Birth Story: Isaiah Jason

05/18/2015

Saturday April 25 was a restful family day. We had a big breakfast together, followed by a dance party in an attempt to shake the baby out. (Taylor Swift’s “Shake It Off” and Pharrell Williams’ “Happy” are our go-to dance songs.) Ali and I played together, had a picnic lunch outside and then went to the playground while Jason visited with a friend. Then we all went shopping and out for an afternoon treat at Chick Fil A. (Frozen lemonade and waffle fries with ranch for me—hello pregnancy craving!)  When we got back home we visited with some neighbors for a little while.

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That evening we went for a long walk in Shelby Park as we had done several times that week—the week of my due date. I was having some contractions while we walked but I wasn’t timing them because they often happen while I’m walking. When we got in the car I had a pretty long one and we decided we should start making a note of the time and intervals. It was 8:05 pm. We went to pick up a pizza and came home to eat it, all the while timing contractions that were coming predictably and getting closer together. We put Ali to bed but then decided we should have Jason’s parents come get her. They arrived around 10 or 10:30 pm. We finished packing up our things for the hospital and I took a shower and did my make-up.

We left for the hospital around 1:00 am but when the nurse checked me I was still just 1 cm dilated. She gave us the option to get admitted, wait/walk until I was 3 cm or go back home to rest and come back when the contractions got more intense. We went back home to try to sleep since it was getting so late. We got home at 2:30 am. Jason was able to sleep a little bit (maybe 45 min?) before I woke him up and said it was time to go back. We got back around 4:00 am and I was not quite 2 cm. They don’t like to admit before 3 cm generally. So we walked laps around the hall for about an hour, stopping every 5 min or so to get through a contraction. We were admitted around 5:00 am. I got settled into my labor and delivery room and the first thing I did was get in the gigantic tub for a hot bath and put on some relaxing music from my iPod. The water helped so much! Jason brought in the rest of our things from the van and rested on the sofa bed.

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The on-call doctor arrived around 9:00 am and offered to break my water to get things going faster, and we agreed. We had one scary moment about an hour later when Isaiah’s heart rate dropped and the nurses came rushing in as the alarm on the monitor went off. In a matter of seconds, they rolled me onto my side, plugged in my IV and strapped an oxygen mask on my face. It’s amazing how much more a contraction hurt when I was scared! Thankfully, it was no big deal—just by changing my position his heart rate returned to normal. They said the umbilical cord sometimes gets pinched by his/my position and just moving is enough to fix it. By noon I was 6 cm dilated. (10 cm is the goal – that’s when you can push.) But I got stuck at 6 cm. The contractions were getting so intense and painful that I was having trouble not pushing, which is not helpful because it made my cervix swell at the top instead of dilate. Even with the help of nitrous oxide to relax and Jason’s coaching to breathe and relax through the contractions, I was in a lot of pain and getting exhausted. After being stuck at 6 cm for 4 hours I asked for an epidural.

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I like to say I did 2/3 natural childbirth and 1/3 with an epidural. The epidural was amazing! Instant relief and ability to rest. My sister is an OB/gyn and my brother is an anesthesiologist so I asked Jason to send them the above picture. It was wonderful to go back to looking forward to seeing and holding our son, rather than just thinking about making it through the next contraction. I could watch the contractions on the monitor but I didn’t have any pain. I went from 6 cm to 10 cm and ready to push in 2 hours. Then, I ended up pushing for another 2 hours. It’s an interesting thing to push when you can’t feel your whole bottom half. At right about the 2 hour mark, which the doctor warned was about the max he would let me push without looking into other intervention (like foreceps or suction), I used every last bit of strength in my body and pushed that boy out. Jason was instantly in tears, just totally in awe with our son, with what I was capable of doing, with the whole process of childbirth. (It looks like he’s crying in the picture below but he never actually cried the whole time we were at the hospital, just little squeaks when he was upset.)

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The nurses took Isaiah to the corner to check him out. Typically they hand the baby straight to the mother to do immediate skin-to-skin but he had passed a little meconium during pushing and they just wanted to make sure he hadn’t ingested any. Jason watched as they checked him out, weighed him, cleaned him off and wrapped him up. Meanwhile I got stitched up. (I had a little tearing and an episiotomy.)

