Monday, June 19, 2017

Asher's Birth Story

Finally (only 10 months later), here is the story of Asher Evan's arrival! I want to remember this story forever.

August 6, 2016

Contractions wake me up from sleeping and after a few unsuccessful hours of trying to sleep, I told Peter. I'm pretty sure I said "we're gonna have a baby today!" 8:30am
I asked Peter to make me breakfast so we got up and he made eggs and toast for us; stayed at home laboring all mid-day for about 10 hours *gasp*. We attempted to watch a Harry Potter movie in between contractions while I bounced on a birthing ball, we went on a really hot walk around the neighborhood, I took a hot bath (which I had to get out of because it slowed my contractions wayyyyy down), and we did laps around the kitchen to try to progress labor. Peter even went to our favorite Thai place and got some food to-go for lunch (pork pad woon-sen for me and sushi for him; I'm all about remembering the details!)
The contractions got really intense so I asked my doula Cassie to head over. All the while I am trying to keep track of them on my phone and I keep forgetting to log them. It was about 1.5min contractions every 4 min. 4pm
Cassie arrives and I am ready to leave for the birth center right then and there so we take the most uncomfortable 20min car ride ever to the birth center! We arrive and the midwife checks me-- 5cm dilated! Woop woop! This momma was so thankful. But-- had to progress lots more. There was only one room open because, surprisingly, another baby was just born in the other room (only 2 rooms are at the center)! So Peter and I walked laps around the darkened, quiet birth center with our doula. I just remember how peaceful it was... and how safe I felt. At some point shortly thereafter, I headed into the shower with just Peter and sat on a birthing ball and let the warm water hit my back for about 20-30 minutes. After that, I tried some different laboring positions. This is where patience came in hand. I was so thankful I had watched all of those YouTube birth videos and read a ton about natural childbirth.

Patience. Is. Key.

I was first at the edge of the bed and then got on the bed hunched over the pillows with Peter next to my face, holding and rubbing my arms (I didn't like him to talk, but just to be fully present with me). He encouraged me so much and I am incredibly thankful for that! It was all such a mind game... it's amazing how much of the battle was inside of my head to keep it together. I also had scripture on notecards that I used at some point. I just had to take one contraction at a time. That's it. One wave at a time. Nothing else.

"I can make it through *this* wave."
After this point, I lose track of time. I remember being nauseas a lot and Cassie would have me inhale peppermint essential oil that she brought and it helped. My sweet midwife Mary checked me at some point (for the second and last time!) and said there was a little lip of my cervix that wasn't moving to the side so I needed to keep progressing.

So we walked.

More laps around the center. During these walks, I would have contractions, lean on Peter, and Cassie would talk me through each one. I don't know of a time in my life that I have ever been this focused in this much pain. I knew I could do it, but this was HARD. My self-control was definitely getting a workout. I kept asking when I could get in the birthing tub (they wanted me to wait a while before I got in because it can slow labor). Finally, when I felt "pushy", and was in the transition phase of labor, I got into the tub. My body literally was pushing *ALL ON ITS OWN*... a feeling I can't describe except to say that I literally had no control over it. So amazing.

At this point, it was dark and far into the evening. Since I was in transition, I had lost all sense of modesty and threw my dress off and got into that tub! I immediately had a huge sense of relief as I sat into the water. I leaned over the side and breathed deep. Peter rubbing my arms and being my comfort. The room was quiet and everyone was waiting with anticipation for baby boy's arrival. Things seemed to get clearer for me. I remember thinking that they must have been so bored waiting for me to birth my baby (HA! Right!) Mary, my midwife, had her hand actually in me trying to pull over the lip of the cervix (sorry if that's TMI!) It was being really stubborn. As I was in the water, my contractions slowed. Mary asked me to get out of the tub and continue walking and to *try* to not push (which is basically impossible) because she wanted me to save my energy for when my pushes would actually be useful after the cervix moved over. You should have seen the disbelief/horror/fear on my face!!! I did NOT want to do that! But I did. I did everything single thing they asked.

"Yes, whatever you say. Let's get this baby out." So we walked. Big, wide steps. Come on sweet boy, please come out. I felt really really pushy at this point and my contractions were FIERCE and the urge to push was literally uncontrollable. I leaned onto Peter and dug down deep, moaning, squatting, and leaning into my heels with each breath and made sure to relax as much as I could. Cassie rubbed my back and reminded me how to relax (breath, relax, low and open). Time stood still.

