Tuesday, February 1, 2011

I'm not much for New Year's Resolutions. I never make them... and if I DID I would never keep them. I like life to take it's own course. So, although I have an intention for the year ahead of me, it is a fluid one. I have a sense of what God is speaking to me and I want to follow that sense to the ocean of his grace.
I'm looking for a clean start; for a deep shifting and a rebalancing. Because it just felt good to do it - I've started a whole new blog. Please come follow and comment and engage!!! I probably won't be adding to this blog much more, but I'll still keep it up, because someday I might want to come back to it. :)
Love, peace and JOY.


Monday, January 31, 2011

For the Sake of Daisy

First Aravis came home with a virus. She had a slight fever which turned into a runny nose and a super sore throat.

Then Judah caught the virus.

And then both Joe and I caught the virus.

And we THOUGHT Daisy joined the ranks of virus misery.

Strangely (and thankfully) Daisy never had a fever, but it was sad (and scary) to listen to her little congested nose snore through the night.

So we propped her up slightly with a pillow while she slept and used a saline spray and a nose sucker to keep her nose clear. We took her in the bathroom when we took showers to let the steam work it's magic and we kept a close watch on her temp. She threw up a few times and was generally cranky. She had green poopies and a rash all over her face, head and chest.

Then we noticed that Daisy was miserable from about 4pm until she finally screamed herself to sleep around 8pm. My mom suggested the possibility that Daisy was colicky, so I googled away. It made sense - so we got some Gripe Water. That stuff is from HEAVEN. Yes, it works.

Daisy has been so, so gassy and apparently colic can be a reaction to something the breastfeeding mama is eating. The most common irritant is dairy and I'm a vegan. Obviously, not a dairy problem.

In looking back on what I've been eating lately I realized that I've been eating A LOT of wheat. I mean a LOT of wheat.

Pasta, bread, crackers... you name it.

So, I searched around for food irritants in breastfed babies. Seriously - the symptoms are rash, vomiting, diarrhea (or green poop), gas, congestion, irritability...

So, I've been on an elimination diet. I've cut out any possible irritants: wheat, tomatoes, corn, broccoli, cauliflower, peanuts, soy, spinach. I'm eating a lot of rice, potatoes, green smoothies and beans (I know beans seems a little risky, but I've been assured that they are okay). Can I tell you how BLAND my food life is this week? But one look at that rashy, screaming baby and I'd cut out all solids if it would give her relief.

I woke up this morning with a sense that something had changed for Daisy and, no joke, she has been a happy, happy baby all day. She still has a slight rash and she's still a little gassy, but she has been smiling, eating and sleeping with no problem. And it's 5:30pm. We'll see how bedtime goes.

To all you mamas with colicky babies, my heart goes out to you. To all you mamas with babies with food intolerances, my stomach grumbles with you. Oh, the things we do out of love for our little ones.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

I'm With You Johnny....

I read an interview with Johnny Depp the other day while getting a pedicure with my big girl. The interviewer asked him who he wanted to meet. Johnny replied, "God. I want to smoke a cigarette with God."

Now, Johnny Depp being who he is, this response is particularly fascinating. He's clearly a free spirit and a phenomenal actor (who ISN'T in love with Jack Sparrow?). He also seems to be an intensely private person. The man lives on an ISLAND with his family for goodness sake!

It seems like Johnny Depp would be completely comfortable sitting on a front porch, feet kicked up on the porch rail, smoking a cigarette with God while discussing all of the sorrowful, unanswered, desperate things human beings experience.

And that makes me think of something Shane Hipps said once....

{Behind the locked doors of our lives...} "
There nestled in among the shame, sin, sickness and sorrow is the Creator of the Universe relaxed and at home. Not the least bit offended, surprised or fearful."

I understand that, for some, the first response to the idea of Jesus being relaxed and at home in our ugliest spaces is appalling. I remember a time in my life when I would have raged against the idea of Jesus entering our darkness to fish us out. It had seemed unthinkable. I would have said firmly, "Not God. God is HOLY. Holy doesn't enter into unholiness."

I would have felt sorry for anyone who was so disillusioned and, clearly, SO wrong.

But I get it now. Johnny Depp's words resonate with me. His desire to sit, naturally and comfortably, with the God who offers comfort and redemption to every single human being speaks to my own heart's ache. I want to smoke a cigarette with God too. I want to open up the deepest recesses of my heart - the places that are filled with shame, sin, sickness and sorrow - without fear of being scorned or rejected.