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When they put him against my chest a couple minutes later, I was overcome with tears of joy, finally getting to see his precious face and hold him in my arms. I cry every time I look at this photo. It was such a sacred moment. Isaiah was born almost exactly 24 hours after my contractions started. We missed an entire night of sleep so we were exhausted and starving. As soon as things were stable Jason ran out to get some carry out dinner from Five Guys because they were minutes from closing and the hospital cafeteria was already closed. The sweet server saw his hospital band and gave him one meal free. He was back before it was time to move up to our postpartum room.

We got settled up in our postpartum recovery room around 1:00 am. I can’t remember all the details of the first night since I was so tired but I know we did get several good chunks of sleep that first night. At one point I think I had asked the nurse a breastfeeding question (we were having a hard time getting him to go to sleep) and she offered to take him to the nursery for a little bit so we could rest. She said he fell right to sleep once he got down there. She brought him back as soon as he woke up. The nurses at St. Thomas Midtown were absolutely amazing! So kind and helpful, with humble, servant hearts. They took really good care of the three of us. I am so glad we decided to deliver there and would definitely recommend it.

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40 Week Froggie Update

04/23/2015

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40 weeks. I was hoping I wouldn’t make it to this last photo in the series before Isaiah made his appearance but alas, here we are. On my due date I was a little bummed, despite words of encouragement and funny quips from many friends. (My favorite is the friend who said, “The over ripe ones are the sweetest!”) We ended my due date with amazing Indian food for dinner, hoping I could heat him out. Didn’t work but it sure was delicious. I woke up today and did my usual morning ritual. I read my Bible and Jesus Calling while I ate breakfast. Then I prayed blessings over Zay and his delivery while I drank my tea.

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On my drive to work I had a realization that it was absurd for me to be disappointed that he wasn’t born when I expected. What about this entire process—from his conception to today—has been within the grasp of my control? I had some more thoughts about this as I was taking a walk on my lunch break and I shared them on my Instagram (@mrsallbright) with the photo below:

I’m taking a walk today because it’s gorgeous outside and I get tired of sitting on my butt in a cubicle all day, not because I’m trying to induce labor. Yesterday I was feeling a bit disappointed that my due date came and went and I didn’t get what I expected. Today I asked God to forgive me for wanting to control something that’s so far beyond my human ability. I should have learned this lesson already. Nothing about becoming a parent went as I originally planned or expected and it has turned out so much better this way. God waited until a point when I was completely content in my motherhood to our precious Alianna and as a foster mama to five other beautiful babies, and was truly content to not ever experience pregnancy to surprise us with this sweet little blessing growing in my belly. Jason and I always knew it was possible and we purposefully decided we’d stop preventing it OR pursuing it and just leave it up to the Creator. Surprises are way more fun! There is so much peace when we can fully let go in trust and go on with life.

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I had my 40 week check-up yesterday. Everything looked great, as usual, except that my belly was measuring smaller than the previous week’s appointment. My doctor requested that I get an ultrasound just to make sure fluid levels were still good. So Jason, Ali and I got to go to an unexpected ultrasound. It was hard to get a good look at him because he’s so tight in there and he moves a lot. We did get a quick glimpse of half of his face. Everything is measuring just fine with Zay, my amniotic fluid, etc. Thank you, God! He’s average size and in position to come out without any problems. We are ready and we are content. As another friend joked, “They always seem to come on their birthdays.” He’ll be here soon!

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39 Weeks

04/15/2015

I’m quite sure it’s God’s design that by the end of 9 months we are mentally and physically done with pregnancy. It’s been fun but I’m ready for the next chapter. Jason is too. And Isaiah is too, whether he realizes it or not. He’s been so squirmy lately and I sense that he’s feeling cramped. We’re outgrowing this present state and we’re all getting a little fidgety wondering when it’s going to end. Zay has dropped lower into my pelvic bones, which is where most of my discomfort is coming from…and perhaps his, too. Rather than complain about it, I’m trying hard to keep my perspective in check. So this is my pep talk to myself:

I’m blessed. I am blessed to be pregnant. I am blessed to be adding another child to our family—a FOREVER child. A son. I am blessed to have a wonderful, loving, handsome husband. I am blessed to have a beautiful, spunky, sweet daughter. I am thankful she will grow up with a sibling and they will always have each other. I am blessed to have a good, steady, flexible job. I am blessed to have a husband who is living his dream with his career. I am blessed to be in good health and to have a perfect, textbook pregnancy and a healthy baby in my belly. I am blessed to have a good doctor and a good hospital that’s accommodating to moms who want a natural birth experience. I am blessed to have a God who is strong when I am weak.

