My Body My Choice {A Repost}

I wrote this shortly after I found out I was pregnant with Charlotte Leigh. Since then, my body has changed even more with the arrival of not only a second child but a third! I needed to *hear* this. Perhaps someone else does as well.

Eighteen glorious months ago I gave birth to a beautiful 8lb, 8 and half ounce baby boy. On January 20, 2011, Dominic Truth arrived on the scene and our lives have never been the same.

Neither has my body.

Perhaps I should rewind even further to the day I found out I was pregnant. Little did I know how much would change in the 42 weeks that followed. {yes, I said 42 weeks}

From that moment of conception my body began a rigorous marathon of growing life. And growing my body to hold this life. In the ten months that followed, my hips widened, my middle thickened and my face rounded. My brisk gait became a waddle.

just found out I was pregnant! So little!

41+ weeks!

After Dominic was born I began the long process of losing the weight that I had so happily {and easily I might add} gained in an effort to grow a baby. I lost a huge portion simply from walking, nursing my baby and returning to pre-pregnancy eating habits.

And I am proud to announce that although it took me over a year I have been maintaining my pre-pregnancy weight for a few months now.

But it’s just not the same. My clothes don’t fit the same way. And my shape is…different. It’s just not the body I had before I got pregnant.

And this could make me sad. Some days it does. But then I remember the wondrous miracle that took place in this body that now houses more skin than I’d care to admit.

Then I recall that my body before Dominic didn’t always make me happy either.

In those days, I could easily look at myself in the mirror and lament it’s shape and size. I could seamlessly criticize every extra pound and unwanted curve. I could scrutinize every gap in my teeth and lament over the acne scars that accent my face. I could tear myself down and ridicule my body from the top of my head to the bottom of my feet.

Or I could remember who created me. I could thank God for the body he’s given me. I can proudly look in the mirror and proclaim, “I am fearfully and wonderfully made.” {Psalm 139:14}

I can pull my shoulders back, lift up my chin and broaden my smile because it’s my body. And it’s my choice to love it just as I am.

You may not have had a baby or perhaps you’ve had several. Your body is beautiful. Created by God in a shape and size that is exquisite. You may not have had a choice in what you  look like but you do have a choice to love you and your body as it is.

It’s your body. How will you choose to regard it?

 

This post was originally published on journeytobecomingone.wordpress.org on July 30th 2012. 

a boy and his elephant

Things I Don’t Want to Forget

Things I don’t want to forget:

That my little girl says ‘nom nom’ to say thank you. The more nom nom’s the more thankful she is

brown eyes

That my eldest son randomly cleans his room after we’ve put him to bed. He’s also been known to change his clothes a few times when he should be sleeping.

dom

That my baby boy has a smile that truly lights up a room and warms his momma’s heart.

smiley baby

That my eldest is a planner and must ask daily: “where are we going today?”

Dom dressed as buzz

That my daughter, at 2, is already a fashionista…wearing clothing in uncoventional ways like socks for gloves and pj’s as a hat.

foxy little lady

socks are the new gloves

 

That my precious newborn resembles Winston Churchill….a lot.

dev looks like winston churchill

pic of Winston

That my 4 year old creator loves to make his farm animal duplo creatures super heroes.

dom with color picture

That my daughter loves strawberries and affectionately calls them Baubles

Charlee outside

That my little 2 month old chuckles in his sleep.

devin on his playmat

That my oldest has always been our little song bird waking up with and sometimes before the sun with joy in his heart and music on his lips.

listening to a message

That my middle child sways her shoulders back and forth when given a compliment

snow day with our little lady

That my youngest can sleep anywhere as long as he is in our arms.

devin looks like WInston Churchill

That my oldest makes sure to tell his daddy to “be safe on the roads” every time he leaves for work.

dom for fairy tale day

That, according to my daughter, no matter the animal,the sound he makes is “moo”

sofia nightgown

That my children love books but adore the Bible above all others.

d and c coloring

That big brother and sister love their baby brother and can’t wait to run and play with him.

charlee and devin

That our 3rd child has and continues to break all the rules reminding us that we really don’t know what we are doing but thankfully have the best kids on the planet.

devin sleepong

swing time

 

Can’t forget that. So blessed.

Life. Is. Beautiful.

