Tuesday, November 30, 2010


Dear You,



(Hows that for an ice breaker?)

Life is good.
E-M is still just as perfect as the day she was born.
The Girls are just as silly, wild and unstoppable as ever.
J is just as handsome as the night we had our first kiss on the steps of my Hidden Lakes apartment.
Life is good.


Christmas is coming. So is The Funk. The Humbugs. The Jolly Resistance.

I'll press through. With a smile. And be thankful. Because...

Life is good.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Joy comes in the afternoon...

John and I are BIG TIME planners. We both like to plan ahead for events and activities, and almost everything we do begins with a checklist. Neither of us like to feel unprepared, and we don't like being caught off guard. However, we are also Realists (well, John's more the Realist and I'm more the Pessimist). We know things almost never go as planned. Therefore, when we lay out a plan for something, we usually devise a plan B. And C. And D. And E. And, sometimes we make up sub-plans for those

We are also Christians. We believe God has a plan and purpose for our life. Which means, sometimes our plans, preferences, and time lines are thrown out the window. We're ok with that because we know He will guide us through whatever journey, adventure or adversity we face along the way.

In February 2004, we decided to start trying for a family. We anticipated and prepared for it to take six months to a year to get pregnant. Two months later, six weeks before I graduated college and began my first post-degree full-time job, I was pregnant with S-O.

In April 2007, we decided S-O needed a sibling. Four weeks later, after ONE real attempt at 'trying', BAM! Rae was born nine months later.

Given our track record, when we decided to start trying for #3 last June, we assumed we'd be pregnant in one or two months. God had other plans.

Sunday, July 4th

1a.m. WOZERS! A really strong contraction woke me from a solid sleep. I changed positions and tried to go back to sleep. About thirty minutes later, another one woke me up. I decided to get out of bed and walk around to see if they would go away. They didn't. They were about 30 minutes apart and uncomfortable enough to keep me awake. I was exhausted, so around 4a.m. I finally fell back to sleep.

We went to church that morning and by noon the contractions were becoming more steady at about 10-15minutes apart. We called our friend Candi to stay with The Girls while we went on to the hospital to have me checked.

Here's a pic I took on the way out the door:


They checked me and I WAS STILL ONLY 3cm!!! (I'd been 3cm for about two weeks.) Lovely. Since I had planned a natural birth, sans pain meds or labor augmenting drugs like Pitocin, they gave me the option to go home. I did. I would much rather labor in the comforts of my home than in the hospital. The plan would be to go back to the hospital when my contractions were 5min apart for an hour or so intense that I couldn't talk/walk through them. Ok, fine. Good plan.

We picked up The Girls and came home to freshen up before evening church services. Although I was contracting, they were manageable, and, like before, I wanted to get out of the house so I wouldn't obsess over timing them.

The minute we walked into the church building the contractions became closer together. Like 6-8min apart closer. I kept track of them with my phone. I know the family sitting behind us thought I was texting all throughout church. Hahahaha!

Anyway, I toughed it out until after service, but we, well John, decided we should go on home instead of staying for the fellowship meal. SNAP! I drooled over the HUGE tubs of homemade ice cream set out on the serving tables as we walked out the back door.

We went ahead and called my inlaws in KY and asked them to begin the 4hr trip because even if Baby Girl wasn't born tonight, I KNEW it would be within the next day or so.

I laid down and the contractions tapered to every 30min. I went to bed at 9pm and slept until about 1a.m.

Monday, July 5th

1 a.m.-5 a.m I couldn't sleep. The contractions ranged from 10-30 minutes apart. Some of them pretty intense. My mind wondered into a million different places. I ate a snack. Powdered Donuts and Cheetos. I got on the computer and wrote this. I tried to go back to sleep.

6a.m.-11a.m. Contractions were 8-15 minutes apart. I did laundry, watered my plants, double checked my hospital bag check list, walked around the house, helped the girls get dressed, hung out with the inlaws, and pretty much labored at home, like planned. It wasn't too bad. Every now and then I had to stop what I was doing to concentrate through the contractions, but the pain was manageable. John was very attentive and kept asking if I needed him to do anything. Occasionally, I needed counter pressure on my lower back, but other than that, it was business as usual around the house.

11:30 a.m. I had a phone conversation with my sister-in-law. We laughed and chatted about labor and contractions. She suggested we go for a walk at the mall. I thought it was a good idea and said we may do that. We were talking about the weather when IT hit me.

A very. strong. take-my-breath-away. contraction.

I handed the phone to John mid-sentence and he told her we'd call her back later. I had to REALLY concentrate through that one

11:45a.m.- I told John that we'd probably need to head to the hospital in the next hour or so since my contractions were getting stronger and closer together, 7-10 minutes apart.

11:57a.m.- I told John we needed to leave for the hospital, RIGHT NOW!!!

It took them about 30 minutes to check us in and usher us to a birthing room. My nurse, Nurse Sarah, checked me to see if this was the real deal. It was! I was dilated 6cm!!! Woo Hoo!

Yesterday's false alarm really disappointed us.
But not today. THIS was the real deal.

