Fences – Keeping Things In, Keeping Things Out

Recently, a friend of ours put a fence up in their yard. It was something they thought about, wanted and planned. They had their reasons. They wanted to keep certain things contained in a specific area. But they also wanted to keep certain things out of this specific area.

While planning, they made sure they kept this fence on *their* property. In fact, they put it a few feet away from their property line, closer to their home, ensuring that this fence, was in fact on their property.

Because no one puts a fence on someone else’s property. You only put a fence on your own property.

It brings security, provides clear definition of what’s a free area and what is not. It speaks to others as to what is allowed in and what’s not. It is in fact, a boundary.

And just like fences go up in yards and properties, boundaries are healthy in needed in relationships and life. Boundaries draw the lines of what I am able to do for you and what I am not. Boundaries define what I will allow of you and what I will not. Like a line in the sand or fence in the yard, a boundary is a clear marking of different zones. It provides security, definition and I believe, mental, emotional and physical health.

Boundaries are good for us to think about, to be intentional in our choosing of them.

I have been studying boundaries for some time now, from various sources and have gathered many thoughts and benefits.

Boundaries serve you. They protect you. They allow you freedom even though they may appear to constrict. They allow focus on what one is called to rather to what is calling at you in the moment. They keep you on task. They allow confidence to grow and thrive as one realizes they are worthy to have boundaries. They allow for respect of others and for oneself.  Boundaries teach us to say no and that no can be good. Boundaries can teach us to say yes, but only this much yes. Boundaries force us to communicate when we would rather not, even though the end result is for our benefit.

It’s ok to make them. And then it’s important to stand by them and uphold them. The only way they won’t work is if you don’t work them. People may push the boundaries, situations arise that cause one to move the fence. And there may be seasons of change, emergencies that require those boundaries to change. But, it’s up to the one who created the boundary to enforce it if that’s what is necessary.

It’s ok to say I cannot do something because it violates my boundary. If we people please, we are lying to people. We are saying we are ok with something, when we are not. And *that* is not ok. It doesn’t matter if someone likes our fence, agrees in the way we have arranged it. It’s ours. On our property. And others need to abide by it.

The only way people take advantage, make choices for us, or invade our property is if we let them. So find your voice, speak up and draw your boundary lines. Often times, they will be respected and valued as we clearly communicate and define them. They will provide security and clarity for ourselves and others involved. Don’t be afraid! Just do it! You will be thankful you did!

Jessica’s VBA3C

 

My story began on June 8, 2007. I was 21 years old and pregnant with my first child, my son Everett. I was young, naive when I look back, and I really was not prepared for labor. I thought I was. I thought I had gone to enough classes, read all of the books and I was delivering at a well respected hospital. My mom had 3 children naturally, my grandmother 4 (one was even breech) and my great grandmother delivered 5 babies naturally. I was meant to do this, so how hard could it really be?

I was so wrong. At 36.6 weeks, my water broke “up high” the day or so before but I really didn’t know (young and naive, remember?). I thought it was just a trickle of urine but I noticed it was becoming more frequent. So I called the on call nurse, I was crying because I thought I was peeing myself uncontrollably. She, obviously knowing a little more than me, told me to go to L&D. So I did. They confirmed it was my water and confirmed that I wasn’t contracting. So the clock started. We had 24 hours to get this baby out of me…so pitocin was started. They couldn’t pick up my contractions so pitocin was increased…this continued for 14 hours. I wanted nothing for pain relief because I felt that I needed to do this as naturally as possible, after all, all of the women in my family have. Somewhere at 8 centimeters the doctor on call (mine left for vacation that day) checked me and said “I can still feel a bag of waters, so I’m going to break this”. Well apparently I had two bags? After that he placed internal monitors, and did an amnioinfusion because he thought the baby needed a little help.

Around 9.5 centimeters with a reducible lip, the baby started having decelerations and the heart rate was not coming back up. I was exhausted, scared and delirious from pain. It was all a blur. I was told we needed an emergency c-section because the baby was not doing well. I consented. I remember getting numb from the spinal and asking if I should push (funny now lol) within a few minutes I heard him cry. I cried. My partner at the time cried. It was such a sweet moment. I justified having a c-section because my 5 pound 12 ounce baby boy and I were safe. I healed as well as I expected having nothing to compare it too.

Fast forward 3 years. It’s now 2010, my now husband and I are expecting my second baby boy (his first) and I asked my OB about a VBAC. He flat out said no. He said he would have to send me to a hospital over 3 hours away if that’s what I wanted to pursue. I didn’t. I knew I could deliver early and the thought of driving 3 hours in labor scared me. Plus he told me all of the risks and that scared me. I brushed the thoughts of a VBAC out of my mind. So at 37.4 weeks when I went into spontaneous labor, I went to L&D and went from 0 to 3 centimeters in 2 hours, my OB comes in and says it’s time for my c-section because I’m in labor. The thought of a VBAC entered my mind, after all I was in labor!! So just as a last ditch effort asked if I could VBAC. He said no, absolutely not and off we went to the OR. I cried the whole way there. My husband assured me it would all be ok. I wasn’t crying because I was scared, I was crying because I felt like something was being taken from me. And it was. I lay there on the operating room table, cold and nauseous. Strapped down and puking from the medications. Our 7 pound 4 ounce little boy arrived and that was that. No skin to skin. Nothing. I was wheeled back to my room where I waited to feel my legs and waited to have my catheter removed. I felt all dignity leave when two nurses had to spread my legs to clean me up because I couldn’t feel them. I puked some more because of the meds they gave me in my spinal. We went home, I healed physically and life went back to normal.

