I was reading an article which encouraged women to try alternate methods like breathing and movement instead of pushing to decrease the rate of perennial tears. I was caught off guard by the notion because after my last birth, I was convinced pushing occurred so naturally and spontaneously that it couldn’t be provoked or stopped.
But, in my medicated births, I never experienced the “urge to push.” I relaxed in bed until the doctor decided it was time. Then, they watched my contractions on the monitor and instructed me when to push. All of my babies were out within 20 minutes of pushing and I experienced tearing twice, once with an epidural and once without an epidural, but each time it had to do with the size and position of the baby, not the pushing itself.
That’s not to say that there isn’t merit to what these midwives are suggesting. One of the best tips I received from a friend was to push and deliver the head, then pause and allow gravity to gracefully deliver the shoulders. The shoulders are the widest part of the baby, so it makes sense that pushing that part out with great force could result in more tearing. I practiced that, even through my “coached” pushing, and refrained from forcefully pushing the shoulders. Instead, a brief pause allowed momentum and gravity to assist in the delivery.
Another great tip I’ve received is to focus the strength of your pushing to the same muscles you use to do kegel exercise. When it is time to push, it’s easy to inadvertently tense up all sorts of areas, from the arms, to the face. But at the moment of delivery, focus your energy on the vaginal muscles, as they are moving the baby out into the world.
In my last birth, I became really nervous about pushing. I was afraid that the baby’s shoulder would get stuck. I told my midwife I was afraid to push, thinking that she’d give me some tips on how to move my body and what to do. Instead, she said, “let’s pray!” In that brief moment, we shifted fear to faith.
When the urge to push came, it overtook my whole body (in a good way), and I pushed with strength I didn’t know I had. It was the most natural, supernatural, experience. It was natural because the incredible rush of hormones made it feel like something women were intricately designed to do, and it was supernatural as I felt my spirit deeply rely on God to birth the baby. In many ways, it felt like an out of body experience, though I was present and active, my spirit was experiencing something divine. After the baby was born, it took me a few minutes to come back to reality. My first thoughts were, “What just happened? Did I just have a baby? The best part was, nothing hurt. Even though I tore during that delivery, I felt a tear, but no pain, complementary of the rush of adrenaline that accompanies the fetal ejection response.
And remember that fear that I mentioned? Well, my daughter actually was tangled in her umbilical cord, so much so that she wasn’t able to get into the proper birth position. One of her shoulders remained “untucked,” which caused nerve damage in her arm. Because of her shoulder remaining untucked, she could have easily gotten stuck. Yet, changing my fear to faith opened up the door for God to move in and protect both of us, a concept we dive into much more in Re:Birth. (Plus, God healed her arm and shoulder miraculously when she was four months old, but that’s another testimony :) !)
What are some of your tips on pushing?
Many women face childbirth with anxiety and fear. Usually that fear has developed over years and taken root based on birth stories, media depictions, and sometimes, just the fear of the unknown. Undoing that fear doesn’t happen overnight. But it can happen, and it did for me. The moment I found out I was expecting my first child, I was terrified to actually give birth. It wasn’t until friends blessed me with a copy of Supernatural Childbirth that I realized birth didn’t have to be bad and God would be right with me the entire time… which brings me to my first tip:
Replace Fear with Faith:
Fear is powerful. It can cause an undesired rush of adrenaline into the laboring mom’s blood stream which inhibits oxytocin and pumps the body filled with adrenaline, a response which can slow and even stall labor and delivery. But faith is exponentially more powerful.
Start building your faith before labor arrives. We have free pregnancy declarations based on scripture to encourage you in the journey. Fill yourself up with powerful, encouraging births stories, like the ones shared in Re:Birth, and start believing for more! You were MADE to be a Mom, and God MADE you to have babies! He has been a part of every birth in history, and can’t wait to be a part of yours!