I would never forget these moments. Ever.
We came back into the room and I tried to sit on the toilet and then the birthing chair, anything to get that cervix to move out of the way! Finally, I laid on the bed and my midwife asked me to lean to one side and then the other so that the pressure would be somewhat relieved from baby boy (he was sitting really low for a while at this point). My body kept pushing on its own and with each contraction I really got behind them and gave it everything I had. This was incredibly hard!!! Mary just calmly encouraged me to keep going, almost in a whisper. She was so amazing and I thanked God that I was here at this birth center with those I trusted most and doing what I knew my body was designed to do. My doula was right by my shoulder recording it as well (ask me if you want to see the video, it's decent I promise!!) I kept feeling him come out a bit and then in between contractions he would go right back up. I was getting a little anxious at this point and felt fear creep into my mind and I started to have visions of going to the ER needing a c-section. But I knew that was a ridiculous lie motivated by fear so I got angry and pushed even harder. Peter was on the bed with me encouraging me how close he was to coming out but with each push I got more and more exhausted. I remember feeling like it was ages in between contractions and I was wishing that each one would hurry up and be quicker so I could push my baby out. But apparently, after watching the video and talking to Cassie, they definitely were right on top of each other. Not much resting... I couldn't believe it. I truly feel like the Lord slowed down time for me in those moments. It was wild.

Time literally stood still for me. A moment seemed like eternity. After pushing on and off for about 4 hours and maybe 1 hour of HARD pushing, Mary said she had to do a little cut if he didn't come out during the next contraction... I gave it everything I had during that next push but I was just so tired and his head was so big. So a quick, little, painless cut and that's all he needed.

There he was!! Screaming and absolutely perfect.

August 7, 2016
2:13am I can clearly remember thinking how strong and sweet of a cry he had and I was so relieved to finally meet my baby. My first reaction was surprise and delight at how well he was screaming and that he looked so "clean"... no blood or white vernix on him hardly at all. He was perfect. He was immediately placed onto my chest and I couldn't believe that I had just given birth to a new human being. 21 hours of labor. Numerous hours of pushing on and off. What an amazing miracle. The fact that I was on no drugs helped me and him bond immediately and my love for him in that moment that much greater.

Peter was right by my side on the bed with me the whole time just watching me and baby boy in awe. I am so thankful for that memory. I honestly was just shocked at all that had just happened. Mary had to put in a few stitches but I hardly noticed because I was too focused on my brand new babe. It was such a joyful, peaceful time in the room just with my new babe, midwife, doula, husband, nurse, and midwife assistant. Smiles all around and a huge sense of relief!! I felt amazing... and that I could do anything in the world.

"Did I actually just birth this baby?" Mary my midwife weighed Asher (8 lbs 0 oz) and did some other measurements. Cassie my doula went out and bought me and Peter breakfast and then we slept a few hours with Asher in bed with us. It was so surreal. After we rested for three hours, Asher nursed for the first time (was so awkward and hurt like crap... my breastfeeding journey is another story to be told in a different blog post!), I got up, tried to pee, got dressed and we headed home after stopping for some lunch. We were in our own home just 9 hours after Asher was born and I was so thankful to be in the comfort of our bed with our new baby boy so shortly after his birth! It was an incredibly beautiful experience and yet the hardest thing I have ever done... and I would do it all over again.

NOTE: I honestly could not have done it without the support of my husband, doula, and the birth center staff. We were an awesome team and they helped keep me calm the whole time. Having a birth at the birth center was also the best decision I could have ever made. It was so peaceful. A natural birth definitely is something that I advocate for but also know that not everyone is able to have a natural birth for one reason or another. I experienced something SO BEAUTIFUL that I wish every woman could experience for herself as well (and the husband too!! it was amazing for Peter to do this WITH me and also be prepped), but more importantly is just to make a TRULY INFORMED DECISION about what you are going to do as you birth your own baby. Get advice from both sides (doctors & midwives). I literally pushed through the FEARI had by leaning on Jesus and asking God to fully prepare me. It's all in your mind. Don't let society/culture/others tell you what is best. EDUCATE yourself. Research everything. Watch videos (this was SO helpful for me to kick the fear aside!!) THEN decide. My first choice was a hospital birth until I actually started to educate myself. So ladies, I encourage you to do the same and do whatever you KNOW is best for your sweet baby.

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

The Homestretch // 8 months

Hello to week 34; only 6 (or so) more to go!

As I write this, Asher is moving around like crazy on my right side underneath my ribs.  Sometimes it isn't painful but this morning it definitely is!   Even though it hurts, I am so excited that he is growing and getting strong.

This week:

He is the size of a cantaloupe, weighs approx. 5 lbs. and is about 18 in. long.

