Thursday, February 1, 2018

My Break from Facebook

It has become somewhat of a popular thing to do now.  Every so often, our feeds will be flooded with "I'm taking a break" status updates.  And that's not a bad thing - at all.  In fact, it's probably a very good thing.  I'm beginning to learn that social media is kindof an "to each his own" thing, I think.  Some people really love it.  Some people really hate it.  Some people dislike it, but cannot seem to stay away from it.  Some people use it to document their every move - and meal!  ;-)  Some people use it to keep tabs on friends and family that live far away (one of my favorite things about it, obviously!).  It can help you feel connected to those you don't see as often.  It can bring you encouragement as you see a funny or heartwarming video, or challenge you as you read a thoughtful quote, or hear about a great book your friend just read.  But it can also help you feel insufficient, jealous, prideful, misunderstood, discontent, anger, frustration... along with a whole host of other negative feelings.  As with pretty much everything in this broken world, there is good in social media, and there is bad.  Each person has to decide what role social media should play in their lives - hopefully a decision in which you ask the God of the universe for some input!  ;-)  

I'm not really big on New Year's "Resolutions."  I prefer to make goals.  Maybe just a matter of semantics?  Who knows.  But that's my thing.  Towards the end of December, I began to consider what my goals for 2018 should be, and I had been challenged by my friend Sandy Cooper's new book Finding Your Balance to fast from something for the month of January.  As I prayed and considered it more, I felt that I needed to "fast" from Facebook.  On Sunday, December 31st, I served that morning in our church's nursery, so I didn't hear the sermon that day.  As my husband & I were going to bed, I asked him what the sermon was about.  He told me that our pastor had challenged us to do a social media fast for the month of January!  "Huh!" I said.  "I literally JUST deleted the Facebook app off of my phone!"  Funny how the Holy Spirit works that way sometimes.  :-)  

So that was how I came to this decision.  I decided to delete the Facebook app off of my phone, and not log-on or check Facebook at all for the month of January.  I did keep Instagram on my phone, and I did post some photos to Facebook FROM Instagram, but I did not log-on Facebook at all to read comments, etc.  I also kept the Messenger app on my phone in case someone tried to personally reach out to me about something specific.  I'm not really a Twitter-er.  I really don't understand Snap-Chat enough to use it frequently.  And I'm already apparently too old to know (or care) about any of the other social media apps out there.  I felt that my personal issue was more with the endless scrolling that comes along with Facebook, so that's what I wanted to distance myself from primarily.  Instagram does not typically pose that much of a "problem" for me, but I'll get into that later.  I wanted to journal or at least log what I learned as a result of this break/fast. (Not to be confused with eggs & bacon, though.)  So that's what the purpose of this post is.  To help me organize my own thoughts and take-aways from this little exercise, and maybe encourage or challenge some of you in your own social media journeys.  

What I Learned from My Break from Facebook:

1.  I didn't really miss it that much....  (is that mean??)  I *did* miss catching up with some of you and seeing your cute pictures, and funny quips (Elisa - the national championship game & award shows were HARD without you, girlfriend! Ha).  But when I did think of you, instead of clicking on your profile or "liking" your picture, I actually did try and pray for you. And it made me want to check in with you later all the more, instead of just haphazardly passing by your photos and shooting you a "like."  The first few days, I did find myself reaching for my phone, or searching for that blue Facebook app.  But after a few days, that habit passed, and I honestly didn't miss it too much.  

2.  Along with reaching for my phone and the Facebook app, for the first few days I also noticed that sometimes I actually THINK in status updates.  Umm.... YUCK!  What I mean by this, is that I might be cooking dinner in the kitchen & make some kind of silly mistake, & I would literally come up with (in my head) whatever funny thing I think I might post about it & then pat myself on the back (in my head) and congratulate myself on how funny I think I am and how many other people would find me hilarious.  Ummm... again.  YUCK.  Lots of things going on there... 1) narcissism 2) pride 3) need for attention... I'll stop there because it's kindof a downer to dwell on all that & I'm actually feeling pretty good today despite the gloomy weather we're having!  (Please, if you think of more selfish attributes that type of behavior embodies, do not leave them in the comments section!  I've repented... let's move on! Ha)  Suffice it to say, once I noticed this "thinking in status updates" going on in my head - I pretty quickly realized my need for intervention.  Thank the Lord for leading me to this little break & opening my eyes to this sinful behavior! 

