Memory tree

Memory tree
Holding the blossom on our Memory tree, a Pink Dogwood, to always remember the tiny life we lost.

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Ethan's Birth Story

As I sit here nursing my newborn, who is fast growing out of the "newborn" stage, I decided it's time to tell the story of his birth.

I woke up around 3AM to contractions, pretty far apart, but definitely real. Since my Midwife lives 2 hours away, I didn't wait around to call her, so after 4 of these contractions I got up and made the phone call around 3:30. I tried 4 times, as I sat and observed contractions while the family was still sleeping. Alas, she slept through her phone (Note, had I felt it was urgent, I would have called her husbands phone too until I got someone) I then called my mom, who was already awake at 4AM, and told her I was in early labor. She said she would get dressed and head our way, as she also lives 2 hours away in the other direction. I tried the midwife again, still no answer. Then I decided that since I could easily be sleeping between contractions, I'd better rest while I could. So I went to bed, and slept between contractions until about 6AM.

At 6 I woke to a contraction strong enough that it startled me out of a deep sleep right as it peaked. That is not so much a pleasant awakening, so I decided to get up for the day and not be surprised in the peak of a contraction again. I went to the kitchen and tried my Midwife again, still no answer. I checked with mom, who was on her way. Then I tried to make a pot of coffee. Well, that was an adventure. I didn't get the filter basket in, so coffee overflowed all over the counter. After I cleaned that up, washed the coffee pot, and tried again WITH the filter basket, it overflowed again. I was laughing at my inability to make coffee while in labor, and also wondering if my coffee pot was broken. Dawn called at about 7AM and checked in with me, and was going to be on the road ASAP.

At this time, mom arrived, Dad who had been staying with us out in his camper came inside and Randy was up fixing the coffee pot and saving me from overflowing a 3rd pot of coffee. He and mom set to making breakfast, as the general mood of the house was happy anticipation. 40 weeks and 1 day, and we were going to have this baby!

I was feeling contractions pretty heavily in my back, but they were still manageable. I half smiled and was half annoyed every time I was asked how far apart my contractions were. I wasn't timing them, I was trying to ignore them. HA! I was sitting on my excercise ball chair, picking at a lovely breakfast and finally sipping that cup of coffee.

Sometime after 9 my Midwife and team checked in and were 40 minutes out. I said that was great because intensity was picking up and I was needing counter pressure on my back and vocalizing a little through some of the peaks. I was never worried that they'd make it on time, I was in my zone when needed, and happy to watch the every day bustle of my family as I sat at the dining table with my dryer balls propped just right for counter pressure.

When the birth team arrived, they checked vitals, listened to baby and checked me to get an idea of where I was in labor. Much to my disappointment, I was only a 2cm and 20% effaced. I buckled in and realized it might be the better part of the day before my baby was in my arms. The birth team set up what was needed of their equipment, and left to grab a coffee and not sit around watching me. I appreciated this, as it bothers me heavily to feel watched in labor.

It was during this quiet time, that most everyone was outside. Abigail was running in the front yard, flying her kite. It was such a calm and beautiful day. Sweet Lillian came to me and wanted to sit with me. I put her on the table and just leaned on her, swaying through contractions as she held my face to hers. In that moment, my 2yearold became my labor doula and completely calmed my nerves. I got very weepy at this point. Overcome with joy. I'd been so apprehensive about having this baby while Lillian was still a baby herself in many ways. But those 3 contractions she helped me through just melted all of those worries away. I was having a baby, and it was not only going to be okay, it was going to be wonderful.

By this time, it was somewhere near noon and my birth team came back. The menfolk were working on lunch, and mom was playing with the girls. Randy told me he was definitely seeing the advantage of birthing at home, as he could do more than sit and watch me!! Lol. At one point he and I were in the kitchen and another wave of emotion hit me and I started crying again. I couldn't communicate why I was crying, but he was relatively content to just hold me and not ask questions. I had him applying counter pressure and swaying with me through a few contractions before I returned to my chair and dryer balls. There were also many hands rubbing my back, neck and shoulders through various contractions. As I was truly in "labor land" at this point, I can't really tell you who all was doing the massage, but I felt very loved and cared for.

