It's a Girl!

It seemed like an eternity, that long month of waiting. My due date wasn't until the 7th of May, but two weeks prior I started every day with eager anticipation, hoping for, longing for, delivery. My body felt huge and awkward, and at the close of the day I was left sore, aching. Carson was born 10 days early, giving us all a good surprise. I was a first time mom and had fully prepared myself to go over due with him, as every well-wisher had warned me I would.

But this time around I was ready. The tiny little newborn outfits were washed and folded, there were plenty of diapers and wipes and warm cotton blankets, and I had gathered all of the items -the rubbing alcohol, cotton pads, hot water bottle, etc- off of the list my midwife provided. Any day, baby. Any day.

Steadily the hand on our kitchen clock kept moving, marking the minutes and hours of waiting. The calendar showed that my due date was only two days away. Then that day, May 7th, arrived and still nothing.

Two days over due due.



I began to wonder if I was truly pregnant, or if, perhaps, my stomach had simply inflated. If I had grown a tumor, of sorts. My body, the same body that ached at the end of each day just two weeks ago, had found a new zest for life. When my midwife asked how I was feeling at my 41 week checkup, I admitted that in my life I had never felt disappointed to feel good... until now. Because if I were aching and tired and weary, wouldn't that be an indication that labor and delivery was just around the corner?

Eight. Nine. Ten.

And then it happened. On the 18th of May, eleven days after that silly thing we call a "due date", I awoke to a strange sensation. It felt like a Braxton Hick's contraction, only stronger. But not that strong. At 5:30 am, I fumbled out to the kitchen and told Herm he might want to consider driving a separate vehicle to work because I was pretty sure, but not certain, that he'd be called back home again, and really, there was no need for the whole crew to have an interrupted day.

Around 7:00 am I let my midwife know that today was most likely the day, and I sent a text to my mom saying that Carson was packing his bags for a day at Gwama's house.

The rest of the morning was spent preparing things for a home birth. (Which, silly me, thought would also include cleaning the house.) As I finished inflating the birthing pool and sealed the plug, I noticed a strange vehicle pulling in the drive. Inwardly I groaned. I don't have time for this! Those Jehovah's Witness missionaries surely could have picked another day. I began scheming ways to let them know today was not a good day for tracts, but goodness, I sure would like their prayers.

Turns out they weren't missionaries at all, but friends of mine, delivering a beautiful bouquet of flowers. When we pulled into your driveway I said, I hope she's not having contractions! One of them casually mentions. I laugh. Actually, I am!

Minutes later another vehicle pulls in. My mom walks in the door, here to pick up Carson, with a beautiful bouquet of flowers in hand.

These details might seem trivial to you, but to me they are anything but trivial. I dreaded labor this time around. Not because I had a bad experience the first time, I didn't. But my cousin died in childbirth a year ago, and as my due date came closer and closer, there were moments of panic at the thought of my own labor and deliver. At the thought of an event I had no control over. At the thought of completely trusting. As I began to feel the twinges of something happening that morning I distinctly remember thinking how a bouquet of fresh flowers would liven up my house and bring me cheer. Hours later I had not one, but two beautiful bouquets in my house.

Around noon Herm called to check in on me. I told him he might want to come home soon. He was working over an hour away and I really didn't want to be without him when active labor began.

Herm wasn't in a rush, in fact he even stopped for an iced coffee at the Starbuck's drive-thru on his way home. By the time he arrived home, sometime around 1:30 pm the contractions were beginning to be intense; I could no longer work through them. We decided to go for a walk to see if that would help things along at all. When a contraction would hit I would lean into Herm as he rubbed my back or applied pressure. We did thing off and on until 3:30 when my midwife arrived. I was 7 cm dialated the time.

We kept on walking for a while, but before long I was ready to get in the birthing pool. I labored in there the rest of the time, Herm supporting me through contractions while our midwife coached when needed. In between contractions Herm pulled out his BB gun and shot at a few cowbirds and starlings that seem to think they own our feeder. (This is just one of the many benefits to a home birth. Haha!) My midwife and I still laugh at the thought of that...

Sometime around 5 pm my contractions were very intense, and I remember feeling so weak and light headed, like I couldn't keep on much longer. Herm kept whispering words of encouragement, my midwife coaching me to just breath. Eventually my midwife broke my water for me, and after that everything happened fast. I began pushing around 5:30 and at 5:46 when I felt like I had nothing left to give, my baby's head emerged. In that moment I knew I was there, nearing the finished line, and with renewed strength I gave it my all.

At 5:49 pm, on the 18th of May, my beautiful, precious little girl was laid against my chest, all 8 pounds and 4 ounces of her, and in that moment I knew it was worth it, the waiting, the labor, the deliver, the exhaustion and pain. I felt that if I could conquer this I could conquer anything.

Two hours later my parents brought Carson back home, and there we were, a family of four. My world, made whole.

It is with such gratefulness and pride that I introduce to you, our daughter, Brooklyn Avonlea.


Babies and Other Things CURRENTLY Happening....

This little corner of the internet has been completely silent and forgotten about for several weeks and for good reason; we've been entirely preoccupied with a beautiful little girl who finally decided to make an appearance eleven days past her due date. And oh, let me tell you, in retrospect eleven days is nothing, for she has already been with us for three weeks and those weeks simply flew by!

