Life Lately. 18.02.2018 (more accurately, mid-February through Mid-March :))

DOING: I’m currently trapped under a sleeping babe who is taking the second half of her nap in my arms, nursing on and off lazily. She took the first part in the car on the way home from what was supposed to be a hike, but ended up getting rained out by some flash flooding! So she slept a bit in the car on the way back, and after an unsuccessful transfer, fell back asleep in my arms. Usually I would be able to put her down on the bed to finish her nap, but because we all share a sleeping space, that doesn’t work unless Mabel is already asleep. And today, it seems, is not one of those days, but instead a day where nap is protested with constant chattering. Ah well, what can you do besides roll your eyes, smile, and vow for an early night? ๐Ÿ™‚

HEARING:ย I am hearing the wind whipping through the palm trees and rain scattered about, as well as the sound machine from the other room where Mabel is trying to sleep. ::fingers crossed, girlfriend!::

DRINKING: Currently nothing, but I am loving treating myself to an occasional kombucha from my favourite grocery store down the road! Mana Foods, you have my heart. My favourite flavour so far is dragonfruit lemongrass, but lavender melon is a close second.

EATING + COOKING: Right this very moment, I’m savouring a piece of Dove dark chocolate sent to us by my parents for Valentine’s Day (thanks Mum & Dad!). Bu this evening for dinner, we had rice with broccoli, cauliflower, & carrots sautรฉed with garlic and turmeric, chickpeas on the side for me, chicken for Matt and Mabel. We topped it with a peanut coconut sauce from Heidi at Apples Under My Bed; it was so yummy! Lately we have been eating a few different meals on repeat. We are trying to save our pennies and I don’t want to spend loads of time in the kitchen. After all, we are in Maui and I want to be outside as much as possible soaking in every bit of sunshine and moments of play with the girls and Matt! We have been eating lots of black bean/corn/salsa/guacamole scenarios with either chips, rice, or tortillas, as well as rice/veggies/chicken or chickpeas with varying sauces, or roasted potatoes/steamed veggies. Also, there is the Paia Fish Market a few minutes walk downtown the road, and it’s so tempting to eat a Mahi burger ever single night! But we are trying to be sane people and space out our visits. ๐Ÿ™‚

WANTING: I am eyeing these white Bluetooth headphones from Sudio! They are just so pretty, have a long change and play time, are noise cancelling as well, and, well, did I already say they were pretty? ๐Ÿ˜‰

PLAYING: Seeing as we are in Maui, there has been an awful lot of beach play these days. ๐Ÿ™‚ Mabel is just loving it! She is always talking about the ocean, beach, and sand. We bring a little bucket with a shovel and a small castle mold, and he is keen on filling her bucket with sand and water, but more so she likes to find other kids (or anyone!) on the beach and play with them. This is all if we can get her to take a break from swimming, because she loves being in the water! She is our little fish, playing in the waves, getting rocked by them and being brave enough to keep chasing them and standing her ground. If we are at Baby Beach (with little waves suitable for kids to play in without assistance) she will swim out until she is chest deep and start singing her “Moana song.” ๐Ÿ™‚ When it’s too cloudy or windy for the beach, we take a walk to the park to run around and still feel the warmth on our skin. There has been an awful lot of great play lately. ๐Ÿ™‚

DECIDING: We are trying to decide what the next leg of our trip is going to look like! We have one more month in Maui (I can’t believe we’ve already been here a month!), so we will head home March 19th, spend ten days in Squamish unpacking and repacking, then head out April 1st to beeline back down the coast, searching once again for warmth and sun. In moments of downtime while the girls are napping or we are in for the evening, we have been doing research on campsites on the California coast, figuring out how much we should book and how much we should wing it and dry camp. We are leaning more towards the show up and dry camp sort of scenarios, because that seems to suit our pace much more. But worse case if we decide we hate it, we can spend a day randomly and book out the rest of our trip so we know exactly what is going to happen. But I think we should be fine. Our jam is figuring out routines and just how we can work our life into our new space. ๐Ÿ™‚


