Peter’s Birth Story

Usual warnings: Don’t read unless you want to hear about birth!

Maria’s Birth Story

Anne’s Birth Story

Ohhhhhhh my blog. Aka my place to record birth stories and then forget it exists. Here I go again…I’m sure I probably won’t be back again until my next birth.

Peter’s pregnancy was by far my most difficult mentally and emotionally. For the entire 9 months, I was almost 24/7 battling to control my emotions. That was literally my first clue that I was pregnant, which was very, very different than with the girls. After I absolutely lost it in tears and frustration because Mark was late from work (after I knew for weeks that he WOULD be late that day), I sobbed to him “I need to take a pregnancy test, and GOSH I hope I’m pregnant to blame this on!” The entire pregnancy. So. Much. Rage. God bless my husband, family, and most especially my girls. And thank heavens we’re on the other side of that now!

Between all that hot mess, and a 1.5yo and 3.5yo, the last month both crept up on us and took foreeeeever to get here. He was due Jan. 6th, so I told everyone “Once Thanksgiving happens, it’ll just fly by. Because I LOVE CHRISTMAS.” I’m so so glad I didn’t know what God had planned for Christmas.

Christmas Eve, I had every present wrapped way in advance, stocking stuffers were in individual bags in a closet JUST in case babe came early….but that could never happen. Being my family’s first Christmas in Texas, I talked them into staying the night at our house, so we could all wake up together Christmas morning. So we had Christmas Eve dinner at my mom’s, had an amazingly fun Christmas exchange and opened our Christmas pajamas, then went back to our house.

Blissfully unaware what the next morning would bring. 😂

After the girls went to bed, my mom and I prepped stockings, placed presents, while everyone else was laughing and talking. It was exactly what I’d dreamed of. Then super out of character, but definitely not out of my crazy-spazy pregnant character, I said “Ok, I’m going to bed right now. And Mark, you need to go to bed now too, just in case we go into labor in the morning.” Everyone looked at me like “Wait what?” And I immediately started repeating over and over again “I mean I’m NOT, I don’t want to! But just in case.”

God has a hilarious sense of humor, because my entire life I used to wonder “What do people do if they’re born on Christmas?” I pretty much convinced myself that somehow, magically, no one is ever born on Christmas.

Whelp…at 2am I woke up to nurse a miserable, sick Anne in our bed (because it’s Christmas, she’s sick, and I was exhausted). 4am, just as she fell asleep and finally stopped nursing, I rolled away and immediately started cramping. I thought, I must have eaten something that my stomach didn’t like, there’s no way I’m having a contraction. Then five minutes later, when I felt it again, I felt my stomach and realized it was rock hard…. and thought, well I was just nursing, surely it’ll go away. I’ve never been this early. But. I should definitely time them just to be safe. After a half hour of way too many contractions, which got bad faaaast, I thought maybe I should…ya know…not be the only one awake. So I crawled to Mark, and said “Mark, I really wish I were joking…but I think I’m in labor.” and then texted our midwife, Jeanine.

Mark, pro that he is, immediately got excited and started getting ready. I on the other hand was complaining and in complete denial. He talked me through a contraction (at 4:30, I was already in “I need all my energy to get through it” mode), then I whined “I don’t want to be in labor! I’m gonna miss Christmas with the girls! I love Christmas!” And Mark said “Melissa, we’re having our little boy today! That’s a good thing.” And darn it yes, it was a good thing. And darn it yes, it would be today.

At 5, when I gave the update to Jeanine, she told us we should meet at the birth center at 6. At that point, Mark woke everyone up, telling them we’re in labor. So my mom laid with the sleeping Anne on our bed, and my dad and Kevin drove quick to walk their dogs at mom’s place and we waited for them to get back. Lizzy, in her Christmas pajamas (because she just had those and her church clothes) got ready to come with us. It was at that point that I realized we didn’t have a car seat installed for the baby yet. So, Mark got our old purple car seat and put it in his car, because no way were we going to be able to buckle in the new, more complicated one in time. Meanwhile I was in rocking-on-all-fours “NO ONE LOOK AT ME LEAVE ME ALONE” but-silently-in-my-head mode, and trying to convince people in between contractions that I should labor at home for a while and maybe see the girls open presents. Mark was like “Yup not doing that.” Very wise. Then he texted my dad and brother to hurry up. I was still in total denial.

