On Patience and Letting Go

Dear London,

I have said it before and I will say it again- you are my biggest adventure. 

My biggest life lesson.

My biggest lesson on patience.

My biggest teacher on learning to let go of control.

On Monday morning we had a scheduled appointment for a non-stress test to make sure you were doing well and staying healthy at 41 weeks. They hooked me up to the monitor with one strap monitoring your heart beat and another strap to monitor me and record any contractions. They strapped me up and left me and your dad in the room for 30 minutes while we listened to your sweet little heart beat. While we were listening, I noticed that my stomach was for lack of better words, balling up and moving up high. I thought that was you trying to get away and move up from the heart monitor because you always seem to wiggle away when they listen to you. I remember exclaiming to your Dad how intense it felt and how strange it was for you to move up like that. Every time “you moved” the line on my monitor would shoot up like a mountain. When the midwife came back in, she looked at the print out of the test and said “Girl, you are contracting!”. I looked at your Dad in disbelief and laughed. I wasn’t in any pain, it was just extremely uncomfortable and weird feeling. The midwife needed to monitor us a little longer so she once again left the room. While she was gone, I begun to recognize the rhythm of the pressure waves and they seemed to be getting more and more intense. Once she came back in, she asked if I would like to be checked (for dilation) and I agreed. She declared that I was 50% effaced and 2cm dilated, almost 3. I was a little disappointed by that but glad that there was some change since the last time I was there. She asked if I wanted my membranes swept to encourage more dilation and said that since I was already contracting that this would be a good time to try to kick things into gear. I agreed once again and almost immediately regretted it. I was not expecting the extreme amount of pain that followed. I had not prepared my mind for it. I had read up on the procedure before and it was described as a gentle sweeping of the bags of water from the cervix. I thought it would feel much like a dilation check. I was very wrong. It tried breathing through it but totally forgot to turn to my hypnosis because it happened so quickly. I quickly began doubting that if getting my membranes swept was this bad that there was no way I could give birth to a big ole’ baby! Once she left the room, I crumbled into your Dad’s arms and cried. Partly, because I was in a lot of pain but mostly because I felt like I had already failed and surrendered to a medicated birth.

He reminded me that I didn’t use my hypnotherapy and that I was contracting while she was sweeping my membranes. He gave me a major pep talk and reassured me that I could still do this and be true to my birth plan and hypnobabies method. That Dad of yours, is true knight in shining armor.

By the time we got the car in the parking lot, my pressure waves were so very intense and I knew I wouldn’t be able to drive home. (Your Dad and I drove separately because he was supposed to go to work straight after.) I wasn’t even ready to be driven home; the thought of riding passenger while these pressure waves were going on was unbearable. So your Dad and I sat in the car for a good 30 minutes and waited to see what would happen. Finally, I realized we just needed to get home so that I could stretch out and get more comfortable. So off we went, and by the time I got home the pressure waves were still consistent but not as intense. I soaked in the tub for a while and listened to my hypnobabies tracks and instantly felt relaxed and calm. I really begin to enjoy the fact that I could identify when a pressure wave was starting and when it started to roll away. It gave me confidence that I could anticipate them and get into the rhythm of them. I also got excited because I really felt that you were coming soon.

This went on for hours and hours. I moved around and practiced different positions but I was surprisingly most comfortable when I was laying on my back. I felt like I could focus better and control my deep breathing better. The intensity of the pressure waves varied. There were waves of very intense, long pressure waves, sometimes coming in 2 at a time- before one would dissolve another surge would rush in. Those were especially exhausting because I didn’t get to rest in between them. Others would be weaker and not as long. Around 4:45 I noticed them coming in quicker and more intense. They were a minute or less apart and lasting about 3 minutes. That’s when I told your Dad to go ahead and pack up the remaining toiletries because I felt like the real deal was going to happen. I wanted to make sure that this was in fact the real deal so we waited a couple more hours and kept track with pressure waves. They remained the same rhythm and so we called my Mom and let her know that she probably should head our way because we were thinking about going to the hospital soon. Your Dad was great about calling the midwives and communicating what was happening. Once Mum Mum got there, my pressure waves had reached a new intensity and the pressure and sensations were no longer confined to my abdomen but ran all the way into my legs and were rolling in quicker. My Mom and Lucas knew it was time to go and without saying anything Lucas left the bedroom and called the midwives and I broke down in tears. I cried not because of the intensity I was feeling but because I allowed fear to creep in- I was nervous for what was to come and in my mind I knew it was time to go to the hospital.