ENJOYING:
The slowness of life. We were going much harder and felt as though we were constantly busy before, always something that needed to get done, that constant feeling of being behind. And even if somehow we weren’t behind on something, the norm was business, so we FELT like we were behind on something but couldn’t remember what! Since being here, we have slowed more, taking time for syrupy slow days of nothing, leisure walks to the park, lunch, nap with kids, go swim at the beach, dinner, walks after the sun goes down to search for geckos and grasshoppers. Some days have been longer yes, with leaving right after breakfast to be in Haiku by 7:45am to lead worship, then head to Kihei for the day, skipped naps for Mabel and ergo/ car naps for Juni, out to dinner, then home to crash into bed. But we are finding our balance of stretch and rest, knowing it can’t be just one or the other.

LOOKING: Immediately I am looking into our bedroom, through the dark at the wall. ๐Ÿ™‚ But I have been looking out the door and out to the mountains, the West Mauis, a lot. The weather has been more overcast and rainy, bringing us indoors or seeking another part of the island where we can find sun. When I look out the the West Mauis there is usually rain and cloud over there, but right to the left of them would be where Kihei is, so we can usually watch and see what that side of the island is doing weather-wise, and if we need to go find sun.

LOVING: Right now I am loving how into singing Mabel is, and how her words and sentence structure have grown in the past couple weeks! She will sing along to the Moana song (singing a lot of the words!) while dancing around the living room. And she also loves going up to worship at the YWAM base to sing songs to Jesus, as she says. She asks “Songs to Jesus with aunties and uncles?” Referring to the other people on base (who have adopted her as their little buddy). It warms my heart that she has this love for music planted so deeply so early, and I hope it only grows.

BUYING: We aren’t buying much on island right now except food and gas, but we have had to buy a new swimsuit for Juniper, as well as a pack of sleepers, because she has grown out of everything we brought! She has also grown out of a large pile of clothing, but she has enough to get through to the end of the trip. Girlfriend won’t stop growing! Which is amazing. ๐Ÿ™‚ When she turned five months, we bought her 9m sleepers and an 18m swimsuit. Sigh. And of course, I figured if she is getting a new swimsuit, might as well get Mabel one to match? Lol! It has a long sleeve rash guard which is nice for the amount of time she’s in the sun and rolling in the sand. ๐Ÿ™‚

PLANNING:ย Mabel’s Second Birthday Party! We were planning on doing a hangout with friends/catch up before we leave on our next leg of our journey combined with a party for her, so it’s not going to be a huge deal. I feel like the first birthday is usually the biggest to celebrate the parents surviving, and birthdays after that can be smaller and special without a huge over the top, Pinterest-style fuss (also, with all the unpacking, repacking, trailer cleaning and renovation, we won’t have time to do a whole lot!). But my mother-in-law said that she has already made some gecko decorations for her party, so I guess there will be that as well. ๐Ÿ™‚ I am doing a bit of research for her cake, because we don’t give her sugar yet (only a couple bites a few times on very special occasions) and last year, she wasn’t too into the cake bit, mainly the whipped cream and fruit bit. But she does like cookies. So I’m not too sure what I’ll do yet; maybe some sort of date/nut bar sort of thing? Or a cake and jus see how she likes it? One thing I did think of which I’m excited about is natural sprinkles (yes, that is something to get excited over! Lol) I figured I could pulse unsweetened shredded coconut in the blender with some beet juice-bam! Pink sprinkles. Do the same thing with a slight sprinkle of turmeric- yellow sprinkles! And I’ve had an amazing chocolate frosting using coconut cream, cocoa, and maple syrup that is so yummy, so I’ll probably use that. We’ll see how the rest of the party turns out. ๐Ÿ™‚