As Nurse Short-Hair (sorry, I forgot her name) moved the wireless monitor (two discs strapped to my belly meant to read E-M's heartbeat while giving me freedom of movement without wires or cords), she asked, "So, why did you choose to go with natural childbirth?"

I held my breath and starred at the screen. Thump, Thump, Thump, Thump.

"There she is!" she exclaimed, as she found her mark and I found my peace. "I just like to ask because I'm curious. That, and I wished I had tried to go natural with at least one of my boys, but things don't always go as planned."

"It was mostly a personal decision," I said as I looked at John. He winked and gave my left hand a squeeze.

Things don't always go as planned. But sometimes, they do.

2 p.m. After the initial 'setup' was complete and the 1000 questions were answered and entered into the computer, Nurse Sarah left us alone, to labor in peace.

That was my mantra for most of my labor.

No screaming. No yelling. Just calm breathing and meditating.

I walked. I stretched my legs. I leaned against a chair.

John was my rock.
He rubbed my back. He rubbed my legs. He told me I was beautiful.
He looked me square in the eyes and told me he loved me.

Those moments were some of the most intimate, special, moments of my life.

3 p.m. John and I worked through the contractions. They hurt. But, I realized if I tensed up they were worse. Ironically, the only time I felt relief from the pain was when I sat, completely limp and relaxed, on the toilet.

Nurse Sarah was SUPER nice. She worked really hard to make sure she and the hospital complied with everything on my birth plan. She didn't flinch when I requested a HEP lock IV port, rather than the standard IV drip. She didn't look at me cross when I said I wanted to wear my own clothes rather than a yucky tie-back hospital gown. Those things really helped make labor more comfortable. As comfortable as labor can be.

The contractions were becoming more intense and I felt lots of pressure.

Nurse Sarah checked me and I was dilated to 8cm. I went back to my 'comfy spot' on the toilet and I heard John greet the on call doc (mine was on vacation in Atlanta). She said I'd probably be pushing soon.

Throughout this pregnancy, I have felt tremendous gratitude to God for giving me another chance at creating life. Even during the bouts of asthma, pre-term labor contractions, and hugeness that was my belly, I never stopped feeling grateful. I never stopped praising Him for every day I had with her in my womb. Every kick. Every stretch mark. Ok maybe not the stretch marks, but you get the picture.

Life doesn't always go as WE plan. Sometimes HIS plan takes us on a journey we never expected. Sometimes while on that journey we learn things about ourselves, about life, that we otherwise wouldn't have learned.

WE wanted to be pregnant last July. WE wanted the chemical pregnancy last August to be real. WE wanted the baby we conceived last September to stick and grow into a beautiful, living, breathing, child that would one day run and play with it's sisters. WE wanted those things.

Since then, we have leaned on the faith that His plan is perfect, and beautiful, and designed to glorify Him. Not us. Not our plans

It wasn't until I gave up on being in control that divine providence took over. And then, great, GREAT things began to happen

aprox. 3:15 p.m

I never once looked at the clock. Time stood still.
I never doubted my body's ability to do what it was designed to do.
I never let my mind think about the 'what if's'.
But I did cry. I cried because I was ready for her to be here.

With closed eyes, I dug deep into the depths of my soul for the faith that everything would be ok.

With opened eyes, I clung to the neck of the man I love. His piercing green eyes calmed my spirit and carried me through the familiar stabbing pain.

My arms wrapped tightly around his neck, I realized this was it.
THIS was the moment we had been waiting for.
THIS was the moment to let go of the pain.
THIS was the moment of spiritual growth.
THIS was the moment to PUSH!!!

aprox. 3:50p.m.

I was done. But I wasn't done.
I'd had enough.
I asked to go home.
Then, like my sister, who delivered 2 of her six children without drugs, and my Mom who delivered one of my sisters that way too, had described, I was entering the 'ring of fire' phase of labor.

Through watering eyes, John yelled, "We can't go home now. You're doing it. Right now. She's coming. She's here!"

Suddenly, the pain stopped and tears of Joy began to flow.
She was laid on my chest.
Her umbilical cord pulsated and was left uncut until it became still.
She nursed right away.
All three of us cried.

Sometimes things don't go as planned. But sometimes, they do.

John and I spent the next hour and a half loving our new baby girl and each other. When we were ready, we called our parents and made plans for The Girls to meet their Baby Sister.

I felt great. I was up and walking around almost immediately.

John stayed with the baby in the nursery while I washed up and changed clothes.

I walked to the nursery.
I gave our sweet baby girl her first bath.
I dressed her in a pink sleeper with flowers and put a hot pink polka dot bow in her hair.

Ella-Marie Joy is finally here. She is healthy and perfect in every way.

Here's our first family photo as a Party of Five.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Birth Story?

I'm not avoiding you.
I just can't find the right words to describe the awesomeness of E-M's birth experience.