 

 

Dom's penguin

Craft-A-Day {book review}

craft a day book

A little over a year ago, I came across a nifty book called Craft A Day by Sarah Goldshadt.  As the title suggests, the author provides a craft tutorial for every day of the year. They are broken up into 52 weeks of themes such as fox week and snowman week. On fox week you might have options to make a stuffed felt fox, or a fox greeting card. On snowman week, you may make snowman garland or a snowman cupcake topper. 7 crafts for each  theme subject. The materials are common and the crafts are very easy because all the patterns needed to make said crafts are provided.

visual table of contens

I initially bought this book for me so I would make myself take 10 minutes a day for me. I made it to week 2. Oh well. Fast forward to this past Monday when I had an exceptional mommy day with all three kids. I pulled the book out and had my eldest look through the pictures to choose a craft to do that morning. He picked the penguin theme. All we needed was parchment paper and pencil to trace the pattern provided, and construction paper, scissors and glue to make the actual penguin.

Dom's penguin

At Dom’s age (4), I did most of the work but he really enjoyed gluing the penguin together and drawing his eyes! We had so much fun that later that afternoon we found a robot pattern and made a greeting card for one of his little friends. (We put it in the mail before I thought to get a picture!) So TWO crafts, on the fly, in one afternoon! That’s pretty amazing!

Today we got a little more complicated and made a turtle magnet. I have to say that it turned out really cute.

turtle magnet precut

turtle magnet complete

This craft required cardstock, mod podge and magnet paper but, again, these were all supplies I had on hand. “You just happened to have magnet paper lying around?” you ask. Why yes I did thanks to the introductory chapter of this book that provides a shopping list of all the supplies needed to make all the crafts listed in the book. And they are simple things like construction paper, felt, card stock and of course magnet paper.

I really like this book especially in light of my recent crafting experiences with Dominic. I would highly recommend it for someone, like me, who might be looking for an entry point into crafting and I definitely think it’s a great investment for those with children interested in arts and crafts.

And just so you know, I’m not getting compensated for this post. I just really like this book and think you will too. Here’s the amazon link

Don’t let the price take you off guard. Remember it is a year’s worth of crafts complete with patterns, and seriously EASY instructions that even I can follow! That means they are really easy! And I’d say the list of supplies needed to be successful at crafting is a pretty good perk alone to the purchase of this book.

So to sum things up, here are my three top reasons for loving this book:

1. The crafts are really simple!

2. I can do crafts on the fly with my energetic 4 year old.

3. The finished product actually looks good!

Let me know if you pick this book up. I’d love to know what you think!

 

Devin’s Birth Story {part three}

This is part three of my son Devin’s birth story. You can read part one here and part two here. 

I had been assured that I would only be separated from my little fella for a few minutes; long enough to sew up my incision. And true to what I’d been told, I was wheeled back to the recovery room and my sweet Devin was placed on my chest.

So many feelings and sensations swept through my body and heart. Here this beautiful creature lay near to my heart and yet I couldn’t feel my toes!

I tried to take in every inch of him. His beautiful dark hair, his long fingers and toes, his eyes… were closed! Oh how I wanted to see his eyes. But he wouldn’t open them! Were they blue like his brother or brown like his sister?

We began to try nursing but for one reason or another, he wouldn’t latch on. Hindsight I really believe he was just tired and not interested but fear swept over me as rumors and half truths of connections between c-sections and difficulties in breastfeeding I had heard and read about filled my mind. I had breastfed my first two. It was something that was very important to me.

In addition to his disinterest in nursing, his breathing was hurried and irregular. The nurse told us that it was probably nothing but they wanted to take him to the NICU just in case.

And just like that, he was gone. My heart was hollow.

I was stunned. Devin was born at 8:02 and before 9 he was no longer in my arms. Shortly after this departure I was moved to my permanent hospital room. As they rolled me down the hall, I wondered when I would see him again. I would swing between thoughts of he’ll be fine to what if something is really wrong? What if he doesn’t make it? When I made it to my room, I was greeted by numerous nurses who helped move me to my bed, started checking my vitals, and helped me settled in. Marshall left to go see how Devin was doing and we learned the results of the chest x-ray. There was fluid on his lungs.

The most difficult reality was that I could not physically go to my child.

My body was numb from my stomach to my toes. I felt so defeated. The tears were silently falling in steady heated streams down my face.

The next few hours were a blur of checking vitals and my incision and waiting. I felt so alone and helpless.

