Motherhood is a lesson in stewardship 


How long can you blame postpartum hormones? Or is motherhood always this emotional?

My baby had her six month shots today. She was such a trooper that she kept trying to smile at the nurses in between her sobs because they were trying to cheer her up. This sweet little girl.

I accidentally left my house key inside when we left for her appointment this morning, so we got locked out and, of course, Jacob was out of town. As was my landlord. 

So Adeline and I spent the rest of the morning window shopping and she was so happy! She babbled and made all sorts of happy sounds in her stroller. It was overwhelmingly precious and I looked back to the days when she hated her stroller/car seat and I felt like we would never be able to leave the house and smiled. We have overcome.

Now I’m sitting in bed and she’s asleep in my arms. I’m breathing in her deep, sleepy breaths and I can’t believe that time is ticking by. I kiss her soft little cheeks (they are SO SOFT – when does that change?!) and wonder how I’m supposed to let her become an adult? Kissing her cheeks won’t feel the same. She probably won’t even let me kiss her cheeks? At least not often. And definitely not with her cradled in my arms.

Motherhood is so emotional. Every day is like holding onto your most precious, prized possession, but realizing that when morning comes she will already have changed. And she will keep changing every day after that. These sweet moments that I want to grab and never let go of are literally fleeting – here now and gone the next minute as she grows and discovers and changes. 

What a lesson in living with open hands, am I right? What God has given me doesn’t belong to me. It’s not my possession. She’s not my possession. She’s His and I’m a steward of her, for a time. 

This is the hardest lesson in stewardship I’ve experienced in my life so far. I don’t want a single second of it to pass by with my eyes glazed over. I don’t want to miss a thing. I want to be bright eyed and present and grateful because time is already moving at warp speed. 

3 months: What I hope I never forget

3 month old baby

– the way your sweet smile slowly spreads across your lips and into your eyes when you see us smiling down at you

– the way your lower lip pouts out and your cheeks puff up when you finish nursing and are drifting into dreamland

– your little wrist rolls

– the way your fingers fold around mine while you sit in your car seat or on my lap

– when you lie down for tummy time and raise your little head like a pro, swinging from left to right to check out your surroundings

– how you love it when we wipe your drool from your face, giving us a big grin every time only to replace it with more drool

– the way your little body teeters from side to side when you do your “superman” during tummy time. I am anxiously awaiting your first roll over!

– your talkative coos, groans and prolonged murmurs. You love to participate when others are talking around you!

– your morning stretches – you still love to stretch like nobody’s business when you first wake up! You make yourself as long as possible with your arms and legs straight as boards, squish your little chin down and totally change the shape of your face! It is hilarious and adorable.

– your lower lashes have started growing! It totally surprised me the other day because I hadn’t even noticed they had started, but they are peeking out! Your upper lashes are still amazingly long and curled… So pretty!!

– you love smacking your lips and sucking on them with your tongue. You’re always sucking on your lips!

– the way you push up on your legs when we hold you to our chests while we sit down. You love to stand on your legs and show off your strength!

– you still hate being in the car, but I think we’ve finally figured out you just don’t like being alone in the backseat! If mommy sits back there with you, you are so much more agreeable.

– you’ve started grasping objects and I love watching your fingers open and close while you discover.

– your preferences have changed so much since you were born! At first you liked being held cradle style at all times, then chest to chest on our shoulders and now you still like the shoulder position, but when we are sitting and holding you, you prefer to face out to see what’s going on!

Adeline, we still think you’re the bees knees. We love watching you discover the world around you and spend soooo much time repeating your funny baby sounds and faces back to you. We are so thankful to be your parents and can’t believe how quickly time is passing already. You are such a happy baby!

Returning For Me And For Her

Baby Girl Chunky Rolls

It’s been a while since I’ve showed my face in this space. It’s not that I haven’t wanted to show up – I really have. But to be honest, I have so many thoughts and emotions swirling inside me that the effort of sorting them out completely overwhelmed me, so I ran the other direction.