Pick the Right Location:
Having a place to deliver the baby where you feel comfortable is crucial. For my first baby, I felt comfortable delivering in a hospital, I knew there would be assistance on hand if I needed it. For my third birth, I wanted to be in the comfort of my own home with my family around. Birth needs change, and desires will fluctuate, but make sure that you find a place that will help you feel secure and at peace.
You also may want to “set the mood” for birth. It’s often suggested that dim lighting is helpful during labor, pack some LED candles in your labor bag and find out if it’s ok to shut off the lights. Or if you’re at home, try out some fragrant lavender candles. Fill the atmosphere with little reminders that bring your strength and encouragement.
Choose whose word to believe:
During my second pregnancy, I filled myself with truths and was expecting the miraculous. My labor started out wonderfully, I was 7cm dilated and having some mild contractions, but I wasn’t in pain. A well-meaning nurse looked at me and said, “The only way you’re able to do this [meaning labor easily] is because your water hasn’t broken yet… once that happens, it gets a lot worse!”
I thought, “oh my goodness… what am I going to do!?!?” All the nice prep work I had done flew out of my brain in a panic, I didn’t even think back on my first birth experience which would have rendered her words untrue. Instead, believing the nurses words plummeted my birth into fear and pain.
Modern medicine can tell us one thing, but God’s got all the power. There might be a moment where you have to make a choice on whose word you’ll believe. Make that choice with a heart filled with peace, not fear!
Use Your Voice:
No, I’m not talking about yelling… although some women find making different sounds peaceful. I’m talking about being an advocate for you! This is YOUR moment, this is YOUR birth, don’t be afraid to say “no,” or to speak up! Those around you are there to assist you, if they’re not making the experience worse, say something! During my second birth, I felt very bullied by the nurse and that they were inconvenienced by my decision to have a natural birth. I had my husband go talk to the head nurse, and the dynamic changed.
I love this quote from Penny Simkin because she nails it on the head:
“Many women ‘suffer’ in childbirth, and it’s because they’re not respected, or kindly treated, they don’t have the tools to cope, or they feel unloved, or alone. If a woman crosses the line from ‘pain’ into ‘suffering’ in childbirth, we’ve failed her.”
Surround yourself with people who will uplift you, encourage you, and support you at each step of the journey!
What is your favorite piece of advice for keeping peace in labor?
 For more information, check out http://www.telegraph.co.uk/women/health/myth-painful-birth-not-nearly-bad-women-believe/
The friendly stranger would look on with horror and nearby pedestrians would jump in and try to correct my terrified toddler. "Don't hit your mom!" They would scold, which would only exasperate the situation. I felt like a terrible mother, surely somewhere in his 18 months with me, I had broken this precious gift from God.
Months went on and the situation seemed to grow worse. I would avoid going out simply to bypass any chaos. Whenever my son would act out, a monolog ran through my mind of what onlookers must be thinking:
Que older woman voice, "If I did that to my mama, she would tan my hide!"
Or que the snooty, analytical voice, “They must hit that boy at home… that's where he learned the behavior!"
Unfortunately, my little angel didn't get the in-utero memo that we don't hit in our household.
Finally, I nearly broke down after my son hit me in front of the pediatrician. I explained that we don't hit in our house, and I don't know where he learned this, or what to do, nothing seemed to help! As I choked back tears from months of mom anguish, my pediatrician choked back a chuckle.
She explained that this behavior, though not good, was a very common in children. Sure, I had read that online before, but her words provided relief. Maybe others weren’t judging me as harshly as I judged myself?
Flash forward a few years, and our tribe has grown. I have three little ones, and the said toddler is now a happy five year old. Guess what? He stopped hitting. Instead of mommy freaking out, he needed some reassurance that I was with him and he was safe when strangers came around.
I do have another toddler though, and she has hit a few times. Then, she sat in time-out, and I moved along with my day because I have to. I have a baby to feed and meals to cook and laundry to do.