At 5:42 we got ready to get in the car, and I was already panicking about having to drive twenty minutes feeling that much pain. I could only stay calm rocking on all fours. At the car door, I said “Lizzy’s sitting in the front, I’m sitting in the back on all fours. I’m not buckling my seat.” Mark started arguing that’s a terrible idea, you need to be safe, and I was so focused that I said “Nope. We’re doing this.” And jumped in the car. Super not typical of me. Super big sign I was way farther along than I thought I was.

I held my sister’s hand to ground me, and rocked through all the millions of contractions. Mark, trying to keep things light, initially put music on and started chatting with Lizzy (maybe it was about colleges?). But minutes later, I said “Can we not talk?? And no radio.” This was by far my bossiest birth. Halfway to the birth center, I started making really low, guttural noises…and I labor silent up until I’m about to push out a baby, so we all knew it was gonna happen super soon. As we were waiting at the light right after getting off the highway, I started saying “I’m baring down.” Um. Yes. That means I’m minutes from straight up pushing. Bless Mark and Jeanine for knowing me so well, and for knowing how fast things were happening because at the light he texted Jeanine “She wants to push, could you start filling the tub?” and she responded with “It’s already filled and ready!” Just the hope of getting in a hot bath gave me courage!

At 6am, we pulled into the birth center, and I waited in the car until my contraction finished, then “ran” into the birth center without my shoes so we’d be in before the next contraction. Jeanine was ready with us, helped me into the tub, and I said “Mark, get changed so you can catch the baby in the tub. Lizzy, sit here and hold my hands.” Then immediately had an epic contraction. Jeanine, wise soul that she is, told Mark he should probably stay here. Thank goodness, because at the next contraction, squeezing Lizzy’s hands, and on my knees in the tub, I started shouting “Why do I feel like I need to push?!” Jeanine calmly said “That must mean your body’s telling you it’s time to push.” At some point around then, our awesome friend and birth assistant, Theresa got there, and we were so excited. Even in all that pain, there was so much energy in the room because we knew a baby was minutes from being born.

My amazing sister/doula

Minutes later, I felt my water break. I don’t really remember pushing except that it wasn’t that long, and in what felt like seconds, I was shouting that I could feel the ring of fire. Jeanine coached me through it, and just like last time, there is just no pain like not pushing during crowning…but SO worth it. The moment I passed crowning, at exactly 6:09, NINE MINUTES after pulling up to the birth center, Peter just shot out, and Mark passed him beneath my legs into my arms.

Lizzy’s epic shot of the moment I picked up Peter after he was born 💙

And that little man. He didn’t even know he was born. He laid in my arms, breathing, spitting water out, and totally still asleep. And completely slathered in vernix. Mark and I were absolutely in love.

Admiring his squishy newborn face and saying “He has your nose!” to Mark ten thousand times.

As we lay in the bed afterwards, snuggling Peter, we texted my family to let them know Peter was born, and see if the girls were awake. Both girls were still passed out. And then we all started laughing and began to process what had just happened.

Mark snuggling his first son, who instantly melted into Daddy’s arms ❤️

God is so so good. Labor had been exactly two hours from start to finish. Based on when we decided to leave for the birth center, if my family hadn’t stayed the night to be able to immediately start watching the girls, we wouldn’t have made it. If it hadn’t been Christmas morning, and we’d hit going to work traffic, we wouldn’t have made it. And Theresa probably wouldn’t have made it. If Jeanine hadn’t already filled the tub, I probably wouldn’t have been able to deliver in the tub. Because of when I went into labor, I hadn’t even missed the girls opening presents!

At 9am, after we were done being observed, we went home with our little man. The girls had only just started opening presents (and they take a million years to open presents anyways), and my dad had breakfast waiting. And we just snuggled our little man, surrounded by family, enjoying every last bit of Christmas. And as my friend said in a text that made me sob, “And they gave birth to their firstborn son.” Obviously he’s not Jesus….but that’s pretty stellar.

Peter’s admiring fans 💙

 

The Birth of Anne Therese

Whelp. It’s been a hot minute since I blogged. But life, and toddler, and birth.

Speaking of birth.