Recap of the past 2 months:

-he has started hiccuping, it's so sweet!
-his movements have started to hurt
-unable to sleep on my sides anymore (literally have gotten stuck twice, it was horrible)
-aching back (due to sleeping propped up oddly on my back all night)
-hello braxton hicks
-stretching has become imperative every day
-going to the chiropractor once a week
-not able to eat as much, I guess my stomach doesn't have that much room anymore!
-getting more comfortable with the birth center, our bags are packed!!
-it's been difficult trying to balance work, studying for the GRE test, working out, and nesting
-we have everything we need, thanks to our amazing communities in MD and in FL
-my FL community threw me a baby brunch at First Watch, I felt so incredibly loved
-about to start book #4 (or 5?) about labor/delivery. I LOVE learning about all of this and preparing
-just started learning about recovery (I need to do lots more research)
-WE GOT A HOUSE! Praise God. Still searching for that 2nd vehicle though

So since we have a home we can actually make a nursery for our sweet babe! But... it's so close to his due date and I am honestly so exhausted so much that I don't know if I can manage it.  We have all of his things set up in our room and we might just leave it all that way ;)   besides... we have an entire house to furnish first (GASP!)

Hopefully next time I blog, it will be welcoming our sweet baby into this world <3

Thursday, April 7, 2016

Introducing Asher // 6 months

So this is our lil guy Asher Evan <3

Asher Evan is a name we finally chose because of the deep meaning and from the peace it brought us as we prayed about it.  Asher means "blessed/fortunate/happy" and Evan means "God has been gracious" and it's also Peter's middle name as well.  We really felt like this fit who our little man is.  He is the blessed one to whom God has shown favor.  We love it!!

Here in the sonogram he is seen sucking his thumb, shoulder touching his chin, and snuggled up against the placenta ;) what an amazing morning it has been seeing him move around inside of me.

He is 23 weeks this week (or, 6 months along) and is moving around like crazy.  He loves to be super low which also puts a ton of pain on my round ligaments (gah!)  But, he looks to be growing really well and is even sucking his thumb which we got to see him do on the sonogram!  This will most likely be the last ultrasound we get until we meet him :)  

Since my last posting at 19 weeks, this past month has been full of new pregnancy-related things for me!  I finished up reading this awesome book called 'Ina May's Guide to Childbirth' by Ina May Gaskin.  It is such a good read and has a ton of research put into it, which I absolutely crave right now.  It seems like I can't get enough information about pregnancy, labor, and childbirth right now.  So, ask away!  I most likely have read about it.  And if I haven't, I'd love to know about it! =) Here are a few things.

Did you know?

Hospitals have a 30-80% c-section rate depending on which one you go to. That reaaaaaally threw me off and made me dig deeper into the why's of the statistic.  I found that by having a home birth or birthing at a birth center the rates go down dramatically, even to 3% in some cases (not to mention the stats on how bad the drugs are for you and baby, the trauma that cesareans put on your body, all of the risks that doctors fail to mention, etc.)  The birth center we decided on only has a 8% transfer to hospital rate, and c-section rates out of that are even lower (and then even LOWER because I am hiring a doula to help me alongside of the midwife).  YES PLEASE!  I also feel like this definitely isn't for everyone because not everyone is low risk.  But, we decided that this is what is best for me and baby.  I also honestly just feel like God is calling me to do this personally.  I can't live in fear of what the world says.  I am standing on what God says I can do and how He has designed my body... perfectly!

Snippets from this past month:

-feeling and seeing him move
-Peter feeling him move
-chose a birth center
-hired a doula
-major round ligament pain
-starting to work out again
-craving tea, ice cream, eggs, and sauerkraut
-starting to receive gifts from our Amazon registry
-his drawers are filling up with clothes already
-emotions going a little wild at times
-fighting off tiredness and backaches

I also have received so many maternity clothes and baby clothes from our community and I am feeling the love tremendously.  I've been seeing how much God has truly taken care of me through the whole process... from giving me other mommas to talk with, to borrowed cars for the past 3 months, to every single hand-me-down.  I am so grateful.

Some things that I still question are like... when will we have a car?  Where are we going to live when we need more space?  But, I know He has a plan that I can trust, even if I can't see it.  Will you pray with us?  To trust in His timing, to be content and full of joy, and for Him to open up doors of provision for us?  Thanks guys!

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

19 weeks // Boy or Girl?!

19 weeks // Boy or Girl?!

It's a BOY!!!

Today is the day.  I get an ultrasound to determine the sex of our baby!

Backtrack to last weekend.

