Friday, December 01, 2006

A Rant

I know I'm really behind, but I just couldn't continue without addressing the October 13 issue of a Santa Fe woman named Emily Gillette being kicked off a commercial flight for breastfeeding her daughter. I assume you've all heard about this, but, just in case, you can read the story here. So many things about this bother me that I don't even know where to begin. Well, I'll try anyway.

I suppose the first thing that comes to mind is, "What would I have done if it had happened to me?" After being asked to cover up with a blanket (though allegedly showing no skin, mind you) Gillette calmly declined and was then told by the flight attendant, "You're offending me." So, how would I have responded? There are really two answers to that. The first is how I think I would have most likely responded in real life. With an unmistakably red face, I would attempt to calmly and nicely say, "Well, I'm sorry you feel that way, but I have a legal right to breastfeed my child in this place," which is pretty much what Gillette said (and was then given the boot).

The second question to answer is, "What would I have wanted to say," or, "What might I have actually said unrestrained after a 3-hour delay at the airport with a toddler (as in Gillette's situation)?" After the line, "You're offending me," I would have felt led to respond, "Sounds like a personal problem to me."

Why is it that this still happens in America?! Since when do women not have the right to feed their babies when and where hunger strikes? Last I checked, nursing in public is legal in all 50 states, as it should be. Why should my child have to suffer, being declined comfort and nourishment, on account of someone else's hang-ups? This is just another attack on families.

And let's not overlook the obvious--that a nursing child is a quiet child. There are very few places that this becomes more important than in a small, enclosed space, such as an airplane, and especially at 10:00 at night. Is nursing discreetly really more distracting than a screaming child kept up past their bedtime adjusting to major altitude changes?

"But she was offered a blanket to cover up!" some have protested (and that doesn't scream, "I'm breastfeeding!"???). Yes, she was offered a blanket and declined. I would have declined, too. Who wants to eat with a blanket over their head? Not me, and certainly not my children. Both of my kids, like many other children, would have gone berserk if I had enclosed their heads with a blanket. Kind of defeats the purpose if the kid won't nurse with the blanket, now doesn't it? So, next time that flight attendant feels led to offer a blanket to someone so that she won't be offended she should consider putting it over her own head so that she won't have to see the *vulgarity* of a nursing child. After all, it's her problem.

This really is an honest question, though. If she's offended by the sight of this, why not simply look away? It shouldn't have been difficult, given that Mrs. Gillette was in the second-to-last row seated with her husband between her and the aisle and it was dark outside. And please don't even think for a moment that we simply cannot help ourselves from looking--that excuse doesn't fly for staring at those who are disabled or disfigured and it doesn't fly here. Yes, I nurse my child in public. No, I do not want you staring at my breasts.

Because I still desire modesty, I do my best to nurse discreetly when in public. I cannot tell you the number of people who have obviously mistaken my nursing infant for a sleeping infant, completely unaware that she was downing her lunch. This is because there is usually no part of my breast showing. Now, if you look for it long enough, it is possible that a small part of my breast may be visible for a short moment while my daughter makes the transition on/off the breast. Maybe you'll see it, maybe you won't. I'm pretty fast and pretty good at blocking--and so are most mothers who nurse in public.

Others will still whine, "But Gillette was nusing a 22-month-old!! That's a little too old if you ask me!" Well, actually, no one is asking them, and they are welcome to their opinion so long as they don't infringe upon the rights of others. I hate to break it to them, but *gasp*--BREASTS WERE MADE FOR BREASTFEEDING. I'll bet you $10 that there was a woman on that same plane with a low-cut shirt showing cleavage and, therefore, more skin than Gillette, and yet there have been no reports of this same flight attendant demonstrating her disgust over such indecent exposure and kicking unsuspecting women off of flights left and right. It's also difficult to believe that this flight attendant had never before encountered a nursing infant aboard one of her flights. I would think she must have known better than to kick a mother with an infant off a plane. After all, breastfeeding is just one of those evil necessities when it comes to newborns, but we certainly shouldn't have to put up with a toddler engaging in such disorderly conduct, right?

Actually, breastfeeding is the beautiful, God-given way for mothers to feed and comfort their small children. As for the absurd idea that breastfeeding is okay to a point, but after 6-12-18 (fill in the blank) months, it becomes obscene overnight, I'd like to point out to the ill-informed that the World Health Organization recommends breastfeeding for at least two years.

Oh, I could go on and on, but surely I've made my point (quite a few times, right?). Our family will be flying home for Christmas soon, and you can bet I'll be nursing in flight. Don't worry, though--I'll be sure to pack an extra blanket for any flight attendant that needs to cover his or her head. ;)

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

I'm back!

I have returned from my long break from posting. Between picture posting problems (now apparently resolved) and a really busy couple of months it just didn't happen, but I thought I'd just give a fly-by list of that about which I might have posted had I found the time:

  • Our family trip to Las Cruces, which included a visit to the X Prize Cup and a trip across the border into Mexico
  • A very successful week alone with the girls
  • Our family outing to the corn maze
  • Reformation Day
  • Evangeline sleeping through the night
  • Referred Law 6 (see October 7th post) did not pass :(
  • My parents' visit and our happy Thanksgiving together

I now hope to be more in touch with the blogging world again. It's good to be back. :)

Wednesday, October 18, 2006


Our family attended the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta on Friday, October 13. This annual festival, the largest of its kind in the world, is held for ten days in early October. People from all over the world come, and it is truly a sight to see! We were able to go on a day featuring special shapes balloons. We were fortunate enough to have family in town visiting during the balloon fiesta (We're so glad you could come with us, Papa and Lynne!), and we all had a great time - check it out:

Many balloons started blowing up around 7:00 A.M.

