Before and After

So as many of you know I got my HBAC like I had dreamed since the day I had my c-section with my first daughter and last night I was reflecting on how different I am now as a person, in the way I think and the way I react to other people and their birth stories.

With Elenore I was happy that she was healthy (obviously) but there was just something that lingered in my soul after her birth that just sat there and festered. The only way I can explain it is that I felt cheated of the bonding time with her, of her firsts: her first time being fed, the first person to hold her, the first person to kiss her etc. etc. I missed out on all of those. Because  of my c-section i was out of it after her  birth and didn’t even feel the desire to hold her for a good hour or so. I remember laying there, barely able to hold my eyes open watching my  mother, my mother in law and my husband hold, cuddle and bottle feed her and I felt a mixture of anger, resentment and sorrow, but couldn’t seem to open my mouth or eyes long enough to tell them that I wanted her.  It wasn’t for a long while that I finally held her and was able to do all of above and it just lingered in my soul that I didn’t get that with her.

Plus, as time went on I felt that I wasn’t really given a chance to give birth to her in the way I wanted. I was so angry and started seeking out like minded moms. I found them and through them found the information, support and understanding that I had needed since the moment I was sent off to my c-section. I knew I needed to heal and a step in that direction was to give birth to my next child on my own terms and to have the experience I was cheated.

After a miscarriage and finally having a little baby stick I started the process of finding a VBAC friendly provider. That was way harder than it should had been but I found Kelly and knew I was going to have my healing birth.

Fast forward to 6 weeks postpartum of the most healing, amazing, and empowering birth of River and I feel… whole. Its the only way I can describe it. From the moment I felt River exit my body the way God meant babies to be born I felt complete.

Peace

Peace

Pushing beautiful daughter out

Pushing beautiful daughter out

I did it!

I did it!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Suddenly I am  no longer angry. I am no longer resentful of my friends who just go in and give birth in hospitals with no issues and come out like it was nothing. Or friends who get induced and the cascade of interventions don’t lead them to c-sections. Or friends who DO get a c-section and wonder why I’m so upset over mine.

I’m free of all that and I’m also empowered to change the outcomes of birth for women so that they can feel what I did.

I can now talk to people about birth and not feel resentment. I feel empathy for the women who didn’t get what they wanted. I don’t just say to them “well your baby was healthy so you should be happy” to the women who are mourning their dream birth or feel anger towards the women who think I’m silly for the way I believe a birth should happen. I just know that if they ever need a shoulder to cry on, or a sympathetic ear that I’m there for them.

This whole thing has lead me to knowing that when my girls are in school I will be becoming a birth professional of some kind. Whatever form that takes: doula, midwife etc. I will do my best to make sure that each and every woman’s birth goes the way she dreamed and if it doesn’t she knows she doesn’t have to cover up the feelings of anger. I’m there with her.

Until then I’ll continue to try and inform my friends and family on what evidence based birth is and continue to support and be a ear to talk to for all of them;  no matter what their birth outcome was and how they feel about it post birth.

Beautiful River

Beautiful River

River’s Birth Story

The healing and beautiful HBAC (home birth after Cesarean)  of River Lee.

I had been having some pretty intense Braxton hicks starting on Monday evening (River’s due date!) that had slowly progressed to a more painful back ache. I remember thinking that this couldn’t possibly  be it and that I couldn’t allow myself to get excited. I did however tell my birth group friends on FB. 😉 After lots of encouragement and pep talk from them I settled in for what I knew was the long haul.

Wednesday rolled around with me having not really slept deeply since Monday night and I was really looking forward to what my midwife Kelly had to say about all of it and to hear River’s heart beat. I took Elle along and she got the wonderful opportunity to listen to her sister’s heart beat with the help of Kelly. The look on Elle’s face was priceless as she concentrated and listened. Kelly told me she believed what I was experiencing was practice labor and to go ahead and head over to the Chiropractor and see if he could kick-start my labor for me. She also gave me some more moves to move River to the left side of my uterus. (a more favorable position for labor and delivery)

Sadly, I didn’t make it over to see Dr. Brooks that day, and I remember how emotional I was that evening. I mentioned it to my birth friends and they encouraged me and told me that I was definitely heading in the right direction and that they all remember being REALLY emotional the day before labor started. I tried not to let that get my hopes up.

