Monday, June 22, 2015

The Surprise Birth of Philippa Ann-Marie

Much to my surprise, my baby actually came out. Granted, it was about 20 hours after I was hoping, but the Lord had another June baby for us. She is healthy, we are healthy; she is whole, we are whole; so, I will say no more word about missing May after I retell our story. Around 38 weeks, my midwife semi-confirmed that Pippa was an OP baby, not completely sunnyside-up, but hanging out on the left, head down from about 24 weeks on. I had my suspicions; when I saw Coley lean down to check out my bump from the side, I knew she was looking for the bumpiness that occurs when hands and feet are facing u. An OA baby will create a smooth belly made by the back facing out. I was doing a few things to help her engage, but to no avail. 

As the days clicked past May 23, I started getting monstery. You know, ugly and huge and huffy and scary too. I know that I ALWAYS go over, and I knew to expect it, but it doesn’t make it any easier. I had a connection on a baby forum, she was due one day before me, and lo and behold, she went from zero to baby on May 31st. I was getting desperate to have baby out. On the 7th day overdue, May 30th,  I awoke around 5am to a hard wave. I laid in bed, a little frightened at the intensity of it and wondering if I was REALLY ready to have this baby. Going team green and not knowing what we were having or being able to call the baby a name and in all honesty, not even really having a boy name picked collided with the energy of three littles in the house already, and I started thinking that baby should stay inside…However, contractional waves (like 3) pittered out and by 6am, they were gone. The day went on pretty normally and I awoke on May 31st   at 3am to hard waves. I held my breath…”Don’t scare them away, keep the adrenaline low…” I told myself.  I put in my earbuds and listened to Hypnobabies, now praying that labor WOULD start. After a few restless hours of sleep, and a few more hard waves, they pittered out around 6am. The day went on normally, with much groaning and despairing from me and hoping and loving from my husband. 

June 1st , I awoke at 1am to hard waves. I was feeling tricked, betrayed, unloved and annoyed. I hoped, hoped, hoped that I would go into labor. I was now 9 days overdue and I had prayed so hard for a May baby and now that my hope was dashed, I just wanted it to be over. I was out of patience. And yet, at 6am, things pittered out. I decided that we would make it a wonderful day; 6 years ago, Tim and I had walked the blueberry farm on June 1st hoping to meet another little girl who was overdue. So, I told Tim we were going to the blueberry patch and to get everyone ready. However, I was basically glued to the toilet for the last few days and especially that day. I was also feeling awful. Like super sick, but not in waves like I expected. Tim reminded me that they only have porta-pottys out at the farm and asked if I really wanted to be out walking around feeling the way I was. I called my midwife, I told her I was so frustrated and what did she think of blue/black cohosh and would she do a sweep (which I've never done before) and could I do anything to get this baby out? She said she was waiting for me to let go...I hung up and thought, “Let go of WHAT? I’m 9 days over, what more can I let go of?” So, it was decided that physically, and emotionally, I was in no place to go pick blueberries. Thankfully, my kids were able to go to the blueberry farm with Grammi Cindy and cousin Hannah. 

Tim left to get the kids to Grammi’s and I decided to use the time to do the Miles Circuit, a 90minute series of 3 exercises that are aimed to engage a malpositioned baby. When he returned, Tim and I scheduled a last visit to Dr. Cody to see if he could adjust me and get baby to engage. I was still feeling super yucky after the appointment, I’d had a few pressure waves here and there, but nothing timeable or worth following. We picked up lunch and Tim went to go pick up the kids after dropping me at our house around 1pm. I did an exaggerated side-lying position on the bed. I moved my bowels and finally saw a tinge of blood and mucus on the paper. However, there were still no pressure waves. When he brought the kids home, it was utterly defeating to tell him that no waves were happening. He put the kids down for a nap around 2:30 and we rested. My Mom came over around 5:30 and I was so frustrated that I told her and Tim I was ready to go to the hospital and just get an epidural and get this baby out! There were no waves, if there was anything happening it was stretched out over hours and I felt like crap. I told my mom to pack an overnight bag because it could be a while. I was not willing to believe I would head into labor. If I hoped in labor, it could mean being severely disappointed for more days to come, so I did not commit to the idea that I would have the baby, even with the way I was feeling. I wanted to see a strong pattern of active labor moving from 8 mins, to 5 mins, to 3 mins. To my surprise, that is not what would happen. 