In 2012 I shockingly found myself pregnant yet again. I say shockingly because we truly were not trying or expecting a baby. I had some complications in the beginning, lots of bleeding, the term “threatened miscarriage” was plastered on my chart. I was told I had a blighted ovum and to prepare for a d & c. I begged for one more ultrasound. Thankfully not only did we see one heartbeat we saw two!!! I was ecstatic!! That joy quickly faded when 2 weeks later my follow up showed one of the babies no longer had a heartbeat. I was crushed. I had to endure quite a few ultrasounds where we could still see the motionless little body. I was happy to have a very healthy and active baby but was still mourning the loss of its brother or sister. At 36 weeks and 4 days my water broke. It was a huge gush and I was contracting irregularly. It was around 11:30 p.m. when we got to the hospital. My doctor again was on vacation so I got the on call OB. She was yawning when she came to see me. She was explaining the risks of a third c-section and I once again asked (hoping she might say yes) if I could try for a VBA2C. She laughed and said no. I again was crying. Just so many emotions. I had an awful anesthesiologist who tried 3 times to do my spinal. It finally worked.

Our third little boy joined us at 6 pounds 13 ounces. The OB came to see me after she stitched me up and said “everything looked ok in there if you would want to have more children”.  And left. I never saw her again. I ended up having a spinal headache from leaking spinal fluid. A different anesthesiologist stuck me 14 times trying to find a vein to get blood for the patch to fix it. I was beyond traumatized. Wes ended up in the NICU for two days and that’s where I spent my time. Noticing a common thread here? I was never prepared for the birth I wanted. I knew if we were ever going to have more children it was going to be different.

2016-17. It had been 4-5 years since our last baby. We really wanted one more, and I knew I was going to have a VBA3C this time. Funny how hard it is to get pregnant when you’re actually trying…we got our positive test in October and I knew we would have another June baby! I also knew this time would be different. I immediately switched OBs. There was a new office in town that had two OBs and multiple midwives. They prided themselves on women centered care. I also knew that they had done VBA2Cs before but I didn’t know about any VBA3Cs. So my first appointment arrives, the intake nurse is a nurse who actually worked L&D and I knew her from my previous pregnancies. She asked me how I wanted to deliver this baby. I was amazed that she didn’t automatically put me on a c-section list. I said “I want a VBA3C”. I said I know the risks and I also know they aren’t much different than a VBA2C and I know I can do this”. She smiled and said “I know you can do this too, so let’s do it”. My heart soared, I cried and she cried and it was great. I met with Dr. Brown that day and she went over the risks and her set of “rules.” She wanted me to labor naturally, no inductions and she didn’t want me to go beyond 39 weeks. I will admit I felt a little put off but considering I’ve never been pregnant beyond 37.4 weeks I thought “easy peasy”.

I was sent to a high risk perinatologist, she did an ultrasound and checked my scar and placenta placement. We reviewed my previous OR reports and went over the risks. She felt I had a good chance at being successful. We talked for almost an hour that day in her office. It was great! I left each appointment feeling better about this decision. Each of my OB visits consisted of talking about my VBA3C. I had some NPs who were skeptical and tried talking me out of it. I requested very nicely to not see them again. If they didn’t believe in me I didn’t need them caring for me. Dr. Brown again brought up me scheduling a c-section at 39 weeks. This broke my spirit a little, I felt like I was being pressured into a c-section, being set up for failure. So at my next appointment I met Dr. Duckett. When I mentioned the scheduled section she immediately said she did not feel that was necessary and said if I went beyond my due date we would talk about it but did not want me to stress about it. I immediately felt a new sense of “I can do this! I’m going to do this!!”

Fast forward to my “39” week appointment, this was actually scheduled at 38.5 and it was on a Tuesday. I again met with Dr. Duckett, she checked me because I had been having some regularly irregular contractions for a few days (prodromal labor at its finest) and to my surprise I was 2 centimeters and 50% effaced. She stripped my membranes. I had no idea what she was doing but she said “are you still planning a vaginal birth?” I replied yes! And that’s what she did, she said “well maybe this will stir some things up!!” My oldest son had trumpet practice that day so I took the younger two to the park while we waited for him. I was definitely crampy and having contractions. Still irregular… I went home and made sure my bag was together and ate small snacks and drank water to keep myself nourished and hydrated knowing that labor felt very close.

That evening the contractions started to get a little more noticeable but I just tried not to focus. I didn’t want to get my hopes up. The next morning (Wednesday) around 4 a.m. I woke up to a nice strong contraction and about 30 mins later another. This continued until I got up around 7 and had a lot of bloody show. I mean a lot, I knew at this point things were progressing. I did what my mom had told me, I continued to walk, keep busy, and eat and drink when I felt the need. I rested when I needed to, although that was a bit hard with 3 kids running around and a husband at work. By Wednesday evening my husband asked how I felt, I told him to not be surprised if we had a baby by the next day. Sometime around midnight I was dreaming that I was in labor… it must have been the real deal because at 1 a.m. sharp I was awakened with a super strong contraction that lasted over a minute, 5 mins later another one and again 5 mins later. This continued regularly for another 40 mins before I got up and realized this was it. Suddenly they started coming every 3 mins. I woke my husband up and we called his mom. My sister was already at my house so she stayed with the boys until his mom could get there. We got to the hospital around 2:30 and I could hardly get out of the car. It felt like my pelvis was breaking in two. We got up to L&D, the intake nurse put me in the triage room and I got checked. I was only 3 and still 50%. I didn’t expect more than that because I had only been having contractions every 5 mins for an hour and every 3 mins for another hour. My intake nurse looked terrified when I told her I was having a VBA3C. I had to laugh and reassure her everything would be fine.