The moral of my story is that, oftentimes, moms are highly equipped to make mountains out of mole hills. We adore our children and think they're perfectly incredible. Sure, some kids may hit, but not my angel! When we hit a bump in the road, we’re thrown off completely and we google 800 different ways to handle the pothole because we’re afraid that just driving over will produce permanent damage and years of therapy. But the longer you parent, and the more families grow and change, the more you realize that the road is indeed bumpy. No one has a freshly paved road in front of them, and if it looks like Jenny from the playground does, then it's a façade [I read her e-mails].
Take a deep breath, fasten your seat belts, and keep driving. You'll make it through the ditch, I promise! Don't let potholes ruin the trip, and don’t let worrying about the potholes keep you from driving. The memories of this crazy road trip we call parenting will fuel us with joyful memories for decades to come, and at the end of our days, we’ll look back and relish in the laughter, the milestones, even the tears, because we were together… and we made it through.
Have a wonderful Mother’s Day, you’ve earned it!
Everyone tells you how quickly times flies when you have kids, and it’s so true. Tomorrow, we celebrate Genevieve’s first birthday. My heart is so filled with joy as I look back on this year and reminisce about how God crashed into her labor and birth.
In case you’re new here, Genevieve is my third baby. After I had my second child, I got incredibly sick and my immune system went crazy (you can read that story here). The doctors told me it was too dangerous to have any more babies, but God healed my body from everything and blessed me with this beautiful little miracle.
When I look back on Genevieve's birth, I always chuckle to myself. Hindsight has a way of making birth feel joyfully humorous! As with the end of most pregnancies, I was so ready for her to be born! I went to my midwife and said, “I need you to check my cervix!!” I knew there had to be some progress going on, and I was getting terribly impatient! She checked and told me I was between 6-8cms dilated and she could feel the head. I was so relieved! That news reaffirmed that Genevieve wouldn’t stay inside me forever! But… I had to go grocery shopping before she came. And, you can’t go grocery shopping hungry, so we stopped for lunch first!
A few hours later, we returned home and stocked the pantry shelves. We knew Genevieve should be making her appearance today, so my husband got to work setting up the birth tub and I took a bath and relaxed. I had some contractions, but they weren’t regular and I just couldn’t figure out if I was really in labor or not. My mom and dad were visiting and helping watch my older kids, and every few minutes, my mom would ask if I called Jeni (my wonderful midwife) yet. I would frustratingly explain that I just wasn’t sure this was “it.”
My contractions started to grow in intensity, but they were so sporadic. After much pressure from my mom, I texted Jeni and asked her to come. Minutes later, my water slightly broke. Then I realized I really was in labor! I thought, “I don’t want to do this tonight!” After all that waiting for birth to come, I was having second thoughts… but I put on “The Father’s Blessing” by John Paul Jackson. It filled my heart with reassurance that I was made for this moment. Then, I decided to walk over to the pool. I was having a really hard time walking, and this was a huge concern to my mom, but spoiler alert, it’s because the baby was just about to be born! Jeni and her assistant Shannon made it with an hour or so to spare. The entire birth lasted 2 hours and 15minutes, with only 40 minutes of regular contractions!
Oh, and my last funny birth memory to share… you know that moment where the mom is weeping and so thrilled that she had a baby. Yeah, that wasn’t me! I remember thinking, “What just happened? Did I just have a baby!?” And that response was curtesy of the powerful cocktail of birth hormones!
Next week, we’ll dive a bit into the science behind birth and just how it coincides with Scripture… until then, what are your favorite birth memories? Or if you haven’t experienced birth yet, what are you believing for in your birth?
Oh, and in case you've never seen The Father's Blessing... this is for you today!
I hope you all are having/had a wonderful Resurrection Sunday! We certainly had one filled with love, friends, and the beautiful hope of the Resurrection!