But now I’m sitting in bed with my second cup of coffee, listening to the steady sleepy breaths of Jacob beside me and little Adeline in her bassinet and I’m feeling so sentimental. We took her for her first sick visits at the pediatrician this week because she had conjunctivitis (pink eye). The last couple of days she has wanted to snuggle and only sleeps on us – the poor thing. But despite feeling under the weather, she is still discovering so many things!

Earlier this week, I laid her on her belly for tummy time and the little nugget blew me away! She raised her head up so high, like she’d been doing this for years, and at the same time lifted her legs in what I like to call the “superman.” I realized with a little momentum she will roll over any day now! She is also so talkative with her baby sounds these days. She loves to make sounds when we are talking, as if she is trying to be part of the conversation, too. She has started touching her thighs when she’s on her back and it won’t be long before she reaches down to realize she has feet!

She still loves sucking on her fists and when she isn’t doing that, she is sucking on her lips with her tongue. It’s funny to see her preferences change over her short little life so far. She has started to love facing out when she’s on your lap so she can see what is going on around her, and every time she is in a “sitting” position she tries to lean her weight forward…. more proof of her strengthening neck, shoulder and back muscles!

It seems like these developments happened all at once when I wasn’t looking! It really is going by so quickly, and I realized this morning that I’ve hardly documented it at all! Sure, I’ve written in her baby book calendar as she reaches these milestones, but I haven’t journaled or blogged many of the details or shared my changing feelings as a new mom.

I sat here thinking I could hardly remember her newborn days, and it has only been 3 months! I started panicking, wanting to savor those moments and realizing I hadn’t written many of my thoughts from that time… Which is why I’m here. There is so much of this motherhood journey that has already changed me, and I don’t want to miss out on remembering when those changes happened. Nor do I want to miss out on remembering Adeline’s discoveries and changes as she grows so quickly through the years.

Thankfully I shared what I hope I never forget a couple months ago, but I plan on sharing more regularly… both about Adeline and about me. While I’ve truly been living in the moment and savoring all of those moments over these months, I want to have the written memories to spark the ones in my mind once 3 more months pass and my current feelings become hazy as they are replaced with the new phase of life we are in.

So here’s to returning to the art and discipline of writing. There’s a lot I haven’t told you.

A slice of my heart in this newborn world of ours

 
Being a mom has rocked my world – little Adeline has stolen our hearts and has us eating out of her teeny tiny little hands. (You can read her birth story here!) Our lives have changed so drastically in the last three weeks, but I can’t imagine it any other way. 

Most days and nights consist largely of the same thing – feedings, sleeping in intervals and changing what feels like a million diapers – but I’ve loved every minute. 

I can’t get enough of the newborn cuddles and giggling with Jacob at all her facial expressions and noises. Watching him be a dad has transformed my world in a way I didn’t know was possible. What they say is totally true – you feel love in an entirely new and different way once you’ve had a child, and watching my husband with her is like falling in love with him over and over again. 

But truthfully, motherhood has also been incredibly hard. 

Since we are breastfeeding, I am the sole provider of food for Adeline, which means I’m at her beckon call to eat at all hours of the day and night. I’ve adjusted fairly well to the lack of sleep/increments of sleep, but I have my moments y’all. 

It’s easy to sink into bitterness in the wee hours of the morning because I have to be up whenever she needs me and Jacob does not. And, believe me, he helps so much! He gets up to change her, rock her, hold her when she just won’t sleep, etc… But the truth is, he can’t feed her (yet – I need to work on pumping so he can!). 

So in those moments I want to resent him because he can sleep or watch TV in peace, I have to choose to remember these moments are fleeting. The way she wraps her little hand around my finger and looks at me while she eats is absolutely heart-melting. I love every second of it, and these days are already numbered. 

I’m learning that parenthood is a long journey of sacrificing myself over and over again, much like marriage – but kind of harder in this sleep deprived stage at least 😉 – and I’m trying to learn to sacrifice joyfully. 