Jason’s done a bit of traveling in the past week and thankfully we made it through all of that without incident, including when he was 12oo miles away in Pharr, Texas. (Ironic name, huh?) He got home from his latest trip early this morning and he won’t be doing any more traveling until after Isaiah is born. God’s timing is perfect, isn’t it! So far Jason hasn’t had to miss any work and it’s quite possible he won’t have to miss any at all.

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My fingers have swelled from time to time but the other day I realized I almost could not get my rings off, even with cold water and soap. I’m now going without any rings for the first time in 13 years and my hands feel so naked!

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Enjoying a little bed rest while Jason was in Texas and a friend generously offered to keep Ali for an evening.

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The unflattering reality… Ali saw me in these pajamas and said, “Mommy! I don’t want to see your belly sticking out!”

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Can you tell he’s dropped? My doctor confirmed again this week that his head is down and he’s sitting really low. If I make it to next week still pregnant I’ll have one more official belly comparison photo.

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Easter Family Photos

04/13/2015

I wanted to get some photos of our last days of a family of three. Easter was the perfect opportunity since we were together all day, dressed up and it was gorgeous outside. Between church and lunch we went to Centennial Park and took turns taking photos of each other. After lunch, we went to Cheekwood Botanical Garden with Jason’s parents and took a boatload more photos. Ali took quite a lot of these. She’s pretty impressive as a three-year-old with that big DSLR! She took all of the ones of me alone (or my belly!), and of Jason and me.

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Oops, that first one should say 2012, not 2013. 🙂

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My Baby Shower

03/30/2015

I woke up the morning of my baby shower and thought, I’ve waited a long time for a baby shower. I don’t deserve a baby shower. It was truly a huge blessing. As soon as she found out I was pregnant, my sweet sister-in-law Ginger asked when she could throw me a baby shower. Four years prior I had organized hers and she has been wanting to return the favor ever since. When we started foster parenting, also about four years ago, some dear friends organized a quick foster-child shower. It was super helpful to us and we were able to collect some kid gear to cover the wide range we were preparing for: birth to age 5, boy or girl, one or two kids. I’m not devaluing that blessing in any way. But after four years of parenting six different little ones, this time it was a bonafide baby shower to celebrate the specific little guy we have the gift of 9 months advance notice to prepare for. Also, it’s the first time we’ve had a child coming that we know is staying so it actually makes sense to own some things rather than just borrow temporarily.

My sister-in-law organized a beautiful tea party with the help of my mom, who hosted at her house. My sister Jessica and niece Iris were able to come down from Pennsylvania and join us. Lots of friends came with kind, thoughtful gifts for our little Isaiah. I’ve so enjoyed opening, washing, folding, sorting, setting up all of his precious little things.

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All of the photos above were taken by my friend Beth Rose. Did you see how many adorable babies came to my baby shower? Isaiah already has a crew of baby friends waiting to meet him.

Alianna had lots of fun with Iris.

 

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I’m so thankful Jessica and Iris could come to visit the weekend of the party. Here we are with my mama.

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Speaking of mamas, both grandmothers spoiled our little guy with tons of presents but these handmade gifts deserve a special moment in the spotlight. My mom, “Grandma,” knitted this adorable gray sweater. She used the same pattern to make a purple sweater for Ali three years ago.

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And Jason’s mom, “Nana,” is a crochet-machine! She made Isaiah a blanket, a little stuffed lamb, a bunch of washcloths and two adorable little pairs of booties. The loafers are so tiny!

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I love, love, love handmade goodies. Those are the things I’ll keep forever. I also registered for gifts through Amazon with some links to Target.com—pretty much the only two places I shop for anything that’s not food or secondhand. A few items I was so thankful to be given that might be of interest to other new or expecting mamas:

Carter’s 2-pk. 44x44inch Cotton Muslin Swaddle Blankets, Blue
I love the Aden and Anais ones but let’s be honest; these are much cheaper! I love the feel of thin, flowy muslin blankets for swaddling, snuggling, spit-up wiping, etc.

