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a little more

  Oh darling, don’t you ever grow up 

Don’t you ever grow up, just stay this little

Oh darling, don’t you ever grow up

               Don’t you ever grow up, it could stay this simple – t swift

There’s probably some unwritten rule that if you start a blog post with Taylor Swift lyrics people won’t take you seriously, but Taylor rules so whatever.

A close friend of mine was talking to me about something related to parenting recently and then said, “you’ll have to be honest with me, when the time comes.”

The weight of that statement hit me for a good minute.

There are a lot of cliche statements thrown about when people are expecting a new life to enter their home and it’s the easier route to take, honestly… to say something pleasant and well-intentioned can almost make you feel good and like you’ve done your friend a service by not letting them in on the raw and the real. I’ve never been able to function like that, though, and so I’d like to offer up a gentle, honest, reflective look at those first months. For anyone whose “time [has] come” and needs “[me] to be honest with [them].”

There is something about parenting, and specifically motherhood, that makes the heavy parts of raising children enigmatic unless you actually are or have been in that season of life. I think for that reason alone, we fill our conversations with these blanket statments about the moments of motherhood but, while well-intentioned, some people need a little more to grasp onto in those trying times, and so this is my offering of ‘a little more‘ to: you; love: me

Like the first time you hear that hope inducing but frustrating phrase “They’ll sleep through the night eventually!”

but what i’d really want to say is they’ll sleep through the night eventually but it’s hard, i hope you find rest in any avenue you can. i wish i could come hold your baby while you sleep – you’re tired, i get it. i really do. i know your best friends baby sleeps through the night, i know your grandmas cousin told you that you’re checking on that baby too much, i know your neighbor said you need to cater to every cry, every time. i know with all these conflicting pieces of advice you feel frustrated and like a failure and might be ready to punch a wall. i know you may have even googled ‘can you give a baby Benadryl  fyi: you can’t, sorry :/ but it’s okay that the thought crossed your mind. don’t feel awful. i hope your baby starts sleeping well soon, i also know your baby might not sleep, and so that is why i am having a hard time navigating this conversation because my first born actually didn’t sleep through the night until after a year old. and i know, your baby is 2 months, and you can’t fathom 10 more months of this. and i could tell you attachment parenting is good, and your baby will benefit from you snuggling them the moment they begin crying and i could tell you attachment parenting is stupid because that baby can cry for a little bit and will be just fine. but either of those things comes with the notion that what you’re currently doing is ‘less than’ but you aren’t less, you aren’t alone, and you feel like you might not survive one more night of constant waking but you can get through it, and you will. and you’ll do it with grace, and tears, and you’ll be somewhere in-between going mad and falling in love all at the same time. and i’ll silently rejoice that day you tell me that your little one actually *did* sleep through the night, and i’ll pray that one of those days that she starts sleeping through the night that you can too 😉

Or when you’re struggling to nurse your baby and someone says “Breastfeeding or bottle feeding is just fine, do what’s right for you!”

what a hot topic, it’s really easier if i don’t get involved but maybe you want me to give you my thoughts and you don’t know how to ask, so what i want you to know breastfeeding or bottle feeding is just fine, do what’s right for you but let me tell you… breastfeeding was so hard for me initially. it literally felt like my baby had broken glass in her mouth as she assaulted me for food every 1.5 hours for the indefinite future. and i cried. and i wanted to quit. and some people didn’t support me when i needed it – and some people did. and some told me ‘why don’t you just quit’ and when i didn’t quit someone said ‘isn’t she too old for that’ and ‘give yourself a break and give that baby some formula’ but i pushed through because it was important to me and then suddenly, the difficult hours of glass-mouth-painful-nursing transformed to unexpected-bliss-bonding with the sweetest creature i had the privilege of carrying and now getting to know, as we grew and bonded, we worked it out and then i happily nursed my baby for 18 months of her precious life, and i want you to know if you need someone to coach you through the hard days – that’s me. i’m here. but can i also take a moment and say breastfeeding or bottle feeding is just fine, do what’s right for you but… breastfeeding was so hard for some of my best friends initially, and they chose to bottle feed, and people didn’t support them when they needed it. people would say ‘don’t you want to give your baby what’s best?’ or ‘formula is so expensive’ but giving their baby their best didn’t look the same as my best and doesn’t look the same as your best – and they pushed through and they happily bottle fed their baby and that baby thrived and grew and was happy and healthy. and so if you need me to coach you through the sometimes guilt that comes with that decision, that’s me, i’m here.