God put a special message on my heart for this Easter, and I wanted to take a quick minute to encourage you all with it. I was praying as I was driving home the other day, and I lovingly inquired:
“Hey God, where’s my healing?”
He said, “Hey Alex, where’s your heart?”
I said, “Well, it’s in the middle of a storm, being tossed back and forth by all these crazy waves- but, with the sound of Your voice, You can calm the seas!”
God said, “I’m teaching you to walk on water…”
The reason I share this little story is because I know that word is not just for me... As we celebrate our Risen Savior, I feel that God is calling us to rise above our circumstances and struggles and teaching us to walk the way He did. Most of what Jesus did made little sense at the time, but His actions have echoed throughout history. As we follow Him, it might look strange, and I can guarantee it will feel uncomfortable, but we’re learning to walk in a brand new way; taking steps of faith and hope to overcome any obstacle.
In His Love,
“Jesus offered His perfect life as an atoning sacrifice for the sins of the world. In doing so, He faced unimaginable anguish in every part of his being. Adam and Eve’s body, soul, and spirit experienced the corruption of sin, so the Perfect Lamb of God would bare our punishment in His spirit, soul, and body.
The anguish the Son of God faced began within his soul long before His physical suffering. Jesus foreknew every bit of punishment that would be poured out on His blameless body. Undoubtedly, He had witnessed criminals hung on crosses outside the city walls, blood pouring off of their beaten bodies, and gasping for breath. Floggings, too, were punishments that were publicized to warn others not to commit the same mistake. As Jesus’s own time of suffering was drawing closer, the knowledge of what was to come tried to fill Him with fear.
While Jesus awaited this world-altering moment, He cried out to God in the Garden of Gethsemane, filled with so much anguish that Scripture records Jesus sweat drops of blood (Lk. 22:44). He asked three of his beloved friends to watch and pray as his final moments drew closer, but they could not stay awake. The rest of Jesus’s friends, who had traveled with Him, eaten with Him, and been with Him while he performed countless miracles, were about to flee from Jesus’s side. Peter pledged he would die by Jesus’s side, but he denied knowing Him three times that very night (Jn. 18:15–27). And Judas, who had just shared in the sacred Passover meal with the Lord, gathered three to six hundred Roman soldiers to arrest an innocent man. The anguish of these betrayals must have weighed heavily on Jesus’s soul, taunting the King of Kings by whispering, “Do you really want to die for these people?”
Jesus had invested so much into each of his friends. He taught them God’s ways. He showed them God’s power, and He equipped them to do His Father’s work. Yet, He must have looked at them with love and sadness on the night of His betrayal, like a parent watching their child make the wrong choice but understanding that some lessons need to be learned through mistakes.
Jesus was arrested, blindfolded, and beaten. The soldiers mocked Him as they threw punches, saying, “Prophesy who hit you” (Mk. 14:65). This was the Son of God, who not only could have said who hit Him but could have recited that person’s genealogy all the way back to Adam. But, the Son of God remained silent.
Then, Jesus was put through a mock trial before the High Priest (Lk. 22:66). The one destined to judge the world would be judged by malicious, sin-filled men. Yet, Jesus endured. He bore the degradation within His soul so that we could experience absolute freedom in ours.
While Jesus’s soul suffered within, His body suffered visibly. Isaiah prophesied that the Messiah would be disfigured beyond any human and His form marred beyond human likeness (Isa. 52:14). Jews flogged a person (a brutal beating with a calfskin whip), by inflicting forty lashes. It did not take long to realize that the fortieth lash often killed the criminal, so they reduced the punishment to thirty-nine lashes. However, the Romans handled Jesus’s scourging. They, unlike the Jews, did not have that same mercy law. Instead of a calfskin whip, they used a flagrum that was specifically designed with chunks of bone and metal to tear the flesh off of the victim. Jesus was “marred beyond human likeness” (Isa. 52:14), so that our likeness to God would be restored.