I was needing to vocalize through the peaks of all contractions, and my back was quite painful even when I wasn't having a contraction. After using the bathroom, I had to bend over the counter to make it through a contraction, and my Midwife said "Well, you're definitely not a 2 anymore!" She asked me about my back pain, and we decided to do some sterile water injections in my lower back since I was hurting even without a contraction. This is essentially a long lasting acupuncture to tell the pain center for that part of your body that this hurts so much, it's time to shut down. Temporary, but useful. The injections themselves were not fun, much like 4 bee stings simultaneously. But it was almost immediate relief. I remained on my bed to see if that would allow me to rest. I completely relaxed and almost dozed off before the next contraction hit, and it was very intense. I was shaky through it, vocalizing was barely enough to get through without screaming or clinching my body. I decided laying down was not going to work and came to the living room. I told Dawn at this point I thought his hand was by his face based on movement I'd felt the last few weeks.

I reported the intensity of that last contraction and said I wouldn't be laying down again. Lunch was ready and I decided to sit in my recliner, rocking and focusing. I ate a few bites of green beans and maybe 2 bites of chicken between more super intense contractions. I realized that it wasn't the laying down that made that contraction so intense, they just jumped in intensity. I had 3 or so really big contractions, and realized he was super low and I had been pushing with the last contraction. Dawn asked where I wanted to give birth, and I said my bedroom. She told Hannah (apprentice midwife) and Ashley (Assistant) to go setup the bed. I headed in there, stopping in the doorway of the dining room where everyone was eating to get through another big contraction. Dad asked how far apart they were, and I said "not very" and went to get on my bed. But before I'd made it on my bed, another wave was hitting and I knelt at the foot of my bed. I asked where Randy was, and Dawn went to get him. Then he was there, holding my hand as I knelt on the floor leaning on my bed for support.

It was about this time I asked if it was too late for the birth pool, and there were gentle chuckles as I was told yes, it was too late to fill the pool. He was near crowning at this point. As I had help in removing my pants, they were laying down pads on the floor under me. This was all a blur. I heard Dawn mention to Hannah to check for a lip of cervix, after I'd pushed through a contraction. Sure enough, there was a lip from 11-1. I was told to push Hannah's fingers out, as she helped move that lip of cervix. His head was out with that contraction, and I reached to feel him. He was already taking a breath and crying. Another big push, and there he was. Hannah placed him on the floor right under me, and I brought him up to me. They mentioned he was big, but he didn't look big to me. We got up to the bed (how, I don't know) and I snuggled my newborn on my belly as he cried several loud and healthy cries. After I delivered the placenta, Randy cut the cord, and I brought my baby up to my breast to suckle. He had already begun to root around, and make his way toward the breast on his own. Newborns are quite remarkable little people. He latched easily and was quickly swallowing and snuggling next to me.

The room was quickly tidied, and both our vitals were checked often, but we were mostly left alone to snuggle. A heating pad was placed under him and I snuggled him closer. After an hour or so, he was weighed and measured. It was then that I understood why he was so much harder to push out than my last babe had been, he was 9lbs 1oz, 21" long, with a 14" head. I had been right about that hand as well, he was indeed born with his hand on his cheek. I had no tearing whatsoever, even with the fast birth, lip of cervix, and nuchal hand. He was almost born en-caul, as my waters didn't rupture until the last big push. He was born at 1:25PM, almost exactly 3 hours after I'd been disappointed at "only" being a 2cm.

Shortly after his birth, the rest of the family came in to meet him. Randy brought Lillian in asleep, but Ethan's newborn cries woke her. She then snuggled next to me and nursed for a few minutes and was asleep next to us on our bed. As intense as his labor was, it was absolutely beautiful. I couldn't have asked for better.

Monday, February 1, 2016


I've not written here, or much of anywhere in a very long time.

Though I've not written, things have been in motion. Things are always in motion.

I am now 30 weeks, 6 days pregnant with our 4th child. Altho in my heart, this is our 5th child. I have shared 4 birth stories here, in this blog. Even tho it has been used for little else, I felt this post necessary to place here.