Or when you for the first time walk into a room somewhat put together after having your baby and someone says “You look great!”

the truth is you look greati know you haven’t washed your hair in 3 days. maybe 4. and that’s okay. i know your body feels squishy and like it’s gone to war. i know you look in the mirror and sometimes don’t recognize the person looking back at you. i know you feel insecure when you get together with your friends because they are in the latest fashion styles and you’re in your yoga pants. again. i know you feel the stress of fueling your body for breastfeeding or finding three minutes of the day to take even a small walk up and down the driveway. but you are beautiful, and not because you have your look pulled together, but because you’re laying down your vanities and comforts for the well being of your baby and there is nothing that brings out beauty in people like serving the most helpless of creatures…

Or when you’re at your first lunch with a friend and your baby is crying and through his cries you swear you hear your friend say “You’re doing a great job!”

it can sound condescending almost, at least through the ears of post-pregnancy-hormones, or like theres a little judgment “oh look at you, your baby is screaming, this is awkward, how about i just tell you you’re doing a great job because what else is helpful?” can I be honest you actually are doing a great job, I see that you feel unsure as you soothingly try to bounce that baby who is crying for the first time in a very public setting, and i know you’re embarrassed – and i know there’s nothing you can do – but you don’t have to be embarrassed, that hyper awareness you have of your baby means you’re in tune with their needs and i’ve been in your shoes, i won’t say ‘wow that baby must be hungry’ or ‘somebody isn’t happy!’ or ‘awe it must be nap time’ because none of those things are helpful, and while one or 3 of them may be true, they are actually all annoying. so you just keep bouncing that baby and i’ll just keep carrying on conversation with you, i’m not ignoring your baby, i’m not ignoring your stressful moment, i’m aware you know what is best for that baby and i will let you do your thing in hopes of helping you feel like you’re not alone, and you’re doing a great job.

There are countless other cliche phrases I could break down but I’ll stop there for now. New moms house such a sweet place in my heart, I’m thinking about you in these tough months, you’ve got this. You’re doing a great job. ❤

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Rinaldi Recap

The holidays seem to fly by faster each year, so I just wanted to document a little bit of what life has been like lately and what the kids are like at this stage of their lives.

We decorated our tree and I think this was the first year Brooklyn really got into it. Last year she was excited about the tree itself but wasn’t really into placing ornaments. I love seeing her involved in a  process instead of just observing or wanting to facilitate (which is her normal default). She dove right in to placing ornaments and loves to look at them everyday. Her favorite ornaments this year are our Linus from the Peanuts and a star that she made last year as a Christmas craft. Brooklyn continues to amaze me with the amount of information she retains.

Her attention to detail is something else, she could probably tell you what she had for lunch 7 weeks and 3 days ago and I am lucky to remember where I put my contact case this morning. She’s been able to put those memory skills to the test throughout this fall at Awana. This is the first time our church has had this program and we as parents and as participating leaders have had nothing but a great (and sometimes tiring 😉 ) experience so far. Brooklyn loves her teachers (sometimes she likes to act like the teacher 😀 whoops) and is developing a genuine love for God, the Bible, and the Church. I’m thankful for this program and the way that it encourages parents to get involved with their children’s spiritual lives.

