Sunday, March 30, 2014

willow turns 2

my eldest daughter, willow, turned 2 years old on friday. and we celebrated it with a winnie the pooh/honeybee themed party. why? well, pooh is her new favourite friend, and she has been known to eat so much honey, that she vomits, so it was a suitable theme for this girl.  she thoroughly enjoyed herself, eating her weight in cookies and cake, playing games, surrounded by a few of her little (and big!) friends. and after all was said and done, it was a lovely little birthday party.

here are some photos...

gorse, of course. no pooh party is complete without it.  

these past two years have been the hardest, but most joyous years of my life so far. she is the greatest two year old i have ever known. and from the day she was born, she has done her own thing, in her own time and in her own way.  
she is kind, sweet, generous, loving, gentle, sisterly, and completely exhausting. she is growing with such grace, and i am so excited to see the young girl she is becoming. we are so blessed to know her, and call her our own. 

Thursday, December 05, 2013

that one time clay was in california...or

also known as, that one time that a wonderful lady named kathleen and her great husband allan came to visit, or, that terrible, horrible, abominable sickness that made its home in both my babies.

like i said, these past few weeks have been a crazy mix of terrible and wonderful. it was the best of times, it was the worst of times! (it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness! wait, where was i?...) yes!

terrible = clay being gone for two weeks. which was great for him, but kind of a bummer for the three of us. also, both my girls caught a cold! the very first of many many things the two of them will share for years to come! also, this being willow's very first sickness (besides the wonderful side effects of teething) AND a cold for a 6 week old, it was very hard for all of us (i don't think i stopped crying that one whole very worst day). WHICH brings me to my next point!

wonderful = my long time friend kathleen and her husband allan came to ireland for a visit, and they were gracious enough to hang out with us sickies and keep us company while clay was gone. the poor things. but (victory!) they walked out of this house to their plane without catching the cold! (right??).
anyway, i just love this woman. she has been one of my favourite people for nearly 7 years now, and she just married her man this summer, but the last time i saw her was this time last year, so it was great catching up and picking up right where we left of. plus, the love that they showered on my sick babies was incredible! i just wish that clay was here to spend time with the both of them, cause i know her husband and mine would've gotten on great! guess we are just going to have to meet up for sushi come january?

here are some pictures of our time.

(our thanksgiving celebration. on friday. in ireland. not a pilgrim in sight.)

(ps. thank you kathleen for most of these pictures!)

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

those days

well, I'm 6 weeks in to the hardest year (or so) of my life (at least, thats what all the moms of two under two (two under 1 1/2! gulp!) have told me). and can you guess they were right? yep, good Lord in heaven, they were all right. not that i thought they were lying or exaggerating, in fact, i had tried my hardest to be mentally prepared for the days ahead. although little did it help.

and not that every day is hard or bad or painfully long. in fact, there have been some pretty awesome days.
you know the ones?
the days when you don't miss a beat.
the days when every need of your child is met at just the right minute and you get to have a shower (bonus if you wash your hair!)(bonus bonus if you get dressed!).
the days when your babies are fed a hearty and healthy breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
the days when a poopy diaper gets changed as soon as its made (i mean, you don't even get to smell thats how on top of it you are!).
tho days when your kids are napping before they get the cranks, and the laundry gets done, and the floor gets swept, and the toilet gets cleaned, and dinner is on the table for when your husband gets home.
(those days i feel like everything should be black and white, and i should have my hair up in pins with a frilly apron around my waist.)

and then you go to bed feeling pretty proud of yourself. every bit of your body is sore, but your heart is beaming. yeah, thats definitely happened.
but oh, did i forget to mention that i could probably count on one hand that is has? except for that last bit, pretty much every night is a tired body/full heart night.

and then there are other days.
the days when both babies are crying at you and there is nothing you can do about it.
the days when it seems like poop is coming out their ears and you all three need a good shower after its cleaned up.
the days when you have cereal for dinner cause the meal you had planned just set the oven on fire.
the days when you really do cry over spilled milk.
the days when you need a nap by 9:30am.
the days when two hands just aren't enough.
the days when your 19 month old tries to feed your 4 week old her cheerios.
the days when you finishing your morning coffee is your greatest accomplishment of the day.

i hate those days. but i love my babies.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

the past couple weeks...

