Sunday, May 31, 2015

The MolinuWanderers: Announcement Edition

Sometimes, you get an itch. A dream gets dreamed, mulled over, pondered...and then filed away in the cabinet. Life happens. Babies occupy wombs, newborns give way in to toddlers, more babies come, school starts for bigger kids, college starts over for husbands, you become a birth worker who is on call constantly....and the dream gets shoved further and further into the bottom of the box. Life gets piled on top, things get messy, and the dream becomes squelched. Unable to breathe, what once seemed like a feasible accomplishment becomes an impossible task.

Life marches on, and years go by. With the years come good- growth as a family. Houses. Responsibilities. Pets. School. Church. Opportunities to serve. Work committees. But not unlike a garden, a family dynamic can have weeds creep in that start taking up root. Selfishness blooms. Greed. Fighting and bickering with brothers becomes incessant. Video games take over. Relationships get put on the back burner for self.

Jose and I have watched our oldest two children change significantly over the last year. We have spent time praying, seeking God and what he would have for our family, and how to best get our family back to being tight knit. We want to have a family that works as a unit- to favor each other, to work as a team, to put self last, and to serve one another in love when ever possible. What the littlest children in our family see set before them in the oldest children, they will pick up. Something has to change. And now.

So we threw out our fleeces, started asking each other and God what he would have for us, if this would even work, and what we wanted out of this ordeal. Jose literally asked for a dream, and God gave him a dream.

We want kids that give sacrificially. To do that, we have to give them opportunity to.
We want kids that love unconditionally. To do that, we have to give them changes to demonstrate real love when it's hard.
We want kids that know material possessions aren't a priority. To do that, we need to show them people, cultures, God's creation. The rim of the Grand Canyon. The delicateness of a monarch in the Sequoias. The tender heart of the homeless man that we break bread with. We have to give them a chance to LOVE.
We want kids that are bonded together in a way that selfishness cannot tear them apart. To do that, we have to make room for serving, for adventure, for caring for each other.

We have the opportunity to foster change in our family, or sit back and watch things fester.

We have chosen to take the dream out of the box, dust it off, and hold it in our hands. We have chosen to take a leap of faith, where it seems scary and exciting and so much unknown, and release it to God, follow Him where he takes us, and see our family grow as a result.

Our family is leaving Port Saint Lucie- for a season- for a year of growth together. Our house is getting sold, and all our belongings, save a few boxes of memories, and our entire lives will become mobile. We are embarking on a 6-12 month road schooling journey. Two parents, four children, three pets, a huge rig, and a 30-something-foot trailer that houses all our ambition.

In the coming months, we will continue preparing our home to be sold, selling our belongings, and procuring gear for our endeavors. Our minivan will be traded out for an eight seater, diesel, and tow capacity of nearly 10,000 pounds. The kids have already been in on the action, helping to weed through books and stuffed animals and clothing, paring down to just the absolute necessities.

The kid's last formal day of school for the 2015-2016 school year will be the last day before Christmas break. We will spend the holidays with family, prepping last minute things and tying loose ends together, and shove off on our grand adventure across the country in mid January. Jose will be taking a leave of absence from his job, and has the ability to pick up travel nursing contracts along the way as funds necessitate.

The kids have been helping plan our journey so far. We plan to road school, and unit study the areas we are in. National Parks, monuments, National Forests, land marks, life lessons, people, foods, you name it, we will be learning it.

It's an exciting time for our family- winds of change are shifting our dynamic, and we are more than ready to see what God has in store for us this year, as we follow Him. For now, we don't feel as though we are being lead away from Florida long term, and the end goal will involve us coming back and finding a new place, unless God gives us some place we all fall in love with along the way.

Dreams are funny things. When you follow them, they can be amazing. Sometimes, though, you look back on things that you wish you did, your kids are teenagers, you are cemented in place, and life has taken over...and you always wonder, "what if..." We don't want to be in a place where we had the opportunity to foster change, and to take an adventure, and not. We understand it's not comfortable. We understand there is risk. We understand that we might HATE it. But what's the worst that happens? We hate it and bring everyone home and start fresh?! The scarier thought to us is that we would have the chance to make a real impact on our family's dynamic, learn life lessons, see the beautiful land God created, and not take it...

There has been lots of questions so far- and I know there will continue to be- so feel free to ask Jose and I if you have them. We are pretty open books!

Sunday, December 7, 2014

What I Learned From Our First Sleep Over

This weekend, our Micah Bear turned 8. Third grade was my first sleepover I ever attended. I remember it was an experience I will never forget, mostly because it was horrible, held in a vile house that I never went back to, the parents were out of control, and had I had access to a cell phone or their house phone and had the parents been sober, I would have left and went home. So naturally, I wanted my son to have the best possible sleep over for his birthday present.

He loves to be surprised, and had been asking to have a sleep over for a while, so we decided to throw all caution to the wind and just plan it. Because we are insane, and having 6 boys over for the night, and 4 of them spend the night, plus get your own 4 children taken care of, and then taking all 8 children aged 10 and under to church the next morning sounds like a grand idea. 

So here's some things I learned as I went. 
  • You will clean your entire house for no reason, other than to impress parents who drop their kids off. The kids could care less, and are going to just mess up your house, but no one wants to drop their kid off at your house when your couch is full of laundry and your toddler's train tracks take up the whole living room.
  • You will have too much pizza. Your eight year old typically eats 4 slices of pizza. You plan on feeding 5 of your own people, plus 6 other roughly the same aged and sized children, you do the math, and you figure on 6 pizzas. You decide, since you have a 50% off coupon, to just go ahead and get 7, just in case, because that would be the most horrible party ever- not enough pizza?! And then, each munchkin is so excited because of the party and it being their first sleepover too, that they all only eat 1 slice and ask to start the games already. 
  • You will plan 3 games to fit into a 30 minute period, and only do 1. Because you are actually playing games with a herd of elephants, one game gets played, and then the rest of the time is spent explaining things, herding them, focusing them, and then defaulting to your husband coordinating a Fruit Ninja tournament on the Xbox360, while you nurse the baby.
    Marshallow Shooters will be the best. idea. ever.
  • You will make a cake that the kids won't want to eat. The kids had so many snacks earlier in the night that when it came time to open presents and have cake, not a single one wanted a piece because they were so full from earlier. Even when it's covered in candy, they will want to watch the movie instead. So the next night, you'll be forced to eat the chocolate cake staring you in the face.
    Seriously. Staring at me. All homemade and whatnot.
  • They will stay up LATE... Even with all the games, the running, the jumping, the slicing of the fruit on the 11:34 pm you'll be reminding them that they need to stop farting on each other in sleeping bags, stop whisperyelling "shut up, Miss Jay's coming," and go to sleep since I am waking them up at 7:30 for church....
  • ...and they will wake up WAY too early. Even sleeping in a sound proof, pitch black play room will prove no match to adolescents who know that video games have been bought and opened as presents, and lay neglectfully unplayed in the living room, just a mere 20 feet away. So naturally, by 6:14 am, we all need to be out of bed.
  • Your husband just can't hang. He will be awesome all night long, Games, doling out pizza slices, monitoring the cheese puff intake...but come 6:14 am, it will be you making cereal bowls, getting kids dressed between Skylanders rounds, making sure tooth brushes are used, and making your husband coffee that he will forget to drink, out of exhaustion. Never mind that 2 of your own children slept in your bed last night since it was quiet and across the house from the herd of elephants. And never mind that you nursed the baby three times between midnight and sun up, or that your toddler peed on you in the middle of the night and you changed it all since you felt bad waking said hubby up to help. Later, you will have 2 pieces of the uneaten cake, since hubby isn't there to appreciate it, since he passed out at 9:20 pm in the toddler bed. The aftermath of a sleep over is ugly. The uneaten cake was *literally* staring at me.
  • You'll do a victory dance mentally when all 8 children are taken to church that morning, and you overhear that it was the "best sleepover ever."
  • You'll tear up when your child says thank you for an awesome birthday, and asks if we can do it again next year.
    Thanks for making me a mom, Bear.
Thank you Lord that sleep overs will be a yearly thing...and thank you Lord for my reason to celebrate....