We got to walk right up to the balloons.

That same balloon later...

Touching a balloon

That same balloon later...
Papa and Lynne

My monkey

My sweet, little girl enjoying the balloons

My other sweet, little girl trying to stay warm
More balloons...

Saturday, October 14, 2006

Eliana's 1st Haircut!

Eliana got her first haircut on Monday, October 9th. We took her to Kids Jungle Cuts, and we all had a great time!

(Getting ready to go)

(She is signing "tree" in the first picture.)

Saturday, October 07, 2006

Defending the Defenseless

There is currently a major battle being fought in America over the legality of elective abortions. The battlefield is South Dakota, where Gov. Mike Rounds (R) signed a bill, the Women's Health and Human Life Protection Act (HB 1215), into law this past March that places a broad ban on abortion. Opponents of the ban successfully put the law on hold until a November 7 referendum decides its future. You can read a Washington Post article on the issue here.

According to, a coalition of pro-life organizations and individuals in South Dakota who are supporting the Women’s Health and Human Life Protection Act, there is a pro-abortion television ad in South Dakota that would have the public believe that there would be no options for victims of rape and incest after the passage of the law, called Referred Law 6, even though emergency contraceptives would be allowed up until a pregnancy is capable of being detected. And since when were parenting and adoption placement not valid options? I don't dismiss the difficulty in making those decisions, but they most certainly should be presented as options. This same ad is also said to falsely accuse the law of leaving no options for mothers whose health would be seriously threatened by continuing their pregnancies. In actuality, under Referred Law 6, the unborn child's life and health are to be considered when making medical care decisions, but in the event that the mother's life is at stake abortion is allowed.

Unless you are a South Dakota resident you obviously won't be able to vote on this, but don't let that stop you from taking action. South Dakota voters need to make an informed decision based upon TRUTH. is dedicated to getting the facts out to South Dakota voters about Referred Law 6. You can visit their website to read more about the law and ways you can help. There's even a blog to help keep you up-to-date with what's going on. Those of us who value the sanctity of human life need to help them get their message out. Most of all, I would ask you to pray for this very important fight for the unborn.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

A Noteworthy Week

These last three days have all been noteworthy, and for different reasons, so I'm going to say a little about each.

Tuesday, October 3 - I started an American Sign Language (ASL) class on this day. It meets every Tuesday evening for 8 weeks. I'm in the Beginner Advanced class, which, for a "beginner" class, is quite advanced indeed! Our instructor uttered not a single word. She signed everything, fingerspelling words that resulted in blank stares all around, and would very rarely make a small note on the board. My feelings constantly shifted between excitement (for learning something new and for all my aspirations tied up in learning this language), embarrassment (when I struggled to keep up), pride (for understanding as much as I did) and inadequacy (for understanding as little as I did). I cannot tell you how delighted I am to have this opportunity!

Wednesday, October 4 - This day marked the one-year anniversary of our arrival in Albuquerque. I can't believe we've already been here an entire year! We really do love it here, and I'm quite content to stay for now.

Thursday, October 5 - Our little Evangeline is 3-months-old today. Can you believe it?! I'm convinced that time is actually moving faster these days. It is such a joy and a privilege to be the mother of this precious child. It is so amazing to see her personality come out more and more with each passing day. We call her "Princess Evangeline" because that's exactly what she is! Happy quarter-of-a-year-day, my sweet girl!

Friday, September 22, 2006

Rambling Thoughts on the Christ Child

I was recently holding my sweet, little newborn baby while listening to these Chris Rice lyrics referring to the baby Jesus Christ:

Fragile fingers sent to heal us,
Tender brow prepared for thorn,
Tiny heart whose blood will save us,
Unto us is born.

Looking into the happy eyes of my baby, so unaware of all the evils in this fallen world, my heart was broken over the thought of the innocent Jesus, once a tiny baby himself, suffering so greatly for our sins. I held my little one closer. I wanted to hold baby Jesus and express my sorrow over the suffering I caused him.

But, what would it be like to hold the infant Jesus? What would it be like to look down at the sleeping child in your arms with a foreknowledge of his life, death and resurrection? How would it feel to hold the great I AM?

I never really thought very much of Jesus as a baby until I became a mother. Now I sometimes try to imagine things from Mary's perspective and wonder what Jesus was like as a newborn, a toddler, and so on. What was Mary's labor like? Did the newborn Jesus like to be nursed to sleep or rocked? What did the four-month-old Jesus find hilarious? Was the 12-month-old Jesus very eager to learn to walk, or was he more cautious? Did the 19-month-old Jesus love to dance? Which foods did the 2-year-old Jesus dislike? Which animal most fascinated the 3-year-old Jesus? What did the 5-year-old Jesus like to draw?

Isn't it fascinating, wondrous and miraculous that the God of the universe has breathed our air and walked our sod? Isn't it beyond our comprehension that he would humble himself so, coming into the world as a weak, fragile baby with poor hand-eye coordination and low visual acuity, dependent on a young woman to feed, clothe, bathe and hold him? What a stark contrast to the right hand of God! What an amazing Savior we have!

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Tag, I'm It!

I've been tagged by Mrs. J!

