Saturday, August 31, 2013

Symphony's Birth Story | Part 3 + Epilogue

Missed Part 1 and Part 2?

Since the early days of pregnancy, I'd wondered what life was like for my mom, before me. Who was she? Did she sing like me? Was she adventurous? What was her dating life like? How did she handle being so far away from her family? What did she dream of doing? How did she dream of changing the world?

It was sad for me to think that Symphony might never know the "Ty & Jules" before her. She'll always know us as "Mom & Dad."

So I had my mom tell me my own birth story months before. She'd shared bits and pieces of it over the years, but from start to finish, it was a weird mixture of identical and opposite to my own.

On a wintery Sunday in 1988, there laid a 23 year old girl, alone, in an East Coast hospital. 29+ hours of labor when her baby girl got stuck up against her pelvic bone and a C-section was in order.

Now, 25 years later, that girl was me. Except the fact that I was in a West Coast hospital, surrounded by the most important people in my life. But like my mother, modern medicine and the hand of God were making it possible for my baby girl to be minutes away from her first breath.

For that I am thankful.

You'll feel a little cold and then you won't feel anything at all, the lady anesthesiologist said. Ty was outside the operating room door because they wouldn't let him in while I was being prepped. I was more worried about him than I was about myself. C-sections didn't scare me. I was going to be okay. But he didn't know that. Why? Because I never prepped him for one.

That's right. I was so confident in my diet and exercising that I thought for sure nothing was going to get in the way of pushing this kiddo out. My factors were unexhausted however; muscles (check), stamina (check), flexibility (check), education (check). I never factored in my bone structure (damn).

They called him in, he grabbed my hand, and to be honest, I don't remember much after this.

It's all a blurry collage of blue scrubs, loud beeps and a ton of pressure. I mean a ton of pressure.

I remember Ty peeking over the curtain and marveling at my innards. Don't look at that! I yelled. Disgusting.

I remember him saying it was awesome, though his face said otherwise.

I remember hearing the doctors call out all their fancy tools like something straight out of Grey's Anatomy and then I remember hearing them talk over each other. Someone get down there and push. 

Awesome. I freaked. As much as a numb girl could. She's not going to make it. What if she doesn't make it. 

And then I heard it. The loudest, most excruciating and beautiful scream I would ever hear in my entire life. Even the doctors told us she holds the record for loudest newborn.

She was here.

Ty ran to the table where they were cleaning her up. Symphony, he sang. Symphony it's your Daddy.

Silence. And eyes wide open.

That's when I lost it. She knew him. And while it didn't happen as I dreamed, with me being her first sight, this might have been more perfect.

Her Daddy, her provider, her protector, the first man who will ever show her what real, pure and true love is was what she saw and heard first.

He wrapped her and brought her over so I could see her and through my tears I whispered, She's beautiful. And then, She looks more Mexican that I thought she was going to. Deep, I know.

But it's true, she's her Daddy's girl and I wouldn't have it any other way.

- - - - -

Symphony Mae, from the very beginning we knew you were meant for something great. You are a miracle to us and we'll never let you forget it. Your life has brought joy and hope and faith to so many people, some you will most likely never know.

God formed you and fashioned you to perfection, and while you'll question His handiwork one day, your Daddy and I hope to give you such a foundation that our faith will contagious to you.

He is good. He is faithful. He has created you for something great. And you, my little world changer, are already off to a great start.

Friday, August 30, 2013

Symphony's Birth Story | Part 2

^^^ My sister's face is priceless. The first few moments of seeing Sym's head.

No one could have prepared me for the ocean of emotions I felt that day. I'd dreamed of these moments for so long. What it would feel like to experience labor, the pushing, and its aftermath. That moment when I would push for the last time before my girl's wrinkled little body would slip through in perfection and I'd be the first thing she saw. Heard. Felt.

So I pushed. And pushed. And pushed with that image in mind.

I started pushing at midnight. My nurse was such a sweetie and had so much hope that I would be just fine. She guided each push while Ty cheered me on like a football coach in the last seconds of a victorious fourth quarter. 

Do you see her head?! The nurse exclaimed. 

She was coming. 

They gave me a mirror at one point so I could see her dark hair poking through and that fueled me to push all the more. Just a little bit more. A couple more. 

Here she comes! They said. A couple more big ones! 

Then I fell asleep. The time between contractions wasn't much but my eyes were barely open and my head felt like it was swirling in Alice's wonderland porthole. At the three hour mark they let me rest for 15 minutes, while my mom put a cool washcloth on my swelling red face and Ty mysteriously changed my socks. I woke up to his hand brushing my cheeks and hair. Babe, there's a chance she's not going to come out. We need to consider the possibility of a C-Section

Wait, what? No, I can do it. I can see her. Let me try one more time. 

Because her heart rate was steady as a rock, the doctors let me go until something happened. I wanted it that way.

So I pushed again. 

Don't worry baby girl, I thought, I'm going to get you out. I can't wait to see you. Hold you. Love you and kiss the giant nose you inherited from your Daddy. I can't wait to show you around this big beautiful world our God designed. It's just beautiful. Don't worry, I'm going to get you out. 

5AM came, marking hour five of pushing, and between the swelling and popping blood vessels, baby Mo hadn't moved any closer to crowning. 