Thursday, October 23, 2014

We Must Look Like Fruitcakes

I think, sometimes, that when you become so comfortable as a mom, confident in your role as a parent, and a little more sure-footed as to what is best for your kids in reference to doing "you", and not trying to replicate someone else's version of parenting, you must sort of look like a fruit cake.

Or maybe you look like Super Mom (to your kids anyway, and that's all that still look like a fruit to the lady in the grocery store who does a different version of normal).

But whatever the case is, I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that hubs and I have finally sort of come into our own version of normal, and embraced what our version of normal is, for our house, for our relationship, and for our kids. That doesn't look like everyone else's version of normal. And you know what? That's okay. We do "us", you do "you", and we all have one common goal at the end of the day: to create an end result in our children- ultimately, that they love Jesus, and stay out of corrections facilities. All joking aside, though, every family has the best interests of their child in mind.

I want to respond to some things that are said to us, after some conversations this week with individuals at the grocery store, the farmer's market, at events, and with friends, about some perceptions of my family and what I think. I get that we are different. We have 4 kids. Some people feel this is an exorbitant amount of children, which I will address later. We are a breastfeeding family, and while I am usually discreet and not usually nips to the wind, I am comfortable breastfeeding in public. Next up, we don't really use strollers. Over the last year, we have used ours a handful of times, and usually, the kids go up on us in a carrier, sling, or wrap. Another not as common sight. Same down the line with cloth diapers, or a crib side-car'd to the bed, or the fact that we are training up kids who need discipline, and we actually follow through with it.

But in spite of all the above, the thing that seems to strike people (and irk me) the most is that we enjoy having 4 children. That we like our children. It seems like there is such a societal disdain for children now. Or that having beyond the 1-2 quota means you are either Catholic, part of the quiverfull movement, ignorant to your carbon footprint, or a total sex addict.

Then there is the juicy fact that Jose and I actually like...wait, is any one listening? Shhhhh. Each other. We aren't big spouse bashers, we are supportive, we are a team, and we are in it to win it. Ten years later, we still smooch, just in front of kids who think it's gross. We still put on perfume or cologne when we go out, because we know it gets the other one going. Jose is a grabber, and it still happens. I personally am really digging the whole beard thing. And we hear things from people like, "You still act like that? Doesn't it get old? You're still in to each other?" Umm, yeah, we do, it doesn't, and yes, very much so. See the portion regarding knowing how the children get here. Get over it.

The other thing that gets me is the total lack of filter on people. And I don't mean just being nice and asking questions. I don't mind people asking about our kids or our family or parenting questions or birthing questions or breastfeeding questions...I get asked at least daily about something. When it's from an innocent place, and the tone isn't a condescending one, I could care less. Most people know that I am transparent and don't hide much. You can ask me just about anything, just be prepared that I may be blunt about it. Jose talks about all of us at work (that's what all his colleagues tell me, that he "gushes" about us, lol), so he is used to fielding inquiries, too. He confided to me that nearly once a shift, he has been asked if we are "like the Duggar family" by a patient, or had a staff member comment on our marriage or the kids. Don't get me wrong- the Duggars are an awesome family, but we are doing our own thing.

So they're all yours? Yes, they are all mine. And yes, they are all his.
Don't you use birth control? You know how this happens, right?  Yeah we do, and we quite enjoy it. (I love seeing the look on people's faces when I say that back. Hello??? You just asked if I know where babies come from. Are you seriously shocked that I respond that way when you are so rude?!) Yes, we know how to turn the TV on. No, we aren't nymphos (someone actually asked me that after the birth of my third child. Right, lady, because with 3 children, most of them aged 3 and under, all we have time to do is pork each other.) We also aren't Catholic, Mormon, related to the Duggar family, on and on and on...and our contraceptive use is none of your business.
You have how many children? Wait, didn't you just have a baby, and now you have another? That baby is 2 years old. He's actually what we call a "toddler" now. But Jose grew a beard and I grew a baby, and yeah, it happened. Just not as fast as you perceived it to be.
You've got your girl! You must be done, right? First of all, it ain't none of yah dang business. But since I don't mind being open...we actually have no idea. We are praying and asking the Lord what he has for us. Jose and I are very content with 4 children for the time being. We are both open to the fact that God may say more, or we may both get the sense that we are done. We are in total agreement that I need a break of at least a few years before any more children if we do have more. I have been physically sustaining the life of another human being (pregnant, breastfeeding, breastfeeding and pregnant, or tandem breastfeeding) now for 50 months solid.  It takes a toll physically, as well as mentally and emotionally, especially with some physical conditions I deal with, like calcium deficiency.  For the mean time, we are just seeking God. We have always said we will wait 6-12 months post partum, bare minimum, before making any sort of permanent decision regarding future child bearing, so we don't make a rash, sleep deprived, hormonal decision and regret it later. But Jose is awesome-sauce and totally volunteered to get a vasectomy when God confirms to both of us that we are done growing our biological family (you never know, we could adopt), and makes us both at total peace.
That's awesome that you were brave enough to keep trying for a girl! I got nervous after ___ children of the same sex and got my tubes tied. Actually, we weren't trying. Actually, quite the opposite, but that's another story for another day, and God totally had me being pregnant a 4th time in his plans, because according to Jose and my plans, we shouldn't have been able to be pregnant. And to think that we would solely base adding the life of another human being to our family because of our preference for one sex or another is just absurd. I met a woman this week that I was talking about this to- she was the third girl and her parents were trying for a boy. When she found out, she felt like she was such a let-down to her dad, even to this day.
So you have an elementary school aged child, a pre-schooler, a toddler, and a newborn? How are you still functioning? By taking one day at a time, not looking at the big picture but instead at the immediate needs that must be met, and by trusting my Savior for sustaining power, grace, mercy, love, and compassion.
You look terrible!  Thanks, Captain Obvious. Of course I do. I have a newborn. Over the course of four years, we have had a total of 6 nights to ourselves with no children. Child growing, child bearing, and breastfeeding are exhausting. But thanks. I know I look tired and I am getting wrinkles and that there is spit up all down my shirt and probably baby poop under a finger nail and my shoes don't match my outfit. Do we really need to talk that way?
You had your babies at home without an epidural? You're a warrior! Yeah, I am. Childbirth is pretty gritty and powerful and reduces you to your most primal self.  I got through it, and it wasn't all rosy and unicorn farts and rainbows. And just because I did it vaginally or because I had no pain meds or because I did it at home doesn't make me any more of a warrior than it does the mom who had an epidural, had her baby in a cab, had her baby in a hospital bed, had her baby in an operating room, or had her baby on her head...we are all birthing warriors. Every woman needs an enormous amount of strength to endure any type of birth- a 42 minute labor to a 10 pound baby, or a 30 hour labor to a 6 pound baby; a mom who relies on her husband, her doula, her mother, her friend; a mom who held her baby to her breast, or a mom who said goodbye to her baby on the same day she said hello...we are all warriors, no matter our journey and our battles and our different preferences, so we need to stop comparing and elevating moms we deem fit.