Aside from Awana, Brooklyn is really interested in books, letters, drawing/writing, and pretending. She sometimes phases in and out of different characters she is imagining herself to be, I have to stay attentive or else I’m all the sudden calling her Elsa when she’s changed to Flo the Dog. “Princesses don’t bark, Mom.” Her favorite story right now is Jonah. Favorite book is new this week, Amelia Bedelia – though she hides her face every time Amelia Bedelia messes something up. Favorite show is Wild Kratts. Favorite food is greek yogurt. Favorite person is her dad. IMG_9215   Timothy is all about that eating life. Really if you see him and he isn’t eating, then we must be coming into a building or about to leave one. He eats ALL. THE. TIME. I have to make sure I always have food handy. Though he eats all the time he is still a little dude, he stays in the 3-5% of the weight chart for growth. He’s happy and healthy so we’re okay with that. His favorite foods are: anything. No, but really – apples, crackers, chili, string cheese, pasta, pizza, cooked carrots, cooked broccoli. He sleeps like a dream, from about 6pm – 7am and naps twice a day. Give or take half an hour either way. He’s generally happy, he likes having me nearby though. He isn’t walking for us at home, though it’s rumored he has taken several steps at Sunday School and Awana. He will walk all day around furniture but the moment he is standing alone he just plops down. I look forward to him walking and running but I’m enjoying him being the baby for a little bit longer. He says lots of words these days that I can decipher, though if you aren’t me it probably sounds like a bunch of baby blabber. His favorite words are “No”, “Thank You”, “Uh oh”, “Daddy”, and “More”. IMG_9237   The kids are starting to play together, which is a dream come true. Brooklyn loves to hold Timothy, and would carry him around if she could handle his weight, haha. This is a picture of the two of them at one of Brooklyn’s little friends birthday parties. She loves to mother people, she will be a great mom one day. He is content to let her hold him most of the time. IMG_9509   While Timothy is all about Momma, Brooklyn remains a daddy’s girl. Brooklyn is sad most mornings when Joseph heads to work and talks about him frequently throughout the day. She loves to call his work line and leave a message and she loves to wait by the door and “hide” when he gets home. She asks for him to put her to bed most nights, and if we are ever driving separate somewhere she will 9 times out of 10 pick daddy’s car to ride in, I hear the music is better. They are so similar and I love that. I see her do things a certain way, or say things a certain way and think: wow, you are just like your dad. It’ sweet…and sometimes terrifying, ha!

This is a particularly busy season for Joseph at work, and we were blessed the other day with an unexpected lull in the office so he got to come scoop Brooklyn up from home and take her on a daddy/daughter play date with one of Joseph’s best buddies, Jamison, and his daughter, Selah. Pizza + singing Christmas bears + Discovery Place. They had a blast.  IMG_9765   We’ve had several playdates recently and it’s been nice to catch up with some other Moms.

Brooklyn got to hang with Selah earlier in the month when we crashed their house and we had a wonderful time visiting. Selah’s mom not only has Selah but also twin boys, a superwoman, for sure.

One of my best friends had her first son back in September and though she is sleep deprived she is doing awesome with the whole thing and it’s been neat to grow the mom bond through an already existing friend bond. Most of my mom friends are the other way around, we’ve gotten to know each other more through the process of having kids, so it’s been such a treat to go through the motherhood thing with such a long time friend. In the past two weeks alone we’ve had playdates with two different moms in the Sunday School class I am in. When we first started we were one of two couples with kids, and now several others have either joined or started families and it’s just been great.