Jacob, I love you and I appreciate you so much. Thank you for dealing so patiently with my grouchy self at all hours of the day, but especially in the middle of the night. Thank you for holding her at 3am so I can sleep in peace and waking up with me all throughout the night. Thank you for the endless treks to get me water, more diapers and fresh clothes at 4am. You are an awesome dad and a sweet husband. 

Adeline, I love you, too, sweet girl. And I’m so grateful for all the cuddly moments we get together and I hope you’ll let that continue for a long time. I love being your mama and am incredibly grateful that God gifted you to us in this life. I plan on soaking up every waking moment with you and cheering you on as you discover who you are. You are beautiful, baby girl. 

Glimpses of Adeline’s Nursery

IMG_NurseryNurseryNursery MobileNurseryNursery Gallery WallNurseryNurseryNursery Dresser NurseryNursery Changing TableNurseryNursery

This room is by far my favorite in our house. When decorating I try to keep things from being too girly since I share the place with my husband, who isn’t the biggest fan of florals and fluffy pillows, but this room gave me full permission to girl it up. 😉

This room has been many things so far – a guest room, an office when I worked at home for my previous job, a storage space for instruments and music/office for my current job, etc. And although its primary purpose is now a nursery, we didn’t want to lose the space as a guest room because our families live so far from us. It’s always been important to have spaces for them to stay when they visit! Thankfully it’s a pretty big room, so Adeline still gets to have most of it to herself!

I hunted for the perfect dresser for quite some time… and by hunted, I mean literally looked everywhere for the perfect piece that didn’t break the bank. I got this dresser, nightstand, “let’s have an adventure box,” horse wall art and bookshelf from The Robin’s Egg, an awesome local antique home decor store that I scour pretty much weekly for new finds.

The changing table is my old desk, disguised by Duck Egg Blue Annie Sloan chalk paint – something I’d been wanting to do for ages but had put off because I was intimidated. For all of you wannabe furniture painters out there, do it! It was soo easy, especially with the help of some friends :). I still need to do the final waxing piece to finish it off (thanks Adeline for surprising us so early!!), but it looks great as is until I get it done.

Those same amazing friends helped me take the leap into making my own curtains!! And by helping me take the leap, I mean basically doing it for me. Thanks again, guys!! I ordered the fabric from Fabric.com (exact print here) and my lovely friend Angela spent several hours ironing on stitch witchery to make them come to fruition! I’m so glad we went with this fun, colorful pattern. It adds so much to the space!

Finally, one of my favorite parts of the room is the rocking horse. Jacob’s grandfather made it for him after he was born and his grandma shipped it to us a couple years ago all the way from Oregon! It’s so special that Adeline will get to play on the same rocking horse her dad did, made by her great-grandpa!

Wondering where we found something?

Crib – Walmart / Mobile – The Glittered Barn / Crib sheets – handmade by friend / Curtains – Fabric.com, then handmade / Dresser, Nightstand, Bookshelf, Horse Wall Art, Let’s Have an Adventure Box – The Robin’s Egg / Bloom & Grow poster – Winsome Easel / Antlers, Pink Flower Wall Art, Shadow Box, House shaped ShelfTarget / Other frames, baskets on wall, blue drawers on dresser – HomeGoods / Rocking chair – free from church / Lamps – Goodwill / Blocks – handmade gift / Changing table (desk) – Target

Adeline’s Birth Story

Birth Story

What an experience. I’ll start off by saying that I had no idea what to expect when I went into labor, but somehow it was nothing like those expectations I “didn’t have.” 🙂 The whole time my labor was starting, I thought in the back of my mind that I might be in labor, but it didn’t seem dramatic enough: the pain wasn’t strong enough (in the beginning), there was no hard and fast sign that this was happening now, etc.