The midwife told us to come on over so she could check me to see if I had dilated since that morning. So in record time, we all calmly got in the car. Your Mum-Mum sat behind me and massaged my shoulders and hummed which kept me calm and collected and I continued to listen to my Hypnobabies tracks. We checked into Triage and I was pretty disappointed in how we were handled. I was told that I was already pre registered since I was a midwife patient and that all I would have to do is let them knew who I was. That was far from the case. I barely could focus enough to fill in the form and then a gruff man that wreaked of smoke begrudgingly led me through a series of electronic forms to sign. This is not what I expected and standing through my pressure waves while trying to be conscience enough to sign my name a million times was proving to be difficult. I was then led by a nurse to my room in Triage where she asked me to put on a hospital gown. I had decided a long time ago to wear my own clothes for various reasons- self empowerment, not feeling like a sick patient, comfort and I didn’t want my ass to be hanging out when I wanted to walk the hallways. The nurse immediately was taken a back from my request (I asked if I could wear my own dress) and she told me it would be easier if I wore the gown. The usual passive Sydney would have relented and would have put on the gown to avoid conflict, but Mama Bear Sydney came out and I looked her in the eye and politely told her that I would be more comfortable wearing my own clothes. She again was taken aback by my assertiveness but didn’t challenge me about it again. I surprised myself a bit but was glad that something in me was able to communicate my needs. Mum Mum and your Dad were not happy how I was treated by the Triage staff either but all became better once the Midwife and Midwife student came in. I was totally reassured by their peacefulness, genuine concern and communication. The mood of the entire room changed and I knew I was in good hands. They monitored us both again with the non stress test and I continued to have pressure waves, though they seemed to be dwindling in intensity. The midwife checked my dilation and I was still at a 2. I knew then, that this wasn’t real labor because the 8 hours of pressure waves hadn’t caused me to dilate. They asked me to walk the hallways for a hour and come back to be checked again to see if there was any change. I accepted then and there that I would be sent home and didn’t think walking the hallways was necessary but I followed their advice for good measure. Once the nurse and midwives left the room, my Mom commented on how different the attitudes of the triage staff were compared to my midwives- she said she could tell the midwives genuinely loved what they did and were passionate about it whereas my nurse seemed to be just counting down the hours to her paycheck. It definitely was a night and day difference and who knows, maybe I came in at the end of a shift change and she had had a long day but nonetheless, I was thankful and reassured by my decision to be cared for by the midwives.

Your Dad and Mum Mum walked around the hallways for a hour with me while I stopped and breathed through pressure waves. I could feel them lighten and roll in further a part. We got a good idea of the layout of the 4th floor though and peeked in a few of the postpartum rooms. When the hour was up we went back and I was checked again and just as I had expected, there was no change but she did say that your head had come down further. She said that she recommended a sleeping pill so that I could get some rest and sleep through the pressure waves so that if real labor was to start, I would be well rested. She also ordered me to eat a meal since I had only snacked on little things all day. So, I agreed to the sleeping pill and we stopped and ate before we headed home. Once my head hit the pillow, I was out and only got up a couple of times (compared to the 5 or 6 times I usually have to go) to use the restroom. When I woke that morning, the pressure waves had gone and I knew I had officially been faked out. Mum Mum had stayed the night in case labor was pending so she decided to stay with me the entire day and go walking with me to try to jump start things again.

So off to the Franklin Square we went and we walked and walked and walked. It was unbearably hot so once we walked the entire down town of Franklin, we decided to walk in the cool air of the Cool Springs Mall. Again, we walked and walked and walked until I could walk no more. We headed home where we both crashed and took a nap. Your Dad took the day to spend with Gramps (his Dad) and his cousin. I was glad he was able to have some guy time after being so involved and hard working the day before. Once he came home Mum Mum decided it was time for her to head back home and told us to call her if she needed to turn around. I knew you wouldn’t come last night.

