Friday, July 27, 2007

A couple of recent events.

We had a fun visit Wednesday night!  Brandon's Aunt Darlene, Uncle John and 2 of their children Rebecca and David came by for a couple of hours.  Brandon hadn't seen them in about 13 years.  They are missionaries in Mexico and just happened to be in the states (for Brandon's cousin's wedding) and traveling down the East coast right through Richmond!  
It was great to get to know them and to see a little bit of their church-planting ministry in Mexico.  

Brandon is very excited about a bad storm we had a couple of weeks ago...
Lightning struck somewhere very close to our house.  There was a huge crash of thunder along with a loud pop and an orange flash of light in the general vicinity of the T.V.  Our VCR died.  After we decided that there was no bringing it back to life, it was no time before Brandon had decided to replace the antiquated VCR with the ultra-modern DVR.
Our TiVo arrived today...  Brandon has spent the day playing with it.  I must admit that it seems pretty cool.  I haven't been able to do anything with it yet, though.  I guess I will get my chance to check it out later (when Brandon is at work).

Thursday, July 19, 2007

My baby is cuter than your baby!

I don't really have anything to say.  I just wanted to share some pictures of the cutest baby EVER!!!

Monday, July 16, 2007

On babies...

I (Amy) went the other day to visit a friend's new baby. It's funny how quickly you forget the sweet newness of a tiny one; the "clean slate" of a fresh-to-the-world blessing.

Eden is only 8 months, but she has already lost that shiny perfection. She is quite regularly smelly and dirty. She has an opinion and a temper. She has experienced the pain of falling down (while trying out her legs) and of cutting teeth. She has been sad to see Mama leave and has been overjoyed to see her return.

While there is a bit of sadness that goes along with the loss of that freshness, there is a wonder, as well. What a thrill to see your child understand language, try out her legs, explore sounds with her mouth and tongue, experience the outdoors, and give love. Disgusting, wet, open-mouth kisses are beautiful and my heart feels as if it would burst when she's crying and pats me on the back.

It is a wonder to me that God allows us to have babies when they are so new, still so close to His presence. Jeremiah 1:5 says, "Before I formed you in the womb I knew you". God "knew" Eden before I did! What a shock it must be for her to go from His lap to mine. What a responsibility we have to guide her back to Him.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

I stumbled upon this hilarious ad for a "new" product called TRU-BREAST.  You have got to check it out!  I wonder how many people have contacted that website to see where they can get the TRU-BREAST!  So funny!

Sunday, July 8, 2007

Camping at James River State Park

We spent the weekend camping at James River State Park. It was Eden's first tent camping trip, and she did great! We camped with 7 other couples, 3 of whom have babies. In all, we had 16 adults, 4 babies and 3 dogs. We took up 4 campsites.
We camped in sites right on the river bank. We all arrived Friday evening and set up camp. It was hot, but we had some nice shade for setting up our tents. The nights were just cool enough to sleep well. Saturday, the babies woke with the sun (and so did the parents). Ahh, coffee! The day was spent relaxing, swimming in the river (some went tubing), chasing the children, and climbing trees. Eden spent the entire day crawling around on the ground playing in the dirt and was filthy by the end of the day! What fun! We sat around the campfire Saturday evening and made s'mores.
Sunday morning, we had breakfast and packed up! The heat was intense! We were so happy to finally get into our air-conditioned car! What a fabulous weekend. We had a great
time with friends and are excited that Eden did so well. She really
liked being outside and playing in the dirt and grass. What a great little outdoor baby! We can't wait to do it again!! Maybe next time we will do a mountain trip and throw in a good hike!

Thursday, July 5, 2007

Wasted naptime!!!!

So a friend (who shall remain nameless) told me she had been on facebook. I had never been there to check it out, so I took a look. The next thing I knew, nap time was over (2 hours)and my heiny was numb! I am a sloth! That site should come with a warning!!!

It should read something like this:

If you aren't on facebook already, heed my warning and stay away!!!

Wednesday, July 4, 2007

Fun with Food!

Eden, has been experimenting with some solid food! She was exclusively breastfed for her first 6 months, but there comes a time when babies have to start eating food! She is allergic to cow's milk, so, with her having a known allergy, we have taken it pretty slow. We made the decision to forgo the endless jars of baby food and make our own. It has been fun. So far she has tried bananas, apples, pears, avocado, peas, squash, sweet potato, and string beans. She has a great appetite and her favorite is a banana!