Three things I am doing right now: nursing an infant, sipping my decaffeinated sweet tea, and wondering why God blessed me with the most beautiful baby in the whole, wide world

Three nicknames: Jen, Mommy, and Face

Three people that make me laugh: Eliana, Chris, and Summer

Three things on my floor: What do you mean? My floor is always spotless. (Don't hurt yourself laughing too hard over that.) Okay, really - a baby swing, an infant play gym, and a Boppy (Looks like that baby needs to start picking up after herself!)

Three things I can do: sing, sign (a little), and make a PB & J sandwich with a nursing babe in one arm and a phone against my shoulder while counting to ten with my toddler and reminding myself to pay the utility bill

Three things that I love: being pregnant, toothless grins, and hearing Eliana pray

Three people I'm tagging: Rebeka, Elizabeth, and Haley (because she hasn't done hers yet!)

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

The Bride of Christ

Last night I lay in bed thinking back to a dream I had a few years ago. In this dream, it was my wedding day, and I was getting ready. I don't recall Chris even existing in my dream. It was not him that I was preparing to meet and make a vow of matrimony to. It was Christ.

I remember feeling an overwhelming inadequacy, having been chosen by Christ to be His bride. I felt completely unworthy. I kept thinking to myself, "Why me? Why would He show such favor to me? I do not deserve this. I do not deserve Him." I felt humbled. I felt honored. I felt ecstatic joy.

Upon waking from this dream I was at peace, still experiencing those same feelings. It was such a beautiful dream, and I felt grateful for having had it. I had gained a new perspective as a part of the Bride of Christ. I felt great excitement looking forward to the Wedding Feast of the Lamb. I was elated.

It still gives me chills to think back on that dream. Last night was the first time I had thought about it in quite some time. I'm not quite sure what caused me to recall those details after such a long time, but I know I needed to remember it. That dream is a gift, a sort of love note from my Beloved.

Thursday, August 31, 2006

A Day in History

On this day, many moons ago, God brought a great blessing into my life. I didn't know it at the time, though. It took quite a few years later for me to begin to suspect that this day would become so important to me, and a little longer still for it to be such. Once upon a time, it was just another day, but now I know the significance of this day in my life, and I thank God for this wonderful blessing.

Happy birthday, my husband, my love.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Toddler Rules of Possession

Have you ever seen the "Toddler Rules of Possession" that are sometimes printed on t-shirts and posters? If you haven't yet been so fortunate, or if you've simply forgotten them, here you go:

1. If I like it, it's mine.
2. If it's in my hand, it's mine.
3. If I can take it from you, it's mine.
4. If I had it a little while ago, it's mine.
5. If it's mine, it must NEVER appear to be yours in any way.
6. If I'm doing or building something, all the pieces are mine.
7. If it looks just like mine, it is mine.
8. If I saw it first, it's mine.
9. If you are playing with something and you put it down, it automatically becomes mine.
10. If it's broken, it's yours.

It's been exciting to watch Eliana learn her pronouns and possessives. The most common possessive we hear, of course, is, "Mine!" I wasn't even sure she had completely mastered "yours" until last Friday during breakfast.

I was preparing to join Eliana at the table, placing the same food but different drinks in front of us. I had given Eliana orange juice, as it was already in her sippy cup, but I had poured myself a mug of milk. Before I could even sit down she was reaching for my milk and declaring, "My milk." She then placed her sippy cup in front of me and said, "Yours." After a good laugh, I told her it was okay, she could keep the milk, but we would share it. However, whenever I reached for the milk to take a sip she would again remind me to whom the milk really belonged and point to the sippy cup of unwanted orange juice and say, "Yours."

I've determined that I must have violated over half of the "Rules of Possession" at one point or another in that particular encounter.

Friday, August 25, 2006

A Fitting Finale

Let me start by saying that, any way you look at it, I am feeling much better today. Tuesday was certainly a difficult day, exposing my spiritual and emotional frailness (read previous post). When Chris came home from work that day he watched the girls while I had some time alone out of the house for about two hours. That was so refreshing, and I came back feeling like a different person.

The next day, however, while Chris was in California, my physical frailness was being exposed. I was at home struggling with mastitis. For those of you who don't know, mastitis is a breast infection that makes you feel as though you have the flu. All I could think about (while I was still in the right mind enough to think) was, "Of all the days for me to be so ill! Chris isn't even in the state!" This was his third and final one-day trip to Los Angeles to give a briefing on what he and his team have been working on for the last four months.

The past two months have been particularly difficult for us, with these last three weeks or so being a downright hardship. We're all still adjusting to the new dynamics of our family and have not had proper "down time" together since Evangeline was born. In some ways, it might have been easier to not have seen Chris at all these past three weeks rather than seeing him only long enough to say, "Hello," while he showers and turns right back around to return to the office. Eliana is now very clingy to him and throws a fit if he leaves or has to momentarily separate himself from her for any reason.

Anyway, so here I was, running a high-grade fever, half-delirious with two small children to care for and no one to care for me. I was feeling pretty sorry for myself, resentfully thinking what a fitting end to this assignment, what a perfect way to sum up the feelings of loneliness, helplessness and fatigue that I've had lately. There is, however, a good side to this story. (I know, you're probably tired of all the whining - me too!)

Praise be to God, who has mercifully delivered me from this illness with a quick and steady hand! My fever broke that very same evening and continued to fall through the night. Chris was able to stay home for a couple of hours in the morning to help me rest a little more, and though I still felt draggy and sore, I continued to improve as the day progressed.

