Birth of Vienna Joy

IMG_0237In spite of my best efforts to get a natural labor going before my induction date of July 13th. Monday the 13th dawned without even a hint of anything beyond the random surges and bh contractions that I had been experiencing for weeks. But let me back up…maybe its best to start with an explaination of the choices we had made that lead us to where we were.

After Preston’s birth I was a little shaken in my ideas and beliefs about childbirth. In all the hundreds of birth videos I had seen none had been anything like what I experienced. I watched women TALKING while in labor, swaying gently back and forth and smiling at their husbands behind the camera. It baffled me. The pain I had experienced had hit like a sledge hammer and not let up until Preston was here. I couldn’t see how what these women were doing was even possible.

I also felt betrayed by my body. And I wondered if I had done something to bring it on myself. Maybe the panic that I felt that Preston was getting too big and that he needed to come out now was nothing more than the natural mama’s urge to not want to wait any more. Maybe all the “natural Induction” technics that I insisted we try inspite of my midwife’s reluctance had actually added to the trauma of his birth. I swore next time would be different. I would let nature take its course.

But Preston had been awfully big, the 4th degree tear I had sustained still caused me pain. And I felt caught between a rock and a hard spot. If I was listening to what my body was telling me my gut feeling and a strong one at that said it was time and he needed to come now natural or not. So what was I to do?

When I found out I was pregnant again I called Richelle, I had loved having her as my midwife before and wanted her again. She however was unable to take me so the search began for another midwife. I called and spoke to 3 or 4 and felt teary and unsettled about each one. The decision seamed huge and overwhelming. IMG_0215

We went in for our ultra sound to find out how far along we were. We were 7 weeks. Dr. Chappell sat us down after doing the ultra sound and talked to us about his philosophies about birth. Everything he said peaked my intrest and increased confidence in him. I decided to throw something at him to see if I could shock him with something “crunchy.” I plan to eat my placenta, I told him. Would you be ok with saving it for me?

“Absolutely! I wish more women knew the incredible benefits of doing that. The placenta contains everything a woman needs to recover from a birth. Its amazing stuff” His response baffled me and I threw out every other crunchy natural birth belief that I had to see if I could get a reaction. Nothing phased him, there was nothing he was unfamiliar with. The only thing he didn’t agree with me on was when an induction would be required.

“I think that since 42 weeks in technically full term, the baby deserves that long if its what she wants” I said.

“41 and 3 is as long as I am comfortable with going” he told me. I laughed a little. What was he going to do come to my house and drag the baby out of me?

We left the office and as we walked to the car I felt as though the matter was settled. I wanted a home birth, I wanted a nice warm, motherly midwife. I did not want a cold sterile hospital, medical procedures and a handsome young doctor who looked more like he should be chatting it up with some pretty nurse from Grey’s Anatomy than coaching me through the most difficult beautiful and sacred experience of life. And yet I felt at peace and as though the decision had already been made.

“I think he should be our doctor” Joseph and I said the words at the same time.

We laughed and that was that. A few weeks later I found myself crying over the decision. It just wasn’t what I wanted. I vented to Joseph. “WHo knows how many times I will get to experience childbirth?” I told him. “i don’t want to waste a birth experience on a hospital birth. I want a home birth, I want a midwife and I want to feel comfortable about my choice!”

His answer was simple “well then lets get a midwife! I will support you in whatever you decide.”

Again I called 5 or 6 midwives and each time I got off the phone feeling confused, flustered and teary. I simply couldn’t choose one. Finally I prayed about it. And the answer was simple. I already had the answer. I just hadn’t accepted it yet. Dr. Chappell was the best option for our doctor.

Fast forward to July. We continued to go back and forth about 42 vs 41+3 as an induction date and we finally decided that since we had felt strongly about him being our Dr. we should be willing to take his advice so we scheduled an induction for the 13th. In the mean time I did a lot of walking, relaxing and talking to the baby about what her needs were and listening to my own body and mind about what might be holding her up. On the morning of the 12th I woke up and took Preston for a walk we walked about 1 mile including going up and down the long steep hill by our house 3 times. It was Joseph’s birthday and I really wanted him to get his wish of having her born on his birthday.

