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Monday, April 18, 2011

A Woman Who Changed the World

The smell of bacon, eggs, toast, and Folgers, that's a memory I will carry for the rest of my life. It will always be a reminder of childhood and waking up in my grandparents house, running into the kitchen, and seeing them sitting together reading the Word of God and praying together at the breakfast table. At the time the importance did not sink into my childhood brain. It was just what they did. It was who they were. Little did I know there sat a man and woman in a small town changing the world.

Today Grandma Zola went home to be with Jesus and our Heavenly Father. She battled cancer for years, and the toll it took only increased after my grandfather died. I thought I was prepared. I had expected the phone call to come at any moment in the last few days, but when it did I still broke down in sobs. Grandma was a giant of the faith. When she put her faith in God, there was no turning back. She did what she said, and said what she meant. She was a stubborn lady, a streak that runs fairly deep in our family. I am grateful for that though. She loved like no other. Her home was open to everyone. The woman was a prayer warrior. I remember she prayed about everything. Oh how she loved family. Her desire was that every person she meet come to know the love of her Savior. She touched an entire town and people who have gone out into the world to share that message, all because she was faithful.

I love her so much. There were many a times her love for me came in the form of discipline. I could have quite the sassy mouth. I am grateful for her correction. She always had her eye on the end result which was good character and integrity. She was quick to back up the discipline with love and encouragement. Her inheritance was many faithful, children,grandchildren , and great grand children.

Today grandma stepped into eternity with her Savior. She has been reunited with so many loved ones. I cannot even imagine the joy she is feeling. She is in the place she prepared her life for, as she sought to prepare those around her. As Hebrews 13:14 says
For here we do not have a lasting city, but we are seeking the city which is to come.
I just get excited as I think about the reality and truth behind this. It is not some fairytale we conjure in our minds, but truth. Our time on earth is so short, but like grandma, everything we do should be with an eye on eternity. With that mindset we love more, we serve more, and we give more because it is not about this city made with man's hands, but the city we seek made by God.

I wanted to share some random memories I have. They are the precious gems I will carry with me for the rest of my journey.

  1. Biscuits and gravy. Grandma made the best and she always made sure to have them when we were around.
  2. Apricot preserves. The food list could get pretty long, but the apricot preserves were great on the biscuits.
  3. Naps. She was always trying to get the grand kids to take naps. She would get cots out, and play a record I think was called Airplane to Sleepy Town.
  4. Chicken foot. She and my grandpa loved playing a variation of dominoes called chicken foot. They would get so competitive, and then she would start laughing so hard by the end.
  5. Readers Digest. She had so many dating back to the 1970's. I always wondered what she did with all of those.
  6. Her backyard. Grandma was constantly trying to get us away from the TV and outside to play. She would give us old boxes from their plumbing business and tell us to be creative. Grandma was ahead of her time trying to beat the childhood obesity epidemic! :)
  7. Lunch. Whenever we were there visiting everyone would come in from work for lunch. I have some great memories sitting around her dining room table with everyone.
  8. Pow-wows. This is what grandma called pep talks she would give us before we went out to a restaurant. This is where she admonished us to behave and be Christ like examples while we were in public. Not sure if I always accomplished that one.
  9. Sunday School. Grandmas taught the ladies Sunday School class. She was a great teacher.
  10. Kisses. Whenever we walked in the door she would grab our face and plant the biggest kiss on the cheek.
There are so many memories, it is hard to condense them into one post. I will miss her more than anything, but today she is free. Knowing this it is hard to want anything less

Sunday, April 10, 2011

New Mom on the Block

Okay so I'm not a new mom, but I am new to this whole stay at home mom thing. As a working woman I have tried to squeeze time in with the kids every moment I could while balancing all of the other spinning plates in life. All I wanted was more time, and now I have that. I have to be honest this is all a bit intimidating to me. Now I find myself trying to decide how I want to balance that time. What is the right ratio of time spent home working on chores, getting out of the house, trying to fit in time building relationships with other moms, and of course squeezing in some me time? I guess I feel like now that I'm home I should be able to keep the house spotless and do it all so to speak. I know this is not the reality. Since I'm still in the postpartum recovery period I am trying to take it slow and build up to a good routine.

Any other mom's out there make the transition from full time career to full time mom after having multiple children? What worked for you? Was it difficult moving from adult conversation 8 hours a day to being home with kids 24 hours a day? I truly am excited for the opportunity to be with my children. It has been on my heart for awhile now. I also know it will not be without its challenges, and I am eager to find a support group of other moms.
Any stories, advice, and comments are welcome!