As we laid down to go to sleep last night, you became more active than I have ever felt you before. Your movement as of late has slowed down and changed because the lack of room but last night I suppose you decided to test your confines. You kicked me hard and dug into my ribs and pelvis and it felt as if you were beating me up from the insides. At times, I yelped out loud because of your aggressiveness. Your Dad couldn’t believe how wildly you were moving and how you made my stomach contort every which way. This continued for quite some time and there was no way you were going to let me sleep. Thankfully, you settled down and I must have crashed. I woke up this morning feeling defeated and feeling the time constraint of your impending medical induction.

2 more days. 

I never ask for prayer but last night as your were practicing kick boxing, I called out in a lonely Facebook status for prayer that you would come on your own.

strongly want nothing to do with a scheduled induction for so many reasons. I really don’t want to start medical induction that could very well lead to the downward hill of many interventions. More than anything, I do not want Pitocin because of it’s many horrible side effects to baby and Mom. And with Pitocin, natural pain free labor is nearly impossible and I have prepared and prepared to have you naturally because I really believe it is what is best for us. I do not judge anyone who has gone the medicated route one bit. For some, it is the best way to go for their situation. I do not want others to think that I think I’m some how above medical intervention because if it comes to it then I will have to submit and let go. It won’t be easy for me, especially since I feel so passionate about letting nature take its course but I will trust my guidance from the midwives and our carers. I just want to give you the best possible start to life- I realize how important that is. I also realize that there are completely wonderful and healthy moms and babies born every day that under go medical intervention. In fact, the majority of American moms and babies do.

Letting go of the control is just a very difficult lesson for me to go through. If your anything like me, you will come to these mountains and have to face them too. Right now, it’s hard for me to see the peak but I’m trying to let go and trust. For someone who doesn’t believe that “everything happens for a reason” it’s hard to hear the comments that this is all God’s plan. I don’t sign up to the theology that everything is predetermined and we are just puppets on a string being played out by some god. I believe God exists and lives within each of us and when we recognize this we become active participants of bringing forth the Kingdom of God on Earth. Ultimately, it is our decisions and the way we live our lives that cultivates the love of God in our communities and homes and makes God alive and real. So, at times, it’s very hard for me to just be side lined and say God’s plan will prevail. I do understand though, that there is a balance to be found. That although it is I who can directly accept the God in me to live through my life and callings, that I also must submit to the Spirit’s whisper, quietness and calm. Because I am a go-getter and I push to make things happen, I have to be so intentional about allowing God to move within me rather than trying to make God move. It’s my stubborn nature that gets in the way of being patient and letting myself go to God’s spirit and I already see my stubbornness in you. Your poor Dad has no chance!

So as I’m learning one of the hardest life lessons, I see and feel the God in me more than ever. I recognize the phrase “Namaste” which means the God in me sees the God in you in a completely new and deeper way. I understand better that the God in you is already cultivating a deeper relationship to the God that lives in me and is challenging me to be more receptive of the God spark that resides in each of us.

My dear little one (although the midwife estimates that you will be at least 9 pounds of wonderfulness!), I hope your Dad and I and our community as a whole allows you to cultivate the God spark within you in the way that you can relate to and understand. I hope we can find the balance of not forcing our views and beliefs on you but give you the tools, confidence and curiosity to pursue your own truth.  I hope you don’t allow your stubbornness hinder your opportunities to love deeper, understand better and trust within. But if you do, I hope that when the real hard life lessons present themselves, you choose to let go and be patient with yourself and others and allow yourself to learn.

Whether you come on your own, or medical induction becomes necessary, I know that I will have my sweet London June in my arms by this weekend and that gives me great joy and victory.

I thank God that you are my greatest adventure, my biggest joy and my best teacher. 