Friends home from Praguay!

We spent yesterday evening with some dear friends. Our friend Gina has been in Paraguay on a short term mission trip (1 year) with SIM. We saw her briefly on Sunday at church, but last night we really got to talk with her and see some of her 5,000 pictures from the past year.

We also spent time with another family of Paraguayan missionaries who are home for a year of furlough. Paul, Becky, are a wonderful couple and their family is a lot of fun! When I (Amy) had the privelege of going to Paraguay for 11 days in 2000, this is the family our team stayed with.

We had a great time, last night eating and just hanging out. It is always good to connect with old friends!

Monday, July 2, 2007

Eden has a tooth!

Well, after 2 days of fussing and crying, chewing on wooden blocks and ice, a tooth finally popped through Eden's super-puffy bottom gum!  I hear that some kids come through teething pretty easily.  I think Eden isn't one of those kids.  

The past 5 years...

I will try to catch you up on our life so-far, so I can then keep you up to date on the current happenings.

Brandon and I grew up together at Immanuel Baptist Church in Richmond, VA. We have known each other since 1989 when we were in middle school. I had multiple "crushes" on him over the years, but it took years for him to notice me. In March of 2000, I went on a mission trip to Paraguay , in South America. A mutual friend of ours (and Brandon's old roommate) went on the trip, as well. Ed and his wife Laura had been on Brandon's case to ask me out, and Ed and I spent the many hours on the plane plotting how we were going to get him to ask me out.

It wasn't long before Brandon and I were spending time together with Ed and Laura. We went on a church trip to New York city and Baltimore. While in New York, we saw Beauty and the Beast on Broadway (my first Broadway show!) and it was fantastic. The next day (April 2, 2000)) Brandon finally officially asked me out. We have been together ever since.

In September of 2001 we started really talking about a "future" together, and while Brandon was unwilling to say it, I knew we would be spending the rest of our lives together. We looked at rings once or twice, but Brandon was waiting for my medical discharge from the Army Reserves to be final before he made any kind of "real"commitment to me... September 11th left us all a little shell-shocked. My discharge came through in November. We spent some time in New York city, once again, with our Sunday school class. This time we were there for New Year's Eve. We left before the festivities began, though, and travelled down to Baltimore for fireworks over the Inner Harbor.

Time continued to roll on by and February arrived with no proposal. Brandon was in the process of buying a house, and had included me in the process as if it would be our house. He won the contract on the house on February 1, 2002 and I was excited, but a little irritated. I wanted to be the one to decorate this house! I didn't want to have to turn it from a bachelor pad into a home. I wanted to choose paint colors, I wanted to live there!

February 3, 2002, we went to church like every other Sunday. We were supposed to go to his dad and stepmom's for dessert after lunch. Brandon's new little house just happend to be on the way, so we drove by. Weird thing, though, Brandon stopped there and got out of the truck and went up to the door! I wasn't paying too much attention to what he was doing, though, because looking in the side mirror, I saw my parent's car coming down the street. I thought, they must be driving by to check our Brandon's new place, but they pulled into a driveway down the street, turned around, and drove away! I was so perplexed by that, that when Brandon opened my door and led me up the sidewalk of his soon-to-be house, I hadn't had time to think about what was happening. He got down on one knee and said he wanted to give me a guarantee (a reference to Sparky's message that morning). He asked me to marry him and I said "YES!!!!"

We spent the next 4 months planning our wedding, and on June 22, 2002, we were married at Battery Park Christian Church (my parents were married in the same church 31 years earlier).

The past 5 years have been great. Brandon and I have had so much fun being married to each other. It's so great to share life with your best friend.

February 21, 2006, we found out we were going to be parents. Spring and Summer were spent preparing our home and our lives for our little blessing. We went to doctor's appointments, prepared a nursery, ate lots of ice cream, and took classes. We chose to keep the baby's gender a surprise which was so much fun!

We chose to prepare for a natural childbirth. We took Bradley Method classes and hired a doula.

Our Birth Story!

