Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Elliot's Birth Story

I have been wanting to write out Elliot's birth story for oh about a month now butttttttt oh that's right I have a newborn and didn't feel like I had the extra bandwidth to do so.  We seem to be settling in to more of a new normal now and I really want to get it all down before I forget all the details!

I have always wanted to have a natural birth.  I can't really explain it it's just something I wanted for myself.  I was always interested in birth and always watched birth shows on tv and documentaries about it and just came to the conclusion that for me I felt that was the best way to deliver. In another life I would have been a midwife I think! Also just to clarify I definitely don't have anything against pain meds and totally don't think this is THE way at all!  I was hoping it was something that I could do and I always found encouragement in reading other peoples stories who did it naturally but it is totally different when it comes to you doing it! I knew while I was pregnant that I would have to be mentally prepared to deliver naturally if it was something I wanted and that was so true.

At 38 weeks I had 2 nights where I had contractions during the night 30 minutes apart for a couple of hours and then 20 minutes apart another night but they stopped by the morning.  I had tons of braxton hicks for several weeks so when these started I could definitely tell the difference.  I felt like it wouldn't be long before real labor would begin.  At my 38 week appointment she really thought it wouldn't be much longer because of this so when I went to my 39 week appointment I was feeling really ready to have this baby.  My midwife said, yep you're done! you've grown a good baby! I asked her if it was ok to start using clary sage essential oil to try and get things going, so the next day I started applying it to my ankle vitaflex point and on my belly.  I think I applied it 3 or 4 times total that day.

By 11pm that night I started feeling some contractions that I knew were real because of the ones I had the week before but was wondering if they were going to stick around this time.  I decided to try and lay down and get some rest just in case.  I started timing them and they were about 8 minutes apart so I thought this might be the real thing.  I was able to stay in bed maybe an hour but then I was pretty uncomfortable so I started walking around some and they were only getting closer together.  We live about 50 minutes away from the hospital so my whole pregnancy I was concerned about making sure I was in active labor before driving all the way there, I was so worried about getting to the hospital and it being false labor and having to go home.  They told me that when contractions were 3 minutes apart for an hour to call.  It was about 12:30 or so I think when Adam really started waking up and they were about 3 minutes apart consistently.  We started getting our last minute things ready just in case and then we decided to call around 1 something.  The midwife said to drink 3 big glasses of water and take a warm bath, if it was active labor then nothing would stop it and to go ahead and come in. I knew about dehydration causing contractions so I had already drank some water just in case but I got in the bathtub and drank 2 more glasses.  The contractions didn't stop so I got out of the tub and we waited about another hour, I just wanted to make sure they were going to stick around after getting out of the tub before we left and they were 2 minutes apart.  I ate a big bowl of yogurt and granola knowing that would be my last food until he was born because of stupid hospital rules that don't let laboring women eat, don't even get me started!! Anyways Adam started to get a little nervous with them being consistent and even though I was hesitant, because of the thought of being sent home, we thought it was best to go ahead and leave.  I said my goodbyes to Tucker and told him we would be back with his little brother :) A sweet friend would come get him in the morning for us so we left about 4 something to make the drive to the hospital.

On the way to the hospital as we got closer things started to get a lot more intense and I was super glad we were almost there.  When we got to the maternal assessment center I was 5 cm.  I was happy about that because I feel like I always read people's stories and the first time you are checked people are always disappointed thinking they're further along than they are, so I had really low expectations and I was pleasantly surprised thinking, halfway yay!  At this point though the intensity of the contractions really dropped.  According to the monitor I was still contracting every 2-3 minutes but they just weren't very intense like they were at home.  The nurse Carla who checked us in was really great. She asked us tons of questions and got information about what our wishes were for me and baby.  I told her I was wanting to do a naturally delivery and she said oh I love natural deliveries they're my favorite to do.  I told her I wished she could stay with us then! But she was off at 7am. Spoiler alert: we saw her again.. She checked with the midwife to see if she wanted to admit me or just observe me for an hour.  I was admitted about 6:30 am and we decided to contact all the parents at this point since we were staying for sure.