One lady at a baby shower asked if Lucy was my first baby. Upon telling her no, and about our other children, the response I got was so disheartening: Oh my gosh! And you have this many by choice? I have two kids, and I can't stand them! My heart just sank. I had not a clue how to address her, but this is the overwhelming attitude Jose and I are encountering, and it just shows how far as a society we have been duped into believing that children are wretched, style-cramping twerps that dare impede on our Saturday morning brunches, shopping trips, movie nights, and sanity.

What about what God has to say about children? When your life is based around what the Bible has to say about it, it really starts changing the attitude you have about your children. Even if you aren't a believer, you should be able to identify with the Bible here. We are supposed to have compassion on our children, like God has shown compassion to us (Psalm 103:13). Psalm 113 talks about the barren woman being settled in her home as a happy mother, not a mother who can't stand to be around her kids. Psalm 127 and 128 are some of the more quoted verses regarding children, reminding us that our children are our blessings, our heritage, our rewards. Jesus himself said to let the children come to him (Matthew 19:14)- reminding us of the Father's love for children, and that we should model that ourselves.  

Sometimes, you need to decompress and forget what the world thinks. Last Saturday, we decided to do something fun as a family, just to get out together after a long week. We loaded the kids up on a gorgeous, 75 degree sunny day and headed for the farmer's market on the water. We had grain-free crepes filled with strawberries, bananas, and nutella. Jose and i sat in the grass and watched our three boys play tag with each other. Not one kid took off, bowled anyone over, or got hurt. They all ate their breakfast. No one fought, yelled, or cried. Things went amazing- and it doesn't usually happen that way. After, we walked around the crafters part of the market, eyeing beautiful art and sculptures, homemade soaps, and knick knacks. No less than four times in thirty minutes, we were stopped by booth owners or other customers walking around to comment on our family. What a beautiful family you have... your children are so well behaved... you're handling life with a newborn so well... It was a spur of the moment thing to get out, and the Lord knew we needed it. He blessed us with awesome children, and let some other people see how awesome they are just to encourage us to keep on taking things one day at a time, in His strength, stepping out and seeking His will for our family.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Lucy Edith's Birth Story

**In the name of full disclosure, for all the squeamish out there, if a crowning baby weirds you out, than for the love of all things peanut butter and chocolate, CLOSE this tab.**

Now that we got that over with, let all of us adults move on.
Labor Day weekend was emotional for me. I was "due" that weekend, and my husband Jose had to work all weekend at the hospital- 4 days in a row- and he really wanted that good excuse of, "My wife is in labor," to call out with. Friday he worked, and I was up all night with our toddler who is getting his molars. Saturday he worked, and I was beyond exausted just starting my day out, after trying to get out of a toddler bed that I slept most of the night in at 40 weeks pregnant. I called my mother in law to see if she minded having the kids hang at her house for a bit so I could clean up around the house and get a nap in. She was free, so I took the kids over shortly before lunch, went home, and went to bed. I napped for 3 hours, which I never do, and felt so much better. I woke up having some contractions here and there, and I texted Jose about 5 pm and let him know to tell the oncoming nurses in report and his charge nurse that he might not be there in the morning.

By 6:30 pm, I was having contractions ever 5-7 minutes, and thought just in case, on the off chance that I was in early labor, I should see if the kids could just spend the night at Jose's parents, rather than go pick them up, and have to have someone come over in the wee hours of the night to sit should the kids wake up with the midwife team here. I checked with Jose at work, and he agreed, and so did his mom. The kids would spend the night, I would rest up, and he told the charge nurse that he was sure he wouldn't be there in the morning (I wasn't convinced I was in early labor, but he knew I was). 

Saturday night once he was off and home from work, we realized we needed to get a different hose or an adapter for the pool, so we headed to get that and some grub. We saw some friends at Panera, I ate a lovely salad, and kept on contracting every 5 minutes. We were home about 11 pm, and I continued to contract but it was slowing down enough that I could rest in between. I was very emotional, crying, and kept thinking, "what if this is not it?" My whole pregnancy was spent with irritable uterus, and I was having a hard time judging if I was in labor or not. Jose wanted to call out of work and have a baby already; I was worrying that if he called out of work and I wasn't really in labor or it quit, that he was going to get in trouble. I was feeling bad about him missing work, feeling bad about my mother in law watching the kids, just an emotional wreck about everything. Jose was about delirious from being up at 5 am for work, so I sent him to bed with the promise I would wake him if it was real, and I tried to calm down and lay down and rest with him. (He totally knew I was going to have a baby and there was no denying it, so he went ahead and called out of work and went around me being ridiculous. He had good intuition when I didn't. Thank God somebody did.)