She called Dr. Duckett who said to have me walk and labor without monitors until she came in. So we walked for about 2 hours. The nurse looked skeptical because she couldn’t pick my contractions up on the monitor but I was having a really hard time even talking through them. Half the time I could hardly stand when one would hit. My husband was literally holding me up during these contractions. But, Dr. Duckett insisted she not send me home. I went to the bathroom and lost my mucus plug (it looked like a big bloody mucuousy cork!) so a little after 7 a.m. the midwife Myra came in to see me. I was now 4 centimeters and 90% so I was admitted, she stripped my membranes again just to keep everything moving, but I wasn’t moved from the triage room to a labor and delivery room until 8ish. Again they were still struggling to get an accurate read on my contractions. Around 9 a.m. they checked me again because I felt a lot of pressure. I was 6 centimeters and 100%. At this point I was really uncomfortable during a contraction, but between them I felt great! I did ask for an epidural, I did this because I did not want to lose control like I did with my first. I knew that my body tensed with pain and I wanted to relax and just let this all happen. I got an epidural around 930-10am and Dr. Duckett broke my water. I managed to sleep a little despite the adrenaline rush. The nurse was able monitor my contractions and the baby with the internal monitors. Around 11 a.m. I felt something. It wasn’t pressure but it felt like something was just “there”. I asked my husband to look because I felt like the baby was there, he looked and then responded “I have no clue what I’m looking at so I’m going to get the nurse”. She was actually just walking in and for some crazy reason she had a bag of pitocin. I asked “why?!” And she said “oh just to help things keep moving along..”  I said ” Well I don’t think I need it, can you check me?” She checked me and I was complete and the baby was right there! She went to get Dr Duckett, when she came in she asked if I wanted to try some practice pushes. Which I did!

My epidural was awesome in the fact that I could still move my legs and feel pressure but not pain. It didn’t interfere with my pushing at all! We turned it off at that point. I gave 3 practice pushes and the Dr was like “You were meant to do this!!” Her saying that gave me this rush and reaffirmed everything I was doing!! The rest went so fast! He was out by 11:40 which was about 20 mins after I started “practice pushing” and about 10-15 pushes later! I was able to successfully deliver a 7 pound 11 ounce baby boy at exactly 39 weeks on the very day they wanted to schedule my c-section. I only had a small tear and needed just a few stitches. He was placed right on my chest where he stayed for a solid hour and nursed like a champ. I know I had some interventions, however nothing was done without a lot of thought, prayer and consideration. Everything went exactly how I had imagined it. I labored in a safe environment with a doctor who I trusted completely. I was able to deliver 3 and a half hours after being admitted and I felt 10,000 times better than I ever did after a c-section. It was still sore. I can’t say one is less painful than the other, but I didn’t feel super weak or sick like I did after my sections. I could roll over and hold my baby without pain. My bottom was sore for about 10 days and sort of felt “bruised” for about 2 weeks. The beauty of all of this is, I labored and delivered in the very room this all started in exactly 10 years and 1 week prior, I finally had the closure I needed, I knew my body wasn’t broken. I have never been so proud of myself like I was that day. It was indescribable.

Ximena’s VBAC – The Story of Baby Hope

I am so excited to finally share my testimony. I received prenatal care with the same provider throughout my pregnancy. From the beginning I searched for a provider who would assist me with my desire to have a vaginal birth after a cesarean. My doctor provided good prenatal care throughout my pregnancy. We differed opinions towards the end of my pregnancy when I reached my 40 weeks and my baby had not dropped and my cervix was not “favorable”. When we reached this point (my baby didn’t arrive on her estimated due date (12/25), my doctor scheduled a repeat c-section for (12/28). I said I was not moving forward with her recommendation.

 

She advised me on everything that could go wrong if I were to wait. I was nothing short of scared. I requested a BPP and an NST. The doctor’s office scheduled one for (12/27). That day my doctor was on call. I had my tests done and thank God everything was showing like the baby and pregnancy were going well. Nonetheless, the doctor was called after my tests were done. She gave me the “talk” again. This time she was very graphic about what could go wrong. This was beyond scary.

Yet something inside of me didn’t want to lose hope that this was a possibility for me…to have a natural birth. I had a cesarean section with my first child so I knew what it was; I knew how I felt going into it and coming out of it. I felt devastated that’s how I felt. I felt like I had been cheated on my birthing experience. I knew I didn’t want that this time around…at least not if there was not a real need for one.

She intimidated my husband for agreeing with me about waiting.

She had us both sign a papers stating what she had verbally described to us already. My husband was so scared that after that appointment he said that he was done…that he was not for waiting anymore.

Then I felt doubly bad, I was not listening to my doctor and my heart ached because I wanted to agree with my husband so bad but I just could not fully come to the conclusion that a repeat c-section was the best route for me.  Another BPP and NST were scheduled for me at the hospital for Tuesday 12/29.

I prayed, friends prayed about this situation. That God would keep us safe and that he would not let us be shamed for wanting to believe even when it meant going against a doctor’s medical expertise (which I don’t intend to communicate is what should be done all the time).

I cried out to God, I received encouragement from his Word. I read Hebrews Chapter 11 (from the Bible). It was so encouraging to remember that walking by faith might seem and feel crazy at times, but when it is something that God has clearly shown that he will back up…it’s amazing!

The following verse also came to mind:

Romans 15:13 New International Version (NIV)

13 May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.

My husband had a change of heart by Monday morning (praise God!)

My husband’s support was just so very important for me. Now even though I was scared, I felt I was not alone, I felt like even though this seemed so crazy…it was right.

I had two sessions with Dr. Travis (acupuncture) recommended by Paula D’ Amore. He checked with me Monday and said if I wanted to go in for another session. So I went in to see Dr. Travis on Tuesday then I headed to West Boca for my 2nd BPP and NST.

The NST recorded that I was having contractions. I was experiencing some light contractions earlier in the afternoon. After BPP and NST tests were done, another Dr. from my OB/GYN’s practice was called in to talk to me. She said that my baby was 10lbs + and that the recommendation was still a c-section. She was going to start talking to me about the things my doctor had already talked to me about so I said: “Doctor, with all the respect…I have already heard this. Could you please tell me were to sign so I can go home?” I signed the paper and left. I had called my hubby to pick me up since I didn’t feel too great.

My husband came with a friend to pick me up. Throughout our trip back home, I was having contractions. They lasted like 40 seconds each and were about 5 minutes apart. We arrived home and I tried to sleep. I rested a bit…like an hour here and there but would wake up because I was experiencing discomfort from the contractions.