All these moments spent with other moms have been really sweet, each of them is my type of girl. Down to earth, engaged with their children, loving the Lord, and humble. Our generation seems to be super obsessed with perfect houses, kids, crafts, clothes, and really just lives in general. I can’t handle that kind of pressure, though to be honest sometimes it is hard not to get sucked in, as I grow as a person and as a Mom I find myself giving myself grace to be who I am instead of who I feel pressured to be. I know this is a struggle for almost every woman, because once you admit it to one you are more than likely to hear “me too!” right back. I try to maintain a neat home and have fun with my kids but give me a pb&j and conversation inside a somewhat cluttered living area with a hoodie and jeans on any day of the week over a locally sourced brunch with martha stewarts lastest floral arrangement adorning your all white kitchen without a crumb in sight while you’re in heels and pearls. I kid, kind of. Buy local, have clean homes, do cool stuff with your kids, but don’t be a brat about it. Also I love all white kitchens.

Joseph and I are coming up on 5 years of marriage which means we are about to start trying to have kids…….. except that we already have two and your plans never turn out the way you plan them.

We’re loving our house we moved into. We have been able to host several get togethers and that makes me feel all merry and bright inside. When we moved, we moved for a few reasons, but when we decided to buy a home that was larger than our previous home we wanted to make sure we were intentional about using the space we have to live life with others. I look forward to the other opportunities we’ll have to be a place where people can gather and enjoy each others company. 2015 doesn’t have much on the horizon for us yet. It’s always exciting to enter a new year with not much in store because it leaves room for a lot of possibilities.

If we don’t see you over the coming weeks, Merry Christmas to you and your family.

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I’m sort of over seeing posts about ‘not losing yourself in Motherhood’.

I get it, I guess. I at least get the intentions, though the sentiment is not something I embrace.

It’s hard being a mom (although I also saw another article circulating around that we are supposed to stop saying motherhood is hard, um… ok). I have seen some gracious views about not getting ‘caught up’ in motherhood so much that you swap your identity in exchange for ‘just’ mom (although, not sure what that even means….as if ‘mom’ is something you can throw the word ‘just’ in front of, it is so much of something not ‘just’ something) but for the most part these ‘don’t forget your identity’ mantras miss the mark on Motherhood completely, I think.

I am Alyssa and I am a mom.

Letting the ‘momness’ permeate through is where I really find any sort of full identity. God has called me to motherhood, and so that is my identity, and at the risk of being a bit controversial… it isn’t just part of my identity, it is my full identity.

We sometimes crave for days to get away from the endless laundry, a conversation with a friend to not be interrupted by someone spitting up on you or tugging at your shirt to go potty, the early mornings to not exist on Saturdays, the frequent wakings to stop, a moment to not have someone calling out that three letter word ‘mom’. But, those thoughts, though they may feel suffocating at times, are not a loss of identity, they are a loss of perspective.

It seems like the ‘don’t forget your identity’ push limits you to either be a Mom when it’s time to be a mom or yourself when you steal some moments to be ‘Yourself’, ‘Your Name’, instead of just embracing the fact that you are yourself and you are a mom, and those things are not an ebb and flow of one or the other but they are reconciled harmoniously. 

I am Alyssa and I am a mom.

If you separate the mom from me, well that’s really where I lose sight of my identity. Do I crave to carve out moments here and there to blow dry my hair, browse the aisles of Target, or grab dinner out with a friend? Of course. But I’m still 100% aware of my motherliness (that’s totally a word, no red squiggle underneath) whenever I do these things. You can’t ‘escape’ motherhood by letting yourself focus on something you’d like to do. Motherhood is the lens that you permanently view life out of once you are a mom and that isn’t something to be afraid of or find escape from. It’s not unhealthy to want to do these things, but if you think these things will bring you back to your ‘true identity’ where you can find yourself away from the title of ‘mom’, you’re not viewing the whole picture.

My heart and my brain, my emotions and my thoughts, my questions and convictions – they are all so deeply rooted in being Alyssa who is a mom (and a wife, and a friend, and a daughter, and a sister). If we could grasp that one doesn’t take away from the other, but enhances and fills out the entire picture of who Alyssa even is or hopes to be… we may speak less about identity crisis and more about identity acceptance.

I think that is where the friction begins, it’s the flesh versus the soul.