Then I met my next angel: Kim. She was the nurse tech. She was such an amiable person. We talked about Devin and what was going on. She shared that her daughter had experienced a similar plight and like music to my ears she said: “Would you like to go see him. We can wheel you down there?”

I didn’t know that was possible. I was overwhelmed and so excited. I was going to see my baby boy! There was a glimmer of hope.

It took some time, a lot of assistance and a wheelchair but we were off to the NICU to see my sweet little guy. We had to wash our hands in this special sink and our phones aka cameras had to be placed in ziplock bags (all this to prevent spreading germs). They rolled me to his space and there was my baby boy.

Deep breath.

There were wires and machines connected to different parts of his body. They were measuring heart rate, oxygen level, blood pressure. A lot of measurements! When I look back at pictures it doesn’t seem that bad but in the moment….oh my…seeing your baby hooked up to machines and you can’t touch him or hold him…it’s a dreadful feeling*.

In the NICU

In the NICU

Sweet baby boy!

Sweet baby boy!

<3

We lingered for about an hour and then made our way back to my room. We were told he would need to stay in the NICU overnight and so we made our peace with the situation and made plans to start pumping to provide him what milk we could and work on recovery for me. Our first night of Devin’s life was spent every three hours pumping milk for Marshall to take down to our sweet boy to receive. Marshall was able to feed him my milk along with some formula in a bottle.

Marshall fed him first.

I felt guilty for being jealous. I shared this with a few friends and was thankful for the affirmation I received. My dear friend reminded me: I grew this baby inside of me for 39 weeks. I underwent major abdominal surgery to bring him into this world. And yet another one of the most important things in the world to me didn’t happen. I was not able to feed my son. My feelings were valid.

When morning came I was hopeful for good news that my son would be returned to me. A phone call confirmed that he had a very good night and was waiting to be seen by the dr in the NICU. This was exciting news for me. We made plans to visit him. Most of the measuring tools had been removed and he was swaddled up looking so beautiful. And then I was able to hold him for the first time since those early moments of his life. I cried, I swooned, I found healing. There he was so perfect. The hospital dr walked in and shared that he was doing well and pending approval from our pediatrician, Devin would be moved to our room. We were hopeful we would see our baby boy no later than noon. We made our trek back to my room and I started working on trying to get some exercise walking around as suggested by the drs and nurses.

Noon came and went and no baby. Phone calls, questions and still no answer as to why my son could not be brought to me. I did my best to keep busy pumping and moving my body but the stress and the recovery got the best of me. The colustrum (milk) I had been successful in pumping was dwindling. Each time I’d mention it to a nurse, she would assure me that it was normal to wane but in my mind I felt like they were lying to make me feel better. I stood up to go to the bathroom and felt the most horrendous bring-you-to-your-knees pain. I began crying and trembling uncontrollably. I wasn’t sure if it was the pain in my body or my heart but both felt broken. And my baby was not with me. Adjustments with my medicine helped with the physical pain and tears relinquished helped with my emotional pain.

We continued to wait and wonder. My dear friend and angel Leigh Taylor aka Devin’s baby nurse (if they would let him leave the NICU!!!) had written a verse on the whiteboard in our room:

I have set the Lord always before me; because he is at my right hand, I will not be shaken. Psalm 16:8

cc

Oh how shaken I felt but those words brought comfort. In the midst of all this we had made arrangements for Dominic to come by. Surely by 3 he would be in our room! We FINALLY got word that he was coming this way. We waited and waited and just couldn’t wait any longer so we asked again where he was. We learned he was now in the nursery being examined. At this news I completely lost it. He had been under watchful surveillance for nearly 30 hours in the NICU and now they were examining him. Of course I know there’s procedure and protocol but in that moment all I could think about is all the moments and hours and time spent without him.

And then Leigh Taylor wheeled him in and I saw him and the tears came and all the thoughts and words and hurts and anxieties I had been feeling spilled out onto LT’s kind ears. “I know this is so small compared to what many face in childbirth but this is so hard!” And she listened without judgment speaking only to affirm that my feelings were valid. And when I continued to struggle to feed my child, my dear friend went in search of the head of lactation to help me figure out what was wrong. When this woman walked in the room, the presence of Christ came with her, and the stress and fear melted away. Within minutes of her arrival, my son was nursing like a champ.