Saturday, April 9, 2011

The Birth of Isaac Timothy Medrano Part 2

As we headed toward the birth center I kept my eye on the clock. I kept anticipating the next contraction, but as we neared 5 minutes I had nothing. It was so strange. I started feeling almost normal. I started to worry. I told Chris over and over again how sure I was that they were going to take one look at me and send me home. I was already embarrassed that I, a third time mom, would make such a mistake in assessing my own progress. It took us about 20 minutes to get there, and the whole way no contractions. As we pulled into the birthing center I saw everyone's cars, and I wanted to just turn around and go home. Oh well there was no turning back. I would have to face the music no matter what the outcome. Ann was getting out of her car. As I got out I suddenly doubled over with another contraction. It may sound crazy, but even in all that pain I was so relieved. One of or birth assistants, Michelle, asked me if I wanted to use the restroom first. I wasn't really sure where we were at with progress, but that seemed like a good idea. While in the bathroom, the contractions started picking up again. I hobbled my way to the room where Ann was getting the birth tub ready. She asked if I wanted to labor on the bed for awhile or get in. I think I was already stripping from the waist down to get in before she even finished her sentence. We did decide to go ahead and check my progress before I got in. I was dilated to a 6. Hallelujah! I hadn't imagined this labor. It was for real and we were going to have a baby! It's hard for me to describe the pain of contractions. They were rough, and I sometimes felt like my insides were turning inside out, but at the same time they were so much better than contractions from pitocin. Even though each contraction progressively became more intense, I felt in control. This was a good feeling. In the hospital I always felt like I was spinning out of control. I would start to dread each contraction, anticipating the pain instead of taking them one at a time.
I slipped into the tub which felt absolutely amazing. How had I ever done this any other way? I mentally assessed the situation. If I was at a 6, I figured I had a good 1-2 hours to mentally prepare for the pushing. This was the part that terrified me the most. I feared the sensation of the baby dropping down, and literally feeling every move as he progressed down the birth canal. I dreaded the "ring of fire" I had heard so many women talk about during natural labor.
I settled in and the next contraction started to come. Kaylie had woken up and wanted to be in the room. We had discussed it and decided it would be a good experience for her as long as she felt comfortable. She came and sat by the tub and held my hand as I worked through a contraction. The water definitely helped as I was able to float through the contraction. Suddenly things started picking up. Chris came to hold my other hand and I started feeling a lot of pressure with each contraction. I told Ann who gently reminded me to relax my whole lower body and allow my baby to come down. She was such a reassuring presence. I believe I had a few contractions come one right after the other. Now I realize I was transitioning. She told me to turn so she could see my baby coming down. What!!!!??? I had only been there about 30 minutes. There is no way he can be coming down. I am not ready to push yet. I haven't had my time to relax, labor, and prepare for this moment. I know a lot of women would give anything for a short labor, and of course looking back I am gad as well. It is still strange when you have prepared yourself for the long haul, and all of a sudden it is all coming down on you at once. It is a bit intense. I thought Kaylie would want to leave the room at this point, but she was steadfast by me. With Chris supporting me from the back, Ann gently instructed me to follow her instructions. "We're not here to blast this baby out," was something she reminded me. This is so different than a hospital. Most of the time we are encouraged to push as hard as we can by nurses and doctors. With an epidural that is not a problem. There is no inhibition, but that forceful pushing is what so often leads to horrible tears and unwanted cuts. What happened next I attribute to cementing my belief that a good midwife coached birth is beyond compare.
I felt the head ready to crown. I must admit in that moment I freaked out. I wasn't sure how I was supposed to push that out of such a small area. I wanted to jump out and run, but what could I do? She told me to give a gentle push when I felt the next contraction. My mind wondered when I would know it was right, but suddenly my body instinctively took over. I pushed until she told me to breathe. We did this several times and I wondered if he would ever come out. Little did I know those controlled pushes, and breaks to breathe allowed the perineum to slowly stretch and accommodate Isaac's head. Suddenly I felt it, the ring of fire. I can't lie here and say it was pleasant, but then I immediately felt something I had never felt with Kaylie or Micah. I felt his little body leaving mine. It was weird but I'm told the only yell I gave was as his shoulders came out. The cord was wrapped around his neck a couple of timeS, but Ann quickly unwrapped it, and brought Isaac to my chest. In that moment I was awestruck. I had done it. In about 3 hours I had crossed the threshold I had feared for so long. I had a warm, blue eyed little baby staring back at me from my chest. Ann later told me it had to be the Lord that kept my from contractions from coming on the ride there or we probably would have been delivering a baby on the side of the road. Isaac was here fully alert and surrounded by so much love. Kaylie was beyond thrilled. It was such an amazing experience. She never once flinched. She kept telling us that it was the best day of her life. Chris cut the cord and we were allowed to spend time bonding with our precious son. This is perhaps what I loved most about the experience. Our birth team made sure this experience was about us. We were never rushed. Isaac was allowed to be with us at all times, and family was able to be close. It was amazing.
When I finally was out of the birth tub Ann checked me for tears. There was only a small little "skid mark" as she called it. We believe it occurred when his shoulder came out because that was the only cry I had made during pushing. It did not require stitches, which was a huge relief!
I truly did not believe it was possible for me not to tear. With Micah, the doctor told me I would probably at least tear where the scar was from my episiotomy.
I credit Ann with her awesome coaching skills. She was there at each turn instilling confidence that my body was made to do this. I also must credit the other to amazing women on the birth team. Michelle and Jenee' were so wonderful and encouraging. I could not have asked for a better birth.

