Karasi's Birth Story

June 25th, 2013 – Mozambican Independence Day – Karasi’s birthday. I was 39wks and we had decided to induce for various reasons. My friend Lauren arrived at 7am to watch Anaya and Jovie and Jon and I headed out the door a few minutes later to arrive at the hospital at 8am.

When we got there, I got started with a little paperwork and a CTG to monitor Karasi’s heart, while Jon got all the admission and payment stuff worked out up front. The cervix softener (1/4 of a pill) was placed at about 8:30am – I was soft and favorable, but not at all dilated. I had to stay lying down for 30 minutes, so Jon grabbed us some croissants from the cafĂ© and we chatted it up. After thirty minutes had passed, we headed home to await some action.

As with my other two inductions, I felt a little crampy, but nothing note worthy for a few hours. Around 1pm, I started having light consistent contractions. I started walking around the house as I chatted with Lauren and Jon and doing some squats and other little exercises, hoping to encourage the process. I had some worship music playing and all seemed very relaxed. I felt as though things were going slower than my other labors, which was a little frustrating. Jon fell asleep reading on the couch, so I told him to go lay down until 3, and we would reevaluate progress.

Around 2:30-2:40 I felt like I was having longer contraction closer together, so Lauren helped me time. Sure enough, they were 45 seconds or so about 2-3 minutes apart. They were not terribly strong, but that is how it happened with Jovie, so I told Jon we should go ahead and head to the hospital soon.

We casually got ready and drove to the hospital. I could tell my contractions had slowed down in the car from sitting, and I was feeling a little frustrated again. We got in around 3:30pm and got all set up in our room. The nurse did another CTG and then checked my cervix. I was 2-3cm. UGH! She said she’d call my doctor to give her an update, and I hit the hall walking up and down an incline, hoping to speed things up. Jon came along and we laughed and discussed the abstract art on the walls.

My nurse came out and said that my Dr. said I could take another ¼ of a pill, but this time under my tongue. I popped it in and kept walking some. I was starting to feel tired, so Jon and I headed back to the room to labor some in there with other small exercises. I was concerned about wearing myself before it was time to push.

My Dr. came by around 4:30 or 5 and checked me – I was 4cm. UGH! Jovie was born at around 5:30pm and Anaya around 6pm, and it seemed clear to me that Karasi would be arriving later; I did not want to have her in the middle of the night! Plus I was already feeling a bit tired. My Dr. said she could feel my water and asked if I wanted her to break it. Yes. If it would speed things up – yes! I had had my water broke with Jovie and it wasn’t too bad and definitely got things moving. So she broke it, and while uncomfortable, it was not horrible.

Even though it was a holiday, my Dr. said she wouldn’t leave because she knew me and if she left there would be a chance she wouldn’t make it in time for the delivery, and she didn’t want that. She is awesome. She also knew I liked laboring with an exercise ball, but noticed I didn’t have mine. I explained that it had gotten holes sometime and I hadn’t gotten a new one. The hospital had one, so she shouted for one of the nurses to get it for me. Ah! I love those things.

Within minutes I could tell my contractions were stronger. Jon and I kept chit chatting about random things like Myspace, keeping me nice and distracted. I put the ball on the bed and draped my arms over it. I could’ve fallen asleep! My Dr. stopped by and felt my tummy through a contraction and agreed they were good contractions. I kept laboring for awhile and then the doctor came by again to get my IV port placed for the delivery room and well as give me medicine called Buscopan typically used for stomach cramps; she thought it may help relax my cervix. She checked me again and I was 7cm. She offered that if I wanted to push with the next contraction, she could stretch my cervix a bit, but it’d be painful. I agreed as I just wanted to get things going and be done with it, since as time wore on, I was feeling more tired. It was painful but she said I was then an 8-9. Lots of fluid was coming out at the point, so I kept doing my swaying and squatting over a sheet on the floor.

My Dr. said to just keep it up and let her know when I had the urge to push. She stayed in the room and the three of us talked away, while I’d pause and get through a contraction. This part of labor is not the hard part for me. Around 6:15-6:20pm it was time to go to the delivery room.

We got in there, directed them about how I like the table, leaned up almost to a sitting position, and then I hopped on the table. Jon took my “About to push” smiling pic that is now a tradition. I remember swinging my legs off the end of the table and joking with the Dr. that I didn’t want stitch or hemorrhoids and that it was HER job. Everything seemed happy and relaxed, until she told me, “Okay, put you feet up.” Nope. I don’t know if I remembered pushing Jovie, which wasn’t long and I didn’t tear much, but something made me panic. I didn’t want to do it anymore. I was asking the Dr. if Karasi was right there, if I was definitely 10cm, telling her that I didn’t want to push long. She assured me everything was ready I just had to push her out. As she felt the head, I told her to get her fingers out of me that she was hurting me. She told me push with the next contraction.

