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.