Tomorrow marks 31 weeks. 31 weeks is always a huge milestone for me in pregnancy, because our Jorden was born at 31 weeks. I was discussing the trauma of his birth with another Mama this evening. A Mama who sadly understands the trauma as she has been through something much the same, and is also awaiting another child.

This part of pregnancy always gives me pause. This time more than the others because it has borne so many similarities to my first pregnancy. Similar cravings, a slow rise in blood pressure readings, it's a boy.

Confession time- having another boy has been terrifying. My experiences with my son...
Not just his birth, altho that is where it started. The last 10.5 years have stretched me in ways I did not believe possible. Perhaps comparable to Wesley on the "machine" in the Princess Bride, the sound of ultimate suffering. I have felt it. I have felt it in the pain of my own child, struggling with mental illness. I am not talking about simple ADHD, Autism, or even mild depression. I am talking a young child, with psychotic rages.

Where the Lord has directed our steps, has been to seek healing. Healing, not medication. This has been a long and lonely road. A road not often traveled. Overgrown with dense foliage, holes, and fallen logs to block the path. Some days it's felt quite like walking through Mirkwood, with only slight glimpses that the sun still exists.

It is not a simple task for me to bare my soul. I feel like it is a whine, and we should not whine. But things must be spoken lest darkness overtake me. I have been afraid.

I have been afraid to love my unborn son. A son. My son.

I've always felt the baby we lost to be a boy. I was not afraid to love him. But we lost him. It amazes me still how the events of the past shape the way we approach the future.

I have been afraid to name this baby, or rather to speak his name. His name means strong. In my mind, that means he will face trials. Trials I cannot protect him from. Trials I have no control over. At the heart of it all, that is where the fear lies. It lies in what I cannot control. I can choose to nourish my body to support a healthy pregnancy, but in the end, I cannot control what my body does. I cannot control who this baby is, or what he will face. I cannot shield him. As I watch him dance in my belly, he is safe. Part of me wants him to remain there forever so that he can always be safe. But he will never truly be safe until I lay aside my own fears, and choose to trust in Papa's plan for this little boys' life. Until I learn to trust in Papa's plan for my own life, and the lives of all of my children. Though our road has been hard to travel, it has not been without blessing.

My childs name, is Ethan Abraham. His strength will flow from the very throne of heaven, not from within himself. Though I cannot protect him, there is truly no safer place for him to be, than to walk the road that Papa has set before his feet.

As I type this I have wiped tears from my eyes more times than I can even count. I am reminded that this level of trusting in Papa's plan goes far deeper than the child in my belly. I have spent the last 5 years in the dirty trenches of seeking for answers, and for healing for my sick child. All the while finding healing for myself when I didn't think the wounds still had healing left to do.

The relationship with my eldest son is healing. On both sides. I am learning to let go and trust Papa, as is he learning the same. Trust is not easy for me, but I am learning.

