Ember, Flynn, and Sylvia

IMG_4121Our darling baby Sylvia Joan (aka Sylvie, Sills, Sliv, Sylvs.. Ember – Sylth, Flynn – Sah) is 3 and a half months. How can I begin to tell of how much light she brings to our family? Our 3rd blue-eyed baby, she is slim with a nice little double chin, and we think she looks like her big sister. The minute you make eye contact with her, she erupts into grins and grins and grins. She cries when you set her down, and if you leave the room and she is in a particular fragile frame of mind, she will smile and cry and coo all at the same time the minute you walk back in. Sylvie is a little love, but it has not been all fun and games since we met this sweet person.

My husband went back to work, the rains kept coming down on good ol’ Seattle, and I found myself at home in my apartment with a fragile 2 year old, a fussy 14-month old, and a very demanding 2 week old. You can imagine my predicament. The baby needed to be nursed, the 1 year old desperately needed a bottle and nap, the toddler needed food and perhaps some TLC… all at the same time. None of these little people could do anything for themselves, and I certainly didn’t have enough arms to do it all for them right when they wanted it. I felt way over my head every day, every hour, every minute.

Every day has been a challenge since having 3 kiddos, but there is one particular day that I will never forget.

It was the fussy hour. That hour every mom knows – the kids are up sleepy-eyed from naps, dad isn’t quite home, there’s not enough time to go out… I was nursing in our bedroom, and as oftentimes happens when I nurse, little Flynn was sobbing outside the door begging for me to hold him. Now, of course this breaks my heart every time, but the choice of whether to feed the newborn or comfort the 14-month old is a no-brainer. The newborn needs to be fed.

So as I was trying to get Sylvia to eat over the ruckus outside the door, I heard my 2yr old yelling, “Mommy! I peed!” Moaning inside, I frantically set hungry Sylvia down, ran past crying Flynn, and headed for my older daughter’s cries. There she was in the kitchen standing in a puddle of pee in an upside down clock. What are the odds, right? She also, I might add, didn’t seem a bit perturbed about her bizarre situation. Noting that clean-up later would be easy since we could just throw away the clock, I rushed Ember to the tub and started the water running. Meanwhile, Flynn’s cries had gotten louder, and I really needed to feed my hungry baby. So, flustered and in a panic, I gave Flynn a hug on my way back to Sylvia and began nursing again. Another 3 minutes I heard screams from the bathroom. Once again, setting Sylvia down, I raced to the bathroom and found Ember with blood everywhere! She’d cut her lip (I still to this day am not sure how) and was sobbing in bewilderment. My head spun with all the needs of my babies, so I did my best going from one child to the next cleaning up blood, dressing Ember, giving Flynn a lollipop, and finally back to nursing Sylvia.

I remember that day thinking to myself how hard it was raising three kids and how I didn’t think I was ever going to get the hang of it. But as my husband often reminds me, just because it’s hard doesn’t mean it’s not good. And throughout these busy, bewildering days of learning how to take care of these three gifts from God, I’m realizing that truly, “The lines have fallen for me in pleasant places.” Ps. 16:6

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IMG_9502.jpg.jpegThere are a lot of changes coming the Dickison family way right now. It started with getting a new third carseat a couple months ago. Then came all the new baby things. Now we need a new car to fit us all before the baby herself comes in a couple weeks, and then a new apartment right after that. This is an exciting time but a daunting one too. I am not a person who likes or does naturally well with change. So, with the future so unknown, I am working to focus on the things that I are right in front of me and the things that God is so clearly teaching me.

One of those such things is forgiveness. With my two tinies crawling, clambering, and clinging to me most of the day, life is busy, and I find myself going whole days forgetting what Jesus’s forgiveness means for me and what it means for my kids. I so easily waft about in my own fog of guilt and shame, confessing over and over all of my sins, not realizing that my Jesus has already wiped them clean away by taking them upon Himself and dying on the Cross. What immeasurable Grace is that!

I remember the first time my husband explained forgiveness to our daughter. She was about 17 months old, just a baby. He sat down on our bed with her sobbing in his lap.

“Do you know what forgiveness means?” he asked her.

Hiccuping with tears she replied, “No, I-I don’t.”

