Our last few weeks in pictures - now, stop bugging me.

Cheering, GO DAWGS!
Cousin Time.
Not playing.
Eating (first bottle).
Mommy Time.
Daddy Time.


She's here - completeness ensues.

Friday started normally enough. I returned to work that week and had spent most of my days setting up my classroom from early in the morning until late in the evening. Everyone said I was "nesting" and I guess that it didn't click as "nesting" (in my head) since it was happening in a classroom and not a nursery. Thursday evening I came home late feeling especially puffy with plenty of energy and pretty happy all around. Matt and I played solitaire (with real cards), snuggled with an abnormally snugly puppy, and even picked up pizza. I was convinced that I would be teaching a full week or two before the arrival of our baby.

I woke up at 5-ish the next morning - with some pain. I rolled over, looked at the clock, took note, and went back to bed. Pain again. Checked the time, rolled over, went back to bed. By 5:45am I knew that this was indeed pain and that there was possibly a rhyme and reason to it. I got myself up, told Matt that I was "having contractions, but not to get up," and then started packing a bag and doing some laundry. At around 7:30am we called the hospital and were told to come on in for monitoring.

We got to the hospital at 8am and were put on the monitor. While being asked a litany of questions, we watched our little girl's heartbeat and what were identified as contractions. They told me I was at three centimeters, but that it could be a while. Rose, our labor nurse, asked the midwife if we could walk around for an hour to see how I progressed (she really wanted us to go into labor). Sharon (our midwife) agreed. So, we headed home and walked.

After a sweet walk with Carter, my contractions were obviously stronger. So, knowing labor could indeed happen that day I did what any normal woman would do....I got into the shower to shave my legs. You haven't experienced a contraction until you've done so shaving in the shower. It was quite comical and possibly the most vain (vainest) thing I have ever done. We made up the guest bedroom - completed last minute packing and again, headed to the hospital.

We were put back on the monitor where contractions proved stronger and more regular. Sharon was skeptical that I was in labor - as Matt and I were laughing and playing cards throughout most of our time in the tiny room. I had progressed to 4cm...I think Sharon was on the verge of sending us home when I exclaimed, "Something is coming out of me!" My water had broke. There was now no other choice than to be admitted. We were having a baby.

Sharon was obligated to offer pitocin (she did so while shaking her head "no" throughout) and we were moved to our labor room. I can't really tell you much about it all - as it seems blurry. Matt put on "The Office" and various nurses came in to set up an IV line (in case I needed it) and the anesthesiologist came in to explain everything (in case I needed it). The talk freaked me out and I became even more resolute that I would prefer to not have needles stuck in me. I bounced on a ball and curled up on the bed...and then Rose offered the laboring tub. GLORY BE! The tub was amazing. It was hot and relaxing and I fell asleep while in it. However, it was extremely hot and I became overheated - so I hopped out after an hour and returned to our room. I sat in the recliner and continued to sleep in between contractions.

I must not have looked like I was in labor, as Matt & Rose decided that I should get up and walk around to progress things. Begrudgingly, I got up and completed three laps around labor wing. Apologies if you saw me during my tour d'force - I'm sure I scared many a woman out of the idea of ever giving birth. I was not dramatic or overly loud, but I definitely had to stop and breathe a few times and there may or may not have been vomit.

Upon my return to the room, I sat back on the ball and felt what can only be described as very intense pressure and a lot of pain. I looked at Matt and said, "I want the epidural." Rose calmly asked if I would like something to take the edge off instead and I eagerly stated that I would. At that moment another contraction hit and I made the delicate statement that I felt like I was being ripped in half. Rose eyed me and said, "I think we should do a quick exam before we get the drug folks in here. An eternity passed and Rose quietly announced that I was at nine centimeters. I looked up at her and bemoaned, "This means I don't get the drugs, right?" Rose excused herself and very quickly began paging various persons and wheeling in all sorts of instruments.

The midwife had me breathe through 5 contractions so that I could get ready to push. These 5 contractions were by far the worst pain I have ever felt...there is no way to describe it and I don't think I would wish to. It hurt. When I was finally allowed to push, the new pain was a relief. The had me push on a birthing chair - think a toilet - and then I returned to the bed for the actually delivery. I had gotten to the point where I just knew this baby was never going to leave my body when they had me reach down, guide her out, and put her on my chest.

I look up and see my beautiful husband with tears in his eyes - and I look down and see my sweet girl...looking really blue and gross. (Just kidding) The rest of it just faded away and our family came into existence.

Through it all my husband was the most amazing birthing coach ever. He knew what I needed more than I did - a quiet observer who held my hand and could calmly tell me that I was okay and that it would be alright. He cracked a few jokes and we laughed a little (a lot). He bent over backwards to keep me comfortable. He was a rock star.

All in all, I surprised everyone by going from 4-9 in 3.5 hours and only pushed for 20-30 minutes. For a first baby, it was a quick labor - she was ready.

We're home now. She's gorgeous. We're completely in love. We can't wait to see what God has for us next.

Thanks for praying.


The Sailor and The Whale

A sudden jolt and darkness. Something shifting in the hull...just bilge water. She closes her eyes praying to be rocked back to sleep by the rhythms she's grown accustomed to over the past few months. Not tonight. The shifting is now a predictable tap, tap, tap and she is hopelessly awake. Thrusting her legs over the side of her bunk, she slowly makes her way to the head. No longer needing her eyesight, she navigates the predictable route to her one place of solace. She sits....relieved somewhat by the simple routine of movement, but the tapping continues and she knows she's in for a long, restless night.

It's been an extended expedition. Over a year at sea with two failed sightings. Not this time. She has been tracking this creature too long. She knew her. Her comings and her goings. Her movements and habits. She knew it couldn't be long now. All too soon - she would see her. It would be spiritual and beautiful. It would be bittersweet - as all endings that precede great beginnings are. But she was ready. They were ready.

With a slight smile she lifted her heavy-laden body and again circumvented obstacles in the dark. She heaved her body back into the bunk, eyes wide, hoping that it was soon to come.

Tap. Tap. Tap.


Finish Object Friday: Readers' Wreath

This was such a fun project. I used this tutorial. It took about 30 minutes total and cost about $3.


37 Weeks

16 Weeks
21 weeks
24 Weeks
37 Weeks
37 Weeks