WATCHING:ย We have been rewatching “Parks and Rec,” which I will always love. My favourite seasons of the series are 3-5, when Ben & Chris are first introduced. Watching Ben & Leslie fall in love makes my heart warm, and Chris is LITERALLY my spirit animal in every way. ๐Ÿ™‚

SAVOURING: These last Maui days. Those are hard words to type out, because I cannot believe we have been here over a month and a half, and I cannot believe we are headed home in 11 days! It seems surreal to me that we even had the chance to live here for a bit. I am getting very excited about the next leg of our trip, going home, getting our trailer packed and heading down the coast to camp for several months, but the excitement for that isn’t diminishing what we still have left here. God is doing lots on our heads and hearts, and I will forever be thankful for this time of replenishment and rest.

WEARING:ย Comfies. ๐Ÿ™‚ We went for an early morning walk and got caught in the rain, so when we got home we peeled off our clothes and traded them in for warm comfies. I am currently wearing a charcoal tank top and my blue and white striped Thai pants (if you don’t know what Thai pants are, they are amazing and will change your life! So light and cozy. Get some; do it.) , while snugged under a light blanket on our bed.

READING:ย I have started to read “Parenting” by Paul David Tripp, and it is SO good and SO challenging! It is all about grace-filled parenting, realizing the grave that has been given to us by Christ, and extending that to our kids. It’s also a wake-up call to realize that we don’t control our kids, and shines light on behaviour tactics we may use to get them do obey rather than giving them grace and finding out the reason behind the behaviour. Yes, I am underlining a lot.

CRAVING: Mmm . . . More wood-fired oven pizza from Flatbread Pizza down the road. We went there for Valentine’s Day while two of our friends generously offered to babysit for a bit, and it was incredible. Pizza is one of my all-time favourite foods, and I am a crust snob to the core. Must be thin, chewy, have a pull, have a sour and slightly charred flavour, but be delicate and light, a balance between the flavours of the crust and toppings. Anyway, I could go on, but the pesto pizza there is IT. Can’t wait to go back at least one more time before we leave island!

FEELING:ย More at peace. I am recognizing more everyday that this season is just that, a season of adventure, fun, and slow, and that life won’t always be this whimsical and simple. I had been feeling the weight of future decisions that needed to be made, anxious about wanting to make the decisions immediately, even though we don’t have all the information or ducks lined up that we need to make those decisions. So we have to wait. So instead of having this anxiousness follow me around like a prickly cloud, I am continuing to tell myself that nothing can be done right now and distancing myself from it. Because the last thing I would want to do is taint the time we have here in Maui with anxiety about things that we can’t do anything about right now! Just sitting in the tension of the unknown. Once I settled enough to articulate that, I had so much more peace and rest. I also feel like since distancing myself I have been able to see more objectively and have more of an open hand, giving it to Christ to make sure that this is the dream he has for us. Honestly, I had been fighting doing that before, because in my heart of hearts, I was afraid he would say no, and I didn’t want to have to think about that or deal with that! Man am I stubborn. But giving it up to Christ has given me more peace, knowing that His plan and His timing is best in everything. And yes, I do have to keep telling myself that and praying that, because giving up yourself is a daily thing!

Life lately posts inspired by Apples Under My Bed

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Sporadic Creative Burst . . . & Some Family Photos.

Actually, if I’m going to be honest with you, this isn’t even a creative burst. It’s a moment when the house is quiet except for the gentle up-down of my baby’s breath as she nurses in her sleep. Mabel is napping in her crib and Matt is resting on the couch, because after a morning family ride up the gondola to play in some snow and watch Santa from afar, we all need some rest. I, however, have a rough time sleeping in the middle of the day, especially when all I can see around me are unfinished projects and deadlines. I wish I could just stick Juniper (the baby-oh ya, forgot to mention, we had a baby ๐Ÿ™‚ ) in the ergo and go for it, but I know little Miss takes better naps lying on her side, so I’m here. The projects around me include packing boxes, packing bags for our Christmas vacation as well as our Maui trip AND our camping trip, deep cleaning the corners to get ready for movers, finish using all our groceries and pack away non-perishables, etc. There are so many things, and here I am googling “what do to when stuck under a nursing babe.” So I figured if I was able to wiggle one hand free while she continues to nurse I could write, which I haven’t done much of the past few months.