Somewhere inside I summoned the will power and decided I wanted it over, so I pushed. And I pushed. And my Dr. told me I need to stop and take a breath, but I didn’t want to I just wanted to do the thing and get her out. After 5-10 minutes max, out she came – 6:40pm. Once the head was out, which burned like crazy, she told me to stop and she’d do the rest. Turns out Karasi had her arm across her chest and up by her head. (We weren’t sure until the next day, but thankfully her collarbone didn’t break.) Suddenly there she was, my little Karasi, all blue-ish and covered in vernix, but right there in my arms. It was over. They took her to clean her up and I looked right at my Dr. and said THAT was NOT fun. Ha!

I don’t know if it was the position of her arm, or how quick the end of labor was, or what, but not all of the fluid exited her lungs upon birth, resulting in lots of suctioning and oxygen over about an hour time, but she was fine and breastfed well as soon as we got to our room. 

Welcome Karasi Nitara! We love you!

My friend

Like nearly every afternoon I furl my colorful capulana high in the air letting it come to rest upon the perfect patch of grass in my backyard, diaper bag hung across my shoulders - full of toys to appease the smallest, and that very small one balanced just so on my hip as I straighten the corners and holler a "Go away!" to the big stinky dog and "Just a minute!" to my oldest.

Somewhere nearby she sits, thin line coiled and resting next to her while her perfection of crotchet work lays delicately across her lap and her hook in hand continually weaving beauty. One of her two shawls, either the light pink or sky blue, will be draped around her neck, and while usually leaving one remaining length draped over her missing breast, around us it isn't so important, so it may be flailed to the back exposing her tumor, reminding me that my dear friend is not well.

Slowly as the weeks pass and we spend leisurely mornings and afternoons together and I learn more of her and of her story - the good and the bad. But isn't that all of us? Isn't that knowing someone.

She stands hunched over, gripping the tiny hand of my youngest teaching her how to walk, encouraging her efforts and excitingly giving praise to small victories. She sings 'Happy Birthday' to the older one so she won't be sad it isn't her birthday coming up and claps joyously at the end so she might feel the extra attention.

She sits on my couch discouraged she had to take her medication again and reminds me she's handed it to God and He can heal when He is ready - her faith never wavering. I sit across from her wondering if and when we should talk about death... again.

I convince myself it is nobility that wants her to go home and spend her last days with her family, while in all honesty it is probably more motivated by fear and dread of having to walk that road with her. I hope there is truly a mix of the two. I do hope she gets to teach her own grandchild that is due in a few weeks how to walk. Maybe I will be wrong. I would love for her to laugh her big laugh in my face and shag her finger at me how I didn't believe enough. I'd love that.

So glad that she and I have one thing in common - we know we serve a powerful God and we know He is ultimately in control.

And so we wait on Him.

Going-Ons in My Heart

I started Angela Thomas's Bible Study Brave toward the end of January. It has been good. Short homework with good truths. This week was on discipline. I joked with the ladies in my study that they may want to work out once or twice before starting the week, just to feel OK about pushing through.

Here's the deal. I have a hard time being super consistent with studying the Word. Since having babies and being pregnant I just feel tired a lot, and rarely feel like running to grab something to study when I do get a quiet moment. Usually I want quite the opposite - mindless activity. Mind you, the Lord has been incredibly gracious to me during this season and teaches me and whispers to me throughout the chaos and the beauty of motherhood.

Still I found myself jotting down my list of areas in need of discipline and studying the Word easily went to the top of my list of needs. Angela reminds us during this week that our battle against being undisciplined is spiritual, not a matter of will. She uses the verses in Romans 8:26-27 that talks about the Spirit interceding for the saints according to the will of God. I found comfort in turning this area over to the Spirit and asking Him to grow this desire within me and not trying to conjure up a particular routine to follow and fail at.

My Mom brought me a couple of devotionals when she came. I am pretty behind on the swing, but on Monday I started Ann Voskamp's One Thousand Gifts devotional. I wanted to. It called to me. Wouldn't you know, it is shaking me up. Because I found such joy in my new habit of expressing thankfulness, I felt prompted to share with a few ladies I am close to at the hospital. I do believe that there is freedom in thankfulness, and as Ann suggest perhaps that is where we find peace. I want that for those ladies at the hospital. I want that for me. After talking with them and seeing their interest, I went out and bought 3 of the ladies journals and pens and then came home and made them as fancy and beautiful as I could. I took them back, and they too are starting a list of thankfulness.