But Sunday came and went and Monday morning we got the call to go to the hospital. They started the pitocin at 10 AM and the count down began. Our nurse Marianne was incredible. She started by going over our birthplan in complete detail with us and even asked if there was any wording we wanted her to use to help us with our hypno birthing. Dr. Chappell had agreed to only use pitocin to kick-start the labor and that we would turn it down or off as my own body took over creating the surges. Instead of the usual procedure of increasing the pitocin every 30 min. Marianne would ask me how I was feeling and together we would decide to increase, decrease or leave it.

The surges were rolling right along at a regular two minutes a part. They were comfortable and even exciting at times. I loved having the chance to work with my body. I found that there were things that I could do to make them easier. I found ways to move deeper and deeper into relaxation during the surges and I honestly looked forward to them.

My doula Natalie was there and she was amazing. Supportive as a doula, comforting and knowledgable as to what would help but there just as a friend to hang out and keep me company otherwise. My mom was there and Joseph was there and we just had a nice long visit. We listened to music and Natalie introduced me to a couple of songs titled Vienna. I thought how fun it would be to tell VIenna that this is what we listened to while I was in labor with her.

Mother brought us some lunch and then around 4 pm Marianne told me that Dr. Chappell would be coming soon and that he would break my water. I was a little annoyed that she would talk about it as though it wasn’t my choice and my body. It wasn’t a question to her but a statement. I let her know that I didn’t want my water broke and she dismissed it with a quick well the doctor will talk with you about it.

When Dr. Chappell arrived sure enough he told me he thought it would be a good idea tao break my water. I told him I was uncomfortable with that and would like to look at other options. He suggested that we could just continue with the pitocin but turn it up to get things moving since I was only at a 7. So we turned up the pit and the surges suddenly became waves washing over me, and threatening to swallow me. I got in the tub and labored for the next few hours there. THings got a lot more intense at that point. Natalie was teaching me how to go deep and dive under each surge moaning low and quietly and just let it wash over me. IT was helping and I was just starting to get the hang of it when two new nurses came and replaced my wonderful Marianne.

THey wanted to check me and although it seemed impossible to me at this point since I literally had almost no breaks between surges I agreed against my better judgement. The nurse put on a long plastic glove and shoved her hand at me blindly poking around trying to find what she was looking for. It hurt and I screamed (and maybe even swore) at her to get out of there. A few minutes later we tried again and she informed me that I was at a 10 and needed to get out of the water and start pushing. I didn’t want to, I didn’t feel the urge to push but once again against my better judgement I went along with it. I assumed that maybe my hesitation was fear of reaching the pushing stage.

Pushing hurt and left me unable to focus clearly on relaxing through the surges. I thought maybe I was pushing wrong so I suggested we get a scarf and Dr. Chappell did some tug of war pulling with me. IT helped but we still were making no progress. I was beginning to panic. I needed this to be over. I didn’t feel like I could go on much longer but we still weren’t even seeing the babies head.

Finally after an hour of pushing Dr. Chappell checked me again. I was expecting him to tell me that the babies head was right there and that a few more pushes and we would be done. INstead he looked a bit flustered and even disappointed. Well, you are actually just at a 7 and 90% effaced. I was shocked and wanted to cry. When we had started pitocin that morning I was 90% and at a 5. It was now almost 11 pm and I had apparently only progressed by two cm!

I asked everyone to leave so that JosephIMG_0197 and I could talk. I told him that I know we wanted a natural birth but I needed an epidural. I couldn’t go back to laboring for hours. I had told him before hand to remind me of all the reasons I wanted a natural birth when I asked for an epidural but when he tried I wouldn’t listen. I felt like I truly was beyond the point of no return and I COULDN”T do this any more. Dr. Chappell had turned off the pitocin to let me have a minute and THe surges had pretty much stopped. I insisted that I needed the epidural and asked for Dr. Chappell. He agreed and sent for the anesthesiologist. He was there within a few minutes and after a quick jab in the back I was pain free. It was really nice. REALLY NICE!!!

Here's Joseph cutting the cord. Obviously this was a new experience for him!

Here’s Joseph cutting the cord. Obviously this was a new experience for him!

We thought I could take a quick nap but when Dr. Chappell checked just 30 minutes later the baby was there ready to come. She’s got hair he told me. A few quick controlled pushes and she was out. I reached for her even as her legs and feet were still sliding out and Dr. Chappell let me pull her up on my chest. She was perfect and healthy. They left me alone with her as I had requested and after more than an hour when I had bonded and cuddled and loved on her they came to cut the cord, and measure her. She was 20 inches long and8lbs 4.5 oz.