The birth of Isaac has brought our family even closer. In the days that have followed I have been filled with so much emotion. In a weird way I am sad it is over. I remember hearing many women who chose to use midwives rave about their experience. I sometimes felt they were overly dogmatic. Now that I have experienced the difference between a hospital and the care of a midwife, I am starting to understand where they were coming from. This birth changed my life. It opened me to a whole new dimension of love and sacrifice as a mother. It caused me to surrender to God in a whole new way. It truly ushered in a gentle beginning for our little Isaac. He has been so peaceful and content. He has been with us every hour since his birth. His brother and sister just love him to pieces, and I credit that with them being an active part of this pregnancy and his birth. After the birth we napped on the big bed in the birth room. All of our children were piled on just like being at home. It was so wonderful.

I find myself still processing the experience, as I am sure will be the case in the weeks to come. I cannot say enough good things about the Gentle Beginnings Birth Center staff. Ann changed my view on all things birth. I was constantly challenged to re-asses my previous mind set. I find myself getting a little teary just thinking I won't be going to see them for regular appointments. I am lucky that they have built such a great community that allows women to stay connected even after birth.

I leave you with a quote I have heard many times before, but it speaks so clearly to me when it comes to natural childbirth.

"We have a secret in our culture, and it's not that birth is painful. It's that women are strong." -Laura Stavoe Harm

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Coming Soon.....

The Birth Story of Isaac Timothy Medrano

Our baby boy Isaac joined us Saturday at approximately 1:30 in the morning. He weighed 7lbs. 14oz. and was 20 inches long. I told my midwife I did not even know it was possible for me to birth babies less than 8lbs! It has been quite the whirlwind. I am presently gathering my thoughts to write his story out. Please check back soon as it will probably be posted in pieces.
Isaac and family are doing very well. He has been such a joy and a blessing to our family. We appreciate every kind word of encouragement, prayer, and the help we have received. I look forward to sharing our continuing journey with you.

The Birth of Isaac Timothy Medrano Part 1

As I sit down to start writing this story my heart is flooded with emotion. It is a story that is beating to get out of my chest, yet when I try to write it, it is hard to adequately convey every sense, every emotion that I have felt over the past few days since the birth of Isaac. I am still easily moved to tears which can make it hard to gather my thoughts into a cohesive sentence, not to mention it is hard to see the screen through blurry contacts. Please bear with me as I tell my tale a little bit at a time.

As we drove to the the birth center yesterday for my first postpartum check up, my mind raced back to our first visit with Ann and Gentle Beginnings almost 9 months ago. It seems almost like a lifetime ago. Our lives have changed so much. I remember feeling a little scared and a little excited at the prospect of taking a different path for this pregnancy. As we sat in the waiting room I battled between the part of me that wanted to play it safe and stick with the norm, and the deep womanly intuition in me that knew if I did not take this chance I would regret it the rest of my life.
I had so many doubts and so many questions then, but that day as we drove towards the clinic for what would be one of the last few visits for this pregnancy's journey, every doubt and every question had been washed away in a moment that changed my life forever.

Friday I spent a leisurely day with the kids. I was so glad I had taken Chris' advice and stayed home from work. Little did I know how important that day of rest and time with the kids would be. I didn't really have any abnormal contractions. I would get the same light braxton-hicks like contractions. I was tired, but that was nothing new from the past month. When Chris got home we decided we would grab dinner out and then spend the evening watching a movie. At home I made some brownies and we finished Finding Nemo with the kids. Chris and I even proceeded to get into a small argument about something silly. I'm still amazed about how normal things can be right before your body throws you into the ride of your life.