Monday, November 6, 2006
After 3 weeks of sitting around the house waiting for baby, having tons of contractions every day and trying to keep my blood pressure down, I had gone 4 days past my due date. Brandon and I stayed home from church on Sunday because I thought that if I heard even one remark like, “You haven’t had that baby yet?” I might have an emotional breakdown.

Monday morning, one of the pastors from our church, Jim, called to check on me. He had been checking on us every few days, and had noticed that we weren’t in church. After talking with him for a few minutes, I had him assured that I was feeling great (I was!) and that we figured we would be waiting still a bit longer for our new little arrival. I hung up the phone and stood to let the dogs in the back door. Fortunately I was wearing sweatpants (very absorbent) because when I stood, my water broke! The elastic in the ankles of the sweatpants saved our brand new carpet from disaster! It was 9:30am.

Filled with butterflies of anticipation, I called Brandon to tell him to come home from work. He didn’t answer, so I left him a message. I still wasn’t having any “real” contractions, so I relayed that to his answering machine and got in the shower.

Once in the shower it was no time before I began having “real” contractions. They started in the front and wrapped around to my back. They were immediately more uncomfortable than the pre-labor I had been having for 3 weeks. I tried to be conscious of the energy of each contraction and rest in the knowledge that they were what was opening my cervix and bringing my baby to me. I had a great time in the shower! I prayed for a safe birth, sang to the baby and told it how I couldn’t wait to meet it, and fantasized a little about what the day would bring!

Brandon came home, and we set about getting our stuff together and readying the house for our friend Rebecca who would be coming to take care of the dogs for us. We made some phone calls and assured everyone that we would let them know when we had any news. During all of this I had to pause every 7 minutes or so to concentrate on my current contraction. They were becoming a bit more difficult to cope with and I was unable to continue any productive activity during them.

At 11:50am I called Shirley, my doula, to update her on our progress. I let her know that Brandon and I were enjoying laboring alone together for now and that we would like to be alone for a little while longer. I agreed to check back in with her in a little while to let her know when to come to the house. When I got off the phone, Brandon and I discussed how we would decide when to tell her to come. Nadene, my midwife, told me that morning to come to the hospital when my contractions were 5 minutes apart for an hour. I guess we figured we would call Shirley sometime during that “hour”. We called her, instead, around 12:05 when we realized that in the last 30 minutes I had gone from having contractions that were 7 minutes apart to 3 minutes apart and they were lasting 1 ½ to 2 minutes each. I never had 5 minute apart contractions.

By the time Shirley arrived, I was unable to talk through the contractions. If I happened to be standing during the “break” in between contractions, the onset of the next one would drive me to my knees.

I vomited a couple of times (surprisingly, it felt great), and the dogs became very attentive to me. I was vocalizing uncontrollably; kind-of a low-pitched moan. I coped well by getting louder and louder! I felt so powerful!

We continued to labor in my living room for about 30 minutes when I heard Shirley tell Brandon “If she does this a couple more times we need to go!” I didn’t really comprehend what she was saying, though. All I could think was “where did my break go?” Shirley and I were noticing the same thing… My contractions were now 2 minutes apart and lasting 2 minutes each! Literally, I took one breath after the contraction and the next one would start. Brandon told me later that I went through all of the Bradley Method “emotional signposts” in 20 minutes.

The next thing I remember was Shirley telling me to stand up and hug her. She would support me while we made our way to the car (only about 30 feet). Fortunately I got a few contractions with about a 30 second break in between, so it only took 2 to get me to the car! I prayed hard that I wouldn’t have any contractions in the car. Praise the Lord, I only had one on the 1 ½ mile trip to the hospital.

When we got out of the car, I promptly had a contraction and vomited in the ER parking lot (in a small wastebasket I had brought with me). Looking back, I have to laugh at the show I must have put on for the folks in the ER waiting room. While waiting for someone to take me up to L&D, I had several very LOUD contractions. When we first walked into the waiting room, I was hit with a particularly “good” one. Shirley and Brandon were just far enough away that I couldn’t reach anyone to lean on, so I hit my knees and held on to a chair while I moaned loudly. When the contraction was done, I looked up to find a wheelchair and about 10 hospital staff-members standing around me. Apparently they were afraid I was going to birth the baby in the waiting room. Boy, the inhibitions you lose during labor!!