I now feel much, much better, and instead of feeling tempted to question why God would allow me to become so ill on such an inconvenient day or go through such a difficult few weeks without my husband I now feel that it was actually a perfectly designed and much needed opportunity to remind me of my limitations and of my dependence on Him from whom all blessings flow.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Laden With Guilt

I feel like I'm really starting to get the hang of having two children in some ways, but, in other ways, I still feel maternally challenged. In many ways, I don't feel quite so overwhelmed as I did at first, and I do believe that those feelings will continue to lessen. However, I'm starting to believe that it becomes "easier" not because I will get better at handling the two of them together but because they will get older and more easily manageable.

Don't get me wrong - I feel overwhelming joy that God has blessed me with these two precious little girls. However, it has been rather depressing to realize an even greater depth to my depravity than previously imagined. I never quite knew what a monster was lurking within me until I was faced with this most recent challenge. It has opened my eyes to see things about myself that I'd rather think were not possible.

In addition to the guilt over the ugliness in my heart is the guilt of failing to be "supermom". I can't seem to stop comparing myself to other mothers who seem to have things so much more together, work hard and joyfully make sacrifices. I feel like I've lost my grip lately. I feel as though I'm so behind on everything that I'll never catch up or make up for it.

I am hoping that with the completion of the huge, time-consuming project at my husband's work later this week will come great relief for our family. I know, however, that true peace and restoration will only be found in Christ. I know that I need Him, but, oh, how I've struggled to call upon Him lately! Hear, my soul, these words from Isaac Watts:

Laden with guilt and full of fears,
I fly to Thee, my Lord,
And not a glimpse of hope appears
But in Thy written Word.

The volumes of my Father’s grace
Does all my griefs assuage;
Here I behold my Savior’s face
In every page.

This is the field where hidden lies
The pearl of price unknown;
That merchant is divinely wise
Who makes the pearl his own.

Here consecrated water flows
To quench my thirst of sin;
Here the fair tree of knowledge grows,
No danger dwells within.

This is the judge that ends the strife
Where wit and reason fail,
My guide to everlasting life
Through all this gloomy vale.

O may Thy counsels, mighty God,
My roving feet command;
Nor I forsake the happy road
That leads to Thy right hand.

Monday, August 21, 2006

I'm Losing It hair, that is. The postpartum hair loss became noticeable around 4 weeks and has only gotten worse over the past two and a half weeks. I expect it to get worse still before it gets better, but, thankfully, I have a thick head of hair. It's the head full of inch and a half long hairs sticking straight up once all that hair begins to grow back that I dread. But for now, I guess I should invest in Liquid-Plumr.

Friday, August 11, 2006

God's Instrument: A Mirror Named Eliana

"Blue Fish! Blue FIIISH!!"

I wasn't but fifteen minutes into the day and already dealing with a tantrum. Eliana was demanding that she be allowed to wear her "blue fish" outfit while her mean, unreasonable mother was pulling a perfectly nice denim dress with a cat on it over her head. Nevermind that the "blue fish" outfit has a button missing, that, due to the design of the outfit, I must completely undress her every time I need to change her diaper and that it is requested nearly every day (it and the "shark shirt" with "blue pants" take turns - we're convinced that Eliana's obsession with sea creatures will lead to a study of marine biology). I sometimes allow Eliana to choose her own outfit for the day, but other days I insist that she wear something that I pick out for her.

The whining, fussing, crying, screaming and squealing continued for many minutes. Being in Eliana's presence became most unpleasant, which, I'm sure, was her intended purpose. I just wish that she would fully realize that, even if I wanted to, I could never give in to her tantrums. What would that teach her?

There are so many simple truths I wish for my daughter to see and so many things I wish to give her, and yet, she persists in fussing over the smallest, most insignifcant matters. How much more could she learn and how much more could she be given if she would just stop her ugly behavior and trust me?

Being a mother teaches me so much about myself and my relationship with God. I know that I must, at times, be just like Eliana in God's eyes. I have to ask myself what I gain by acting that way and what I could gain by trusting in God. I must also strive to keep in mind how gracious God has been to me, a sinner. Oh, that I may show that same grace to my own child.

Lord, help me, I pray.

Monday, July 24, 2006

Homebirth 101

As a homebirth mom, I've received many questions and comments regarding my birthing choices. I realize that people are often naturally curious about birthing choices that seem to be outside the "norm". Unfortunately, however, many people are caught so off-guard that they end up coming back with something unintentionally offensive (at least I hope it's unintentional). Others bluntly pass judgment without care for reflection and certainly not with any thought for actual truth.

So, if I may step up on my soap box for just a moment, I'd like to share with you a website that answers a few homebirthing questions:
But What If...? Questions Commonly Asked of Homebirth-ers

Friday, July 21, 2006

Mother of Two

Today is Day 3 "on my own" with both girls, and we're all still alive and in one piece! :) Everyone says that having a baby will change your life forever. That is certainly true, but, in some ways, at least from my own experience, I would say that having a second child changes your life even more than having the first one does. The adjustment has certainly been greater.

Eliana has been adjusting beautifully. I've been so pleased (Thank you, God!). Even with her grandmother now gone she is doing well. She loves her baby sister and is such a little mama to her. It just warms my heart to see her hugging, kissing and petting little Evangeline.