3.  Another super eye-opening thing God showed me during this break is that I was pretty conditioned to go to Facebook (either my friends, or certain mom groups on Facebook, etc.) for help or advice - typically with parenting or managing things at home.  Instead, I actually PRAYED for wisdom on issues I was needing help with, and whaddaya know.... God heard me and answered me!  GO FIGURE.  (I'm rolling my eyes at myself on this point, because... well, I've been a Christian for quite some time, but... lets all just take a moment to recall how Jesus liked to compare us to those sometimes lovable, yet extremely dumb animals known as sheep.  Yeah.....)  So, I got to reap some pretty cool rewards of following God's wisdom to me instead of simply looking to man's wisdom.  

4.  I also noticed I didn't seem to "need" as many new tops, dresses, shoes, accessories, trips, outings, or experiences, etc. as I tend to when endless scrolling is an option for me.  I enjoy following some local boutiques on Facebook and supporting friends' businesses, but if you don't know what you're missing, then you may not be aware that you "need" (want) so many things.  Materialism can definitely be a struggle for me, and social media most certainly feeds into that.  

5.  I waste A LOT of time on Facebook.  We've all been there.  You log-on or pull up the app to check ONE THING, and then you see that Patty has a new horse, and Cindy posted a new recipe that looks SO EASY and you just can't not watch those cool prep videos.  And Tom is having surgery tomorrow, and Sally took her kids to see the latest chipmunk movie.  And it just spirals down from there.  I call it the "endless scrolling."  It sucks you in.  And usually doesn't make you feel very good after a while of looking at what everyone else is doing - or saying.  In Sandy Cooper's book on balance that I referenced earlier (Finding Your Balance), she writes "I do not believe our hearts were designed to carry the amount of personal information social media feeds us."  YES.  Sometimes, it's just all too much.  

As I mentioned, I did keep Instagram on my phone, and every now and then I would click to open that app and scroll to see what was going on with those of you that I follow there.  Those scrolling sessions never lasted very long.  Why?  Because pretty quickly I realized how it was making me feel.  Crummy.  Inferior.  Bleh.  So I began trying to keep more books nearby so I could grab and read those if I were pinned down with a child on my lap or whatever.  

Now I wish I could say that I spent every single moment I formerly WOULD have been on Facebook in either Bible study, reading, or prayer.  I did not.  I did read more.  In fact, I read one book in 3 days! -which is like, a record for me because I'm not typically a reader.  (I want to read more, though!)  And I did study my Bible more.  And I did pray more.  I also probably paid more attention to my family, spent more time coming up with creative play activities for the boys, attended to more laundry, dishes, meals, etc.  You know, those things we're supposed to be doing in life rather than sitting down scrolling Facebook!  


All in all, I am incredibly thankful for this little break.  I've learned a lot about myself and what role I feel like social media should play in my life right now.  So what is that role?  Well, I feel pretty certain that I still want to keep the app off of my phone.  I want to eliminate the ease of the endless scrolling for me.  I still plan on posting from time to time, and definitely want to check in with everyone to see what's going on.  I'm sure I will do some scrolling at times - just need to keep it in check!  

I do want to give a final caveat.  I am in no way sharing this information to point to me or convince you how "holy" I am for doing this; no.  I simply wanted to share what I felt led to do and the insight it has given me.  Also, I'm not saying that everyone needs to do this, or do it exactly as I did it.  If you do think that some kind of break or fast from social media may be beneficial to you, I would encourage you to pray about it and take an honest assessment of the role social media currently plays in your life.  

And lastly, my pastor recommended a book when he issued us the challenge of fasting from social media (I went back & listened to the sermon!), and I have it on my list of books to read.  If you want to check it out yourself, it's called Irresistible: The Rise of Addictive Technology & the Business of Keeping us Hooked.  I am definitely interested in it!  Social media can be a wonderful thing, really.  I am thankful for it.  But just like anything else in this world that competes for our time, our thoughts, or our energy, it has the potential to become an obsession, an addiction - an idol.  And it's vitally important that we continually sweep out the temples of our hearts and make sure that the rightful King is still in His place.  

Monday, October 9, 2017

Cohen's Birth Story

In true second-child fashion, Cohen's birth story has yet to be documented in written form.  Nor has his baby book been filled out.  I just a couple of weeks ago finished making a Shutterfly book of his first few weeks of life.  All of these things I did in a much more timely manner for Caedmon.  But that's how it's supposed to go, right moms?  I'm just upholding the tradition.  Or that's my excuse anyway.  Wait.  Who am I kidding?  MY EXCUSE is that I have a 2 year old and a now 1 year old running around, climbing on things, and in general scheming against me on a daily basis!  I'm pretty sure one day they will care more that I prioritized keeping them alive above blogging their birth stories.  Yeah.  Let's go with that.

