Life Just Got Busy (and Welcome!)

LifeJustGotBusyI still have a post waiting in the drafts processing my feelings on Anna and I’s 4 day sleepover this past summer. I promise I will finish it and it will be published one day! I feel like it is important for others to see what open adoption can be like and what our relationship has bloomed into over these last 11 years. But, for now I felt like I needed something new up to welcome the wildly successful #ShoutYourAdoption viewers that clicked over. Thank you! Thank you. Thank you all for sharing, liking, and commenting and spreading LIFE and what is possible with adoption. Keep it up. Head over to The Grace Bond’s instagram page or Facebook page to stay up to date in between blog posts!


Now, here’s where I have been. Life is absolutely insanely busy right now but, oh, my soul! My soul is so filled with my 4 little loves at home, the FaceTime chats with Anna that brighten my world even more, and the work God has me doing within my passions of adoption/parenting and writing. Wow, God is faithful when He places dreams on our heart!

1) Packing.  I know I will have more to say on this in another post, there is so much to process! But basically we have outgrown our little home and the Lord has finally opened the doors to hopefully find our forever home. This is thrilling yet so sad at the same time. We truly love our little home and it has served us well these last years. After all, we’ve had one even born here in our bedroom!

2) Supporting.  Like I said above, God has been opening so many doors within the passion and heart He has given me: supporting those in unplanned pregnancies and through writing. I have been doing what I can to support mommas in need of encouragement on all sides of the adoption triad, or mommas who decide to parent. A few weeks ago my community pulled together all these goodies for a young momma who decided to parent at the last minute. What a joy this was to be a part of and to be the tool in God’s hands to provide both physical things for her new baby girl and emotional support. I’m now a mentor with Talk About Adoption and also partnering with Binti, you can find me over there too!


3) Writing. (Just not here…) I now right for and  One is a deeper look into my adoption experience and unplanned pregnancy while the other is geared towards everything motherhood. I love my job! It is so exciting when passion overlaps with career. Go check those out.

4) Schooling. So, because of this move we decided to pull our oldest out of public school so we wouldn’t have to keep enrolling/unrolling in several schools. This makes it more consistent for her and fulfills my heart tug to have her home, too :-) We decided on Connection Academy. So far so good!

5) Disney World! Ah, it was nice to spend a week pretending we were in another world and we weren’t adults. And the kids faces? Priceless. Totally worth it the 11 hour drive.

Disney 2015

Again, thank you for stopping by and head over to the social media buttons on this page to see what’s going on sooner rather than later.  I do lots of writing and sharing over there! And, if you would, pray for our family. Pray for me. We have so much going on right now and it can be stressful or we (I ) can lose sight of priorities. Pray that I can balance this all with God’s strength. There is so much change! All good and exciting things, but it is change none-the-less which can be hard on kids or type A mommas like me :-) Thank you for your prayers.


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10 Ways Birthmother Grief Feels Like Miscarriage

10 Ways adoption

Don’t forget I blog a lot about adoption and my experience as a birthmom over on as well! This is my latest piece about the grief of a birthmom and how I found the emotions similar to my miscarriage heartbreak. I wrote this in hope it helps others connect to one another, especially to put your feet in the shoes of a birthmother, the best way we know how.

1. Leaving the hospital empty handed

I remember being wheeled out of the hospital empty handed two times. Once after I placed at 16 years old and again as a young married mom. Each time I went in with a baby (or two) inside me and was wheeled out with empty arms and a broken heart. It was incredibly hard knowing in an ideal world this wasn’t the way it was supposed to go.  READ MORE


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Joy in the Lazy Summer Morning

Joy in the Lazy summer Mornings

My summer morning routine lately:

-Nurse baby
-Get up between 6 & 7 am (with the rare occasion of 8am!)
-Set up TV show for kids
-Make food/smoothies
-Drink smoothie while reading devotional
-Make coffee
-Put baby down for morning nap
-Drink coffee
-Write and browse Facebook
-Take a shower around 10am
-Start chores, lunch prep, play time, etc.

Joy in the morning

Yes, my kids have watched a wee bit much TV these last weeks of summer. And I don’t care right now, because my house is so peaceful for me to just sit while I soak up God’s word and things that fill me so I can be better for them later in the day. Self-care is essential, ya know. I’m filling up for when we are painting and using our imagination while building blocks this afternoon. I’m filling myself up for these nights where we have been staying up late battling over the kitchen table where our board game time is held, or the moments of having deep faith talks with my 8 year old. And the hard moments– because, oh, how trying our 2 year old Ashlyn is right now and the bickering between my 2 older ones can be relentless at times. These laid back, lazy morning have been so refreshing to fuel up before the chaos.