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Bumkins Waterproof Starter Bib, Blue Crocs and Turtles, 2-Count
Bumkins brand are my favorite bibs for baby feeding because they’re machine washable or easily rinse/wipe-able and they pack super small in a diaper bag.

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Comfort & Harmony Peanut Air Swaddle
So I know I just said how much I love muslin swaddle blankets but for a good, long, nighttime sleep, I prefer a more secure swaddle wrap. I’ve borrowed velcro wrap style swaddlers from friends before and they’re nice. I inherited a couple of hand-me-downs of those. I’m really excited to try this one though, because it zips up the front with a split zipper (diaper changes without taking the baby all the way out) and snaps at the neck. No busting out of this one! Plus it’s pretty lightweight which will be good since it’ll be summer very soon after Isaiah is born.

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Itzy Ritzy Nursing Happens Infinity Breastfeeding Scarf, Grey Chevron
I fell in love with the idea of a jersey knit infinity scarf and ended up sewing myself a bunch (and soon I’ll have them for sale in my Etsy shop too…) but this one was my first love. I really love the gray and white chevron pattern. I’m not sure I can pull off a scarf in the summer in Nashville—even a lightweight one—but these are small tucked into a diaper bag and surely will be very useful in the fall and winter.

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Tommee Tippee Bottle, 9 Ounce, 3 Count
After using our Playtex VentAire bottles for 4 babies, I’m ready for something new. Our Playtex set, like the popular Dr. Browns have just too many parts to wash. These Tommee Tippee have the vent built into the nipple and the bottle itself is short and ergonomic for adult or child to hold. Most important (for the first time, for me) these are supposedly great for combining with breastfeeding because of the nipple design. I’m super thankful to have this new set.

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All product pics above are from Amazon.com.

I already shared about our new bouncy seat and Moses basket in this post about Finishing Touches to the Nursery.

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36 Week Froggie Update

03/26/2015

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I’m 36 weeks pregnant and just as tired as I ever was at the beginning of my pregnancy, if not more. The most basic human functions of breathing, walking and sleeping are all more challenging. I’m not sleeping well due to hip joint pain, getting up frequently to pee, heartburn and sudden leg cramps that jolt me out of bed faster than anything else. As unfun as all of that sounds (and is), it’s still totally worth it because I’m just in awe of this kid growing inside of me and the amazing transformation my body is capable of going through. And as I’ve said in my past several updates, I’m totally in love with feeling Isaiah’s movements. I love to interact with him. All of the complaints…I’m positive that it’s part of God’s design when it comes to the end of pregnancy that the mother is so mentally and physically done with being pregnant that she is ready to endure whatever it takes to hold her child in her arms. I have four more weeks until my due date (April 21) but dude is considered full term next week at 37 weeks and all the way up until 42 weeks is considered a healthy pregnancy. Lord, I know your timing is perfect and you have Isaiah’s birth date already picked out. I just pray it’s on the early side and if not, that you would give me lots of patience! Speaking of God’s perfect timing, Jason is a touring musician and he just got a new gig, which is a huge answer to prayer, especially as it pertains to income during a time when I’m about to take a big chunk of unpaid time off work. It also means he will be out of town 7 or 8 days in next three weeks. Again, I’m totally trusting that God has got the timing of all of this worked out perfectly so that Jason will be present for Isaiah’s birth. I think Easter would be a great day to have a baby…just putting that out there. I am so excited to deliver our little guy and start into the next season of our lives. Pregnancy has been harder than I expected and more amazing than I expected. I’m ready to be done now. Speaking of done

Isaiah’s room is officially done. There is nothing I’m waiting to finish. The bouncer will end up in the living room once he arrives, not in front of the closet. And we’ll have him sleep in our room in a Moses basket for the first little while so he’s closer for feedings. I love to sit in this room to pray and dream. The other day Jason came in here to open the window and sighed, “Isaiah’s room is so peaceful.” That’s the best compliment I could get on his nursery design.

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Big sister Ali loves to feel her little brother’s hiccups. (I do too!) She’s always asking me if he’s hiccuping and reminding me to tell her whenever he starts.