I started trying out several of the ideas that many shared with me…bouncing on the exercise ball, swaying from side to side, simply walking back and forth in my living room, jumping in the shower several times to let the warm water run down my back (this was my most favorite strategy).

I also ate and drank fluids throughout these hours. At around 4am I woke up my husband and said we should probably start getting ready. I had some breakfast in the shower…as the water was helping so much to make the contractions more bearable.

My husband took a shower then we left around 6/6:20am. When we left I clearly noticed that the intensity of each contraction was becoming stronger. We decided we were going to Broward Health Coral Springs since it was close, in-network and we knew that at West Boca they were not going to support a natural birth for me (as per doctor recommendations). Broward Health is only a 10 minute drive.

During the drive I had 2 to 3 contractions…they were intense, very intense…I was squeezing the car’s seat for dear life!

My husband pulled up to the ER, we said I was in labor (although it was obvious). As the lady (receptionist) was putting in my info I stood there and said: “I need to push! Please help me!”

She called for a wheelchair. Someone did come fast (although it seemed like an eternity). All I wanted was to push. The ride in the wheelchair seemed like torture. I just wanted to stand up!

We arrived were a group of nurses were and I kept saying “I need to push! Please help me!”

They wheeled me into a room, quickly put on their gloves and I just wanted to push for dear life. The nurse checked me. She said: “She’s at 10!” The nurses were in such a hurry it seemed surreal. They called the doctor. I just wanted to push…the nurse broke my water. She said there is meconium. I got a little scared but not so much because all I could think was “let’s get the baby out…NOW!”

I did feel some relief when she broke my waters.

The wait for the doctor seemed eternal, although she was probably there in less than 20 minutes. They had me lying in a bed, halfway sitting. I kept asking if I could sit up, or squat as my back was killing me with each contraction. They said  they were sorry, they understood that is the “natural” way a woman would want to position themselves to give birth that they could not let me, they said they didn’t have a birthing stool, they said let’s just wait for the doctor. All I could think of other than pushing was…I want to be off my back!

Finally the doctor came in; the baby was out by the second big push! It was amazing! When they placed her over my chest…it was an experience that is out of this world…to feel her little warm body against mine…I loved it. It was as if I had been “injected” with a natural pain medication…the joy was overflowing. My husband and I could only say “Thank you Jesus! Thank you Jesus!”

This was such a miraculous and powerful experience. God certainly restored my heart from my previous birthing experience. For me, it is clear that God has given me back what was taken away from me…the experience to birth our child naturally. It is not that I oppose modern medicine or surgeries when medically deemed necessary, but there’s something precious in waiting for God’s and nature’s timing.

I would like to close this testimony giving thanks to God my heavenly Father, for His Word, for my husband, for friends who I know personally who have gone through a VBAC who kept encouraging me, for friends that I have drawn closer to in a matter of weeks through the ICAN South Florida Community Support Group.

All I can say is THANK YOU!

Finally, a children’s story book comes to mind when I think about this testimony…

“The Little Engine That Could,” by Watty Piper.

“I’m not very big,” said the Little Blue Engine…

“I have never been over the mountain,”…

…”Then she said, ‘I think I can, I think I can, I think I can.”

…She tugged and pulled and pulled and tugged and slowly, slowly, slowly they started off.”

…”Puff, puff, chug, chug, when the Little Blue Engine, “I think I can-I think I can, I think I can, I think I can, I think I can.”

Up, up, up. Faster and faster and faster and faster the little engine climbed, until at last they reached the top of the mountain.

…”Hurray, hurray,” cried the funny little clown and all the dolls and toys.

…And the Little Blue Engine smiled and seemed to say as she puffed steadily down the mountain…

“I thought I could, I thought I could, I thought I could, I thought I could, I thought I could, I thought I could.”

Joel 2:25 (a) New Living Translation (NLT)

 The Lord says, “I will give you back what you lost
to the swarming locusts, the hopping locusts,
the stripping locusts, and the cutting locusts. 

 Philippians 4:13 NKJV
I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.

                                                                                                                                                                       

Amy’s Story – A VBA2C

Hi friends! My friend Amy shares her birth story to VBA2C. I was able to watch from a distance as she displayed courage, faith in her body and faith in God during pregnancy and as  she patiently allowed labor to happen on her body’s time. Please leave her a comment below. Thank you so much for sharing Amy!