After Jesus’s body was broken and torn apart, He was forced to carry His cross to Golgotha. He dragged a wooden tree on His brutalized body, fully aware that the worst was yet to come. If ever there was a moment in history where anguish grew with each step, it was the path to Calvary.
When Jesus arrived at the Place of the Skull, a blunt, five-inch nail was driven into each of Jesus wrists. One nail was driven through His feet to hold Him to the cross. The weight of Jesus’s body would hang on these nails and war against His muscles, slowly tearing them as He struggled to take a breath. With each gasp of air, the wounds on Jesus’s back would scrape against the cross until the ultimate sacrifice was finished. At any moment, Jesus could have called for legions of angels to set Him free, but He did not. Nails could not hold the King of the world, but love did.
On the cross, Jesus’s spirit was separated from the Father for the first time in eternity. Before the world was formed, Jesus was with God and part of God (Jn. 1:1). Everything, from the sky, to the mountains, and to humanity was created through Jesus with God (Col. 1:13). During Jesus’s ministry on earth, He accomplished everything the Father told Him (Jn. 5:19). This deep intimacy with God directed every moment of Jesus’s life on earth. During the most selfless sacrifice, the stench of humanity’s sin caused God to turn away. Jesus was separated from God for a moment so that we could forever be joined with God.
With the final words, “it is finished” (Jn. 19:30), Jesus left his physical body behind. The Pharisees rejoiced, the Romans thought they had avoided an uprising, and Jesus’s disciples did not fully grasp what had happened. For three days, His body lay in a burial tomb, but that was not the end for Jesus. All of Creation quaked, and Jesus rose up in victory from the grips of death.
His light would shine an entirely new meaning on life. The power of sin and death had been defeated, and all of a sudden, provisions were made for Creation to begin returning to the way God intended in the beginning. Jesus’s atonement carved a perfect path that would lead to life and life more abundantly (Jn.10:10).
It’s my prayer that we all live out of that abundance, our own spiritual inheritance, that is never lacking!
 Rick Renner, Paid in Full: an In-Depth Look at the Defining Moments of Christ's Passion (Tulsa, Okla.: Harrison House Publishers, 2013), 40.
 Louis Jacobs et al., "Flogging," in Encyclopedia Judaica, 2nd ed. (Detroit: Macmillan Reference USA, 2007), 681-682, Gale Virtual Reference Library.
 Mak. 22a.
 Dan Mohler, “Web Session 1” (video of sermon, Free School of Power and Love), accessed October 31, 2016, https://youtu.be/A6VpLNUIqVQ?list=PLw8MlRBZuEIYcaEIGXT-ZF18WFah_Zu-p.
It’s been over a month since I became seriously sick. I thought I would get better and jump back into normal life, but I’ve realized it is a lot harder than that. Simple tasks, like making a meal, were next to impossible because I was unable to remember what I was doing. Even the basic task of using my computer turned into something that I had to re-learn. It’s a difficult thing to explain, but Sepsis seriously messes with your brain and cognitive function. Thankfully, I’m feeling drastic improvements that are making life feel much more “normal.”
I know, very well, that I would not still be here without God protecting me and saving me, multiple times. The first time I realized I was very close to death was the night and day where the infection set in. Without antibiotics, toxic blood will kill you very quickly. Yet, it was in those moments where I felt God’s presence the strongest. There was nothing scary about dying, just the unfathomable presence of God surrounding me and keeping me on the earth.
The next time I felt like I might die, my brain was a bit more functional, and I freaked out. The infection caused major pain in my heart that was unrelenting. The pain was accompanied by shortness of breath and the loss of circulation in my hands, feet, and limbs, brain, whatever wasn’t receiving the needed blood flow at the moment. These symptoms would get significantly worse at night time. If I tried to lie down, I would struggle to breath even more, and honestly, felt like I might not wake up in the morning.