Summer Fun collage 2015

I also started using the First 5 app last Monday and every single day I have been consistent so far reading, praying, and letting the short messages soak in. In result, everyday has changed for the better. The difference? My attitude. I still wake up tired from our late night board gaming (so worth it!), but my soul sings out with joy at the sight of my kids smiles (usually). He gives me strength to handle the hard moments like melt downs in the library (happens every time!). His word each morning has softened my heart to be more of what they need and to see them how He sees them: Pure joy. In return, they are more joyful, too. I’m treasuring these last summer days of time for me and time for them.

summer fun

This routine won’t last forever, I know. School is right around the corner and then I will be up at 6am having to move, move, move everybody out the door while trying to squeeze in my devotional time to keep me fueled up for the busyness. The day will begin much earlier and TV rules back in place. But right now? This is the life. We’re breaking some rules and we’re truly enjoying it.

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11th Birthday Thoughts: Feeling Adoption Loss

11th Birthday Thoughts-2

Anna turned 11 in June and as usual it brought about memories and emotions that I don’t usually have on a daily basis.  Usually I am very much at peace and content that we have 2 separate lives that occasionally intersect. However, birthdays trigger memories to come flooding back as if it was just yesterday, making the piece missing in my heart feel just as raw as it was after placement.

After her birthday party on my 2 hour drive home, I couldn’t help but just cry a little. As I listened to the worship music on my iPhone, I let the flood gates down I miss her. I miss the daily presence she would have in our lives. I kept thinking of all the things I have missed over the last 11 years. The little things. The things like tucking her in at night, making her food, knowing who her friends are, taking care of her boo-boo’s, or taking her shopping.  What killed me inside was that she obviously feels that loss too, as does my 8 year old Savannah. They both sobbed when having to say goodbye. Goodbyes seem to be getting harder as they get older and understand more. It kills me that I basically am the cause of this, by my choice years ago. These are the things you don’t think about when making an adoption plan years, looking ahead to what it will be like later on and the challenges ahead. Would I change my decision if I could go back? No. I still know I did what was best at 16 years old for her and I. Life was different then. I can’t deny that adoption is always easy though and it has constant new waters to gauge as it affects more than just the 2 of us. And honestly, if I had kept Anna, Savannah wouldn’t exist anyway because I wouldn’t of met Mark. Our life would have looked very different.

But, oh, how grateful I am to have her in my life at all. I know we are blessed in our open adoption. Her parents are amazing and nurture her desire to know us and allow us to be together when we can in our busy lives. Having the relationship we do certainly helps because I can see what a wonderful life she has and I love knowing that she is being raised how I would raise her if she were with me now. God hand picked the best parents possible! So, as we move into this 11th year together navigating this new territory of her curiosity and deeper understanding of adoption, I’m glad I have my God as my guide and comforter. He has never failed us before. He won’t now. After all, He is the one who put all this into motion. He, and our mutual love for Anna, have been at the center of our adoption and it has created a beautiful thing. Reminding and resting in that truth helps the feelings of loss.

God didn't promise

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Journey to Joy: My Happy Place

happy place

We decided to splurge this year and make our back patio nicer for us to actually enjoy.  Before it was a tiny strip of concrete that could basically hold our grill and that is it. We do enjoy running around in the grass playing soccer or flying kites when the weather is suitable, but after 5 years of being in this home we envisioned how much more we could enjoy our backyard if we could actually sit out there, too!

patio collage 5


While we’ve often had 100 degree heat during the day (thanks, summer!), the mornings for breakfast and evenings are absolutely heavenly. Bonus: makes clean up pretty easy!

patio collage 3

I’ll admit I’m not much of a nature person, despite having 5 years of camp under my belt at Camp Hanes, complete with an entire week of hiking the Appalachian Trail (no showers, using a sweatshirt as a pillow, crackers and salami for lunch, drinking water out of streams. Gasp. Who was that girl?). I don’t much like bugs that tend to favor my flavor, dirt on my hands, getting sweaty, or the wind in my hair (my hair is long and tangles easily, ya know). However, having this extra “room” (technically a gazebo) with a screen we can close to keep mosquitos out and a roof over our heads has been amazing. I can enjoy the outdoors from the safety of our patio. We purchased a few finishing touches like an outdoor dining table, a (fake) plant, string of lights, candles, a chevron rug, and an outdoor chandelier. Looking at them makes me happy. We had a porch swing already that we moved in there with new cushions to update the look (and well, ’cause the old ones were falling apart). That’s my favorite spot. 

