Tuesday, July 8, 2014

oh life, and breaking up

My thoughts are in so many places this evening that I am finding it difficult to express what is on my mind.  For one, brokenness.  The brokenness all around.  Maybe God has opened my eyes to something bigger than myself recently, or maybe I am just now stopping to notice.  There is so much hurt around me that I find myself on the verge of weeping when I really think about it.  I'm not even going to try to put it into words for fear of simplifying something of such magnitude.

As far as our little family, we are doing well.  Amber is growing like a weed, and Evie's communication continues to astonish me every day.  She wakes up each morning with a hunger and zest for life that I can only wish I had.  I am hanging in there - some days are better than others.  I love these girls to bits and pieces, but sometimes I let life get the best of me.  And so we continue to learn and grow together.

And here's where the breaking up comes into play... I need a break from blogging for awhile.  (I know, I haven't been updating much anyway, but hear me out.)  I love this little space for what it is - a place to dump my thoughts, save memories, and hopefully inspire someone on occasion.  But it is poisoning my soul in this season of life.  I am constantly trying to be something for an audience that truly doesn't matter.  I want my family to appear as if we have it together.  I want my daughters to seem quirky and trendy and lovely all the time.  I feel pressured to capture photos that prove that our life is always beautiful and abundantly joyful.  It is tiring, you know, trying to keep up with my idea of how my life should look.  And so I have begun finding ways to cut out the noise, the distractions, the pressure.  At the end of the day, I want to know that I have truly lived, not just made it seem so.  I want to drink in all that the days have to offer.  And so, for now, this is a step to a simpler life.  It feels like stepping into the shady trees and taking a deep breath.  If you do still read, please forgive me.  I hope to be back someday, when I am ready.  For now, I am free.

(I'll leave you with a few final photos.)

Be free, friends.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

hi again

I promise I haven't forgotten about this little space.  Life is just busy, and I'm trying to enjoy living it every day.  I've thought about quietly walking away from this internet nook, but I'm not ready to do that.  Not yet, anyway. 

So I guess this is really an update without an update.  I have so much to catch up on - Evie turned two in May, and Amber will be four months old tomorrow! (Slow down, girls!)  We are still learning what it means to be a family of four as I struggle to balance the needs of my daughters on a daily basis.  Thank you to anyone who still reads this - I promise I have not abandoned you.

More to come.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

every morning

Every morning, Evie wakes up groggy and cranky and wanting breakfast immediately.  Every morning, she screams when we ask to change her diaper and when her breakfast isn't ready right when she wants it.  Every morning, there are many tears.

Every morning.

It's no secret that the toddler years can be difficult for parents to maneuver.  Children begin to find their independence, and they test the boundaries that parents set.  This is all normal.  But it's still so hard.  I have really found myself struggling recently with some of Everlyn's behaviors.  Make no mistake, she absolutely adores her new sister, but she's not so thrilled about having to share the time and attention that was once all hers.  There are many tears and tantrums and time-outs in my days.  Sometimes I find myself so frustrated or angry that I want to lock myself in the bathroom just to have five minutes of peace and clarity.  It's during these times that I am gently reminded of His mercy.  His mercies are new every morning.  

Every morning.

When I stop to think about it, the similarities between my relationship with Evie and my relationship with God are quite astounding.  Only, in the latter, I am the misbehaving child - the one who constantly makes the same bad decisions.  Oh how frustrating I must be as a child of God!  I'll admit that it's difficult to remember these things in the thick of the daily struggle, but as I reflect on my parenting choices at the end of the day, I make it a point to pray and refocus for the day to come.  I need to be filled with grace and patience with the beautiful daughters God has given me.  He has been merciful with me, and I need to be merciful with them.

His mercies are new every morning.
And for that, I am so grateful.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

looking back

Ever since Amber joined our family, I have found myself thinking about when we first brought Evie home less than two years ago. How incredibly long each day was.  The seemingly endless crying (she was colicky, especially at night), the constant feedings, and the self-imposed hibernation period in which I didn't leave the house.  I remember feeling like that season would never end - like I would never sleep or get out of our house.  We were tired.  We were short-tempered.  I was depressed.  It was a hard season indeed.