This was accompanied by great frustration. My primary doctor put in an urgent referral for a cardiologist… but the military treatment facility bombed that (somehow), meaning, they failed to see me urgently in the 72 hours required. And, they argued with me all along the way. There’s nothing like feeling you might actually die while waiting to see a doctor… but I had serious hope of suing them when I got better. Yeah… you have to hold on to hope ;)
Once the needed tests were performed by the cardiologist, I’d have the proof required to push ahead with a malpractice suit… I just had to live long enough to get there! So, I possibly, may have prayed that God would heal me after my cardiology appointment. But, I felt God ask me, “Do you want a lawsuit or do you want to live…?”
It was the night before I was scheduled to see the cardiologist and my symptoms were terrible. I had tried to go to sleep, but after each extremely heavy breath, I felt like I might not have the strength to take another one. I got out of bed and moved the recliner, with the hope that sitting up might help me to breathe better. Unfortunately, this time it was not helping. Each breath continued to get harder and harder to take and I could feel each heartbeat become slow and sporadic. In a panic, I stood up and started wiggling my body, hoping that my heart rate would pick up. But, I was only exhausting my already exhausted self and wasting the breaths that I had.
Once this painful revelation set it, I grabbed my phone and knew I had to call 911. With my breathing at this rate, I knew I only had a few minutes left. But, as I started dialing, I remembered I had an emergency prayer line saved on my phone. I decided to call John G. Lake Ministries instead.(www.jglm.org/)
I could barely speak (go figure, not being able to breathe makes that hard!), and when the voice said, “hello…” I whispered, “I have an infection in my heart.”
The man started to pray for me. I don’t remember what he said at all, but I felt my heart THUD. And then, it started beating normally! Those beats were music to my ears! As my heart began to beat, I was suddenly able to breathe again. All I could say was, “thank you, thank you, thank you!!”
I knew in that instant, God had saved my life and kept me from death, again.
The next morning, I went in for an echocardiogram, and miraculously, everything looked normal. It sure wasn’t normal the day before, but my heart was HEALED!
The fullness of the healing in the rest of my body had come slowly, some days, very frustratingly, but I’m so thankful to say that it is COMING! I feel like I am 98% there, hence all the posts on the computer, because I can use it again ;) and I’ve dropped my notions of lawsuits, because I have something much better to hope in!
As I was thinking earlier, I felt like God said, “It’s time for raining miracles.” Rain is one of those things that must happen in order to plants, and everything, to have life. But, if it’s going to rain to sustain life, wouldn’t it be amazing if those raindrops were miracles all around you? What kind of miracles are you believing God for? Share them with us, and we’ll agree in prayer to see God rain miracles in your life!
Blessings of rain, my friends!
OH, and that phone number…save it in case you ever need emergency prayer, or know someone who does: 1-888-293-6591
There’s no type of catch, nothing financial, just people who love Jesus, love you, and want to see you healed!
Babies are so precious. Genevieve is about to turn one, and one of the many things I love about this stage is how excited she gets about “the little things.” Whenever someone laughs, cheers, or claps, Genevieve just assumes we’re responding to her wonderfulness and she smiles and laughs and cheers too!
Yet, somewhere between babyhood and adulthood, we stop believing that we’re amazing and start to look at our faults. Life gets harder, and our parents stop cheering every time we go to the bathroom (there, I said it, you can blame them for all your issues!).
But God never stops cheering you on. You’re still the most precious, perfect, and loved child by God, even if you feel those days of innocence have long passed. Fortunately on this side of Cavalry, the love and grace we receive from God has nothing to do with our own merits, it is all based on Jesus and what He already accomplished for us.
Jesus took our sins, so we could be presented before God, innocent and pure. He took our pain, even the self-inflicted pain brought on by wrong choices, and washed it away. In turn for surrendering our garbage, Jesus presents us with new life, a brand new life free from sin and guilt, and clothed in the miraculous power of the Holy Spirit.