“It means you are free! You are a free girl.”

She then ran to me and throwing her arms up, cried, “Mama! I’m free!”

I couldn’t believe it. She, my little baby in diapers, had grasped what it means to be forgiven by God.  With her arms flung out and a smile lighting up her face, she knew and felt without any doubts or second guesses that her sins were no more. Here I was – her mom – unable to see that Jesus has completely and totally forgiven me of all my sins! As I held her in my arms, her freedom from her sin was almost tangible, and I wanted that too. That time may have been the first time I realized that the lessons my daughter was being taught by God were also the lessons He was teaching me.

“As far as the east is from the west,
So far has He removed our transgressions from us.” Psalm 103:12

January 20th

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There came a day when I found myself sitting in my parked car, sobbing to my mom. It was Friday, classes were done. Northwest January with its weak sun and oppressive cold was upon me. All of my 20 year old problems had washed over me and I felt hopeless to stay afloat, or more like it, unable to stop crying to my mom.

Things still unsolved and in the abyss, I got off the phone and trudged into our apartment. I was going to a fancy dinner that night, but right now that was the very last thing in the world I wanted to do. What if I cried there, and people saw? What if they knew how much I was struggling inside? What if people only knew the real me, would they want to be my friend? Where was God and why wasn’t he helping me? Didn’t He care? He said He cared the most, but it sure didn’t feel like it.

With these questions and doubts, I got ready anyway and sat in the back of the car with my cousin and uncle who had picked us up for the dinner. We slowly passed the gym – piled-up, dirty snow lining its doors. The sun was beginning to set.

I heard the familiar ring on my phone. Annoyed and not wanting to talk to anyone right now, I glanced at the number. It was unknown. Hm, I am definitely not picking up, I thought. But then again, life was so hopeless and hard that a random call from someone I didn’t know couldn’t make it much worse, so my curiosity took hold and I flipped it open.

“Hello?”

“Hi, is this Jill?” I didn’t recognize the voice but it was a guy. This was different.

“Hi this is Elliot.” Elliot… Elliot Dickison? The cute guy I had secretly liked for the last few years?  The guy I had desperately wanted to talk to whenever our paths crossed, but to whom I could never quite work up the bravery to actually say hi? Why would he be calling me?

“Oh hi!” was my chipper response, as if I hadn’t just been sobbing my heart out 30 minutes ago.

“Well…this is kind of awkward…” he stuttered.

“Oh, no it’s not awkward!” I replied, realizing what this was all about. My friend (who also happened to be his cousin) had wanted to go sledding with me and had suggested we borrow her cousins’ sleds. Elliot Dickison was calling about us borrowing sleds. No big deal. I vaguely wondered why he would call me since we barely knew each other and he could just call his cousin.

“Well, I really like you and was wondering if you would want to grab coffee with me some time.”

My heart suddenly felt all fluttery and out of control. My fingers gripped the phone as I broke into a sweat of disbelief. Elliot Dickison was asking me out. The Elliot. The sweetest, kindest, funniest, most handsome guy I knew who I was always dying would even say hi to me just asked me, Jill Becker, an emotional girl with so many problems, on a date! It may sound dramatic, but, well it was dramatic. His and my future life together flashed before my eyes, sitting in the back of the car on that cold January day. I knew without a doubt somewhere deep in my soul that this – this phone call – was a miracle. This was a gift from our God who is so true to His promises and gives us exactly what we need when we need it. And sometimes it comes with something very happy when we are least expecting it.

Shakily, shyly I answered, “Um…sure! I would really like that.”

Flynn

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My tiny, perfect Flynn Elliot is 6 1/2 months old now. And oh, if he only knew how much cheer he brings into our world! Those round blues as deep as the sea, that laugh as glad as the sun – his quiet sweetness is such a joy to us all on the gloomiest of days. From week 1 I noticed that Flynn has a remarkable attitude despite all the annoyances of being a baby – being over tired, struggling with eating, not being held when he wants to be, having to wait to eat or sleep because I am busy with his older sister… There are times when he desperately needs a nap but is struggling to fall asleep, and he always always looks up at me with the gladdest of smiles, fighting his discomfort or sadness. When his big sister Ember is playing with him and gets a little too rough, he will let out a small frustrated wail but then immediately stare up at her with the most adoring eyes, forgetting instantly the wrong done to him. Watching my sweet baby Flynn, I get the tiniest of glimpses into what it means to smile through hardship and let things roll off your back. I love and admire my darling boy so much!

