the gift of giving life

Jun 13, 2012 by

I am lying here in bed feeling my ovary working hard to ovulate and while my initial and most common reaction is to cry out in pain and writhe around in misery, today I am trying something different. Today I am trying to send a message of gratitude to my ovaries. I am grateful they (at least the right one since it is the only one that ovulates) are able to ripen an egg and release it every month in the hopes of forming a new baby.

Why the change in my attitude today?

I have been reading a glorious book, The Gift of Giving Life, that is hot off the presses. My friend, Robyn Allgood, is one of the authors and asked me to take part in a Virtual Book Tour that is running from Mother’s Day to Father’s Day and I am one of the last stops. The other tour stops have been food for my soul and I bet they will be for yours as well.

This book is a compilation of essays, birth stories, and articles about the divine nature of pregnancy and childbirth by women who belong to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I am SO in love with this book. I wish I had written it! In an amazing feat of literary genius, the authors have created a lovely blend of childbirth information, personal stories, and scriptural insights, all with the nurturing tone of a warm blanket and a cup of hot chocolate. One of the many wonderful aspects of this offering is that there is a wide variety of perspectives on both the spiritual and physical elements of birth. This is not a one-size fits all approach. Rather, it is a ‘step into my heart and let me share some of my deepest thoughts regarding my experiences as a woman’ type of book. There are stories about conception, labor, breastfeeding, adoption, miscarriage, abuse, service, abandonment, faith, courage, submission, and most of all, love. Each time I read a new essay, I am left with a feeling of love…love for the woman who shared herself through her writing, love for my Heavenly Parents, love for myself as a mother, and love for womanhood. It is a daily gift I give to myself…one story a day to soothe my soul, awaken my mind, and expand my heart (though I usually can’t stop with just one!).

When I was reading Felice Austin’s essay, “The Decision to Have Your Baby”, and Meghan Rayne-Matthews’ essay, “Healing Through Motherhood”, I was taken back to my unexpected first pregnancy and the difficult decision we made to keep our baby. I had been told by two surgeons that my abdominal wall and pelvic ligaments would not survive a pregnancy and that we needed to adopt. When we became pregnant with Blythe, we were scared of the very real possibility that I may die. After endless amounts of research in between the round-the-clock nausea, multiple priesthood blessings, temple trips, and many prayers, we decided to trust the Lord and the feeling of peace we were given. We decided to allow the pregnancy to continue and accept the consequences, whatever they might be. Thankfully, the surgeons were wrong and my abdominal wall held up just fine (my pelvic ligaments are another story!) and now we have been blessed to give birth to four babies.

When I read “Waiting for Ashleigh” my heart was overcome with love for my unborn babies, the ten we have miscarried and the others who we are waiting for. The father in this story hears and sees his daughter, Ashleigh, several times, including once when he was about to break-up with his future wife. When they do marry, they think Ashleigh will be their first child born, but she isn’t. A little boy arrives instead. Each time they become pregnant they think it is her, but it isn’t. Three little boys and one little girl later, they are thrilled to finally be pregnant with the girl they have waited so long for. And then they miscarry. Matthew, the author, beautifully writes of pain, faith, and hope as they realize that once again they are waiting for Ashleigh.

I have recently embarked on a family history project that is changing my entire being and while reading “The Family Tree of Knowledge” by Felice Austin my heart was opened to my ancestors even more deeply. She writes, “When I was a few months into my pregnancy and feeling pretty alone, I came across this quote by Harriet Lerner:

We are never the first in our family to wrestle with a problem, although it may feel that way…learning how other family members have handled their problems similar to our own down through the generations, is one of the most effective routes to lowering reactivity and heightening self-clarity.

She continues with “I thought, ‘Yeah, right. Who does this happen to? No one else in my family has been abandoned three months into a planned pregnancy.’ I kept reading…”

If we do not know about our own family history, we are more likely to repeat past patterns or mindlessly rebel against them, without much clarity about who we really are, how we are similar to and different from other family members, and how we might proceed in our life.

She explains that she researched her line and found a great-grandmother on her mother’s side who had been abandoned by her husband while pregnant with their fourth child and a third great-grandmother on her father’s side who had been a slave and had somehow escaped slavery and raised her white master’s child all alone, in freedom. These two stories gave Felice strength to continue in her own struggles and powerful connections to bolster her up when loneliness tried to tear her down.

