

Water drawn, contractions steady…and the power flickers.  Gathering flashlights and candles, the garage door opens and I breathe again.  Your daddy’s home.

With your sister out of the bath, the storm had settled over us and we now hear tornado sirens in the distance.  We snuggle on the couch (except for when I’m pacing during contractions) and before we knew it, as quickly as it was here the storm had passed.

It was past your sister’s bedtime.

I slipped into a hot bath, listening to your dad read books in Lucy’s room.  Bedtime prayers, lights out, quiet.  She’s out.

One, then two, then three…good, hard contractions.  The hot water allowing my muscles to relax and let go, I felt each one open my body and push you farther and farther down.

I remember at one of our last appointments, Beth, our midwife, said that in her opinion the faster labors seemed to be when the women truly embraced the pain.  That stuck with me.  And kept rolling around in my brain.

Stretched out in that bath tub, I suddenly knew exactly what she was talking about.  A complete mental shift happened.  Instead of feeling like I simply had to endure and hang on with each contraction, I went with it.  No longer fighting against it.  Now just being tossed in its waves.  Completely in tune with the purpose of each contraction.

Around 4 hours into labor, I decide to exit the tub.  Thinking I had at least a full night and day in front of me, I did not want the relaxing soak to slow down this process.

Water draining, drying off, I double over with a contraction so forceful and intense.  Confused, thinking it must have been a fluke.  It was way too early for that kind.

It’s around 9:30 pm.  Down the hall, joining your dad in the bedroom, I decide I should lie down and try to rest for as much of the night as I can.  He calls our good friend and Doula, Mandy.

“Lindsey’s in labor, but it’s early and we’re just getting started with a ways to go. {contraction…intense writhing and moaning on the bed} We’ll check in with you in the morning.  We’ve let our midwife know.”

Mandy later confirms that while hearing me work through that contraction on the phone, she knew that we indeed did NOT have a ways to go.

I stand up.  Before I could verbalize to your dad that something was very different this go around… another contraction.  Gripping the dresser, my hips and body moved and swayed in any direction it desired.  I’m completely inside myself.  Moments of fear start to creep in, thinking there is no way I can keep this up.  I’m only 4 or 5 hours in!

Your dad gets the exercise ball.  Sitting on that ball brought hours of relief during my three day labor with Lucy.  Maybe it will help this time as well?

I sit.  Up immediately.  The pressure between my legs is so intense and heavy and it won’t go away.

The toilet, we decide.  Sitting on the toilet leaning forward, arms around strong shoulders while he whispers, ‘You can do this.’   One contraction, two contractions, POP!   Water has broken, staring at each other, eyes wide. 

Contractions start pouring on top of each other. 

Another phone call to the midwife.

“We were mistaken.  Labor is progressing just a little more rapidly than we had assumed.  Come now.”

Another contraction.  The next one, though a contraction, had a very different response.


That is when I went all Amazon Woman.  Every barbaric and gutteral sound came out of my mouth. 

I’m pulled off the toilet.  Certainly not where we wanted you to make your entrance.

Hands and knees on my bathroom floor, I feel your head between my legs. 

That contraction lets up, my body stops pushing.  A calm peace completely fills that room and my heart.

I look at your father. 

“After this next contraction, I need you to go to the back bathroom and fill up the tub.  Then I will wait for the next contraction to finish and I will head that way.”

Filling up the tub, he makes another phone call, “Mandy, the baby is coming.  The front door is open.”

No use calling the midwife, the hour drive could not be shortened.  She would get here when she got here.  Nana and Papa as well, on the road, thinking they were arriving to help prepare for the birth, not to meet their new grandbaby.

I make it to the tub.  A wild mix of adrenaline and peace swirling all over the place.  Another contraction, I push, completely unconscious of how my body is moving.  Handing over control and letting my innate guide this process.

Mandy walks in.  “So we’re having a baby!”  She starts gathering towels.

I push again.  Your father’s hand is on your head.

One. More. Push.

Exactly 5 hours and 54 minutes after my first contraction, 10:44 pm.  All of our supplies neatly organized in labeled bags, our deflated birth pool spread out in the sunroom and waiting for air, my playlist not playing, my snacks for labor are unopened, my camera not even out of it’s case…

Out you come!  In your daddy’s arms and then placed on my chest. 

I laughed!  I could not believe what just happened.  I forgot for a second that we still didn’t know if we had a son or a daughter.

I held you up, moved the umbilical cord.

A baby girl…a second daughter…a sister. 

Lulah Grey.  You were here.

