Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Adventures in the Basement: Rebekah's Room

When I was pregnant with Rebekah, I loved looking at pictures of nurseries. If there was a blog post about a nursery reveal - I read it. I pinned ideas almost every day, and was so excited to decorate her room...

Rebekah turns 2 months old this week...and we still do not have her room ready for her. We have been working little by little, but she is still sleeping in our room and probably will for a little while longer, so I'm not feeling to stressed to get it finished. In the mean time we have been gathering items to make her room an extra special place for her. 

I want to share with one special thing that will be in her room. A few week, on a blog that I love to read, Passion, Pink & Pearls, I saw the cutest pencil wreath drawings done by Veronica (the writer of the blog - it is very exciting for me to know another Veronica!!) and I knew that I needed to get one to hang in Rebekah's room! 

I contacted Veronica via e-mail (mrs.veronicaleeburns@gmail.com) to ask if she sold her wreath drawings and if I could commission her to make one for Rebekah. I was thrilled to find out that she did create drawing for sale - each one totally unique and customized. Look, she even has some artwork for her little business:

I gave her some color ideas and things I would like included in the drawing and here is what she sent: 

I LOVE IT! The walls in Rebekah's room are painted light purple and pink so this wreath will fit in perfectly. I love the little banner at the bottom with Rebekah's birth date on it. It looks beautiful from a far, but when you get close up and see all the little details - it is all the more pretty! Thank you so much Veronica!
To see more examples of Veronica's work CLICK HERE

She does all kinds of custom wreaths and each one is so unique and beautiful - they would be a perfect personalized gift for a baby shower, wedding, or even a Christmas gift (ah, Christmas?! It's coming so fast!!) Each one is only $25 and that includes the cost of shipping it to your house (or where ever you want it sent). So, check out Veronica's blog for ideas, and shoot her an e-mail with your ideas and she will create you a truly unique and special work of art! 

Passion, Pink & Pearls ~ mrs.veronicaleeburns@gmail.com

And because no post now is complete without a cute picture of Rebekah...

Ok, I know that's 3, but I couldn't just pick one. She is just so stinkin' cute!
I hope to be able to show you Rebekah's finished room soon! 

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Adventures in Life: Our Journey to Parenthood (part 3)

This is the final part of our journey to parenthood. If you would like to read part 1 click HERE and for part two click HERE

I am very thankful that our second pregnancy was a pretty uneventful one. I wish I would have posted more pregnancy updates, but time and energy were at a premium most of my pregnancy as I was working and we were working to finish the basement. I did manage to get it together enough to post a few times:

A new adventure
19 weeks
23 weeks
35 weeks
39 weeks

My due date came and went without any signs of labor. I was very thankful that the weather was unseasonably cool (mid 70's as a high!) as I was pretty uncomfortable the last few weeks of my pregnancy. I was starting to get a little anxious in the days after my due date because we wanted to do a natural birth as long as our little lady was doing well. So we tried everything in the book to get labor going naturally. I have to say that eating pineapple and bouncing on a labor ball were the jackpot methods for me! On Thursday, August 14th, after a day of random, mild contractions, and a long afternoon nap, my water broke. Daniel had just gotten home from work and we called the midwife to let her know. Since I was strep-b positive and needed 4 hours of antibiotics before our little lady way born, she said to get our things together and come on into the hospital.

Our only 'birth plan' was to have a natural birth as long as both baby and I were doing well. Our ultimate goal was a healthy baby and healthy mom in the end and if medical intervention was needed for that outcome we were fine with that.

We were admitted around 7 pm and taken to our labor room. My contractions were becoming more regular and intense but I could still talk through them. I got my first IV ever and we watched a few episodes of the Big Bang theory on TV. By about 11 pm the contractions were getting pretty painful so we decided to see if being in the shower would provide some relief. We tried a bunch of different labor positions that we learned in the birthing class we took, but sitting with the warm water spraying on my back was the most comfortable for a little while. 

Around midnight my midwife, Mary Beth, gave me the okay to labor in the birthing tub for a while. As a former competitive swimmer, water is pretty much my happy place, so I loved the idea of getting in the big tub. With dim lights and a quiet room I labored for another 2 hours before Mary Beth wanted to check my progress. One thing I really liked about Mary Beth and the other midwives is their philosophy of labor was very minimally invasive. If my body is doing what God made it to do, they just let me do my thing. So I knew things must be getting close if she was wanting to check - and we were excited to find that I was 7 cm dilated! I continued to labor in the tub for another hour or two ( the contractions were pretty strong at this point and this is where I start to lose track of my sense of time because I was so focused on breathing and staying relaxed and calm ). Around 4 am Mary Beth wanted me to change positions and use the bathroom, so we all moved back into the bathroom and I labored on the toilet for a while. Around 5am I was starting to feel the urge to push so we left the bathroom and I used a birthing stool for the first part of my pushing. 