“Awake, O sleeper, and arise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you.” Eph. 5:14

At 8 weeks pregnant, I saw my baby on an ultrasound for the first time. He or she wasn’t moving much (I think joints come a little later) but I could make out tiny arms and a tiny heart, pumping visibly and signaling life. Glad tears streamed down my face – I was in awe.

The next time I saw signs of life was at 11 weeks when my husband and I actually heard the heartbeat. There really was another soul inside of me – a soul with eyes and ears and toes and thoughts – growing and moving and living. I was in awe again.

Just a week later I was given another sign of life: a tiny, tiny, almost imperceptible movement inside me – and completely apart from me. It was a touch so small it was almost not even there. But there was no denying I felt it. My baby kicked.

Yesterday I heard my baby’s heartbeat for the 2nd time, loud and strong and real. I was in awe once again. But this time I felt different. Along with my joy over my thriving child, I felt pangs of sadness for the hundreds and hundreds of tiny babies just my baby’s size who are aborted every day.

I’ve always been pro-life, always been horrified by abortion, always known it to be the greatest mass murder in history. As a teenager, my family and I joined several pro-life rallies and walks downtown Denver. I remember a few Saturday mornings going with friends to stand with pro-life signs outside a Planned Parenthood. That was pretty much the extent of my fight against abortion. I would occasionally pray for these unborn babies and their moms if the thought struck me, but since abortion was too painful to even think about and I didn’t really feel I could do anything to stop it, I sort of let the whole debaucle slide out of focus.

It wasn’t until I was pregnant with our first daughter that the issue of abortion really got to me. Feeling her kick, seeing her lips open and close in ultrasounds, giving birth… the reality of unborn life struck me and the horror of abortion was finally clear. And now, since the Center for Medical Progress posted their videos, it rightly and almost unbearably grieves me more than ever.

Every time I read about another one of Planned Parenthood’s insane acts of violence, I am reminded that God is waking pro-lifers from their slumber. He has used these videos to remind us of the horrors of abortion – horrors that are just a few blocks away. He has shown us a way to put a stop to this mass genocide. I pray that we will not give up this hard fight for truth and life until abortion is seen by all for the absolute insanity it really is.

“Arise, O Lord; O God, lift up your hand; forget not the afflicted. Why does the wicked renounce God and say in his heart, ‘You will not call to account’? But you do see,  for you note mischief and vexation, that you may take it into your hands; to you the helpless commits himself; you have been the helper of the fatherless.” Ps. 10:12-14.

The Big One

This Sunday morning was just like any other morning. My 1-year old woke up painfully early, and therefore so did I. This happens most mornings. The minute I hear her wails my heart sinks because all I want in the world is to be still blissfully sleeping, but then as I roll out of bed and picture her all red-faced and reaching for me, all I want in the world is to rescue her from her dark room and hold her close. I really can’t complain.

Now where was I. Oh yes, Sunday morning. It really was a normal morning. Yes normal, until my husband mentioned in passing that in the next few years the Pacific Northwest is supposed to erupt in a one of the worst earthquakes in history. Oh, and did I mention we live in the Pacific Northwest? Needless to say, my nice quiet Sunday morning had become far from “normal” as I imagined the earth crumbling beneath our house, and me wondering why on earth we hadn’t moved somewhere else before this killed us all.

So, after fruitlessly grilling my husband on all the details and facts (he hadn’t read too much about it), we began researching this impending earthquake. It turns out he was right.

In recent history researchers have discovered a fault line called the Cascadia subduction zone right above the San Andreas fault. This zone runs for 700 miles from somewhere off the California coast, all along Oregon and Washington, and ends around Vancouver Island BC. The “subduction” part refers to the region where the oceanic plate tectonic, Juan de Fuca, is sliding (subducting) underneath the North American plate tectonic (where I live). But instead of letting Juan de Fuca slide right underneath it, the Pacific Northwest is stuck against its surface, unable to budge. This is building up incredible amounts of pressure and causing a massive bulge upward and compression eastward of North America at a rate of 3-4 mm a year. That’s fast! And once this bulge erupts they predict that our home plate will drop 6 feet and that all along the edge from California to Canada will slide 30 to 100 feet to the west. I immediately pictured me and my baby Ember gripping the ground for dear life as it slid away at incredible speeds. How could we possibly survive?