patio collage 1

One hand holding coffee (very carefully…) watching the new day’s glow on my children’s morning faces, the other arm cradling my 4 month old while the birds sing a chorus exclaiming God’s glory behind us in the trees. Gently rocking back and forth as we talk about today’s plan. It is a beautiful way to wake up, to start fresh.  And even if the rest of the day feels chaotic, busy, and loud…the mornings are a moment in time filled with calm and simplistic joy.

As I sit here 4 months postpartum, on the brink of where things went down hill after Ashlyn’s birth into postpartum depression,  I know these moments of joy and “doing what works” are crucial to holding on. Finding joy in the chaos is essential to being a mom. This…this is my happy place right now. 

 You speak: Where is your happy place? Tell me about it in the comments!

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How I Learned the Value of a Doula

How I learned the value of a doula

I had never had a doula with my 4 previous births. Partially because for the earlier births in the hospital I didn’t know they even existed but once I learned what a doula was, I didn’t think I needed one. Call it pride. Call it ignorance. Call it me wanting to save my money. Whatever you want to call it, I thought I could do this birthing thing on my own.

I mean, I had my husband there and my midwife…that was enough, right? They knew what I would need!  And yes, with my 2 natural experiences at the birth center and at home they did their best to be what I needed. Both were very positive experiences and going into my 5th birth I still felt confident that I didn’t need a doula present.

But then my husband couldn’t be at our birth. With 3 other children (if you are confused on that math compared to above: I do have 4 children but one was placed in open adoption when I was 16) the most sick I have ever seen them with high fevers, lethargic, flu-like symptoms, we knew that he needed to stay with them while I labored and birthed elsewhere. We had planned for a home birth again, but for this reason we decided it best to go to the birthing center near by to avoid the germs and for my team to have space to move around the home as needed.  Having the place figured out, I felt scared of doing this on my own. Sure, I had my midwives but their job is split between me and the baby. I needed someone there dedicated to my needs while in labor and afterwards like my husband would be. Typically, he is my rock during labor, I needed a replacement rock.

So, a friend that is studying to be a doula offered to be in that place and another dear friend ended up staying for birth as well. I had TWO rocks! It was incredible. Of course, I wanted my husband there and I did have to work through some grief that he wouldn’t be there to witness his daughter’s birth, but I also felt a lot of peace in the situation. I knew I had the support I needed. And as a result of the situation, I learned the value of a doula.  

For the first time in my 4 labors, I had a woman’s touch to push my hips together or rub my back and stroke my hair as I breathed deep into my zone. For the first time, I had other women there to talk me through the fear of the pressure I was feeling, knowing what was coming soon and knowing they knew what I was feeling.  I had someone to encourage me to try this position or that, to remind me to breathe more efficiently. I had someone make the suggestion of trying this oil or that one for how I was feeling. Their heart-to-hearts while I sat in the tub will always be treasured moments of Sadie’s birth. The atmosphere was full of peace and JOY! There are pictures of us laughing while I’m in the tub and my friends perched on the other side in between contractions. When a contraction hit, one or both of my friends would jump to action to be by my side, one rubbing my back and one rubbing my hair. I felt like a goddess, just how a birthing mother should feel. 

As a result, I felt completely relaxed and in control throughout my entire birth, even during pushing. My previous birth at home, while a positive experience, there were things I wanted to improve on like relaxing more during transition and pushing, trying a different birthing position, being quieter during transition, breathing more effectively, etc. I truly feeling having my doula friends there to be my support helped me meet those goals to feel in control. I pushed only 3 times and while I did RAWR my daughter out into this world, I still felt very in control of the whole process.

My midwife commented later how this being a birth without a man present felt like a trip back into time as an all women birth was how it used to be, so now we affectionately call this our “Red Tent birth.” She also mentioned how watching my friends supporting me she almost felt like she shouldn’t interfere too much and kept her distance to not interrupt us. Of course, my midwife was still there to keep tabs on baby’s heartbeat and assess how I was doing, they were there to help deliver my second caul baby as she was born into the water, and was there to breathe life into her when Sadie needed some extra help at first.  It was an amazing, incredible birth experience all around. The power of women is an incredible thing. I drew strength from them, knowing they knew what I was feeling.