Smiling...obviously not in active labor!

Around 5:50 I was moving my bowels again. Every time I went to the bathroom, I continued to pull mucus and blood out hoping to maybe “pop the cork” for the baby and have her spill out. Finally, around 6pm I texted Coley, my midwife, to let her know I was having a few waves (still no pattern) and had spent some time in the shower trying to get them going. She told me that she was super sick and that she was sending her back-up Christina. Once Coley texted her back-ups contact info, Christina called and we chatted. I did not have a single wave while I was on the phone with her for over 20 minutes! Christina encouraged me to try the Miles Circuit again and that she was ready to attend our birth when me and baby were ready. I sighed, discouraged, but mustered the energy and power to do the circuit again. My sister-friend, Shannon, was supposed to be at the birth and at 7:03pm I texted her to not get too excited because things looked like they were extinguishing again.

Out of the shower and on the phone with Christina

I started with the stinkbug position for 30 mins. My mom helped lift my buns with a rebozo as it is tiring and puts much pressure on your neck. Within that 30 mins, I had 3 waves. The next position was the exaggerated side-lie. Within that 30 mins I had 3 waves. By this time, the waves were incredibly intense. I would not let Tim leave me. I needed him to help me through them. I only wanted him. He asked me if they needed to be stronger. I told him that they were strong enough (and I meant effective) and that I didn’t want them to get stronger. The last 30 mins was supposed to be side stepping stairs or a curb or asymmetrical lunges. All I wanted at that time was to be in the shower. The waves were still spaced out, but they were different. While on the move toward the shower, I had a hard wave and leaned into Tim moaning. I also heard a “boom” inside me. It was not my water breaking, but baby making a huge movement. I am pretty sure she engaged at this point placing enough pressure on the cervix to rev up labor. 

I was heading into the birth cave. I needed the water and the heat. 

 Stinkbug with Rebozo support. 
This is his, "She won't let me go fill the tub" face.

My mom and Tim asked me if I was sure and I told them I could do the side lunges in the shower with one foot up on the tub to get that open hip position. Tim came into the shower with me because I basically went into active labor once the water hit. Intense waves were picking up. I was moaning incredibly loud; in my mind, as long as I could moan loud enough, I could drown out the pain. I also found incredible power in the moaning. It was my rhythm and my preserver. So...think water buffalo. I was afraid only that I would scare my other 3 kids with the vocalization. I had not intended to labor during the day. My last two kids had been through the night. I was not intending on Luke being at the birth. He was supposed to be asleep. Thankfully, my mother-in-love, Cindy and niece Hannah were there to help with the kids, pray over me and address any issues the kids might have. I was deep into the birth cave, with focus so intense that it’s hard to remember details. There was warm water and waves of 3 minutes apart; lots of loud bellowing. I turned to Tim and said “I think we should call the midwife” and he said I read his mind. Around 8:30pm my mom called Christina. I turned to Tim and said, “I know you’re nervous, I can hear it in your voice.” And he replied “I’m not nervous, I’m excited. Baby, the baby is coming soon.” And I said, “Maybe…” Even at that time I could not allow myself to believe I was in labor. If labor diminished and we didn’t have a baby, I could not have borne such a disappointment. I had also moved from waves spaced 10 minutes apart for an hour and a half to 2 min apart over an hour. Birth in two hours? It was all happening so fast! 

Tim was excited, but also a little concerned.  His worst snafu had happened. I was simultaneously in the shower, and the birth tub needed filling. He had rigged it up from our shower. So, as he has one hand under me to catch the baby he thought was coming, he’s looking at the unfilled tub and wondering how to overcome this challenge. He told my mom to rig it to the kids’ tub but it wasn’t a perfect fit, and as I was hard at work birthing a baby, my birth team was hard at work trying to fill the tub. Tim told me I should probably move to the tub soon, since he knew the birth was immanent. I agreed and determined to make it there after the next wave. I knew I had to get into the tub before the next wave hit, or I would be drowning. I needed to get into the tub and refocus quickly to keep my head above the next wave. I said, “Ok, I’m going” and I left him in the dust. Tim had to turn off the water quickly, grab a towel and help me into the tub. 