Here is Little Anne’s birth story! Disclaimer because all birth stories are kinda a lot. So if you’re squeamish stop reading now. 

Unlike Maria’s pregnancy, Anne’s pregnancy was way fast (not really, but having a toddler can make time go sooooo much faster), and yet way more emotional. We thought we lost her at 5 weeks, but praise God we didn’t.

The rest of our pregnancy was an absolute blur of constant first/second trimester nausea, and third trimester nesting. We found the most amazing birth team, led by our rock-star midwife, Jeanine. We felt SO confident, and safe, and cared for!

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Then, we found out we were breech. Ohhhhhhh so many tears, and exercises, and laying upside down on ironing boards (Thank you to our awesome friend/would-have-been-birth-assistant, Theresa, for that!). All I could see was C-section in the future, and was heartbroken. Mark, my ever voice of reason, reminded me during that time that a safe birth with a baby at the end was the goal. That, coupled with the countless safe options presented to us by our midwife, I came to terms with it… but spent every waking minute trying to turn this super chill little girl. No exercise had flipped her, and we had an ECV scheduled with an amazing doctor set for the Wednesday after we reached 37 weeks…

…so days before reaching 37 weeks, I sat on a birthing ball sobbing while holding a frozen bag of berries against where I knew her head was (because COME ON LITTLE GIRL, it’s SO NOT comfy laying sideways in there!), and then I felt her actually FLIP. All the praise hands!

After all that adventure, we just waited on little girl to be ready. My mom and brother were visiting, Maria would be taken care of day or night, Mark was working from home, so we asked our midwife to examine me just to get an idea (because I had tried and couldn’t find my cervix, which was weird since I’m a pro at it usually, thank you NFP).  Right away, she goes “Oh! That’s the head! It’s sitting so low it’s blocking your cervix.” Meep! We were 3-4 cms, and she told my mom to make sure we had a good meal and slept well because we’d probably have the baby the next day.

Sure enough. We woke up in labor at 5am (the morning before our due date, just like Maria!), and we went in to the birth center at 6:30 (by way of McDonald’s because we were no where NEAR active labor. They were at BEST 12 minutes apart, but we didn’t want Maria to see us leave), and were met there by our midwife as well as our super awesome birth photographer and doula, Megan. So we did what anyone in labor does…

…we watched a movie and laughed while I squatted and bounced trying to speed things up (I will never watch Harrison Ford’s Sabrina the same ever again).

Active labor still hadn’t started, so I told our midwife and Mark we were trying to power walk (I was deTERmined we were having this kid today!). So Mark and I walked around the block, and laughed, and held hands…and just did NOT look like a couple in labor. We stopped into the Adoration Chapel next door to the birthing center, and I started to be so afraid of labor stopping. I can’t count the times I worried I was just inconveniencing everyone. At 9:40, back from our walk, I told our midwife how worried I was that my contractions were petering out. She suggested nipple stimulation, and that she could just massage the membranes and that we were absolutely having our baby today, so not to worry.

Around 10am, in a matter of minutes thanks to very basic nipple stimulation, I went from this…

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…to this…

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Within minutes we were fully in active labor, contractions very strong, and at most two minutes apart. I very quickly had to stop talking and chatting between contractions, and just focusing on relaxing and staying on top of the pain. I had my labor intentions in front of me, and I just held my rosary and breathed.

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I really stopped paying attention  to time around 10am…but I’m guessing around 11 something I started transitioning and wanted to get in the tub because I felt myself starting to lose control.

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Omg. If you can birth in a tub? Do it.

 Mark (with his bad knees and bad back), was my rock. I pulled and leaned on him for every contraction. At one point I said “No! I’m afraid I’m going to hurt you!” And everyone laughed and Mark (trooper that he is), laughed saying “Don’t worry about that, you aren’t hurting me.” (Lies. Because apparently I very much was. Because apparently I’m incredibly strong. Meep. Three cheers for you, Mark!)

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As soon as I got in the warm water, I started experiencing so much doubt. My hospital birth with Maria was the only birth standard I had, so I felt so much guilt for doing what I wasn’t “allowed” to do in the hospital; listen to my body. My midwife listened to every single doubt as I blurted them out (Even in hindsight, all my doubts were reasonable, but not at all likely…and she answered every one with how we’d handle each one. All while I’m actively baring down, and headed towards pushing. Because she’s just the best!)