amy1

My backstory: We were blessed with our first daughter in 2008. I didn’t do any research and just started going to an OB office that several friends recommended. I liked the OB’s fine and never had a reason to not trust them (complete lack of knowledge on my part). I had some early contractions and they put me on bed rest around 32 weeks. After releasing me from bed rest they scheduled an induction for just after 40 weeks. What I would give to go back and have a do over. After the “cascade of interventions” (cervidil, pitocin, early epidural, AROM, being confined to the bed) they informed me after I got to 9.5 cm that her heart rate was worrisome and I needed an emergency c-section. I consented. This was after 24 hours of labor, pitocin fueled contractions, and my epidural quitting on one side and having to be completely redone. She was born 10 lb 9 oz and completely healthy. There was nothing family centered about the c-section. She was shown to me and then I didn’t see her for over an hour. It badly affected my emotions. I was labeled failure to progress oddly enough on my official report, something that was NEVER said to me. There was NO record of her having a worrisome heart rate.
Fast forward to 2011 and we were expecting our second child, a boy. The same OB office mentioned VBAC. I immediately wanted one. I had a rough recovery with my daughter and bad post partum for several weeks. They seemed totally on board the entire pregnancy….until three weeks before my due date. They insisted on an ultrasound. They estimated him to be the same size as his big sister and said a c-section would be the only reasonable option. They told me horror stories about shoulder dystocia and big babies. I consented to a repeat c-section at 39 weeks. The night before my surgery I cried all night. I didn’t sleep at all. I felt like I was broken and made huge babies and was devastated I would never get to “give birth” or have those first moments of bonding. I felt cheated.
Long story short, I had a horrible c-section. They gave me a spinal block then proceeded to give me an epidural. They hit a vein and had to scrap the epidural but assured me that the spinal was enough. It wasn’t. After taking my son away it quit completely and I felt everything. The stapled me shut because it was the fastest way. They pumped me full of morphine and other drugs which did not touch the pain. Healthy 10lb 8oz baby, scarred mommy. At my one week appointment they took the staples out which to my horror showed over half of my incision reopened and they were infected. I went on to have a home nurse packing the wound three times a day for 8 weeks. Not great for an already upset and emotional mommy 🙁 After these two experiences I didn’t think I could handle having another c-section so I put the thoughts of more children away. I just couldn’t do it.
When my son turned 2 I felt that familiar tinge of baby fever. I so desperately wanted more children. I began researching anything and everything related to my history, births, VBAC’s, etc. I couldn’t learn enough. I found an amazing doula that encouraged me to find new providers that understood my passion for VBAC and why it was so important to me.
Over the next two years that’s what i did. I learned, I read, I researched, I switched providers. I prayed. Oh how I prayed. I poured my heart and desires out to God and left it in His hands. My husband went on a mission trip to Guatemala and the day he got back I just happened to be ovulating 😉 Funny how that worked out. Four weeks later we found out we were pregnant. I had a very rough beginning to the pregnancy from med withdrawals from my migraine medication. After that it was great! I had some nausea and vomiting. I did loose some weight. Everything else went wonderful. I met with the midwives and we discussed at length what I wanted for this pregnancy. All but the attending OB were on board. So I just quit seeing her 🙂 I knew when she asked for a growth scan at 26 weeks we weren’t going to see eye to eye. Ha!
Now to what I did during my pregnancy. I had been getting in shape before getting pregnant and continued to ride my bike and walk during. I prayed very specifically for things during this pregnancy. This was a personal thing for me and I understand it’s not for everyone. I prayed for no swelling, no group b strep, no gestational diabetes, for a natural VBA2C and for no severe tearing or recovery issues.This may seem silly, but we prayed for a June baby since my son’s birthday is the first week of July 🙂 I prayed that I would go into labor on my own, that I would be able to have my water break on it’s own. I prayed for a healthy baby above all. God answered every single prayer!
As far as any prep, I took prenatals. I drank the organic pregnancy tea. I switched to red raspberry leaf tea at 30 weeks. I bought organic loose leaf from my local herb shop. I ate dates from 36 weeks on (medjool and 6 a day). I bounced and did exercises on a yoga ball for most of my second and third trimesters. I denied any ultrasounds after the initial dating one. I refused cervical check until one I had at 39 weeks because I was having tons of contractions and the head midwife whom I trust completely just wanted to do a thorough exam and gage what all was going on. That was the only check I had before labor.
I began having tons of braxton hicks contractions around 37 weeks. Several hours a day. Around 38 weeks they became more intense and were coming for a few hours every day at 4 minutes apart. Exhausting 🙂 We began doing the evening primrose oil inserted nightly and I took one orally twice a day. I did deal with some bad sciatic pain and hip pain. I saw the chiropractor a few times. It did help and he did note that my pelvis was out of alignment and did extra work on it which did help with the pain.
I had been having contractions for several hours a day for two to three weeks. They would get as close as 4 minutes apart but then after eating or drinking and resting would space back out to 10 minutes or more apart and fizzle out. I started having a few painful ones during the nights for about a week before my due date.
My due date was set as June 29. I was already mentally preparing that I might go over. I had never gone into spontaneous labor with my first two. On June 27 I had a few weird contractions that really caused pressure in my hips and legs. I felt “heavy”.  I ate a good dinner. I told my husband I just wanted to cuddle and have some intimate “adult time”. I swear that is what put me into labor. It was such a release and such a sweet time .I went on to bed. At 3 am I had a huge contraction that woke me up from a dead sleep. I tried to go back to sleep and a few minutes later had another one. I decided to get up and walk around. They were coming every 4 to 5 minutes and were strong but not overly painful. I called my doula and I called my midwife who advised me to eat something and see if they changed. I ate an apple and peanut butter and drank a full bottle of water. They did not change at all. I was beginning to have to stop moving through them and breathe. They were intense but not what I would consider painful. Now coming solidly every 4 minutes and last around a minute long by 4 am. I let my husband know he wouldn’t be going to work 🙂 I jumped in the shower and that helped the pressure/pain. I called my mom to come be with the kids. We got everything ready to go. By the time we were ready to leave it was 6 and we had an hour drive to the hospital. They were now coming every 3 minutes lasting a full minute or more. Sitting in the car sucked. I am not going to lie. It didn’t help that they were now coming every 2 to 3 minutes. We got to the hospital at 7:15 and got the monitors hooked up to check on baby. Everything looked great! I was checked and was already a 6!!! I was amazed! I had only been a finger tip dilated the week before. I labored standing up and leaning over the bed during contractions.
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I propped my left leg on the bed around 8:30 and during a contraction lost my mucous plug and had my bloody show. A few contractions later and my water literally exploded! My husband’s face was priceless! I was checked again at about 9:30 because I was feeling a ton of pressure and I was at a 9 with just a tiny lip of cervix and she was at a +2 station! My midwife arrived and watched me labor. At this point I was in another world during contractions. My doula was ESSENTIAL!! She kept me grounded. I will never forget at one point I felt like I was losing control. She put her face next to mine, literally cheek to cheek and began breathing with me. I felt so at peace. In pain, but at peace. My midwife checked me at 10-ish and realized that my baby was not wanting to go under my pelvic bone. I was laboring facing the head of the bed, on my knees, holding a pillow on the head of the bed (inclined all the way up). She got me over on my back (which was the last place I wanted to be). Almost immediately she came under and I could feel her descending. The pain was intense but you find yourself digging deep to somewhere you never expect because you know your baby is depending on you to get them out. My body took over and the pushing began. I was in total shock at how fast things were going. I asked for the mirror and seeing her starting to crown gave me that extra motivation to push even harder. It’s a sensation I can’t describe. Pain, purpose, it’s amazing! At 10:46 am out popped her head and then my midwife delivered her shoulders and out she slid! We had done it!!! I took a moment to praise God and send a prayer of thanks and then just gazed at this precious baby girl who was laying on my chest gazing up at me.
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My doula was bawling, my husband was staring in amazement. I think we were both in shock. I swear I still am. It doesn’t seem real. I had just pushed out a 9 pound 3 oz 21 1/4 in baby out of my vagina!! All natural, no meds at all!! Talk about a healing experience!! I did tear. I had some 2nd degree that required stitches. Delivering the placenta really isn’t fun. We delayed cord clamping. We delayed bathing. She nursed within a few minutes. She is a perfectly healthy baby girl and we could not be happier.amy3
On another note, I feel like we do a disservice by sugar coating recovery. I was talking to another VBAC mom about this. I felt like I was being a wimp for not feeling amazing by 5 days post partum. I have read about so many moms who says they feel amazing and don’t mention any negatives after birth. So I thought something was wrong with me. The stitches hurt and were so irritating. Sitting down comfortably was a struggle. I felt very drained for the first few days. At one week post partum I am finally feeling a little more like myself. I still can’t walk for a long time without hurting and getting exhausted. The stitches are finally dissolving and that has helped. I will say it was much better than a c-section recovery because I can move around without feeling like my insides are burning. I can take hot soothing baths.
I am eternally grateful for the insight gained from all the other VBAC
 mommies! I have followed so many of your stories and will continue to rejoice in all these precious births, no matter how they happen 🙂 You ladies are awesome! Continue to educate yourselves and fight for the birth you want! Sorry it was so long but I wanted to share everything!! I welcome any questions so feel free to ask!!
We used Intown Midwifery and delivered at Atlanta Medical Center.
Products I found super helpful: Earth Mama Angel Baby Bottom spray and bottom balm. Dermaplast (blue lid) spray. Tucks pads. Padsicles! (seriously, make these). “Christ Centered Childbirth” by Kelly J Townsend. Yoga ball. Epsom salts for before and after pregnancy baths. Evening primrose oil. Red Raspberry Leaf tea. Earth Mama Angel Baby Organic pregnancy and third trimester teas.  My best advice based on my experience is educate yourself, find a 100% supportive provider, and hire a doula! God bless and thank you for reading!
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Why Your Words Matter