See you soon little one,

Mom xo

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On Letting Go: When Joy & Sorrow Meet

Dear sweet girl,
    This week is proving to be an ongoing lesson that I’m learning to navigate as I go. This week I am learning how to let go.
Letting go of a soul who loved, breathed, created, laughed, danced, sang, painted, advocated, shared, cooked, traveled.
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This week death swept over us and in doing so we have had to learn how to grieve and find our new normal. I am still unsure how to grieve and mourn. This is my first close family death. Up until now, I’ve been protected in a bubble from this type of pain. I’m trying to grieve healthily because I’m all too aware of how I tend to suppress negative emotions to protect myself. When I didn’t cry immediately hearing the news, I was worried I was going down the wrong path. Your Dad told me the news and I didn’t respond at all. It wasn’t until we were on our way to my Mom’s house and we stopped for gas that she swept over me. Your dad got out to pump gas and when it was then, when I was left by myself for a few quiet moments that the pain of her loss swept over. I had to let go and cry. In a way, I was relieved because I knew that I wasn’t going down my normal path of suppressing my pain but revealing and accepting it. I allowed the hurt to soak in and I allowed myself to miss her.
I called her Granny Boo.
Oh, how I miss her. I hurt because I know that her perfume won’t linger in our house days after she would leave like it used to. I hurt because I won’t be able to sassily banter back and forth with her anymore or hear her opinions or her laughter. I will miss her little canister of lip balm that she always carried with her and applied it to any type of ailment. I will miss her sass, the kind that everyone claims I got a full dose of. I will miss her cooking and her creativity. I will miss how she always put on gloves to pump her diesel in her oversized truck. Most of all, I will miss that she won’t meet or hold you in this life time.
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The last time I saw her was about a week ago and in a way she did meet you. I showed her your ultrasound picture and she shook her head like she just couldn’t believe it. She reached out to my tummy, to you, and rubbed it…I kept finding her doing that the entire time I stood by her hospital bed. Although she didn’t speak at the end of her life, she acknowledged you and I knew she understood. I knew she was frustrated that she couldn’t share in the excitement. I know she can share fully in her excitement now that she is free from the hospitals, medicines and surgeries.

She is free from it all and I’m glad because none of that suited who she was.

I share all of this with you because one day death will sweep over you and you will have to learn how to mourn and grieve in your own way. It might not look like how I grieve or the way the person next to you grieves. Please recognize though, that tears are good and holy healing filled droplets. Welcome them. Allow yourself to be vulnerable enough to feel the pain that comes with loss. Don’t allow yourself to stay in the pain though for joy comes in the morning. I learned all of this later than I should have and I’m still learning how to peel back the layers I have created over the years. Pain and joy are necessary in this life and when we learn to cultivate and intermingle them together, we truly live. We see the face of God a bit clearer. A bit closer.
I love you London June and I know Granny Boo does too.
Loving you through the pain & the joy,
Mom

Week 18.

Dear Blueberry,

My immune system died. So puny.

BUT I just don’t care.

I’ve come to accept it and I’ve become a pro at nursing my illnesses.

I took 4 whole days off of work because of my viral infection and stayed in bed the entire time.

I don’t know the last time I’ve ever done that.

[Major strugglefest]

But I’m on the mend.

During my bed ridden times I researched all natural remedies and I think I’m becoming more and more hippyish by the second.

I’m learning a lot about the dangers of modern medicine and how we have a lot of healthy, natural medicines at our finger tips.

So, Im drinking Elderberry syrup like it’s going out of style to help build my immune system and curb the chance of another bug/viral infection.

DETERMINED.