Our little darling, Brooklyn Avonlea -- Brooklyn meaning "one who lives near the brook [Living Water]" and Avonlea, "a return to childlike faith, simple beauty, noble purity, and compassion for the least" --  was born at 5:49 pm on May 18th. She weighed 8 pounds and 4 ounces, and was 21 inches long. But she's been growing like a weed and is already at 10 pounds, which means her newborn clothes no longer fit. We are completely smitten with her, and already cannot remember what life was like without her as a part of our family.

I'll share her birth story (which includes BB guns and cowbirds in between contractions...) another time. For now we are simply going to catch up on what is currently happening in life.

Reading: I've got a whole list of books I could tell you about, from The Boy in Striped Pajamas to Mending Tomorrow and My Life's Journey -- a memoir my friend Hannelore wrote about her life as a young girl in war-torn Germany. Today, however, it's going to be Wild and Free.

Wild and Free, written by friends, Jess Connolly and Hayley Morgan, is a "Hope-filled anthem for the woman who feels she is both too much and never enough." As women we so often compare ourselves to those around us or limit ourselves because of culture captivity, not walking in the freedom and liberty and power Jesus intended for us. In this book Connolly and Morgan explore what it means to find freedom in Christ and to live it out, wholly, wildly, holding nothing back. They share personal stories, scripture passages and ways to apply these principles to your own life.

This book was sent to me by Book Look Bloggers in exchange for an honest review, so I will be honest and tell you I hard a really hard time getting into it. It's not that it didn't have within the pages truth and life and goodness, it did. But I felt like I had already read this book, its meaning told again and again in other words and by other authors. While the reviews on Instagram and Amazon are mostly five stars and quoted as "life changing" and "a must read" I'll be giving Wild and Free three stars out of five for the simple reason that it didn't captive me or impact my life in a huge or profound way.

(If you read this book I'd love to know your thoughts...)

Loving: My Wildbird ring sling. I didn't have a long list of items I felt I needed for a baby this time around. I discovered with Carson that less is more, that babies need clothes, milk, diapers, a whole lot of love, and not much else. He never had a crib or a fancy stroller or a rock n' play, or even a nursery for that matter -- all things I thought I had wanted but discovered I don't need. After Brooklyn was born people kept asking for gift ideas and my response was basically DIAPERS! But I also wanted to purchase a sling. I have a MobyWrap and an Ergo carrier, but the simplicity of the sling and the fact that its light weight and linen, which means it's comfortable to wear even in the heat of summer, sold me on it. I figured since I'll often been running after Carson, I will need both hands, which means baby wearing will happen a lot. A few people gave me money toward this purchase, and let me tell you, so far it's been worth every penny. Brooklyn LOVES to be worn and is so content in the sling. It's really easy to use, it's comfortable, and I think very attractive looking -- hello fashion accessory child. (I can't say the same about the Ergo or Moby.)
I was using the sling yesterday, and there was a bit of a diaper crisis, which meant the sling and Brooklyn's outfit and my shorts all needed to be washed. Those two hours of line drying time seemed like an eternity. I need at least one more sling for backup. Since the slings are a bit pricey, I am going to attempt making my own by copying this design. I'll let you know if it's a success.

Dreaming: About sending our dogs to obedient school because: Grapevines. Bath towels. Terracotta pots. My garden. Amazon boxes. All shredded, dug up, or chewed on. (See the "Thinking About" section below.)

Wishing: The very best to my little (and only) sister. Her and her boyfriend-turned-fiance just announced their engagement over the weekend. This summer will be filled with all things wedding! I find myself reminiscing my own engagement four years ago, when we were completely broke (not even joking) and crazy in love (or we thought we were, it just keeps getting better). What a wonderful season of life it was. What a wonderful season of life is still is.

Thinking about: My crazy week and the laundry disasters. (Yes, more than one.) It all started when we came home from a weekend out-of-town and I had a mountain of laundry to wash. I sorted it like I normally do; lights, darks, jeans, and towels, then I threw in a few shirts I had bought for Carson from Schoola. Since Schoola is second hand clothing I never even thought to wash the red items separately. Oops. It wasn't until I pulled the load out of the dryer that I noticed the pink hue to about 5 pieces of clothing. Oxi-clean, Melaleuca stain remover, and Dawn soap with peroxide have all failed the test. The stains are set, and pink is not my color.
Next I washed, dried, and SHRUNK my MobyWrap. Oops. This wasn't a terrible disaster, because the Moby is made to be one size fits all, so whenever I wore it the tail was extremely long. It'll only be a problem if I would sell or give the wrap to someone who is larger than a size 4, because now there really isn't tail to spare.
And finally, the third disaster. I washed towels yesterday and hung them out to dry. In the craziness of my day, I left the house and forgot to bring the wash in. When I came home many hours later my husband told me the dogs took care of it for me... Oops. And yup. Shredded towels for days.

You'd like after 15 years of doing laundry regularly I'd be a pro at this. Guess not.

Listening: To the soft, gentle purr of my newborn who is slung snugly against my chest, and thoroughly enjoyed the quiet as both kids are napping at the same time! Glory be!

What have you been currently up to?