My mother’s family tree is rich with stories of courage, sacrifice, and faith. They have filled me with great reservoirs of determination to do what is right, to serve well, and to love passionately. I am right in the midst of discovering my father’s family tree. Lerner’s quote flipped a switch in my heart and encouraged me to go deeper, to search for their stories, and to learn from them. Through various experiences in my life I have learned I am strongly connected emotionally to my ancestors and I carry their energy patterns with me. I have an opportunity to learn from them, heal the mistakes of the past, and create a better future for my posterity. The Spirit of Elijah is real, incredibly real, and is drawing my heart to my family members before, with, and after me. This book has played a pivotal role in that heart-opening process.

One last thing this book has done for me is it has reminded me I am not alone in my walk as a daughter of God, nor as a birthing mother striving to make conscious, God-led choices for my family. I am not crazy or misled for feeling the spirits of my unborn children. Sometimes, if I am spending too much time in surface relationships, I can forget there are women who care deeply about procreation, about their divine roles as women, and about the gift that birth can be to each of us as we grow in to the beings God created us to be. The Gift of Giving Life is a gentle, yet powerful testimony to the sisterhood of women and the strength we can be to one another as we fulfill our personal missions as daughters, sisters, mothers, and friends.

Other favorite essays: “We Are Each Eve”, “The Spirit of Elijah”, “Puah and Shiphrah: Delivering the Deliver”, “Two Veils”, “Blood, Breastmilk, and Living Water”, “Finding My Motherly Intuition”, and “Healing From Sexual Abuse”, “Unity With Our Sisters”, and “Sixteen Pregnancies”.

Doesn’t it sound marvelous? Trust me…it is. I wish I had a frillion copies to give to every woman I know. I don’t have a frillion, but I do have one copy to gift to one lucky reader. Please post a comment and you will be entered into the pool of hopeful winners. A winner will be selected bright and early Saturday morning. If you don’t win or you want to buy a frillion copies for all the women in your life, I have a coupon for 10% off The Gift of Giving Life. Click here and then after you add the book to your cart use coupon code GWFWXR3F. This coupon is only good until Father’s Day 2012…so you only have a few days to take advantage of it.

Visit The Gift of Giving Life site to sign up for their newsletter and to receive a free Meditation MP3 as well as tips to help increase spirituality in your pregnancy and birth.

If you would like to read more of my birth experiences (I think they are pretty amazing stories!), here are our birth stories and here is our journey through miscarriage.

I hope you have enjoyed this stop on the Virtual Book Tour. Be sure to check out Segullah’s post on Sunday. I for one can’t wait to read it!

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blythe’s gift to me

Aug 17, 2010 by

My oldest child recently turned 14 years old. I am still bewildered that I have a child this age. How can that be even remotely possible?

I thought I had written about her gift to me before, but I can’t find what I thought I said, so I am going to write about it some more.

Pre-BMW (Blythe Moriah Ward), I had far different priorities than I did post-BMW. In fact, I was a different person. I did not want to be a mother. I wanted to spend my life doing important things – like traveling the world, studying the Torah, and teaching people God’s ancient words. I wanted to be known for doing important things. I wanted to fill my time with scholarly research and the subsequent presentations of my findings. I wanted to stretch my mind and challenge myself with doing really hard things.

I had absolutely no desire to have a child need me. I had no desire to ever change a diaper again. And if by some chance, I was given a child, he or she was not going to interfere with my life, my plans, my needs.

Throughout the first three years of our marriage, all of this started changing. I decided I wanted to have children. I started researching the role and value of motherhood. I started arguing with my feminist professors who advocated a position of “daycare is best for children.” I began to feel disgust for the mothers I saw dropping off their six-week old babies at a daycare at seven in the morning and picking them up at seven at night. I began to desire to be a mother who would be with her children…someday.

But, I was still ambivalent about actually being a mother. I had been told by two different doctors that I would die if I tried to have a baby and we believed them. We decided we would not have biological children and would look into adopting when I was done with my college education.