For 30 minutes you laid on my chest draped in warm towels.  Smiles from ear to ear.  And laughter.  There was so much joyous laughter in my soul.  And You.  Eyes open, pink and soft, loud cries of life.

Beth arrives.  We move to our bed.  You’re healthy, I’m healthy, God is good.

By midnight, they’re gone.

Under our roof remained an overwhelmed and shocked Nana and Papa, a sleeping and oblivious big sister, a strong daddy passed out from the surge of adrenaline that has left his body now that all he holds dear was safe and sound, and then there was me and you.  A mama giddy with love and in awe of God’s most extravagant process that yields the most miraculous gift.  A squishy, bright eyed, new life, fitting perfectly into my arms.

That evening I cooked dinner, cleaned house, got my first born ready for bed. 
Only hours later, I’m in my pj’s curled up in my own bed, next to this extraordinary man that I love, and holding my new daughter in my arms.  Unable to sleep, still filled with awe and excitement.  Just willing the sun to rise, so that my two daughters could meet for the first time.
Surreal is an understatement.
Lulah’s labor was as much of a stark contrast to Lucy’s as you can get.  You can read about Lucy’s, here.
I am thankful for both experiences, and not just because of the outcomes. 
Steady, long, and exhausting, having to pull out every ounce of perseverance in my soul.  Fast, unpredictable and beyond intense, leaning on strength I never knew existed.  Neither about what I can do or what I can handle.  But both about the One who created and designed this vessel, this amazing process.
There are two verses that have become my birth verses, if you will.
You will keep in perfect peace all who trust in you, all whose thoughts are fixed on you!  Isaiah 26:3
That is how my husband and I delivered a our bathroom.  There was no room for fear.  We were filled with HIS peace.
And this one,
But he said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness."  Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weakness, so that Christ's power may rest on me.  2 Corinthians 12:9
So you see?  This doesn’t make me extra tough or strong.  I simply surrendered and accepted my complete and utter weakness.  And I let God do His thing.  His glorious, miraculous thing.
And I am grateful.  


Monday, May 13, 2013

The day after Mother's Day

I came across this: 
"The most difficult part of birth is the first year afterwards. It is the year of travail - when the soul of a woman must birth the mother inside her. The emotional labour pains of becoming a mother are far greater than the physical pangs of birth; these are the growing surges of your heart as it pushes out selfishness and fear and makes room for sacrifice and love. It is a private and silent birth of the soul, but it is no less holy than the event of childbirth, perhaps it is even more sacred." - Joy Kusek
Nothing could ring more true in my heart.

Holding my new little one in my arms and watching my two year old run around, I started thinking of my very first Mother's Day.

Just 2 months in to motherhood, I was still so foggy.  Still floating around trying to plant my 2 feet on the ground of my new normal.  It wasn't until the end of Lucy's first year when I truly felt I had become.  There was less thinking and more doing and feeling.  I no longer felt like the title of mother was something I was trying to earn, it was now part of the intricate fabric that made me, me.  And I really liked that me.

So this Mother's Day, I am thankful for Lucy, for making me a mother, for making me a much better me.  And I'm thankful for Lulah, for affirming that there is nothing else I would rather be doing, there is no greater calling in my life right now.

I'm thankful for the peace that comes when you know you're exactly where you're supposed to be.

Doing, not perfectly, not the best, but exactly what you're supposed to be doing. 

Thursday, May 9, 2013

4 Years

Dreaming, creating, imagining our future.   

I like to keep his head in the clouds.

Discipline, hard work, planning for our future.   

He likes to keep my feet on the ground.

Was there ever a better pair then a Dreamer and a Doer??

Thank you honey...for choosing me to build a life with.

Thank you for the pure contentment I live in daily.

Thank you for a future I'm excited about.

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Strawberries and a little girl


You are my fruititarian.  There's not a fruit you've met that you haven't loved.  You rotate who takes on the leading role, but they all have a turn.

It was strawberry time, so we headed to a strawberry farm.

With a bucket in hand, you took off sauntering down the aisles.  Never more than 3 or 4 strawberries full, the rest filled your cheeks and covered your shirt.

I could not stop staring at you.

Not just because you looked like you had just slaughtered a live animal, but because I was staring at a little girl.

I'm constantly amazed at how frequently you change and grow.  Your hair's getting longer.  You share stories and can talk about your day now.  But I'll have these moments where it all hits me at once.

Standing in those strawberry fields was one of those times.

I kept telling your dad, 'Look at her!  Just look at that little girl!'

My funny, kind-hearted, spirited little girl.