I am so thrilled to have two little girls! We had our first outing today at the park, just Mommy and the girls (and we're still all alive and in one piece!). I told Chris that going out with one of the girls is like going out with a friend, but going out with two girls is like having a party! Sure, it takes 4 times (not 2, mind you, but 4) the time and effort to pack up the car and get out of the house, but think of all the fun we'll have!

Sunday, July 09, 2006

Evangeline Azalia's Hypno/Water/Home Birth

We left for a social gathering in our neighborhood around 5:00 PM on July 4th. Just after arriving, I began to take more notice of the contractions I had been having (for days). I was feeling that downward pressure-in-my-bottom feeling with each contraction, and it was like a little light bulb going off in my head, "Oh yeah – I remember this!" After timing a few surges at about 7 minutes apart I whispered to Chris, "I’m in labor." We remained at the party until about 7:30, when I was having more difficulty being discreet during surges and not feeling at all sociable anymore.

Upon arriving home, Chris started getting Eliana ready for bed and I began to get things ready for the birth. My body didn’t stand too much of that. It let me know rather quickly that all hustle and bustle would now cease. I managed to tuck in Eliana and tell her goodnight, and we informed her that the baby would be coming tonight and that she could meet her in the morning.

After that, I retreated to my bedroom and told Chris, "I want my tub." He began to get it ready around 9:10 while I labored on the bed. It took all my effort at that point to focus and concentrate on my breathing during surges. I started feeling somewhat anxious about my ability to do HypnoBirthing. I was doing fair at the moment, but my breathing already had great strain in it, and I couldn’t imagine keeping it up through anything much more intense. Looking back at it now, after the fact, I can honestly say that this part of labor was more difficult than "transition" was in the tub.

Jenny, my midwife (who was also my HypnoBirthing instructor), was called around 9:30. I finally decided that I should try sitting on the toilet, but it took me a few more contractions to get up the nerve to actually move. After sitting on the toilet for a while I inquired about the tub. Chris said it was almost half-way full, and the next moment I was making my way to it.

Upon entering the water (around 10:15), I let out a huge sigh of relief. Another surge soon began, but I breathed through it easily. The pain-relieving effects of the water were so great that I remember telling Chris, "Who needs an epidural when there’s water?" My confidence level skyrocketed. I kept listening to my HypnoBirthing CDs and concentrated on breathing slowly and deeply during surges, relaxing every part of my body. I reclined against the back of the tub a lot and would let my arms float freely in the water during surges. When I became uncomfortable, I moved freely and easily in the water to my newly adopted position. I had labored in the water with my first child, but it had been in a hard feeding trough, and though the water had still had a wonderful soothing effect, I never could find a comfortable position. Being in a soft, padded birthing tub made all the difference in the world.

Jenny arrived around 11:00 PM. She checked the baby’s heartrate and said it was good. All sense of time was really lost on me after that. I continued to go deeper into relaxation and really got "in the zone". My CD cut off, but I didn’t bother telling Chris to restart it. I had affirmations and visualizations freely floating through my mind.

I did not know this until after the fact, but, around 1:00 AM (just an hour before the actual birth), my midwife came back in the room to check on me and found Chris and my mother asleep on the floor. I looked so calm and relaxed that she believed I, too, was asleep and that my labor and stalled. She was about ready to check me and go home until things "picked up" again.

That, however, did not happen. I finally became uncomfortable in my reclined position, as the baby was starting to move down and put more pressure on my lower back and tailbone. I moved to sit on my knees with my legs spread, facing the tub rim with my arms and head supported. Breathing began to require an extra level of concentration, and I began to feel squirmy, unable to find a position to stop this new uncomfortable sensation down low. I just couldn’t believe the baby was actually moving down. "Surely not," I thought. "It hasn’t gotten bad enough yet."

Jenny began to talk to me, as I struggled to keep control over my breathing. "Let it be big," she said. "Let it be so big." I finally said that I wanted to know where the baby was. She checked me and said, "The baby is right here (in the birth canal)." I soon began to feel the urge to bear down and decided to adopt the on-my-knees position by the rim of the tub again. I finally began to vocalize some during surges, as I released tension and followed my body’s cues to bear down, but it was still nothing terribly loud or traumatic-sounding. I simply needed to release some of that "huge sensation" somewhere. I continued to breathe, even during the pushing. I simply followed my body’s lead. It was very empowering.
At 2:00 AM, my bag of waters released and took me quite by surprise. Soon after, Jenny was encouraging Chris to feel the baby’s head and prepare to receive the baby. As the baby crowned, I began to feel a small burning sensation in an isolated area, but not the "ring of fire" that I had experienced with my first. A minute or so later the head was out. I remember wanting to hold my baby so badly that I kept saying, "My baby! My baby!" I wanted to receive the baby myself, so I scooted backwards to the middle of the tub, still on my knees, and pushed the shoulders out. Chris supported the head, and I reached down into the water and pulled the baby out and onto my chest, leaning back against the tub. Official time of birth was 2:08 AM on July 5.
Words cannot describe the feelings experienced in that moment of time just following the birth. What sense of empowerment, relief, joy and overwhelming love!

The cord was short and did not allow me to see the baby’s gender, as the water was high and the baby was held on the side and covered with a towel. Turning the baby enough to see the gender would have required submerging, so draining of the tub began. It was probably a good 10-15 minutes after the birth that I finally took a peek and announced, "We have a girl!"
It took the baby a few minutes, but she quickly latched on and nursed like a pro! She nursed more that first night than Eliana did in her first few days of life!