I wanted to share this with you because you are worth having a doula. I now think every mom should have a doula if possible, it’s worth every penny for every moment that they are to support you in one of the biggest moments of your life. If you cannot afford one, look to a friend or a doula in training that may assist for free.  However you can make it work, do it! Doulas are so valuable to a having positive birth experience.

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Labor and Postpartum Oils: What Worked for Me

labor oils collage Our Sadie turned a month old on Friday…mind blown!  Time has flown by already and I am trying my best to treasure every moment of her being so small and cuddly. More on that another day, but I thought it was time to share what I found most helpful during her labor and this postpartum time frame for both of us.

Here is what I planned to try during labor and beyond: Essential Oil Labor Plans

And here’s what I have used:

Active Labor

I used Clary Sage or Monthly Blend to encourage contractions before arriving at the birth center when things were just starting by applying to my lower belly and pressure points on my ankles.  Once I got in the tub later on, we had a few drops in the water I was laboring in along with Geranium for calming and help slow bleeding after birth. I feel that it did help to move things along quickly and to keep me relaxed. I was very drawn to the scent and loved smelling it during active labor.  I will forever associate the smell of the Monthly Blend with my birth with Sadie, I love it! As things progressed and I was having stronger contractions with more pressure, I started feeling more fearful of what was ahead, memories and fears of my previous births came rushing back. Juniper Berry also is one I am very attracted to and is supposed to help with the emotion of fear, so we put that on a towel on the edge of the tub where I could smell it as well.

We also had a diffuser going, but I cannot remember what we put in it! The room was large and the diffuser wasn’t near the tub so I didn’t smell it much myself, but I’m sure it did help with the atmosphere of our birthing room in general and helping my birth attendees. I found for my use, having it on a towel or pillow right by my face when I had a contraction as I closed my eyes and took deep breathes was most helpful.


As soon as I got off the bed after my midwife checked to find my 7-8cm and onto a birthing ball beside the bed while we refilled the tub, I felt nauseous and shaky which is typical for transition stage. It was a very familiar feeling in my previous births and I knew pushing was close! I mentioned how I was feeling to Leslie and she suggested peppermint. I’m so glad I had someone there to make suggestions because being that far along I wasn’t thinking “what will help?” but just focusing on what my body was doing. She put peppermint on her hand for me to smell during the next contraction and it was instantly helpful. Shakes and nausea were gone right away and I immediately felt more energized and able to focus through the intensity as well. This by far was my favorite oil for labor and one I highly suggest! Once I got back into the tub, we again put peppermint on a towel for me to smell on the edge of the tub. I breathed it in and enjoyed the scent and the ways it was helping me focus.

The picture above was me smelling peppermint on the towel, just about fully dilated and about to push. So calm and still in my zone! One thing I aimed to do in this labor was to be more calm and less “vocal” and I truly feel between the oils and the massages I was receiving with each contraction, helped me to do that. I felt very much relaxed and in control the whole labor and birthing time.

Postpartum & Baby

I had made a roller bottle of “Reduce Bleeding blend” suggested by Stephanie Fritz in her book that I used both as a preventative before labor and afterwards. I did still bleed more than my midwife liked but it was less than my previous births, where I needed a piton shot before but not this time. I also attribute the less bleeding than my “normal” and the better energy levels after birth thanks to the Basic Vitality Supplements pack I took as my prenatal pills. My family commented over and over how much more energy and color I had this time around after birth! I used the Reduce Bleeding blend for several days postpartum as well to help slow the bleeding and I felt it helped to not be so heavy. I was amazed at how quickly things lightened up this time.

Afterbirth pains and my stomach muscles felt horrible for the first few days.  We used Marjoram for the tired sore stomach muscles and that helped a ton! For the after pains, I tried lavender and white fir.  I also used arnica and Afterease tincture, but nothing truly helped the afterpains as I had hoped it would. A heating pad was super helpful though! Eventually on day 3 I finally gave in and took a dose or 2 of pain medicine.

Bottom healing wise, praise the Lord I didn’t tear at all this time! I still did a Lavender and Frankincense spray and also added Geranium to my peri bottle. Again, I felt it helped to reduce the bleeding and make sure everything stayed clean down there. If nothing else, I smelled awesome :-)

For hormones and hot flashes, Monthly Blend again is so helpful! I apply it morning and night on the back of my neck and bottoms of my feet. If I forget to before bed, I always wake up in night sweats! This is probably my favorite oil for postpartum for me.