And then, in spite of doing everything we could to prevent pregnancy, I became pregnant. I was not happy. I was, in fact, pretty much terrified that I was going to die. Not only that, it felt like a huge interruption to my life. I was in the middle of my Speech Pathology program and I wanted to complete it. I couldn’t see how it would all work out. I worried about my education and my job and my life and a million other things that seem so trivial now.

We decided to let the pregnancy continue…to just see what would happen. Our OB sent for the reports from the previous two doctors and he disagreed with their findings. He felt like I was not in danger of death and could safely be a pregnant and birthing woman. We were comforted, but not convinced. As the months of pregnancy continued, all seemed to be well, and I began to believe that the first two doctors were completely wrong.

At 36 weeks pregnant, when my uterus had stretched as far as it was going to stretch, our OB pronounced that my abdominal wall was sound, that it was not going to rupture as had been declared by the prior physicians. He said, “See, I was right, everything is going to be just fine.” At that moment, I knew he was correct and I also knew I could not give birth with him. I informed him I would be birthing at home. He flipped out and quickly informed me how dangerous and insane that would be (he later called me at home and apologized for his outlandish behavior). I stood my ground because I knew in my heart that birthing at home was what I needed to do.

We found a midwife and started preparing for a home birth. It was so wonderful to finally be excited about our baby and not to be full of fear about dying. We gathered supplies and Tami came around 38 weeks for the birth that was sure to be right around the corner and we walked and walked and walked. And no baby came.

And then, in her 43rd week of gestation, Blythe was born. After ten months of throwing up every single day and hours of throwing up every 15 minutes throughout her labor, she was born! As I held her that first day, I fell completely in love with her, with motherhood, with homeschooling her, with devoting my life to her. All of a sudden, I knew what motherhood meant and it was not drudgery, it was not a waste of time. It was the most important work I could ever do. It was exactly the work God wanted me to do. It was exactly the work my soul needed to do to grow and learn and develop into the woman I was created to be.

It saddens me to think how backward my thinking used to be and I am filled with gratitude for my brave Blythe who came into my life before I even knew I wanted her, before I valued motherhood, before I knew how absolutely essential motherhood is to the foundation of each family, community, nation, and world.

She taught me that I am doing the most important work. I am spending my days teaching the next generation what it means to be good. I am teaching them about freedom, government, history, God, math, cooking, serving, patience, and family.

I am so grateful for this 14-year-old girl. Thankful for her courage to follow her own path. Thankful she chose me as her mother. Thankful she forgives me and gives me another chance. Thankful she was born at what I thought was an inconvenient time. Thankful for her deep, inner knowing and her absolute devotion to what is right. I am humbled to think of the love God has for me to have sent me a child I didn’t know I needed, but He knew I needed. He knew what motherhood would come to mean to me and how it would change my life forever.

Here are some pics of this beautiful girl:

Blessing Day

Blythe's Blessing Day

Blythe and Grandpa Ward

Blythe and Grandpa Ward

Blythe and Grandma Smith

Blythe and Grandma Smith

Blythe taking a bath

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Blythe and her papa

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Blythe and her mama

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Blythe with Andie and Grandma Dorothy

Blythe w/ sunglasses and bandana

Blythe and Marcus at Bear Lake

Blythe and Marcus at Bear Lake

Blythe and Stephen at Bear Lake

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Two years old at GRL

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Third Birthday at GRL

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Crazy dress-up with her first cat, Spike

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Four-years-old

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5th Birthday

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Another Birthday party…with Cousin Becca and Aunt Mikelle

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Blythe and Andie’s birthday at Bear Lake

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Somewhere around the age of six

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Sevenish?

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Baptism…and me at 38 weeks pregnant with Fisher

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Eight-years-old with Keziah and Great-Grandma

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With Grandpa’s horses

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Pioneer Days rodeo…almost nine-years-old

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Christmas at nine-and-a-half

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Eleven-years-old

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Twelve-years-old…beautiful, isn’t she!

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Thirteen-years-old

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Blythe and Andie Tug of War

Fourteen!

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Isn’t she adorable!

I am so blessed to have her in my life and to have the privilege of being her mother. She has taught me much about love, patience, sacrifice, acceptance, putting people first, doing hard things, and so much more.

Most importantly, she was willing to come as my first child. Willing to let me learn how to mother on her. Willing to teach me the power of motherhood before I knew I was ready to learn that lesson.