In that moment as I held my son, truly held him, and saw his beautiful eyes, God began redeeming the time lost in the past 30 hours. He was mine, he was perfect.

We had a few more challenges before we left the hospital and even some major sickness that hit our house after coming home…all shook me…all tested my faith and trust in God. But God remained faithful. He redeemed every moment that I felt broke me. From an unwanted delivery route to an unexpected stay in the NICU to challenges with breastfeeding….God redeemed every moment and brought angelic creatures into our lives to remind us of our Heavenly Father’s unwavering love and faithfulness to his children.

perfect little one

perfect little one

Devin is six weeks old today. He’s nursing like a champ, sleeping through the…well…we’re still working on that one. Our family is complete and whole and continuing to trust God in all things especially when they do not go as planned because as I believe with all my heart:

Life. Is. Beautiful.

Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight. Proverbs 3:5-6

 

* My son was in the NICU for 30 hours. The most excruciating 30 hours of my life. I can’t imagine the difficulty others I know have faced in being separated from their child for much longer than this. I now understand and honor those strong parents who have braved the NICU with their baby for days, weeks, and months. You are my heroes!

When Friends are like Family

When Dominic was born four years ago, we had different family members come through and stay with us over the course of the first six weeks of his life. We had meals provided by friends, co-workers and church family for the same amount of time.

When our second child, Charlotte, was born, my mom flew in a week after her birth, and stayed for a week.  The meals seemed to come out of the woodwork yet again.

As we started to prepare for the birth of our third child Devin, we began to realize that no family was lined up to visit after his birth. Thanks to a dear friend we had a few meals in the freezer but that was it.

Then we found out that Devin wasn’t cooperating and that a c-section was looking inevitable. Ironically, all the help and meals we received with the first two was feeling more desperately needed with our third child.

Thankfully we had already figured out where our children would be during our hospital stay, but now, with a c-section on the horizon, that meant an extended stay in the hospital, a more difficult physical recovery, and quite honestly a time of emotional recovery.

We had been given offers here and there to help and I know those offers were sincere but we failed to make those offers into plans.

So a few days before Christmas, I took a deep breath, swallowed my pride and started reaching out for help.

And just like that we had meals planned, gift cards provided, offers to clean our home, plans for play dates with the older children and fervent prayers being offered up. Through it all, I felt God whispering to me: “I am with you.”

When we made it home after Devin’s birth, we had meals waiting on us. Friends were checking in offering to pick up groceries and we actually took them up on it!  The kids had play dates to give mommy and daddy a break. One friend brought us tons of snacks for the kids! Another dear one, on her day off, brought us food, flowers, dessert and cleaned our house making us feel like royalty. And another dear friend came to my home on my first day by myself with all three children. She brought me coffee and lunch for everyone. She saw me in my sleep deprived stupor, still in my pjs…no shower and she helped me with the kids.

Wow.

The past month, no probably closer to 6-8 weeks has been a beautiful gift to our family and a wonderful lesson learned for me.

I don’t know why but it seems to be easier to help others than to ask for the same help. It’s not so simple to receive the help of others. Even when help is offered pride often gets in the way. Someone says to us, “I’d love to bring you a meal or come watch your kids. Just let me know when I can help”. But we never ask. We never follow up. We fear saying, “You know I really could use your help. Can you {fill in the blank}?”

Why? Why? Why?

In the body of Christ this should NEVER be the case. And yet it is.

We fear asking for help. We don’t want to appear weak.

But the first church wasn’t weak; it was very strong.

Acts 2:44-47 says:

44 All the believers were together and had everything in common.
45 Selling their possessions and goods, they gave to anyone as he had need.
46 Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts,
47 praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.

 

I remember nearly six years ago when Marshall and I first moved to Texas and found our forever home church: Legacy Church. A young couple had recently brought home their baby from the hospital. We didn’t know them. We didnt know much of anyone yet but somehow we ended up on the e-mail distribution list asking us to sign up to bring them a meal. So. We brought them a meal. Twice. Was it obligation? No! I can still remember being so excited thinking: “This is what the body of Christ is all about!!! It’s that Acts verse where we share everything and bear everyone’s burdens”.

Why, six years later,  was it so difficult to ask for help?To let the body of Christ BE the Body of Christ. To allow others the gift of joyous giving.

It was hard to send those emails and texts and have those “I don’t know what I’m going to do” conversations, but we did and the Church shone brightly in our lives. The gift of generosity gleamed ever so brightly in our family.