We moved to the labor and delivery area and met our new nurse Becky and got settled in.  My favorite midwife was coming on at 7 so I was really happy about that! Carla had told Becky our plan was to deliver naturally so Becky asked if I wanted to be offered pain meds at any point or not.  I told her that I knew that it was available if I wanted it but to not offer.  I think this was very helpful in delivering naturally to not have someone offering pain relief constantly because it would be much easier to just say yes!  I also requested a doula.  That was one thing I was really happy about with our hospital is that they staff doulas and you can request one when you are admitted.  It is first come first served.  The one that was there at the time was already with someone so they were calling around to try and find another one for me.  I told them I was ok for the time being but would definitely want one when things got intense.  I was still contracting regularly at this point but still the intensity I needed was not there.  I was doing intermittent monitoring so 20 minutes on and 40 minutes off. During those 40 minutes I walked the room the whole time pretty much and continued using my clary sage every 2 hours to try and get things to pick up, they asked me not to put it on my belly though because of the monitoring that it would cause them to just slide off.  In hindsight I totally should've tried to sleep at that point but I had no idea that it would take so long then of course and I was really only thinking how I wanted to get things to pick up because I was worried they would send me home still!

Around lunchtime Donna our midwife came in and said I just didn't seem like I was in active labor, which I agreed, I really wanted the intensity to come back to get things moving! I was only 6 cm at this point, she wanted me to get to 7 cm before breaking my water.  She asked me what I thought about starting some pitocin.  I was really nervous about this because I had always heard horrible horrible things about it, like people being so miserable with contractions right on top of each other like can't catch your breath awful.  I agreed to start it with the condition that if it was awful we could stop which they were totally fine with.  They started it really slow and I tolerated it really well, I felt the intensity coming back so it worked well for me and I'm glad it helped move things along.

I had decided to do hypnobabies as my birthing method and had been practicing for months, I did the self study method instead of attending a class because it was far away.  It has different types of sessions to listen to to help you relax.  I would definitely recommend it!  My midwife was impressed with how I did with it and I overheard her tell Adam it was worth whatever we paid for it! Agreed! I had been able to manage the contractions on my own up until this point without using hypnobabies. After a couple of hours on pitocin is when things started to get a lot more intense I started my hypnobabies sessions to help me manage the pain.  I mainly used the exercise ball to labor on because it felt much more comfortable.  I could definitely tell a difference when I wasn't focused and using my hypnobabies.  I remember distinctly one time I wasn't focused and the contraction just felt like it snuck up on me so I was careful to be much more focused after that!  This continued until around 7:00 pm when she checked me and I was 7 cm so she broke my water.  Also at this time shift change was happening and the nurse Carla who checked us in who I thought I surely wouldn't see again was coming back on at 7pm.  This turned out to be a HUGE blessing!

About 8:00 is when things reallllly started to get even more intense.  I stopped using my hypnobabies at some point not sure when and just went into a zone.  Carla was crazy super awesome.  There was still no doula available I guess because no one ever came but I can't imagine anyone could've done any better than her. Apparently it was a busy night on the L&D floor but she pawned off her other patients and stayed with me solely. What a blessing. When I was praying for my delivery throughout the pregnancy some of the things I prayed for was that the Lord would allow us to get to the hospital at the right time, I would get the right midwife for me, and that there would be a doula available.  He answered all these prayers and even though we didn't get a doula specifically he did us one better. I really don't think I could have done it without her.  Girlfriend earned her paycheck that night! Pretty sure she probably had a bruised hand too because Adam and I definitely had matching thumb bruises where I was squeezing his hand so hard!