Sunday, August 11, 2013

My 4th Birth Story

I woke up early Sunday morning, July 14th with a prayer on my lips. I told Papa, deeply meaning every word, that whatever day was to be my baby's birthday was alright with me. No matter how uncomfortable I was, or how inconvenient. I also made mention that today would be a great day. My doctor was on call, the doula we'd met and liked was in town, mom was still here and it just felt right. Right about then, I noticed my first contraction. I just stayed in bed, and rested. Another came, and they made me take notice as I couldn't sleep through them. As I laid and slept inbetween contractions, I felt I could distinguish a pattern. They weren't very close, but kept coming. I laid and welcomed each contraction, was thankful for each contraction and in my mind was watching the waves of the ocean bringing my baby to me. I prayed and thanked Papa after each contraction and felt so peaceful. After a good hour, and 5 or 6 of these contractions, I got up and grabbed my phone to time a few. For another hour, I continued to time and welcome contractions. They were 11 minutes apart, consistently for an hour and a half. About then, Dawn was near and I could no longer comfortably lay down through a contraction. I decided to get up, and upon being verticle they jumped from 11 minutes to 8 minutes apart. I went for a walk, and it was absolutely lovely out. Nice and cool, slightly breezy, and only the birds awake with me. Upon walking, contractions got stronger and 4 minutes apart.
When I got home, my husband was up and working on breakfast. My parents were here, and everyone was up. After breakfast, I think my husband was ready for me to say "lets go!" especially since I told him to make breakfast sooner rather than later. But I knew it was too early. We took another walk, and decided it was already too hot for more walking. I sat on my ball for a while and bounced etc while a movie was on, but I was horribly bored and tired of feeling watched. So I told dad to grab the curtains out of his camper and we'd hem them. I put down the phone, stopped timing contractions, turned on my favorite music and got to work on curtains. I kept having contractions, but as I could work through them just fine I kept going. It took about an hour and a half to hem all the curtains, and dad got them hung back up. I went out to see them and it was hot again.
After standing again for about 20 minutes, I was needing to lean on something during a contraction and focus through it. I decided eating sounded like a good idea, and that after I ate we'd go on up to the hospital to get checked and see what was going on. I knew I was in real labor, but I also knew it was still a bit early. Since I had tested positive for Group B Strep I also needed to get there quickly enough to get the antibiotics, or the baby would be watched and possibly admitted and given a full dose of preventive antibiotics. I felt getting the antibiotics in labor was a lesser risk to her than that. I ate a full hamburger, and drank up plenty of water. I honestly didnt think they'd keep me, but I wanted to go full and hydrated on my own just in case.
We got there, and I was at a 4cm and 75% effaced. I had been at a 3 on Wednesday and 75%, so I'd made progress and they decided to keep me. The entire time, the baby picked up on the monitor wonderfully, but my contractions didn't register.
After they moved me from triage to a labor and delivery room, my Doula joined us and we enjoyed chatting with her in-between contractions. She would remind me to relax my hands, shoulders and feet, everything with each contraction. Reminded me to breathe and give the baby oxygen, and to show her how calm I was.
It took quite awhile for the antibiotics to come up, and I was sitting on the birthing chair/ball. It was quite comfortable, a ball in a chair with wheels and back support. I wanted to lean forward with each contraction, but it interfered with the monitor a lot. So I leaned some and relaxed and breathed. The monitor still would not show I was even having contractions, but my doctor came in and felt during one, and said that it was definitely a moderate contraction. After they started the antibiotic, He checked me and I was a 5cm, fully effaced. After he checked me, I had bloody show for the first time. He was extremely gentle when he checked me so we knew it was more from cervical change than from the check.
Contractions began getting much more intense from there, I was struggling to get through them a little. I wanted to tense up and it was difficult to keep my perineum relaxed. I remembered suddenly that I'd read many times and many places about vocalizing. So with the next contraction I vocalized, moaned in a low tone, and I was surprised at how much it helped. Pauline, my Doula who had stepped out to get some large soft balls to put behind my back for counter pressure heard me vocalizing and encouraged me to continue. She told me the low tones showed baby how calm I was, and that high pitched or screams would tell her to be anxious. So I made sure to keep tones low. I was pushing my low back into the chair, and into the ball for counter pressure with each contraction, and having to maintain focus between contractions instead of coming out of it and chatting. I glanced at the monitor and noticed they were coming every 3 minutes or so. Barely registering, but they were actually there now according to the monitors. I no longer wanted the cold rags on my neck, I was suddenly chilled. I noticed my legs felt shaky but thought nothing of it. Afterall, with my last birth it took 12 hours after reaching a 5. I had tons of time left.
The antibiotics finished, and they unhooked the IV. I made mention of how much I had loved the water in my last labor, and had progressed quickly with it. Pauline went and asked my DR if he'd ok me being off the monitors to labor in the shower for awhile. Usually this is no issue at this hospital, but as I've had a previous c-section their policy is continuous monitoring. My doctor said it would be alright for 10 minutes, to take a shower. I could feel baby descending with each contraction, and even noticed myself pushing gently with each one, but thought nothing of it. Pauline stepped out for a 20 minute break to give us privacy while I showered.
I got up and in the shower, the first contraction, I had Randy spray water on my back as I leaned on the chair and vocalized. The next I sat, and leaned my head on the wall, then I felt a POP. I told him to go tell the nurse my water just broke, and they wanted me back on the monitors since my water was broken. My experience with my waters broken had made the rest of labor very very difficult, and it scared me and I prayed that it wouldn't happen again. While I was drying off, another contraction hit hard and I knew my body was pushing. I even felt the "ring of fire" but thought it couldn't be. Instead of vocalizing, I groaned "I'M PUSHING!!!!" and the nurse said "No dont push!" I did not bear down, but my body was pushing. I made it to the bed, and had another contraction, my body pushing, and the nurse reassured me that it was ok. She checked me quickly, just to see if maybe I was complete, and much to my and her surprise, I was complete. "You did it girl, you're complete!" I said, "Are you serious?" She left the room saying, try not to push! to get the Dr and get things setup. They mustve been close, because the Dr, my nurse and one other nurse were right in with all the supplies and trying to get the room setup. They were lowering the light on top and he wanted to check me. I was trying to lay down to be checked when another contraction came on, and the Dr looked at me and said "OH! and there's baby! Ok, lets do this!" He put a pad down on the bed under me, and told me whenever I was ready. I rested for a second, and with the next contraction I grabbed Randys arms and propped myself up on my left side a little, with his help. A nurse positioned my right leg at the advice of the Dr, and I was pushing. Hello Ring of Fire! I remember saying "THAT HURTS!" and being reassured that it was almost over. I took a few blowing breaths right at the most intense part, letting her head ease out rather than tear out. With the very next push, and all in the same contraction there was this big POP feeling. I looked down and there she was on the bed. I just said "Oh my gosh!" I was in disbelief that she was already here, and how quickly she literally POPPED out. Dr said no tears, and we all watched and waited for the cord to stop pulsing and turn white before it was clamped and cut and then, she was on my chest. It was about this time, that Pauline returned from her 20 minute break. She's only missed 2 births in over 20 years, and was rather disappointed she missed it. So were we! The baby had her own ideas of when she was ready. Just before leaving the room, my Dr put his hand on my arm and told me that was one of the most amazing births he's ever been apart of.
Later after we'd settled into our room, Pauline, who'd been taking notes as things progressed told me that when I was checked and was 5cm was at 4:20. Lillian was born at 5:29. 69 minutes from checked at a 5, to baby. I'm still rather astonished, and even moreso that with such a fast entry, there was little bruising on the baby, and no tearing for me. It was a beautiful birth. We could not have asked for anything better.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