Meanwhile, my mom had sent Cindy to look for a bucket to catch all the water that was escaping out of the faucet with the poor connection to the hose filling the tub. My mom had run downstairs to grab our Vitamix blender to scoop wasted water from the shower connection into the birth tub. Because I jumped in the tub so quickly, Tim was now free to fix the connections back onto our shower. When I got in the tub I was concerned. I was kneeling in the tub and the water only covered my shins. I quickly wondered how I was going to keep the baby under so little water. If they hit the air, they start to breath, shoving baby under or not having enough for her to swim in would drown her. Fortunately, the tub started filling much faster with Tim’s connection to our shower. My Mom then grabbed our camera and started shooting photos. Tim was leaning over me as I squatted on my knees to birth her.

In the first wave, I could not feel her head. On the second wave I could make out a fingertip of head. On the third wave, I could feel her whole head in the birth canal and took my finger around the edge to make sure there was no lip and to help push the cervix back a little. This was the most difficult wave as it had me fully stretched, yet I knew I did not have the power to push her out completely. I had to wait for another wave to build and that was hard. The next wave came and I pushed her head out. I reported, “Her head is out.” to Tim and my mom. On the next wave, she was birthed into the water. I checked her neck for cord wrap and reported, “No cord wrap.” to Tim and my mom. Tim said she looked like a tiny orca whale under the water, all wet and smooth and big. I told him, “Get the kids”. They were reading books and praying in the girls' room with Cindy and Hannah.  As they walked in the room, I pulled her up out of the water to me. I had told Tim that I wanted him to tell me what the sex was and he confirmed what we had pretty much guessed: we had another little girl. 

And all of a sudden, I was out of the birth cave and in the light of our newest child.

She was shining and beautiful and we prayed over her to thank the Father of heavenly lights for her safe arrival. 

Christina and her assistant Dominique came in the room and everyone was taking pictures and I was aware of how naked and visceral I was. 

Philippa Ann-Marie weighed 9lbs 2oz and was 20.5 inches long. She was birthed in our home with all her family around her, including extended family of Grammi Cindy, Nani and cousin Hannah. Unfortunately, my friend didn’t make the birth, nor did the midwife! She had a short cord, so it was hard from me to snuggle her up to my chest, but we held her in the water and the kids all greeted her. It was quite a joyous occasion. I felt wonderful! It was such a blessing to have her out and in my arms, the birth had gone so well and my prayer of not needing stitching came true. My biggest baby and no sutures needed. Yay! She had a loud, lusty cry and we did all the fun ceremonial weighing and measuring and cooing and enjoying. 

That scale reads 9lbs, 2 oz. She now weighs 10lbs 14oz!!!

She is named in honor of the church of Philippi who aided Paul with their generous and sacrificial gifts during his ministry to the churches in spreading the good news of Christ Jesus. Philippi was named in honor of Philip, king of Macedon who established the town, and Philippa is the feminine form of Philip. It means “lover of horses” The Greek etymology for Philippos is philo: love of/fondness of & hippos: horse. Tim and I also love the verses in Philippians that succinctly encompasses the gospel: Philippians 2:5-11 “5 Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross. Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name, 10 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, 11 and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” I was first exposed to the name through the Duchess of Cambridge’s sister and also a favorite movie: Inception. James and Philippa are Cobb’s children. I honestly never thought Tim would agree to the name for its strangeness. I threw it out there early on and just let it simmer for quite a few months; after Gracie offered a funny nick-name he agreed shortly after that. Her middle name is Ann-Marie and honors three grandmothers. Ann is my maternal grandmother’s middle name and she is 91 and a sister in the faith. Marie is my paternal grandmother’s middle name and Tim’s paternal great-grandmother’s middle name. His great-grandma was a godly lady who lived to 103 and died in 2013. My Gramacita died in 2014 age 90, another sister in the faith and faithful to the Lord.  