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The picture below is me giving Ali a bath… I put her in the tub and then I collapse on the nearest couch. “Mommy, I’m done playing. Come wash me!” she calls from the bathroom. “I can’t… I’m stuck on the couch.” Seriously, it feels like I’m pinned down by a small boulder. Thankfully Jason has been jumping in as much as possible to take over my typical mom duties and turns out she likes it better when he does her baths anyway because “you’re more gentle than Mommy.” Win-win. 😉

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And now for some pregnancy memes to explain how I really feel:

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Our bags are mostly packed. The car seat is installed in the van. Arrangements are in place with family and friends to take care of Ali and our animals. We have plans in place with our jobs. My doctor says everything is on track and looks perfect. In summary, here’s the hashtag I’ve been using frequently on Instagram: #imreadywhenyouarebaby.

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Swinging into Spring

03/17/2015

On March 5 we had a snow storm that brought 2-3″ of the dreaded white stuff. I don’t ever recall getting snow accumulation in March in the 10 winters we’ve lived in Nashville. On the bright side, I got to work at home more than usual this winter. And of course, Alianna loved it and was sure it was Christmas all over again.

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It was too stinkin’ cold to play outside that day so Ali brought a bucket of snow inside and played in the tub until it melted.

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One week later the temps were in the 60s and we were playing outside with no coats. A few budding flowers have been spotted. I can’t wait until everything really bursts into bloom. Spring is so breathtakingly beautiful here. And of course, I’ve been looking forward to Spring for another little/big reason this season. AccuWeather already has the extended forecast up for my due date. It’s currently looking like April showers and upper 60s. (Seriously, how can they predict the weather a month in advance? Crazy…) I’m so thankful for the longer daylight hours in the evening brought by Daylight Saving Time and I’m trying to get some more exercise with evening walks, lots of playing outside with Ali and eating meals on the back patio whenever possible.

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Feeding the chickens one of their favorite treats: black oil sunflower seeds (birdseed).

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Homemade Orange Julius popsicles. Mmm!

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Look! Dresses and no socks!

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26 Week Froggie Update

01/13/2015

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Just a short update this week. I’m officially 6 months pregnant! Three more months to go. (26 weeks) Baby Boy has been very active with bigger movements (compared to the little kicks and pops of a few weeks ago). Now it feels like barrel rolls and attempts to crawl. Still a very cool feeling, and often I can see the movements too. I was pretty tired this weekend and had a UTI last week but in general still feeling great and happy. God is good.

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Becoming a Mother

01/12/2015

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When does a woman become a mother? Is it when she conceives for the first time? Is it when she becomes aware of her baby? Is it when she first holds her child in her arms?

I pondered those questions as I was decorating a nursery, taking infant CPR classes, buying car seats and driving a minivan. No baby was growing in my womb, known or unbeknownst to me. I had not see my first child’s face, breathed her name or held her in my arms.

Yet, I felt like a mother.

So, I asked God, “When does a woman become a mother?”

Read the rest of my blog post over at Dropping Anchors blog.


Gender Reveal Surprise Christmas Baby Shower

01/08/2015

That’s lot of words, huh? We had a Christmas baby-gender-reveal surprise baby shower. It was an unforgettable blessing organized by my friend Steph with a part of our foster mom support community from across the country. I had passed Steph the sealed envelope from the ultrasound tech because she offered to give us something more special than a piece of paper to open on Christmas day. (And she’s one of the most creative people I know!) She rallied the troops behind my back and they sent gifts to Steph to wrap and organize into a really unique gender reveal surprise for us. I am still so overwhelmed with gratitude that they would bless our family like this. Most of these women I’ve never even met in person, although we connect daily through social media to encourage, pray for, commiserate with and entertain each other.

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The first present to open was this ornament that Steph made. It will be such a special keepsake on our Christmas tree every year.

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(Please excuse my Christmas-morning-no-makeup-pajamas family.)

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The first baby boy outfit we opened…

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Ali got some special gifts, too.

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These little knee pads made me swoon.

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A teething necklace in one of my favorite colors.

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A fellow chicken mama sent this one!

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At some point while I was opening gifts and Jason was documenting it, Ali started taking photos with my DSLR.

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These are her photos…

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I am so thankful! What an amazing surprise for Christmas day, to find out we’re having a son and to be showered with so many thoughtful and adorable gifts for him.

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