On Saturday, I drug myself out of bed to attend a mandatory training class for a world church conference I am a voting delegate for. I was miserable and there was no way of hiding it. During the midst of training a very dear church family member (he married your Dad & I) came up to me and whispered something in my ear. He said he could see I was feeling awful and wanted to remind me that if I wanted to be anointed with oil and prayed for I could. This is one of our church’s sacraments and it’s something a lot of churches don’t do and I’m so glad our church upholds this holy act found in scripture. I have only ever been anointed once when I was in third grade and struggling with major health issues. I was passing out a lot in the middle of class and went through a lot of different specialists and tests to basically come back with no answers. When I look back, I think I had anxiety attacks mixed with a vitamin overdose. I took a bottle of Flinstone vitamins and ate all of them and didn’t tell anyone until years later after I saw a documentary about how a kid had done the same and suffered the same type of symptoms I did. (In my defense they tasted like candy and were shaped like Flinstone characters- yum!) ANYWAYS, I remember there being something very special about being anointed with oil and prayed for. That’s all I really remember…and the fact that I wasn’t fond of how the oil made my hair look. This time, I realized how special and holy it was to me. I don’t think it is a magical wave of a wand that is meant to make me all better. Instead, it reminded me of the deep love and care my Maker has for little ole me. It reminded me that in our weakest moments, God forces us to ask for help from others. It reminded me how good community is. It reminded me that to see God, I had to become my most vulnerable. Did that prayer heal me of my illnesses? No. It did something much bigger. It soaked my soul in holiness, hope, community, dependence, humility and restoration.

And, in a way it did make me feel “better”. I’m now strong enough to move on, even in my physical state, to love others deeper, wider and stronger. It forced me to get over it and look at a much wider perspective.

and then there’s you. you have given me the greatest joy this week. the type of joy all the moms that have gone before me have told me as I was head over toilet, throwing up and asking “what have i gotten myself into?!” “but it’s so worth it” they would smugly say. “you’ll forget about all of this when the baby is here” i would weakly nod my head and subconsciously roll my eyes because those words only tease me in the here and now of the struggle. but you, blueberry show me a glimpse that speaks much louder than their good hearted comforts. you have been busily dancing away in my tummy- wild enough that i can feel you through out the day. in odd places where i just cant wrap my mind around what’s going on inside of me while i order coffee or get a root canal. its a bizarre and wonderful sensation. like a special secret that i only know about. the kind you really want to loudly proclaim but can’t because your best friend swore you to secrecy. you twirl and twist and oddly im much more at home with the feeling than i previously thought i would be. you surprise me daily. you’re moving as i type this, connecting me to my thoughts and screen scribbles in a new way. your dad is overly jealous and anxious to feel you more than ever. so impatient, that dad of yours. bless him. as he was trying to find your heartbeat on the doppler, you surprised the both of us with your 1st big kick. with a loud “POP!” to the doppler, your dad’s eyes almost popped out of his head. he spent the better part of the night trying to recreate the moment, pressing on my belly, trying desperately to entice you to strike back. you played hard to get and he sulked back to his side of the bed, defeated. already working him. totally whipped. warms my heart so much. 

18 weeks

we then proceeded to watch unreasonable amounts of YouTube videos of babies moving around inside mama bellies. we were equally traumatized and in awe by the experience.

The music is so dramatic.

 

Love you.

Mom

On Climbing the Mountain Top and Falling Back Down (16 Weeks)

Dear blueberry, 

After the dental horror, I had a few days of pure pregnancy bliss. No morning sickness, no pain and to top it all we had a glimpse of Spring weather. I wore a blouse that was comfortable and flattering and I felt good for the first time in a while. 

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I felt so good that when my dance family invited me for dinner and a cozy night in, I said “HECK YES!”. Oh, it was so good for my soul and I hope you heard our laughter and their voices. I hope you get to know and love these ladies as I do. We talked about the nature of God and questioned the real stuff of life and in the same wind we laughed about vaginas and all things inappropriate. We cursed ex-boyfriends and cried over heart break together. We rejoiced healing and restoration of health. We ate a ridiculous amount of steamed broccoli and linguini. We loved on each other and tried to soak in our togetherness. May you find a community that makes your soul dance just as these ladies have mine. I hope you get to know them as your Dance Aunts; they are so excited and curious about you! 

These past days have been mountain top experiences- some of the best I’ve felt since you came down from the heavens. I relished in them and praised God. 

The past two days, however, have been rough and I felt as if I had fallen into the valley again. I got really sick again which really felt frustrating. I thought my “morning” sickness was back and I wasn’t ready to welcome it again. 