Sweet little Cohen.  His due date was September 23rd, but he didn't really care about that.  My doctor was fine with me attempting a VBAC, so we were hoping for that (a natural childbirth).  But given the emergency c-section nature that Caedmon entered the world in, we had set up some parameters that we felt comfortable with, and weren't willing to risk anything serious in the name of natural childbirth (as badly as I did want to experience that). I'd had my membranes swept a couple of times, and although contractions did begin, they weren't necessarily strong enough to kickstart labor.  I had even called my mom and given her the ok to travel up to Kentucky from Alabama because the contractions were so regular, I thought surely they would increase in intensity.  Nick and I even went into the hospital on Saturday the 24th.  The lady who checked us into the L&D unit said "oh, you're past your due date; they won't send you home!"  Oh yes they will and yes they did.  The contractions just weren't strong enough to be making much of a difference.  Inducing with Pitocin poses some risk of ovarian rupture for a VBAC, and my situation just wasn't favorable for that at that point.  So, they sent us home.

My doctor called me later that afternoon and asked if I wanted to go ahead and schedule a C-section, or keep waiting.  She'd had an opening come available, and we honestly were hoping little Bug would come sooner rather than later.  (For reasons any 9 month pregnant lady would tell you, but also because my Dad had just undergone major surgery, removing a cancerous tumor, and was at home on the mend by himself while my mom was up here with us waiting for baby.)  So the timing was tricky, but I felt in my heart that this baby just was not going to come on his own & did not want to risk undergoing anything similar to Cade's birth.  So we scheduled the C-section for 1pm the following Tuesday, September 27th.

If you're scheduling a birth (which I did not love doing - just because it's so counter to nature), you might as well make the most of it, right?  Whatever the cut-off time was for me to be able to eat, I set an alarm (2 or 3am I want to say?), and Nick and I got up and drove to IHOP and brought a very large breakfast home.  I ate some of it, regretted it, and then went back to bed.  I showered that morning, fixed my hair and makeup so as to look as camera-ready as possible (ha), and off we went to the hospital with our bags in tow.  Mama stayed home with Caedmon, and she & Nick's mom were going to switch off watching him so that the other could come see baby brother at the hospital.

While we were being checked in by the nurse, we realized that she was the same nurse we'd had for Caedmon's birth!  She actually remembered us and said she had wondered how he was doing.  It was a sweet moment.  Then when the anesthesiologist came in, I remembered him and knew that he was also the same one we'd had for Cade's birth!  So funny.  We made sure to get a picture with our team once Cohen was born.  :-) 

Let me just say that it was *super* weird to walk into the operating room and hop up onto the table you're about to be cut open on.  Everyone is prepping all these sharp objects around you and you're just all like, "hey, I'm here, & I'm awake, & I'm watching you."  The epidural was also super weird to me.  Anyway, eventually, Dr. Evans came in and she scratched my belly to make sure the epidural had worked, and she said, "Sweetie, I just put claw marks on your belly and you didn't flinch so I'm gonna go ahead and start."  This made me feel... as comfortable as one can feel in this situation, I suppose.

I was told that when they went to actually pull him out of me I would feel some pressure on my chest cavity.  Did I ever!  So weird.  I actually remember screaming.  And then he was out!  We had asked Dr. Evans to use the clear drape so I could see him as they lifted him up.  He had so much hair!!  Dr. Evans held him up to the drape & said "Give him a kiss, Mama."  So I did.  And then they whisked him over to weigh & measure and clean him up.  Of course he was crying, like most babies do.  But the nurses even commented on how long he would hold his breath to inhale before he let out the long, loud wail!  It was funny.  (And by funny, I mean - it was something new and different at first, but the novelty certainly wore off by nightfall when we all just wanted to sleep.)

Nick got to hold him and bring him up close to me until I was all sutured up.  Wonderful nurses took some great pictures for us, and then we rolled off into recovery where my mom got to come in and meet little Cohen.  Since my dad couldn't be there, she called him and told him what we had named him - Cohen Michael, his middle name being named after my father.  It was a sweet moment.