They are predicting an 8.7-9.2 sized earthquake. I looked it up and that’s similar in size to Tohoku in Japan in 2011, which killed more than 18,000 people. I remember watching videos of that earthquake and tsunami and being horrified by the devastation and grief it caused.

Anyway, the cycle of “The Big One” (as it’s called) is, on average, every 243 years. The last occurrence was 315 years ago though, making us 73 years overdue for destruction. Alarming right? (Good, I’m glad I’m not the only one!)

Reading all of this, I was really honestly dismayed and immediately told Elliot that we should move within the year to escape the earthquake. I knew I was being a tiny bit paranoid, but I did and still do believe that this future earthquake is a reality and that we should take any precautions we can to avoid it. Elliot, however, reminded me that they really have no idea when or if it will happen, and that we can’t just move from our home to escape some possible catastrophe when there are possible catastrophes everywhere you turn.

So, I’ve decided to put “The Big One” out of my mind and to hope and trust God to take care of us.

Here’s a link if you’re as fascinated as I am and want to read up more on this: http://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2015/07/20/the-really-big-one.

A Good Weekend

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Last weekend my husband and I had the privilege to go on a little get-away trip for one night. I say privilege because it was the first night we’d spent away from our daughter, and any time spent with just the two of us is a very rare thing indeed. Before Ember came along, my husband and I would go on trips pretty much whenever we wanted to and for as long as we wanted to. We flew to Hawaii, road-tripped to San Francisco, and took multiple weekend trips to ski, camp, and hike. Back then I would have scoffed at a mere 24 hour trip with a single night at a hotel. But now that we have a baby, it’s not so simple to take a weekend trip just for fun. We’ve tried, and I wouldn’t use “fun” to describe them – maybe “an adventure” would suffice. So, all this to say, now that we had the chance to leave our daughter for a whole night, we were thrilled.

My wonderful mom (Nana) flew to Seattle to visit and watch Ember while we were gone. I can’t even describe my feeling of freedom as I waved goodbye to my mom and Ember. I was sad to leave my baby for so long (yes, I cried a little), but relieved to get to be with my husband without the constant responsibility and care of my daughter distracting me.

Our trip was perfect. The outdoor hot tub in the rain, Starbucks coffee as we explored the shops at night, pizza and steak at a cool restaurant, and finally Ben and Jerry’s with a movie back at the hotel – it was all just plain perfect. With an early breakfast the next morning we drove to a cross-country skiing area and skied all morning to our hearts’ content. Afterward, all cold and tired, we grabbed lunch at a cafe and then headed home.

Normally after a fun weekend, I am pretty sad that the fun is over and I have to go back to the humdrum of life. But with the thought of my sweet baby’s snuggles as well as my awesome mom to welcome us home, that typical blue mood wasn’t there.

Looking back, we honestly didn’t do anything spectacular on our trip – just hung out mostly, talked, joked, and ate good food. But I realize now what made it so very memorable. You see, throughout the trip I had this feeling that God was giving me a great gift – the gift of time with my husband. Lately time spent just the two us is hard to find. Elliot has a long commute to and from work, so he isn’t home that much. And our baby Ember takes up the majority of the time that he is home. I sometimes find myself looking back and pining for the days when it was just the two of us, and I got so much time with Elliot. However, this trip made me realize that my time and the time I get with my husband is totally and completely in God’s hands. He will give us the time together that we need.

Cereal and Other Stuff

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One of my favorite memories from growing up were mornings and breakfasts together with my siblings. All four of us kids would sit on our stools at the kitchen counter, eating cereal.