Early morning, bleary eyed couch laboring
We both headed for bed. I was able to rest fairly well- it's crazy how much sleep you can get waking up every 4-10 minutes. Around 3 am, things started picking back up again, and by 4 am, I was having contractions every 2-3 minutes and had been for a while. At 4:30 I woke up Jose, who sprang into action. He started filling up the birth pool, and I called our midwife Jyl to let her know that things were real. With my last labors, once I started contracting every 2-3 minutes, I had a baby within a few hours, so I felt like I had to call her and warn her, since she almost didn't make it here for Jordi. She asked Jose on the phone if I thought she should come, and I told her not yet- and she made me laugh- "Well, why the hell are you calling me then?!" Looking back, I should have let the poor woman sleep!
Keeping busy during early labor
We kept in touch via text as I labored and started getting the house set up. At 5:45 am, I started making coffee cake for my birth team and I to have for breakfast. Then, I texted my friend Rachael, who was going to be a support and take pictures for us. Excitement started building. By about 6:30 am, Jyl had her coffee and came over to check on me. She asked if I wanted checked, and I was insanely nervous but wanted to know at the same time. I told her that if I had been laboring all that time and was 2 cm, I was going to be ticked. Turns out I was actually 6 cm, with a nice bulgy bag of water, but baby remained sky high in my womb. Rather than break my water, we continued laboring for a bit. I let Rachael know to come on down whenever, and Jyl caught Hailey (her assistant for the day who is also a student midwife) up to speed.

Jose and I ventured out for a walk up and down our street to get things going. We watched the sun rise, and were excited because Lucy, our baby's name, meant "bringer of light." By 7:30 am, everyone was present.

We moved inside. I ate breakfast, labored in the pool, on the couch, and in our room. Contractions were slower once every one arrived. I was coping fine, and hubby was being an absolute gem. Around 8:30 am, I asked Jyl to check me again so I could see what kind of progress was happening. I was toying with her breaking my water and just getting the show on the road. She informed me I was 7-8 cm, quite stretchy, and I told her to go ahead and break my water. Lucy still stayed sky high after my water was broken. I put on my Depends (awesome for laboring with your water broken) and we kept on.
Jose was such an amazing support.
My labor continued to slow, rather than pick up, after my water was broken. I labored in the pool, in the shower some, tried being on the ball in the living room (which I hated- I couldn't sit at all during this labor), on the couch, walked around the house (it was too humid and hot to go outside, I would have keeled over), and I was starting to get annoyed. My contractions were maybe every 10 minutes, and not consistent at all. We thought I may be having the post-transition "pause" of labor, where you catch your breath before pushing. I was starting to get tired and annoyed, so we decided to lay down and take a nap. The birth team retreated to the kitchen table to hang, while hubby and I snuggled in our bed and cranked the music. Jose jokes that it's the first time he has fallen asleep during a labor that I didn't get mad.
Nap time
After waking up a half hour or so later, my contractions were doing nothing. Diddly squat, in spite of charging around the house, stomping like a sumo wrestler, doing squats, bouncing on the ball...every 10-15 minutes I would have one that wouldn't even stop my talking. We decided to try the breast pump for a bit to try and stimulate some contractions...

...and that worked like a bleeping charm. After 5 minutes on it, it was as if I started contracting and didn't stop. One, after another, after another, and STRONG. Finally! It was about 10:30 or 11 am by that time, and I was hoping for a baby by lunch time. Jose and I walked across the house from the kids room to our room, and I announced I was hopping in the pool to labor again because my contractions were much stronger and I wanted the relief.

After some time of laboring in the pool, I thought I might feel pushy. I asked Jyl if that was okay, and she said to listen to my body. I tried a few positions pushing in the pool- squatting, reclined, hands and knees, and no matter what I did- it was like this baby was so high she was in my throat and was not going anywhere! I was pushing with all my might, and it was just not budging her. We decided to have Jyl check and see if I had some cervical lip.
 I did, and quite a bit, so it was time to start blowing through contractions and see if the lip would let up. She couldn't get a handle on how big the lip was since I was in the pool when she checked me and couldn't get a good feel. I moaned and blew and cried through contractions. I felt like I was doing something wrong. I felt so annoyed by my labor. The pain was increasing quite a bit and I couldn't get a handle on it. I had called out my birth team and they had been there for almost 5 hours and we didn't have a baby yet (last time, Jyl walked in the door and I was crowning, so this was a huge difference for me), and I felt like I was letting everyone down. I kept feeling like there must have been something I could do, or something I could try...I could not mentally let go and just accept the labor I had. I had been assisting Jyl at too many births; I was trying to manage my own labor, and getting bent out of shape when it was not going how I expected or desired it to, instead of trusting my midwife, my body, and God. I needed to get out of my head, and just deal with the labor I was given, not the labor I wanted!
My birth team continued being amazing. In spite of my whining and moaning way too loudly, they treated me like a queen. They massaged me. They held my hand. They brought cool cloths for my face. A cup would magically appear in front of my face to drink out of with wonderful ice cold water. Warm water would pour down my back during contractions. Jose was exceptionally amazing. Never in my life would I have dreamed that he could have been so good at anticipating my needs. He prayed over me, held me, kissed me, and made me feel so safe.
Hailey, checking on Lucy
Jyl did something that was so vivid in my mind. I was in the pool, crying with Jose, and she came over and held my hand through a contraction, massaging it. It was so comforting. Then she prayed for me, that I would have the stamina I needed and that my body would line up and do what it was supposed to do. It was just what I needed, when I needed it. We decided after that to have me get out of the pool and check and see what was happening with this lip.

By this time, it was coming up on about 12:15 pm. I was still having wicked contractions every 2 or 3 minutes. I laid back on my bed, Jyl checked me, and low and behold- still 7-8 cm. Baby had come down a smidgen, but was still sky high. NO! And now, the baby had moved from being in an good position, to occiput transverse (OT), which was fine, but baby was shifting from being anterior to OT, which could mean she was headed for a posterior position (face up), and we really didn't want that. We decided that I needed to do the "pancake flip," which is a method of laying down through contractions to try and get her to move into an optimal position in the birth canal. I was so discouraged at this point. I needed to pee before I laid in bed for this, and I sat up, and then promptly got sick. Thank God for a trash can close. My birth team held the trash, held my hair, rubbed my back, and gave me wet cloths to wipe my mouth out. I heaved and heaved and heaved into the trash. Every time I heaved I felt a gush of fluid. Finally, when I was done, I was able to get up and head to the potty.