Some things from my list:

A husband who works hard with his hands
Listening to Jovie's babbling in the early morning
Listening to Anaya as she makes up stories
Hot coffee and rusks
My husband's heart for adoption

I could go on and on. Things I'd become numb to. Things of daily life that are worthy of giving thanks to God, the giver of all things good. And do  you know what? I am finding joy there. Anaya was telling me about some flowers she saw today, and I asked her if she thought we should thank Jesus for those and how good they smell. I prayed out loud right then. I want to raise children of thanks, who know Who gives good gifts. Everyday.

And so, since Monday, I believe the Spirit of God has been stirring up a hunger inside. A hunger for knowing Him - right now found in gratefulness.

Felt Like a Failure

Post holidays and our trip up north, I found myself in a funk. I was tired in a weary sort of way, not necessarily in a 'need to sleep' kind of way, though I am sure that could have been attributed as well. I was grouchy and snappy by the end of everyday. Jovie had been especially clingy and especially fussy. I had wanted to be more purposeful about learning activities with Anaya in the new year, but it hadn't happened. Instead our home had been invaded by mice and pooped all over, I felt like I was allowing my family to live in filth, while I just couldn't managed the deep cleaning that needed to be quick enough. My husband had not had near the attention he deserved, and yet I just couldn't muster any energy up.

I felt like a failure.

I had organized a girls' night out with a couple of friends, which hadn't happened in about 9+ months. Needless to say, I was super excited. That afternoon, before going out, in the most loving and concerned way, my husband brought up my condition. He couldn't have done it any better than he did.

What I felt? I must have been failing big time. He noticed and could feel it. I told him, through tears, I needed to process and we could chat later.

I went to my bathroom, shut the door, and sobbed. I was weary and unable to see anyway to change my state, thus no way to stop failing. Eventually I blew my nose, wiped my face, and went back to taking care of my girls, resolved that I'd try to change something. My husband kissed me and reassured me of his love, which I knew was never failing.

That night I went out and had some of the yummiest Italian food I've eaten in my life, chatted and life about everyday nothingness, and ended with a bowl of ice cream. I felt refreshed.

When I got home, I climbed in bed with my hubby, and we chatted. I had realized it had been about a month since I had gotten together with friends or gone to the hospital to do ministry. My Bible study group had been on holiday break so I had been lacking my weekly ladies meeting and encouragement. We had taken our 2 week trip up north during that time, but it was 24/7 with the girls and Jon. 

This phase of life with babies is all consuming; it is easy to get caught up and lost amidst it all. I guess I just realized I have to be purposeful about taking breaks, socializing, and ministering. And on top of that, not feeling guilty for it! Jon always encourages me to get out more, but I place guilt on myself for leaving the girls with him, when is so happy to keep them... and happier still to have a happy wife! Since then, I've been a new person.

Update: 18wks pregnant, 23 months old, 7.5 months old... and Jon!

This pregnancy just continues to move along. My heart has grown so fond of my little Karasi and I catch myself dreaming about the fun days ahead with my three little girls. (Seriously? Pinch me! So fun!) I sometimes cannot even get my head around the fact that there will be another baby passing the afternoons with us in our living room. (Well... the whole day. Ha!) I feel so full now... surely my cup will overflow. Our family has been so blessed. I am feeling quite well with little to complain about. I get aches and pains from time to time, but I think those would probably come with or without pregnancy. I like my Tums, as indigestion visits many nights. My belly continues to bulge, and I dread the inevitable discomfort which is around the corner. Such is pregnancy though, this business of making babies. I do look forward to an extended break in the future.

Anaya is turning 2 in less than a month. We like to watch videos of her from earlier this year; boy has she changed! She is so grown up, telling me which shirt she prefers to wear, making up stories before nap time, eating on her own with her fork, passing an hour reading books on her own, etc. We are working on things like sorting buttons by color or shape, counting objects not just knowing numbers, playing 'Which one is missing' which works on her memory, and practicing very basic phonetics. I do not spend near the amount of time working with her as I would like or she would like, but I figure this is a season. She is still a little sponge, taking in everything! She wants to be just like Dada:

My Little Singer

Jovie is doing well. The last few weeks have been a little extra fussy and I found myself very tense and frustrated with her. She cut her first tooth, and I figured that must be it, until my wise hubby asked me if I was producing the same amount of milk. Jovie seemed to be super hungry and gobbling her solids ravenously. That afternoon he gave Jovie a bottle and I pumped. Oops. Not close. SO, this week we are working on boosting my supply. If we cannot remedy it, I will begin to supplement. Boo! Not what I want to do, but Jovie's health and happiness is most important. (Not to mention my sanity.) In other news, Jovie wants to stand, reach, grab for everything all day! I think she'll crawl before long, and this Mama will be happy. I think she'll enjoy some freedom and independence that way and give her best attempt to catch up with her sister.


Who is that big girl???