We ate cereal most week day mornings, not because it was easy and quick. But because my siblings and I loved it – especially the sugary kinds. We were only allowed to have one of those after we’d had a bowl of the healthy kind (Cheerios, Mini Wheats, Chex). We would wolf down a bowl of the boring stuff, and then it was on to the real fun. I just remember being so excited when my Cheerios were eaten, and I could choose a sweet kind. Our favorites were Capt’n Crunch, Lucky Charms, Trix, Fruit Loops… the list goes on. I still don’t know where Kix and Life fall into the categories. We also had this tradition of building cereal box forts around our bowls. We each had our special place at the counter, and we would use 3 or 4 boxes to build a little cave around our place. We would then proceed to read the backs of the boxes and discuss them with each other. We were cereal junkies. It was a huge part of my childhood.

Along with our cereal games in the mornings, my mom would usually give us a mini Bible study to get our day off to the right start. She would read some Scripture, maybe a commentary on it, or sometimes she would have us all memorize a passage from the Bible together.

On this particular morning, she was reading a Matthew Henry commentary on the verse, “Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things” (1 Corinthians 13:7). Henry pointed out that to “believe all things” of somebody is to try to believe the best of them, when you could believe the worst. It’s giving somebody the benefit of the doubt. All this my mom explained to us, and I remember it was a totally new concept to me – I’d never thought about it before. To believe something good about someone instead of something bad, when you have the choice to do either was going to be hard to do. And I think I realized that that day at the breakfast table. I guess I sort of  meditated on it all day, because while playing with my siblings, I kept running into the choice of giving them benefit of the doubt or not. I remember the words “benefit of the doubt” playing over and over in my head, and I kept forgetting what it all meant. I had to keep reminding myself that it meant believing the best about somebody instead of the worst. Maybe I was still too young to quite wrap my mind around it.

I still, of course, run into the choice of the benefit of the doubt every day. It’s hard. When I’m not sure if somebody is being hurtful or not, it’s so easy to believe that they are – to believe the worst. The things is, that we can’t see into other people’s hearts. That’s God’s job. And others may have perfectly fine intentions. We don’t know. And since we don’t know, we ought to yes, give them the benefit of the doubt. Countless times, others have given me the benefit of the doubt. When I think back to these times, I remember how nice it is to be thought the best of instead of the worst.

And to make it easier for me to get the hang of it, I have someone sitting right next to me who is a master at giving the benefit of the doubt. Yep, my husband. I see him “believe all things” of me and others every day. I see him assuming the best of people when I often assume the worst. And it’s hard, of course! But he does it anyway, and usually it ends up that he’s right and I’m wrong.

My Birth Story

 

 

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It was Thursday June 5th. My husband and I were sitting at a local Mexican restaurant at 4:00 in the afternoon. I remember thinking it was a strange time to be having a meal especially on a weekday, and I wasn’t very hungry. My husband and I split a big plate of nachos with toppings, he had a beer and I a strawberry lemonade. I sipped the lemonade really fast, hoping the cold and sugar would make my baby move a lot. It did, and it was reassuring. I was 8 months 3 weeks pregnant, and I was about to be induced in just a few hours.

Based on previous measurements, ultrasounds, and non-stress tests over the last month, the doctors had told us that our baby was measuring small with an even smaller abdomen. They told us she may be growth-restricted, not getting enough nutrients to grow, and she needed to come out as soon as possible. So we agreed to an induction at 39 weeks. I sat there sipping my lemonade, excited to see my baby. But I was worried for her. I didn’t know if she was doing ok or if she was suffering. This is not how I’d imagined bringing a baby into the world – all nervous and jittery and knowing that I was making the decision of forcing unnatural labor. Would my baby be able to take forced contractions? Would my body respond well to the medication? Would it be too painful for me to bear? Were we making the right decision to induce? All these questions coursed through my mind as I sat there, my nachos going cold and my husband comforting me and trying to get my mind off things.

A couple hours later we were in the labor room – both of us excited and at the same time sick with worry. Me in bed, my husband sitting next to me holding my hand, our baby’s heartbeat thumping reassuringly in the background. They’d given me Cervadil and told me to lie down as much as possible so it could be the most effective in bringing on labor. That night was actually fun. I told my husband we could pretend it was a sort of date. So we did a bunch of crossword puzzles, rented Toy Story (the most cheerful and funny movie I could think of), ate Sourpatch Kids, and explored the hospital dinner menu. I got a Tunafish sandwich and he a pizza. It was fun, but it was no normal date. Elliot was in shorts and a T-shirt and I in a hospital gown. I cried a lot, and every once in a while when another wave of fear came over me, Elliot would read aloud all our favorite passages from the Bible.