 I peed, and after I stood with Jose in the bathroom and wept. It was 12:30 pm.  I was 7-8 cm. I had been since about 8 am. I was tired, frustrated, and so emotional. We prayed again. Jyl came in to the bathroom with us and we talked about our options. I was so defeated in spirit. I felt like my labor was completely ineffective, I wasn't going anywhere dilation-wise, my baby was turning from a good position to a not so good one, and I was going to surely end up at the hospital having a cesarean or something ridiculous. I let my mind take over, instead of focusing on my prize at the end. I decided to head to bed with Jose and try and get Lucy to shift into a better position, and Jyl went back to the kitchen table with Rachael and Hailey. I think she was debating leaving me because my labor had stalled, and coming back when there was more action.
Jose and I knelt beside the bed and I asked him to pray for me first. After he was done, I laid down on my right side at about 12:45 pm. Jose was right behind me, rubbing my back. I had tears in my eyes, the music played, and I prayed to God. I didn't know what else to do, so the Holy Spirit took over. I didn't have much left to give, I was spent, and just completely OVER being in labor. I blew and moaned through one contraction (contraction #1)

The next contraction (#2) came about 3 minutes later. I blewandmoanedandblewandmoaned and then suddenly I felt my self grunting. I was trying so hard not to let my self push because 15 minutes before that I was not anywhere near being ready to push. I couldn't help it. I groaned to Jose that I either needed him to help me get to the bathroom to poop, or I was going to have a baby right then. Jyl, Hailey, and Rachael could all hear me go from moaning to grunting and pushing and then yelling and came right in. I was on my side previously, and roared myself up onto my hands and knees on the bed.
 I had my trusty Depends on still from my water being broken, and Jyl was trying to help slide them off so she could get a peek and see what in tarnation was I bellowing about. I swatted her hand away and yelled, "NO!" at her. I grunted to Jose to just rip them off since I couldn't move. Trauma nurse training pays off- he had those suckers ripped off in 2 seconds. Jyl asked if I wanted to jump into the pool and have my water birth. I retorted that I was staying on the bed, since I was physically not capable of moving at that point.

Another contraction (#3) came and I could feel Lucy literally thunk into my birth canal. Total fetal ejection reflex; I was not able to control any of it. It was just happening. I was bellowing like a crazy woman, and Jyl was yelling at me to slow down pushing because I was going to tear, and I told her I couldn't slow down, because I couldn't control it. Pushing was completely involuntary. By the end of that contraction, Lucy's head was out, and I remained on my hands and knees.

 Jyl let me know her head was delivered and to let her restitute and turn. Jose was at my head, helping me stay calm, so he couldn't see what was going on. Afterwards, Jose was looking at the pictures, and had his mouth hanging open. He said it looked intense, and that was after him seeing a ton of births. I can agree- it was an intense way to deliver.

The next contraction (#4), Jyl caught Lucy at 1:02 pm.  The first thing out of my mouth was, "Is she really a girl?!" Since I was on hands and knees, she slide Lucy between my knees up towards me so I could see for myself. I was beyond excited. I laid on my side on the bed, and said, "Give me my baby!"
 I went to pull her up and put her on my chest, and all of the sudden, Jyl and Hailey were saying not to pull her too far- she had a true knot in her cord, and we didn't want to have it pull tight. All through labor, her heart rate was consistently great- we never knew her cord was knotted! Praise God that He protected her. Jyl, Hailey, and Jose made quick work of cutting the cord since my placenta was already delivering itself after a few minutes. Daddy had the honor of setting her free.

A true cord knot
Jose was handed Lucy so I could get maneuvered up to the head of the bed, and he did some skin to skin time with her to keep her warm until he could hand her back to me. I was almost going to delete the photo below, but Jose loves it, because it shows all the reality of what a home birth looks like.  Birth pool in the back, messy bed, chucks pads, and a daddy in love with his baby girl.

So in case you weren't keeping track, in 32 minutes I went from the complete bottom of the valley, to the top of the mountain. I only pushed for 3 contractions- and even then, *I* didn't really even push, it was my body. God was so good in hearing our prayers and getting me to finally dilate and have Lucy come meet us, because I was not able to hang on much longer! We did skin to skin immediately after while Jyl checked if I needed any sutures.
Skin to skin 
 No stitches were needed. Daddy snapped a quick picture and texted our families to let them know Lucy was here safe and sound. My birth team fixed me hot tea and honey, and then Jose fixed me lunch and fed me in bed while I nursed Lucy for the first time- she latched at about 30 minutes old and has never looked back. I got to spend some time getting to know my first girl.
Letting everyone know Lucy's here!
First latch
Getting to know our girl
Jose had some skin to skin time with Lucy while I got showered up. Then, it was time for Lucy to get examined.
This picture makes me fall in love with him all over again

Up, up, and away! 
Newborn exam  
Lucy Edith Molinuevo was born at 1:02 pm on Sunday, August 31st. She weighed 8 lbs 6 oz and was 21" long. We are so, so grateful for her, for our amazing birth team, and for the Lord's provision and answer to prayer in bringing our first daughter Earthside.

Saturday, November 17, 2012


This is a bluntly honest post. If you don't like it, tough- it's where I am at right now, and I am choosing to be honest and not hide.

I have to admit, Monday marks 6 weeks since I gave birth, and I am in a bit of a frenzy. I am not sure if I have a touch of the baby blues, or if I am just insanely on edge from being home all day with three kids under 6, only leaving the house to drive Micah to school or to go to church on Sunday, or once a week to the grocery store and the fruit stand.

It's not post-postpartum depression, it's more like post-postpartum rage. Or postpartum disgusted-with-everything. Or postpartum I-need-a-break.

After my first birth, I was frankly too exhausted after a 30+hour labor and having half the blood supply of a normal, healthy adult to have the baby blues. I went back to work after about 4 weeks, and back to nursing school at about 9 weeks. I went back to school originally at 3 weeks, but decided that it was too much to handle and too another 6 off for my sanity.

I didn't have the baby blues much after having Levi. I had a great 9 weeks off of work after delivery, and only went back 1 day a week for 2 months before deciding to stay home permanently. Breastfeeding was a great victory for me after my horrible experience with Micah, and I got to stay at home with my babies.

Fast forward to now. I have a boy turning 6 next month, a boy who is a 21 month bolt of lightening, and a boy who is almost 6 weeks old that wants to be nursing constantly and requires a lot of attention.

But so does the 21 monther. He needs me to be just as attentive (for his own safety and for our house to not be destroyed!), he needs me to be more loving then ever because he is dealing with jealousy and feeling like he has been put on the back burner, and he still wants to nurse for that comfort.

And the 6 year old needs me, too. Not as much as he used to- he is starting to flap his wings and fly a little further from mommy all the time. But he needs to know that he is not forgotten. And he needs to know that he is not mommy's constant helper; he needs to know that it's okay to just be a kid. And not to have to worry about what mommy needs help with, or have his little brother wanting every single thing that he touches. He needs to know that he is important to our family and that he is loved.

Not only do all of them need me, but my husband needs me, too. He has been working like a dog to provide for us. He was blessed with starting a new job last week at a cardiology office. It's a Monday-Friday, office hours kind of job. No weekends, no holidays, one week of being on call a year. But he is still working at the hospital, too. And he is trying to take some of the load off me when he gets home for work by taking the baby or letting me shower. But I know he is anxious to get his wife back. And not just in a sexual way, but to be able to spend time with me and have me be coherent.