This morning your Dad and I went to my 2nd pre-natal visit for our 16 week appointment. We got to hear your heart beat again and she said you sounded great! Going in, I was so worried that she was going to tell me that I had gained too much weight too fast. I have felt so insecure about my growing bump. When I asked her how much I gained, she told me that I had actually lost one pound since my first pre-natal visit. I was completely shocked- I still am! It’s hard to believe because it really does look as if I have gained at least 5 pounds! She said that was because you have moved higher and closer to the front of my tummy and that my uterus is the size of a melon! Crazytown. She said that losing wasn’t all that bad and probably due to me being so sick. She said that we just needed to try to focus on gaining a pound a week for a while. Hopefully, I can keep some food down so that you are getting all the nutrients you need. I have been putting down some kale smoothies and lots of veggies and fruit. I’m not backing down, either! We also scheduled our first ultrasound for 19 weeks (just 3 weeks away!) to determine your gender. Miss London June or Mr. Finley Monroe? We will know and celebrate who you are with family and close friends by hosting a gender reveal party. Because, everyone knows this mama likes to host a good party! You are worth celebrating. 

I am so blessed by you whether I’m standing mountain top in this journey or deep in the valley, because with you, I’m never alone. You reside right inside of me, reminding me of how important this new calling to be a mother is. Residing in both of us, is the the Spirit that whispers “You are enough” which gives my heart rest and deep comfort. Every time I hear your heart beat or feel your flutter, my heart soars to new places and gives me hope for new life. I value both my times on the mountain and in the valley because it’s shaping me into the mother you need. I’m very aware that I’m creating with God and it’s at times intimidating. Most of all, it is glorious and dance-worthy.  

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You are truly my biggest adventure. 

Love, Mom 

Shining Light on Honesty & Doubt

Dear baby,
Today I come with honesty and struggle. I woke up at 4am with a stunning migraine and didn’t go back to sleep until 8 and then slept for another hour. The migraine persisted through out the day so I laid in the bedroom, curtains drawn, covered in blankets. I thought about crying but knew that would aggravate my head even more. So, I laid there for hours alone with nothing but my migraine, my thoughts and you.

Fear crept in.

For the first time in my pregnancy I had a moment of thinking “What am I doing, what have I gotten myself into, am I really ready for this, for you?” Even though I’ve yearned for you for some time, I never expected to get pregnant so soon. After we told everyone, a common response was “You’ve only been married a year?! Wow!” I have suppressed that sting of judgement but it all surfaced today when I rested in silence. The reason that response stings is because it lifts the veil and shine lights on my own self doubt.

Is this too soon? Are we ready? Have we had enough time as a married couple before we bring you into our lives?

I can try to justify and defend myself when people respond with that scary reminder that your dad and I have built a very strong relationship for six years in the making. But the fact of the matter is that there will always be someone judging someone for whatever reason. What I have to focus on is not the responses and judgment of others but of my own self judgment and self worth. I need to remind myself that God is in the midst of my fear and struggle- both physically and mentally and that this is now a part of my story. Struggles, fear and the joy of it all. The Glory.

I could write letters to you that only shared the positive and exciting things but I would be robbing you from the fact that life needs suffering and joy. Labor will truly be an example- my suffering will bring joy (you) into the world. When Jesus gave his entire life and ministry to the ones suffering around him, he labored tirelessly. In doing so, he brought life and joy into the world. People ridiculed judged and eventually murdered him. It was there on the cross, that he faced doubt- “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” It was there on the cross, where he gave us permission to question and hold our suffering and doubt to the light. No longer, do we have to pretend that everything is okay and going well. We had been freed to be honest with our hearts.

My dear baby, I hope you learn this sooner than I did. I hope you know it is okay to question your faith and your thoughts. I hope you know that I will love you no matter what you believe or how you believe it.

I hope you truly know and feel loved. Always. I pray your Dad and I do a good job making sure you do.

So, even in my struggle and doubt please know that I want and love you through it all. I have days where I feel so prepared to be your Mom and then I have days like today where I swim in doubt. And yet, you are a part of me now and a part of our story.

Love you always,
Mom