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For some reason, I find God works in quite amazing ways at the grocery store. Either that’s the only place I frequent, or His presence and power mightily manifest there. Either way, I have lots of good stories that come from that store and they encourage me in my faith.

So, the other day I bought 4 cases of mangoes. I know, who does that right? Well, we eat a lot of fruits and vegetables and there was a sale. So, the checkout lady scans them before I get up there and I hear her on the walkie talkie, “Ruth, you might want to check the mangoes. I just sold four cases of them.” She said this is a snarly voice.

When I finally approached the register, there wasn’t a hello or acknowledgement of any kind. She sort of appeared to be having a bad day. And I just observed her.

She gave me my total and as she was ringing everything through, I looked at her and said, “Oh my goodness, your hair is adorable.”

And it was. It was short and blonde, and she had a headband in. She definitely looked cute. I wouldn’t have said it just to say it.

“Oh, god. Shut up.” She says to me while blushing and smiling.

“No, it’s super cute. You look all summery and nice.”

Well, she wished me a good rest of my day with a huge smile.

Now we go to a grocery story where you bag your own. So I went to the bagging area and watched as the next person came through.

You would have thought short blonde haired headband check out lady was a different person. There was a “hi, how are you?” with smiles and extra chit chat. I watched her and she seemed to have a spring in her step.

“Point proved,” I told myself as I pulled my cart out the door.

Simple words had a profound effect on someone.

I acknowledged her as a person, not a check out lady. I told her something that seemed nice to me – her appearance which you know we ladies care about a lot. And it obviously made an impact on her.

And now another example. Different situation, this time…not at the grocery store.

“It doesn’t matter how you birth your baby. You shouldn’t let your experience define you.” Spoken by an authority in the birth world as I sat with this person, chatting over coffee.

This. Crushed. Me.

If you have read anything so far about my story, you know that it was life changing for me. It did matter how I birthed. The whole experience has defined me in a huge way. To hear these words literally felt like someone had physically hurt me. My heart felt damaged.

Here she is, an authority on birth. And I’m well, a mom who had different birth experiences each time and felt like each time shaped and molded me. But, if this woman is a birth authority, maybe she’s right and everything I have believed is wrong.

I give these two example to show the power of words. Words that are spoken. No you can’t hold them in your hands, you can’t touch them. But the ability of a spoken word can either cheer or discourage. It can motivate, strengthen or leave someone feeling hurt.

What words have you spoken lately?

Maybe, it’s:

“We won’t ever have enough money for a new washing machine, let alone a vacation.”

“I want to have a natural birth, but I’m not strong enough. I don’t have any pain tolerance.”

“My child has never listened. He exhausts me.”

“I always get sick during flu season. That’s just the way it is for me.”

I challenge you, as I continue to challenge myself. Are these things that God would want us to say? Are any of these His truths? And when we say them out loud, when we speak them what do they do to us? What do they do to our families, to those around us. Do people walk away feeling hope in their hearts, or do they feel hopeless? Do those words make us feel that things may never change?

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Here are some practical ways we can watch our words:

The Words We Speak to Ourselves – instead of speaking how we see ourselves, we should speak how God sees us.

“There is therefore now no condemnation to them that are in Christ Jesus.” Romans 8:1

If you are a believer, you are a NEW creation. Your past is gone. You don’t stand  condemned anymore. You are deeply loved. These are good, life giving words! Own them!

“For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus, to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” Ephesians 2:10

 The.Creator.Made. YOU.  You. And He created you for GOOD works. He prepared it before time came to be. What an awesome thought. You are deeply loved, and valued in the sight of God. What more could we want?