So there is the baby stress, the exhaustion stress, one car, throw in a little bill and bank stress...  top it off with spit up in my hair, not showering in 4 days, driving Jose and Micah everywhere, breastfeeding someone every half hour it seems, and opening the fridge and figuring out what to make for dinner or bathing two kids while nursing the baby on a stool next to the tub... it's just a little taxing.

So when the kids start acting up, I have been tending to fly of the handle. It's bringing out the worst in me. Exhaustion has shortened my temper and taken away my grace, my mercy, and my patience. It has made me into a bear! I don't like yelling, much less bellowing, at my kids. I don't want my children to remember me as a person who disciplined out of anger; that's not a way to teach them respect, and I want children who respect who I am and how I raised them. That's not to say I don't discipline- they get spanked, but when they've earned it. It's become far to easy for me lately to lose my cool because of the circumstances around me and treat them unfairly because I am not handling things how I should be.

Jose's mom and dad came by and picked up Micah and Levi yesterday. By 4:00 pm, Levi had still never had a nap, Jordi was madder than a mosquito in a mannequin factory, I had only slept about 3 hours, and Micah was asking every 5 minutes to go on the computer, the xbox, or tell me a Ninjago fact. I was at my wits end, so I called Jose at work. I started crying on the phone because he wasn't taking me seriously that I was stressed out, and I hung up on him. He proceeded to, instead of call me back, call his mom and arrange them spending the night to give me a break.

I must have looked like a raging hormonal woman when I answered the door. The kids were all ready to go, but the dog was going bonkers and not listening to me call her when I tried to put her away. I had Jordi in my arms and a bag on the table that I was putting their things into. In my arms was also a zip-up wetbag. That's what we put our dirty diapers in- it's a waterproof cloth bag that you zip up until wash time so there is no smell. Everyone else is chatting and laughing. My father-in-law laughs and says, "these kids can't give you a hard time. What are you, tired?"  My mother-in-law took one look at me, and in all seriousness, said to me with a straight face, "You're not going to put the baby in the bag, are you?"

Right. Like I am going to put your grandson in a plastic bag and zip him up. In front of you. HOW STRESSED DO YOU THINK I AM?! DO I REALLY LOOK THAT BAD?!

I laughed it off and explained I was putting diapers in it for Levi. When they left, I started bawling like a baby. Finally alone, I laid Jordi on our bed, laid on my side next to him so I could nurse, and slept for the next hour.

Jose and I ordered take out for dinner (for the first time in almost 4 weeks- we have been really tight on spending), and watched some of our favorite shows. When we hit the sack early for Jose to go to work the next morning, Jordi slept for 4 1/2 hours before waking again. I have napped off and on all day knowing that the kids are safe and taken care of, and all I have to care for is myself and Jordi.

And I know it's all going to get better. These days don't last forever. I also just got off the phone with my sister's father-in-law; they are gifting us a Suburban that we get to pick up in two weeks. It's such an amazing answer to prayer. Jose's job is changing where he won't be away from the house from before dawn til after bedtime. I am constantly reminded that God has us in the palm of his hand. Today has been one of those Psalm 23 days, where He literally, thanks to my husband and mother-in-law, MAKES me lie down in green pastures to rest. I am going to go take another nap now, eat a piece of chocolate, smell my delicious baby's new baby smell, and just enjoy the quiet for a few more hours til the banshees come home.

And when they get home, I am going to kiss them, because I have so missed them.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

October Tidbits

tid·bit (noun) \ˈtid-ˌbit\
1. a choice morsel of food
2. a choice or pleasing bit (as of information)

Today is Saturday. One of those gorgeous Florida-fall Saturdays, decorated with windows open, 72 degrees of sunshine blowing in, festivals and green markets and picnics galore. Saturday for me usually means the kiddos watching Saturday morning cartoons on the one channel that comes in with them- Micah adores them because it's Sonic the Hedgehog followed by Power Rangers, followed by the classy WWE "wrestling." It means baking, Jose at work, and one more day until seeing my church family. Today, it also means giving you the tidbits of my last few weeks. Life being changed by birth of Jordi means everyone has had to shift and accommodate to accept our newest family member. Here are a few of the tidbits of the last few weeks- enjoy the choice bits!

Micah and Levi participated in Halloween. We are not a huge Halloween family. As a child, my family didn't do a ton with Halloween, but Jose really enjoys it, so we let the kids participate. We have talked to Micah about the origins of Halloween and how it differs from the way people treat it today.  Not that I am going to get into a huge pro- or con- dissertation here, but we do allow our kids to take part. Micah was the red Power Ranger Samurai, which he hinted for months that he wanted to be and Jose and I saved up and the put it up to surprise him. He was so beyond excited! I love little moments like that. Levi was a soccer player for the Spain national squad, and Jordi was the token pumpkin that stayed in my Moby wrap the whole time- gotta love that thing!  We took them to a Trunk-or-Treat event at our old church the Sunday prior, and it was great to catch up with some friends we hadn't seen in a while, as well as show Jordi off. Jordi was circumcised the afternoon of actual Halloween, so their Aunt Tata and Uncle Dru took them trick or treating in a friend's neighborhood for a little while. She sent me this picture that had me tearing up- I love seeing Micah and Levi grow up together. 

On that note, we carved awesome pumpkins... Micah, with the help of Jose, carved a batman pumpkin and I did a Despicable Me rendition. Micah's pumpkin turned out to be a giant gourd that had to be carved with hammers, chisels, Dremmel tools, a saw, and of course, Jose's brut force. We toasted the seeds from 5 pumpkins (cajun, cinnamon spice, and sea salt), and I will be roasting and making pies from the last 2 later this week. 


Micah got his first report card of the first grade- and it was great! He only has actual letter grades in two subjects- spelling and math- and he had a high B and a low A, respectively. The remarks from his teacher were so positive, telling us that Micah "generally does very nice work in all subjects." We were SO proud of our oldest boy!

Levi and Micah are now sharing a room. This has happened over the last 2 weeks, and the first week was total insanity. Now we are down to maybe 3-4 minutes of crying at night by Levi. He absolutely hates the idea of bunk beds, preferring instead to stay in his crib. So Micah sleeps on the top or bottom bunk, depending on the night, and Levi lays in his bed, yelling, "Micah! Miiiiicah! MICAH!," until he gets some sort of response. Levi's pacifier was also taken away two days ago. He thinks it has just disappeared, and I am waiting for the day that he quits asking for it. 