I felt Baby O. move! I was laying on my stomach on the beach and felt one little "pop" like a little bubble was bursting right below/to the side of my belly button.  That definitely wasn't gas ;) it was so neat to finally feel baby move!  Then, the next day, I felt baby move once again. God, this is so amazing.

Ultrasound this morning.

It was a quick visit but I wasn't upset because we got to see our baby moving around and heard their heartbeat.  Everything looked great.  Then the doctor pointed to a little spot on the sonogram and said "what do you think that is?" and Peter immediately responded "IT'S A PENIS!"  I about died.  Not sure from the hilarity of the moment or because we were totally shocked that it was a boy... we were for SURE that it was going to be a girl!  Totally wrong ;)

-He's the size of a mango this week (I love being able to say "he"!)
-I am feeling a bit more tired than I was a few weeks ago and my stress levels are a bit higher than normal.
-The crib and dresser are freshly painted and we just need a few more things for the room.
-Now we know he is a boy, we can start registering.  I am super excited about this!
-I am looking into birthing centers instead of a hospital *gasp!!* ;) I am pretty confident this is the route I am going to take.  Plus, my doctor is leaving his practice anyway, boo.
(good documentary on Netflix to watch if you're interested: "The Business of Being Born")

So, baby boy, we are so excited to meet you!  You are already such a little prince.  We love you and can't wait to meet you.  Our family & our ywam community is also SUPER excited to meet you as well.  But, please, stay in there for as long as necessary ;) grow grow grow!

Oh, and we need a name.  So let the process begin.  Yay!

Sunday, January 24, 2016

Hello Baby O. // 12 Weeks

Hello Baby O. // 12 Weeks

Yep, we are having a baby!  To my amazement, at our ultrasound last week we found out that I was already 11 and a half weeks which was a big surprise :)  I estimated incorrectly that I was only about 8 weeks. Whoops! Peter came with me and we saw baby O. for the first time.  He/she was asleep and then woke up and moved their little arms and legs for us!  We could even see the little fingers and toes... it was SO crazy!!  We also got to hear their heartbeat.  It wasn't real to me before, but now it is definitely VERY real to me.

When we were first married we decided to put ourselves on the "5 year plan" and wait to have a baby... but we couldn't wait and changed that to just 4 years ;)  we are so excited and overjoyed that this little baby is healthy and growing!

Apparently, baby is the size of a clementine this week and I can definitely tell-- I've already gained 5 pounds, I'm very bloated, constantly have to go to the bathroom, have insanely vivid dreams at night, and I am tired all the time.  I had a bought of morning/all day sickness a few weeks ago for just a week and it has already subsided (thank God).  I have also noticed a teeny tiny bump which is exciting to see my belly grow!

Peter has been really supportive too, I am so thankful for him.  He is going to be an amazing Dad.

Well, that's it for now.  Next ultrasound is in 2 weeks.  Grow baby, grow!

Tuesday, October 21, 2014


Hello world, I am still here. Still writing. Still learning.

Over the past year I've come to realize how my heart has been in desperate need of healing. Since leaving my job, going to YWAM, and learning more and more about the Lover of my soul, I can truly say that my heart has been through rehab.

I have been set free.

I never realized how broken I was until I found a newfound joy in truly being set free; set free from past thinking patterns, resentments, and unhealthy relationships; set free from placing the desires of this world before God's dreams and longings for it and His people. I am so grateful for my Father who sees me and who loves me enough to take me from my past and place me in a place of healing and growth.

I have missed blogging... and tonight as I sit wide-eyed in a quiet house with only the sound of a clock ticking and pandora playing classical music to my heart in the background, I feel a sort of nostalgia in my heart.  I've missed writing.  It's my heart... and I want to share what God has been doing in my life with this little community that has built around my blog.  So here's to more blogs in the near future.

Until next time,

Friday, April 18, 2014

Lessons Learned

Blog Series: Middle East

A look back at the journey God took me on and urged me to write about while I was there.

As I look back on my journey through my Discipleship Training School & our Outreach to the Middle East, my heart fills.  I contemplated at how much I wanted to put out for the internet world to read and decided I won't explain, but wanted to at least share the deep things... even just at a glance.  Here is a little peak at what God did for me through it all:

-Finding JOY in each & every single moment.

-Fighting against depression... & winning. Finally.

-Realizing that I AM worthy of deep friendships.

-Being vulnerable to others brings healing.

-Letting go of my past and becoming FREE.

-Forgiveness that brings breakthrough in my life & relationships.

-A much clearer picture of Gods character, goodness, and sovereignty.

-Trusting Him one step at a time. With everything.

-Letting go of my own agenda and trusting Him through it all.

That's it to my Middle East series. I hope y'all enjoyed!