The next morning, we both awoke to the sound of our baby’s heartbeat and the flooding realization that today we might hold our girl for the first time. We were again excited but pretty scared at the same time. Throughout the night I had started having contractions, and by morning they were hurting. After a quick shower, they checked to see if I’d dilated at all. I had dilated half a centimeter, so I was now only 1 cm. I was crushed. Still though, they let us walk around for a few hours to see if my contractions would speed up. My husband and I walked up and down the 4 short hallways of our tiny small-town labor floor. We played word games and he made me laugh despite the heightening pain of my contractions. By 10:00am I hadn’t dilated any more. And that’s when my nurse started Pitocin.

Pitocin is a synthetic form of oxytocin used to induce labor (I just Googled that). My nurse was super nice. I can’t remember her name sadly, but she had red hair and a kind smile. And she was practical, which I think is a good way to be if you’re a labor and delivery nurse. She hooked me up to a couple IV’s, one of them Pitocin. This she first tried sticking in my wrist vein, but it began to throb and swell a bit so she switched it to my hand. I remember she kept apologizing for the inconvenience of this and the pain it caused. It thought it was nice of her. I knew this pain wouldn’t hold a candle to the pain that was coming, so I didn’t mind a bit.

She started me on a slow drip, raising the dose every half hour. It was weird at first to see the little baggie of fluid with the droplet of Pitocin dripping through the tube into my hand every couple of seconds. After a while, it scared me, so I stopped watching it and concentrated on not thinking about the pain of my contractions. The Pitocin really got things going. It was bad. I would go from the bed, to a walk around the room, to the rocking chair over and over. Nothing really seemed to help the pain except to get my mind off of it. Elliot was the best. He read to me, gave me massages, told me jokes, just talked to me and encouraged me, and sometimes prayed in silence to help me get through the next contraction. We watched a little TV and had snacks, and every half hour my red-haired nurse would up my dose by 2. I still don’t really know what that number means, but all I know is it went to 20, and every time she raised it the pain of contractions would worsen pretty fast.

After a couple hours of this, between contractions I asked Elliot if I should try the exercise ball and the tub. I had gotten to the point that nothing was really working any more to give me relief, and I needed something new to ease my pain. Elliot suggested I try the exercise ball, but we both agreed that it would be better to save the tub til I was a little more desperate for relief. I remember thinking the tub was like this sauna of relief and if I could just hold out a little longer, it would be my light at the end of the tunnel.

After another hour, and halfway to the full dose of Pitocin, I remember thinking “Oh, if I’m already halfway to the worst pain I’m going to feel, then I can totally do this.” What I didn’t realize at the time (thankfully) is that the pain from the first 10 units was nothing to that of the second 10. By the time the dose of Pitocin was at 14, I thought “Ok, I don’t know if I can last much longer.” Desperate for some kind of relief, I finally decided it was time for my last resort – the tub.

From Pitocin unit 16 all the way up to the full dose of 20, I was in and out of the tub. It gave me some relief, but by the time they had given me the full dose, the pain got bad. I was sitting in the rocking chair with Elliot beside me when she upped my dose to 20. The first jolt of pain with a contraction was so unspeakably awful that I doubled over in horror and groaning. And then, thankfully, wonderfully, and in perfect timing my water broke. I said “I think my water’s breaking go get the nurse!” to Elliot and he ran out. He and the nurse rushed in and she said “Ok, now your contractions are going to get worse” – dreaded words of course, because I was already in unbearable pain. I then remembered I hadn’t asked for the Epidural yet. I quickly asked for one as the nurse helped me to the bed. I asked her if she could make it happen fast, and that I couldn’t take this much longer. I just remember the jolts of pain with each contraction. I sat on the edge of the bed with Elliot and I looked down at my hands and they were shaking and shaking. I felt pain so out of control that I didn’t know if I could live. I guess women in labor are sort of delusional, that’s how bad the pain is.