Happy Birthday, my girl.

I love you.

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annesley aliyah

Nov 26, 2009 by

I asked for a miracle
I got one!
It was not what I asked for,
but it was exactly what I needed.

I remember so clearly the week that Annesley’s life began. Maybe it is because she is my youngest child and it wasn’t all that long ago – but maybe it is because God wants me to remember exactly who is guiding me.

I remember being told by our business partners that our business was going to close in two weeks. I remember being shocked, angry, in fact, even furious. I remember the helplessness I felt to solve this problem…and I remember praying to my Heavenly Father to please give us a miracle. Please help there be SOME other answer. Please don’t take away what we have worked so hard for nearly 5 years to build. Please, please, please.

I remember reading a book that week called A Mom Just Like You by Vickie Farris, a homeschooling mother of ten. There is a chapter in that book about letting God plan your family and not using birth control. We had been opposed to birth control for years and I had been teaching Natural Family Planning classes to interested couples for a long time, so I thought, hmmm, this sounds like something I already agree with, I’ll just skim it a little while I fall asleep. Something in Vickie’s words pricked my heart and made me realize I was not being completely willing to let God plan our family. I realized I had been telling Him I was not ready to try again to have a baby after numerous miscarriages. I was not ready to let my heart be broken again. I was not ready to throw up repeatedly day after day. I was not ready to deal with a baby again. I was not ready to bring a child into the world when our business was falling apart.

I read Richard some of the chapter and told him I thought we needed to really leave this in the Lord’s hands…and even though I was not entirely convinced myself…we told God He could send us a baby if He felt that this was the right time, knowing everything that was going on in our lives and the fragility of my wounded heart. Well, less than 24 hours later I was throwing up (yes, supposedly this is impossible, but it happens to me every time!) and craving Johnny Carino’s Caesar salad.

That Friday afternoon at ice skating, I remember thinking, this is NOT even funny. How can I be nauseated already? How will we make it through this pregnancy with our last check coming in two weeks? How will my children survive mom being sick, exhausted, and in pain? How will my pelvis hold up? What is the status of my uterine ligaments and for that matter, my uterus itself? See, I had been told after Fisher’s birth that my pelvis and ligaments were so damaged in the car accident I had at 40 weeks pregnant with him that I shouldn’t have more children. I really, really knew that I could not endure another birth and recovery like I had had with Fisher and was scared to death that that might happen. I didn’t really know if I could even carry this pregnancy to term because I had just had 2 miscarriages in a row. I was full to the brim with fear, worry, and a definite lack of faith.

I also remember being a little giddy thinking of a new little baby and if this one could possibly make it into my arms since he/she was so obviously an answer from God. I remember laughing and joking with my friend and talking about having a November baby.

By eight weeks I was in maternity clothes and I started to believe maybe this baby would make it. By twelve weeks I was showing a ton and getting pretty sure this baby would make it. I remember hearing her heartbeat and being ecstatic. At fifteen weeks we went camping for a week for swim camp and I made chocolate peanut butter smoothies for all the pregnant moms each morning. The weeks went by, I grew, the baby grew, and all my energies were focused on being a pregnant mama and overcoming the debilitating fear I had stored in my body from Fisher’s birth. Soon, November arrived along with lots of contractions. For some reason, I always thought I would have this baby before Thanksgiving. I thought that having Fisher at 40 weeks meant I no longer had to go days and days and days past 40 weeks. We made Thanksgiving plans, knowing I would have a 1 or 2 week old baby. But, no. I am destined to have long pregnancies, just like my mother and grandmother and four days AFTER Thanksgiving our little girlie arrived.

I remember being on the phone the night of the 25th with my sister-in-law, Sandy, working on Mom & Dad’s Christmas present that she was making. I needed to send her family photos and for some reason Richard’s computer was not making it easy for me to get these photos to her. I remember her asking me about the baby and me basically saying that I didn’t feel like the birth was going to be anytime soon. I was feeling nothing and figured I could easily go another week. Then I talked to my dear friend and doula who was leaving at 9 a.m. the next morning for a ten day trip to Washington. We cried together because we both knew she would not be able to attend my birth and both our hearts were broken at this turn of events. She tried hard to give me a pep talk about that God knew I could give birth without her because He wasn’t sending this baby yet and that maybe I needed this experience, that it would be a new and different experience that I would learn great things from. I really didn’t want to hear any of it. I wanted to have given birth two weeks before so that none of this was an issue. I wanted to look into her eyes as I labored and to feel the strength of her faith fill my soul.

