Wednesday, April 2, 2014

When It's Time to Leave

It's time for me to take a break friends. A break of an undetermined amount of time.

There is no left-over time right now for blogging.  There is a season for everything.  This isn't a season that I can consistently maintain a blog.  Right now I'm doing good to remember when I last brushed my teeth.

So I'm removing the pressure.  How I let it become pressure, I don't know?  Except that I'm not very good at doing things half-way.

I will be back as I have an obligation for a special review coming soon.  So do sign up for email updates if you haven't already.  After that I don't know.  I once had this friend, who in the first weeks after having a baby, flushed all the fish in her elaborate aquarium down the toilet, because she was overwhelmed with life and the tank had gotten stinky and she just wanted to be done with it. LOL!  (Sorry to you fish-lovers).  I'm trying not to be hasty and "kill the fish," but there is also a lot that goes on behind a blog like this that most folks don't know about.  And I'm tired of it all.  Getting online is a chore, not fun or encouraging.

But being with her is. Oh how many times a day does my gratitude to God well up into praise, because of her?  I don't want to waste a single moment staring at a screen when I could stare at her.  Real life, real people, real relationships are infinitely more important than anything that happens online.

I'll see ya'll when I see ya.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

VBAC Waterbirth {Birth Story Part 2}

Be sure to read part 1 here

I quickly headed back into the house to the master bathroom and passed the hall bathroom where Kevin was working. As I passed I said, “Itstimehoneycomeon.” Then I heard him drop something and say, “What?” But I was already in the other bathroom.

He came to the door and opened it and in my surprise that he so rudely (ha) busted in on me like that, I accidentally slammed his head in the door. He made this grunting sound that made me laugh hysterically and I continued to randomly laugh about it for two days. (Ok, actually I just laughed again.)

But once I emerged, there were no contractions.


Kevin was not even willing to enter a discussion about "waiting to see" so he herded me to the car and asked Seth to get him some towels just in case the baby was born on the way. (My poor husband.  I'm laughing again.) My daughter Savannah was excitedly joining us, according to plan.

Now in the car and starting the hour and fifteen minute drive to the birth center, and there were still no contractions. I almost wanted to come back home. What if that wasn’t my water breaking? What if I’m not really in labor?  What if this is another false alarm like yesterday?  The contractions I had been having all day weren’t hurting that bad and most of them were so short. Maybe this isn’t it.

We decided to pull over half-way there and let me walk around, to see what happened. Wal-Mart was our destination and walk, I did. The contractions reappeared—yahoo!! A few came as close as 2-3 minutes apart, but they were still short, unpredictable and didn’t hurt at all. We browsed awhile in Wal-Mart because I still felt so unsure. In my head I was thinking:  I’m in labor. No I’m not. Wait. Yes, I am. Hey, let's buy some Crunch N Munch!

By this time it was 8:15pm, we were halfway to the birth center and I was still hesitant to bother people with a declaration of I-may-or-may-not be in labor.  The people coming to the birth, grandparents watching the other kids, the staff at the birth center... were probably all getting ready for bed about now. But we finally decided to be safe rather than sorry, make the calls, and keep driving towards the birth center.

We met our midwife there around 9pm and my mom and sister arrived about 15 minutes after us. I was feeling like a goofball and continually asked the Lord for “just one, good, hurting contraction,” as they were now coming 7-10 minutes apart and still just slightly uncomfortable.  My midwife, Kathleen, was in no hurry to do an exam and just let us all leisurely chat together.

My mom, sister, Savannah and I ate Crunch n Munch and laughed like crazy talked about me slamming Kevin’s head in the bathroom door.

Around 10pm Kathleen did an exam and I was thinking, “Here goes…news that the mom of nine can’t tell when she’s in labor.” But the news was…I was 6cm dialated.

The other news was, Baby was still very high and is in a posterior position (my suspicions confirmed).

I had mixed emotions. I was happy that I was in labor, but concerned about the posterior position of the baby. I knew a posterior baby usually meant a longer labor, especially a long pushing phase and sometimes ended with a cesarean. And this was a VBAC which added a bit of a different dimension to the news. However, I was only mildly concerned.  The only explanation I have is that the Lord gave me a calm and peace about what was before me in the next hours.

Kathleen started filling the birth pool. I have never had a waterbirth but so many mamas have said what a different, less painful experience it is, I knew I wanted to try it. Also appealing to me about waterbirth? I sorta thought it would preserve a bit more modesty/dignity. And it did.