Humans are inclined towards our own desires, but our souls are called to complete submission to the call on our life.

Matthew 16: 24-26

Then Jesus told his disciples, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. 25 For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it. 26 For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul? Or what shall a man give in return for his soul

If we view Matthew 16 as a call to obedience in regards to our spiritual life, can we not follow suit and apply it to our spiritual calling? If you are a mom, you have the calling of loving and raising children with a complete focus on Christ and in that calling, yes, friend, gently I say to you, you may ‘lose’ who you once were, but you are not lessening who you are as a person. You are adding responsibility, new convictions, different views on life, old habits to break, and future conversations to think about. You aren’t losing yourself, though, you are finding yourself, every single day that you lay down your agenda and embrace yourself as a mom.

I am Alyssa and I am a mom.

 

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The transition from one to two kids has grown me in ways I wasn’t expecting.

I write this post with complete vulnerability knowing that it could open up judgement or misunderstanding or (if you don’t read to the end) could cause you to feel as if I am ungrateful for my blessings. I pray that if you read this blog you understand its intentions and offer me grace as I extend part of my personal life to you.

I write this post because what I experienced was real, and not often talked about, and I want to be a voice for so many new parents I know who may come across the same feelings.

I write this post to share a story of depression that transformed into deliverance which has brought me such peace.

As I sit here today, I am so full of joy.

But it wasn’t always this way…

The past two and a half months have been an ebb and flow of emotions and I feel like they have settled into that sweet spot that eventually comes for parents. It’s a balance between loving where you are at, excited for what is ahead, and appreciative for what is behind.

When Brooklyn came into this world, I was nauseatingly in love with her. I couldn’t get enough of every moment with her – despite the fact that she was a terrible sleeper- I couldn’t make myself break away from her to sleep when she rested, I would just watch her sleep with the biggest smile on my face. I created some serious attachment issues on my end (thankfully she was resilient and really never hesitated to leave my side to go to a family member or friends arms). Her pregnancy was a complete surprise for us, I grew to be so protective of this being inside of me that I had trouble letting her out of my grasp when she finally made her entrance into this world.

As I passed through my pregnancy with Timothy I anticipated those same enamoring feelings to overtake me after he was born. I expected to never want to leave his side. I expected to want to watch his every move, awake or asleep. I expected to annoy everyone with how much I loved him!

But a few weeks after Timothy was born I became overcame with sadness. I cried and cried, and sometimes I didn’t even know why I was crying but the tears would fall none-the-less. I loved Timothy with a fierce, protective, motherly love but I didn’t feel the fluffy and warm love I felt with Brooklyn. Which confused me and frustrated me beyond belief.

Talking with Joseph, my mom, my sister…the same conversations…

“I feel so crazy…”

“I wish he would stop crying, I wish he would let someone, anyone, besides me hold him…just for five minutes!”

“Sometimes I know I love him but I feel like I can’t make myself like him”.

These are really scary things to think as a mother. These thoughts, they make you feel horrible. As I was adjusting to all that comes with a newborn and all that comes with a newborn while already having a toddler, I tucked the thoughts away but I knew they weren’t ‘normal’.

I tried so hard to bond with him. I held him so often, I told him how much I loved him, I told him how sorry I was that I was having these thoughts, I prayed over him, I prayed for myself, I rocked him when I didn’t feel like rocking him, I asked the Lord to quiet my mind and make loud the feelings of my heart.

Your heart as a mother is so much different than your mind as a mother.

I knew that my heart had such a deep love for him but my mind wouldn’t let it come to the surface. That’s the thing about depression – which I believe is straight from the devil – it shields your heart, it silences what is real and replaces it with noise of what is false.

False thoughts that I couldn’t like my son, false thoughts that I was a bad mother, false thoughts that I was responsible for feeling these things, false thoughts that it may always be this way.

I eventually talked to my doctor about how I was feeling, I broke down in tears while I was talking to her telling her how guilty I felt and that I had no idea how to fix it but I wanted to feel better.