Looking back, it passed so quickly.

I find myself struggling to remember the details of her tiny, newborn baby self.  How she smelled.  How her cries were so tiny.  How she looked when she slept.  I took hundreds of photos and several videos, but I look back at these fragmented memories and think, "I wish I had more."  

I wish I had seen more of the good in those very difficult early days.  I wish I would have been more easygoing.  

Now, my sweet Everlyn, the one who gave me the gift of motherhood, is a feisty, stubborn, tender-hearted toddler.  She repeats herself a hundred times a day, stomps her little feet when she is angry, kisses her stuffed animals when she rocks them to sleep, and loves her sister in the purest way.  She says the funniest things and has the most infectious toddler laugh.  She loves animals and the outdoors and reading.  

She is growing up so quickly. 

I completely understand now how it feels to love someone so much it actually aches sometimes.  Being a mama has shown me how that is possible.  I love to watch her grow and learn and explore, but my body physically hurts when I think about how fast these seasons come and go.  I want to be the best mama I can be, for her and for Amber.  

I love you, little bean.  Thank you for making me a mama.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Amber's birth story - part 2

As we were getting ready for our c-section, the head OB came in to do another internal exam.  She told us that, although I was still losing blood, it seemed to be better controlled.  They had also been able to get more consistent heart tones from the baby.  All of this meant that our c-section would not be an emergency surgery; instead, Chris would be able to accompany me.  I would also remain awake.  This was such a relief! Then, as she was examining me, she commented that what she felt was not the placenta, but clots.  I wasn't sure exactly what that meant, and she didn't elaborate - instead, she left briefly.  When she came back, she told us that she was cautiously optimistic that we might be able to have this baby naturally! We were thrilled!  I don't know how things changed so quickly, but I am so incredibly thankful that they did.

We were quickly transferred to a labor and delivery room.  At this point, my contractions were very close together, and I was in a lot of pain.  It got so intense that I began vomiting... not fun.  However, I was only at 5 cm.  The nurse offered me pain medications, but I declined.  I was determined to labor naturally.  My mother-in-law came in, followed soon by my mom.  (Chris' sister went to stay at our house with Evie.) At this point, things are a little blurry for me.  I know the residents came in a few times to check my progress, but all I remember is a whirlwind of pain and what seemed like one endless contraction.  This fuzzy time only lasted about twenty five minutes though, because that's how long it took me to go from 5 cm to complete.  The nurse was so sweet, too - I must've paged her three times or so within those last five minutes because I really felt like I needed to push, but my body just wasn't quite ready until that last call.  The doctors came in, our moms left, and I was told to push during my next contraction.  The pain during the actual delivery was so much worse than I remember with Evie, but luckily, it didn't last long.  I pushed through three contractions before our beautiful baby's head came out.

There was a frantic hush among the doctors as they realized that the cord was wrapped around her neck not once, not twice, but three times.  They quickly worked to unwrap the cord before her tiny, slippery body came sliding out.  Finally, we heard her beautiful cries. I immediately said, "It's a girl!" Chris and I both began to tear up.  They placed her immediately on my chest where she spent the next hour or so, nursing and cuddling.  It was such a precious, sacred time - one that I wish I would have had with Everlyn when she was born.  It really helped establish a deep, initial bond.

We named our sweet baby Amber Wilde.  Amber is the name of my youth pastor's wife.  She was such an important role model in my life, and her influence really showed me the kind of wife and mother I want to be.  She is a beautiful person, inside and out.  If our daughter grows up to be the same kind of woman as her, we will have done something right as parents.

Amber Wilde Hansen
Born 2/26/2014 at 4:34 am
7 lbs., 5 oz. and 19 inches long

Friday, March 7, 2014

Amber's birth story - part 1

I'm finally getting around to writing our birth story, and I'll admit, it's a bit hard to relive what took place; however, I don't want to forget how the Lord protected me and my sweet baby during these scary moments.