From the Mouths of Babes

Miscarriage is hard. Really hard. Nevermind the extreme emotions at the beginning. When you've have been or are going through a miscarriage it's hard. There are reminders everywhere. Babies are afterall, conceived, and birthed by the minute.

Our modern age of social networking makes it abundantly easy for every single pregnant person to express their elation at the passing of each pregnancy milestone. And rightly so. Every single pregnant person SHOULD share their joy, and it is selfish of anyone to tell them differently. But for a woman that's lost a baby, especially in the times when you *should* still be pregnant, those weekly or even daily reminders are painful.

This week I would have reached the milestone of 21 weeks. I'd probably have seen an amazing ultrasound of my childs progress, watched each measurement with intense attraction and, if it was my desire, know the sex of our up-coming arrival. Something to be shared and celebrated. But I have nothing to share. What I'd like to post on my status is "Today I would have been 21 weeks pregnant" But I don't. It feels inappropriate to say such things about loss. By our own doing, or by the tendancy of others to look away, or change the subject, we are made to feel as if our suffering should be done alone. Or worse, that we should be fine by now. Afterall, that happened 3 months ago already, it's old news. It is still very much current news to me. As my body cycles I am reminded. I am reminded at each pregnancy ticker that comes across my screen, that I've lost. Every time I see a pregnant woman, or a new baby I am reminded. The truth of these reminders is that it's easy to be reminded when it is never far from my mind in the first place.

We get caught up in our daily lives so much so that we move right past those that are hurting. Even moreso those that try to hide it behind happy faces. Am I happy? Yes. Am I blessed? Beyond measure, without a doubt.

Am I over it? No.

I know, and lean on the fact that I am deeply loved by the One who created me. I am comforted knowing that the little one I carried never had to seperated from Papa, or know the struggles we face. My little one knows Papa's infinite love in a deeper way than most of us. We have learned more of Papa's love through this loss, and for these things I am thankful.