Of course I had heard of post-partum depression, but never really considered it to be something that I was dealing with. That is the thing about lies the devil will try to get you to believe, you have all the evidence but can’t put it together so that it makes sense.

We talked over different ways to combat post-partum depression, we talked about the fact that this wasn’t my fault- I hadn’t set myself up for this in one way or another, it was just simply something that strikes certain people and stays away from others.

Whether you are for or against medicine, whether you are for or against counseling, whether you are for or against changing lifestyle habits …if you pass through feelings like this as a parent: be vocal with your family and doctor, be assured that this is not your fault, be hopeful that you will not always feel this way.

After I further understood what I was going through, I knew that God would lead me through these uncertain times just as soon as I was ready to give up trying to fix these feelings instead of living through them in appreciation for how they would stretch my relationship with the Lord.

The world offers a diagnosis to you and tells you “here is how to get your problem to go away”.

We live in a society that constantly feeds us crap that life is always supposed to reward us in some way.

As a Believer, if I looked at my depression the way that the world wants me to, I could feel very sorry for myself. I could feel like the world owes me. I could feel like God owes me. I am a “decent person” by the worlds standards, why do I have to have depression? Why does life get messy? Why me? Me. Me. Me. That is who the world teaches us to have in mind, ourselves.

As a Believer, if I take God’s word to be truth, I know that God’s plan for my life is for His glory and not mine, He will refine me through the process though (Isaiah 48). That’s how I began to choose to see the days I passed through this depression, as something that would benefit my spirit for His glory, though it may trouble my mind. Each moment of pain I felt mentally, was a moment God would (undeserved to me) offer grace to me and allow me to one day (this day) share with you not just about how He has taken me from a dark place (that’s what the world would want to hear about, how things have gotten better) but that He was IN the dark place with me. God is present though you may feel your troubles are undeserved, God tells us differently – our troubles are not for us to define as deserved or undeserved but for a greater purpose of looking beyond ourself. It’s not about me. It’s not about you.

When I began to think this way, I noticed my heart overtaking my mind.

I started smiling at my son.

When I laid him down to sleep at night, I started missing his face and would go back in for one last look before he wanted to eat next. I still have a text saved on my phone that I sent my older sister “I laid Timothy in his crib and I miss him :)”, it felt so good to feel that way.

I started finding everything he did nauseatingly cute [because it is :)…].

I began to process, even more so, this journey the Lord has taken me on, growing in appreciation for the Lord’s hand on my life from the very beginning in such specific ways capturing my heart at different moments knowing what I needed best in each stage of life.

From a surprise pregnancy allowing me to pass through such intense feelings for Brooklyn so that my heart would be captured from the first moments of motherhood, teaching me to love children and lay a burden on my heart for the unborn and born alike who have mothers that don’t love them enough to be selfless.

To the amount of time God allowed Joseph and I to wait before that positive pregnancy test where we found out I was pregnant with Timothy. Though it was not a long time in the scheme of things considering how long others wait for that positive to show, it was the time the Lord knew Joseph and I needed, to grow closer to Brooklyn while waiting for another, to lean on the Lord when my desire for another child was so strong, to grasp that God’s timing is not our own in another way than we learned with finding out I was pregnant with Brooklyn.

I began to appreciate the Lord’s hand on my life in the present state I was in, shattered and weak, allowing me to pass through such low feelings that I really only could rely on God to see me through. Dark places that gave me a clearer understanding of the Lord’s role in my life, that not a single second of motherhood can be done without a close grip to the Lord’s hand. Were it not for the Lord walking by my side, whispering at times and shouting at times that these thoughts are lies from satan and not a testament to my love for my baby or my ability to be a parent, but they were simply about learning to live each day…each second even, with the perspective that it is not about me and these trials are not for naught.

I hope to never take the dark days for granted.