When we begin to understand that, our own self-perception begins to shift. Instead of being burdened by our faults, we’re empowered by the potential God’s placed in each of our hearts. That shift makes learning to walk in this new life easier then when we first learned to walk. Sure, we fall and scrape our knees, but God is still cheering for us to get back up and try it again.
Tune your ear to God’s cheering, and don’t give up.
Monday February 20th, began as a beautiful day. We picked flowers (weeds) from the backyard and made patterns with them on the deck. The sunshine felt magnificent and the morning a dream.
By the afternoon, I started having pain that I was familiar with from mastitis, a no-fun breast infection from nursing. I had experienced it a few times before, and I knew it could go away on its own with nursing. But, I already had a doctor appointment set up for the following morning, so I could get it checked out then!
As the day went on, I steadily became worse. By bedtime, I was struggling to walk without falling, my body was shaking, my head pounded when I tried to stand, and my whole body felt like I'd been hit by a bus.
I went to bed, glad that I'd be seeing the doctor soon. In the morning, I was much worse and unable to stand without falling from the dizziness and head pounding. I got to the doctors and wasn't even able to understand the paperwork I needed to fill out.
I told the doctor what was going on and she confirmed mastitis and did a prompt ekg because my heart rate was really high and I was struggling to breathe. The ekg came back abnormal, and she also did a blood test to look for underlying problems.
I started antibiotics immediately and began improving. I had no idea just how much improving I'd need to do over the next few days, it's still a messy blur.
The infection from mastitis entered my blood stream causing sepsis. And sepsis is no joke. It's important for everyone to understand the signs of sepsis
I’ve been to many doctors and many hospitals and had many tests done, and will have more still. Yet, I want to share some of the amazing things that God has done through this brutal time.
The first miracle happened to be that I already had an appointment set up with my doctor the next morning. Had I decided to take a Tylenol and tough it out, I highly doubt that I would still be alive. Though my doctor missed the signs of sepsis, she did the right thing by prescribing my antibiotics which I started immediately and took every few hours.
Unfortunately, the antibiotics alone were not enough. My heart rate was out of control and I was having chest pain and trouble breathing so I went to the ER. I was also highly delusional, and unable to even explain that I had an infection because I didn’t know what was going on. The nurse asked when I had seen a doctor, and I said, “It doesn’t feel like a long time ago.” She asked how I got to the hospital and I told her I drove. She said, “Ma’am, I don’t think you should be driving…” and I said, “I only had to drive straight.”
Yeah, don’t drive if you think you have sepsis.
I was stuck in a waiting room for two hours (even with an abnormal EKG and signs of a heart attack). I was waiting with all the other super sick people, and an older man was wheeled in and parked across from me.
He looked over and said, “I’m so glad you have your hair in a ponytail, it looks so sexy like that!”
I was absolutely appalled. Really, what do you say to that… thanks?
I just looked away…
But he kept talking.
“I’m sorry that I keep staring, it’s my medication…” he said.
I tried to politely grin.
Luckily, they called me back to do some more tests. On the way to have chest x-rays done, it was clear that I was unable to successfully walk, so the nurse got me in a wheel chair. I was feeling worse by the moment.
After my X-rays, there were still no available beds, so the nurse wheeled me out to the waiting room and parked me right next to my older friend. I knew if I tried to tell her he was sexually harassing me, she would move me to another ward of the hospital, and I wouldn’t be home for dinner. So I just tried to watch t.v., only my brain couldn’t actually understand what I was looking at.
As soon as the man noticed me, he jumped out of his wheelchair to come and talk.
We exchanged ER pleasantries, “What they got you in here for…”and the like.
And then, he started to share about how he had wanted to kill himself. He had mentioned that to the nurse and gone through months of inpatient treatment.
At that moment, the door opened for me to share God’s love with him, and I got to explain that God has a special purpose for each of his days. He told me he had done some really bad things, but I got to explain how we all have, but Jesus took the punishment for sin for us all.