It was a good birth. I got to experience a lot of the elements of birth that had been missing with Preston’s birth. And as crazy as it sounds…I cant wait to do it again! IMG_0242

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10 Ways you will know you have reached (or exceeded) your due date

1.) When siting, standing, walking, laying down, kneeling, squatting, standing on one foot etc. just hurts.

2.) When sleeping with 6 pillows is no longer enough

3.) When you find yourself looking longingly at a bottle of castor oil

4.) When you no longer care what people think enough that you will sit down in the middle of an isle, road, or room full of people because….well you have to sit!

5.) When you watch your babies bottle of milk spilling on the floor of your car and don’t even make an effort to pick it up because you know there is no way your making it down that low.

6.) When all it takes is someone making a helpful suggestion of something that you might do to make the baby come or to make the wait more comfortable and you feel as though your inner monster has been unleashed and you just might take their head off.

7.) When you cry because…well insert pretty much anything here and it works.

8.) When you find yourself doing the toilet dance (if you’ve been there you know what I mean) in an effort to make each visit more productive and possibly give you a full twenty minutes between visits.

9.) When remaining pregnant another day becomes worse than all possibilities, fears and outcomes of giving birth.

10.) When despite the fact that your brain knows it’s an impossibility you find yourself in tears over the VERY REAL possibility of you being the first woman to ever remain pregnant FOREVER.

You will know you have reached your day. And if the baby doesn’t come today, than maybe tomorrow, or the next day… or….or…..

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The New Me!

When my husband was serving his mission in South Africa, Dr. Hartman from the Color Code came and gave each of the missionaries the color code test. He then talked to them about the colors that they were and how they had developed either strengths from those colors or weaknesses.

One day as we were discussing this together and talking about our various colors and how we exhibit them in our lives,  I realized that he saw me quite differently than I saw myself. It made me wonder if he actually knew me!

As we talked we both had a bit of an aha moment. Even though my husband had in the last year, married, moved away from his home country of Uganda and come to the US. become a father, started a new job and began attending University here I had actually under gone more changes in terms of identity and life style than he had.

He still was doing all those things that he loved and that made him who he was. He was learning, he was interacting with others on a daily basis, he was working to provide in a career that he loved and was passionate about and he was leading out in our family.

On the other hand, I had gone from having a fulfilling career to being a stay at home mom. I used to put on my heels and get ready for the day and go to the office where I was interacting with others, making decisions that affected a multi million dollar company, facilitating meetings, and managing a team etc. I made and spent my own money, I had time for friends, hobbies and relaxation. I played the piano, was writing a book, and directing musical programs. I was traveling the world, trying new things and having adventures.

Now I stay home. My husband takes the car and is gone all day and I stay home with our adorable baby. I rarely talk to anyone throughout the day. I often don’t even bother to get dressed properly because on a cold day we may not even leave our two bedroom apartment. I make decisions like should I do the dishes first or the laundry? I am completely dependent on my husband for all my needs. I have a few precious hours when my baby is sleeping that I can choose to either clean the house, cook, take a nap myself, or do something just for me. I usually choose to cook or clean because that is something that has to happen. Basically NOTHING in my life is the same. I often feel dull, old, fat, ugly and dumb. It’s no wonder then that I felt like my husband saw me that way. It’s because I actually saw myself that way. And its also no wonder that my husband felt like the woman he had fallen in love with had disappeared and left a knew one in her place.

As we talked my wonderful husband realized how devastating it can be to so completely lose your identity. He knew from the changes that he had experienced that it can be really hard so he could see how hard it had been for me. “It’s no wonder you have been so unhappy” he told me. “We need to do something to change that.”

We then talked about possible options of ways that we could bring back the girl that he had fallen in love with.

It’s funny because I had always heard women who choose to stay home with their children talk about feeling as though they had lost their identity. I thought I understood that and yet this was a huge awakening moment to me to realize that I was experiencing this.