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We have been busy in the weirdest, craziest ways! After our summer camping trip to the interior and Salt Spring in the June/July, we came home where Matt upped his hours at work and continued doing house renovations. Parents came to visit for a couple months, and we had a baby girl! Matt continued to work 6-7 days a week while coming to reno, resting in small moments when there was little left of him. But we knew if we wanted o travel next year, this is what would have to be done. So now we are in the final home stretch of crazy before our travel, which is just over a week away! Where are we going? Here’s a rough timeline . . .

Dec 11-Jan14: Springfield for Christmas (FAMILYTIME LIKE WHOA!!!)

Jan14-Jan17: Squamish to drop our winter clothes & grab our beach clothes . . .

Jan17-March19: Maui!!! Staying at the YWAM base where Matt and I met. Bringing the girls there is going to be so surreal and wonderful.

March19-first week of April: Squamish to celebrate Mabel’s second birthday, see family, and pack up our trailer . . .

April: Head south with our little camper! We bought a 14′ fibreglass 1979 beachcomber trailer (which we’ve affectionately named Ethel Beavers), and we are heading south to properly skip the rest of winter and the silly rainy spring. From here on out things get a bit fuzzy, but we know we want to be in Southern California, Arizona, New Mexico, etc and only head back north through the National Parks when he weather cooperates and warms up. ๐Ÿ™‚

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So needless to say (Even though I’ve already said it?!) we’ve been busy! I hope to write more after our first flight is taken off and I can breathe a little bit more, as well as have some time to reflect. Since Juniper was born, I feel like our main goals have been to get the house ready for renters, pack, purge, as well as heal from having a baby, and I haven’t don’t much reflecting on this new season our family is coming into. A season where Mabel isn’t our baby, but a full-blown toddler who has stolen our hearts with her sense of humour, adventure, and wide vocabulary. A season where I can again savour the small moments of having a small baby, and the wonder and innocence she is. A season where I can again look at my amazing husband, a man who works tirelessly for our family, and spend some time together as friends, lovers, adventure-buddies, partners, playmates, and most importantly, as a brother in Christ. Focusing on what God has in store for us will be amazing!

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Anyway, enough words. Here are a few family photos that my brother took when he visited us a while ago. Thanks Evan! I’m in love with them!

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My Wildflower.

I've come to the conclusion that my daughter, sweet thing that she is, isn't the most delicate of flowers, even though we may call her that from time to time. Sure, she is delicate in the fact that she is a baby and a lady, but in all reality, she is more of a wildflower. And if I'm completely honest, I really love that about her.

There is so much spunk and fire in her, spit and vinegar, that translates into a constancy of movement, talking, and exploring. She would rather be outside, picking flowers, digging in the dirt (and probably eating some), finding water and jumping right in, collecting rocks, running, falling, climbing, and finding her way around the world.

Sitting, watching, and not being involved aren't things that she jives with, and would rather get up and be with you or involved in the story somehow. Which at home can be great, but at library story time probably isn't the best for the other kids, who may I add, are all sitting listening quietly while my child tries to sit on the leader's lap, or grab another book to read, or trying to pet all the kids' hair, or playing with another kid's fun looking socks, etc. We sang some songs, then barely made it through the half-hour, only with the promise of going to the park for swings and slides afterward. But while this can be exhausting (and yes, it is especially exhausting at 37 weeks pregnant!), I still love it. She is bursting with personality that I do not want to hinder in any way. No that doesn't mean I don't direction and discipline, but that's a whole other topic. This is just me celebrating my child's crazy spunkiness.