 All the doubts gone, and encouraged to listen to what feels right, I felt my water break and I suddenly flipped on my back, and just pushed. And by golly, it felt right.

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With Maria I was too scared to reach down when everyone started exclaiming how much hair they saw (because no WAY was I that far along). This time I totally didn’t believe it, but I reached down and felt the softest little head. Oh my goodness, I can’t even write about that moment without tears. I was meeting my little Anne right there. And she had more hair than Maria. I just kept my hand on that little head and cried/talked to her the rest of our labor.

I had told my midwife the entire pregnancy that I didn’t want to tear, oh please help me not tear, OMG I JUST DON’T WANT TO TEAR! (Can you tell I tore with Maria?? Lemme tell ya, Maria’s postpartum suuuuuuuuucked. No thank you.) So Jeanine’s assisting midwife, Adrienne, coached me through crowning. Wowwwwzers painful but SO worth it. I breathed, screamed, shrieked, clinched, but gosh darn it, I did not push. And this chick barely tore (Thank you, Jesus!!)!

And after maybe minutes of pushing (although it felt much longer), at 12:59pm, out flew the cutest little chunk. I grabbed her to my chest and she didn’t even feel the need to cry. Of course after Maria’s birth that made me panic, but Jeanine just told us to rub her little, slathered in vernix, back. And she cried the prettiest, healthiest meows.

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There it is. We snuggled, we laughed, we nursed (guys. She’s the BEST nurser. Thank. Goodness.), and then after we were ready and done being monitored, we went home and cuddled with Maria and Anne (who have loved each other fiercely from the start!). I have a feeling Anne’s birth will always be my best birth because I just can’t imagine anything topping it.

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Some Days Will Break You…

…and last week was some of those days. 

Do you ever feel that way?? Totally defeated? A failure? The absolute worst?

I’m reading a Motherhood Devotional that my Mother-in-law gave me and stumbled upon these words;

“There are a million ways to be good enough, the first of which is to keep trying.”

That. Right there. 

I love my daughter. I love my husband. I love my home. 

But there are days that the house legitimately looks like it’s been robbed (my blog name is no joke). There are days that I honestly don’t know if I hugged my husband. There are days where no less than five times a day my daughter screams at me while kicking and pushing because she’s so tired but also teething three monster teeth. 


And I’m a perfectionist who’s never perfect, so I’m already losing right out of the gate.

I so often forget that A. I’m human. B. No one but me is expecting perfection. C. I can’t possibly be the only mother to cry into my coffee after the third night of teething horror. 

The perfectionist in me needs to let go of what I expect Motherhood to look like. Because it will never look like that. I need to acknowledge in myself that being the perfect mother means taking a deep breath and trying again. 

The beauty of this vocation isn’t in the Instagram-worthy moments. It’s in the blessing that I am always challenged to better myself and realize my own limitations.

ANNNND since I’ve been gone forever and a day….here’s a photo dump of all our Holidays! Happy Thanksgiving/Merry Christmas/Happy New Year from the Pearson’s!



World Adoption Day!!

In our family, adoption has always always always been close to our hearts. It’s no secret we’re pro-life (every life!), but it’s so much more personal than that. It gave us the ability to BE a family (and while we definitely hope to someday adopt, that’s not how).

Our family IS a family because on April 13th, 1992, a birth mother in Hong Hong chose life (…and before you say “Wait! I thought he’s Filipino?!”…he is. Just like I’m Irish. The end). We’re also ABLE to be a family because in the fall of that same year, my Mother-in-law and Father-in-law saw a picture of that little boy in a Hong Kong orphanage and said “That’s our son.”


Adoption was (and is) a loving, sacrificial choice that created a family.

His birth mother could have so easily felt like she had no options for life. My in-laws could have just as easily chosen another little boy’s picture. But I thank God daily that they all chose adoption .

I’m grateful that the birth-grandmother of my daughter chose adoption. I’m equally grateful that my baby’s grandparents brought their son to the States and raised him to be the man, husband, and father he is.


Adoption is certainly not without pain. I can’t comprehend what a birth-mother feels, or parents of a failed adoption, but it’s certainly a pain that is accompanied by the greatest, most vulnerable, Christlike form of love. 