Next, I talked to my midwife and she tried to give me the same pep talk that my doula gave me. Again, I wanted to hear none of it and went to bed devastated that my dear friend would not be there. See, I have attended all her births and she has attended all of mine but Blythe’s. We have shared miscarriages, worry, prayer, hope, tears, hugs, 2 hour phone calls, and everything in between. I could not imagine giving birth without her…and I knew now that it was 10 p.m. on the night before she was leaving that I had to somehow wrap myself around this new plan. I didn’t want to do it. I was so, so frustrated.

Around 3 a.m. I woke up to labor! What a delightful surprise! I could not believe it was really happening and quickly called my mom to get her on her way and then called my doula and midwife. Everyone started on their way, Richard started filling the tub, and I rocked through contractions. Soon, I needed Richard to be right with me, pushing on my sacrum once again. Around 5 a.m. my doula slipped into my bedroom and right into place next to me on my bed. I was still laughing and talking in between contractions at this point, but they quickly changed into “this is serious business, do not distract me by talking about miscellaneous topics” contractions. After multiple visits to the restroom to empty my bowels and my stomach (Do you know what an out of control experience it is to have volumes of fluid coming out your mouth, nose, and bottom all at the same time? Let me tell you, it is NOT enjoyable!) I slipped into the birth pool and was enveloped by its warmth and support.

Laboring in water is HEAVEN!

My pelvis was really hurting by this time and I was feeling a lot like I did during Fisher’s birth physically, but emotionally it was all different. I knew I was okay. I knew I was going to make it. I knew God wanted me to have this baby. That He had given her to us and that somehow He had healed my body enough for me to make it through this pregnancy. Because of this, I knew He had a plan for this birth.

Richard pushed on my pelvis, Delinda looked in my eyes, Keziah fed me homemade popsicles (you’ve got to try the R.W. Knudson Morning Blend juice to make your labor popsicles with…they are, hands down, the best), and Blythe was helpful in every way. Everything I needed she did with a gentleness that astounded me. She nurtured me that day in a way that hasn’t happened since she was a little girl and still thought I was the most amazing mom ever. My midwife arrived, my mom arrived, and everyone was thrilled that I was giving birth after such a journey to get to that point.

We could not figure out how to relieve the pressure on my pubic bone. It was hurting so much and I could not get any relief from numerous position changes. We tried using a hot water bottle, but it was not pliable enough to bend and fit how I needed it to. Someone had the brilliant idea to use a camelback…PERFECTION! It was plenty squishy and conformed to my body fabulously well.

A huge contraction came, my water broke, and out came Annesley into the hands of our midwife around 8:30 in the morning! What JOY! She laid on my chest for awhile, snuggled up and looking into my eyes. The depth of spirit that a brand new baby shows in her eyes is breathtaking. It is like looking straight into the essence of creation. I can always see that this soul has understanding that we don’t have. Their eyes are giant pools of wisdom, love, and truth.

That is exactly how Annesely’s eyes were that day. I remember feeling her great love for me. Her patience with me. And most of all, her joyful confidence that everything would be okay.

My doula left shortly afterwards so she could make it on her trip and we rejoiced together at the perfect timing of the Lord that enabled her to attend our birth.

Snuggling up with her in my bed that day healed so much of the pain of Fisher’s birth. I was not injured. I was not incapacitated. I was living proof that God CAN and DOES work miracles today. I was told my uterine ligaments would never heal…and yet, her birth, was proof that through His power they were healed. What a gift to be given from a loving Father…to be a miracle…and to have a child.

Annesely is now turning two years old. She is full of love, full of joy, and most of all, full of peace. Her eyes are bright and communicate the message that “it’s okay, it’s all gonna be okay.” I love this little girl so much. She has changed me and helped me to remember the joy of life and what is really most important.

You see, God knew that what we needed to get through our financial disaster was a little bundle of happiness and adorableness all wrapped up into one blue-eyed girlie who brings us joy everyday.