Kevin told my mom, sister and Savannah the news (dialated to 6, high, posterior baby), and we were all praying that Baby would turn. Kathleen was hopeful and encouraging me, that the baby could turn during labor. She encouraged me to try some different positions to labor in, that would encourage the baby to move into the anterior (face down) position we wanted her to be in. It was around 10pm now.

I got in the birth pool around 10:15pm, and in between the very do-able contractions of every 5 minutes, I visited with my family. The water did feel amazing and I had so little pain. But in my mind I was thinking, “This is going to take all night because I am just not hurting bad enough.” I stayed in a hands and knees position with my toes pointing in some strange direction, that Kathleen said could help the baby move.

Around 10:30 I had a contraction that was very uncomfortable. The first one I could describe that way.  At 10:33, another came. According to my sister’s notes, at 10:42 I said, “They are coming fast.” Transition was suddenly here, with very little warning of a gradual increase in pain and contractions.

What happened next some of you will understand as minutes that felt surreal. Pain is experienced that you can only describe as unbearable and yet you are bearing it.  It seems as if time is standing still.

 I was still praying, holding onto Kevin and asking the Lord to turn the Baby. Truly, the VBAC element was forgotten at this point. Kathleen was checking fetal heart tones during contractions and I knew Baby was coping great. I think the Lord mercifully took away any fear I had had before. “VBAC” left my mind altogether. I was completely focused.

Then I had a contraction that made me shut my eyes and never open them again. Sorta involuntary like when you’re on a high roller coaster and you want to be fully alert for the amazing ride, but since you’re pretty sure you’re gonna die, you close your eyes anyway. The next contraction, just like it, came quickly and I felt a sudden, immediate sensation that there was a baby coming NOW. At 10:50 (according to the birth notes)  I told everyone I needed to push, the baby was coming.

Kathleen had called in another midwife to assist her and neither one of them were in the room. Someone went to get them and then left me, Kevin and the two midwives in the room alone.

My mom listening outside the door, lol!

This all happened in a matter of a few minutes. Kathleen told me to turn over (I was still in the hands and knees position) and told me to calm down and take some deep breaths because it was time to push and the contractions had stopped. “Just rest,” she said. I rested there in the water, in a semi-reclining position for probably 1-2 minutes, and I wondered if I was in for hours of pushing out a posterior baby. But when I started pushing Kathleen told us the baby had turned and was no longer posterior. Praise Him.

There were about three very intense pushes (in other words, I hollered like a crazy woman). Kathleen calmly and matter-of-factly mentioned, "The cord is wrapped around her neck twice." Kevin said she just unwrapped it quickly yet smoothly, without a hint of panic. And that beautiful baby girl was delivered from my body into a warm tub in a dimly lit, quiet room and placed right on my chest in a matter of seconds. They suctioned her mouth and rubbed her back a little and then came that sound I had longed to hear for many months:  The sound of her cry.

I stared down into that little face, through an adrenaline-induced haze of love and extreme thankfulness that she was here, soaking in the details of her head: the hair, the nose that is Kevin’s. The pain, so short-lived, was mostly gone. Not forgotten, but no longer my focus.

My mom, sister and Savannah were called right back in. The midwives suctioned Selah's nose and mouth, threw a towel over her back and I held her there in the water as they checked us both. I got out of the tub and handed her off to the others for a few minutes.

Her birth was so fast, and especially her descension from super-high in the pelvis to crowning in just a few contractions, left her with a bruised face. This same thing happened in my 7th  birth as well.

Three days old

Selah Hope weighed 9# 14oz. She was big, but she weighed just what the Lord ordained her to. I have had a harder time delivering babies that were smaller than her. God has been so merciful to us! We give Him praise for creating, sustaining and bringing forth this little soul, and entrusting us with her for a short time. She is His.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

A Birth Story {Part 1}

We all know a birth story begins well before labor :)  And since I'm still processing all the details, I just couldn't jump right into the actual labor and delivery part....and that made for one long blogpost. So here is the first installment:

After several days of start and stop contractions that resembled early labor but then piddled out, I was pretty sure the baby was in a posterior position. In the evenings, contractions would begin around 6pm and grow closer together, coming as much as five minutes apart, then taper off and finally quit altogether. Those were long nights. And yet it rang so familiar with the pregnancy and birth of my other posterior baby (Stephen, #5) that I figured Baby’s position change was probably what we were waiting for.  Meanwhile, she was gaining weight each day and making it harder to turn her body. She was running out of room.