When a Man Becomes a Daddy

Parenthood is not for the faint of heart (nor is the TV show…so. many. TEARS!). It can make you into a comPLETEly different person. It forces you to confront the good, the bad, and the ugly (those 12am, 3am feedings, man. I feel like you shouldn’t be culpable for what’s said in those wee hours).

And it can also transform the man you love into a daddy braver than the bravest knight.

I loved my husband the moment I met him (as I always told my students, our story is my FAVORITE story…). And from that moment he already would’ve taken a bullet for me. 

But his little girl. 

It’s just the most beautiful thing in the world to watch them love each other. 

(Did they get each other right of the bat?? Nooooo…but newborns are tricky, and this is our guinea pig child. So learning must happen.)

I think something starts to click in a man the minute they see those two lines. Maybe guys are faced with all their insecurities, or they watch their freedom flash before their eyes…I can’t pretend to know. I DO know that I watched Mark become a Daddy physically and mentally the moment I came gasping out of that bathroom. In the moment he knew teeny cells had formed a new person, he was emphatically in love.

I’m the worst at being taken care of sometimes. My poor husband wants to protect me from any and all dangers, and I just run around in bare feet, climbing all the things. Pregnant even. So we had many a talk about staying safe, keeping babe safe, and not living THAT close to the edge. And when you have a man who cares for the two of you that deeply that it hurts him to see either of you in danger…you swallow your silly, independent, stubborn pride, and ask someone else to climb on that counter (except at school…where I gave my students heart attacks by climbing on top of desks 9 months pregnant…)

 After dealing with my reckless self, Mark takes no risks with his little girl. It drives the poor guy crazy when I let her sit knowing she’ll bonk her head and cry (babies’ heads bonk occasionally…I swear she’s fine). I think her cries hurt him more than me. That goober man would do absolutely anything to make her smile.


But the bestest way he protects her is not something physical at all. It’s himself. It’s awe inspiring how hard he works to improve himself and how much he sacrifices to be the man for her. The man she can look up to and depend on. A model for how her future husband should act. 

He is our St. Joseph. A man who isn’t perfect. But a man who moves mountains (or climbs them) to protect his family.

 He’s not perfect. But he constantly chooses to try.

(You get us, Anne)

7 Quick Takes

We learned our lesson. Never move without a Grandma or host of big kids to entertain baby! (Moving while teething is no picnic either) That said…we did it! It’s a mess…our lives are swamped by cardboard boxes…but we moved.

And I’m linking up with Kelly for 7 Quick Takes for the first time because my thoughts are as random as our current living quarters.

~1~

Making an Apartment a Home Takes Some Doing.
…but a classmate of mine wrote an awesome post about why it matters. And I think it’s inspired. So…one room at a time, I’m working at this home making thing (when Maria let’s me. Because clearly she’s the boss). I might share the finished products as they come…and I might not (mainly because I might be too embarrassed by how many millions of years it’ll take me).

But I WILL do it. Slowly.

 ~2~

We’ve Entered the Land of Giggles and Smiles!

After what felt like issue after issue, Maria has FI-NA-LLY taken a detour from the Constant Grumps Highway. Now it’s all sunshine and sparkles (Ha. No. She’s a baby. Tears and screeches are still rampant.) But it IS wonderful. She smiles and laughs, and she seems to ACTUALLY enjoy us. 6 months. I didn’t believe it when people told me that was the turning point. People…for us it’s a thing.

How long it’ll be a thing?? Probably just about 3 weeks…then something else will happen. It always does. But for now? Wow.

~3~

What Even IS This Election??

I mean…seriously.


    

~4~

Fall Has ARRIVED!!!!!!

And rain and cozy blankets and hot coffee and soup and jackets and…

… probably by next week it’ll be hell hot again here in Texas. But for now it’s wonderful. Having grown up in CT and Upstate NY, I really took Fall for granted. Then I moved to Texas, and now I savor every orange/red/golden leaf I see.

 ~5~

Shining Light Dolls Are THE Best!

If you’re in the market for baby toys…one that’s the right size to not get choked on, but just right for gnawing on …this is it. We got ours as a gift from the uncle and aunt who spoil us so, and it’s LITERALLY the only thing Maria wants lately.


~6~

Essential Oils…Where Have You Been All My Life??