For Sadie, the most used essential oils have been Frankincense, GeraniumDigestZen and Lavender. For her cord stump, I applied a little Frankincense and Geranium to boost healing and reduce bleeding (the scab kept getting picked a little on her onsies). Myrrh is recommended too but I didn’t have that one yet.

She had some bad spitting up issues the first week so we made a 5ml roller bottle with 5 drops Digestion Blend and Fractionated Coconut Oil. I just rub it on her belly clock wise and it seems to help relieve gas and reflux.  This is embarrassing to admit, but after birth as my insides were moving back into place and also “backed up” if you know what I mean, I was in a lot of pain with gas those first few days too. I used Digestion Blend and Fennel over my belly and it was SO helpful to both relieve pain and to get things moving again!

When I’m getting her ready for bed I put Lavender on her feet (and mine!).  She’s been a good sleeper anyway (praise God!) but it definitely seems to relax both of us and get us ready for bed. She does seem to sleep longer when I apply it verses when I forget. Plus it makes for a good bedtime routine and that’s always a good thing for babies!

One last tidbit of how oils have helped me in this postpartum time: my mood! Some days I still feel some blues or overwhelmed when I forget to take my placenta pills. Once again as it helped after Ashlyn, Joyful Blend and Grounding Blend are key to helping me feel more centered and joyful in those moments. I have a spray bottle of Grounding blend that I use every morning (I also used this during labor) and I keep something in the diffuser daily so we’re all breathing in the benefits!

What oils helped you during labor, birth, or afterwards? I have loved experimenting this time around with these tools God has gifted us from His creation!


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Sadie’s Birth Video

I was honored to have the amazing Katy Cook photograph Sadie’s birth. Through this blog and Facebook we were connected over adoption and it was a pleasure to finally meet her in person. Since Mark couldn’t be at the birth, this birth video and the pictures she captured will be treasured even more by us! You can read the details of Sadie’s birth here.

Now, grab some tissues! (all pictures are modest)

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Sadie’s Birth Story

Sadie's Birth Story at The Grace Bond

Writing my last post helped me work through many of my struggles and fears as I awaited Sadie’s arrival. The next day I woke up full of peace and this feeling that God would work it all out with the sickness going through our home and Mark not being able to be at the birth. And He did. It was magical, His presence so felt.

First, I have to note that months ago my February due date group did a “What’s Your Guess” game and I said February 20th knowing my late babies.  February 19th, I just had this feeling that tomorrow was going to be the day. I cleaned my room preparing for a homebirth, I felt excited and looked forward to labor starting. That night my friend Leslie texted me something like, “I’m feeling labor vibe for you.” I said, “Me too, I think tomorrow is her birthday” and she said she had been feeling the same way for me. She had also had a dream earlier in the week that she was there to catch Sadie when she was born, little did we now that would come true. It’s neat to know how intuition can be so strong!

I was all excited when at woke up at 5am on February 20th with a stronger contraction than Braxton Hicks, but they faded after a few hours, as my usual. I went to my 41 weeks midwife appointment at 10am, she did a cervical check (3cm) and a membrane sweep to see if it would encourage contractions on its own. We discussed the pressure I was feeling from family to have this baby before Monday when I would be considered 42 weeks. She suggested I try a castor oil cocktail at lunch and see how that goes, otherwise do a full castor oil induction on Saturday after a good night’s sleep. We also talked about the possibility of me delivering at the birth center instead of at home for my own comfort level of not having kids around for me to worry and to avoid the sick germs. I bought the supplies and headed home to make myself lunch and a cocktail.

I was only able to get half of the recipe down, I apparently don’t like almond butter! It was certainly easier to drink consistently wise compared to other castor oil recipes, but I should of used peanut butter for taste. By 2pm I was feeling consistent contractions (after getting cleared out some in the bathroom, of course.) they picked up to 2 minutes apart, but then spaced back out. I notified my birth photographer and doula, who both had 2-3 hour drives to make that I was having contractions and tonight should be it. By 4pm I decided to take more castor oil to get things going stronger again (especially if people were traveling to be with me!), I really felt like today was her birthday and wanted to do what I know works for my body. I made scrambled eggs with veggies with 2 ounces of castor oil in it (eggs is by far the best way I’ve found to not taste the castor oil with the 3 inductions I’ve now done with it!). I got it down easily while I packed up for the birth center since I decided that was going to be best for the situation surrounding this birth.