Hello Thursday.  No change so I decided to head to the Chiropractor. He prepped my pelvis for labor and pushed on some pressure points to hopefully get things moving.

That evening Matt surprised me with a beautiful Valentines day dinner and gave me a new Wii Mario game to play with. I spent the next few hours playing the Wii till my contractions in my back were so painful that I couldn’t concentrate on my game any longer. I decided to head to bed and to text Kelly in the morning if they were time able.

Woke up when Matt did Friday morning around 5 am to find that they were now time able and that I should text Kelly. Got the response to get as much sleep as I could and Matt headed into work with the promise that he would keep his phone nearby and would make sure everyone knew to get him ASAP if I called.

I went back to sleep (kinda ;)) for a few hours and then got up with Elenore. Matt came home around noon (because his coworkers insisted he come home lol) and we tried to keep the day as normal as possible for all of us and just go about our day. We browsed Target, Matt cleaned the whole house, I baked muffins and River’s birthday cake with Elenore and just really tried to enjoy the last day that we for sure were just as a family of 3. It was a real blessing.

Kelly came by and checked me and found that I was a stretchy 3 and around 60% effaced. I was really happy to hear that and she said she was thinking it would be tonight or early Saturday morning. She left to go get some rest and told me to do the same.

I attempted to sleep and Matt ran off to run some last-minute errands. Got a cat nap in before Elle awoke and we spent the last section of the day just relaxing.

Put Elle down at 7 and it was like a switch flipped inside me and my contractions started to get real painful. Told Kelly we needed her to head over because I needed support around 8. She told me they were on their way.

At this point I really had to concentrate during my contractions and either had to be on my birthing ball rocking or walking and swaying to be able to get through them. Kelly and the team arrived and started to get everything all set up for River’s birth.

In between contractions they were all laughing and joking and it was such a lovely environment. I had my candles, music and husband and I felt completely safe to just let go and let my body do what it was meant to do. I knew they would all take care of me and I just let go.

Matthew was such my rock, he was there every time a contraction hit and would squeeze my hips together while Lauren or Kelly kept hot packs to my stomach and back. He made me laugh a couple of times as I yelled his name from across the room and he would sprint to my side right as the contraction hit so that he could do whatever I needed to help me get through the pain.

After a few hours I decided it was time to call my friend Megan and get her there for my birth photos. I had a feeling things were about to change. Right around than is where my contractions hit a point where I asked for my birth pool. Kelly told me it was ok and they started filling it. The feeling was SO nice once I was finally able to climb into the pool and just relax. I only vaguely remember Megan arriving since I think I dozed off for a while.

Right around when I looked up and found that it was 11:30 at night and I joked that the last time I looked it was 10:30, that was right when the contractions  became so bad that I no longer fully knew where everyone was in the room. All I know is that whenever I needed them I had someone pouring water on my back, holding my hand or doing whatever they could to get me through the contraction. Matt kept me hydrated and fed and the wonderful women kept him sane and reminded him to take care of himself as well.

  At one point I remember thinking that I was in transition but then the contractions took me again and all rational thought escaped me. Kelly checked me again and I was a stretchy 8. I couldn’t have felt more relief than I did at that point, I had stalled at a 7 with Elenore!

Midnight rolled around and Matt commented that River was missing her Valentines birthday! We all just laughed.

This was the point that everything got really fuzzy. I started to no longer be able to “control” the contractions like I did before and had to really start reminding myself to make low noises and not high ones through my contractions. Repeatedly I said silly things and then after the contraction ended would apologize to everyone around me. If someone tried to touch me during a contraction I would slap my hands around and then again at the end apologize. I felt very out of control. I started saying over and over “I just don’t know” since I couldn’t find a comfortable position to be in anymore. Every time I looked up in a daze I saw Kelly’s face or Matthew’s face and it was really comforting.

The urge to push hit so quickly that I was really caught off guard. I looked at Kelly and asked if I should push. She told me to wait and checked me again. I wasn’t quite ready but was a 9. She told me to use quick breathes through the contractions to stop my pushing. I remember being VERY annoyed with her at this point. I started to ask everyone who was close at the right moment why I was doing this and they would just keep reminding me of River. I didn’t find this to be a good enough reason anymore. I really had left all rational thought behind.