I need to pause for a second and just say that in all of this Daniel was right at my side, holding my hand, rubbing my back, whatever I needed. He was awesome! When I was pushing on the birthing stool he was sitting behind me so I could lean against him and he did such a great job supporting and encouraging me. 

Ok, so I pushed. And pushed. Mary Beth kept monitoring Rebekah's heart rate as I was pushing and I didn't know it at the time but she was slightly concerned that it was dropping when I pushed - more than was normal. Around 6am ( I think)   I moved up to the bed and the room came to life with people and movement, Rebekah was almost here! 

The next part is kind of a blur. As I was pushing I was given oxygen because Mary Beth was still concerned about Rebekah. I remember her asking if some doctor was in the hospital and saying to have him come quick. I remember her telling me to not push for a few contractions to give Rebekah a chance to rest a little.... And that is the hardest thing ever! I remember her telling me that I needed to push Rebekah out NOW because her heart rate was very low and she was not getting enough oxygen, so with all of my might and energy I gave one big push and there she was! Our sweet girl we had waited and prayed for for so long. They had to take her away to the special infant bed on the other side of the room to get her breathing well, the umbilical cord had been wrapped around her neck, which was causing all of the problems. That was the hardest part for me, having to wait to hold her. And the only part of the birth that did not go as we would have liked - but it was a necessary change of plan in order to have a healthy baby. After the neonatologist and the pediatrician checked her, the nurse brought her back to me and I got to hold her on my chest.

I will always remember her little cry, her bright eyes looking around, and the feeling of her little body against my chest. She was perfect and we loved her a million times more than we thought we ever could.

And we were finally parents!

(So...this was a long post! Congratulations if you made it all the way to the end! Stay tuned for Adventures with Rebekah! ) 

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Adventures in Life: Our Journey to Parenthood (part 2)

If you have missed the previous post you can read

So, one year later, we were back at square one. Everything was different, but somehow everything was the same. We were still a family of 2. We still wanted to be a family of, well, more than 2. Only a very small group of family and friends knew about the miscarriage, and I am so very thankful that we waited to make a big pregnancy announcement because I don't know if (at that time) I could have handled having to tell so many people about loosing our little angel.

On a side note - and kind of a public service announcement:

Please, please, please, be very careful when asking young couples "So, when are you going to start having kids?". I know that people ask because they care, (and some people ask just to be nosy) but you never know what that couple may be going through. This question can be very hurtful. I was asked this question several times in the spring/summer of 2013 and it was all I could do to hold back the tears.

For young couples who may get this question - the most polite answer I have found for this question is "Whenever God decides to give us kids."

Okay, back to the story. We started trying again. I am not going to share the specifics of 'the trying' here. However if you are in this trying stage, and would like more information about this time from me, please leave a comment and I will be more than happy to answer your questions privately. I will say this, the summer of 2013 was one of the loneliest times of my life. It felt like everyone I knew was either pregnant or had a young baby...the thing my heart desired the most. I have always been pretty good at putting on a happy face and not letting people know how I am really feeling, and that summer I had my "happy face" on every day. 

Month after month went by. Summer turned into fall and fall turned into winter. And we were starting to wonder if God's plan for our family involved some other means of having children (like adoption) because try as we might, we were still not pregnant.

Some days we felt frustrated - why was it taking so long? Why wasn't God's timeline more like ours?! What was He waiting for?

Some days we felt desperate - what if there is something medically wrong and we can't have kids?

Some days we were just so sad for our little one that we lost. 

But all days we were thankful (or at least we tried to find reasons to be) - Thankful for each other. Thankful for good jobs and a roof over our heads. Thankful for the lessons we were learning. Thankful to the opportunity to grow closer to each other through this trial. Thankful for how God was molding us to be more like Him.

We had decided that if we were not pregnant after the first of the new year (2014), that we would make an appointment with a doctor to get some medical advice. But thankfully we never needed to make that appointment, because like I said, God's timing is perfect! And at the beginning of December we found out that we were pregnant (again)!

And to be perfectly honest, I was terrified.