Leslie came to take me to the birth center around 5:30pm, contractions had picked back up to being every 3-5 minutes and stronger.  When we arrived we got settled, got out the essential oils I wanted to use, put out the diffuser, etc. and then walked the halls to get things moving faster. I truly was nervous at this point, that these would pitter out like usual and I felt pressure to keep them going so I wouldn’t waste people’s time. My doula, Kristen, arrived around 6:30pm. She is a mommy from my due date group and it was the first time we’ve actually met in person but it felt normal and easy to keep on laboring with her there. My Midwife and 2 labor supporters helped me do some side lying pelvic release positions through contractions to help bring the baby down, Sadie was still pretty high up. That worked and things picked up fast after that!

My birth photographer arrived around 7 pm while contractions got stronger. They had moved to every 2 minutes or so and definietly taking more effort to work through. Leslie said a prayer over Sadie and the birth, which helped center us all I think and welcomed His presence into our hearts and room as we prepared. We continued to set up the room in between contractions, I kept trying to do things like text people to update or set up music but they were coming fast and I had to keep stopping. Leslie and Kristen took turns helping me through contractions while I leaned over the dresser with hip pressure, light touch, or a harder touch massage. It was incredibly helpful and a new experience for me, I haven’t had that in my other births. I found it so nurturing and the touch a welcomed distraction.

Labor Collage


We got the tub ready since things were obviously more intense now and I was checked around 8pm and was 4cm. Not much progress since 10am, but progress non-the-less! I got in the tub and while contractions were frequent and strong I was still laughing and enjoying things in between. I could tell things were progressing when later the pressure was getting more intense in my bottom and it reminded me of what I was going to feel when pushing. I always dread pushing and we talked through this fear of mine, they reminded me of how short that pushing time is and when it is time it will be over before I know it. And then I would have a baby!

With each contraction one or both of my doulas/friends would come to my aid, often one massaging my back and the other rubbing my head. It was so peaceful, even if it felt crazy on the inside for a minute as a contraction peaked. They encouraged me with their words too when I needed it, to breathe in deep and that she was coming out soon. I have spent months really praying over this birth and how I envisioned it. I wanted to be calmer, more relaxed, and just surrendering to the process. I truly feel having these 2 wonderful ladies helped me to do that! We all agreed that it was really neat to have an all women birth, nothing against men/dad’s being there, but it felt like how it would of been hundreds of years ago when birth was only a women’s event. My midwife called it a “Red Tent” experience :-) It was super empowering feeding off their strength and knowledge of what I was a feeling. However, I did have to grieve a little and feel sad about Mark not being here to witness his daughter’s birth. But, we both understood and felt at peace that this set up was the best scenario for this birth.

At 10pm my midwife wanted to check me again, which was no fun getting out of the tub and feeling all heavy again! Contractions on the bed were not comfortable at all, I was much more tense.  I prayed that there would be change and she said “Good job Momma Bear” as she found me to be 7-8 cm and baby was lower.  I texted Mark and family in between contractions to let them know it would be soon! I told Leslie to turn on the video camera because I knew it was close, usually when I get to this point pushing happens soon after. And I was right.

I worked through a few contractions sitting on the yoga ball by the bed while they filled the tub again. There I started feeling shaky and nauseous, I knew transition was hitting. Leslie suggested I smell peppermint oil and it was the BEST thing in those moments. It took away the nausea, gave me some energy, and something else to focus on. I used the bathroom one more time and found bloody show, then got back in the tub (with peppermint on a towel for me to smell!). I assumed the position I had been this whole time when in the tub, kind of a frog squatting position and leaning my head forward on the side of the tub. My body began pushing soon after getting back in. I’m told I started pushing at 10:26pm and she was out by 10:28pm! 3 pushes, my fastest pushing time yet and I powered through it. It was intense as I knew it would be but, I knew it was almost over so I roared her out quickly.

Pushing collage

Fun facts: She was born with her hand by her face, her arm popped out before her head, and a bubble of amniotic sac still intact before her head (a caul baby just like her sister Ashlyn!). She also was born in a purple room with the same furniture as her brother Jaxson who was born there. Amazingly, with all that going on and how fast she came out, I didn’t tear at all.