But for real. Lavender EO… I honestly think it saved bedtime. And nap time (Have I mentioned Maria was the WORST at sleeping?? Staying asleep is still a work in progress…but falling asleep is FINALLY peaceful!!). I’m hooked. If you’re looking to try some and support two AWESOME women…go here or here. I am. Cuz have I mentioned I’m hooked??

~7~

 12 Weeks Till Christmas…

…too soon?? Alrighty then….

8 Weeks till Thanksgiving!!!

Enjoy the Fall-ish Weather!!

Sometimes Beauty Sucks

In a previous post, I mentioned that beginning nursing was really difficult. But let’s be real. It sucked. And to be honest, sometimes it still sucks (yeah, teething, I’m looking at you…)

I know so many mothers who LOVE nursing. They found it beautiful. They bonded. They looked lovingly into their baby’s eyes. Then they cried when baby started to wean.

I will NOT cry (well, actually I probably will…but I cry about everything baby related. Just ask my husband…) because my nursing reality looks more like an MMA fight than a beautiful, bonding experience (unless you consider kicking, scratching, and screaming a bonding experience…)

My grievances thus far:

  • Sucky sucky latch for the first two months (ha! Get it? Sucky? Cuz she didn’t?….but seriously. A Nipple Shield saved us)
  • Short/inverted nipples (real breastfeeding talk y’all)
  • PAIN-FUL LATCH (for months!)
  • Slow letdown/under-supply (and baby screams at you because it’s just. too. slow.)
  • The inability to nurse in public (Seriously…my daughter gets MAJOR stage fright when people are around)
  • Forceful letdown/OVERsupply (it sounds great after dealing with a low supply right?? Wrong. Say goodbye to comfort nursing and nursing to sleep…and hello gagging every. time. she eats)
  • STRONG left-side preference (I can’t look at myself in the mirror without laughing)
  • Months of needing to bounce to nurse…
  • Followed by months of needing to lay down to nurse (while infinitely better than bouncing, it makes nursing in public suuuuuper tricksy, as if it wasn’t already)
  • Teething (those sore little gums want nothing to do with sucking…)
  •  D-MER (literally the worst. It’s a hormone-induced panic attack every time I have a letdown) 

Ha. It sure looks like a lot. But just you ask any nursing mom if she’s dealt with these. I’m pretty sure the list might be longer. (Like that beast, Mastitis. Shudder.)

So…why am I still nursing if it sucks so much? 

And also because I’m lucky I can. Regardless of what people say, breastfeeding isn’t always natural  (maybe if you birthed a 4 month old it would be). Sometimes it doesn’t work. And sometimes babies go to heaven too soon after birth. And sometimes baby gets carried up before birth. No amount of breastfeeding struggles can compare to that. 

I’m beyond blessed to have a healthy (chunky!) baby girl, and regardless of how much it sucks, it’s actually nourishing her. And I DO think it’s beautiful…just very hard sometimes. So I’ll keep at it for however long she wants it. And I’m already praying that next time around it won’t be like this. 

But for real. It better be smooth sailing.

Maria’s Grand Entrance

I’m in love with birth stories. To be fair I only discovered blog birth stories after my own little one’s birth. I think there’s something spiritual during a birth that unites all mommies together. So, if you’re a lover of birth stories like I am…enjoy. If not, you’ve been warned.

At 39 weeks, I was des-pe-rate to not be pregnant anymore. Despite an awful first/second trimester (yay puke....), my last trimester had actually been great (my DI team had even won 5th place at the regional tournament!). Still…unless you’ve experienced the need to pee every. two. minutes, you don’t understand how BADLY I didn’t want to be pregnant anymore. 

So of course we walked, ate spicy foods, bounced on the birthing ball …and I couldn’t sneeze without thinking it was time.


Literally the longest week of my life.

After a day of fasting for Good Friday (thank you husband for doing the actual fasting!), my husband and I finally admitted to ourselves that baby must not be ready. So after a week of painful Braxton Hicks, we decided to let go and let God.

Saturday, Holy Saturday, 6am, I woke up to baby knocking on my cervix.

I’d read that if you really want a natural birth at a hospital, you should take your time getting there. So against the wishes of a concerned husband and mom (who consequently was flying from NY to TX at the time), I took my sweet time. I showered , did my hair, packed last minute things…and leaned over the sink/bed/husband because I was contracting every three minutes. But I knew I wasn’t working yet, so no worries.