Jon is doing great. We have re-introduced gluten, and much to our hearts' content, we believe it is NOT the problem! We are pretty convinced it is an allergy/reaction to a group of fruits/veggies called Nightshades. Check it out if you want. Most commonly, they cause problems with joint pain and arthritis, but sometimes eczema. Go figure. Jon is currently taking an online course in computer programming and easily excelling, which is not a surprise to me. He is such a natural. Anyways, he is just getting his feet wet and we'll see what the future holds for him in that regard.

We are getting anxious for my parents to arrive on the 15th of February. AH!

There's a little update! Hope you enjoyed.

Update On the Kiddos

Anaya is 22 months old and will be turning TWO before I know it. What?! (A common Anaya-saying) She is such a blessing to Jon and me. She now knows all her colors. (Black, white, brown, yellow, orange, red, green, blue, purple, pink) Her favorite color is yellow... everything must be yellow. She counts to 12 in English and is learning to count to 10 in Portuguese. She sings most of the ABC's, but often gets out of order or decides to skip a big section. She knows more than half of her letters by recognition and an object to go with them, such as "B for baby" or "G for Gasher". She LOVES singing. She has mastered "Twinkle, Twinkle"  and "Old McDonald" which are by far her favorites and many other complete songs from our kids class. "The B-I-B-L-E" is especially cute, as is "I Love You Lord" her bedtime song that we sing to her and she now sings to baby as baby goes down for her nap. She talks and talks with a vocabulary I could no longer list. If we point to something and ask her what it is and she doesn't know, she responds with a peppy, "I don't know what that is!" And when we tell her, she likely has stored it away for good, knowing it from then on. She has begun memorizing her books, 'reading' pages at a time. She enjoys praying. Last night we were thanking Jesus for everything we saw, from birds to baby's swing. Other things she enjoys - bath-time, the sprinkler, coloring, caring for baby, rolling in the grass (a new found joy), doing dizzy in the swing, picking flowers and smelling them, climbing, jumping, etc.

Jovie is now 6 months! Time is flying with this one. She is such a funny girl and already all her own, very different from her sister. We are slowly getting to know her, which is such a cool privilege as a parent. She is my snuggle puppy and very much a Mama's girl. She would love for me to carry her on my hip all day long. She is sits fairly confidently, however, does have her occasional topple, already resulting in a few head bonks and tears. She hates her tummy, so while she is capable of rolling, prefers not to. She plays nicely with toys, now flapping her arms to make the noisy ones shake.  Everything goes to the mouth. Everything. She has totally figured out her jumperoo and goes to town in that thing, loving when you praise her. She enjoys music quite a bit. She loves to make raspberries with her mouth, spitting everywhere. I frequently hear her doing this in bed. Today is day 3 of food, and she is starting to cooperate. She is eating oatmeal with a little bit of applesauce in it. We'll introduce bananas soon. She adores any attention Anaya will give her and will laugh at the smallest action Anaya makes in her direction. She loves her. A favorite activity is chasing Anaya around the house yelling. She likes a lot Gasher and is testing his kid-proof-ness by frequently getting a firm grip on his lip. He handles it well and returns for more torture, tail wagging.

Baby #3 is growing well. I am 12 weeks now and beginning to feel more energetic and less nauseous. And Jon sings "Hallelujah" as his wife might start waking up before 8 in the morning and help with the dishes again. ;) I have a rockstar husband. We should find out the gender next month, which is always exciting. I love giving our babies names in the womb and calling them by name instead of 'baby'. I feel like we get one step closer to knowing this little resident in my tummy.

I am so blessed to be Mama to these three.


Surprise! Pregnant! Already!
Wasn't quite the plan, but I think it'll be better. Right, Lord?

 In this picture, I am not sure how I feel yet! Jovie and baby #3 will be 12.5 months apart. Ah!

These were my first faint lines. Jon kept saying, "No you're not, Layne." I have taken a million of these though, and I knew... a line is a line, faint or not.

5 tests later it was dark!

Jovie wasn't thrilled to be taking these pictures. Lol!

I've settled into the idea and here I am just about 10 weeks along. Boy my belly is showing quick this go around.

I was feeling great, a little tired, but really good until my sister and niece left... then nausea hit. So for two weeks now I've had a fairly consistent underlying nausea throughout the days, and I'm pretty pooped. Hoping in two weeks I'll start feeling my old self again. In the meantime, Jon is a rockstar hubby and dad. I couldn't do this without him!

We had an ultrasound today and the little baby was SO active, arms and legs moving, whole body bouncing. We had a hard time capturing the heartbeat to hear, much less great measurements, but my doctor hung in there and we got them. Anaya was sweet and when we heard the heartbeat she stopped, looked around, and said, "What was that?"

Here's to another healthy, happy pregnancy!