Kelly asked if I wanted her to pray and I remembering nodding my head yes. She prayed over Matt and I and prayed for a quick and safe delivery. I felt such peace wrap around me than and for a few seconds I felt God’s presence before my contraction took me away again.

Suddenly I couldn’t stop my pushing anymore and Kelly checked again to find that I had a small cervical lip that was the only thing hanging me up. She asked if I wanted her to hold it out-of-the-way while I pushed and all I could think was that it was going to hurt! She told me yes it would hurt but if I really wanted to push I had to. I made her wait and am not really sure how long I argued, reasoned and tried to ask everyone why I couldn’t I just go to the hospital and get that epidural now. (yes, silly, I know lol) Kelly calmly told me it would take longer to get the epidural than it would for me just to do this now. She finally informed me that I HAD to get out of the pool and I would push past the lip because it was starting to swell and then I could get back into the pool. It took everything inside of me to stand up with the help of Lauren and Matt get out of the pool and onto the  birthing stool.  I sat on the stool and just started to sob. I really remember Kelly saying “its ok, she needs to cry” and then got in front of me to start the pushing process.

This is the point where I feel like I left all of myself behind. Kelly held the lip while I pushed and I was so past the point of making any sense and just WANTED TO BE DONE! I kept saying how much it hurt and Matt kept saying “you can do this, a little bit more” and I wanted to hit  him! At one point Kelly told me to feel my daughter’s head and feel how close she was. I reached down and felt her  head and wanted to cry when I realized she wasn’t crowning yet, but was close. Kelly asked if I wanted to get back into the pool and I refused. I didn’t want to move. During one of the last pushes I was squealing so much that Kelly told me to stop squealing and just push! It was what I needed to hear and really started to push. Than holy moly the ring of fire hit!

They really mean it when they call it the ring of fire! Kelly  made me stop and feel her head to give my body a chance to adjust to her head and I just wanted to get her out! I remember just thinking “get her out!” and did a great big push to where FINALLY her head was out! Than I realized I still had her body and I really almost lost it but did the last push to get her out.

Oh the relief! It really is a indescribable feeling when your baby is finally out and  you did it!

This point everything slowed down and I went into a kind of twilight zone as things around me really sped up. I was just watching Kelly rub down River and suction out her nose and mouth when suddenly I heard Lauren tell me to open my mouth and she gave me a dose of herbs, than the shot into my leg and then suddenly I heard Sherri tell me she was giving me another shot of Pit and I all of a sudden realized what was happening. I was bleeding and it wouldn’t stop. Kelly told me to STOP BLEEDING and I remember mumbling, “ok” and pushing out River’s placenta. That was when everyone calmed and vaguely I remember thinking “oh, I’m ok now” and they let me hold River and bring her to my breast to nurse. Matt and I just looked at her and Kelly prepped her for her cord to be cut. Matt didn’t want to cut it so Megan got to cut it (she was SO excited!) and than finally it was over.

They got me onto the bed and wrapped up with warm towels, started an IV drip and I just sat there in stunned disbelief that I had actually done it! I had pushed out my daughter! All 8 lbs and 3 oz of her!

Later I asked how long I was actually pushing because it felt like hours and got the surprising answer of only 20 minutes! Wow… That was a shock. haha

I would do it all again in a heartbeat! Even with the scary part at the end Matt agrees that it was the best experience of his life.

I firmly believe I wouldn’t have made it in a hospital. I would have given up at the first suggestion during transition. I really needed a house full of people who knew what I wanted and were willing to help me fight; even when it was me, to get the birth I wanted and needed. I thank God everyday for leading me to Kelly and her team and having all the blocks fall into place for me to have this home birth.

God really does work in mysterious ways and it all ended with a beautiful 8 lb baby girl.

38 weeks and counting….

So last week I decided that I was really over FB. Everything was getting on my  nerves and I knew that it would just get worse as the days went by and I got closer and closer to d-day. So I made my last post and have happily just sat on the sidelines since then. I just have to say that I enjoy just lurking, commenting here and there on other people’s posts, watching out for my friend’s to go into labor and writing to my mommy groups way more than posting to my own wall. No idea why, but I just feel calmer doing that. Not to mention everyone who needs to get a hold of me knows I’ll answer a pm or text message really promptly, so it hasn’t effected my social life at all. lol

