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we had our top three girl names picked out. our boy name list, however, lacked meaning and connection with us. none of the names that we liked as first names paired well with other names. it was like laundered socks missing their other half. pointless.

while on our way to look at some sod 45 minutes from home, Keith expressed that he wanted to steer away from family names and wanted it to be a testament of our story. of where we have been and the way in which God had connected with us. 

valley. that's been our experience for the past year. but how had the lord ministered to us in the dark crevice of our grief? what did we find in the midst of this dismal existence? I liked the names Isaiah and jude--isaiah meaning praise and Jude meaning salvation. while these were true for us, it wasn't till the following morning that I woke up with "comfort" sticking close to my chest.

we found comfort while we were in the valley, i thought to myself. [air snaps]  yessss. [bobs head]

the name flowed so well together. the meaning flowed well together. it all brought smiles to our faces as we wondered why we didn't start here in the first place. rather than give him a name with a story he would feel the pressure to grow into, we gave him a name that would remind us of why he is such a gift to us. anyway, we would like you to meet our son,

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Posting Changes

Hope you all had an amazing holiday!

With Holden finally here, safe and sound, I would like to spend as much time getting to know him! For the month of July and August, I will drop my posts down to once a week to Saturday mornings. During this time, I am hoping to be able to explore photography a bit more, so you may see more photo montages with a small bit of copy.

If you find me becoming the friend in your head because you have been keeping up with my life, then consider subscribing! I promise you will only get one newsletter month (simply because I do not have the time or energy to invest in newsletters every other day). Its a reflection corner of my everyday where I would like to invite my subscribers to finding your own beauty in the fleeting.

Anyway, thanks for your support as i continue on this journey to motherhood. I have enjoyed reading your comments and have been encouraged to find that many of you personally resonate with my story and that i am not alone in this struggle.

Labor and Delivery

It all happened extremely fast.

The week leading up to active labor had been slow. I had gone four weeks being dilated with contractions that were mostly uncomfortable or nonexistent. The intensity of these contractions had been what drove Keith and I to the hospital for Isaac; yet now I was being sent home on a regular basis because i wasn’t in “true labor”. I had become discouraged at the repeated rejection and further delay of delivering this baby.

To take my mind off of the waiting, I did my best to do things for me rather than to just get baby out. I went out to dinner later in the week with Keith and some friends and then took a casual stroll around the lake with them. Friday, I decided to be ambitious and make lobster mac n’ cheese, spending most of the remainder of the day on my feet either grocery shopping or preparing dinner.

We filled our bellies that evening, and our souls with a good heart to heart. Keith turned in early, and I set up camp in the living room as usual. I decided to watch half an hour of TV before heading to bed. My insurance had just sent me my new Madela breast pump and at the suggestion of my doctor, I hooked it up to try to help my uterus establish more consistent contractions.

Fifteen minutes into Riverdale, I got my first strong contraction.

I turned the pump off and waited to see if anything would follow. Nothing. I turned it on for another ten, feeling irregular contractions that increased slightly in intensity. There was a growing pressure on my cervix. I turned the pump off when I felt and heard a light popping sound. I turned the pump off. I stood, wondering if my waters had broken. Not even a trickle, and the contractions seemed to have subsided. But within five minutes they were back, stronger and more rhythmic.

active labor

Within thirty minutes they were a minute long and less than three minutes apart. I thought for sure if we went to triage they would turn us away, but I wasn’t going to chance it. It was late, but thankfully it was a friday and I felt less guilty about waking Keith up. We checked into triage at half past eleven and within minutes the delayed sensation of trickling water alerted me that I was in active labor. A nurse, dressed in lavender scrubs, bright pink sneakers, and a metallic fanny pack entered our room with a smile.

Lets see, Nurse Pink Daisy replied as she examined my cervix. I’d say you’re 6 almost 7cm dilated.

Daisy along with another nurse, Tracy worked quickly to get me hooked up with an IV and antibiotics. Dominique, a nurse who had served us earlier in our pregnancy, got the honors of wheeling me up to labor and delivery. Within half an hour of arriving to triage, I was changed, pricked, and admitted to begin active labor.

active labor

Keith and I sat and looked at each other, silently exchanging glossy smiles. In a few hours, our baby would be with us. And that wasn’t the only excitement. Nurses in our section had heard that the gender was a surprise and flooded our room, feeling my belly before casting lots on what i was having. I tried to rest, but both the anticipation and contractions were becoming too great a distraction. As a matter of fact, the contractions were becoming stronger and irregular at the same time, which was making it difficult for me to focus. I asked for a walking epidural, just to bring the pain level down from a 10 to a manageable level 7. Basically, it was a glorified excedrin for me.