I don’t know why it is so hard to ask for help but I know God used our cicrumstances to humble us. Perhaps it is the firstborn in both Marshall and myself, or the ” I can take care of myself” self-sustaining culture of America. I know a lot of it is pride. It is probably all of the above.

Whatever the reason, God has brought me to a new place through the birth of our third child. It is NOT easy to ask for help, but now I know I should. I’m not done asking for help. I have three kids ranging in ages from 1 month to four years. I’m gonna need A LOT of help for a very long time!!

As I sit here, my heart is racing thinking about picking up my two older children from school this week. It’s less than a hundred feet from their classroom to the car but I’m gonna need help. For a multiplicity of reasons, I can’t do it on my own.

So on Tuesday afternoon I’ll take a deep breath, walk into the building with Devin in my arms and receive any help offered to get my kids to the car. And if no one offers, I’ll ask for help.

And I’ll keep asking for help.

Each time will require a deep breath and a reminder self-talk that we are all a part of the body of Christ and we need each other.

And when others need help??? Oh, the the renewed joy I will feel in bearing the burdens of a brother or sister in Christ!

I am so thankful that in our time of need, we asked for help, and our friends responded like family.

We are family after all!

 

Galatians 6:2: Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.

And the winner is…

And the winner is...

And the winner is…

This was such a fun week for me. I was able to ‘meet’ some new people and I loved reading the comments and learning a little about you. I hope we can do more of that throughout the year!

I was truly blown away by the amount of people who entered to win this amazing album. 30 names went into that fun glass jar! My husband did the honors and without further ado, the winner is….

Congratulations!

Congratulations!

Congratulations Leslie! I’ll be in touch to get your address and there will be a package in the mail shortly with some Little Praise Party goodness inside!

Everyone, thank you for participating and please check out Yancy’s stuff. Her music and ministry has been a huge blessing to my family and I know it will be for yours as well!

www.yancynotnancy.com

 

S10

Taste and See! {Music Review and Give Away}

S10

Almost three years ago, I was introduced to the music of an artist who is now my absolute favorite children’s musician ever and quite honestly one of my favorite music artists of all time in any genre. So when I was given the opportunity to not only gain access to Yancy’s latest album EARLY but also give one away to my readers, I was E-C-S-T-A-C-T-I-C!!!!* 

Here’s the Top Five Reasons why we love Yancy’s music and why we’ve already fallen in love with Taste and See.

5.  My kids enjoy listening to it and so do I! With three children ages 4, almost 2 and 4 weeks old I am going to hear plenty of preschool classics like Itsy Bitsy Spider, Mary Had a Little Lamb and so on for the next five years at least! It’s nice to have something that I and my children both enjoy that is so fun!

4. The music is easy to learn and memorable. From someone who has led children’s worship for over 10 years, finding music for preschoolers is NOT easy!! They need music that is fun and lyrics that are simple. Most options for preschoolers are either hard to listen to or the lyrics are just too complicated for them. But not this music. You love the sound and know the lyrics before the song is even halfway over! One of my favorites on the new album is Stop and Go!

Stop and Go!

Stop and Go! 

Stop and Go!

Go!!!!

Stop and listen to what God says.

Go and do what he tells you to do.

These lyrics are so easy to pick up and making up motions are a piece of cake! Can’t you just see how much fun a preschooler would have saying stop and go?  And how quickly they would pick up on the lyrics?

3. This music is written with Preschoolers in mind. I honestly can think of zero contemporaries to Little Praise Party. Preschoolers like to clap, march, shout, whisper, wiggle, jump and rock their air guitars. Taste and See gives plenty of opportunities for all of these preschool favorites!

2. It has a great message: How about these lyrics:

One, two, three, four,five, six, seven

Days a week

I can always count on God

This is the kind of message I want to instill into all three of my children and I can use this music to help me!

1. The music lingers in your heart and mind long after the song is over. One of my son’s favorite songs from a previous album is 1-2-3 Jesus is Alive. He sings this song all the time. About six months ago, we were at a baseball game and my darling little boy started singing at the top of his lungs:

1-2-3, Jesus is alive.

He died for you and me

but on day three

Jesus rose again

Jesus is alive.

What amazing words for him to not only have in his heart but to also proudly proclaim to all who will listen. That’s the kind of message I want my son carrying around in his heart always.