Now to what I’m sure everyone is really interested in: me being 38 weeks and 3 days today. I’m getting down to the end and I just can’t wait! 2 of my friends have had their babies this week and I couldn’t be happier for them but its also making me really impatient! LOL
I just keep telling myself that she ISN’T coming early, so I can’t even get that into my mind and she WILL be late, so I can’t get to excited yet. I have a minimum of 2 more weeks to go! I wouldn’t be surprised if she didn’t show up till I was 42 weeks. She has the stubborn genes for it  and I’m willing to wait it out till she is ready. 😉

Had my 38 week appointment with my midwife today and River sounds amazing, is sitting in a good position (Yay for no longer being OP!), my weight gain is awesome and my sugar levels are perfect. Everything looks wonderful. I couldn’t be happier to hear that.
Now we quite literally just have to wait her out. lol Matt thinks she will either be a few days early or her 40th week and I think she is going to be really late. :p We shall see who is right!

I literally feel jittery with excitement to get my healing home birth and to see my beautiful new daughter’s face.

Come on baby girl, we are ready for you! ❤

Entering a new year

I seriously can’t believe that 2014 is here! Its crazy. This year is going to be amazing.

*River will be joining us earth side and we couldn’t be more excited to see her precious little face and hear her first cries.

*I’ll be getting back onto the workout and healthy eating train. Can’t wait to get my butt into gear and hit the gym! Only gained 20 lbs so far so it should be easier to get rid of the baby weight this time around 🙂

*We will be buying a new vehicle! I’m super excited about this.

*We will be paying off all our credit card debt within the first 3 months of 2014. Whoo hoo!

*Weddings! There should be a few. I’m SO excited for them.

*Family will be visiting us here in Texas and we will be trying to head home sometime this summer; if not, next fall.

*Elenore will be turning 3! Holy Moly….

*I’m going to try and expand on the friendships I have been building. I’m way to much of a hermit 90% of the time. lol

*My goal is to become closer to God and try to trust him more. I try to do things myself way to often.

*I also want to become more frugal and make more meals at home. I’ve fallen into the bad habit of not wanting to cook! Time for some change 🙂

and finally

*Always want to be a better mama and wife to the loves of my life ❤

 

We’re gonna take the plunge!

I debated even writing this since I know that I’m going to have people telling me that I’m nuts, but after some thought I figured, why not? I’ve been completely open with you guys up to this point, why not now?

So here it is: after a discussion with  my OB last week,  I came out of the experience feeling discouraged, scared, and completely let down. From the moment I knew I was pregnant she had been encouraging me and telling me that she would do everything in her  power to get me my VBAC and my 100% natural birth.  I was over joyed, I had found an amazing OB who was going to support me with my birth plan! I knew this was something that was rare, and I told everyone I knew that she was amazing and that she fully supported natural birth. She had even said to me that “she trusted women’s bodies to know what to do” and that was music to my ears.

Than it was like she flipped  a switch last week and wasn’t the same doctor. I went into the appointment anticipating to have the my birth plan discussed, have my questions answered and to come out feeling OK with my hospital birth. (Since the hospital birth has been a compromise with my husband from day one) Everything was going great until I started asking for specific percentages, and her specific ideas as to how my birth journey was going to go. It was like I was seeing a completely different OB. She suddenly wasn’t optimistic about my birth plan anymore and kept referring to her experience that was women who had previous c-sections couldn’t give  birth vaginally. When I asked her how many VBACs she had even seen she said only 3 and “only 1 made it, but she had had a vaginal birth before so….” I was shocked.  She didn’t even believe that I could make it and she was supposed to be a “VBAC supportive provider”?  That’s when she really started throwing wrenches into my birth plan:  I couldn’t walk past 6 cm or 5 cm if  my water had already broken, I was required to than lay down and have an internal monitor put on for the duration of my labor, (I.E break my water and screw a device into my child’s head), I couldn’t at that point use the labor tub or the shower, I was required to have an IV placed, (no option for Hep lock) and if “I didn’t progress” she was rushing me to c-section. No waiting, no chance to stand up and attempt to kick start my labor again, nothing.  I was to be prepped for surgery and that was it.

At this point she was really getting annoyed that I didn’t look as optimistic and that I was continuing to ask questions. That woman couldn’t get out of the room fast enough. I was utterly stunned. What happened to the OB that I had  been having great conversations with for the last 27 weeks of my pregnancy?!