It took us a while to get up to L&D as I refused to sit in the wheelchair. The nurse led us up to the 3rd floor wheeling the empty chair and patiently waiting for me through each of my contractions. When we got to our room, I vomited. I spent a few minutes laboring on the floor.

The nurses, per hospital policy, had to get a 15 minute “strip” of the baby’s heartbeat, so I had to get into the bed for a little while. Because I had been vomiting, Nadene decided to give me some IV fluids. She promised she would run them in fast and unhook me. By the time they were done getting the baby’s heart rate on record, the IV was unhooked. In the meantime, Nadene checked me. I was 6 cm dilated, fully effaced, and the baby was at 0 station!

I had requested a room with a tub for pain management. When we arrived, though, there wasn’t one available. Nadene told me that they were cleaning one, and we could move as soon as it was ready. I wanted to be in hot water, though, so we decided I could wait out the cleaning staff in the shower. She said she was going to go see a couple of patients and would come check on me in about an hour. Once I reached 8 cm, she wouldn’t leave until after the baby was born.

I got into the shower; once again I was on my knees. The hot water felt amazing on my back! At one point I could feel the baby’s head turning in my pelvis. I heard my voice yelling “Stop!” It hurt, but I couldn’t express anything. All I could do was tell it to stop! I had another contraction and told Shirley that I needed to poop. She told me to go ahead because we were in the shower and it would just wash away. My next contraction, I was pushing! I couldn’t control the urge. The nurses called Nadene back to my room and helped me to the bed. I guess they didn’t want me to have the baby in the shower. I asked Brandon later how long I was in the shower. He said 10 minutes max! I went from 6 cm dilated to pushing in about 15 minutes!

I have heard that in a drug-free birth, you will prefer either contractions or pushing. I

not prefer pushing. After I felt the “ring of fire”, I was ready to quit. I think I actually experienced a 10 on the pain scale. I had always thought that was reserved for ripping off an arm, or something. Fortunately, when I got to the bed and really started pushing, the baby was already crowning. The nurse got a mirror so I could see the head. It was good to take a peek, but there was no way I could watch myself give birth, so I had her take it away.

I pushed a few times half-heartedly. The nurse was having a very hard time finding the baby’s heartbeat. When she did, we realized the baby was having heart rate decelerations in the 80’s when I pushed. Nadene made eye contact with me and told me I had to stop playing around and push the baby out NOW. So I pushed. Hard. I thought it felt better and better the harder I pushed. Nadene cut a small episiotomy, and the next thing I knew, the head was out. I pushed again and our baby was born. She came out with her hand by her face and the umbilical cord wrapped around her neck and her body. It was 2:51 pm. Less than 5 ½ hours from the time my water broke.

Brandon announced to me that we had given birth to a baby girl, and Nadene handed her to me.

We held her uninterrupted for more than an hour. The baby nurse then took her only five feet away to weigh, measure, and bathe her. She was 8 pounds 8 ½ ounces and 21 inches long. We named her Eden Blythe.

I could not have had a more wonderful, beautiful birth experience if I had written it myself. It was such a supernatural experience. Brandon said and did all of the right things at the right times. He was a wonderful coach and partner (and he still managed to take some fabulous photos!) My doula, Shirley, was great, as well. She really empowered me to trust my body during a very powerful event. My midwife, Nadene, just let me do my own thing and labor. She was exactly how I envisioned a midwife should be. When the situation became a bit more urgent, she was matter of fact and told me exactly what I had to do.

I praise the Lord for the miracle of life and for the way He allowed me to bring this new little one into the world. God is so good!

Now our little Eden is almost 8 months old (this Friday), and she is so much fun! She is still breastfed and eats some solid food. She crawls and pulls up to stand. She is starting to cruise around some of the furniture as well! She says "da-da" and signs "more", "fan", and "milk".

We love being parents, and look forward to having more little blessings in the future!

My first post!

Well, I should start by telling you a little bit about me!  I am Amy, wife to Brandon and mama to sweet Eden (our almost 8 month old daughter) and 2 boxers named Ali and Boomer.  

It's always fun to share with folks about our life, the normal day-to-day and the fun happenings.  I guess this will be my feeble attempt.