On Monday I was 40 weeks + 2 days and I had a regular prenatal appointment. I was so worn out with traveling the 80 miles for the weekly appointments. I always feel that way at the end and have to remind myself again why we choose to travel out of town to have babies. I hated leaving the other kids for what always ended up being a longer day than I intended. But at this appointment I intended to talk to my midwife about the safety of some gentle induction herbs, as well as my question of the baby’s position. At the appointment she did an exam and said she did not recommend any herbs to hasten delivery because the baby was so high. This being a primary VBAC, neither of us wanted to do anything that might hurt me in the delivery.

She did, however, sweep my membranes and cautioned me that doing so could cause lots of contractions that may or may not bring about real labor.

We left and stayed in the city awhile just in case labor was indeed started by the membrane sweep, though I wasn’t very hopeful. My daughter Savannah had been attending the last appointments with Kevin and I. As she and I were window shopping, some contractions hit me pretty hard, and along with some other more graphic symptoms, I went back to the birth center for another check even though the office had just closed. Maybe this was it!

No labor.

Because of embarrassment and too much estrogen I became a little tearful, to which my beloved wisely pulled into the parking lot of the Olive Garden Restaurant. I don’t care who you are bread sticks will cheer you up. When we left the restaurant a stranger had already paid for our bill. It always amazes me how the Lord cares for us in the most loving and unexpected ways. That little kindness from a stranger was a hug straight from the Lord.

Meanwhile, the contractions were still coming and hurting. We thought about staying the night in the city just to be sure something wasn’t about to happen. But I knew I would rest better if I could lay my eyeballs on the other kids, put them to bed myself and lay my head on my own pillow.

So we drove back home.

I took ibuprofen for those annoying contractions that just would. not. stop. And after about 3am they stopped waking me.

The next morning the contractions were back and they were different. They came about every 10 minutes and hurt more. But instead of lasting 30-45 seconds, they only lasted 10-15 (for any who don't know, a good, "real labor" contraction will last over a minute, so 10 seconds barely counts.)  I figured it was still due to the membrane sweep, that I was starting to regret as something that did nothing but cross me over from uncomfortable to sheer misery.

Throughout the day friends and family texted for updates:  "Nothing." I would reply. We did our usual. I did schoolwork with Stephen (7) and Sarah Grace (9). Made a list and my oldest daughters went to the grocery store. (I asked them to pick up a fresh pineapple. I had read fresh pineapple would start labor if you ate about 20 of them so I wanted to get started.)

Also, Kevin was home and working on one of the bathrooms in our house that is still unfinished. And around 4pm I was standing talking to him about the importance of bathroom faucets matching the bathroom light (because these are things of eternal significance) when I felt a contraction that was hard enough and long enough to leave me hopeful. (But not hopeful enough to declare that I was hopeful. Got it?)

Then I read a book about cobras to the little boys and had a few more, increasingly serious, contractions:

Why would a person want to be a snake charmer, Mama?
Where is India, Mama?
Why can’t we go there, Mama?
Can we read this again, Mama?

Sigh…Love me some boys

At 6pm I was cutting up my pineapple to eat with supper and had a loooong, hurting contraction. Finally, the right combination. Kept quiet about it though. Throughout supper I had a few more like that. That’s it. I was officially hopeful.

Then I walked outside with the kids and felt a big gush of fluid. Um yep…it’s definitely time.


Thursday, March 20, 2014

She's Here!

Praising the Lord for the safe arrival of our 5th daughter and 9th child,
Selah Hope Moore, born Tuesday night at 10:58 PM. 
Selah (Say-Lah): Hebrew in origin and chosen from the Psalms,
 "to Pause and Reflect"
Hope: "Expectation"
9 lbs, 14 oz
21.5 in.
I can't wait to relate her birth story to ya'll soon. And I can't begin to express my thankfulness for those of you who have prayed and sent words of encouragement these many months.  In the above photo Selah and I are having a conversation about punctuality ;)

Happy to report that the blueness still present here is left over from a fast descension into the birth canal.  This photo was taken this morning and tonight the last bit of bruising is gone.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Scripture Meditations for the Overdue Mama


But as for me, I will look to the Lord; I will wait for the God of my salvation; my God will hear me.
Micah 7:7

There can be times contentment comes easy.  Many times however, we have to fight for it. 