She is teaching me about letting go. I encourage her to explore new things, to act silly and express herself, and as I do this, I wondering if I allow myself the same. I came to this reality when we were having a dance party in the kitchen, me putting on some weirdo dance music and telling her to dance, but not really dancing myself. She started, then stopped, as if wondering why I wasn't dancing either. When I realized this, I actually started dancing, jumping around and spinning in circles with my hands above my head, singing along to the music. When she saw this, she got a huge smile on her beautiful face and followed suit, dancing and laughing and spinning. What did I expect from her if I wasn't going to play and dance with her? I do not want to be so caught up in my adulthood and my "important things" that I forget to play and dance with her. And it was wonderful to see her expression change when I joined in. It was as if through my joining and playing, I was giving her permission to do what she wanted to do, and she adored it. Permission to dance and be free and express the joy that was erupting from her tiny self. Permission to be the wildflower that she is.

11 months . . . So belated. ;)ย 

I took these photos the day Mabel turned 11 months old and had full intentions of posting them later that evening. Then life happened, and here we are 9 days before my sweet girl’s first birthday, and I’m still playing catch-up. Isn’t that the story of our lives though? She’s changed even from these pictures! But I love them. She has so much spunk and personality these days! Growing so much more into the little girl and woman she’s going to be. Man oh man, I can’t believe I get to be her mama. 

Birth Story.

Mabel Jeanne Davies

Born: 3:10pm, 24 March, 2016

Weight: 7 lb, 7 oz

Length: 20 1/2 inches

Head Diameter: 13 inches

She is precious and perfect, and I still cant believe she is ours to keep.

As I look back to this day, I am still in awe. I am writing this down to remember the wonder, the pain, and the inexplicable joy that erupted inside when I first held our baby girl.

I was due on the 14th of March, and for some reason fully expected everything to happen on schedule. Things seemed to be moving right along, the baby had dropped, we had moved into our house and had completed all the major renovations, and my parents had arrived in town on the 10th. I was ready, we were ready, and yet there seemed to be no moving forward from our little miss. Our due date came and went with nothing to show for it, except some spicy food leftovers and frustration on my part. For not being a type A person, I was on a schedule and wanted her out! Partially because I was sick of having sciatica back pain constantly, partly because I was ready to meet her!

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I felt like I was doing everything to speed the process along; I was eating spicy food, pineapple, drinking red raspberry leaf tea, walking as much as I could, bouncing on my exercise ball, doing my pelvic rocks three times a day, eating eggplant parmesan that claimed to bring people into labour (I ate it three days in a row-no such luck), acupuncture, and constantly looking up more ways to naturally induce labour. On the 18th, my midwife checked me and said I was 3 cm dilated already, my cervix was soft, and my body was basically ready to go into labour. That was so encouraging to hear! That weekend I also started having small contractions on and off, which made me realize that it could happen any day now! My hopes were high. Almost every evening I would have with a few contractions, but they never stuck around long enough to become regular. I would wake in the morning and realize that i hadn’t gone into labour, so i would just hope again for the next night. At 9 days overdue, I went into the hospital to have an ultrasound and a non-stress test to be sure that Mabel was doing ok. She was doing stellar, so there was no need to rush, but my midwife and I had to chat through induction possibilities, natural and medical. This made me anxious and stressed, because the last thing I wanted was to be induced and be made to labour on my back in a bed for who knows how long. I came home from the appointment discouraged, but i am lucky enough to be married to the most encouraging man who reminded me that no matter what, we have a healthy baby girl, and she can come out all sorts of ways, but in the end it will be beautiful and she will be here with us.

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Wednesday evening Matt and I decided to go out on a date, because we weren’t sure if we would get another evening just the two of us. We went to the Shady Tree Pub for wings, which Matt decidedly covered partially in Tabasco sauce to help baby along.