Last night a 5 year-old girl spent the night with us. Just before the kids were to be settling down to go to sleep she said, "Jamie, I thought you had a baby. I mean, another baby. Mom told me you were going to have another baby, what happened?" I tried to explain gently that the baby didn't make it. She said, "You mean it died? But why?" The simplest and most innocent of questions we'll never get the answer to.

"Sometimes it just happens and we don't really know why."

"That's so sad that your baby died."

"Yes, it makes me sad too"

"I'm so sorry your baby died. I was really excited about your baby."

This child made me feel in a simple conversation, that my baby was loved by more than my small circle of family and friends that understand. It was refreshing to hear her say it. She didn't look away from me. She didn't change the subject to something inconsequential. She wasn't afraid I'd start crying and she would have to do something to make me feel better. She was real, and she expected nothing less of me.

Friday, June 8, 2012


The realization that something has shaken you to the very core of your being is awakening.

We've all heard the term "Earth Shattering" in realtion to traumatic events. No, the Earth didn't shatter when I lost my baby.

MY world shattered. The grief was so intense that I ceased to function. For the first time in my life, upon driving home with 2 children in my backseat screaming at me because they were hungry, for a fleeting moment, sending my van over the cliff I was driving up was a very real temptation. It scared me. I tuned into the screaming children and decided they needed me. This was just the day after the remains of the life I carried passed from my body. My emotions, grief and hormones were reeling. I felt like my body once again had failed me.

Last night a very dear friend discovered the life she carried had no heartbeat. Her world is shattering. It is a hard look back at what we've so recently been through, and discovering new feelings of wanting to shelter her as she goes through this heartache. She has had to walk this road before, and has been a comfort to me in my time of struggle. To be there to let me vent fears and frustrations as my body returns to a cycle that had the baby lived, I would not be having. I understand her pain, as she understands mine.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

A Post Worth Reading

A friend of mine posted this link on facebook this morning, and it truly is worth the read.

From Small Bird Studio's; When You Lose A Baby

Friday, April 20, 2012

In The Arms Of My Children

Children are such an amazing gift. As a parent we are told we are to be there for our children, to help them walk, talk, ride a bike and make friends. To hug away each broken heart and tenderly kiss every boo-boo.

Children love in the only way they know how, unconditionally. They love me at my best, they love me at my worst. Papa built it in to them. They love like He loves. They forgive and forget with such ease and grace that I am often humbled at seeing Papa's grace in them.

One morning, just a day or so after I found out #3 was coming, I woke up one morning to wet sloppy kisses and snuggles from my girl. I had been struggling with how we would make it with another baby. How *I* would handle being a mom of 3, because at times I can't handle 2. I looked into the eyes of my child and saw a love like Papa's. Tears welled up in my eyes at the realization that children truly are a gift. I was going to get to have and hold another precious life that would love me like that. To wake up to kisses, and have 3 sets of waving hands yelling "Hi Mom!" with each turn of the carousel. I forgot the cares and fears the baby would bring and realized how truly blessed I am by my children. I fell madly in love with the tiny life within the safety of my womb.

Yesterday, just the 3rd day after saying goodbye to the baby we lost, my son did not want to go to school. He said he just needed to be here with me. How could I possibly argue with that? All day long he did sweet things for me. He helped me pick up the house, drew me a picture of our family, 5 of us, so I didn't have to miss the baby anymore. I am falling in love with my son all over again. He is so precious, and loves and cares so deeply. We've had our share of struggles with each other over the last few years, and I began to lose sight of how wonderful he is, and what a gift I've been given. To think that I, unfit as I feel I am, have been chosen to love and teach this precious boy......

Yesterday my children ministered to me. They have not been "trained" in ministry. They have not been told how to love. They simply do it. They come to me with extra hugs and kisses. Bring me a glass of water unlooked for. Draw me pictures to make me feel better, and honor the picture I drew in return. They love with everything they are, because that is the only love they know.

Right now, in this moment I understand my calling as a parent deeper than I ever have before. What Papa has called me to do, is to learn to love as He does, and see that my children never learn to love any differently than they do right now. With the true, unconditional love of the Father.

I am truly, deeply blessed.