(ps. ive had this post halfway written and saved as a draft for THREE WEEKS. its not even a "work in progress" type post. its mostly pictures! i guess there are too many poopy bums to clean and too much sleep to be had...well here it is, better late than never)

wow. these past few weeks have been quite the intense adjustment. i dont know how all you mom's of many out there do it. (i'm sure you don't quite know either, you just do everyday?) (please tell me thats true?)

i think my most favourite part of all this madness is seeing the interaction between Willow and Winnie. for now, its (obviously) one-sided, but what i see coming out in Willow just warms my heart. she is just the kindest, gentlest, sweet and loving big sister. she never had any sort of jealous or angry behaviour toward her sister. in fact, if she ever is especially cranky, all i have to do is bring her to Winnie, and she immediately melts and says "awww".  so sweet!

as for Winnie, she LOVES her baths. she could stay in that water until it gets cold. ive never seen her more content and still! ok, thats not true, shes' pretty much always like that, she is a sleepy newborn after all...

everyday, when Winnie is down for her naps, i try to do something intentional with willow. just something specific for her to learn or enjoy. for example, baking! she's not quite coordinated enough yet to scoop and pour and stir, etc. and most everything ends up on the counter or floor if i don't directly help, but she enjoys it so much! and i get oatmeal raisin cookies (with a half cup more sugar than called for! toddler fingers!) or cinnamon rolls out of the deal. yummm. 

and here are some random pictures for good measure.

winter is herrrrre! 

but the sun still shines some days, and we have a lovely conservatory that gets quite cozy! 

in spite of the long newborn nights, the double blow-out poopy nappies, the double cries of insatiable hunger, the double whines for undivided attention,  this mom of two thing is a pretty good gig. (which of course I'm saying now, because its 9:52 in the morning and no major outbreak has occurred. ask me again around 9pm tonight, that is, if i haven't fallen asleep yet...) 

Thursday, October 17, 2013

a birth story: winifred shade worrell

The story of Winnie’s birth began weeks before the 10th of October. Actually, I think its safe to say that it began the day I found out I was pregnant with her.

The past 9 months has been something of a trial in my life, a long and hard lesson to be learned in trusting the Lord. It was like there was a mountain ahead of me, casting its shadow on everything, looming larger and more daunting as each day passed. I couldn't see anything beyond it and I didn’t know how I was going to climb it. And I certainly couldn't imagine what it was going to be like on top. That was my reality, this mountain. (I’m sure at this point you are thinking I’m being over-dramatic, to which I say, be quiet! I am not.)  

Because of this reality, I ran myself ragged the last few weeks (ok, let's say months) of the pregnancy, both physically and mentally. I had explored nearly every avenue of research regarding the things that happened with willows birth, in an effort to feel more educated and prepared for this birth (LESSON: ignorance is kinda bliss). I had organized and readied my home to the point of perfection at ANY given time, should I go into labour. I had prepared and blended all sorts of fancy essential oils to help in the specific ways I thought I needed during this labour and delivery. I had taken all sorts of supplements and drank so much funky tasting tea, to help this or that, or to prevent such and such a problem. I had the hospital bags packed for weeks. I had wrote out a very detailed and straightforward birth plan, to ensure everything would go my way. I had every single thing crossed off my to-do list. I was as prepared as I could ever be. Or, at least everything around me was.

I had so much hope to go into labor early (considering the 8lb 12oz baby willow beast that came right on her due date, her size causing many of the complications I experienced) that every day after week 37 was long and anxious. I paid such close attention to every niggle and twitch that my body had, and thought so many times that “this could be it". I wrecked my head thinking that “today could be the day”, that by the end of it, when it wasn’t, I felt defeated. I grew tired of listening to my body. Trusting the signs I thought it was showing me was getting me nowhere. 
Well, I thought it was. But instead, with every disappointed hope, it was getting me closer to the end of myself, which is exactly where God wanted me to be. 

On one of those tired nights, shortly after I decided to let go of the days disappointment, and trust God all over again, I felt (what I thought was) my water break (ill spare you the details of how). And after much prompting from my husband, I rang the hospital to tell them what happened. They told me to come in so they could do a check and monitor me, considering I should go into labour within 24-48 hours. So we did. They did the test, and it was positive for amniotic fluid. So off to a bed int the ante-natal ward I went! 
In the morning a doctor came by to talk about my options, pretty much the only one being inducing labour, THAT NIGHT, not even 24 hours after the waters went. Luckily, I had a very outspoken nurse, (who remembered me from a year and a half ago!) who fought for me to get an extra night out of the deal. Meanwhile, in my own stubborn fashion, I began to carry-out all my preparations to help start the labour I thought was stalling. Liters of raspberry tea! Clary sage on my ankles and abdomen! Pineapples! Countless trips up and down the stairwell! Hypnotherapy! Check, check, and check. Nothing.