I love all things Yancy and I know you will too. Within the first 10 seconds of the first song, Super Wonderful, my 4 year old exclaimed how much he liked the song! I think your preschooler will have the same reaction. On top of some of the most amazing music you will ever hear,Yancy also has these amazing animated music videos that compliment each song. My son loves these!! He loves to watch and dance along.

Check out these beautiful screenshots from the videos!

MyGodIsNumberOne_2

 

Obey_1

 

MyGodIsNumberOne_1b

And now the fun part!!!

I am giving away one copy of this amazing album to one lucky reader!

Here’s how you can enter the drawing. You can do one or all of these things. Each one increases your chances of winning this fabulous album!!

  • Comment on this blog.
  • Like my brand spanking new Facebook Page here.
  • Follow this blog.
  • Follow me and tweet a link to this post and include my twitter handle @pattyparker
  • Post to Instagram a pic of how you would use this album (ie, a pic with your kids, your church small group etc) and be sure to tag lifeizbeautyful

So you could possibly have your name in my hat 5 times if you do all of the above. Or just do one of them. Good luck! The contest will be open until midnight (central time) on Friday February 6th and I’ll announce the winner first thing Saturday morning!

Of course there will be only one winner and I really do hope it’s you but even if it is not, I strongly urge you to make this investment in your preschooler. The cd’s are reasonably priced and there are also cd/dvd combos for use at home or in your car! If you are in children’s ministry they have great deals for church use as well. As you can see I can’t say enough awesomeness about this new album. But in the words of Reading Rainbow, “don’t take my word for it”. Check it out yourself! Click here to watch a video preview!

You can pre-order her album here* or if you prefer iTunes, go here*.

********************************************************

Want to know more about Yancy’s stuff? Check out my blog post I wrote about Yancy’s Lullaby CD here!

 

 

*affiliate link- if you use this link and make a purchase, I get a little something too. Pretty neat huh : )

 THIS CONTEST IS NOW CLOSED!

THANK YOU FOR READING AND PARTICIPATING!!!

IMG_0949

Devin’s Birth Story {Part Two}

This is part two of at least three in the story of my third child’s birth. You can read about the first part here. Before I continue I need to make it clear that I do understand that many women would willingly undergo surgery if they could just have the opportunity to birth their very own child. I have never experienced the very difficult pain of infertility and do not wish to heap coals on the heads of those who have or are currently experiencing this pain. This story may seem like a “mole hill” to some but for me it was and is a pretty difficult experience that I need to process and writing is my way to find that healing. 

We scheduled the c-section for January 7th. (I was tempted to go for Thursday since my first two children were born on Thursdays but since Devin’s birth was so different already we decided that we would keep it unique in every way). We arrived at the hospital at 5:30am for a 7:30am procedure. It was then that I met my first angel. A woman named Mary had been assigned as my pre-op nurse. She was so kind and although I was so nervous and quite honestly scared at what was to come, her kindness helped settle my uneasiness. After checking vitals, I changed into that lovely hospital gown and took one last potty break. IV’s were inserted, questions were answered, papers were signed. This was followed by an entourage of people entering the room to discuss everything from the details of the epidural to payment plans for the birth. And then…a familiar face…just before my procedure I was greeted by my wonderful doctor who had ordered one last ultrasound hoping with me that our sweet Devin had changed his position making a vaginal delivery possible. As she ran the doppler across my pregnant belly, we received the confirmation I already knew in my heart that Devin had not cooperated as I had hoped. The c-section was inevitable.

I took a deep breath, acknowledged my fate and said goodbye to my doctor who left to prepare for my surgery. A few minutes later, a nurse brought in a set of scrubs for my husband to wear. And then they were wheeling me down the hall to the operation room. With each turn of the bed wheels, I could feel my heart beating faster and the tears I had been stifling began to stream down my face in slow, heated trickles. With each tear, my angel Mary was there to wipe them away.