The baby weighed in at 7 pounds, 1 ounce and measured 20" long. She had had ZERO molding and had a head the size of a 9-pounder, but I only have a few "skid marks". I’ve gotten very little sleep, but, otherwise, I am recovering quite nicely.

I am so very pleased with this birthing experience and feel that I must recommend water and HypnoBirthing to anyone out there pursuing a natural birth. This is coming from someone who really struggled with accomplishing hypnosis in practice. The smarty-pants man and the chattering monkeys in my head never like to shut-up. When the time came, however, I went way off the deep end, even fooling the midwife into thinking I was asleep. It really was a great experience for me, and I thank God for it.

We named our daughter Evangeline Azalia. Evangeline has a Greek origin meaning "good news". Azalia is Hebrew for "spared by Jehovah", in remembrance of the heart-wrenching time earlier in my pregnancy when we thought we would lose her and in memory of her twin, whom we did lose.

Friday, June 30, 2006

On to July...

Well, it looks as though June is not going to be the month of the baby after all! I've been busy these last few weeks getting last-minute things ready and trying to get some rest! My mother is now staying with us, and that has been a big relief. We've had fun spending time with her, and I've greatly appreciated the extra help and rest that her visit has made possible.

By the end of last week I was feeling pretty desperate to have this baby. I was getting hardly any sleep, and the contractions that I had been having for weeks were really picking up and starting to really interfere with my life. They just wouldn't go to the next level, though, so it was like being stuck in low gear! My midwife gave me an herbal tincture to take, which calmed my uterus and allowed me to get some sleep. I have just been a completely different person since! I've had a pretty good week, and I haven't felt in such a hurry to get this baby out!

We are very excited about our upcoming arrival. Every day my odds of having the baby only increase. It feels odd to have now already gone over a week past when Eliana was born. Hopefully I'll have some big news and pictures to post soon! :)

Friday, June 02, 2006

Anniversary Bust

Last Friday, May 26, was our 5-year anniversary. I had been looking forward to it for some time, and was excited about finally riding the tram to the top of Sandia Peak and eating at the restaurant there, as we had planned to do on this occassion even before we moved out here.

That, however, was not what happened. I woke up that morning quite sick to my stomach. The money spent on our non-refundable tram tickets was lost. Chris spent his entire free day off work caring for Eliana. I spent the day going back and forth between my bed and the bathroom. Here's a formula for all you math people out there:
Massive pregnant belly + violent heaving = State of Misery
I lost four pounds that day. It was far from the fifth anniversary I had in mind.

I'm happy to report that I feel much, much better now and that Chris and I have plans to try again tonight. We won't have the whole day together like we would have had last week, but we plan to ride the tram and have dinner atop the mountain. Today is another beautiful day, and I'm really looking forward to our date night.

Happy anniversary, my love!

Thursday, June 01, 2006

The Month of the Baby

June is finally here! I may very well have a baby this month! In fact, I believe it to be more likely than not. Even my midwife seems to agree. The question is, "When??"

If this baby comes on the same day (gestationally speaking) as Eliana, then he/she will be born 3 weeks from today. I need to make it at least 2 more weeks from now to be full term, and I need to make it until after the 21st if my mother is going to make it in time. My midwife made mention of the baby possibly being born on Father's Day, which would be special. I have such mixed feelings because, on one hand, I am ready to have this baby and not be pregnant anymore. However, I'd like most of my mother's visit to take place before the baby comes, so that means it would be best to make it until July.

My midwife believes the baby will be similar in size to Eliana and that, once in labor, I will progress quickly. That is just music to my ears! I hope she's right! I am preparing myself to have a shorter, less painful labor. I'm actually excited about going into labor and doing it better this time!

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Congratulations, Chris!

I just wanted to make a quick post to say how very proud I am of my foxy husband for completing a half-marathon this past Saturday (in great time, too). Way to go, love!

Friday, May 12, 2006

Painful Joy

A dear friend recently forwarded an e-mail to me about a woman talking with a friend pondering the possibility of becoming a mother. It was all very touching, but one line in particular struck me:
I want her to taste the joy that is so real that it hurts.
What a great way to describe it! Many times have I said of Eliana, "I love her so much it hurts!"

Eliana will be turning two on Sunday, which is also Mother's Day this year. For all the effort I took to cherish every part of these last two years and never rush her growth and development she has still managed to grow up too quickly and is continuing to do so! I remember the exhausting nights when I was up every two hours to nurse my little newborn. I would tell myself, "Do not become cranky. Thank God for this special time and enjoy it because it will be gone before you know it, and the day will come, all too soon, that you would make great sacrifices for the chance to be woken up from a deep sleep so that you could hold her like this just once more."

Maybe I thought that if I could just appreciate it enough, that time would move a little more slowly.

I still say similar things to myself. When Eliana is being demanding or I have to get up in my awkward, uncomfortable state to help her with something for the upteenth time that morning I think, "Do not feel troubled. Thank God that she still needs you, still loves and desires no one more than you, and that she looks to you for guidance. What a joy it is to feel needed and loved! What a privilege it is to be a servant! One day she will be more easy to reason with and will rely upon me less, but on that day, part of me will miss the little girl who looked to me for everything and needed her mommy to kiss all the "hurts" away. A toddler can be taxing, but what can compare with those sweet little kisses and bear hugs from tiny arms? What can compare with the wonder found in every little thing through a toddler's eyes? O, how I will miss my precious little, little girl!"