10411160_1614386682115634_183894752115933670_n-1Now I have to say. I LOVE staying at home with my baby. It has been a dream come true. But that doesn’t mean it’s not incredibly hard and that it doesn’t require some sacrifice and hard work. But I need to find a balance. As part of that we have decided that I would write more. I will explore new experiences and ideas associated with being a mother and I will find ways of bringing out the woman that I was in new ways. So you might say that the old me is back, but thats not at all true. The new me is coming and I am excited to share my journey with you on this blog!

Life is Hard; But Thats Not Why I’m Crying

I haven’t written in a while. I feel a little overwhelmed with my life at the moment. But there is so much that I want to say today that I just hope I can find the words to say it adequately.

When I was single I wrote more than one post about how hard it is to be single; how hard it is to feel like you have some how come to a dead end and don’t know what to do to change it. I wrote about feeling hopeless in my desire for children and family. I wrote about how lonely it feels to go to bed by myself every night, to go to church alone every Sunday. And it was hard, it was terribly hard and it was a burden I could never have carried on my own.

Last night as I put Preston down for the night I felt such relief to know that it would be hours before he would need me again. I closed his door so softly so that I wouldn’t wake him because  I didn’t feel like I could handle his squirming, crying, needyness one more minute. And then I sighed and went to bed. As I crawled in next to my husband too tired to even turn over and give him a proper goodnight, I pushed that body pillow between my legs to ease my aching hips and propped my ever growing pregnant belly on top so that it wouldn’t strain my back. I felt my husband’s warm body next to me and when he rubbed my feet with his and whispered goodnight, I just wanted to cry because I have so much and yet life is still hard.

I woke in the middle of the night because the pain in my throat and my ears was becoming too much to sleep through. Preston and I have both been sick with a bad cold, cough, fever and just feeling pretty plain miserable. I took a sip of water from the glass that Joseph always makes sure is on the nightstand next to my bed and I tried to sleep. It wasn’t long before Joseph started to stir. I didn’t feel like I could handle another day so soon. “We need to get going” he told me. we had a big day planned. “I know” I said although I couldn’t make it come out more than a whisper because my voice was so raspy. “I feel terrible” I com10417689_1577899402431029_5100755972080308831_nplained. Joseph leaned over and gently pushed the hair off my forehead. “Do you want to just rest this morning? I can go to work and come home early so that we can still get everything done that we have to do today” he told me. I gladly agreed and layed back down. He kissed me gently, not even worried about catching my germs and then left to go to one of his two jobs that he works so hard at to support us.

It was 9am when Preston woke up, I was glad he had let me sleep so long. We cuddled in bed and gazed in each others eyes for awhile before he insisted it was time for breakfast. I was preoccupied with something else and Preston was trying hard to get my attention. He was leaning forward in his highchair, a huge smile on his food covered face. He was giggling at nothing just to get me to look at him. I couldn’t help but smile back and that smile was followed by a flood of tears. Partially because I am pregnant and tears flow all too easily these days but also because I HAVE EVERYTHING I HAVE EVER WANTED. And life is still hard. Joseph and I have disagreements sometimes and I am here to tell you that the more you love someone the more mad you get at them. I am pregnant with another special blessing that I know will bring as much joy as Preston has. But between the intense morning sickness, and blinding headaches I haven’t really enjoyed this pregnancy much.

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Don’t worry those spots all over him are just lipstick kisses!

I don’t know wether this post is about complaining or about feeling blessed because I feel overwhelmed with both right now. All I know is that all morning I have felt like my old self, the one that ached after years and years of wondering if this time of life would ever come for me, has been looking over my shoulder smiling at all the things that I am enjoying and not enjoying so much about this time and she is pleased beyond words.

I am so lucky to have found someone that I love so deeply and intensely and who feels the same way about me. I am so lucky that two amazing spirits have chosen ME to be their mother! I get to be a stay at home mom. That doesn’t happen without a husband who is willing to work twice as hard and sacrifice to get by with less. I have laundry up to my eyeballs and dirty dishes enough to keep me occupied all day. And I have a silly giggling boy who inspite of being sick himself gently caresses my check and showers me with wet, (we hope its just slobbery) kisses.

Yes life is hard, incredibly so. But its so good that sometimes the only way to soak it all in is to just allow the tears to flow.

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And Then There Were Four

The fourth of July has always been a special day for me. I love that holiday. A year and a half ago it became that much more special when my husband proposed to me on that day. This year we are planning a new exciting way of celebrating that holiday. We thought it would be fitting to celebrate by adding a fourth member to our family!