I started having a lot of back labor so she did a ton of back massage and would sit with me on the bed with her knee pressed into my back which was amazing.  She would sit behind me and I was holding onto Adam standing in front of me.  I moved around to different positions on the bed and they kept trying to get me to lay on my side but it made it unbearable so I could never do that successfully.  I mainly sat up and did a lot of rocking during contractions.  I had read other peoples natural delivery stories and they talked about these deep groaning sounds you do and that was so true your body just does it to help manage the contraction and move the baby down.  This went on for quite a while.  I started falling asleep in between contractions leaning back on Carla or forward on Adam because I was just so tired at this point I mean I literally couldn't even see straight I remember looking around the room at times but things were blurry and doubled.  I remember saying a lot, he's never coming! My midwife was great also and would help do some massage if Carla had to step out. I definitely got to the point where I was wondering how much longer could this possibly go on and if I could make it since I was so tired. Maybe around 11:00pm I asked about pain medication and Carla said honestly you could still get the epidural if you wanted but you're so close to the end I think you would be really disappointed.  I had told Adam before I went into labor that if I ever asked for pain meds to try and talk me out of it.  He was great and told me that I had done it this long that I could keep going.  I then thought through it and said yeah if I was going to get an epidural I should've done it 14 hours ago! It would have been a waste at this point was my thought.  I'm glad I made that decision even though I felt like the dumbest person at one point and also questioned why we wanted to have children in the first place :)

About 12 or 12:30 am Carla and Donna the midwife came in together and said they felt like I needed to try a new position that we could go on like this for a long time if not, for some reason he was just not wanting to finish coming down all the way to help me dilate to 10cm. They wanted me to lay on my side and put this peanut shaped exercise ball in between my legs to help him rotate.  Carla pressed on my back and that was the only way I could handle it.  Sure enough I stayed like this for about 15 minutes and I was complete.

I started pushing about 1:00am.  After pushing for a while I knew that it had been a long time when I heard Donna say, what time did we start all this? I remember thinking don't ask how long it has been, because in the moment I had no concept of time and did not want to know.  I was so exhausted, I kept saying, I'm so tired, I'm just so tired.  It was really hard work! I mean duh! but still I felt for the longest time that my body wasn't helping me push him out that it was just me forcing it.  They kept saying he's so close he'll be here soon... I heard Donna say, I bet she doesn't believe us anymore and I said, Nope! It wasn't until toward the end that Donna said she was thinking about an episiotomy because it had been so long and he was just so close to coming, I said I didn't want to do that, and it was at that point that my brain I guess told my body to help because I just started pushing quickly and they felt more powerful and not long after that he was here! 3:18 am... little buddy came out with his hand on his cheek.  This is part of the reason why it was all so long, it made him slower to come down and out with that extra appendage up there! That combined with exhaustion made for a long labor.  I'm so glad I didn't know how long it was going to be in the beginning!

When he was finally out it was so surreal that he came out of me and it was a real person! Sounds funny to say but it is the strangest thing, truly a miracle.  I'll never forget how great Adam was during all of this and especially the pushing he was so encouraging and kept telling me how good I was doing, it was so special and beautiful to be able to share this with him.  They laid him right on me and Adam cut the cord after a little bit.  I just held him for a while before she took him to get weighed and wrapped up... 7 lbs 9 oz and 21 inches long.  I kept saying to Adam, I can't believe I just did that, I can't believe I just did that!  Both of our parents had been waiting the whole time and about 5:00 am they were able to come back and meet him.  He was so alert for the longest time.

Our awesome Midwife!

I was so stinkin hungry! So after both of our parents got to meet him my parents went to get us food from one of the only places open at that point...where else but Waffle House.  While we were eating breakfast they were getting him bathed and measured and checked out.  About 6:45 we moved to the postpartum room where we stayed until Sunday afternoon when we decided to check out.  We could have stayed till Monday but we were both doing great and ready to get home!  We were so thankful that he was here safe and sound and that the Lord was good to us and worked out the details to get the experience I was hoping for also.  His safe delivery was truly an answer to prayer and we are grateful for his good gift to us in Elliot.