I may have more children, but I will never get back these special times with Eliana. Once passed, they are gone forever. How valuable and cherished are these times! I wish I could so tightly hold onto the memories that none of them would ever leave me. But how do you perfectly capture forever that small, helpless cry of a newborn or the contagious laugh of a toddler? What about a touch or a smell?

O the privilege it is to be a witness to and participant of such beautiful experiences! What a great and awesome blessing it is to be a mother! Words just cannot adequately express how grateful I am that The Most High has entrusted this little one to me, even if for just a short time! The joy is so great that it hurts.

How can you adequately explain to a woman without children how such immense pain can give such immeasurable joy? How do you adequately express to her what a great privilege and honor it is to be a mother? How do you get her to understand that no matter how she thinks motherhood will change her, that, in reality, it will be so much more than what she imagines and probably not in the way she thinks? How do you get a woman who fears losing "her life as she knows it" to really wrap her mind around the truth that though her life as a mother will, indeed, be different, that it will also be so much more enriched and sweet?

To my Heavenly Father -
Thank You for so graciously bestowing such blessings upon me.

To all mothers everywhere -
I wish you such a joyful Mother's Day that it hurts.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Pregnancy Dreams

Pregnancy can do some really crazy things to your brain. I really feel like the bigger my belly gets the smaller my brain becomes! I feel like I'm doing well to remember my name these days. I would normally consider myself to be mentally organized and "on top" of things, but when I'm pregnant, particularly toward the end, I become forgetful and so many things begin to slip through my fingers. I'm looking forward not only to having my body back (or at least some resemblance of it) again but also my mind!

Another interesting thing about pregnancy's effects on the mind is the impact on your dreams. I seem to have many more vivid dreams while pregnant. I could recount interesting dreams all day, but I'll just keep it to this week's recurring dream.

Over the past week alone, I've had about three dreams with the same theme. I have a baby (a girl) and then quickly go back to living my life, seemingly incapable of consistently remembering that I have a newborn who is relying on me. I suddenly remember and feel tremendous guilt over having not nursed the baby in many hours. In the last of such dreams I went to the baby (a very tiny, frail thing) and tried to nurse her, but my milk had already pretty much dried up due to the fact that I wasn't nursing much at all. I vowed to nurse her at least every two hours like clockwork until my milk returned. I was so mad at myself and felt like such a terrible mother. I even remembered in my dream that I had had those other dreams about neglecting my baby and had woken up feeling bad about it and saying, "I would never do that!" and then feeling even more guilt that I had, in fact, done that very thing. How silly, huh?

This is all coming from someone who never left her firstborn for so much as a quick trip to the grocery store until she was four months old.

I've thought about many reasons why I might dream such things. Most likely, I figure I must have some anxiety about establishing a good nursing relationship, as it was a struggle with Eliana (due to true medical cause). We overcame the difficulties, however, and I thanked God for every day He so graciously enabled me to provide for my daughter in that way.

One more interesting dream tidbit is that whenever any of my baby-related dreams involve having a girl, she's always deformed in some way or another. Sometimes she's insanely tiny (I'm talking hold-in-the-palm-of-your-hand tiny) or has a terribly misshapen head or distorted face, etc. I can't recall any of my "boy" dreams involving any problems or abnormalities. I have no idea what that means, but I find it interesting that I dream that so consistently.

Any dream analysts out there? :)

Sunday, May 07, 2006

Just a Little Update

This past week has been very draining, both physically and emotionally, but it has also been very uplifting spiritually, as I acknowledge my own weaknesses and look to God for strength. He has been gracious to give it, and I am very thankful.

I am happy to report that Eliana has been doing really well sleeping in her toddler bed. We encountered quite a few bumps that first week, but she really seems to have gotten the hang of it now, and we are all adjusting nicely. It is so wonderful to see her learning new things, particularly learning to obey more and more. It brings us great encouragement.

The estimated date of delivery for this new little one is now 2 months away. I go back and forth between thinking that to be a short time and thinking it to be a long time. When I think of everything I want/need to accomplish before the baby comes it doesn't seem like much time, but as I gasp for air and struggle in pain to get myself to a standing position it seems like an eternity. Just 2 months/8 weeks 5 days/61 days more... :)

Thursday, April 27, 2006

Now Entering "The Diaper Zone"

I bet you didn't know this, but there's a whole group of people out there getting excited over what their children are "eliminating" into. Believe it or not, though, they're not crazy. Well, they better not be, because I'm quickly becoming one of them!

That's right, friends. I have discovered the exciting world of cloth diapers. I know you're probably thinking, "Diapers? Exciting?" but it's true. This stuff is soft, cute, environmentally friendly, and healthier than disposables. You just want to put it up to your face it feels so good (providing that it's clean of course!).

There are SO many options from which to choose. It's actually a bit overwhelming. I just know I'm going to spend a fortune on the quest for the perfect diaper! Many of them have good resale value, though. They've made it so easy and desirable to cloth diaper now. It's great!

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

With New Privileges Come New Responsibilities

Trying to teach a 23-month-old that sleeping in a "big girl" bed means that she must also be a "big girl" by staying in that bed can be a challenge, especially when that child is strong-willed. Seeing Eliana trying to push the limits of what she can "get away with", telling me, "No!" and disobeying over and over and over again in just a short timeframe of 5 minutes can be very disheartening and discouraging. As hard as it is though, I believe that God can and is using this in her life to grow her up in obedience to Him.