Happy Birthday Goo! We all love you!

Two days old
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Two weeks old
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Six weeks old
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With her signature white hat made by Amy
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Remember my post about the ranch dressing and yellow paint disaster? Here is the proof…

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Look at her eyes in all these pictures. See how they are full of joy and love? Doesn’t it fill you with happiness just to see her?

Thank you for coming when you did my girlie, you are exactly what I needed then and your smiles help get me through every single day.

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keziah elisheva turns 9!

Oct 3, 2009 by

Miss Keziah, this precious and powerful spirit that entered my life many years ago, is turning nine years old today. She has been a mover and a shaker since before she was born and she is full of at least five normal people’s energy levels.

I remember so clearly the night she was born. I went on a walk around 7 p.m. and told her I was ready (so incredibly ready!) for her to come and I promised her I would be a good mother to her. I promised her I would teach her the gospel of Christ and that I would do all I could to help her return to her Father in Heaven. I knew she was listening and feeling my words to her. I knew she believed me. I knew she wanted to come. But I still wasn’t in labor – not a single contraction had passed through my body.

I went home and swept and mopped the kitchen floor. I asked Richard for a blessing, then I went to bed at 9:30. Still no contractions. I figured this baby would come the next day sometime and I was grateful my mom was on her way so she could get settled in before labor started.

I was awakened out of my falling-asleep-reverie at 9:36 with a huge contraction. This was not an early labor contraction. It was not a 45 second contraction. It was a full on transition-like contraction. I could not move. I could not do anything, but lay there and try to relax. Richard came right in and started pushing on my back. He left after that one to go and heat a rice sock, but I called him right back in. They were coming right on top of each other and they were STRONG. He tried his best to fill the birth pool, keep rice socks warm, give me drinks of water, and surround me with encouragement in between contractions. But during them he had to be right there pushing on my back. He knows that is what I need to get through labor and nothing else matters except for his big, wonderful hands pushing down on my sacrum and giving me some measure of relief from “back labor.”

Thankfully he knew that I was having a fast, intense labor and he called the midwives and doula to come now. I had no idea that this was going to be fast and assumed I would be having these POWERFUL contractions for another 10 hours.

Contrary to all my training as a doula and a childbirth educator, I did not get off the bed. I did not have an active labor full of walking, lunging, and squatting. I could not move. By the time a contraction would end, I would take a breath and the next one would start leaving me no time to get in to a different position or even think about what my options were.

Finally, my mom and doula arrived. What a relief to have someone to look at, someone to hold my hand. I was so grateful they were there and that Richard and I were no longer alone.

I HAD to go to the bathroom. I told everyone, “I am getting up after the next contraction.” I rolled/slid/let gravity pull me off the bed and made it all the way to the birth ball next to the bed. I had a contraction as soon as I got there and was not going any further. Then I had a nice long break after that contraction, enough so that my mom said, “wow, this is a bit of a break for you” and I responded with much passion “DON’T talk about it! That means the next one is going to be HUGE!” Well, the next one was huge. It was such an amazing feeling to be part of this force moving through me and to yet be separate from it and to be evaluating what a contraction of that size and strength must mean. At the peak of that contraction, my waters burst from me, soaking the birth ball, the carpet, and the rice sock that was at the bottom of my uterus. Since I was the most knowledgeable person in the room, I went into caretaker mode and said “I need a flashlight. I need to know if there is meconium. Hurry! Get me a light.” I was already into the next contraction and couldn’t even move to look at the fluid, so I was trying to instruct them in what to look for. Craziness, isn’t it?

Even at that moment, I had NO idea how far along in labor I was. My mom had my second rice sock and tried to get me to put it back in its position under my uterus and I hollered, “No, I am soaking wet! Let me dry off first so that one doesn’t get ruined as well! It has to last another 8 hours!”

At the end of that contraction, I knew I had to go to the bathroom. And I knew I HAD to get into the birth pool. My mom and my doula went to the other bathroom and the kitchen to brush teeth and go potty themselves, figuring they would join me in the front room when I made it to the birth pool. I gathered all my strength and waddled as fast as I could to the bathroom, but when I got to the toilet and pulled my clothes down, my baby’s head was in my hand! I called out “I have her whole head in my hand!” Richard guided me to the floor and helped me through those last few moments before she was all the way out. Right then, my midwives arrived and caught Keziah. My mom and doula missed the birth and were shocked when they came back and I had a baby in my arms!