When my husband FINALLY got me out the door… I was working. Smiles were gone. Deep, slow breaths and silence was how we drove the whole 30 minutes to the hospital. It was perfect. It was part of our plan.

The moment they checked me, I was 3 measly cm. I started panicking; how on EARTH was I gonna make it without pain meds if I was just 3cm? After an hour and a half of walking the hospital, I jumped from 3cm to 7cm. Just hearing 7cm gave me the courage to push through.

We labored for what felt like both minutes and days at the same time (in reality, from 6am to pushing, it was more like 7hrs). Mark totally earned his stripes as a Birthing Coach. After fasting the day before, and heading straight to the hospital that morning, he had zero food…but was calm, comforting, and spoke confidence into me through every. awful. contraction. What a man. Obviously I never acknowledged it at the time…but I couldn’t have made it without him. 

The entire labor was a blur of pain and breathing. But I felt in control. We had a system to working through the contractions, our nurses were amazing and never got in the way, and we were mostly pain med free (I was taking an occasional sniff of the laughing  gas, but it made me nauseous…soooo no). I was working with the contractions just like we’d planned.

I felt that primitive urge to push it OUT, and about half an hour later, everyone started shouting “Look at all that hair!”

But then her head came out and the delivery room changed instantly. The cord was around her neck and constricting the farther she came. God bless my awesome doctor…she was clamped, cut, and I was pushing out her shoulders in seconds. But it was silent.

They put her on my chest, but only long enough for me to see a blue, silent, not-breathing baby. I started asking no one in particular what was wrong, was she ok, why couldn’t I hear her. A billion doctors came into my little room, and I prayed. I begged her to cry. 


Then a tiny meow came from across the room. With lots of effort, she was giving me her darnedest. People were telling me about fluid in the lungs and precautionary x-rays. I just wanted her safe and with me. But I accepted just safe, so long as Daddy was with her. They let me give her a quick kiss and my husband followed a team of doctors out of the room. 

I waited. Alone. Aside from the doctor who was stitching me up. None of this was part of the birth plan. We were going to do delayed cord clamping. I was supposed to hold her to my chest before they could even clean her. They were going to leave her on me during my entire hour-long recovery, then wheel us together to our own private room.

Instead I was clinging to my phone while the doctor quietly went about his work. Knowing Daddy was watching her was comforting…but I was supposed to be her first cuddle. She should have been in my arms, smelling my smell. I spent the next hour alone and waiting. While my precious little one, who I’d held in my belly for 9 Months but saw for a half second, went through needles and scans without Momma’s comfort. 

The worst hour of my life.

I was finally wheeled up to the NICU to see her, and…sweet babe that she is…she wailed me in. She has SOME pipes. But she was beautiful and healthy and LOUD! Ever since she’s been making up for not crying right out of the gate. 

Looking around that NICU, with my chunky, observant, boisterous baby, Mark and I were almost embarrassed by how lucky we were. All around us were babies smaller than a hand. Parents were anxious. Exhausted. Scared. I had one hour of panic. They’d had days, weeks, months…and they weren’t getting their roly baby in just a few hours.

After four more hours, we got Maria back for good (you couldn’t pry her away from me with a crowbar…just ask my mother!…sorry mom…). I cuddled, squeezed, kissed (experienced the horrors of first-time nursing! But that’s another story…), and I felt so incredibly grateful that she was alive and HEALTHY. Those first moments of our new family all alone in the hospital room, Mark and I kept thinking about the babies still in there. About the mommies and daddies not able to cuddle their babes. We almost felt guilty. But she was with us. And we were all together. And I prayed for all those  mommas still waiting.

And then Mark ate for the first time in 24 hours. 

Daydreaming Pitfalls 

We’re moving! Into the same apartment complex!! (Bee-LIEVE me…moving from a 1 bedroom to a  2 bedroom is super exciting…yay for a washer/dryer!

As thrilling as this move is…it’s gotten us daydreaming further down the road. To our dream house. Mark’s list of demands:

  • A roof
  • A kitchen 
  • Safe place to live 

Ahem…my list of demands:

  • Porch
  • Porch swing 
  • Big yard
  • Big trees
  • NO STAIRS 
  • Open floor plan 
  • Bay window 
  • LOTS of windows 
  • Forever and ever amen

Luckily, I’m pickier in my dreams than in reality. 