The other kids have enjoyed making up some fun and funny nicknames for her: Pipperoni pizza was made up by Gracen and I think it won Tim over to the idea of having a daughter with such an unusual name! Pip Pop Lollipop was Madeleine’s addition upon meeting her. Others include Pippers, Pip, Pip Hurray, Pip and Phlippa. Philippa has so far proved to be a sweet addition to our home, she has blue eyes and is sleeping well through the night nuzzled next to me. The best part is the amazing love that grows with each child. I think many might believe that the more kids you have, the less love there is to go around, but that is absolutely not our experience. Unlike Huxley’s Brave New World, there is no diminishment of love with more children, but rather, more love flows to and in and through the passage with an addition of increase from the source. The pierced hose does not decrease with multiplication, but the love, tapped at the source builds to sustain. 

 And for Tim, another princess to affirm and protect and treasure and love.
 Tim with the littlest two on Father's Day

There are now 5 people to love Pippa, and the other kids love to dote on her. Tim will love Pippa in a way I cannot. Madeleine will love Pippa in a way that I cannot. Gracen will love Pippa in a way I cannot. Luke will love Pippa in a way I cannot. And it is this interconnectedness of love that becomes, like a polyphonic symphony, more enchanting for all its complexity and interweaving. There has been no jealousy or anger toward the new baby. Madeleine mothers her, Gracen is sweetly akin to her and Luke loves to hold “da beebee”.  And for Tim: another princess to affirm and protect and treasure and love. She’s already
3 weeks, and these golden newborn moments are so fleeting. I pray the Lord grants us all the time we can have with her, to love her and enjoy her and be blessed. We love you sweet Pip!

 3 weeks old today. XOXO
Love, Lauren 

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

It's that time again...

Baby time.
I've made no small noise about hoping for a SUMMER baby, but the Lord knows better than we do. Bergon babe #4 is expected May 23rd. I won't say when I think baby will arrive, because I hope we can do a baby pool this time! Hey, it's the 4th kid...we need some money! Truly, I am just kidding, but I think it would be fun. 

How far along? 9 weeks this Saturday (gestational age); Baby is the size of a cherry.  
EDD: May 23rd- really hoping for a May baby (and not one that shares a birthday with Mads)
Total weight gain: 0 lbs
Maternity clothes? A few days before we were pregnant, I slipped into my first ever size 4 dress! Then I went on two vacations and started growing a baby. Oh well, my body is a temple at any size. Size 6 still fitting for now, but all I want is some of Tim's flannel plaid sleeper pants!
Stretch marks? ugh. 
Sleep: Not so hot. Waking up to pee often and very restless. 
Miss Anything? Beer, beer and more beer.
Movement: Just gas bubbles
Food cravings: SUGAR
Anything making you queasy or sick: Letting my blood sugar get too low will bring on nausea. Not really used to that.
Gender: We have our guesses. Me and G think girl; Tim and Mads think boy.
Labor Signs: Oh heavens, no.
Symptoms: Does laying around like a 13 year old dog sound like a symptom? 
Belly Button in or out? in, never does pop.
Wedding rings on or off? on. This is the first pregnancy that I've had my "horseshoe" inside my ring to make it fit, so we'll see how that goes. 
Happy or Moody most of the time: Moody. 
Looking forward to: hearing the heartbeat.

Love, Lauren

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Happy Birthday Madeleine ~*5*~

It's Throwback Thursday, and it's time to remember the day we became Mama and Dada to our sweet little lady. First-time mamas…it takes a long time to move an 8 lb baby our your body, but I was not prepared for 36 hours of labor stretching over two days. Madeleine arrived after 4 hours of pushing, which accounts for her terrific cone head. As a third-timer and as one looking forward to helping other women deliver their babies, there is an enormity to motherhood. Sometimes both the awe-inducing wonder and the crushing weight of it combine to obliterate all sense of what I knew about myself. But that same power then speedily retracts all those bits back together and I'm more myself than I ever knew possible. It is amazing. And Madeleine is amazing too. So thankful to have her, and all my babies, those with me, and those yet to come. Madeleine Jael, born at home 7:39pm 7 lbs 15.5 oz 21in.

First birthday at our home where she was born: Bergon Bungalow. We did a huge pool party with ocean-theme. Found a picture of my Gramacita in the mix and am so glad she was close enough to be at every event. I was already 4 months pregnant with Grace.

Year 2 was a Hello Kitty picnic at the park near our Chantilly home.