An hour later, the pain had returned and I found it difficult even to walk. I even tried to go to the bathroom, but quickly asked Keith to help me back to the bed because the pressure on my cervix was unbearable. The epidural was no longer working, but before the anesthesiologist could switch me to a full epidural, a nurse came in to check my cervix.

You’re a 10, she replied. Do you still want the epidural?

I was delirious. My contractions were still irregular, but powerful. But there was pain in between the contractions. I remember crying. Not really wanting an epidural, but knowing there would be no way to concentrate during delivery. I was really surprised that none of the nurses seemed to want me to get the full epidural.

I whimpered when they asked if I still wanted the full epidural. i can’t do this. I can’t do this.

Just as I was admitting to my weakness, Nurse Jay asked, Is that the baby’s head? Nurse Jay and Pam both comically tilted their heads to the side. Yeah, it looks like -2 station. Pam confirmed.

newborn black and white

Oh, God, I thought. This baby is a few pushes away from entering our atmosphere. I started to panic. I don’t think I can do this. I thought I would have more time, but now Isaac’s brother or sister was headed our way like he did--a blazing meteorite. You can do this, Nurse Pam said sternly, but not without compassion. I need you to pull it together for me. Your baby is right here, and I think it would be best if you started pushing rather than getting the epidural.

Will you help me? I cried. I was so desperate to gain some control over my senses and failing miserably. Of course I knew they would help me. It was their job. But the question was my way of surrendering control. Within minutes of the midwife arriving, I was pushing.

Three contractions. Eight pushes. Five minutes. A cry. Our baby boy, in my arms.

baby boy
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He looks like Isaac, just bigger. He even has his strength and spunk. I broke down crying as I was wheeled out of the hospital--with a baby to take home. Once home, I was overwhelmed with the reality that our son was here to stay. It still feels like a dream. Even a week later.  I look down at his sweet face while he rests on my stomach and cannot wrap my mind around him being real. I thank God every moment that I look at him and then I smother him with kisses till he grimaces.

My life was altered with Isaac, as it is with his brother. And I am so incredibly grateful for the change.

The Final Countdown: Preparing for Baby

Even though we spent weeks leading up to thirty-seven weeks preparing the house for our new roommate, keith and i still had some items left unchecked. They mark a significant turning point for us as some of these tasks we never got to complete while preparing for when isaac came home. I decided that the in between moments were just as significant as the major milestones, and made a little montage below.

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wooden cradle

The Saturday mornings we still get to sleep in. The nights of reading through our labor and delivery book together. The endless list of projects that will, for a time, be put on hold. Figuring out baby gear.

saturday mornings
keith reading
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kichlerlighting.jpg
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Soon, all of this will feel like a distant memory or at least become second nature to us. I will enjoy what comes to replace some of these moments, but at least wanted to keep them glowing for a little while longer.

project layout: guest room

my sister is going to kill me for this.

i don't know how many times i have changed the layout of this room, sure that all the furniture was finally in its right spot. if it was just me moving around a queen size bed in an 11x10 foot room, i would care less about my indecision on the flow of the room. but i know my sister has changed the layout for me at least three times, keith once. so i feel horrible for having to say that it needs to be rearranged again.

this time, i have been more intentional. i measured the room and the furniture that i want in it. i scoured the internet looking for a layout tool that would help me visualize where everything needed to go. i ended up doing a free seven day trial with smart draw. it took me a bit to figure out how everything worked (i am sure they have some sort of help tool, but i was too impatient for all of that). this is what it currently looks like.

after about an hour of trying to get all the measurements right for the room, this is what i came up with.

guest room floor plan

i am not sure if this will get done before baby arrives (actually i am sure this won't get done before baby arrives),  but i am glad i sat down to do this so that i feel good about this end result. i think my biggest concern with doing this layout, was that i didn't think there would be enough room to walk around the bed. yes it will definitely be snug, but then again, its not for long term residence. now to hone in on the aesthetics. stay tuned.