The next morning, when the doctor came for me to start the induction process, I was in the shower (I didn’t hide in there on purpose, I swear!), but he had to go work his clinic hours. So by the time I was packed and ready and moved to the delivery room, I got a different doctor and midwife, who didn’t need nearly as much convincing from us, to run some more tests before leaving induction as the last and final option. Long story (not so) short, they did the swab test again, NEGATIVE for amniotic fluid, they did a scan, plenty of fluid around the baby, and they did an exam, waters intact! So, they let me go home. (we don’t know exactly what did happen, but our best guess, considering the result of the first test, was that my “hind-waters” broke, and the bag resealed. I did not pee, I repeat, I did not pee the bed!) 

That one day and two nights in the hospital was the end of the battle for my trust. Every night, when my body let me down, I would put my trust back in God, but always the next morning I took it back. Not this time though. With induction looming the next morning, that one night I just had to let it all go. All for good this time. No take backs. 
I had to trust that God knew what was best. That He knew my body even better than I did. That He is the one who decides the how and when. That He knows how is best to climb the mountain, and that He is the one who will see me to the top.

And since leaving the hospital that day, it was like God gave my hopes for a better birth back to me. Like Abraham putting Isaac on the altar, God wanted me to let it go. To give it to Him, wholly and completely. And by His grace, I did. And little did I know, that also by His grace, I would get that better experience I had wanted from the beginning.

Going home that Friday was really strange. Having expected to have our baby that day, only to go home to life as normal. It was weird. And I think its safe to say that those last few days were THE LONGEST of the entire pregnancy. 

Lets fast forward to Wednesday, the 9th of October. I woke up around 11:30pm to loads of cramps and such, but was so tired of listening to my body and thinking “maybe this is it” that I ignored what I was feeling and assumed I just had to poo. In fact, here are some screen shots of the texts between my sister and i (so un lady-like, I apologise.)

Not even 3 hours after that first text, I was holding our baby girl. 

I woke clay up around midnight, told him that I thought was in labour (but still telling myself that I just had to poo. I even thought on the drive to the hospital, “Oh, they are just going to tell me to use the toilet and go home!”) and he got all the bags in the car while I showered and got dressed. I was timing the contractions at 3-4 minutes apart, so we rang the labour ward, and she said to make our way to the hospital when we can.

We got to the hospital around 1am, and they put us in the little admissions room, where you go to get hooked up to a monitor to time contractions and etc. The room itself is probably 15 x 15 ft, with a small bathroom attached. There is a tall wooden exam bed (like, you need a stool to climb on it) in the middle of the room. On one side there is the contraction and heart rate monitor, and on the other side there is barely enough room for the door to open without hitting the bed. There is a small counter with cupboards in the corner next to the bathroom door, and plastered all over the walls were posters of breastfeeding babies and vaccination information.

They left me in there for some time, without one check or acknowledgement. Little did we know, the labour ward was full to the brim. Every single bed, in the labour rooms and in the delivery rooms, even the operating theatre, was occupied. 

Meanwhile, I was feeling the need to push with every contraction, so clay left to find someone to help. A midwife came in, did a check and told me I was 7cm dilated, and progressing so quickly, that I would have to give birth in that room. So she hustled away to bring in any necessities. 

Clay told me later that this was the moment that he had to let go, wholly and completely. He remembers willows birth all to vividly, and in that moment, seeing the surroundings of where this child would be born, it demanded all of his trust to be in God. Not in a doctor, not in an operating theatre close by, not in a bed with wheels, not in a room with all the proper necessities at hand. Just in God’s all knowing hand. 

By the time the midwife came back and set everything up, it was go time. A few minutes earlier, another midwife brought me a cylinder of gas and air (Entonox) and boy, I clamped down on that thing and didn’t let go! (my jaw hurt for the first few days after, I am ashamed to admit.) (But still kinda proud of myself for progressing that far without any pain relief!). 

After a few more contractions, I was ready to push. (My water hadn’t even broke yet, hows that for irony?) It only took a couple pushes, and at 2:33am, there she was. I heard clay say “its a girl!” and she was placed on my chest. 

Not a single stitch needed or a drop of lost blood in sight (!!!). Not a single one of my many preparations that I had exhaustedly studied to implement were used in that room. 
But here she was, God brought her here. And we were all together, healthy and happy, whole and complete.

I had climbed the mountain. And guys, the view from up here is pretty great.