“For those who are led by the Spirit of God are the children of God.” Romans 8:14

Again, we who are led by the Spirit of God, the Creator….He who made the sun, stars, millions of insects and animals….He’s OUR Daddy! It’s like the kid whose dad is a major league baseball player. “See,” the boy says to his friends, “that’s MY dad!” How much more for us?! The Creator, He is OUR Daddy! Good news friends! When we know who our Dad is, we don’t have to worry about anything anymore!

The Words We Speak to Others – what if we spoke encouraging, life giving words to our husbands, children, family and friends? Even those we see at the grocery store? Do you think we could make a difference in their lives, by something as simple as our words?

Find their strengths – we know that people aren’t perfect. They have flaws. But what if we could find something within them that we appreciate and tell them? Maybe the  middle child does a wonderful job of helping with the baby, or the oldest does a great job of being a team player within the family. We should tell them. Praise them and watch their faces light up!

Find their strengths that haven’t blossomed yet – do you see something in someone that they are not aware of? Maybe they are really great with people. Maybe they have a huge love for their family and they don’t quite know they have such a gift. Tell them you see it and encourage them to walk in it even more.

If you see something you like in someone, tell them! Just like my grocery store lady. I think lots of things about a lot of people when I am out and about. If you see something positive, why not share it with them? There’s so much negativity, I believe a kind word can change a whole day!

The Words We Speak Over Our Situations – waiting for something to happen in your life? Wondering what’s next? Thinking doom and gloom? This isn’t ok! This isn’t how God thinks!

“My God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.”  Phil. 4:19

This is a promise we must hold onto. We walk by faith, not by sight. If we had it already, we wouldn’t need faith!

“Let the weak say, I am strong.” Joel 3:10

Who says they are strong? Those who feel weak. So if things aren’t going your way, don’t declare what you see. Declare what He says.

“You, dear children, are from God, and have overcame them, because the one who is in you is the one who is greater than the one who is in the world.” I John 4:4

The One who is in US, is greater than any in the world. What circumstance seems so hard when we speak these words?

****I will leave you some closing thoughts from a book I love. This book I used on my VBA3C journey and I use it still to this day.****

“Life is largely made up of words. We make love with words. We declare war with words. Divorces are made up of words. Children become what words make them.

Let us be careful about words. Let’s put the biggest richest things into them. Let’s put big, rich words into the letters and articles that we write. Let’s fill our words with wonderful love, fresh from the heart of the Father.”

~Words That Move Mountains – E.W. Kenyon and Don Gossett

 

 

 

More Than What Meets The Eye

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Cleaning, cooking, grocery shopping, bill paying. Activities, events, obligations. Parties, celebrations. Hard times, sad times, grieving times.We get to experience all of it at some point in our lives. And often we may feel alone in the hard times. Like no one has ever been there. No one has experienced how hard it is. No one understands what it’s like to not get along with your husband the way you do. No one understands how it feels when this friend always leaves you out.

We so easily look at the surface of things. We look with our natural eyes at our circumstances, base our feelings off  of what we see and make decisions based on those observations.

We can get so upset sometimes. It may feel like things will never change with our finances, with difficult relationships within our family.

But God has opened my eyes to some great truths lately. Through my mentor, His Word and several pastors I have learned a new perspective.

For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.” Ephesians 6:12

There is more to life than what meets our physical eye. If you could close your eyes and envision God. Think of Him on the throne. Try to imagine Heaven, even though our imagination would not be able to see it as it is. Imagine bowing down before Him. Because He is God. That’s why we bow. But even still, He deserves it. He has loved us with a never ending love. He has purchased us who are believers by the blood of His Son. If we knew God and what He is really like, we would have no problem bowing down to Him, worshiping Him for all eternity.

“The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.” 2 Peter 3:9

He doesn’t want people to perish. But they do. Everyday. And we go about life. We do our activities, we meet obligations, we do all this ‘stuff’ we think we need to do.  We do things we like, things we enjoy. We sometimes have arguments, we have situations where there may be constant strife. But do we realize this battle we fight is NOT against the flesh and blood before us? This life we live, that there’s more than what meets the eye?

Get ready for this my friends. Yes you mothers who are constantly wiping things, cleaning and cooking. Doing  things that seem mundane.

There is a supernatural realm.

This life we live is incredibly short. Go ahead ask your parents. Ask your grandparents. Ask the oldest person you know.

Life is short.

Eternity is forever.

 

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And I have been questioning a lot of things and questioning how I spend my time. I have been questioning the ‘system of life.’ And doing it like most people do.

Is this God’s vision for me? For my family? That the children must learn to read at this age, multiplication at this age? That they must go to college? That they must make a lot of money? That they need to meet certain milestones at certain ages, for if they don’t???

Is it true to be successful and insure our children are successful, must we follow societies timeline, values and morals? Dare I say even Christian society?

But then I go back to God’s vision for my family. God’s definition of success.

The great men and women of the Bible who were ‘successful’ were the ones who listened to God. And their success didn’t always match the world’s definition.

Ok, so wait. Before they even knew what to do, they had to listen for His voice.

Well golly, if that’s important am I practicing that in my life? Am I teaching my children how to listen for God’s voice? How do I teach them to do this?

We cannot as believers afford to miss His voice. And the way I know how to do this is to get quiet myself. Put away the empty stuff, let go of social activities sometimes. Say no to a TV show, the internet, my text messages and get away with God. Open the Bible, quiet my heart and listen. Let’s be real. As moms we don’t get a lot of time to ourselves, but I’m willing to say if we offer to Jesus what we do have, He can multiply the results and bless it.

He says:

Blessed is the one
    who does not walk in step with the wicked
or stand in the way that sinners take
    or sit in the company of mockers,
but whose delight is in the law of the Lord,
    and who meditates on his law day and night.