I was still frustrated at Chris which kept me from noticing a steady stream of light contractions that began to come on. I laid down to rest, but slowly started noticing an increase in intensity. All I could think was, great now I have to break my carefully planned wall of silence and tell Chris. When I did tell him I started crying about how scared I was. It really hit me that this was it, no turning back now. He just smiled and said, "I love you, I guess my plan worked to get this labor started." I tried my best to give a smart comment about how this didn't change how I felt, but another contraction hit. Suddenly I knew I wasn't up for playing the game anymore. Chris is always my rock, and I knew I needed him now more than ever. We started timing contractions. They were still about 9 minutes apart and only lasting 45 seconds. This was at about 10:30. They started getting closer together. I was really hesitant about calling the Ann. I didn't want to be that lady who gets everyone up late at night only for a false alarm. I also knew my body. My labors have been fairly quick, and I didn't want to deliver this baby en-route to the birth center. I told Chris just to text her. Awesome midwife that she is Ann called me within a minute. I have never known a doctor to do that! She sat with me on the phone through a contraction. She said from the length of it she would suggest I take a warm bath. If it wasn't time that should slow things down so I could rest. If this was the real deal things would get more intense. I poured a bath and got in. While the warm water felt good, it was hard to get comfortable in a small tub between contractions. I stuck it out as long as I could and decided I needed to get out and labor on the bed. I had Chris start my birth play list. Things definitely started to rev up. As I look back on this time it is one of my most precious memories. The kids were in bed. Chris did some last minute laundry while I tried to relax. Every time a contraction would come, he would quickly come over to rub my lower back and whisper encouragement to me There was so much love, it was a sweet presence in the room. Even though I was starting to battle some intense pain I loved this time with just Chris, the Lord, and I. Knowing there was no safety net for the pain, I really started to dig deep and visualize each contraction like waves, surrendering to the work they were doing in me to bring this baby out. I had no choice but to fully trust in the Lord, and believe He made this body to do the work. The pace started to pick up. We were at about 5 minutes apart with each contraction lasting over a minute long. After one ended I decided I should walk downstairs and rehydrate. I made a pit stop in the bathroom and then was hit with side splitting contraction. It had been less that 2 minutes since the last one. I made my way upstairs to lay down on the bed and was hit again. I told Chris I really thought we should head out. He called Ann and told her I was ready to go. It was about 12:50 in the morning by this point. Chris made sure everything was ready and got the kids up. As I walked to the car my only thought was how will I ever make the car ride with these contractions coming so close together. I may die before we arrive.
No turning back now. We were loaded up and on our way.

Friday, April 1, 2011

40 Weeks

I sit here today very hopeful, very expectant, and yes still very pregnant. Congratulations Isaac, you and your brother made it to the 10 month club. They are only proving my theory that boy's just want to be comfortable.
At the advice of my midwife and Chris, I decided to make yesterday my last day of work. I promised myself I wouldn't cry this time around the first time I put on a pair of shoes and my feet had swollen to the point they felt too tight. I guess that is what I get for making unrealistic promises. It may have been at this point that Chris was tipped off to the fact that maybe I needed some time to rest. Trying to keep a "normal" routine with my two children that starts at about 5am gets really difficult at this point in pregnancy.
I left work yesterday not knowing if I would even be back. If business does not warrant a part time position at the end of my leave, I very well could unemployed for the time in almost 8 years. While this is a choice I made with full understanding of the possibilities, I still felt a twinge of fear yesterday as I walked out the door. Here I was finally taking the leap of faith I had desired for so long. I felt like one of those cartoon characters in an old Warner Bros. flick who runs out over a canyon only to look and down and realize there is nothing between you and impending doom but air. Of course this is not the truth, but it's just what I was feeling in the moment. I quietly worried last night if I had decided to take leave too early. What if Isaac takes another week and I could have had just a few more days of pay. What if, what if, what if.
I woke up this morning with a sweet reminder that there is something between me over the canyon and the impending doom below. God proves himself time and time again to be faithful right where I am. It's still strange for me to understand how He does not tire of my questions and little faith. I must say I am very glad He never does.

I have been able to spend a relaxing day enjoying time with my kids. It is the first day in awhile that I have not speculated or agonized over when things would fall into place. I have used the time to do some things around the house, but I am also using the time to pause, reflect, and enjoy the treasures God has entrusted me with.

May the weekend bring you new reminders of God's faithfulness. May your hearts be filled with hope and expectancy. I hope to introduce you to the newest member of our family in the next few days!