There’s so many people our age in the same boat (or different boat, but  we’re at least in spitting distance of eachother). We yearn for that home, that stability, that forever feel. So we make plans, save every penny, and look towards the future.

And that’s not wrong! (Hello…Melissa Pearson…current member of Daydreamers Anonymous)

Making plans is beautiful! It drives us to better ourselves. It gives us something to work towards.


However, personally…I sometimes notice it takes away the joys of right now. Believe you me…it’s not just apartment v. house either. First it was “Gah! I can’t wait till you’re old enough to JUST NURSE.” Now we’re teething, and I spend hours bouncing a screaming baby thinking, “I can’t wait till your teeth come out!!” And of course there’s the ever present, “When the next baby comes along…[insert baby dream here].”

All legit dreams. 

But my husband pointed out to me recently that sometimes I look at our daughter like a time bomb.

And he’s not wrong


As difficult as it is, I’m finding I need to take a step back and appreciate where I am for whatever it is. I can’t let God live in moments I never give Him (and there’ve been quite a few of those). Because honestly, my baby and my dog don’t care if we’re moving to our dream home. They do care that  I scratch bellies and kiss chubs (dog and baby respectively).


So, I’m trying not to focus so much on the “Once I have…then I will”s, and more on the right here moments. Even when they’re messy. Because God is in those moments too.

With that mindset as we move, I keep thinking I may not have my forever place…but this world isn’t meant for forevers…it’s meant for right nows. (And cuddles and giggles and screams etc etc)

Charity Starts at Home

Part of me thinks I should just not write on this topic…because I’d already written an entire post complete with pictures and links…then baby woke up. And somehow it vanished. Well…here I go again.

My husband constantly reminds me that I have the most important job: raising our chub-muffin.


I’m so grateful that he sees/helps me see my mothering vocation that way. Because I’m naturally a down-on-myselfer. I’m working on that.

I’m sure I’m not the only one who does that (even though when you’re in the trenches, it sure feels like it). It’s just so easy to think there’s no merit to what you do. 

But every human was put on this earth for a reason. It’s up to each of us to live up to it.

I’m not a missionary, doctor, or Saint (aim for heaven, fall in purgatory…or something like that). I certainly don’t feel like I’m changing the world while I change my squirmy worm for the millionth time amidst banshee screams. 


That’s where I’m a thousand percent wrong. (And also if you don’t know what a banshee is, go watch this movie. You’re welcome. Now back to charity…)

There’s a reason people hate eachother. There’s also a reason people help eachother.

And it starts at home. 

Every time I sing a lullaby to a baby who wants nothing to do with me. Every time I spend a couple minutes talking to a stranger I could’ve just walked by (come on, we’ve ALL done that, right? I’m sorry to say, once I walked right by a UDer crying in the chapel. Even though the Spirit was screaming at me to comfort her… I listened to my pride and ignored her. See me? Don’t be like me…). And hardest yet, every time I swallow some snarky comeback towards my husband after a long day (in marriage…snarkiness can be such a slippery slope).


Every time I choose love over pride, I let God work through me. And little eyes (and big eyes) see that.

My vocation is to constantly empty myself for love of others,and ultimately God (easier said than done, amirite?? #askmehowiknow). The beauty of that vocation is little ones are natural born imitators. What they see me do, they’ll do. So when I talk smack about people…my daughter will see that. And when I defend someone who’s not in the room…she’ll see that too. (Gossip…it’s the candy of sin. So hard to give up, but SO bad for you)

My job is to see and love people around me. To be Christ for someone. Someone somewhere said, “you may be the only God they see all day.” What an important opportunity we have to constantly “let go, and let God” around the people we see every. day.

Just as my favorite said, 

“If you want to change the world, go home and love your family.”

That’s the beauty of this world. Every one of us is capable of love. That doesn’t mean agreeing with everyone on everything. It means really truly SEEING them. And not being blinded by my own reflection (or the reflection of my iPhone). 

So, like Mother Teresa said, start by really, truly seeing your family. Most likely you’ll inspire someone else to do the same.