Because isn't that the point of Jesus surrendering to the cross? Isn't that EXACTLY what he was doing? Jesus took on every single sliver of sin and flesh and human sadness to heal us. That means he ENTERED IN. That means the HOLY GOD walked straight into what was UNHOLY and made himself at home.

I know. It sounds wrong somehow right? All that felt-board theology we grew up with seems to push against the grain of everything this suggests. Our limited brains can't reconcile a holy God entering into anything unholy. Especially since we KNOW that light and darkness can't live together. They can't mingle. And that's my point exactly. Jesus, the light of the world, enters into our darkness and we are slowly and certainly set on fire. Our internal darkness becomes a blazing fire. We who were once in darkness are flooded with light.

But first He enters in. He doesn't stand on the front lawn demanding that we put out that cigarette and get it together before he'll sit down with us. He's bigger than that. Jesus, because of the cross, steps over the threshold and sits down next to us. Everything we encounter from there on out is holy. It's holy because we are in his presence and he has no need to bend to our rules. Whatever we've decided makes us unworthy of his presence becomes the very gateway to the Creator.

He knows no limits. Thank God. There would be no hope for those of us who over eat, smoke cigarettes, drink too much, make ourselves throw up, lie, swear, covet, greedily store up our "stuff", dishonor one another, look at pornography, harbor anger and resentment, gossip, yell at our kids....

Johnny Depp, you have no idea how real, personal and overflowing with hope your desire is. I pray you get to do it.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Yes, We Are One Of "Those" Families

My babies are always born smack in the middle of RSV season. Ugh. In fact, Judah actually HAD RSV when he was a month old. It was a scary, exhausting experience which included a hospital visit and lots of breathing treatments, followed by a year of respiratory issues and weird sensitivities to EVERYTHING.

So, I'm obviously wanting to avoid the sickies with Daisy. Clearly, I can't control EVERYTHING, but I can limit her exposure to germies for the first few months. I may seem like a crazy mama, but I just don't care. ;)

We've set up some boundaries for the sake of Daisy. We're actually not letting anyone hold or touch her right now (outside of the people who live in our house). When someone DOES hold her they must wash their hands first. When the kids (or adults) go to the park, or other heavily populated places, they have to take a shower and change their clothes as soon as they get home. We're all taking grapefruit seed extract, elderberry, vitamin d and multi vitamins. And, finally, I'm making sure Daisy is getting as much breast milk as her little heart desires.

This is how we fight the flu in this house. We're not rushing out for flu vaccines. We're just being careful and responsible with our exposure to the germs that are floating around our world right now. Obviously these aren't permanent rules. I'm aware that some germs are necessary for immune boosting and SOMEDAY Daisy will get sick. We just need to get through the nasty season.

I want to know - how does YOUR family fight flu/RSV season?

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

I'm Learning....

Things I've learned about life since Daisy:

1. Some newborns DO sleep well at night - time to stop hating all those mamas with easy newborns since I seem to now be one...

2. Three is better than two. I loved being a mama to my two kids and, somehow, adding one more makes things fantastically even better.

3. Family is necessary for survival. If not for my husband, mama and dad helping me (aka: doing everything for me) right now I would probably never recover ;)

4. Patience. I want to get up out of bed and clean and play and work out and go shopping and get my nails done and organize the house.... I'm really really trying to respect my midwife's orders to stay in bed for 7-10 days. It's an eternity.

5. Surrender. I may have given birth, but my uterus is still large and in charge. First there are the afterpains making me feel like I am in the middle of having my period aaaand... let's be honest. My baby is 5 days old. I still look 4 months pregnant. But it's okay.... I think. I seem to have some new appreciation for the hard work my belly has done over the past 10 months. For some reason it's easier to surrender to the fact that it is what it is right now. Ask me again next week ;)

6. It's okay to lock the door and hide out for a little while. I'm finding that I need a little more time to just adjust and soak in my new little family than I thought I would. My kids are still getting used to everything - hell, I'M still getting used to everything! We've decided to not receive visitors until next week. It's like a big, heaving sigh of relief. Plus, it will make next week all the more fun!

7. Laundry. If I thought it was out of control BEFORE we added a newborn to the mix, I was surely mistaken. My poor mama has been switching load after load of clothes, cloth diapers and towels since yesterday morning. And, due to Daisy's tinkle accident this morning, I'm about to add my sheets to the pile.