Year 3: a cat party at Bergon Palms. I was not even 1 month pregnant with Luke.

Year 4: A pool party at Valencia Villa

On the day of her 4th birthday at the Berry Farm 2013. It was here that Tim and I went to walk around in hopes of getting labor started. She was born the next day. We return around her birthday year after year just for fun. 
We love you Mads.

Love, Lauren

Monday, May 26, 2014

My Gramacita

This beautiful lady passed away last night, May 25, 2014 in her home with family by her side. We celebrate her and all that the Lord has done in and through her. She will be missed, but we're rejoicing in her joy. She's finally home, seeing the Lord's face and though we don't get to see her, Madeleine put it succinctly: "I'll see her again." That is our hope: the realized expectation of heaven and following our Master who conquered death and demise forever.
Beatrice Marie Tafolla Valencia 
April 16, 1924- May 25, 2014

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Cocos Fire

To all responding heroes, and especially our hero:
Our prayers are for you.
Tim: We love you, the cubs miss you. I am working hard at home to be worthy of the service you are doing. It wasn't in our plan, it's not easy…but it is our life sometimes.
I love you so much; can't wait to see you soon.


Wednesday, May 14, 2014

April 2014

Our family went to Lake Skinner to celebrate Tim's birthday. It was hot the first day, but cooled significantly the next day, even so…we enjoyed a totally empty splash pad, which was actually a little eerie. The clouds settled in the morning and we took a long walk/ride to the lake dock. 

 Tim brought our bikes and he towed the girls around the lovely green campground the first day.

"Cheese princess." That's how G likes to say "cheese" for the camera. 

Just one night out there and yet, SO MUCH STUFF!

The nxt day we took in the Splash Pad which was deserted. 

My oh-so-yummy-sonny and equally yummy-honey:

Luke is getting to be a big boy--too big--he's turning into a "kid" more and more each day and I am sad to say that I really don't want him to grow up any more. I was recently buying a few shirts for him and realized that I was needing to shop in the "toddler" section and my gut-reaction was, "Luke's not a toddler!" but I guess he is, since he's actually toddling everywhere. How can my son, my little baby, be into 18 month clothing already? He's just a little guy! I could just snuggle him all day and I love holding him. He's still nursing--our longest stint so far amongst the three- and he just lights up the room wherever he goes. 
He has also taken to reading with the girls at night, though he might need to re-think his placement if he actually wants to HEAR any of the story. 

Tim turned another year older and wiser this year. He asked for a cherry chip cake with cherry frosting. Admittedly, it was the girliest cake he's ever received, but I had a new Wilton cake decorating tip and had seen a youtube video on making flowers, so what's a wife to do? It was delicious regardless of the overly feminine grandeur. 

These ladies are best friends and are having quite some fun in their pretend play. Imaginations and stories and scenarios run wild in our home and most days they just can't get enough of the other. I'm so blessed and joyful that having close sisters is going far better than I could have hoped. I really adore these two and their love for each other (and their "baby brudder").

We made a trip to the OC for some new contacts for me, and ended up making a day of it which included the beach. Everyone had a wonderful time and the girls loved dancing and splashing.

We ended the night with a little ferry ride across to Balboa Island. I love G's face and point:

Our Madeleine had a strange bout with a virus. She woke up sick and proceeded to stay sick with no eating, no bowl movement and no fever for three days. When Tim came home after his 72 hrs away, we took her to an urgent care where she immediately reveled in all the attention and perked up, playing the pleasing princess and smiling and being sweet to everyone. Due to her lack of fever, it was a difficult virus for us to diagnose, the fact that no one else was sick and her inability to keep anything down (even water) led us to take some aggressive action in regards to an x-ray and her first encounter with a needle! She was not a fan of the blood draw. She rebounded quickly enough to go to Legoland a few days later. 

This little man spends a little too much time in the high chair. It kinda happens that way when you're the third child and you're prone to getting into things when Mama is distracted with others or has a task to do (like make your breakfast, lunch or dinner). Sometimes he gets a little bored:

And finally, everyone strike your best pose! Ha ha, my girls are good at the chin tuck. 
And that was most of our April, save Legoland which I'll post on it's own another day.
Love, Lauren