Yep thats right I’m pregnant…again!

None of us have been very sure how to feel about this. When I first suspected that I might be I panicked because I didn’t think my body was ready to do it all over again. Then I started thinking about how much I love having a special gift from heaven kicking and stretching and moving around inside me, I thought of how much I adore Preston and how much joy he has brought into our lives and I desperately wanted that test to be positive.

I decided to surprise Joseph this time and not tell him I was taking the test until after I had seen the results. He was getting ready for work so I went in the bathroom took the test and waited anxiously to see what it would reveal. With in a few seconds a could see that plus sign emerging and I was so excited.

I went to the bathroom where Joseph was shaving and knocked on the door. He opened it and I said “So I have something to show you.” I held up the positive test.

He looked at it with a blank expression. What does that mean he said.

“It means we are going to have another baby!”

“Ill wait till I see it was his response. But he looked a little shaken and dazed.

In the next few days our roles kind of reversed. as morning sickness kind of took over my body and my life I became dazed and terrified of all that I knew lay in store for us.

Joseph became super excited.”Hows my girl?”He would ask me when he would get home from work.

“I’m sick.”I would answer.

“I’m sorry about that. But I meant my other girl” he would say with a little smile as he rubbed the spot that is just starting to grow.

Preston is another one who is not quite sure how he feels about this change.

PicMonkey Collage

But in the end I think we are all very excited about the new little spirit that will be joining our family this coming July!

Baby Culture: Is There a Double Standard

I’ve decided that babies have a culture all their own. Its like they live in a totally different world. In their world its perfectly acceptable to sleep till noon, poop your pants, throw up on people and never even say sorry. In fact sometimes they do it and LAUGH! Can you imagine the audacity? I mean there is a serious double standard for babies in the world. As my sister and I were discussing this the other day we decided to try an experiment. We decided to talk to people…grown up people I mean… in the same way that most grown ups talk to babies.

Mother enters the room from upstairs.

Me: watcha doing whitto muddo, huh…huh tell me all about it. yeah

Mother: What?

Me: Did you have a bath? Huh been splashing and splashing.

Mother: Whats wrong with you.

but I can’t talk because Hannah is laughing so hard and I am about to bust a gut myself.

So we got thinking what if there wasn’t a double standard

Would we meet a stranger for the first time and instead of shaking their hand you pick it up and start to suck on their fingers! How weird would that be?

Would you see someone you like and run to them and hang on their leg and stick your head in their crotch? Awkward right?

It’s funny that we don’t bat an eye when kids do things but if adults did them its weird.

What if adults let their noses run all down their face… (ok wait I have actually seen some adults who do this and it is so NOT cool)

what if adults laid in bed and cried when we got hungry until someone came to feed us. And lets not even talk about how babies get their food.

I was at a friends house last night and their two year old was entertaining himself by running around the couch. It’s not weird until you think about an adult doing it right?

Preston's first photo bomb

Preston’s first photo bomb

I can tell you its been awhile since someone told me the rolls on MY thighs were cute.

I was playing with Preston the other day and I told him I was going to eat his toes and then I actually did put them in my mouth and make noises like I was gobbling them up…could you imagine…ugh. But baby toes just aren’t gross. why is that? 10564793_10154365362515344_1384080184_n

Don’t get me wrong I’m not advocating for a change. Its quite obviously a double standard that SHOULD be there. But we did have a good laugh imagining a life where it wasn’t. The many faces of Preston

I am going to be Someone’s Mother!

I woke up early this morning. (Not something that happens to me, hardly ever!) And I couldn’t go back to sleep so I decided to write a few of my feelings about being a mother. Today makes 31 weeks for me and I find myself counting down and thinking in terms of how many weeks I have left instead of far I am. 9 weeks left and its starting to feel so real.

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30 weeks!

I’ve wanted a baby almost for as long as I can remember. I was 9 when my first baby sister was born. I was so excited. They brought her home from the hospital and my mom let me give her her first bath. She showed me how to steam the bathroom so that it was nice and warm, to check the bath water so that it was just the right temperature for her little body. she showed me how to hold her so that she would be comfortable during the experience. When I was finished I rubbed her little body down with lotion and dressed her in a little pink nightgown. And then I had to hand her off to Mother to be fed and put to bed.