I went home and just cried. It felt like she had pulled the rug out from under my feet. Matt wasn’t as stunned, apparently he had guessed she wasn’t what I thought she was and was just letting me figure it out on my own. I would have appreciated an heads up! haha He just held me and said we would figure something out.

That began the most frustrating, head ache inducing, intense round of deep conversations we have had in a long time. I felt like we were talking circles around each other: he wanted to stick with the Hospital birth and just go in ready to fight for what we wanted and to wait as long as possible at home so that I had a chance to labor naturally for as long as possible before they put the monitors on me and made me lay down. Sounds reasonable enough, but I had completely given up on the idea of having any kind of natural labor and delivery if we went to the hospital and had our OB calling the shots. I poured out all my fears, sorrows, disappointments and just lack of faith in the hospital. I didn’t trust the OB anymore and I really didn’t trust the nursing staff to let me do what I needed to do without a fight and a hostile environment unfolding in my hospital room.  Matt was just as dumbfounded. We were at a cross roads: we both knew what the other wanted and were both not willing to fold.

We slept on it Thursday night, brought it up again Friday night, got no where, slept on it again, mildly brought it up Saturday night, got a tiny bit of progress and than we made it to Sunday night and we decided to just sit down and talk till we had a solution. This talking in circles was getting exhausting.

I had been talking to other VBAC women, my mother and my Child birthing instructor and  had come to the conclusion that our only option was to get a midwife and have the home birth that I had been wanting from day one. I didn’t see any other solution that would not guarantee me a c-section at the end of a frustrating labor experience. I could tell I hadn’t shocked him, he had guessed that is where my thoughts had been going. His only concern was cost,  Midwives are not cheap. He informed me that he would have been perfectly fine with a home birth if our insurance had even covered a tiny bit of the cost. I didn’t think this was something he was willing to bend on and I was getting really hopeless. He than surprised me and told me he would look at our finances and see if it was even a possibility. I couldn’t believe it. He was at least looking!

After a long, agonizing 30 minutes on my part, I threw the idea of not eating out anymore and using that money for payments towards the midwife. That got me a reaction: he was all for it! Suddenly it was like he had a huge burden off his shoulders and we both could breathe.

We went to bed that night excited for the birth of River Lee, calm and utterly content in our decisions. We were doing it! We were going to have an all natural water/home birth with a midwife at our side.

I couldn’t be more a peace with our decision and for the first time since I talked to our OB last week I feel the fear, and tension leaving my body. I am getting what I wanted in the first place: a calm, 100% natural water birth in the comfort of our own home.

Yes, I do believe we have made the jump into the true realm of “hippie”. haha

Reflecting on “us”

The last few days I have been reflecting on how far as a couple and as a family we have come in our almost 5 years of marriage.

Looking back I love how much of a foundation that Matt and I had built up as a couple  before we even really got “serious”. For those of you that don’t know our story, we started out just as friends and hung out all the time as a big group. I loved being around him. He was such a energetic, strong and stable man and when he even would acknowledged my presence I would feel giddy. I fell in love with him from literally the moment he walked into our church and than had to wait around for him to 1. realize I was interested and 2. become a Christan. The latter happened first. I remember the weekend it happened, we were all on a fasting trip up in the mountains and all my friends and I were in the hot tub when Matt and a couple of the male leaders came around the corner after a long hike in the woods where not only did Matt accept Christ, but so did another boy. I remember feeling so joyous in that moment. The man I loved had just accepted Jesus. My heart just soared.

My knight in shining armor

My knight in shining armor

It was love at first sight

It was love at first sight

Than I waited another year until he finally figured out that I was interested in more than just being a friend.  This was after countless days of us just sitting in our cars facing each other talking till it was way past curfew. I knew everything about him. He was my best friend, the love of my life and I just wanted him to acknowledge the connection between us. When he finally did ask me out (in not the most articulate way, by the way,  I had to ask him if he was asking me out haha) I felt like I was on top of the world. It was seriously the greatest moment in my young life.