Welcome to the world sweet Elliot, we feel so lucky to be your parents!

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Blessed is she who has believed that the Lord would fulfill his promises to her

This week we got a call from our caseworker.  I was in an appointment and wasn't able to answer the call when I saw it ringing but I saw it was a Fort Worth number where our agency was located and I knew immediately what she would say on the other end, I knew in my heart this had been coming for a long time.  The truth is our adoption process and everyone else's for that matter in Ethiopia have been hanging on by a thread for over a year now.

I looked back at my blog and I don't think I ever even blogged about what happened in December of 2013 that carried through to January 2014 that started all this.  It was incredibly difficult to go through and I think in large part to why I stopped blogging as much over the last year.  This was supposed to be a family blog and a blog about our adoption journey. After beginning in August of 2010, 4 years and 5 months later that desire and the child we felt was waiting for us would never be ours.

I suppose I should go back to December of 2013.  It was right after Christmas and we got and email from our agency alerting us that because of political changes in the government it was likely that Ethiopia was going to close down to international adoption.  We were devastated, we were grieving, although they are different it was the same feelings of grieving from a miscarriage, we were losing a child we had longed for, and prayed for for years.  We came home from Christmas to a closet with clothes in it and toys we had collected over the years for what would be our son one day.
As it turned out Ethiopia about a month later decided not to close but to drastically alter their process once again slowing things down even more.  We still had confidence from our agency that they were still in it for the long haul and if something happened to their Ethiopia program it would be because Ethiopia chose it not them.  So we continued to wait with hope that maybe someday we would still be able to complete our adoption.

I see all of that now as the Lord's way of preparing me for what would happen this week, so that when I got this news it didn't come as a surprise.  I truly feel that when this happened a year ago I grieved the loss of our Ethiopian son.  That is not to say that it wasn't devastating to have some finality to the end of our process and the end of adoption in Ethiopia this week but to say that I just know the Lord prepared me for this then.  

Honestly we may never fully know why we were called to this process just to have it end with no child but we can say with full confidence that we followed the Lord's leading.  It is hard to understand why when I can think of so many different times He gave us encouragement and affirmed to us that we were on the right path for it to end this way.  Each time we had to make a decision we felt confident in what we should do, if there was a major decision to be made each time the Lord would work on Adam and I separately and then when we came together we were already on the same page, that even goes for deciding to have a biological child during this process. Does it make sense? No it doesn't.  We do know how we were changed through this.  We are different people than when we began.  Our eyes have been opened and our hearts have been changed in unimaginable ways that I know would not be had we not gone through this.  I know that He is faithful, it might not always look how I want it to but I know this is true, I have experienced it, I have clung to it.

So what does this mean for us you ask?  Well one thing I feel like I should answer for all of you who have so faithfully encouraged us and supported us in prayer and financially over these last 4 years is that it is not lost on us.  We fully intend to still adopt one day, that is beyond a shadow of a doubt true for us.  We do not know at this point what that looks like.  We will wait till after our biological son is born and we will wait and see how the Lord leads us, he knows our desire and I trust that is still in our future in some capacity.
For everyone who generously and sacrificially gave to us over the years that fund is still there.  It will continue to be there untouched until our next adoption.

I truly can hardly put into words what the encouragement from our friends and family has meant to us.  Our friends/family have cried with us, prayed with us, encouraged us, raised funds for us, believed on our behalf, and have just been Jesus to us in so many ways over the years.  The beauty in that and the gospel displayed to us through that has changed us forever.

Above all we are heartbroken for all the children that will be left in orphanages with little to no hope. We hope and pray that Ethiopia will do what they can to improve their orphanages and their system to provide these children with a chance.