On Thursday morning at 3:00am, I was awoken by a contraction. Being unsure if this bout would stick around, I waited it out, then went back to bed. 10 minutes later, another contraction, one minute long. 10 minutes after that, I started timing them, seeing how often and long each of them were. They ranged from 10-11 minutes apart, each lasting a minute. After a couple hours of timing contractions and mentally preparing myself that this was actually the real thing, I got out of bed and wandering into the kitchen. I figured if I was going to have a baby that day, I better have some breakfast while I still had an appetite. As I ate my toast, I thought about the possibilities that the day could hold. I could labour like this for a few days. I could have a fast labour and she could be here within a couple hours-who knows? I quietly went back into the bedroom, unintentionally waking Matt. I told him that my contractions had started, but we had time to sleep some more before we would get up and get everything ready. So he went back to sleep, and I continued to rest my body and time my contractions. At 7:00am, I got out of bed and went into the kitchen, where my mom was just getting up to make her coffee. I told her that my contractions had started, and that I was pretty sure this was the real thing. My mom, being the amazing woman that she is, was very excited for me and immediately said โ€œOk, what can I do to help? Where is your list of things that need to be done?โ€ At that point, we all went to work getting ready for the day. My dad started covering a few windows that didn’t have curtains yet. My mom started freezing rags, started boiling water, making an electrolyte drink for me to sip. Matt ran to the store to get a few last minute items, then returned home to set up the birthing pool. I continued to wander around and try to make myself useful, all the while stopped to have a contraction every 7-10 minutes. Lindsey (my sister-in-law, birth photographer, & one of my closest friends), arrived around 10:30am, and started snapping a few pictures. I continued to have contractions and experiment with different positions that I could labour in, bouncing on my exercise ball, leaning over the couch, on my hands and knees, whatever felt good at the time. Lindsey managed to get a few pictures of us when we were all talking and laughing, a clear sign that I was still in early labour! My mom started rubbing my lower back with some homemade massage oil my sister had gifted me, and between contractions I was able to rest and breathe in the clary sage and lavender to calm myself.

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As things progressed, the contractions started to graduate in intensity, and I had to focus all my attention and energies into getting through each minute. I could feel that things were starting to pick up as the time between contractions became shorter and shorter, averaging on every 4-5 minutes. I dropped to my knees on the floor with every contraction, this somehow becoming my favourite โ€œgo-toโ€ labour position. I remember sitting on my knees, bending over my exercise ball, as silent tears dropping as I counted and breathed through the contraction. They continued to get closer and closer, on average about three minutes apart. We were told by our midwife that when I have contractions that are three minutes apart, lasting a minute long, and this pattern has continued for two hours, then I could call her to come to our home. After an hour of intense contractions, I decided to get into the shower to help ease the pain. I didn’t want to call the midwife too soon, so I figured a shower would be a good test to see if the contractions would stall out or if they would keep progressing. Once in the bathroom, things hit full throttle! Matt turned on the water in the shower, but I didn’t have enough breaks during contractions to even take a step over the edge to get into the shower. Some contractions were thirty seconds apart, some three minutes, some two minutes, but they were all lasting long enough to run into the next one with barely a break in-between. By the time I got into the shower, there was only a few minutes of hot water left before it was cold and I needed to get out. At this point it had only been an hour and a half, but we felt like we needed to call our midwife and let her know that things were progressing quite quickly! Matt told my parents it was time that they left and headed to my in-laws to wait things out, and the midwife said she would be there within a half hour. I dried off and emerged from the bathroom and headed to my favourite labouring spot, a quilt on the floor covered in towels, beside the couch and beside the birthing pool. It took me several minutes to get there, stopping every few steps and clutching Matt because of the pain and contractions. Once there, bent over the edge of the couch, I began to feel the contractions like never before. I tried my best to breathe through each contraction deeply, dropping my jaw and moaning. There were times the pain became so intense, I remember thinking, shouting, and crying that I couldnโ€™t do it anymore. But as I said the words, I remembered that my birthing coach had said that if I felt like I wanted to give up, that was a sign that I was in transition stage. I would be ready to push soon, and everything was almost over. With those thoughts in mind, I was able to focus back in, bearing down with every bit of what I had.ย  Matt was there through every moment, encouraging me that I could do it, all the while he was squeezing the acupressure point on my big toe to help relieve the pain. Lindsey was squeezing my hands, talking me through my breathing.