But I kind of knew it was going to happen. I woke up on Saturday, March 19th and met a friend for coffee. Jacob had been at an all-nighter with the youth group the previous night, so he had just returned home to catch some sleep and I wanted to leave the house quiet for him, so I met up with a friend for coffee before heading out to do some shopping. I came home around noon, did the dishes and ate a light lunch with him while catching up on some shows and scrolling through Twitter.

Knowing the baby could come soon, I had been wanting to do some much-needed cleaning, so I got up and vacuumed the house, washed our bed sheets (so we could come home to clean sheets!) and cleaned the bathroom. I had an inkling I’d like to return to a clean home in case she did come early. I went to the bathroom around 1pm and noticed I was getting some blood-streaked discharge (AKA “bloody show”), which made me think I could possibly lose my mucuous plug soon! That got me excited (and nervous!) that things were getting started, although I knew it could still be a few days or weeks before the baby came. I made note of that, called my mom, and continued on with my cleaning. I also started to feel some light cramping, but again, I figured it was just my body getting things moving… although part of me wondered if I’d have the baby in a day or two. My mom and I even joked that March 20th would be a great birthday… ha!

A friend stopped over to drop off some old baby clothes, so we sat and talked for a while. I told her about my new symptoms and that when I saw the change in my discharge I kind of freaked out, realizing we are close to having a baby. She is really coming soon!!

After she left, I finished my cleaning and organizing and came downstairs to make dinner. Throughout dinner I could still feel the cramping, which was happening more often, but not often enough to be timed. And it definitely still felt more like period cramps: uncomfortable, but not at all what I’d describe as painful. However, since I had the change in discharge and the cramping, I figured walking would be a good idea to either speed things up or slow them down. At 6:30pm I went for a walk with another friend and her kids before she put them down for bed. Again, I told her all my symptoms and we got excited that things were moving, but assumed it would still be at least another few days.

Once I got home, I got ready for bed and laid in bed reading for a couple hours… But only after washing the dirty dinner dishes. After all, I knew I’d be mad if the one night I didn’t clean up dinner was the night I went into labor! Ha!!

Over time the cramping was getting stronger, making me wonder more and more if this “cramping” was really contractions! I tried to sleep around 9:30, but spent the next hour getting up to pee every ten minutes and realized the cramping was getting stronger.. so it was definitely the start of contractions. Still not what I would call painful – just uncomfortable.

BUT, around 10:45, I felt a “pop!” and realized my water had broken! I jumped out of bed, as quickly as a 9 month pregnant lady can jump, and waddled to the toilet as quickly as I could, saying, “Oh God, oh God!” I made it mostly there before the gushing started and Jacob ran up the stairs to find me sitting on the toilet crying. That’s when I realized we are having this baby in the next 24 hours and I am not ready. Sure, we were physically ready – we had all the things that we needed – but I was not emotionally ready!! I was expecting three more weeks, but our lives were about to change drastically and we had no idea what we were doing!! My sweet husband hugged me, told me it was going to be okay and we were in this together and asked what I needed. That’s when we started making calls.

Since we are pastors, we both work on Sundays and have ministry teams that we lead… so it was time to do some scrambling. We called, texted and emailed everyone we needed to get ourselves covered or things moved around and then I called my midwife. She said to call again when my contractions were 4-5 minutes apart and so strong I wanted to punch someone. Ha! At that point they were happening about every 2-3 minutes, but weren’t very long or strong. So we got to packing our bags.

I told Jacob to try to get some rest because I was going to need his support later. As I finished packing my bag he climbed into bed and asked, “So what do you want to name her?”

I literally laughed because I totally forgot we hadn’t officially picked a name yet. There was one name we kept returning to again and again, so I said that one and then we talked about middle names. He sounded sleepy so I left him to catch some sleep and went downstairs to keep timing my contractions. I busied myself with random things and eventually sat down to start writing this post while it was fresh on my mind. By 1 am the contractions were getting strong enough that I was getting hot and cold chills, feeling mildly nauseous and very uncomfortable. They had been lasting nearly a minute and coming every 4-5 minutes for about forty five minutes.