Speaking of quitting asking for it, no, Levi has not weaned yet. I am asked almost daily by a friend, someone from church, or a family member if Levi has given up breastfeeding, if I have weaned him (which to answer that, I am not weaning him, he is weaning himself slowly), or the best one lately, "Have you taken his boob away yet?". The answer, though it's not anyone's business, is no! It's so crazy that the American Academy of Pediatrics, the World Health Organization, and the Center for Disease Control, and many other organizations recommend breastfeeding until at least two years of age, and then as long as mom and child are mutually okay with the breastfeeding relationship. Please don't think that is Levi's sole source of food or drink (any one around him knows he eats almost anything in sight), or that I just give in to him at his constant beck and call. We have established nursing manners (he has to ask please and say thank you), and he knows he has to wait sometimes for Jordi. It's not like I had a toddler dumped in my lap who strangely wants to nurse out of nowhere; he has been doing it every day of his 21-month life. There is nothing strange about it! The only thing strange, at times, is figuring out positions to tandem nurse in. To answer every one else's questions about if Jose cares: no, he doesn't. If he did, he probably wouldn't have taken this picture while I was nursing! 
Extreme multi-tasking: Breastfeeding two while reading The Hungry Hungry Caterpillar 
Jose and I are laughing almost every day about the "gross" factor that comes with having an all boy household... in the past week, we have witnessed (and this is just the highlights):

  • Levi throwing dog poop at Micah in the backyard
  • Levi licking Jordi's face after he spit up
  • Levi "washed" his hands in the toilet
  • Levi pooped in his potty (yay for potty training early!), and then took his potty to the dog...and, yeah... you can imagine...
Wait, there is a common theme here... LEVI! We joke that one child got all the gross-boy-genes for him and Micah, because Micah hates being dirty. He is such a little booger, my little worm, but he is such a lover, too. 

We had our first cold days of the year, and the boys are loving it. The only hard part about having one car, though, is that it has no heat- so that means bundling up for school in the morning!

Things are moving at warp speed over here in the Moli house. Being a mom of three is certainly crazy most of the time, but I am learning to steal those moments where I can catch a snooze in or throw a load of clothes in, and not get too worked up about the chaos the rest of the time. It's all a balancing act, and I thank God every day for Jose helping me balance it all- he is the only way I am making it through all this sanely! 

Friday, October 19, 2012

The Redeeming Birth of Jordi David

Eleven days after the birth of Jordi, I am sitting here grinning about how amazing the actual event of having a baby can be. I have had a totally redeeming experience.

 After horribly traumatic experience birthing Levi, I knew that I would not be having our next child in the hospital. The birth story for him was painful for me to write; I was in physical agony for a few weeks after receiving 45 minutes+ and three packets of suturing material to my most tender of areas (which was started without any lidocaine- I had to ask for it, and the physician laughed), but I was also emotionally exhausted. You see, Jose and I had to be on the defense the whole entire time of labor. From the office wanting to admit me hours before I was in real, active labor, to me refusing pitocin multiple times so the MD could "get me delivered" and head home, to the insanely rude nursing staff whom I had to ask multiple times to nurse my baby, it was all a complete nightmare.

We tossed around the idea of a home birth with Levi, and Jose was just not comfortable with it. But after our experience last time, Jose said he would never again question my judgement when it came to where/how/with whom to birth our future kids. So when we found out we were pregnant with Jordi, we made a few phone calls and forged ahead into home birth territory- something neither of us will ever regret!

It's hard for me to pinpoint when actual labor began. With Micah, I woke up at 3 am on a Tuesday morning with contractions every 5 minutes apart, and they never ceased until he was born at 11:30 am on Thursday. That made for more than 2 days of laboring, and close to 32 hours of active, 2 minutes apart contractions. Everything was very definite. Levi was the same deal- woke up at 5 am in labor, had him at 1:58 the next morning. Labor never really stopped, and was about 20 hours total.

Jordi decided to make things very, very different for me. I shouldn't have every questioned that things would be different; after all, Jose and I bathed this whole birth in prayer during the pregnancy. I had contractions off and on a few days before "the day," but they would last around 6 hours and taper off. And they were never the real deal, breathe-and-focus contractions. But on Sunday the 7th, I knew I was done being pregnant and that Monday, October 8th, I would meet my baby. I even joked about it to Jose's mom. She was going to clean a house with my brother-in-law early in the day, and she had asked him if he was "ready for tomorrow"- I laughed and said to her "no, the question is are YOU ready for tomorrow, because I am having a baby!" We all laughed about it, and then she said please don't go into labor until after she finished.

I woke up at 5 am contracting every 7 minutes. They were those giddy, excited, easy contractions- early labor stuff. I finally got out of bed about 6 am and started my day baking and getting things ready for Micah to head to school. I decided to wake Jose up at 6:30 am the best way I knew how- letting him know that I was in labor, and that if he wanted to get frisky, now was the last time he could for the next 4 weeks or so (hah!). Besides, I needed a little help to get labor moving along faster :) We woke Micah up at 7 for school, then made some phone calls and let everyone know that today would be the day, we just didn't know when.

Contractions "piddled" as my midwife Jyl would say until around 10:30 am, when I got a break. They dropped off to every 15-20 minutes, and I decided to get some rest in since I knew they would pick back up later. I lost my plug the night before, but hadn't had my water break or had any other signs that things were speeding up. I had Jose check me because I was getting a little on the discouraged side. I was only 2-3 cm, so I just took the cue to take a nap, and told Jyl I would call her later when things were speeding up. Jose helped me set up the birthing pool and fill it with water, because I knew I wouldn't want to be doing it later when things were rockin' and rollin'. I kept my birth playlist on all day, keeping myself focused on the promises of God and knowing that we had committed this day to prayer for nine months.

Contractions eventually pretty much came to a grinding halt. Jon Foreman's song, House of God Forever, rang through the house. It quotes Psalm 23, and put my heart at ease. I put Levi down for a nap, made 2 loaves of wheat bread and a batch of cran-raisin-oatmeal cookies, and Jose, Micah, and our brother-in-laws Ian and Paul went on a hike after Micah got out of school. They left the house around 2 pm with not a blip on the horizon of labor. I laid down, and about half an hour after they left, contractions started back up again. Of course. While the house was so quiet I decided to pray, clear my head by writing my last pregnant thoughts, and prep for dinner.

The guys got back around 4:30 pm, and I contracted about ever 5-7 minutes, but nothing exciting. I was up making dinner, talking, walking around, folding laundry... still convinces that it was all the prelabor show and that I was probably only 2-3 cm. We ate dinner, bathed the kids, and they were in bed as though nothing was out of the norm by about 8 pm.

My only clue that things were happening was that the contractions were slightly more intense over the last few hours. One of my best friend's mom and Micah's teacher, Pam, called at 8 pm to see how things were going. I told her it was a little early to tell, but that "we'll probably have a baby by morning." I was convinced that this was going to be another days-long process, and because my contractions were so easy, that I wasn't into the real thick of things yet.