I know, it doesn't make sense, for months and months we had been wanting to be pregnant. Praying every month that I was. And now that I finally saw the 2 lines on the pee stick, I was terrified. I couldn't get past the big "what if".

What if we have another miscarriage?

I don't know if that will ever go away.

Something I had to do every day of my pregnancy with Rebekah was to thank God for giving me another day of being this little girl's mommy. To ask Him to keep us safe and healthy for that day, and to give tomorrow to Him. I know that God is in control. I can worry and plan and try all I want, but when it comes to babies, it doesn't do a lick of good. Now, that's not to say we don't plan things. We do. But when we plan, we also keep in mind the fact that God also has a plan. And His is better than any plan we could make ourselves.

This lesson applies situations besides babies! I would like to encourage you to remember that God is in control, that He has a plan. Give your worries to Him!

To be continued with Rebekah's birth story tomorrow...and because no post is complete without a cute baby picture...

(again, picture from Aunty Wen...isn't she amazing?!)

Monday, September 29, 2014

Adventures in Life: Our Journey to Parenthood (part 1)

I just wanted to say a big THANK YOU to everyone who has left such sweet comments about our little Rebekah! (I have not had time to respond to them all, but I do read and appreciate each comment!) 

(Daniel's sister Wendy took this picture when Rebekah was just 5 days old!)

I have had it on my heart for some time to share with you the journey God has taken us on over the past few years as it pertains to growing our family. It is something that we have kept off of the blog because parts of it are painful and difficult to share. Actually, a lot of this story is painful and difficult. But through all of the heartache and trials, God's love, mercy, and goodness have been revealed to us over and over again.

So, let's start at the beginning...

In April 2012 (yes, the same spring we started our massive Operation: Finish Basement project) Daniel and I decided that we felt ready to grow our family. We did not really have a specific time line in mind. We knew some couples that had tried and waited for years to get pregnant. We also knew some couples that it seemed like all they had to do was look at each other and, BAM, they were pregnant. 

We were not really in a rush, just trusting in God's perfect timing for our family. 

That sentence was pretty easy to say and believe for the first few months. It was almost exciting when someone would ask me "So when are you two going to start having kids?", because it felt like it could happen at any moment. But the months past, one by one, and every month it was a little harder to hide the disappointment. Every month it was a little bit harder to trust in God's plan for our family. 

At the end of October 2012, we got the best test results of our lives! We were pregnant, and so thrilled. We decided to let the news be a Christmas present to our families and waited with great excitement to tell them. Like giddy, first time expecting parents we were reading everything we could get our hands on, making lists of names and things we would need. Christmas 2012 was a lovely, joy filled season. I am so thankful that God let us enjoy that time with our families. Excited, care free, and joyful. Looking back, I can see that God's timing was (and always is) perfect. 

The first few days of 2013 were some of the hardest days of our lives...

New Year's Day 2013 is when the cramping began. Nothing horrible, and I figured the pain was just from the growing baby or maybe gas (sorry, TMI!). But at work on January 2nd, I knew something was not right. My symptoms got worse, and I knew that I needed to see my midwife. I drove home from work, unsuccessful at holding back tears as I called her and she immediately scheduled an ultrasound for that evening. I spent the few hours before the appointment praying, begging God to let everything be okay with the baby we had been waiting so long for. 

That evening Daniel and I drove to the hospital, and got confirmation of what our midwife had suspected. Our first pregnancy was ending with a miscarriage. The ultrasound showed our perfect little angel, but there was no heartbeat or brain activity. After carrying that little one for 11 weeks, God had decided to bring him or her home to Heaven. We were no longer pregnant.

Physically, my body did exactly what God designed it to do in this situation. We are so thankful that I did not have to endure any extra medical procedures. Looking back, this was a huge blessing! And by January 3rd, 2013, I was no longer carrying our little baby and my body was on its way back to being 'normal'.

But emotionally...

We were crushed. We were hurt, confused, angry, sad... There are so many emotions that you go through when you have a miscarriage. Human nature looks for someone or something to blame. But the truth is, there was no one to blame. It wasn't anything we did or didn't do. We were given a gift for a while, but it was not apart of God's plan for us to keep that gift. It took me a long time to accept that truth. I was angry that God would let this happen to us. Were we being punished for something? My heart ached every time I heard of another couple who was pregnant. Why did they get to have a baby and we did not? Didn't God think we would make good parents? 

A verse that we have both had memorized for years took on a new meaning. 