I remember walking down the stairs that day and out to the yard. It was October and my sisters where out playing in a huge pile of leaves. I felt larger than life and overwhelmed by love. I decided right then in that moment that the greatest thing a woman could ever experience was to have a baby and I couldn’t wait to have mine. I sank down into the pile of leaves with my sisters and I told them that I would get married when i was 16 years old. (I knew that, was the earliest possible time that it was legal to be married) and that, I still had 7 years to wait and I didn’t know how I would make it.

When I turned 16, marriage was no where in sight but I did get another little blessing. My niece came into my life and gave me a taste of what it might feel like to be a mom. As I cared for her, got up with her during the night and rocked her until I felt my arms would fall off trying to get her to sleep I felt a swelling within me and a longing like I had never known before. I also felt a sense of peace and satisfaction that I had never known before and I believed that the most meaningful thing that I could ever do in my life would be to be a mother, to care for children, whether I had given birth to them myself or not.

My niece and I

My niece and I

The years continued to go by with marriage never presenting itself as a viable option. I got caught up in school and work and I loved what I was doing. I had great room mates, I was dating, I was having fun. Children started to annoy me a little. They were noisy, often smelly, and they NEVER seemed to stop moving. I loved the easy flow of work in the office, I loved the challenges and the deadlines. It wasn’t messy and chaotic like raising children. It was structured and fulfilling. I felt like a success. I worried that all those years of longing for children were gone and now  by the time I actually had them I wouldn’t want them anymore.

I went to visit an older sister one day. She had 10 children. Before I left her house all of her children got together and sang for me. They had beautiful voices, beautiful faces, but more than anything as I sat watching them, their voices melting perfectly together, the oldest looking somewhat bored and detached and the youngest, her face animated and alive with every word that she sang, I realized that these were human beings, 645 2these were people, lives that my sister had created! They would go on, they had their futures ahead of them! 794she was teaching them, raising them to be good upstanding people. Because of her they would experience all that life had to offer. I saw her love for them reflected in her eyes and I saw an unspeakable bond between mother and child and I KNEW that there was nothing, no work, no experience that I would ever have that would be more fulfilling than that of being a mother.800

But I worried it would never happen for me. That baby sister that I had bathed so carefully had grown up and was a woman now looking to get married herself.

Me with my two grown up, baby sisters.

Me with my two grown up, baby sisters.

I felt old and hopeless. My boyfriend had just broken up with me, and marriage seemed so far away. I went to bed one night sobbing and aching for what I thought I might never have. It wasn’t a new experience. I had done that many times over the 15 years I had been waiting for this blessing.

This night however, I dreamed a dream. It shook me, it was more real than anything. It was so special. I dreamed that my son came to me as a strapping young man. He held me while I cried, and encouraged me to hold on, to be patient. He promised he was coming and that it would all be worth the wait. He brought two others with him, but he was the one that really affected me. Whenever I had thought about being a mom I had imagined having a baby. I never imagined a boy taller than I am, handsome and strong. I never imagined him comforting me assuring me that all would be well. He was my hero and Oh I loved him like nothing I had ever experienced. When it came time for him to leave I begged him to stay, but he couldn’t. He promised that it was just around the corner and that I needed to hang on and be patient a little longer.

I woke aching to hold him.

Now, just about two years later I lay here in bed feeling a little body squirming and kicking inside. I feel love so real and tangible for the baby inside of me that I hold my belly loving the feel of having him so close and I cry with happiness. This boy and I who have faced this lonely pregnancy together will soon be going through the birth experience together as well. He has been my rock, my hero. His presence has brought so much peace. My son already feels to me somewhat like the man that I hope he will be one day.

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He is a human being. In about 9 more weeks, he will start his life. He will start his one chance at mortality. He will start making the decisions that will shape his eternity! Nine weeks! I feel overwhelmed that I am his mother. That I am responsible to give him everything he needs to be successful. That I am being entrusted with the fragileness of his new life, of his soul, fresh from heaven.

I feel overwhelmed with Joy that my time has finally come. That one day soon a little person will call me mom. He is the best reason for living that I have ever had, and for the first time in my life I feel that there is someone else that I could live for. That no matter what happened in my own life there was someone else who is more important than anyone or anything in this world. I would live for him, I would die for him. My little Preston has become the center of my universe and my heart is as full as my belly!