I struggled with what to title this post because it is the end of our journey in Ethiopia but not THE end of our adoption journey.  Back in January of 2014 when all this was going on the Lord gave me this verse,

Blessed is she who has believed that the Lord would fulfill his promises to her. 
Luke 1:45

I still believe that.  I know that he is faithful and I know what he has promised to us, it may not look like what we think it does but I trust that if we follow him in obedience he will direct our path. 

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

More Moores

I know I do not write too often for this blog (well no one does recently…this explains the silence…) but for this post Ashley gave me the honors.  Big things happening in the Moore family and much more coffee will be needed starting next June because… Ashley is pregnant!  That’s right, little Moore is expected to arrive June 2015.  We are super excited and wanted to let everyone know and answer a few questions.  Here they are:

-Are you still adopting?  The Answer: Absolutely.  We have been talking with our agency about what was best for our family as this process has been painfully slower than we ever dreamed.  We are still committed to Ethiopia and can’t wait to start back with our program next year.

-Why the change now?  We have often experienced that when the timing seems to be of the Lord we have complete agreement in really hard decisions.  Over the last few months we began to discuss if there needed to be a change.  What options should we explore?  Do we need to change countries, do we need to change agencies, or do we need to reconsider this whole process?  These were hard discussions but the answer always ended with “no.”  Instead, after a while we thought a “pause” would be best.  At the same time our agency was working through an option for families that want to continue in the process but are also exploring other options, everything seemed to be coming together.  What I thought might be an extremely agonizing choice has been met with perfect harmony and peace.  One thing is for sure, things move at the Lord’s timing, not ours.

We could not be more thrilled for this news and we cannot wait to pick back up on our journey toward adoption next fall.  We are so thankful for all the support and love everyone has given us over the last few years during our adoption process and thankful for you celebrating with us again!  I imagine our blogging may pick up a little more and we can update everyone along the way!

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Africa! part one

Well is this long overdue or what?!  I don't know what to say except sometimes I want to blog and sometimes I don't and that is ok.  So if you're still reading thanks for sticking around!

Adam and I got the unique opportunity with a group from our church to go visit some friends and keep their kiddos while they had a conference.  This isn't quite how I thought I would be getting to Africa this year but we were thrilled to go nonetheless! I don't think we are making it to Africa this year through our adoption so it was the goodness of the Lord to allow us to experience it in this capacity.

We found out like 45 minutes before we were supposed to leave the church that our flight from Columbia to D.C. had been cancelled!  They were expecting lots of snow that afternoon and had already cancelled our flight. bummer.  Adam was on the phone with our travel agent for a while trying to figure out how to re-route us.  So instead of us leaving Tuesday and arriving Wednesday night we didn't arrive till Thursday morning... an extra 12-ish hours of travelling..fun...BUT I was super excited because our new flight plan had us going through London with a 7 hour layover!!! And that means that we got to visit some dear friends living there!!! We were in seminary with them and in the same small group for a while so we were beyond thrilled to get to spend some time with them! It was such a special surprise! This sweet friend has been a constant source of encouragement for me and has been so faithful to pray for me and our adoption, love her so much!  

So while it wasn't fun arriving much later than expected this definitely made it worth it!  When we finally arrived early in the morning we were all looking a little worse for wear after a couple of days of no showering.  We had about a 45 minute drive to get to the place we were staying which was in the mountains.  The weather was so pleasant and quite cool at times! totally not what you think about when you think of African weather!
Feeling better after a shower, but still super sleepy, we were fighting jetlag the best we could by trying to stay awake until that night.  It was tough!

The conference center was beautiful! Here is our room, right there on the corner.  On Friday morning before the start of the conference we headed to a local school, aaaaand this was the view out the window of the schools library...Beautiful! and so green because all of the surrounding area that we were in was mostly tea plantations so they had beautiful fields of vibrant green tea leaves.
Here is another picture we got on a tour around the campus with some workers picking the tea leaves up on a hill.  It was so picturesque! 