The nurse checked me and I was dilated to 2. I was immediately so crushed and discouraged after all these hours and hours of so many contractions. I began thinking about C-sections- anything to take the pain away…. Contraction after horrible contraction so close together. I waited for the anesthesiologist. I just kept praying and praying she would get there fast, and that I could bear this pain until then. I held the cross on my necklace and cried out to Jesus over and over for help. At this point Elliot was reasonably traumatized. I moaned and groaned and felt a little crazy and definitely not myself. I remember thinking “This is not me! I would never moan aloud like this in front of strangers! This is so embarrassing!” but I couldn’t help it. The pain was awful. It took the anesthesiologist 30 minutes to get there and another 15 to finally get the tube in my back. I begged God to let the numbing drug work on me. I’d heard horror stories of it not working on people and not taking the pain away. But in just 5 more minutes the pain began to lessen as the liquid passed through my veins and numbed my body. It felt wonderful. I told Elliot we should name our baby Epidural. I was that relieved. Elliot right beside me was breathing sighs of relief too.

I began to drift off to blissful sleep, when they came to check me again. I’d dilated to 6 cm. in just 20 minutes! Thank You Lord, I thought. A bunch of nurses started getting things set up around me in case I dilated fast. I thought “No way! It’ll be at least a few more hours til I’m dilated! It’s been a whole day and nothing happened!” But then 30 minutes later I was a 10. Complete!

“This is it!” I thought, “I’m going to see my baby!” And then I started worrying about how I was supposed to do this. This was my first baby, I had no idea how to deliver a baby! And I was so exhausted. I was scared I wouldn’t have the energy. In fact, over the next hour and a half of pushing, I had to fight the urge just to fall asleep – the Epidural really made me feel sleepy. I prayed over and over that Jesus would give me the strength I needed for my baby. I just remember thinking that this was the hardest thing I had ever done and I’d better not give up. I kept thinking about my baby and how much she needed me to be strong right now. And the whole time through the oxygen mask I kept looking into Elliot’s eyes and asking him if I could do this. He just kept saying, “Jill you can do this.”

And then, all of a sudden in that dark room, at 7:18pm, I couldn’t believe it. There was Ember Loizeaux. All wrinkly and slippery and smushed and perfect in every way. Words can’t describe my awe and joy as I held her close, sobbing and sobbing and thanking Jesus for my baby.

The Day My Mom Saved Me

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I could write a long post about today in all its happenings of ups and downs and smiles and tears. But it’s been so long since I’ve posted, and in order to actually post something, this will just be a snippet of a tribute to my wonderful mom. 

The morning was going horribly. And I’m not complaining, I’m just stating a very true fact. Ember is a newborn – sweet but demanding. I am a new mom, and I love my baby to the moon. But I am weak and inexperienced.

I knew it would be a hard day from the minute I opened my eyes that morning. I could just feel it. Plus, my 1 month old had had a fussy night and wasn’t eating well or sleeping well. As the morning progressed, I went about the high demands of my little girl, determined to be a “good mom” and take really good care of her. I planned on comforting her whenever she cried, rocking her to sleep, sticking to the sleep/eat schedule, reading my book, and sipping my coffee while she peacefully napped and woke up smiling at her wonderful mother. 

But nothing went as planned. By 1:00 I’d had it with this day. I found myself in our hot stuffy house sobbing over my screaming darling. Hungry, wet from peeing countless times all over her adorable new rompers, still with a dirty diaper no matter how many times I had changed her, and cranky, my little one needed me badly to fix the problem and make her feel better.

But I felt, as desperately as I was doing my very best to take good care of her, I was still failing her. Despite all my efforts, nothing was going right. And I needed help.

So I decided to do what every new mom should if she can. I called MY mom. And in 10 minutes she was there, bringing us much needed food, cleaning up spills I just hadn’t had time to get to, doing my laundry, washing all the dishes, sweeping and mopping the kitchen, and just all around cheering me up and being a great mom. She let me take her nice clean car with its AC (ours broke) to go out to bring my husband lunch and get a coffee. I drove, relishing in the blissful cold air of the car and thanked Jesus for my mom. 

So here’s to my mom who makes everything better. Since I have learned and am still learning from the best, I can hope to be as good a mom as she.