Then we were taken to the postpartum area and settled into our room.  Nick's mom and my mom worked together to wrangle Cade and bring him so he could meet little brother.  This was basically a disaster, as Cade really just wanted to crawl up under my hospital bed and mash buttons, etc.  But we were all together as a family, and those are sweet and funny memories to hold onto. 

See what I mean?

Cade with his big brother gifts.  Eye on the prize, buddy.  Eye on the prize.

Overall, we had what I would call a pretty "normal" hospital stay and birth, and I am very thankful for that.  We left the hospital and headed home with our little Cohen on Friday afternoon, and began to settle in at home as a family of four.

The name Cohen means "priest," and we certainly feel that he is already living up to that name, as he ministers joy and love to us on a daily basis.  He is the perfect addition to our family and we are so thankful he is with us.

Sunday, September 24, 2017

All Things New

When I started this blog, it was really just a place for me to share Caedmon's birth story with friends without posting the entire thing on Facebook.  Or creating a Facebook "note" - if those things even exist anymore.  (I honestly have no idea.)  I didn't want to commit to "blogging" at the time, and I'm quite glad that I didn't.  Because it's been a good solid two years since I blogged!  

I did have a blog I updated consistently while I lived overseas for a time, but I felt like I had very specific and interesting things to say.  For almost 10 years following, I didn't really feel like I had anything to say that was worthy of being blogged.  Not that those years weren't noteworthy, formative, or good - they definitely were!  During those years, I moved to Louisville, made some incredible friends, met & married my husband, and even had two kids!  I truly learned & grew so much during that time.  But... I just didn't feel that I had very much to "say."  But now, I do feel like I have some things to say.  And this makes me *really* happy.  Not that I am special, or have any exclusive revelation from the good Lord that I must grace you all by imparting (ha).  And not that I think anyone even really *needs* the things that I have to say.  I don't even really have any expectation that people would (or should) read my words.  There are SO MANY blogs out there with way more inspirational thoughts, creative pictures & layouts, recipes and tips for how to do life... I certainly feel that I have very little to add to the conversation (or noise).  I am merely thankful that I finally feel some stirrings to share some of the things that are or have been on my heart.  And I am thankful to have this blog as an outlet for that.  I have also been told by several people lately that I should be writing, which does happen to be something that I enjoy doing, so this also allows me to pursue that hobby more.  So if ANY of the things I share should resonate with, bless, encourage, or spurr on anyone who happens to take the time to read what I write, then hallelujah.  I count this blog worth my time simply because I feel that I have things to say, and I am saying them.  If they should benefit anyone else, then all the better.  

That said, I would love to begin sharing some of the things God has been doing in my life, heart, and family lately.  I won't share them all in this one post, and they probably won't necessarily be in chronological order.  I would also like to clarify upfront that I still am not committing to blogging very regularly or consistently at this point.  I do, however, hope to blog more than once every two years.  😉 

I feel like this past year has brought on significant growth in my life both in general as a person, and spiritually as a child of God.  The addition of a second tiny human into our lives last September (our precious Cohen-Bug) threw me into a fire I certainly was not prepared for (but really. who IS actually prepared for a fire?).  Along with the typical challenges that come with learning to parent two little ones instead of just one, there were quite a few challenges we experienced with Cohen as well.  Nothing major - thankfully.  (I do fully realize how small my troubles seem when I see friends with babies in the NICU for months & other illnesses or disabilities that are upon them.  But still, they were new & difficult challenges to me all the same.)  It was a very difficult and sometimes dark season for me, and I know it was tough for little Cohen as well.  Poor guy didn't really start smiling regularly until he was about 7 months old!  (Now he smiles so much!)  And of course the difficulties affected Nick and Caedmon, too.  I began seeking out the counsel & wisdom of friends, as I suspected there may be some Postpartum Depression involved in this.  I am sooo so very thankful for the people in my life who stood by me and encouraged me through this time.  I could not have made it through that time without this community of people.  

Our sweet Cohen-Bug

Right as I was beginning to suspect some Postpartum Depression, my dear friend Lori passed away.  This was incredibly sad for me, as Lori was the first close friend I have had to pass away.  I had the privilege and honor of getting away for about 72 hours and was able to make the drive to Mississippi & see her before she died.  This was so dear to me and I will never forget it.  On this trip, I also got to see my precious professor from college, Dr. Paul Cotten, who also passed away this year, too.  I knew in my heart when I saw him that it would be my last time this side of heaven.  