When a woman is waiting on labor to start, it can be a sanctifying time in her life.  She is anxious to meet her new blessing.  She may be anxious about labor and the uncertainties of the day, the time and the circumstances that surround delivery. Even knowing most babies are never born on their due dates, nonetheless we feel like a finish line has been crossed once that date has come.

Coming to a right understanding of the sovereignty of God is every situation, has brought me so much peace over the years..  Trusting in the authorities that God has placed over me and how he works out his sovereign plan for me through them, has also brought peace in uncertain times.

God has all of our days numbered.  He tells us:  in your book were written, every one of them,
the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them (Ps 139:16). And we often say this verse when someone's life is ending or has ended.  But the days of our lives are numbered from the beginning as well. 

When I was discussing this truth with my mom this week, she encouraged me further that God not only has the day of our baby's birth planned, but also the exact minute.  It is comforting to know that God has ordained the millisecond that our little girl will draw breath into her lungs for the first time.

And although we may sometimes be plagued with fears, doubts and unbelief, we can press through days that may be long, still having a firm foundation:

How firm a foundation
Ye Saints of the Lord
Is laid for your faith
in His excellent Word
What more can He say
Than to you, He has said
To you who for refuge to Jesus have fled?
Fear not I am with thee
Oh be not dismayed
For I am thy God
And will still give thee aid
I'll strengthen thee, help thee and cause thee to stand
Upheld by my righteous omnipotent hand
--How Firm a Foundation, Martin Luther
Scripture Verses to Contemplate While Waiting on Baby to Arrive
  • Job 39: 2, 3 (How much more precious am I to the Lord than mountain goats? Yet He knows even the births of these wild animals.)
Do you know when the mountain goats give birth?
    Do you observe the calving of the does?
Can you number the months that they fulfill,
    and do you know the time when they give birth,
 when they crouch, bring forth their offspring,
    and are delivered of their young?

  • Psalm 27:14
Wait for the Lord; be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait for the Lord!

  • Psalm 39:7
And now, O Lord, for what do I wait? My hope is in you.
  • Psalm 40:1
I waited patiently for the Lord; he inclined to me and heard my cry.

  • Psalm 62:5
For God alone, O my soul, wait in silence, for my hope is from him.

  • Isaiah 30:18
Therefore the Lord waits to be gracious to you, and therefore he exalts himself to show mercy to you. For the Lord is a God of justice; blessed are all those who wait for him.

  • Isaiah 33:2 
O Lord, be gracious to us; we wait for you. Be our arm every morning, our salvation in the time of trouble.

  • Isaiah 40:31
but they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.

  •  Lamentations 3:25
The Lord is good to those who wait for him, to the soul who seeks him.

In seasons of waiting where we dare to grumble against the Lord of Hosts, doubt his care and work because at heart we're all like toddlers just wanting our own way, we can, we must, go back to the scriptures. It is where we will find rest, comfort and words that proclaim His love and faithfulness to us has never and will never, waiver.

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Lady-in-Waiting {Pregnancy Update: 40 Weeks}


Today marks 40 weeks and our little girl is still not here.  I've never carried a baby this long before.  My younger sister, whose due date is two weeks behind mine, may just deliver before me.

I did make some significant progress since my last update, after taking the Labor Prep. In four days I went from zero dilation and almost zero effacement, to 2 centimeters and 70%.

I'm also making myself stay active, doing a lot of walking as well as all the other herbs and "tricks" that should start labor if my body was ready.

But I'm still waiting.

And I would be lying if I said every moment was a cake walk.

One moment I am so irritable I have to go collect my thoughts somewhere alone.  The next moment I want all eight of my children to sit on my lap (teenagers don't really go for that).  One minute I have no appetite and I'm nauseated.  The next minute I want Kevin to bring me home a hot fudge sundae.  One minute I'm completely fine with the ten of us sharing unfinished bathrooms and the next minute I am simmering on the evil of toothpaste and wondering why we can't all just gargle some mouthwash for crying out loud.

And yet I'm very thankful.  Thankful for the opportunity to carry new life.  Thankful for such supportive family, loving friends and that my mom made it back to the states to be with my sister and I.  Thankful that we got in the house before the baby was born and thankful that my health has been outstanding, almost the entire time. Thankful for a husband that bears with me so gently through it all.

And there are many times the Lord sanctifies us through waiting, aren't there? We spend lots of time waiting for something or other, spending seasons in that place where time just seems to stand still and you long for something, anything, to happen so that life can carry on.