We did not understand why this was happening to us, but we knew that we could trust in the Lord. The spring of 2013 was a time of trial and growth. It was frustrating to feel like we had to start over. But we chose to trust that God's plan was better than our own plan. We were learning to surrender our lives and plans to Him. Realizing that we have absolutely no control over this situation. Trusting that God would provide a way to fulfill our heat's desire to be parents.  

To read part two of our journey click HERE
to read part three of our journey click HERE

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Adventures in Reading: Before Amen

Many of my favorite children's books are written by Max Lucado. I am now finding that some of my favorite 'grown-up' books are also written by Max Lucado. 

I have found in my own prayer life, that when there is a big change in my everyday life, I need to almost re-learn how to structure my prayer life. Before Amen: The Power of a Simple Prayer came at the perfect time for me. As a new mother I have had to find new ways to get my prayer time in. Lucado takes a simple prayer and fleshes it out with great real life illustrations:

Father, You are good. I need help. They need help. Thank you. In Jesus' name, amen.

In the middle of the night, when I am feeding Rebekah, this is the perfect prayer for a sleepy mamma. Each chapter of the book, expands upon one of the 6 phrases. I love the way Lucado writes - easy to read but full of thought provoking statements. This simple prayer is great just as is, but it is also a great guide for a more than simple prayer. I think this book is going to be one that I will read over and over and get different things from it each time I read it. 

I received this book free of charge from Litfuse Publicity for the purpose of review, but the opinions are all my own. 

Max Lucado Before Amen

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Adventures in Products: Kuerig 2.0

We all love getting real mail, right? And packages are the best kind of real mail. And packages that contain something that is free...well that is pretty much the cherry on top of the Chick'fil'a peach shake! So imagine how excited I was to find out I was getting a package with a FREE gift in it from Influenster! Want to know what it was???
And 2 types of K-cups. 
The little ones that just brew 1 cup, and new big ones that brew 4 cups into a carafe that comes with the Kuerig. 

Now this was extra exciting for me because I had quit drinking coffee when we started trying to start our family, and continued my coffee fast during my pregnancy. This little beauty showed up about 4 weeks after Rebekah was born (perfect timing!). Daniel doesn't drink coffee so I had always considered buying a Kuerig so I could just brew my 1 cup of coffee in the morning...but my hesitation was "what would I do when I had guests over"?? I guess they could each brew their own cup, but the Kuerig 2.0 totally solves this problem! With the bigger size K-cup and the carafe I can make a pot of coffee too! It is so easy to say #HelloKuerig in the mornings (or any time!) Another reason why I am so excited about this Kuerig is I can make coffee easily with one hand. Having a newborn, I'm learning to do many things with one hand while holding my sweet girl in the other...including type this blog post!  

In all honesty, there are 2 things that I would change about this nifty little machine. 
(1) The carafe does not fit in the Kuerig unless the coffee cup pedestil is removed. Meaning you have to fine a place for either one or the other when it is not in use. In a perfect world they would fit all together making a nice compact machine. 
(2) Not all k-cups fit in the new Kuerig 2.0. I shop at a store that has Roundy brand groceries and I got the store brand cups that I thought would fit (and were $2 cheaper than the brand name cups). Well, when I put them in the Kuerig 2.0 the touch display screen told me they were not the right cups for the machine?! Bummer. 

But over all I am loving my new Kuerig 2.0 from Influester
If you would like to join Influenster and have the opportunity to receive free packages in the mail like this one, leave me a comment and I can send you an invitation to join! If you are wondering what kinds of products you may get for free here are some links to other items I have received free from Influenster.

* I received this product free from Influenster, but the opinions in this post are all my own true opinion. 

Friday, September 19, 2014

Adventures in Rebekah: 1 Month Old

We are a few days past the one month mark... but let's just pretend it's the 15th -okay? 
Hooray, Rebekah is 1 month old! 
Dear Rebekah, 
What a wonderful, exhausting, joyful, emotional, and challenging month we have had. You has been a wonderful  baby - very good natured and easy going (unless you wants to eat or have gas!). You has spent this first month eating, sleeping, snuggling, and growing! You have gained over 2 lbs since you were born! You are starting to "play" more with your toys. Your favorite toy is a little red crab that hangs from this activity mat that you got from your Uncle Willie and Aunt Chelsea. 

It's so fun to watch and listen to you play. Every time I look at you I love you more and can hardly believe you are ours. You are a true gift from God Rebekah Elise!