Shortly after Lori passed away, a friend invited me to attend a women's Bible study at another church.  I was skeptical of it because I had actually never been a part of a "women's Bible study" before & I had some preconceived notions of what I thought it might be like.  But I knew I needed community, and I knew I needed to be in the Word, so I pushed myself & went.  Some of my preconceived notions were accurate, and some of them were not.  Still though, I continued to press on, trusting that God would use it regardless.  And of course, He did.  The name of the study was "All Things New," and we studied the book of 2 Corinthians.  It wasn't the most earth-shattering study I've ever attended, but God definitely used His Word and His people to encourage me to keep plodding along.

Then came summer, and all of the wonderful things that come with it.  Caedmon turned 2, and I *love* planning (& celebrating!) a good birthday party.  We went to baseball games, concerts, visited family in Alabama, watched fireworks, blew bubbles, swam, caught fireflies, & spent lots of time together as a family, relishing each new experience for the boys.  It was good for my soul.  

Our family at Caedmon's Daniel Tiger themed 2nd birthday party

Over the course of the year, I had also really begun putting down more roots at the church Nick and I attend here in Louisville, New Life Church.  For those of you who know more of my story, you'll know what a big deal this is, because it has not always been easy for me to accept this church as "my own."  More on that in another post, but suffice it to say that God did a huge work in my heart in allowing me to become more connected at church and feel as though I belong.  He even led me to put this testimony into words, & provided an opportunity for me to share it with our entire church!  (I'll be sharing that testimony in another post, too.)

It is really just an amazing feeling to know that God is at work in my life and heart, and I am so so thankful for this.  We live our lives in season, yes.  Sometimes those seasons are marked with immense growth, and sometimes they are not.  They may be marked with great joy or great sadness.  Or, they may not be marked with anything (seemingly) significant at all.  But trust me.  Whatever season you are in, it IS significant, and God IS at work whether or not you can see it or feel it.  Our God WILL NOT leave us stagnant, and I am so thankful!  He promises us in His Word that “if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation.  The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.” (2 Corinthians 5:17)  Praise. God.  

So whatever season of life you are in right now, dear friend, take heart.  For our God truly IS making all things new.  

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Caedmon's Birth Story

Warning:  This post is extreeeeemely long.  I'm sorry!  I tried & I tried, but being that I am so emotionally attached to this story, I just could not trim it down much more.  (Trust me, there is an even longer version with like every. single. tiny. detail in it, but I am saving that for Cade's baby book - and sparing you, dear reader.)  

The Shortest Version I Could Muster... 
Little Cade just didn't want to come out, bless his heart.  So with our doctor's support, we went to 42 weeks gestation before we gave him the boot and went in for an induction.  Labor had surprisingly begun on its own just hours before going to the hospital, so we labored naturally for about 5.5 hours.  Then nurses started rushing in our room, rushed me out for an emergency c-section in very frightening and dramatic style, and got our sweet babe out of me in 7 minutes flat.  I was put under, Nick wasn't even in the room, and I woke up without my baby in my arms.  Cade had a bowel movement in utero, and sadly had ingested some into his lungs.  He was in the NICU for only 3 days, thank goodness, and he did not have an infection THANK YOU LORD.  

The Longer, More Detailed Version.... 