The nurse came and got me before I was finished, but I was so thankful for an awkward moment that had turned into a meaningful moment. Even through chaos, sickness, and disease, God’s victory is always present… we just need to know where to look!
I so appreciate all of your prayers, and know that I would not be here without God saving me multiple times. I’ll write more about that as I process it. I’m so thankful to still be here, and be celebrating my sons 5th birthday in a few days. I really wasn’t sure I’d make it. Again, thank you for all your prayers!
As the days of pregnancy dwindle to an end, moms eagerly await their new addition! Rooms are prepared, baby clothes are laundered, car seats installed, and hospital bags packed. But usually, little thought is put into just what the new mom will need for herself!
With my first child, I prepped for birth, researched mommy-hood, but I had absolutely no idea about what would occur postpartum! I knew I’d be bleeding for a little while after birth, but that was about it. Naturally, I thought I’d regain my supermodel status in a few short weeks and be an instant super mom...
Reality burned. So did using the bathroom. Here are a few of my postpartum essentials, heads up, it's not glamorous:
· For starters, postpartum bleeding is very heavy (much heavier than a period)! Don’t be afraid to buy depends or disposable underwear (you'll thank me!). Overnight pads are helpful, but for the first few days, they won’t save your sheets! I highly recommend sleeping on disposable underpads. I used "chux" pads to protect the floor during my homebirth and found them to be equally helpful after birth!
· When nature calls, it might not feel so natural! Bowel movements may be difficult. If you had stitches after birth, straining any muscles might sound terrifying. Though you are a superwoman for the miracle you've just taken part of, your helpful sidekick will be stool softeners! Don't worry if they become a staple for the first few weeks, even months! Embrace the ease!
Peri bottles (or a good old fashion water bottle) are helpful in preventing burning while peeing and can be a soothing way to stay clean. If you had any tears or stitches, filling your bottle with warm water will wash away any anxiety while using the bathroom. Lastly, perineal cold pack pads are amazing after birth. They're absorbant pads that provide cooling relief and reducing swelling after birth. I always lamented when I ran out of them!
If you plan to breastfeed (and I hope you do!), these are my favorite newborn nursing essentials:
You'll need nursing bras! The dilemma first time moms face is that it is a challenge to properly guess your nursing bra size before you have a baby and your milk supply comes in. Instead of dumping money into bras that wont feel comfortable, I recommend grabbing a pack of sleep nursing bras. They run in small, medium, large, and extra large, and are a soft cotton which allows for room to grow (literally). They offer comfortable support for the first few days and make nighttime feedings so much easier!
If your nipples are sore, I highly recommend "soothies"! They are the sole reason I was able to nurse my children after a difficult first few days. They provide a cooling relief and help heal sore nipples! You'll want these in your hospital bag to use while you and your little one adjust to a proper latch! This get's easier as the baby's neck strengthens, in the meantime, SOOTHIES!
Good quality nursing pads are also essential. I've purchase cheap ones, and they leak. Breastmilk leaking through your bra and on to your shirt is not fun, especially when you have to wear your husbands jacket, in the middle of the summer, to try to cover an awkwardly wet shirt. I've used the TL Organic Nursing Pads, and have purchased three packs. In my opinion, their protection cannot be beat!
The final nursing essential is really a nursing helper. It will save your back, and your arms, and in my case, many trips to the chiropractor. I've used the Boppy Pillow, which was too flimsy. I've also used the Ergo Nursing Pillow which offered a wonderful amount of support for my baby, but the main con is it is expensive. I recommend "My Breast Friend" because it offers wonderful support for babies of all sizes, and is reasonably priced. You also might want to purchase an extra cover for your nursing pillow, breast milk, and spaghetti sauce, will splatter and you'll want to keep your nursing pillow covered and clean!
Did I miss anything? What is your favorite postpartum essential??