Before our first homecoming together

Before our first homecoming together

Our first dance

Our first dance

That was the moment when we started “dating”. I put it in quotation marks because I think of it as more of a courtship. He had told me in one of our many late night discussions that he wasn’t going to date a girl unless he felt like he could marry her, and that was why he had never dated in High school up to that point. So for him to ask me out was huge. I knew I was special and it made my heart soar. I was Matthew Berry’s one and only girlfriend. Talk about making a girl’s dreams come true. (Because literally he was my dream come true since the moment I set my eyes on him 2 years before)

Our courtship was devastatingly slow. Looking back on it I’m so happy with how slow we moved because we really knew each other before anything more physical came into our relationship. He didn’t hold my hand for 6 months, didn’t kiss me for 7 months, and it took him 3 YEARS for us to even make the jump to making out. haha When I said slow, I meant it. We were engaged to be married by that point. Yes, you just read that right. We didn’t’ even make out till we were engaged to be  married.

At this point we had already been through our first trial of our relationship. Matt had left for basic, gone to tech school and we had one of our first fights through letters and texts. Talk about a trial. We couldn’t even address the issue till he was in Tech school and had access to his own cell phone again. Than it was nightly conversations till we had everything leveled out again. I wouldn’t change that time though, we grew so much as a couple.

First time seeing each other after Basic

First time seeing each other after Basic

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Than he moved to Mt. home to be close to me and we got married that December.

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Our wedding was everything I imagined it would be and more. That day literally couldn’t have been more perfect, I was in heaven. Than our beautiful honeymoon up on the border of Canada and Washington. A full week of walking the beach, relaxing together, eating smoked salmon, brie and bread, and just getting to know each other on a more deep level. We were in bliss.

Together on our honeymoon

Together on our honeymoon

Jump forward 6 months and we had our first deployment together. That was one of the hardest moments of my life. Still considered a newlywed and having to say goodbye to the man I loved so deeply. I cried for days and than learned to get back up and live life without him. Those 7 months were the biggest trial of our marriage, I had no friends on base, I was traveling to and from Mt. home to  my school in Nampa, it felt like I was all alone in this deployment. My only joy came from the time I got to talk to him via skype and emails. We fought through emails, we learned to forgive through skype, we learned that our love could handle this and grow. I found friends that understood what I was going through, I found a rhythm to live that fulfilled me and made me know that I could live this life. I was strong enough to be a military wife, I could do this and thrive. It was a profound learning experience for both of us in our own lives and the life we had together.

He returned  home and we had to relearn how to be together. It wasn’t easy, but we came out of it stronger than before. We than decided it was time to start trying for a child. We were so excited.

Than the cycle of waiting happened. No one but my mother and Mother in law knew what was going on, but we struggled with infertility.

Month after month of negative pregnancy tests where I felt like I was dying and failing at life each time.

I joined a swim team randomly because of a email I received about a spouse wanting to start  a team. I responded and that started the connection I needed just at that moment. Her husband was the fertility expert on base and I didn’t know it than but it was an answer to my desperate prayers each month. Over a dinner conversation Darren asked us if we were trying to start to have a family soon. At this point we had been trying for 9 agonizing months. We joked about it and he casually told us that if we needed help he was there and to give his office a call if we hit the year mark of no success. I took the information and just stored it away in my mind. I had hit the hopeless point.

Our little swim team

Our little swim team

Than the year mark hit and I remembered what he had said. At this point I adored his whole family and the swim team was starting to form and we were all super excited about the future of the team. I trusted him and decided to give his office a call.

On our first appointment he eased all my fears. He told me that he would have me pregnant within 6 months tops. I couldn’t believe my ears. After  a year of failure it seemed to good be to true. After countless tests on Matt and I’s part he was confident that it wasn’t me and it wasn’t Matt. Just some random interference that clomid could fix. I started that month and we literally had a positive pregnancy test by month 5. Which was a blessing and mourning experience for us since I got pregnant and 5 short weeks later Matt deployed again. He missed every ultrasound, every first, and every milestone of our precious new child’s growth in my womb. He missed the 20 week ultrasound where Elenore sucked her thumb and the tech told us “its a girl!” (my mother was there for my 10 week appointment and my 20 week) and he missed when I found out I had gestational diabetes and had to fight the low and high numbers for the last 2 months of my pregnancy.

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Our last day together before his 2nd deployment

But through it all I had support. I had  found a group of women who became like family to me. All our men were deployed together and we spent every waking moment, it felt like, together. They joined in with our celebrations on the gender, my woes of GD, our fears and our desires while separated from our men and just were always there for each other through everything. I knew that if I went into labor early they would be at the hospital in a heartbeat to hold my hand through it all. I also had my job as a nanny for a wonderful family in Boise. I loved their dear baby boy and found friendship in his mother. All of them got me though this deployment feeling like I could do this.