8. Which leads me to cloth diapers. I LOVE THEM. I am kicking myself for not using them all along! Daisy has been in cloth all five days of her life and, not only are they easy, but they are saving the planet! Yay for cloth!

Is there anything more spiritual than new life? Everything she does seems so Divine and beautiful. Every breath is so perfectly sustained by the Creator and I am so, so thankful to be Daisy's mama.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Daisy Anabelle Suzanne

We had the most amazing Christmas Eve. Daisy Anabelle Suzanne was born at 10:54pm after weeks of early labor and about 5 hours of active labor.

I'm going to give you ALL the info on her birth, so if you DON'T want to know about things like bloody show, then this is not the post for you! :)

On Thursday (the day before Christmas Eve) I went to an acupuncturist to try to stimulate active labor. It was my first experience with acupuncture and I was a little surprised by how it felt. The needles themselves didn't hurt, but once she worked them for a few seconds it felt like an electrical shock in my hands, back, legs and feet. During the treatment I felt really hot and sweaty, which she said was my body releasing heat and it was a GOOD thing.

That night I woke up probably every hour or so with contractions that were hard enough to wake me up, but easy enough that I could go back to sleep when they were over. At 2am I woke up feeling deeply hot and overheated. It was more than just physical heat - it felt like the same internal, energetic heat I had felt during my acupuncture treatment. I turned on the fan and eventually fell back to sleep.

I woke up Christmas Eve realizing that my contractions had changed. Although they were 20-45 minutes apart they had turned the corner and were HARD labor contractions. I had been losing my mucous plug for over a week, but that morning I had bloody show. At this point I KNEW things were progressing and Daisy would be here by Christmas. I tried to rest as much as possible, but spent some time on the ball and walking around the house and the neighborhood.

We had planned to go to my Mother in Law's house for a family Christmas dinner at 3pm, but by the time it was time to leave I realized that I was IN labor and, although it would probably still be a long time till Daisy was born, I couldn't just get in the car and go to a party. So, we stayed home and timed my contractions. They were still 10-30 minutes apart and Joe called Mary (our Midwife) to let her know where we were at.

At about 5:30pm Mary decided that she was going to just come check me. She got here about 6pm and I was at 8cm! My contractions were still far apart and irregular - I was seriously shocked that I had progressed so much. At that point everything changed. I got shaky and a little scared and my contractions started coming at about every 5 minutes. I got in the pool that we had set up in our room and Mary gave me some herbs to help me calm down.

My dad and brothers kept the kids occupied on the other side of the house. They watched movies, had dinner and played while waiting for their sister to be born. At some point I was overwhelmed with loneliness and asked to see Aravis. She came in and checked everything out, kissed me and asked questions and that really helped. It was healing to be able to see her during the birth - to know that she was safe and happy. Judah came in after that and he was a little stand-offish, but really wanted to play with the water in the tub.

For most of the birth Mary and my mom stayed in the hallway while Joe sat with me in the bedroom. It was so, so redemptive to know that Joe was HERE - both physically and spiritually. He was attentive, aware and present. I didn't want him to touch me, but I was able to rest in the knowledge that he was HERE.

Not long after that my contractions started to feel overwhelming. I started to feel like it was never going to end and it was too much for me. I remember thinking that every woman who talks about a "pain free" childbirth was full of shit. I tried to tell myself that it wasn't PAIN I was feeling, but PRESSURE. That helped for about 3 contractions and then I couldn't make the words mean more than the sensation anymore. So, I cried, I prayed, I begged for it to end.

Here's where things were REALLY different between a home birth and a hospital birth - Mary had told me early on in my care that there was no need for me to push Daisy out. She said that my body would do that for me and I would know when it was time to join in. She wasn't lying.

My contractions changed again. They started coming 3 at a time - right on top of each other - and felt like nothing I had ever experienced ever before. They were WILD. It was the most physical pain I have ever felt. Ever. They were hard and consuming and I felt certain that Daisy was never going to come out. I was begging to God to make it stop - to just give me relief. Mary told me to tell them when I felt her and I thought she was insane - I was nowhere near getting her out.

And then I felt my water break... and the ring of fire. Daisy's head was right there, crowing, the moment the water broke. I, somehow, told Mary I could feel her and immediately Mary felt for her head. She applied counter pressure and told me to push when I was ready. This was not what you see in the movies, or maybe even what you have experienced yourself. I didn't breathe and push. I didn't wait for the next urge. There was no need to try to move her down - she was THERE. I pushed probably 3-4 times to get her head out, while yelling and screaming, and then another 3 pushes to deliver her body. And then there she was.