I called the midwife around 1:30 and told her I wanted to come in to be checked because I didn’t want to miss my opportunity for pain meds if I wanted them, so I woke up Jacob and we headed to the hospital. I had a couple contractions on the way to the hospital and was getting anxious to get there, praying there would be some dilation happening.

They had my room ready for me when we got there, so I changed into the hospital gown and waited for my midwife to arrive. I told the nurse I’d likely want an epidural, but wanted to try the nitrous oxide first. She prepped me for a saline drip for the epidural, got me hooked up to all the machines and we waited for Sharon. She arrived at 2:45, and by that point I was starting to fade fast. The contractions were incredibly strong and nothing soothes them – walking, sitting, leaning against Jacob, etc. I was getting a little grumpy.

Sharon checked me when she arrived, and I said, “I better be more than 2cm!!” Thankfully, she said I was already 5cm and I literally said “PRAISE GOD!!” out loud. Then I told her I wanted to go straight to the epidural because I had no idea how anyone does this without medication. We had to wait for the anesthesiologist to arrive, so I used the gas while we waited. The gas did not cut it and ended up frustrating me more than helping, so I quit using that and thanked God again when the anesthesiologist got there.

She was amazing – she explained everything she was doing while setting up for the epidural and patiently waited while I worked through contractions. They put the epidural in around 4am and told us we should try to take naps. Every contraction after they started the epidural felt better and better (after birth, I told my midwife the epidural was literally “life changing.” She laughed and said no one had said that to her before). I could still feel the pressure of the contractions, but was relieved from the life-draining, searing pain they brought with them.

I couldn’t actually nap during that time because I could still feel the pressure of the contractions, but the quiet and the break from the pain was incredibly restful and energizing to me. Jacob was able to nap for about 30 minutes and I spent that time reflecting on what was happening. It was the first opportunity I had since things really got going to reflect on the process. I got to spend that time thanking God for the ways he was perfectly providing for us and meeting my needs in this labor process, as well as pray for strength and a safe delivery ahead. Looking back, I’m so grateful for that time I got to spend with the Lord in preparation for Adeline’s arrival. It was such a special time for me.

However, I could definitely tell things were moving along during that time as well. Around 4:15 I realized the pressure I was feeling had moved from my lower abdomen to what felt like my butt (lol), so I figured that must mean she was loving down into the birth canal. The contractions and pressure were getting stronger and longer as time went on, so at 5am I called the nurse back in to have Sharon check me again.

As soon as she checked, she said, “it’s time to have this baby!”

I looked at Jacob and said “Are you ready?! We’re having a baby!!!” And then freaked out a little in my head… The hard part was coming.

Sharon said we’d start pushing with my next contraction. At 5:11 they had me start pushing – which felt like an exercise in futility at the time… I felt like nothing was happening yet I was exerting all my energy!! They told me I was doing great, though, and pushed 3-4 times with each contraction. Adeline Grace was born at 5:26am on Sunday, March 20th. Turns out it was the perfect day for a birthday after all. 🙂 She weighed 5 lbs 15 oz and measured 18 inches long.

Jacob and I knew we would name her Adeline at that point, but we were still going back and forth on three possible middle names. We decided on Grace in the delivery room because to us, she was the result of God’s perfect grace and provision for us. This entire pregnancy was wrapped in a season of turmoil and a lot of emotional pain for us. So much of our lives that we thought was worked out was turned upside down in the most upsetting and confusing ways, but in the midst of it all, God gave us this perfect gift we didn’t even know we needed. She has already changed our lives in amazing, growth-provoking ways and we can’t believe we thought our family was complete without her. We now know God has so much more in store for us and we are so grateful to spend the coming many years seeing his Grace poured out through our beautiful daughter Adeline Grace.

Adeline, we love you so much already and look forward to our love growing along with you. We are honored to be your parents and thank God for you all the day long. You are beautiful, you are loved and you are cherished – by us and God your Father. Welcome to our family.