Here are all the kids in front of the chapel lined up for their morning pledge of allegiance and songs.  It was cracking us up because they were all wearing coats and hats like it was freezing and we were all quite comfortable, but it is all about what you get used to!

They asked us to share some songs and a story during their friday chapel service and then we split up into groups to do an activity with them in their classes.

We made trees with them by tracing their hands for the leaves.  They loved it! It was such a special opportunity to get to share part of the school day with these sweet little kiddos who overcome a lot just to get to school, it is such a privilege we take for granted here.  We headed back to the conference center that evening for some team planning.  We were all fighting to make it to 8:00 that night and we crashed.

The next 3 and half days it was non stop! We were going from 7:30 in the morning till 10:00 at night. It was exhausting but SO worth it!  I was in the group that working with kindergarten through 6th graders.  We did crafts, games, snacks, and bible story time.  Then in the evening we had a corporate worship time together.  It was beautiful and humbling to be apart of and to get to hear stories of the Lord at work.  

Thankfully one of the girls on my team is a 4th grade teacher so her knowledge of crafts and how to keep these guys attention was priceless! We were so thankful!
Only in Africa does one of the kids bring their family pet... and it is a chameleon that he carried with him at all times!

Everyday at 10:30 and 4:00 we had tea time, it was some sort of sweet treat, tea, and juice for the kids. They made these amazing donuts one day that were enormous!  The food overall was really good where we were.  There would always be something we weren't quite used to at every meal but there was always something we could eat!
This was just the first part of what I wanted to share.  The walking safari we did deserves a post all on its own so stay tuned!  Spoiler alert: it was UNBELIEVABLE!

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Noonday Ambassador!

If you follow me on facebook then you might have already seen that I announced how excited I am to now be an ambassador for Noonday!!!

Honestly it is something I have been thinking about for a long time.  I first heard about Noonday probably 2 years ago when my sister called me after a trunk show she had been to.  She told me about this awesome business that provides work for people in resource poor areas of the world to help lift them out of poverty by making jewelry and accessories... and their stuff is SO stylish! I was hooked! Using fashion and design to help create economic opportunity for others?! Sign me up!

Becoming an ambassador was always in the back of my mind.  I always thought how awesome and fun it would be to work with such an amazing company and just felt the Lord bringing it up in different ways to me recently over and over... so I listened and went for it!  Honestly I feel blessed that I get to be a part of such an amazing organization and want to represent them and their artisans well.  

Another HUGE reason that I love Noonday so much is that they do adoption fundraisers!  So you can host a trunk show for a friend or yourself and a portion of the sales will go directly to you or your friends adoption! How cool is that?! That's speaking my language people!

How you can get involved in sharing Noondays story:

  • Host a trunk show! Gather some of your friends together and we'll share Noondays story of how they're helping people all around the world and by using your purchasing power you are making a difference! 
  • Host an adoption fundraiser show for someone you know to help bring a child into their forever family! 
  • And of course you can shop online anytime here.  I would love for you to think about Noonday next time you're gift shopping for you mom, sister, friend, anyone! Which I should mention if you still need a mothers day present just get the orders in by April 27th so that they'll be here on time! 

I should also mention that at the end of every season (2 times a year) I'll have a sample sale where I'll be selling some of my own samples at a discount to make room for the new line.  So you dear readers will get the inside scoop of when that will happen.  I would love for my blog to be the avenue that it takes place on so we'll see!

I hope you'll check it out if you don't know about Noonday already so you can fall in love with them too :)

p.s. fun fact about that picture of me up above... that was taken from our recent trip to Africa (which I promise to blog about soon!)  That is at an overlook that we stopped at and that valley behind me runs all the way into Ethiopia!  Kinda cool!  Kinda surreal! And kinda hard! at the same time to be so close yet so far away for so many reasons! 

Thanks for letting my excitement spill out all over the place! i think i probably used to many of these !! in this post! can't help it! sorrynotsorry