Our sweet little baby boy came to us not at all as we expected or planned, but we trust in a Sovereign God who knows what is best for us, and that is how we find comfort in the story of his birth.  Nick and I took some pretty intensive birth classes that met for seven weeks, and each meeting was 2.5 hours long.  We covered a lot of ground in those classes!  It was our hope to be able to let labor begin on its own, and labor naturally as much as possible.  We were armed with coping techniques, comfort measures, affirmation cards, encouraging worship music on our phones, gourmet popsicles all the way from Alabama (shout-out to Steel City Pops & my parents for packing them on dry ice to bring them to me! Ha!), the support of our doctor, and the support and love of our family and friends.  
Throughout the pregnancy, we had been praying for Caedmon to stay in for the “full 40” (weeks), and that he did.  He did that so well, he even threw in a couple of extra bonus weeks  to show mom and dad how good he could be at staying put!  ;-)  Our doctor supported us in going to 42 weeks, and for the last two weeks, was diligent to conduct testing to make sure the baby was okay and my fluid levels were still good.  We went ahead and scheduled an induction for 42 weeks in the event that labor did not begin on its own.  The Friday before that, I had one final appointment for more monitoring.  My doctor (Dr. Evans) wasn’t in that day, so I met with Dr. Justice.  At that point, I was dilated just past 4 cm, but we were still waiting for contractions to start.  She instructed me to come in the following Tuesday at 7am for our induction.  However, I knew Dr. Evans had previously told me I would come in at midnight on Monday night, so I mentioned that to Dr. Justice.  She said she would check with Dr. Evans and someone would get back in touch with me.  Later that day, someone from the office did call me, and told me to go ahead and plan to go to the hospital Monday night at midnight, as Dr. Evans had originally said.  So that’s what we planned for.  
Over that weekend, I really did try just about everything to help induce labor naturally.  I did the Miles Circuit, even walking up and down our street with one foot on the curb and one foot on the street (that had to have been hilarious to witness).  We ate spicy food.  And, I took Evening Primrose Oil.  My parents drove up Sunday night after church and we were SO excited to see them and have them here.  My mom and I spent that Monday relaxing, & getting a few things ready, while my Dad actually went to work with Nick.  His helper was sick so Nick needed an extra hand putting in a backsplash, so my Dad was a good sport and got to learn how to put in some tile!  We all went to a very late lunch together, then went home to rest some before our big night.  
Nick had gone downstairs to take a nap, and he said he was really praying for labor to begin on its own while he was down there.  I had pretty much given up on that hope, and was frustrated that my body didn’t seem to be working “normally” like so many other women’s.  I felt like the odds were stacked against us if we had to induce with Pitocin, and that we likely wouldn’t be able to have the natural birth we were hoping for.  I went downstairs to join Nick in resting for a little bit, and as we were laying in bed, at around 8:45, I started noticing a repeated tightening of my stomach (uterine) muscles.  I had no clue how to know what contractions felt like since everyone always says “oh you’ll know” (which is not helpful at all).  These weren’t really very painful, but they were reoccurring, so I told Nick I thought I may be having contractions.  We both got excited and began timing them using all these fancy apps they have for phones now.  Surely enough, they were averaging about 5 minutes apart, and continued that way for about an hour as we rested downstairs.  We got some advice from friends, prayed, then went upstairs to tell my parents.  We were all so excited that it was finally happening – right before we had to induce with Pitocin!  We had planned to get some kind of a late dinner before going into the hospital since I knew I wouldn’t be allowed to eat after I checked in.  At that point, it was about 10:00pm so there weren’t a ton of great options available to us.  We decided that O’Charley’s might have the best selection of some pastas and proteins so we could “carb load.”  That ended up being a poor choice, but our memories are sweet of us sitting around the table of a mostly empty restaurant, excited about meeting our son, and working through contractions out in public.  
We made one final stop by Meijer (grocery store) to pick up a couple of other things (and walk around more to keep labor progressing), and then we proceeded to the hospital.  We got there right at midnight, and although we gave my parents the option to go home and rest, they decided to stay with us there at the hospital for the time being.  We waited forever it seemed, before someone finally came and got all of our information entered in.  Then our nurse came and got us started with everything.  I had requested a heparin lock since I didn’t want an IV or epidural.  This was in case an emergency arose and I needed fluids quickly.  Getting the hep lock was probably the most painful thing about my entire experience!  I’m not really afraid of needles, but they had to stick me 5 times before they could get it in!  Each nurse, one by one, would come in, very nicely try to put the hep lock in, fail, and then say “I don’t want to torture you any more” so they would leave and go get another nurse who would come in and say (and do) the exact same thing.  Nick thinks they were drawing straws at the nurse’s station! ;-)  Finally, one lady came and got it done, but she wasn’t very gentle, and at that point I was in tears.  After about the fourth time I was stuck, I asked if there was any other option for me – and I was ready to abandon my own plan of getting the hep lock.  But thankfully (as it ended up being VERY necessary), they told me no, and they were finally able to get it in.  Thank You, Lord.
Armed with the hep lock, and wireless monitors, Nick and I began to walk the hallways, bounce on the birth ball, eat popsicles, and do all those fun laboring things together.  I read through some of my affirmation cards and tried to focus my mind on the task at hand.  The contractions remained about 4-5 minutes apart, and I was dilated about 4.5 cm.  We listened to Rich Mullins, Hillsong, The Wailin’ Jenny’s and some other encouraging worship songs to keep us focused and refreshed.  It really was a very sacred time together.  Once, while walking the hallways, I had Nick go get my parents from the waiting room and they came and walked with us around the halls.  It was like our own little laboring parade.  ;-)
Around 5am, I decided to go back to the room and rest some in between contractions.  I had dilated to 5.5 cm, so we were pleased with our progress but wanted to make sure we continued to progress so they didn’t put us on Pitocin.  At about 5:30, after one of my contractions, Nick told me that the contractions had actually been getting a little further apart.  They had gone from being about 4 minutes apart, to being 7 or 9 minutes apart.  I told him that was probably normal and that at 6am we would get up and move around some more to help things progress.  Well, we never made it to 6am.  Around 5:40am, a couple of nurses rushed in our room and told me to flip over onto my left side.  I asked if I could go to the bathroom and they said not yet.  So I flipped over onto my left side.  Then they instructed me to flip over onto my right side as fast as I could.  I asked again if I could go to the bathroom, and our nurse very forcefully said NO.  I knew when she said this, that something was wrong.  They then told me to get on all fours – on the bed.  So I did.  They told me to stick my bottom up in the air, so I did.  All this time, more people were rushing into the room, yet we had no clue what was actually happening.  I heard someone say “prep for c-section” and I began to panic.  Then immediately  began trying to calm myself down, reminding myself to trust in God and that He was in control of this.  I don’t think I saw Nick after that point, until it was all overwith, but I remember trying to holler for him to make sure he had his phone so he could take pictures once the baby was here.  I also tried to yell for him to call his mom, since she wasn’t at the hospital yet.  I either didn’t have a voice, or was already too far out of the room as they were rolling me away to the OR – but of course, Nick had the common sense to both have his phone AND call his mom without me telling him!  ;-)  Some blessed soul of a nurse who was at the head of my bed began to talk me through some of what was happening before they took me out of our room.  She said I needed to remain on my hands and knees as they whisked me away to the OR, and that she was going to cover me up – God bless her soul.  (I still had no clue why they were rushing me to a c-section or what was going on medically, however.)  
The trip to the OR was a short one.  I don’t remember a ton of it.  I remember people running.  I remember thinking – “we talked about this in our birth classes.  This is an emergency c-section – my worst case scenario in a birth plan.”  I knew that since this was an emergency, Nick likely would not be in the OR with me.  I knew that since I did not have an epidural, I would likely be completely put under, and I knew that there was a good chance I would wake up without my baby.  (That last one was definitely my worst fear - in a scenario where mom and baby are safe and healthy, of course.)  Throughout my pregnancy, I had often thought how sad that must be to wake up in a recovery room without the sweet little one you carried and nourished for 9 long months.  When I got into the OR, the anesthesiologist began to talk to me.  He was a nice little Asian man who spoke calmly and was really the only one who seemed to be talking to me, or asking if I had any questions.  They told me to crawl onto the operating table, and I remember losing my earing and telling them that.  Bright lights shoved overhead and all around.  People everywhere, and everyone was frantic.  Some kind of water/sterilizing agent was literally thrown on my midsection.  My arms were stretched out to either side of me and I remember feeling very exposed and manhandled.  It was crazy and I didn’t even have time to process anything really.  I asked the nice anesthesiologist two questions:  1) When would I get to see my baby? And 2) Would I feel anything?  He told me that it would just depend on the health of my baby as to when I would get to see him (this is true – he had to answer that way ), and I’m guessing he told me no that I wouldn’t feel anything, but I really don’t remember anything past that.  But I knew I was about to be cut open and I definitely didn’t want to feel that!!
I was rushed to the OR at 5:45am, and our sweet little Caedmon was born at 5:52am.  They had him out of me literally in 7 minutes.  The doctors said when they cut me open and broke my water, it was filled with meconium – the early stool passed by a baby.  Our poor little guy had had a bowel movement in utero and unfortunately, he had ingested some of it.  This was why his heart rate dropped to 50, and then was undetectable, which sent the nurses rushing in my room just a few short minutes before they had him out of me.  They said when they pulled him out of me, he was in shock and very “depressed,” even discolored.  For this, I am thankful I was put under, because I know that seeing him like that would have terrified me and I would never ever be able to forget seeing him like that.  Just the thought of him in such a state makes me extremely sad and emotional.  His Apgar score at 1 minute after birth was a 5 – pretty low.  The doctors said they had to suction him out 4 times before he cried.  Nick said he heard him cry while he stood outside the door of the OR and at that moment, he knew Caedmon was going to be fine.  It was a healthy – loud cry, he said!  (As I had guessed, Nick was not able to be in the OR with me because it was such a rushed/emergency C-section; he didn’t have time to scrub up.)  They did a number of things to our little babe in the OR before he was taken to the NICU.  One of them was a scope, to remove any meconium he had ingested.  The report said that they pulled out “chunks of meconium” during this procedure.  ☹  His Apgar score at 5 minutes after birth was 8 – a much better number, thankfully!  
At 6:11am, Dr. Justice came out of the OR holding Caedmon, and Nick got to meet his son for the first time.  I am still so very sad that I missed getting to see this once in a lifetime moment!!  I am so thankful the doctors and nurses offered to take pictures for us though, so I could see a part of it.  Nick said Cade was screaming and crying when she brought him out to him, but as soon as the doctor handed him to him, Cade immediately calmed down.  (!!)  They really do know their mommies and daddies. ☺  The doctors briefed Nick on what had happened, and then they took Cade off to the NICU in an isolette  so he could be monitored and treated for meconium aspiration.   