Keziah’s birth is a microcosm of her life. She is a great decision maker and when she decides to do something, there is no stopping her, just like the day she decided to finally come. She is strong, fast, brave, active and determined. She was trying to roll over the night she was born and strained her little neck muscles to get her head to lift up. She walked at 8 months, ran (fast) at 10 months, and hasn’t stopped since. She climbed everything in sight as soon as she was able…like the dryer, the fridge, and the shelves at the library…all before she was one. She always knows exactly what day it is, what time it is, what direction we are going, and where every thing in our home is located (Thank goodness because the rest of us can never find anything. Now we don’t even try to find stuff, we just ask Keziah, and she will run and get it from whatever messy corner it is hiding in and give us a lecture on how weird we are that we didn’t know it was under 12 books, 3 shoes, some dirty clothes, and the train set!).

Keziah writes her papa and I love notes most days of the week. She likes to leave them on our pillows and surprise us. She likes to be packed and ready to go at least a week in advance of any trip we go on, but often is all ready a month ahead of time. She keeps the rest of us in line and knows what is going on with everyone at any given moment. She hears every conversation going on anywhere even remotely near her and is shocked that Blythe has no clue what is going on the house.

She cracks me up. She is hilarious.

She is a natural athlete and just completed her first kid’s triathlon. She outruns kids twice her size and outswims them as well. She is a great gymnast, cyclist and is probably best known for her skill at “Capture the Flag.” I think she is pure muscles.

She just grew into size 6 clothes, but she still has to have an adjustable waist so they stay up. She really prefers to wear Fisher’s hand me downs (or is that ups?) as capris and I am constantly having to tell her to stay out of Annesley’s clothes.

She has a beautiful voice. I love to hear her sing, which isn’t a problem at all since she pretty much sings ALL DAY LONG. Sometimes I do have to ask her to stop after 10 hours straight, but most of the time it is a delight to my soul.

She loves the color blue. I think it started because Blythe loves the color pink and she didn’t want to love anything that Blythe loved. In this one area she has lost all of her good decision making ability. She cannot see that something is a piece of junk because if it is blue, she says she LOVES it. I try to convince her that the color of something doesn’t matter, it is the quality that matters, and then you can look at colors after you have determined quality, but all my pontificating falls on deaf ears because she is enamored by all shades of blue. There is simply no reasoning with her. We are hoping this phase will pass soon.

Keziah is a ball of energy. When she is gone, it feels as if ten people (and we don’t even have 10 people to start with!) are missing from our home. Every thing is so quiet. So still. So calm.

I love my Keziah-kid. She keeps me on my toes, brings a smile to my mouth, and helps me find my shoes nearly every day.

Here are some pics of her (notice how often she has a hilarious face…see I told you she was hilarious…

Keziah's Blessing

Keziah in car seat

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fisher eli turns 5

Sep 18, 2009 by

Today my little boy, my only boy, my “big boy” as he likes to remind me often, is turning 5. Five. FIVE years old! How did that happen I ask you? As I think back on his life I am filled with emotions of love and gratitude for his life.

His pregnancy was incredibly difficult. I wanted him so desperately. So achingly. So much. We had been through six miscarriages since Keziah’s birth and I wanted this baby to stay alive. I needed this baby to stay alive. And yet, I was struggling.

You see, I knew in my heart that this child growing inside me was a boy-child. I was terrified of having a boy. I did not want a boy. I did not want to raise a boy that might grow up and hurt others. I could not face that reality, for that is what I saw it as, a reality, not just a possibility. I wanted this boy so much and yet I was terrified of having a boy.

I made myself sick over this. I had an ear infection. Then a spleen infection. Then a liver infection. Then a kidney infection. I was making myself SICK because I didn’t know how to handle the fact that I was having a boy. After months of this nonsense, my Heavenly Father gave me the answer that I needed to have peace. Then all the fear was gone. All the craziness disappeared just. like. that. In an instant.