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When our midwife got there, she checked my cervix and let me know that I was already at 9cm dilated! At that point she had to call the RN from the hospital to come and assist her. Contractions still coming strong, we decided it was time to get into the birthing pool and start the pushing stage. Soon we were going to be meeting our little girl! I stood up ready to get into the tub, then another, incredibly strong contraction hit. I reached and clung to Matt as I cried and breathed through it. After it was over, I knew I only had a few short moments before the next oneย  would sweep over me. I climbed into the tub and dropped to my knees along the side. Matt knelt outside the tub and faced me, and as the next contraction came, he grabbed my head and squeezed, placing acupressure on my forehead.

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During these contractions I pushed some, listening to my midwife as she coached me through when to push and when to rest. At thatย  time, unbeknownst to me, the RN had arrived, and in between contractions she was pushing my water bottle up to my face, reminding me to drink and to rest my head on the edge of the pool when I could. I had lost all track of time, focusing in on breathing and pushing. After a bit of pushing, my midwife asked if I wanted to change positions and sit with my back against the pool so I could catch her, because she would surely be here within a few pushes. I could catch our baby as she came into the world! I hadn’t even thought about it before that moment, but I decided why not? My main reason to change position was that I thought anything could be better than the pain I was experiencing, right? I sat back and Matt sat behind me outside the pool, his arms underneath mine, supporting me. I pushed several times, still listening to my midwife coaching me. Before I knew it, I was pushing her head out! We realized while she was crowning that our baby was still in the amniotic sac, or โ€œen caul.โ€ Being born in the sac is rare, and is said to bring luck. With the next contraction, I pushed her head out! In that moment, so much became real. I knew there was a life inside of me, I knew that when she came out she would be this beautiful, tiny person, but I wasn’t aware of just how in awe and in love I would be from the very start. I sat and rested a moment with her head in my hands, in awe that this amazing little person was coming out of me! I pushed once more, and the rest of her body followed, still in the precious, small sac. I held her under the water for just a few moments, and the sac broke as I brought her up to my chest. I held her close, in disbelief and amazement that she was ours.

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The nurses quickly gathered a receiving blanket to wrap around her tiny body to keep her warm. After a few moments on my chest, she gave us her first cry, her first of many small noises in this new world. I couldn’t help but cry and laugh when I heard her, and I held her even closer, doing nothing but wanting to keep her safe and comfort her. We spent the next few moment in the pool gazing at this new life, smiling and laughing in amazement that she was finally here.

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I handed baby to Matt to hold while I delivered the placenta, which was stored and kept connected to our baby so she could take full advantage of all the blood and nutrients that the placenta could still give her via her umbilical cord. I climbed out of the birthing pool, and laid on a quilt and towels beside Matt while they checked my uterus for any extra placenta or membrane left inside. Matt had some bonding time with her skin to skin, then once the umbilical cord stopped pulsing, he cut it. He then set her on my chest to soothe and calm me while they continued to check my uterus.

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After they made sure there was nothing left, I was able to get up. I put my robe on, laid on the couch, and Matt handed our baby to me for her first breastfeeding experience. She latched on well, anxious to eat (she loves food, just like her mama!), and we laid there resting together in this blissful state.

The rest of the the afternoon was a wonderful blur of filling out paperwork, laughing, introducing baby to family, and snuggling. We fell asleep in the living room that night, Matt on the couch and Mabel lying on my chest in the recliner. I was beyond exhausted, but overwhelmed by the amount of love I felt for this little human. I woke up a few times in the night, just to check on her and make sure she was real; looking at her sweet features made my heart explode in a new kind of love.

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As I remember that day, I feel like it was a fairy tale kind of birth, surreal and hard to find the right words. Iโ€™ll never forget these moments.