At about 7:30am I woke up in recovery, with Nick at my side.  He filled me in on what had happened, and of course I was very upset to be without our baby.  However, he had gotten to hold him right after he was born and the doctor took pictures for us, so Nick showed me those on his phone.  I was very groggy and Nick says I asked the same questions over and over again.  The two doctors who were in the delivery room (Dr. Justice & Dr. Buck) came and talked to us, but I really don’t remember much of what they said.  I don’t know how long I was in recovery, but I do remember finally being wheeled up to my room in the Postpartum unit, where I was greeted by some of our family members.  It was so good to finally see everyone and feel their love and support after such a stressful situation.   
I was able to go see Cade in the NICU that day (Tuesday) at noon, and then later that afternoon, at 4pm, I was able to finally hold him.  I will never forget the feeling of rounding the corner in the NICU and seeing my son for the first time.  I was absolutely overwhelmed with emotions – and tired and groggy from just having had surgery that morning.  It was a blur, but it was so sweet.  Just before I got to hold him later that day, the nurse had pricked his little heel & he was screaming & crying, bless his heart.  (And at that point, I was crying with him of course.)  When they handed him to me, I will never forget.  His dark little eyes locked in on mine, and he immediately quit crying.  He knew who was holding him, and he was finally back in a familiar and comfy place to him.  (All the tears.) 