 That person is like a tree planted by streams of water,
    which yields its fruit in season
and whose leaf does not wither—
    whatever they do prospers. Psalm 1

Meditating, chewing on the Word day and night. That’s the blessed one. That is the person who will be green and thriving. That is the person who will prosper. That’s the person who can start living in the supernatural. The one who can see that the quarrels, mishaps, the hard things aren’t from the flesh of others. It’s from the enemy.  And therefore, we can handle those things accordingly.

We don’t have to succumb to the lie that what goes on between myself and my friend or husband or family member is really about US. It’s deeper. It’s in the supernatural realm. And the good news, as believers we have the authority to speak to situations, and command the mountain to move. And it must listen!

“The beginning of wisdom is this: Get wisdom.
    Though it cost all you have, get understanding.” Proverbs 4:7

You want to have direction for your life? Do you want direction for your family? Do you want to know what His vision is? Do you want to know how your fit into His plan for the world at large?

Get alone with Him. Quiet your heart. Listen for His voice. Then GO WITH IT!

So you make a mistake, maybe you don’t hear Him right. We can have confidence that He will work it together for our good. He’s a good Father. As we tune our hearts to His voice, you can bet He will lovingly guide us like a good Shepherd. So what are you waiting for? Find some quiet time, meditate on His Word, and then walk confidently as He leads you step by step.

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Picking Up The Pen – I’ve Got Something To Say

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To Those Who Have Followed Me:

I have had to take a break with writing. To be quite honest, I had to close my pages for awhile. I realize as more people read what you write, and when you right things that are controversial not all people will agree with you. They may even have things that are not nice to say to you.  That was beginning to happen to me. With raising a family, starting my doula practice, and making my first priority to spend time with the Lord, I couldn’t properly address the critics. I wasn’t ready in my heart to face it.

So, I chose to walk away. To walk away not knowing if I could ever come back to writing, to sharing. And being okay with it.

And I chose to take almost two months of fasting and praying. In a way I have never experienced in my life. I took the times I would normally take to write and ask some hard, serious questions to God. And I waited in expectation for His answers.

So, here I am to share with you today some of the things the Lord told me. I believe it was for me, and I also believe some of it can be for you.

If You Don’t Understand, Just Ask.

So…God. You know God? He’s really great. He’s better than we know. And the Word says, He is our Father.

 “For all who are being led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God.  For you have not received a spirit of slavery leading to fear again, but you have received a spirit of adoption as sons by which we cry out, “Abba! Father! Romans 8:14-15

So, I decided I would start asking my Father some tough questions. Things that I have wondered about for a LONG time, and have just walked along quoting promises, but not seeing the results. I decided I would boldly go to the throne and just…ask. And I mean ask specific questions. “Why isn’t THIS happening?”  “Why did you make me like THIS?” “Why in the Church does THIS happen and why not THIS?” “What do you want me to do about THIS?”

I asked him the hard questions. Sometimes in tears out of frustration and anger. Sometimes I received an answer when I asked. Other times I received the answer days later. But He has been faithful and loving to answer my questions. I am learning how much He loves me and instead of spinning the wheels in my head, asking other people, trying to figure it out all on my own…I am starting to ASK the whys. And it has been so refreshing.

They Can’t Take Away What They Don’t Give You

Feeling truly loved and validated, and valuable in this life can only come from one person – my heavenly Father. That’s it. Not friends, experiences, family, my children, my roles, my husband. Only God. Which is so freeing. Because no one loves like God. And His love is great, so high and so deep and so wide. Why would I ever want to be validated by anyone other than Him?

And secondly (and I like this a lot), when someone doesn’t like or love me, it’s totally OK! When they have something bad to say about me, it’s OK! Because I don’t look to them for validation. I don’t look to anyone else to make me feel good, be happy, to feel loved. I look to God. They can’t take this love away from me. Because they didn’t give it to me in the first place. He did. So, I can walk in love, I can be kind, I can say “I love you,” to those who don’t love me. And it’s really, OK.

I Can Truly Be “Unoffendable”

I posted this question awhile back on Facebook asking if we can really be ‘unoffendable.’ I got a lot of various answers, but most thought that no, we can’t be and we weren’t made to me. Here’s the thing, when we aren’t about US, we don’t have to get upset or take offense. It kind of goes with that I shared above. We can walk in freedom, we can walk with joy. We don’t have to get hurt, upset or live in fear because we know and have the Love of God. This is refreshing. If you want to talk more about it, I would be happy to anytime! Seriously, leave a comment and we will take it from there.

The Church Isn’t As It Should Be

Jesus did many other things as well. If every one of them were written down, I suppose that even the whole world would not have room for the books that would be writtenJohn 21:25

“Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever believes in me will also do the works that I do; and greater works than these will he do, because I am going to the Father. John 14:12

This isn’t happening. I don’t need to be a brain scientist to see this or understand this. In the Church at large, we aren’t seeing what the verse states above.

So, I asked my Father.

I believe He impressed upon my heart, that we as followers of Christ have become religious. We have become committed to being at church when the doors are open, following the rules of our religion, but we have not passionately pursued knowing Him. We are in a flurry of life, racing and running to and fro. We choose not to sit down and be quiet with Him. We. Don’t. Have. Time.

And it’s costing us. Chains aren’t being broken, lives aren’t being saved, people who are lost are still…lost. This is a real and serious problem. However, the answer is simple. Seek Him! Be with Him. Want it more than anything in your entire life. That’s powerful to think about. Are most of us ‘wanting Him more than ANYTHING?’ If we aren’t, we should be.

I have honestly loved kissing food goodbye here and there. I have loved putting my phone on silent. I have really loved not having so much noise. And being intentional with ANY snippets of time I have had. Because, I have heard my Father’s voice and that’s the only voice I need to hear.

So, where do we go from here?

I am writing as I feel led. I realized how much I loved writing. How much I have enjoyed encouraging those who read these words. And I will share as the Lord leads. He has been so faithful to me. And He’s faithful to you. So what questions do you have on your mind about your life? Things that you want to see happening, but don’t? Oh, no I am not looking for your question. I don’t have the answers, anyways. But He does. Go ahead… ask Him.

 

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