Yes, she was born.
Yes, I did it naturally, sans drugs, iv's, and yucky hospital gowns.
Yes, it was the most beautiful experience of my entire life.
No, I didn't punch John in the face.
Yes, it was the most amazing experience of our, nearly eight year, marriage.
Yes, The Girls LOVE their baby sister.
Yes, life is perfect, to me.

...more to come later. I promise. When my mind is inspired the way my heart was.

Monday, July 5, 2010

...and then I punched him in the face

Have you ever wanted something to begin, last forever, AND end at the same time?

Last fall, I wanted this pg SOOOO very much to begin.

Then, after a few scares over the holidays, I wanted it SOOOOO very much to last forever.

Now, 9.5 months later, I SOOOOO can't wait for it to end.

Yes, I'm miserable. Yes, I haven't slept in 3days because of early labor contractions. Yes, I remain in a constant state of prayer, asking for forgiveness for my daily thoughts of punching random, and not so random, people in the face for asking stupid questions like, "Uh, Christina, ya think your pregnant enough?"

What? Seriously? You better run, Dude!

But that's not why I can't wait for this pg to end.

I can't wait because in a few days (or God help me, weeks) a missing piece to our family puzzle will be found. The shadow of a child I invisioned running behind S-O and Rae on the playground last summer, will finally have a face. The accidental lie I told early last fall to a lady at CVS will become truth (she asked me how many children I had, and I, without missing a beat and without being pg at the time, answered, "I've got three girls.")

I can't wait to dress them in matching dresses and hairbows.

I can't wait to see Rae's face when she meets her Baby Sister.

I can't wait for S-O to stand proudly with her arm around Rae, looking down on the precious baby that completes their trio.

I pray for a happy, healthy, baby girl.
I pray for a swift, uneventful, labor.
I pray John and I can manage the pain, together.
I pray that during the most difficult parts of labor I don't punch him in the face when he looks me square in the eyes and says, 'You can do it. I know you can. I love you.'
But mostly I pray to thank God for the opportunity to create this child and for the strength to safely bring her into this world.

Monday, June 28, 2010

My new bumper sticker...

Rae: Mommy, I pooped in the potty.

Me: Oh, good.

Rae: Don't I get some chocolate now?

Me: Well, didn't Daddy already give you chocolate?

Rae: Yes. But YOU didn't. I came to tell you I need YOU to give me chocolate too.

Me: Really?

Rae: Yes. I came to tell you, Mommy, I need chocolate from you because

Me: (getting up to give her a piece of chocolate) Now THAT would make a good bumper sticker.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Phrases I'm sick of hearing, and my responses.

"Wow, are you sure there's just ONE baby in there?"
-YES you Moron!
Then I punch them in the face.

"(with a sad, pathetic look on their face) Awwww, ANOTHER girl...well, maybe you can try again for a boy?"
-Uh, we weren't 'trying' for a boy. We just wanted another child.
Then I punch them in the face.

"No baby yet??? When are you due again?"
-Yeah, I had her last week. I'm just still a bit bloated.
Then I punch them in the face.

"You look great! You're all baby. I mean, the rest of you looks the same."
-I seriously doubt you mean that, and actually, unless I birth a 30lb baby, I DID gain everywhere else as well. But thanks.
Then I punch them in the face.

"(while making a tisk tisk sound with their mouth) Girl, I was there once. I know how you feel. When I was pregnant with my first son, he's 25yrs old now, I was as big as you."
-Really? Thanks.
Then I punch them in the face.

"Is this your first?" -No, third.
"Oh, well, how old are your other two?" -2 and 5.
"WOW, you're about to have your hands full!"
-No, really?
Then I punch them in the face.

"(this from a random male hair dresser or post office worker) So, are you going to deliver naturally or get a c-section?"
-First of all, I think you mean, 'Vaginally', go ahead, say it, 'V-A-G-I-N-A-L-L-Y.' It sounds like V-A-G-I-N-A. Vagina, vagina, vagina...BOO! Secondly, IT'S NONE OF YOUR STINKIN' BEEZ WAX, MISTER!!!
Then I punch them in the face.

"I bet it sucks being pregnant in the summer?"
-No, it's actually quite nice and comfortable. I wear a black swimsuit to the beach/pool and people throw raw fish at me because they think I'm Shamu. Then I punch them in the face.

"Sweety, you need to take it easy and get some rest. Here in a few weeks you won't have much time for sleep."
-I'm a freakin' stay-at-home-Mom to two children under 6yrs old. When on earth do you expect me to 'take it easy' or 'get some rest'?!?!? Oh, and BTW, I haven't slept since 2003! So bite me! Then I punch them in the face.

...to be continued

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

A letter

Dear Glory Baby,

Today, I would be holding you,
snuggling you into my arm and calming your cry with my breast.

Today, your Big Sisters would have fought over who got to help change you
or pat your back into a burp.

Today, your Daddy would have looked into your eyes and promised to love and protect you every day of his life.

But on this day, your due date, you are singing us lullabies from Heaven.

You were only in my womb for a few weeks, but every second felt like a minute.
Every minute an hour.
Every hour a day.
Every day a week.
Every week a decade.

Although I smile and rejoice in the future, I miss you every day.