These things I have come to understand about my relationship and reliance on the Lord are not for motherhood alone. You don’t have to be a parent to come into inches of the devil whispering fear into your soul, you simply have to be a person. My deliverance at this time in my life has been from depression in regards to motherhood, but there are countless other things you may need to be delivered from, and the Lord is ready to deliver you when you are ready to grasp His hand.

He may not deliver you in the way you expect, He may not deliver you from the actual hardship but He may deliver your mind to a new understanding of the hardship. There are days I may still pass through thoughts of depression, but that will not overtake the joy the Lord has graciously overflowed my heart with.

People love to say “God meets you where you are at…” but He truly, truly is already there – if you are just willing to acknowledge Him.

“Spirit lead me where my trust is without borders
Let me walk upon the waters
Wherever You would call me
Take me deeper than my feet could ever wander
And my faith will be made stronger
In the presence of my Savior” [Oceans by Hillsong United]

 

 

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This is going to be a long post.

If you make it to the end, I appreciate you reading.

I’ve been wanting to document the arrival of our son but every time I revisit the night he was born I become so overwhelmed with emotion.

There is nothing quite like the unknown. It is no secret that I had been hoping to have a natural delivery with Timothy. I’ve been talking about it in conversation with friends and family, posting on Facebook and twitter, and reading all kinds of material at home and online. As much as I prepared myself and informed Joseph of all he needed to know/be aware of I still was so unsure what this would all be like, and I’m still trying to wrap my mind around all that took place.

I’m just going to start telling the story, it’s hard trying to preface it with any words that make sense…

photo 4

I started having contractions around 11pm while Joseph and I were watching a movie, it was finishing up so I was trying to pay attention to the movie and not the contractions. I was 40 weeks 5 days(almost 6 since it was 11pm). I started feeling them get a little stronger and was telling Joseph maybe I should call my parents but I didn’t want to overreact incase it was false labor. I decided a text would be fine. I knew my dad would probably be awake, he and my mom had planned to take care of Brooklyn while Joseph and I were at the hospital, they live half an hour away – so I just wanted them to be aware I was having some different contractions than normal incase things started picking up. I told Joseph to get some rest (again, thinking it would be awhile before anything significant happened…) and he almost took some NyQuil because he had not been feeling well, but decided DayQuil might be best 😀 glad he chose that option or we might have had a problem.

photo 5

About 30 minutes after I texted my dad, I was unable to talk through contractions and they had been consistently 3 minutes apart for about an hour (from 11pm-12am). I never had gradual increase in time, it didn’t start out 20 min….15 min..10…5. Just straight to 3 minutes, with increasing pain. I had been studying pain management techniques and so I am trying to utilize everything my brain knows but I am having trouble even completing thoughts in my head, so I decide to go tell Joseph that it’s probably time to call my parents. I still felt silly at this point – what if a baby was not coming tonight? I decided to call the hospital to make sure that if I came in they would admit me…didn’t wan to make a trip for nothing. You can see, it was a long wait on the phone with the hospital, I answered a slew of questions and then they said come on in! I was relieved, and starting to believe maybe I was actually in “real” labor.

I had packed a bag a few weeks ago, so I was double checking to make sure I had what we needed…becoming increasingly fuzzy minded, this was a little unnerving to me because I had been prepping my mind to go through natural labor and delivery and I was frustrated that I could barely think about where I put my socks…how was I going to remind myself of everything I needed to in order to make it through contractions?

My parents arrived and I don’t think I said one word to them, I just headed straight to the car trying to focus on getting through the pain, my contractions were closer together but I really wasn’t timing them at this point. On our drive to the hospital (only about 10 minutes away) I decided I’d time the next few to make sure I knew incase they asked me. I was feeling them every minute and a half now. I thought “if I get checked in this hospital, and have not made any progress in dilating, I’m going to cry and have a meltdown”. I probably actually said that too, now that I think about it.