As a parent, I'm often led to wonder how my attitude looks to God. As I watch Eliana fussing over the smallest, most insignificant thing I think about how much I must resemble the same attitude in God's eyes when I'm not getting my way. When I refuse something for her benefit, to protect her or to hold out for something she will enjoy even more, I wonder how often I, too, fail to see the blessings God has in store for me by refusing that which I want or think I need. When I question, "Why does she make this so hard on herself?" and think, "I wish she could just understand better and see the big picture!" I can't help but think what God must say to Himself when I am acting the same way.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Free doula, anyone?

I have not received a single reply from my ad in the base newspaper offering a free doula service. Granted, this publication is received by a limited number of people, and I stated I would only accept clients due in the next two months, but I had still hoped to receive at least one or two inquiries.

A doula, for those of you who may not be familiar with the term, is a labor assistant. Studies show that having the support of a doula at your birth greatly decreases the amount of interventions and invasive procedures often used during labor and delivery in America's hospitals. It has been my desire to minister to women and their families in this way for a little over two years now. I have not pursued it until now, however, because of my obligations at home (mostly in my commitment to breastfeed Eliana). I feel like I'm finally at a point where I could now do this to some small degree, and yet, it won't be long until my obligations at home, though welcome they be, keep me from entering this ministry yet again.

I keep considering other avenues I could pursue to find an interested client due in the next month or two, but part of me says I should just give up, as I'm in the third trimester myself and things will only become more difficult. But then I struggle against my strong, heart-felt desire to help empower expectant parents with knowledge and confidence, be their advocate, and support them during labor. It saddens me that I have not yet found anyone interested in having this kind of help and support.

May God use me how and when He sees fit.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

The Beginning of the End

Today officially marks the beginning of my third trimester, the beginning of the end. Wow. I can't believe I've made it to this point already. I mean, the first trimester draaaaaagged by, but the second trimester went really fast! I think part of it is also due to the fact that I became pregnant just after we moved to New Mexico, and it doesn't seem like we've been here that long yet. Checking the calendar, though, it has been six months, as of yesterday, since our arrival.

I'd definitely have to say that the nesting phase has hit. We gutted out what is to be the baby's room a couple of weeks ago, and I have been setting new cleaning records for myself. I am eager to get all of the baby clothes organized and am constantly on the lookout for a new dresser for Eliana's room (so I can put hers in the baby's room).

I've also been on a home redecorating kick. Over the past couple of months, I have purchased many new odds and ends for the house, including many flowers, most of which I arranged myself. We bought a new dining room table a few weeks ago, and just yesterday we had new living room furniture delivered.

Someday, in the not-too-distant future, I would like to start posting some pictures. Unfortunately, however, our USB cable is missing, so I can't download any pictures off of our camera until we either find our old one or buy a new one. It will be taken care of soon, though - definitely before the baby is due!

Tuesday, April 04, 2006


I am happy to report that the pregnancy massage went well and felt great. I actually had two people working on me at the same time, which was wonderful. At one point, one of them was doing some belly-lift thing and the baby kicked her. It was funny because I could tell it had really caught her off guard and she was quite startled by it.

Today, however, has been particularily uncomfortable. My feeling down today (for no particular reason - just hormones I guess) hasn't helped matters either. My dear husband came home from work a little early to take his little family to the park and to get me out of the house for a little while (not that I never leave - it's just that it is sometimes more difficult to find the motivation when I'm not feeling well). We had fun watching (and helping) Eliana play on the playground. For the last few weeks, whenever we go to the playground she starts exclaiming, "Wheeeee!!" as soon as she sees it and continues making this precious sound for about the next 15 minutes or so. She is particularly fond of the slide right now. I couldn't even begin to tell you how many times she went down it today.

While sitting on the slide today, she (rightfully) told me that "play" and "yellow" are signed the same way. She's been having a lot of fun learning her colors. Another cute saying we are hearing now is, "Hold you," which she says whenever she wants us to hold her. You just have to hear it. It sounds so precious.

Chris and Eliana are in the next room dancing. I am such a blessed woman. I have an amazing husband who is an amazing father to my amazing daughter. They bring me such joy.

Monday, April 03, 2006

Awaiting Relief

I love my darling little girl, but she did not come without a price (do they ever?), though she was well worth it. Upon entering this world, Eliana broke my tailbone, and I have had problems with it ever since. These problems have only intensified since becoming pregnant again. The round ligament pain I have had the misfortune of experiencing this time hasn't helped matters either. Now entering my third trimester, getting myself to a standing position and walking are becoming more and more difficult (and sitting can, at times, be just plain painful). At this rate, I'm wondering if I'll be able to walk at all in a couple of months!

I write all of this not to complain, but to give some background to aid you in better understanding my excitement and joyful anticipation of the relief that is, Lord willing, soon coming. You see, in less than two hours I expect to be laying on a nice comfy table receiving my long-awaited one-hour massage at the New Mexico School of Natural Therapeutics. While I don't expect this to provide complete or permanent relief, it's a start, and I'm ready for it, no matter how minor or short-lived it may be. I can also say that more easily, in part, because I have another appointment in week and a half with a cranial-sacral specialist. Relief, Lord-willing, is on its way.

Saturday, April 01, 2006

And so it begins...

Okay. I guess I can scratch "Start a Blog" off of my list of things to do. I'm not sure how long it will take me to eventually scratch off "Learn to Sew", "Start Scrapbooking", "Become a Gourmet Chef", and the many other goals of my list, but it's a start. :)