The doors to the operating room opened and I found myself in a large room. I know there was a lot of equipment in the room but I don’t remember anything about it. They helped me onto the procedure table and I was given my first ever epidural. Actually it was a combination epidural/spinal block…I think that’s the right terminology but regardless of the name/chemical makeup it did the trick. It numbed my body from the top of my abdomen down to my toes. At some point during this part I became extremely lightheaded and felt like I was having a panic attack. Thankfully, I had received a phone call the day before from an anesthesiologist who talked me through what to expect and had told me: “Don’t be a hero. If something feels wrong, speak up. We can fix it.” Thank God, in that moment, I was able to articulate what I was feeling. From what I could tell (based on my memory of the conversation buzzing around my head) my blood pressure had significantly dropped and I was really dehydrated. They quickly made adjustments and offered me oxygen. Although it felt like an eternity, within moments I felt significantly better and it was time to have a baby.

They checked my body to make sure that I was completely numb and then my dr began the procedure by making an incision in my lower abdomen. Marshall was by my side, holding my hand and braving it right along with me. We waited.

Then, at 8:01 am, after some pulling and tugging and suctioning of fluids, Devin was here! They took him to a warming bassinet and began cleaning him up and checking his vitals.

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My sweet darling husband wouldn’t leave my side until I insisted he go meet our son! A side note: even with two mostly natural births under our belt that included lack of sleep, coaching through hard and painful contractions, seeing lots of blood, the bravery my husband demonstrated that day standing by my side behind the blue curtain holding my hand was the greatest I’ve ever witnessed. And I fell more deeply in love with him in that moment when our eyes met and I saw in his face a determination to brave this with me his swollen, weepy and fearful bride. He honored and cherished me in a way that cemented our love  for one another.

After they cleaned up our bouncing baby boy, they swaddled him up and placed him on my chest. I was in love. Tears began trickling down my face again as I beheld this beautiful creation who just moments before was inside me. All 8lbs 1 0z and 20.25 inches of him!

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My doctor began the process of closing my incision and my husband took our sweet baby boy from me and left for the recovery room where I would go just moments later.

The procedure was over. I would soon have the opportunity to bond with my baby.

Little did I know that my adventure was not over yet. Trusting God in all of this had just begun but his faithfulness was just around the corner.

*   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *    *   *

Each year many people pick a theme or word to focus on during that year. Sometimes I have participated, others I’ve honestly had no interest in the idea. This year was one of those where I really did not have the time or desire to choose a word. Ironically, I believe God chose it for me and placed it in front of me through the circumstances of this birth.

That word is: TRUST 

You can read a little more about this in an earlier post I wrote here when there was still ‘time’ for Devin to change his position. 

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Devin’s Birth Story {part one}

Just over a week ago my life was changed yet again with the arrival of our third child Devin Timothy Parker. As with our first two children, Devin has a unique birth story all his own filled with twists and turns, beautiful surprises, disappointments and redeeming moments.

Although it was a typical pregnancy filled with morning sickness, heartburn, tired eyes and emotions, with two littles already underfoot, I feel like it was my hardest one. However, with the help of a wonderful supportive husband and the loving grace of our two beautiful children, we made it through. So without further ado, here is part one of the tale of sweet Devin’s arrival into the world on January 7th, of this year.

At 36 weeks we found out our little fella was not in a good position. Instead of getting settled into a head down position in preparation for birth, our little fella was sideways! A few pep talks to the Dev, frequent visits to the chiropractor, and lots of prayer being offered up from ourselves, friends and family helped passed the time until our 38 week ultrasound.Our doctor had shared with us the possibility of doing a procedure called an external cephalic version. With this procedure she would manually move the baby from the outside into the correct position. With only a 50% success rate and lots of risks involved if something were to go wrong, my doctor had very specific prerequisites for doing a ‘version':

  • An optimal position- head tucked in, legs crossed
  • enough amniotic fluid
  • appropriate positioning of cord and placenta

Prior to this decision-making ultrasound, I had everyone praying! Even Dom had been praying that Devin would do a ‘headstand’. My prayer had been that Devin would move his position or that it would be abundantly clear that having a baby vaginally was just not in God’s plan for his delivery.

The time for the ultrasound came revealing a new position but not what we were hoping for:

  • Position- frank breech (head up, bottom down, feet straight up near his face).
  • Nuchal cord- (the cord was wrapped around his neck)
  • Anterior placenta (instead of the placenta being under him which is more common, the placenta was on top)
  • lots of amniotic fluid

I knew that God had answered my prayers and the prayers of others when I heard the results of the ultrasound. With a frank position which is one of the more rigid positions to  maneuver, there was strike one. And although a nuchal cord is common (Charlee delivered with the cord wrapped around her neck), my doctor did not feel that it was safe to try the version in the event that my precariously placed placenta were to pull away from the walls of my uterus opening doors for all sorts mayhem that would cause harm to the baby and/or myself. Strike two and three.