At 40 weeks pregnant, I was in a car accident which damaged my already very weakened pelvis. I was in a huge amount of pain, could not walk and did not know if this precious baby was okay or not. After determining that the baby was in fact okay and that I was in fact not okay, we decided to hold off on making any decisions about the birth for a few days. Since my babies are always born around 42 weeks we figured I had a couple of weeks before the birth. Then labor started – on the one day of the month of September that my doula could not be there and my mother could not be there. I immediately went into denial and said I was not in labor. In fact, I kept chanting those words during those early contractions, “I am not in labor, these will stop. I am not in labor, I am not in labor. I can’t be in labor.” I could hardly move because of the pelvic injuries and believed that my birth team would be missing two critical members. My doula rearranged her life and did come. My mother turned the manning of an entire volleyball tournament over to others and started on her way. Meanwhile, I was in the most gut-wrenching, bone-jarring pain of my life. I believed I might die from the pain. I couldn’t focus on the contractions at all as the pain in my pelvis felt earth shattering. I continued to labor trying to hold my pelvis together as best as I could. My yoke-mate, eternal companion, and best friend, Richard, pushed on my back for hours as I moaned and screamed in the water of the birth pool. He never left my side and believed in me the entire time. My doula looked in my eyes and told me I was strong. Her eyes were deep pools of strength that got me through each moment of that labor. My midwife nurtured me with her words, her touch, and her abiding faith in me, my baby, and birth. I was surrounded by strength and yet, I felt all alone. It is only now after all these years that I can look at it objectively and know that I was not alone. I was encompassed by these mighty women and their knowledge that I would make it through. At the time I had no faith of my own that I would survive.

Eventually, my waters burst out of me and this boy came swishing right out with it. In that moment, he was the most precious thing I had ever laid eyes on. He was here. In my arms. He had red fuzzy hair, just like my dream from years before of a little curly-haired, red-headed two year old running around kicking a ball. I was so happy that he was out! I was overjoyed that after years of waiting for him he had finally arrived.

I was still in a lot of pain. Overwhelming pain. The aftermath of his birth was difficult, painful, and seemed to be never ending. I was in a serious amount of pain for months. I was emotionally damaged. I was depressed. I was beaten down. I felt like a failure. And I was in love with this boy. Deeply. His spirit was full of gentleness, love, forgiveness, and faith. I talked to him about his pregnancy and birth. I apologized for all the conflicting emotions. I reassured him that none of it was his fault and that he was not responsible for any of my pain or heartache. I told him everyday, repeatedly how much I loved him. I held him, and nursed him, and sang to him, and carried him, and slept with him.

And now he is five.

I have made peace with his pregnancy and birth. I view it as a blessing now, for I learned much about God, about healing, about faith, and about myself. I learned the power of emotions to alter our body’s state of health or dis-ease. I learned that miracles happen. I learned that my husband is completely in love with me regardless of my body’s ability to function. I learned that little boys are a gift from God and that they are full of sweetness that can melt my heart in a different way than girls can. I learned that this shy little red-headed boy can bring me joy – and does so everyday of his life.

He loves airplanes, trains, tractors, fishing, Larry-boy, books, riding his bike, worms, a “tiss and a hug” (as he calls them), cars, tools, swimming, balls, “Annsey-goo-head,” his papa, and the color green. A few days ago I said “I love you Fisher Eli” and he said “I love you to the sun and back to the ground and to the moon and back to the ground and to the sky and back to the ground!”

That is a lot of love.

And that is a miracle. I thank my Father in Heaven for this precious boy whom I adore and who loves me more than I can even comprehend. He is my boy.

Enjoy some adorable pictures of my little red-headed wonder:

Baby Fisher and the girls

Baby Fisher & Keziah

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Fisher and Papa 1st Birthday

Fisher & Family Christmas 2005

Fisher in the tub

Fisher & Grandma in Hammock

Fisher's 3rd Birthday

Fisher's curls

Fisher in his suit outside

Fisher jumping off the GRL bridge

Red Shirt Cousin's Club

Smiling Fisher in his suit

Fisher and a fish

Fisher and Pirate Annesley

Ice cream at Mikelle's for Keziah's 8th Birthday

Grandma GG and Fisher and Annesley

Fisher & Annesley GRL 2008

Fisher & Annesley

Fisher and Bessie Boo

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