By the time we got checked into the hospital and up to our room, it was around 1:30am. My contractions were strong but I just wanted to get “in the computer system” so I could get out of the room and walk around or take a shower, anything to take my mind off the pain…was not trying to just lay in a bed. She checked me and I was 4cm, relief, I was actually progressing! My nurse was fabulous, she had delivered both her boys naturally so she didn’t flinch when I said that was my plan and she said it was fine if I wanted to go walk around or take a shower, so long as my water didn’t break (if it did they would want to monitor his heart and that would mean I’d need to stay in the bed or very close by…so I could utilize a birthing ball). No sooner did she say that…and my water broke. So, fear set in. I had prepared to walk through contractions as long as I could, and use heat from a shower or tub to get through some tough contractions. There was meconium in my water so that was also a reason to stay on the monitor to make sure Timothy wasn’t under any stress.

As I labored in the bed, I shifted positions frequently and tried to recite some verses in my head that I had been studying for these moments. I felt so much doubt. I kept thinking “I cannot do this”, “This is so painful”, “I want to scream”, etc. My mind still felt fuzzy and I was so unsure of myself. I looked to Joseph multiple times, not wanting to mutter the words “I am too weak for this”, because I wanted so badly to accomplish this goal, but I knew I could not do this for long. Each time I met his eyes with doubt in mine, I only received confidence and encouragement back from him. “You’re doing so well!”, “You’re one contraction closer to the end”, “Breathe deeply, don’t forget to breathe!”…I was, at times, starting to hyperventilate from my anxiety. He held my hand, and I squeezed his arm so tight through each hard contraction. Every rise and fall of pain I felt fear and then relief. Mentally, it was exhausting. Physically, too, but mentally was most of the battle I believe. No matter how much you read, prepare, study, etc, you never know quite how your laboring will be.

I was feeling pretty much a mess and told my nurse that I felt like I needed to push, I was hoping she would check me and say I was good to go. This was about 2:15am. I was 6cm. I was devastated. I started to cry and she assured me I was progressing fast and do not be discouraged but keep breathing. Keep breathing. So that’s what I did, with some doubt and anger and yelling and tears, I kept breathing. 15 minutes after that I was 8cm, and 10min or less after that I was 10cm and ready to push. My favorite doctor was working, this was a blessing. My great friend Mallory was the charge nurse this night, and she got to scoot in right before I started pushing – in the middle of me freaking out – and she held my hand and looked me in the face and said “you can do this, you have to breathe, and you will do this”. I cannot tell you how overwhelmed I get when I think about how God orchestrated for me to have an incredibly fast labor, with a supportive husband, and two nurses who championed me through my desire to accomplish this goal. When it was time to push, I was relieved but scared, it is a different ballgame with no epidural – I felt compelled to push with Brooklyn but I didn’t feel as if I was going to die like I did with Timothy. I really did go to a place of “blacking out” during pushing with Timothy, I was so unaware of anything except getting through this pain and getting this baby out. I pushed once, and it was weak and ineffective, I got a pep talk from my nurse and grabbed my husbands hand and pushed once more and heard a baby cry at 3:03am. From start to finish: 4 hours of labor, 1.5 hours going from 4cm-10, and two pushes, I met my son and fulfilled a goal that had become really important to me. I zoned out at this point, I think from utter exhaustion from the seeming battle I just endured.

I kept hearing buzzing in the background from the doctor, nurses, Joseph… all saying “he’s a boy, it’s a boy, he’s really a boy”. Maybe I let everyone know I was a little unsure, :). In my state of being zoned out, eyes closed, my heart smiled – and smiled big. It was about half an hour before I was able to hold him, as they were making sure he was okay and hadn’t swallowed any meconium, but then I got to hold him, and I loved him.

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and his dad loved him.

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and his sister loved him

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and I look forward to getting to know him, and learn him, and love him even more.

Timothy Chael Rinaldi, we are so glad you are here.

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