At 8:30, I had Jose call his mom and have her come over to spend the night. I didn't want to have to yank anyone out of bed to drive to our house in the wee hours of the night (since I thought it would take that long), and she was designated to be in charge of the kids. I tried to watch 30 Rock with Jose, but I couldn't sit still. I HAD to be standing up, rocking my hips during contractions. No exercise ball, no lying on my side, just had to be standing. She arrived at our house shortly after 9 pm, and we decided to go on a walk. I had still been talking to our midwife, Jyl, off and on during this whole time. I had also been talking to my sisters, Michaela and Christa, all day, as they wanted to be there for the birth as well.

In the time we walked from our house to the end of the block (about 6 houses down), my contractions changed from every 4-5 minutes, to 3 good, solid, moan-your-way-through contractions, then every 2-3 minutes. We turned around because it was insanely humid, and I was getting nauseated. I got in the shower to rinse off, and the contractions stayed every 2-3 minutes apart. I rocked and moaned, Jose either standing in front of me rubbing my head, or behind pressing on my hips and putting counter pressure on my sacrum. He was amazing. I didn't need to tell him what I needed, he just did it. He was my total rock through all of this.

I called Jyl after I got out of the shower and asked if it was alright if I get in the tub. My labor was really kicking in from about 9 pm when we went on the walk, and I was afraid that it would stall if I got in the tub. Only about 45 minutes had passed- it was about 9:45 Jose's mom sat on the couch watching Dancing With The Stars, and doing a word search book. She was completely oblivious to what was going on. I talked to Jyl on the phone, and she told me not to worry about it, to go ahead and get in, and that she would start getting ready to come on over. It was about  Jyl only lives about 10 minutes from our house, and her assistants would be en route, too.

I went to the bathroom, and while sitting on the toilet, got SUPER nauseated. I should have known I was in transition (those last few centimeters)- looking back, I know! I was handling the contractions so well, and I didn't have one tiny bit of bloody show yet, so I had my self convinced that it would be hours yet until we would start seeing any baby progress. Jose was also so supportive that I wasn't questioning anything that was going on, just making it through each contraction and then focusing on what to do next.

I got into the birthing tub about 10 pm, and WOW, was it relaxing. I should have spent more time in there! The warm water felt amazing. I had Jose turn the jets on, but it was just too much stimulus for me. We turned them off, and I knelt in the tub, leaning on the side wall. Coldplay "Fix You" was on. Jose sat directly in front of me on our bed, pouring warm water on my back during contractions and telling me really reaffirming things... "You're beautiful," "you're doing great, baby," "the baby is coming," things like that. He really kept my head in the game. I had Jose call my sisters and tell them to come on. We were going to wait for Jyl to get there and let me know how far I was, but I felt like they should just come.

Fast forward (literally, it was really fast!) fifteen minutes. We had only talked to Jyl about 25 minutes previous. I started getting the urge to push. That uncontrollable, my body won't take no for an answer, "I need to push now" kind of feeling. I told Jose, "call Jyl NOW." He says "what should I tell her?" I could only grunt out, "just call," and he figured it out. Jose goes to the white board outside our room and gets the emergency sheet of what to do in case she can't make it. Jyl picked up and Jose asked where she was in relation to our house. One street over.

I started to push again with the next contraction, and my water broke. He told Jyl I was feeling pushy and my water broke. He hung up and came back to me to keep me focused. I wasn't speaking a whole lot at that point, just doing what I had to do. I was panting between contractions, trying to wait for Jyl to come in the door. I reached back and felt everything bulging. The head was not quite there yet, but coming. After the next push, I had Jose feel if the head was descending or not. I was kneeling, arms grabbing the side of the pool, and I was biting the side of the pool to keep from pushing. He actually felt a little too firmly- the head had descended, and Jose pushed him back up. That was the one time I got a little testy- I yelped and told him not to touch me.

I heard the doorbell ring- Jose had locked the door when we came in from the walk! Jose ran from our bedroom to the front door, let Jyl in, and they both came rushing back into our room. Jose's mom was still on the couch, completely engrossed in the word puzzle book, and NO clue what was going on because I was so quiet. Jyl came to my side, gloved up, and let me know that his head was pretty much crowning; she had me breathe and let his head rotate. Then she basically says to Jose, "well, put your hands back here dad, get in here!" Jose was so excited at the chance to catch his baby. He jumped in the pool with me, and at 10:32 pm, Jordi David Molinuevo was born into Jose and Jyl's hands.

I yelled for Jose's mom to come, and she came running in, saying "what happened?!" I just held up Jordi, and she was in shock that it was over so quickly. She had only been at our house just over an hour! I heard the front door open, and Jyl's assistants, Danielle and Jen, walked in the door. I apologized that they had missed it, but I couldn't wait! Just another minute passed, and Christa and Michaela walked in the door with my brother-in-laws. Ian, Michaela's husband, is a photographer- he walked in with his camera (after getting my permission, of course) and just started snapping. The pictures are beyond words, and you can see them here. My labor playlist had been playing the whole time, and the song that came on was perfect- "para, para, paradise..." Coldplay always comes through.

Micah woke up at the same time as this to use the restroom, and Jose's mom asked if he could come in. We let him, and after the cord stopped pulsating, he got to cut the cord with Jose's help. It was a magical moment. The next song that came through was by Ascend The Hill, their take on "How Great Thou Art"- probably my favorite version ever. What a witness to everything that had happened!

Some more family came in unexpectedly, and after a few minutes, Jyl kicked everyone out and helped me get out of the pool, cleaned up, and settled into bed. Jordi was happy to nurse away. We had a good hour or so of just family time and letting him settle in. Jyl's assistants took my vitals as well as Jordi's, and Christa brought me gatorade and clam chowder to get my strength back up.

Our family members left shortly afterwards, and Micah got put to bed. I took a quick shower under Jose's watch. Then, Jose got to weigh Jordi and Jyl did his newborn exam. Once Jyl was sure both Jordi and I were recovering well, she and her assistants packed up and headed home. By 1 am, we were all alone, tucked into our bed, our first night as a family.

Levi slept through everything. In the morning, Micah and Levi came into our bed with Jose, Jordi, and I, and we introduced him.

As long as I never have a risky pregnancy or anything of concern with baby, I will most likely never deliver in a hospital again. It was so magical delivering at home. Such an atmosphere of love, quiet, peace, and respect. Jordi is so different, and was right from the start- and I believe it's because his birth was so surrounded with love, patience, respect, and reverence. There was no being whisked away, cord cut, scrubbed, blinded from ointments and poked for vaccinations, then given back thoroughly exhausted and discombobulated. Jose says he wishes that we would have had this opportunity to do it with all our kids. But hey- you live, you learn, you make adjustments, and once you know about something so great- you cherish it.