Doula Week, Birthdays and Mom

Yesterday I celebrated another birthday. This was a special one, I celebrated my first birthday as a doula and it just so happens that this week is World Doula Week.

As I reflected on the past year, all the accomplishments and all the times I was stretched and forced to grow, my mind kept drifting back to my mom.

I am the firstborn. I broke my parent’s into this gig. But it was my mom who taught me so many vital skills, many that I am using as a doula.

My mom raised us in a loving home where we felt confident to be ourselves. She taught us compassion, patience and forgiveness. She taught us to give the benefit of the doubt and look for the best in people. My mom is the most giving person I know. She thinks of others, always.

Yesterday wasn’t just my birthday, it was her birth day, too. And I couldn’t be more thankful for the mom I have.

Celebrating Life

Yesterday I walked down the long hospital connector and came to the place where I had checked in many times to watch the miracle of life begin outside the womb.  A walk that has become routine to me into a place of joy and happiness. To a place where a baby takes his first breathe, where families grow and celebrate a new addition.

We passed the door to the maternity unit and headed for the heart and vascular care unit instead. While we were going to celebrate a life of a special woman, we were also going to say goodbye, at least for our time here on Earth.

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Lotus | A Small Warrior

Meet Lotus.

An itty bitty baby that made her entrance in to the world at 34 weeks. I had the amazing honor and privilege to photograph this small bundle several times throughout her NICU stay. It started when Amy (a birth doula, friend and superwomen) asked me to go to the hospital with her for Lotus’s birth.

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Life in the little nest has been quite busy the last several months, in ways we could have never foreseen.

In the middle of January I had a really painful episode that had caused me to reduce most activity. I couldn’t even get off the couch for over a week. A series of symptoms and more doctors appointments than I can even count have lead to still no diagnosis. We are pretty confident, however, that what I have been experiencing is an auto-immune flare up. Auto-immune diseases are tricky to diagnose and believe me, the test that are run to try and pin-point the culprit are quite expensive.

The funny thing about auto-immune diseases is that they also go into remission when a woman becomes pregnant. It amazes me how our bodies are so complex and how important that new life in the womb is. This is where a diagnose becomes even trickier for me!

You see, before Brent and I were married we made the commitment to let the Lord lead our family planning.  It became painfully humbling once we began to really start trying to conceive. We were disappointed every month for over a year to find out we were not pregnant. After several test were ran, we realized we were up against some hurtles. But atlas! The Lord blessed my womb and nine months later we were snuggling a beautiful boy, Bennett (his name means “little blessed one” and oh, how He has blessed us!)

Then there was the painful period of secondary infertility. I think that may have been worse. My heart not only ached selfishly but, because I have enjoyed my siblings, it ached for Bennett. The Lord made it clear that it was time to explore the path toward adoption. It didn’t prove to be a long one and two short months after our home study was complete we were handed a baby girl! Eve (her name means “life” and we are so thankful that her birth mom chose life for her which was counter-cultural in her environment.)

The Lord opened the flood gates from that moment on! Johanna (“God is gracious”) was born ten months after Eve. Just shy of Johanna’s second birthday Kent (“From the king’s court”) arrived. Little Lucy (“Light”) was born seventeen months later. And, a short twenty-six months after Lucy’s birth, Mosley made her appearance. She was named after my Mema, who’s maiden name was Mosley. We couldn’t find it’s meaning so we defaulted it to mean the same as Moses (“From the water”) and sometime I will share her birth story… her name may give you a good giggle.

We firmly believe every child is a gift from the Lord. Psalm 127:3 “Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord, the fruit of the womb is a reward.” We are beyond blessed to be able to share with you that if the Lord wills, we will be cuddling another baby by the end of the year! Our children are beaming with excitement at the thought of another sibling.

9 weeks at 4/23

During Passover meal, as we took turns sharing from the Haggadah I was given this verse to read:

“He settles the childless woman in her home as a happy mother of children. Praise the Lord.” Psalm 113:9.  Little to my knowing, life was growing yet again in my womb!! And I praise the Lord for all seven of His wonderful gifts!!