Cade ended up staying in the NICU only until that Friday.  Thankfully, he did not have any kind of infection from ingesting the meconium (THANK YOU LORD).  Our doctor told us later how very lucky he really was, and said that another patient of hers  who had gone into labor at 39 weeks gestation, had meconium aspiration as well, and their baby was in the NICU for a solid week.  All of the NICU nurses and staff were SO very helpful and kind.  Thankfully, I was able to nurse him, so Nick and I would spend most of our days in the NICU with him, and then we would wake up several times through the night and make the long trek down the hallways and up to the 4th floor in order to feed him.  Those trips were long & tiring, but I was always excited to get to see my baby, and so thankful to have the opportunity to feed him myself.  I would feed him as best as I could, then pump, then wash all of the bottles and pump parts, wrap our little man back up and kiss him goodnight, then Nick would usually see how fast he could push me in my wheelchair back to our room on the third floor – so we could get as much sleep in as possible before the next feeding.  Those trips were tiring, but incredibly precious to me.  While feeding him, we would listen to worship music on our phones and sing to him, & pray over him.  I absolutely cherish those sweet times together as our new little family of three.   
Cade was discharged from the NICU Friday morning and then he came & spent that day and night with us in our room.  Then I was discharged on Saturday, and we all got to go home together as a family that afternoon.  (Such a blessing.)  Just before the discharge nurse came by, Dr. Justice came by, who was making rounds that day.  She had been on call when Cade was born, and was the doctor who technically delivered him.  Pretty much everything any doctors or nurses told us while we were in the hospital seemed like a big blur, and it was extremely hard to comprehend information.  So I got the chance to talk a little with Dr. Justice to understand more about some things that had happened.  I also got the chance to thank her for what she did, and for keeping us both safe and healthy.  While talking with her, I tearfully asked her what would have happened if we hadn’t been in the hospital when Cade’s heart rate dropped.  She said “well, that really hit home with me, because I had told you to come in at 7am that morning… and that’s why I always believe there is divine intervention.”  Yes.  100% we believe this too.  Our gracious Lord was in it all – as we prayed through the pregnancy, worshipped through labor, praised in the NICU, and rejoice now that we are all home together.  
“’Do I bring to the moment of birth & not give delivery?’ says the LORD. ‘Do I close up the womb when I bring to delivery?’ says your God.”
~Isaiah 66:9