I sat back in the water and held my daughter. For the very first time I felt joy the INSTANT I held my baby. There was nothing else in the way. No lights, no doctors, no interventions. Just me and the baby I had worked for, prayed over and truly BIRTHED. I heard Aravis say, "Judah, it's DAISY!" and realized that they were in the room. I looked up at Aravis' ecstatic face and was SO happy that she had seen her sister being born.

When I was ready I moved up onto the bed and waited for the placenta. This was another totally new experience. I had never pushed out a placenta without pitocen and it was ... different. :) Mary checked me and I had barely torn - not even enough for a single stitch. She said I had eased Daisy's head out so carefully that everything looked perfect.

Daisy was born just over an hour before Christmas Day. She was 7 pounds and 10 ounces, 20 inches long and perfectly pink. The best part is - she looks like me. She definitely has her daddy in her (no Moors kid can escape the Moors head), but Daisy looks like every newborn/baby photo of me I have ever seen. This was a small gift from Jesus for me.. :)

Those are all of the facts, but I want to say that so much more happened during Daisy's birth. I had experienced so much sadness in my previous births and had even experienced opposition from other people before Daisy's birth. I KNEW what God was doing in me by providing a home birth. I KNEW what God was doing in giving me an opportunity to cry out to the Healer and Redeemer. I knew that my expectation of what was coming would not be disappointed. I knew that I was on holy ground as I approached Daisy's birth. But there was certainly doubt that needed to be wrestled with. There were words of discouragement disguised as practical (even Divine) wisdom.

I am so, so thankful for the Spirit of God that surrounded and sustained me. I am so thankful that I did not give in. I am so thankful that my hope was rewarded with reality. Daisy was born naturally and at home. And I was healed. Things that had rattled around - undealt with - have been set right. I experienced so much more physical pain than I was prepared for, but not even a moment of emotional pain. In suffering and struggling I found peace. I met with Jesus in the deepest, saddest place I could. There is no healing like the healing that takes place when you face your deepest wound.

I have spent the last few days soaking in the joy of God's gift to me this Christmas. Daisy Belle is finally here. Her birth was beautiful and excruciating. Healing is settling into old, raw spaces. And I am recovering with my family - enjoying every second of our new life.

Happy Birthday Daisy Belle!

Thursday, December 23, 2010

The Day Before The Day Before Christmas

I saw my daughter today, although NOT because I gave birth to her. We had an in-home ultrasound to check the fluid levels, etc and I got to see her fat, cute face. She was shoving fingers in her mouth and squiggling around. Her thighs are rolly polly and she IS, in fact, a girl (sweet relief for a mama who worries about everything). The ultrasound tech estimates that she is 8 pounds 11 ounces. Seriously. Now I know that ultrasounds are regularly wrong about the weight of a baby, but this was just shocking! Both Aravis and Judah were 7.7 pounds. 8.11? That's huge! At least it seems huge.... (although not to my mama whose biggest baby was 11.4)

The super great news is that everything is awesome. Daisy is healthy and whole. The fluid levels are great. She's moving like a maniac. She's chubby and super, super cute (only a mama can tell that from an ultrasound :)).

He also estimated that I am at 40 weeks and 1 day. I'm aware that an earlier ultrasound is a better indicator of a due date, but it gave me a bit of relief to think that she's not THAT overdue.

I ALSO got acupuncture today. This was my first experience with acupuncture and it was crazy. The acupuncturist was awesome and even offered to meet with me again on Sunday if nothing happens this weekend.

Okay, so let me tell you about this ancient, awesome experience. The needles are teeny tiny and super flexible. I barely felt most of them as they went in, but once she started working them to stimulate my energy I felt little electrical shocks. After that the spots stayed warm and tingly. I even started to sweat - which she said was my body releasing heat. There were certain spots that I REALLY felt and some that I was only slightly aware of.

It was both awesome and strange. In fact, almost 5 hours later, I can still feel the warm, almost tingly feeling in both of my hands.

Apparently acupuncture takes 6-48 hours to work (if it's going to), so now we're just waiting to see if Daisy is, indeed, going to be a Christmas baby.

Now that I have seen her face and her fat little legs, I want my baby to come out EVEN MORE.