Many of you may be in a place of waiting too.  Waiting on your husband to find a job, or waiting on the Lord to bring you a husband, or waiting on a place to live.  You may be waiting on the results of a medical test or waiting on the Lord to move on your husband's heart to draw him to Himself and save his soul.

We can easily become impatient, fidgety, discouraged, fearful and even angry when we are waiting.  But I want to wait well, don't you? I'm not doing it perfectly, or even close to perfect. Like I said, I have some moments. But I love this verse:

wait for the Lord, my soul waits,
    and in his word I hope;
my soul waits for the Lord
    more than watchmen for the morning,
    more than watchmen for the morning.
Psalm 130: 5,6
I love that "waiting" and "hoping" are there together.  Waiting and hoping in his word.  Waiting means we are expecting something.  We are anticipating something great. But without the hope we won't least not without a whole lot of anxiety and fear.
Waiting well rests on the foundation that we know God, we understand His sovereignty, we trust His promises.
And just as the watchmen are waiting for the morning, knowing that the sun will rise without fail, we can trust that our human needs will be met in His time and in His way.
“And now, O Lord, for what do I wait?
    My hope is in you."

Psalm 39:7

Pregnancy Update: 9 Weeks
Pregnancy Update: 11 Weeks
Pregnancy Update: 12 Weeks
Pregnancy Update: 14 Weeks
Pregnancy Update: 18 Weeks
Pregnancy Update: 21 Weeks
Pregnancy Update: 24 Weeks
Pregnancy Update: 29 Weeks
Pregnancy Update: 34 Weeks
Pregnancy Update: 36 Weeks
Pregnancy Update: 37 Weeks
Pregnancy Update: 38 Weeks
Pregnancy Update: 39 Weeks

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Pregnancy Update {39 Weeks}

Well I haven't been kidnapped.  I'm still here and still very much pregnant.  So much for baby coming before the 39th week...proving that the Lord has the perfect plan and many times that is not what we think it will be.

In fact, at my last prenatal visit a few days ago, my midwife examined me and said I'm not even close to labor, and she would be surprised if I went into labor early at all. She also estimated the baby to be close to 9lbs already.  Then she made a gift of a bottle of this:

(Have any of ya'll used this?  Was it helpful?  Tastes terrible.)

Otherwise I am just fine, waddling about and unpacking boxes in our new house. I'm enjoying the last few moments of pregnancy and being a family of ten for just awhile longer, even though this last week was a very stretching time.

On Friday we moved (which never could have been done in one day were it not for the help from so many friends.)  That night I slept about two hours.  The next day I looked around and nearly lost my marbles. But by the end of the day we had at least found the food and diapers.

The next day was Sunday and although I was not going to make it to church, I was hoping to keep all the little ones home with me while the rest of the family wore wrinkled clothes and went without us.  But then one of them threw up.  Then another.  Then another one walked in the room, green behind the gills.

Kevin and I looked at each other, wondering if we were dreaming.

I pictured weeks and weeks of barfathon. By the time this virus made it through the whole lot of us, who knew how long it could take? And I hadn't even found the towels and trash bags yet.  Anyone with a large family knows what it means when one kid is throwing up.  (Read: A Tale of Woe)

I prayed.  Oh how I prayed!  And the Lord mercifully allowed just those three children to have a very short-lived, 24 hour virus, that no one else came down with.

And boy, so much has happened this week, so much progress on unpacking, so many laughs shared and impromptu meals thrown together but eaten with thankfulness. Different construction workers are still in and out and today as we were eating lunch, a plumber was working in the kitchen.  He got prayed for.  As Silas (5) blessed the food: "Lord please bless this plumber.  And help him to figure out what's wrong with....our microwave."

And thanks to the blessed plumber we finally got the kitchen fully functioning this morning. And in just one week we have made it to the boxes of picture frames and decorations.  The non-essentials.

Shiloh and Serenity were so happy to rediscover all their books:

We've all heard the expression, "God doesn't give us more than we can handle."  But that isn't true. God does give us more than we can handle.  He has given me more than I can handle these last few weeks (for that matter, what makes me think I can handle one "ordinary" day apart from His loving kindness and mercies?) 

(day 3 after move)

And when He gives us more than we can handle, we can look to Him, praise His Name and utter, "Yes..He is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen." Eph. 3:20, 21

Hoping to post a birth announcement this week, but trusting in the Lord,