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Mabel Jeanne, thanks for making me a mama. I love you dearly.

Expectations Are Dumb.

I should know better by now. I should know that if I get excited and worked up about something, I can kinda make it a teensy bit bigger in my brain than it actually is (when I say teensy, I mean I get ridiculous). And the crazy thing is, I build all kinds of expectations around things that should be everyday occurrences. When my brain is finished processing them and getting stoked for them, it’s a semi-epic scene from a movie, the kind where everyone lives happily ever after.

So this “scene” opens on last night. I climbed in bed and scrolled through my Facebook newsfeed for a couple minutes (Please don’t insert your judgements here about me reading the phone before bed-I only do it a couple minutes while I’m waiting for the hubs to brush his teeth. Calm down!), and I see an alert that a new bakery I had been looking forward to opening is opening their doors tomorrow morning. WOOHOO! I had been looking forward to this for a while, so I immediately planned on gathering a couple ladies with babies and heading down there for a sweet-treat brunch date. I went to sleep with visions of croissants, sourdough, and local coffee dancing in my head.

This morning I woke, gathered myself and Miss Mabel together, and headed down the road. Upon arrival I realized the place wasn’t as crowded as I thought it would be . . . because there was no seating. I hadn’t realized that this was a drop in, grab goodies and go type of place, and I was ill-equipped. No stroller. No baby carrier. I couldn’t get a hold of my friend I was meeting to alert her, so I ordered a fresh pecan cinnamon bun and a decaf coffee to go. Let me tell you, when one thing goes wrong, it’s easy for your brain to go haywire and notice every little thing that isn’t what you expected. Like when the sweet woman puts more icing that you prefer on your bun. Like when it’s not as sunny as you thought, and the wind is whipping your hair every which way and treating to blow your treat off the car as you try to strap your baby in. I ignore these thoughts and return to the car, heading to my next errand early. Ok, so maybe I wasn’t going to have a picturesque brunch, but that’s ok.

I get to my next stop, the library, to make copies of a print I was putting in my house, and it’s closed for another 15 minutes. I chat with a couple ladies, biding my time, until the doors open. I sit, log in, and start downloading the prints I was getting. At this point Mabel ย started to let me know that she wasn’t a fan of being quiet or still in the library, so I stand in front of the computer and bounce her while it downloads. Six minutes later, the download doesn’t work and needs to be restarted. Restart, wait, and it still won’t open. I give up and head home, already feeling bad that I’d kept Mabel out when she should’ve been napping. Mabel falls asleep in the car (whichever happens and is awesome!), clutching her giraffe. I get home, she wakes up, I gently transfer her to the carrier, and she falls back asleep in a few minutes (with some help from some bouncing). In the quiet, I sneak my cinnamon bun onto a plate (with some boiled eggs because hello protein!), get my now lukewarm coffee, and sigh.

I had expected a different morning. I had expected sitting, chatting, and laughing with a friend as we tucked into delicious pastry. I had imagined getting errands done efficiently, rather than waiting around then not actually getting anything accomplished. But all this makes me wonder, should we never hope for anything and therefore never be disappointed? I don’t think so. I would rather hope in something and be disappointed than never hope for anything at all. Granted, I could probably tone it down a bit in the building up expectations department, but I think the problem comes when we put ALL our hope into these big expectations that we have built up. It’s not that we can’t hope for something grand, but being sure not to become a wreck when that falls through or doesn’t go the way we planned. Especially with a baby, things very rarely go as you think they will, and I am learning this everyday. A big dinner that you prepare ends up being a night of a cranky baby and lots of rocking and taking shifts eating. Getting out of the house to spontaneously hang out with friends means getting out late because there is a blowout all over yourself and babe. And sometimes it’s a brunch that doesn’t happen.

It’s all ok. Better than ok.

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And here’sย a couple from yesterday. We did an awesome two hour hike with some other mamas in town, and had a blast! Love exploring this amazing town.

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