Sadie birth collage

The relief was instant, as I knew it would be.  Leslie helped to pull her up onto my chest as I sat back (as was her dream!). Her cord was wrapped around her body and she was blue. She didn’t cry or open her eyes at first, the whole crew quickly surrounded the tub closer and encouraged her to breathe with rubbing and gentle whispers. My midwife suggested we pray and she literally blew life into my daughter’s lungs, along with a few from a mask. It felt like eternity in the moment, but it actually didn’t take long for her to breathe and pink up.  I wasn’t scared, I knew God (and my midwives) had this. I knew she would be okay. And she was! For the next hours after that she cried a LOT trying to clear her lungs, but that cry was a welcomed sound in our room :-) We moved to the bed, snuggled skin to skin, and she quickly started nursing (in between her crying).

After resting a few hours and taking a shower, Sadie and I went home with Leslie to continue avoiding the flu germs and fevers going on at my home. This also was an answer to prayer and one of my worries, it was such a help and blessing to have 2 days away being fed awesome wholesome food while my family continued to heal and Mark could focus on the kids. We all missed each other a lot though, and we went home February 22nd on Savannah’s 8th birthday to meet their new little sister! Sadie is adored by everyone, even little Ashlyn. We are so happy for her arrival and in love with her! I love the scowl she has on her face most of the time :-)

Sadie Olivia
Born February 20th, 2015
10:28 pm
7 pounds 15 ounces
19 inches long

Sadie collage

Bonus! You can watch Sadie’s birth video here.

All black and white photos by Katy Cook Photography

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I Don’t See the Big Picture

Sadie 40 weeks big pic 2

I get being “late.” I do. I’ve learned by now it’s just how I bake my babies. Long and slow. I’ve come to terms with that and I’ve learned how to keep myself physically comfortable (thank you, chiropractic care!) and emotionally stable (most days) as I wait.  I’ve learned to treasure the extra days and weeks, realizing that I get extra time to enjoy the knee rolls and a baby bump that I love. I may never get to do this again, so I will treasure it.


What I don’t see what is what God is doing right now.  I’m 41 weeks and a few days. This baby HAS to come out within the next few days. While I’m supposed to be doing all I can to start labor, my 3 kids are downstairs the sickest they have ever been with the flu or some nasty virus like it. Why now? WHY?

My husband is being the awesome single dad man downstairs, while I stay upstairs to avoid the germs. Their fevers have gotten as high as 104, which wouldn’t be so good for a pregnant momma and a baby inside, OR for a brand new baby if she ever decides to come out. But, while he tends to our sick kids and awaits catching the sickness too…I’ve now lost my rock and my biggest emotional support, both now, and when labor does start. Most likely we BOTH will need a caretaker in the next week if he is sick and I’m on baby moon bed rest, plus needing care for our 3 older kids.

I don’t see what you are doing, God. I just don’t. My heart breaks that I can’t take care of my own kids without risking the health of my newest child. I haven’t seen their faces or felt their hugs in days. I’ve cried over missing them and not being that person to snuggle while they rest and bring them hot tea. My heart breaks that my husband, who is my everything in life but especially during labor, can’t even be here to hold my hand as I will be pushing our 4th child into the world. Yes, I have wonderful friends and midwives who can and will support me too, but it isn’t the same. They aren’t one with my soul like he is. They aren’t this child’s father, who should be able to watch that miracle take place.

I truly don’t know if it is best to keep Sadie in longer as 42 weeks nears closer and closer in hope it keeps her safer inside and to wait out these germs, or to keep encouraging her out? What I do know is that God has put me in a place where I clearly have no control. These past weeks God has reminded me over and over of His sovereignty and that I’m trying to control this birth. But now, God has placed me in a whole new humble place where I have no clue what is best for Sadie right now and all I can do is surrender to His plan. I have to trust that the people meant to be at this birth will be here, whether that includes my husband or not. I may have a birth photographer here, I may not. I may have a friend here to hold me up, I may not. Heck, this baby could just fall out after 20 minutes of contractions like this lady and not even the midwives make it!

At least God can see the big picture. I trust that He will provide for our needs. That is the only thing bringing me peace right now as I wait.

Tomorrow I officially will be the most pregnant I have ever been.

Sadie 41 weeks marked

And I wait. At His feet. Surrendering. Waiting for how this will all work out.

Control 2

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  • May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing to you, O LORD, my rock and my redeemer. Psalm 19:14