8 months pregnant

8 months pregnant

Matthew got home 3 days before Elenore was born. He was sick, (had caught something in Kuwait, no idea what) and stressed, but oh so happy to have made it. Our reunion was really joyous and was even caught on camera for the local news.

Matt homecoming

Home at last

Elenore’s birth was not the best experience out there, but we were just as  happy to see our baby girl.  No matter how she finally made her appearance.

Matt and Elle first hug

First moment together as father and daughter

Immediately life decided to throw some curve balls at us but we held on together made some hard decisions and moved on. Those first few months of Elenore’s life were the most joyous and stressful of our life. But we wouldn’t change a moment of it.

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Than when Elle was 6 months old the military decided to throw another curve ball at us. Matt was being sent to Korea again for a few weeks and it would be the first time I was alone with our daughter for an extended amount of time.  I knew I could do it and we parted ways with only a few tears. I remember congratulating myself on that. I was getting better at this! haha

I went home for a week or so to see my family and than on the way back we had another life changing moment. I wont specify as to what exactly happened since it’s so personal but it almost tore us apart as a couple and family. I ran straight to my friend whom was at my side through Matt’s whole deployment and she pulled me from the abyss that was my mind. It was OK, we would be alright. Our marriage would make it and we would pull through this. Her words were the only thing that kept me sane till Matt and I could talk face to face and get everything squared away. We struggled for months but came out on top. We still encounter the repercussions of the incident years later, but we are way stronger and know we can handle it when it rears its ugly head every few months or so.

Jump forward to now. We are now in San Angelo Texas, own our home, have another precious princess on the way and couldn’t be happier.

Berry (16) Berry (19) Berry (30)

We have had our share of trials in Texas too, don’t get me wrong. Between encountering drama filled “friends”, to a fire in our home, to our second round of infertility trials, a miscarriage, and countless mini life altering instances that change your perspective on life, we have had our share of trial here. lol But we are truly happy. As we approach our 5 year anniversary I can’t help to think of the upcoming years. The ups, the downs, the trials, the love, the hope, the laughter, the joy, and the knowledge that I wouldn’t want to share my life with anyone else.

I love you Matthew Berry and can’t wait to celebrate our 5 year anniversary in a short month and see where this crazy life is going to take us. We have each other, our precious children, our crazy dogs and family and most importantly a God who loves us.

Here’s to the rest of life!

Christmas 2010 091 Disneyland and Universal 2011 073

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Self reflection

Tonight I had one of the most inspiring conversations with a friend. She just pushed the feeling I had of wanting to tell all my friends about what their deliveries could be like if they just looked into the information out there and didn’t just blindly listen to their doctors.

Now to be honest, I started to think that maybe my posts were annoying and that I was being pushy. But she also relieved those feelings. My posts were informative to her and made her think about her labor in the future and even inspired her to look more into it all. I’m so proud to say that she is looking into Natural birth and even thinking of doing a home birth with her second baby.  I am so proud of that. How brave of her to look past American Medicine and start to embrace what her body is meant to do.  If all my friends would go natural I would be in heaven, but I know that it wont happen in this medicated world. :p But maybe, just maybe, my posts will inspire more of them to; at least, look into it all.

This feeling of accomplishment and the love of showing women what they are capable of has really had me thinking recently about what I want to do with my future. I have always strived to be a police officer when I was completely done with pregnancy and all my children were in school, but now this has me wondering if I want to join the ranks of Midwives or even Doulas.  I want to be able to help other women in this world altering experience that is called birth, and I want to help other women have the best possible experience that they can have. Whether that is the whole normal medicine: epidural, pit, c-sections etc. or help her go down the natural route, I want to help. This is going to take some thought and definitely wont be able to be pursued just yet. I want to at least give birth to #3 before I start the training for either. haha I know that to become a midwife takes a lot of training and I’m sure its the same for Doulas.

Excited to see where this train of thought takes me in the future. But for now, I’m concentrating on making sure that little Elenore is happy and that this little baby inside of me is healthy, happy and birthed in the most loving environment possible.

I’m so excited to see my little one soon on the Ultrasound screen and to be able to say “Hello Javan” or “Hello River”. Either way, mommy is so excited to see you dear one.

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