Even though Amber wasn't born until Wednesday, the chaos in our home began on Monday evening when our hot water tank broke and flooded our basement (not what you want right before bringing home a new baby!) My poor husband was up most of the night scooping water and taking some of our belongings that had been damaged out to the trash.  What a great guy! He only managed to get a few hours of sleep before heading into work on Tuesday.  That evening, some wonderful friends from church came over and installed our new hot water tank - hallelujah!  I was so thankful, seeing that I had not showered for two days.  They finished around 10:00, and that's when Chris left to go play in his hockey game.

When Chris got home around 11:30, I was still awake on the couch.  Evie was asleep, so we turned on the TV to watch Jimmy Fallon.  We must have both fallen asleep near the end of the show because I woke up around 1:30 in the morning and quickly realized that something was not right.  I felt like I was sleeping in a pool of liquid.  Thinking that my water had broken, I reached down on the couch, only to find that my hand was covered in blood.  My stomach dropped.  I frantically woke Chris up, showed him my hand, and ran into the bathroom.  I was still bleeding heavily, so I called for Chris.  He came running, and I calmly told him that he needed to call our midwives.  He was in such a panic, and he didn't have their number saved in his phone, so I told him to call 911 while I dialed for their answering service.  The dispatcher told Chris to have me lie on the ground in our bathroom so that he could check for a head (yikes!) or the umbilical cord - thankfully, there was neither.  I called my mom and told her that she needed to come quickly to stay with Evie, but she lives about a half hour away.  She said she would be there as soon as possible.

 Within minutes, the ambulance and fire truck had arrived at our house.  The paramedics came in and calmly checked my vitals as they asked what was going on.  Chris showed them the blood on our couch and in the bathroom.  They grabbed some towels and asked me to sit on a chair so they could decide on a plan.  When they initially asked me which hospital we were supposed to deliver at, it sounded like they were going to transport me there; however, they quickly decided that the bleeding was too heavy and that we needed to get to the nearest hospital as quickly as possible.  My mom had still not arrived, but there was no time to wait.  They loaded me on to a stretcher and into the ambulance.  Chris was forced to stay behind.

In the ambulance, the medics tried to keep me as calm as possible.  I was hooked up to oxygen as they tested my blood sugar and monitored my vitals.  They asked me about names we had chosen and told me about their own children.   My adrenaline must have been pumping in high gear because my whole body was shaking terribly. I remember staring at the ceiling in an odd state of so-panicked-I-felt-calm, thinking that I might lose my precious baby - that I might come home from the hospital empty-handed.   We arrived at the hospital and went straight to triage, where a nurse was waiting.  I changed into a gown as I gave the details of the evening for a second time.  The nurse called for the doctors and grabbed a doppler to check on the baby's heartbeat.  Silence.  She calmly moved the doppler around my abdomen, searching.  Nothing.  I started to cry.  After a few more minutes of waiting, I finally heard that wonderful woosh-woosh sound.  A heartbeat! Thank you Jesus!

The residents arrived and decided to do an exam to try and figure out the cause of the bleeding.  By this time, I was in full labor with contractions every two minutes.  Finally, finally, Chris arrived by my side. I was so glad to have him there.  As the resident carefully examined me, she mentioned that she was afraid that she was feeling my placenta, which would be very dangerous.  They did a quick ultrasound and determined that the placenta was indeed very low.  We were soon informed that an emergency c-section was in order.  With the placenta being in a compromised position and the baby's heartbeat being inconsistent, it was the safest route to go.  They brought paperwork for the surgery as the anesthesiologist came to ask us some questions to prep for surgery.  I was discouraged - this was a far cry from the natural homebirth suite we had intended to birth in.  However, I was willing to do anything at this point to insure that my baby was safe...

**Read part 2 here**

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Welcome Amber Wilde

Our beautiful bundle, a precious baby girl, arrived on Wednesday, February 26 (her daddy's birthday) at 4:34 am - 7 lbs. 5 oz. and 19 inches long.  She is healthy and beautiful.

Her story is a traumatic one that I am still trying to process.  I'll post more details soon.