So there it was: the answer I had prayed for. I didn’t like it but it was as I had asked abundantly clear that moving this baby from his position was not safe. Heartbroken, but trusting God, we scheduled the caesarian section for the following Wednesday.

*   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *    *   *

Each year many people pick a theme or word to focus on during that year. Sometimes I have participated, others I’ve honestly had no interest in the idea. This year was one of those where I really did not have the time or desire to choose a word. Ironically, I believe God chose it for me and placed it in front of me through the circumstances of this birth.

That word is: TRUST 

You can read a little more about this in an earlier post I wrote here when there was still ‘time’ for Devin to change his position. 

 

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Top Ten Best Parts of Being Pregnant

Just a little over a week ago, we welcomed our third child into our home to make our family complete! Something about being pregnant for a third time (knowing it would be my last) made me more sentimental in cherishing the moments and memories in the making as my little fella grew within. I shared these top ten favorite parts of being pregnant on Facebook counting down the last 10 weeks of my pregnancy.

Below are all ten. Enjoy!

#10 Feeling the baby move! It never gets old. From the first few flutters to those final rib jabs, there is nothing quite like the wonder of your growing child moving inside of you.

#9 Each of my babies responding to outside noises while in my tummy. Dom would start moving around in response to his daddy’s voice. When I would pick Marshall up from work he would start squirming as his daddy relayed to me the highlights of his day. And I knew he loved music even then because of all the movement that would happen when we walked into a worship service. Charlotte adored Dom from the moment she could hear his voice. No one could get her moving like Dom talking and even now no one can capture her attention like he can.

#8 Watching my children grow up almost overnight in preparation for a new sibling. Today, Charlee decided to start pulling her rolling backpack (which is bigger than she is, mind you) all by herself down the hall and right into her classroom. That combined with potty training readiness and her ‘mother hen’ tendencies, I’d say she is more ready for baby brother than mommy! Bittersweet.

Big girl

Big girl

#7 Hearing the heartbeat! Never gets old to hear such a beautiful sound of galloping horses.

 #6 Getting baby clothes ready. Nothing quite as adorable as newborn outfits and imagining my sweet little babe in them!

#5 Sonogram pictures. Love getting sneak peak pictures of my little one on the way!

Sweet Devin Timothy

Sweet Devin Timothy

#4 Baby showers! With each child, I have been amazed by the love poured out on myself and the sweet bundle on the way. Every birth should be celebrated and I am so blessed by friends and co-workers who have made that happen.

#3 Watching my husband become an even more wonderful father with the preparation and arrival of each new little one. Watching my husband prepare for fatherhood each time. I always knew he would be such a wonderful husband to me and our future kids when I said ‘I do’ but nothing could have prepared me for just HOW AMAZING he would be. I and my children are so richly blessed.

 

#2 Naming the baby. We’ve known for quite some time that we were having a boy which is a wondrous event in itself but naming the baby is such grand adventure. Each child’s name has significant meaning and has a special story behind it. Marshall and I both claim to have come up with Dominic which means “from the Lord”. Truth is our prayer for him. His life verse is John 14:1 and we pray he will always know the truth of Jesus Christ and when he is old enough to own his faith in Christ, he will proclaim that truth regardless of what the world at large defines truth to be. I always knew that if we had a girl, we would name her Charlotte after a woman and friend that I greatly admire. Charlotte means “little lady” and quite the little lady she is… both in stature and mannerisms! Leigh was a little more difficult to determine but when we found out that it meant “healer”, we both knew that it was the right name for our little girl as we pray that she would be a part of a generation that will usher in God’s healing upon our land as 2 Chronicles 5:17 describes. And now this sweet little baby on the way will be called: Devin Timothy Parker. Devin means “servant” and Timothy “means honoring God”. These are attributes we hope and pray our little fella will possess.

#1 Meeting the baby. The reality and anticipation of meeting the baby soon! I tear up every time I think about holding my little one for the first time. There is absolutely NOTHING like it! See you soon little Devin Timothy Parker!!

 

Devin Timothy Parker arrived January 7th at 8:02 am weighing 8lbs 1oz and measuring 20 1/4 inches long. 

Love at first sight!

Love at first sight!