The OB on call came in and said she believed my pelvic bone wasn't wiggling open any further and the baby's head was stuck up against it. She gave me the standard options of ways they could attempt to manipulate her out but Ty and I both knew if those didn't work, she'd be doubly banged up and a C-Section would happen anyways. 

I'll never forget the look in his eyes; the tears, the fear and worry when he said Baby, it's okay, you pushed so hard. I'm so proud of you. 

He leaned in to give me a kiss and I grabbed his neck with desperation. 

I'm sorry. I'm so sorry. I knew it wasn't my fault, these things happen and all ten people in that room knew I tried my absolute hardest. But it was all I could think of to say. 

Then, in what felt like a flash, I was wheeled away and prepped for some major abdominal surgery. 

This was it. And the irony of it all? This is exactly how I was born.

...To be continued. // This is Part 2 of Symphony Mae's Birth Story. Missed Part 1? Click the link.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Symphony's Birth Story | Part 1

They all told me, You'll know when it's the real deal. Trust me, you'll know.

I was in early labor for three weeks prior to my due date. Between nightly three mile walks and bouncing on my trusty yoga ball, I was sure I was going early. I tried everything. Primrose oil (which definitely helped me efface), walking ridiculous hills, pineapple, spicy foods, jumping jacks, dance parties, and my last resort was castor oil. Which didn't work. And didn't give me the runs either. #fail and #win.

But on June 26, at 2:00 in the morning, I woke up out of a dead sleep to the "real deal." 

I didn't know if the emotion I was feeling was excitement or nervousness, but whatever it was, it motivated me to shower, clean my house, and triple check our hospital bags. At 4:30 I woke Ty. We timed contractions and at the four minute mark we loaded up the car.

From the beginning, everything was like a movie to me.

Driving down Sunset Blvd was a bit surreal. Our lives were about to change. The sun was just coming up and she was shining extra glittery, as if she knew it too. 

We made a quick stop at Chic-Fil-A (naturally) because I knew once I'd had the epidural, they weren't going to let me eat. So biscuit, egg, and chicken breakfast sandwich it was. 

One hospital gown, an IV and 4cm later, I was in my room, which was big enough to fit our Brady bunch of a family, and feeling as confident as ever.

I wanted to get to 6cm before I did any meds for pain relief. I wasn't going to be a hero, but I wanted to see what I was capable of. Ty walked the halls with me and did counter-pressure like a champ. Seriously, best coach ever. He's for hire if you need.

During contractions, he would whisper sweet things about what our baby was going to be like, how beautiful I was, and how proud he was of me. His encouragement single handedly kept me going. I kept thinking of all the seasons we'd been through as a couple and how this was yet another catalyst that made me love him even more. Was that even possible? Yes it was.

I got to 6cm and the shooting pain, shaking limbs and exhaustion became unbearable. I asked the nurse to call the midwife, who called the doctor, who called the anesthesiologist. My contractions kept their quickening pace during the epidural but the doctor started to worry about whether the baby was going to fit through my canal. We'll let things happen as they want to and cross that bridge when we get there. You're doing great, she said. 

The hours that followed were filled with unexpected laughter, visits from family, and a little bit of sleep.  The room was charged with happiness and excitement. This can't be real, I said to myself over and over. Everything is happening so beautifully. Even my water breaking was dramatic and straight out of a movie. Gushing and a costume change for the midwife may have happened. 

At 10:00pm, Miss Mo had not yet made her appearance and Ty and I started to accept the fact she was going to wait it out til our anniversary. Yes, June 27 was two hours away and while we joked about her stealing the show, I don't think it could have been more perfect timing. 

Our life together started that day and to think that our life as a family would start the same day, four years later, was overwhelming to me. She would make us better, fuller, wholer. 

Midnight came and it was time to push. 

And push.
And push.
And push. For five hours.

This was where things got crazy. 

...To be continued. 

Monday, August 26, 2013

Miley Cyrus' Message to Teen Girls: Sex = Growing Up

Dear Sisters,

I'm sorry. Tonight, at this year's VMA Awards, every young girl in the world was sent a message we've been trying to dissipate for years.

A message sent by many other mediums and vices. 
A message with potential to damage and inevitably demean. 
A message with an illusion of strength, but a reality of sorrow. 
A message glamorized by makeup and costumes.
A message fantasized by girls just like you.

That message?

Sex means "growing up." Use your sexuality to get noticed and get what you want. Sex is power. 

No no one can blame Miley Cyrus for wanting to become more than the Disney Channel girl. We all need to grow up at some point. But what the world witnessed tonight was a juvenile and sorry attempt to do so.

We didn't see a little girl growing up. We saw a wildly inappropriate exhibit of sexuality distorted and warped.

Please hear me when I say, this: It is not truth, it is not good, and there is nothing glamorous about it.

Maturity doesn't come in the cheap sale of something so valuable.  Value doesn't rise when something is thrown flippantly to all. (Tweet that.)

Don't hear me wrong, the fact that you and I, as girls, are sexual beings is nothing to be apologizing for. Don't be ashamed of it, but don't throw it to the dogs either.

You were made to awaken your sexuality in freedom, with no inhibitions and no audience. You were meant to explore your sexuality in freedom, with one man who's committed to love and cherish and adore you; no matter what. There is a time for that and it will come. I promise.

You are worth more. Miley is worth more. And when her audience has gawked enough, they will abandon her while her actions follow her into wherever the future leads. And while they're not unredeemable, they are pivotal.

Don't be fooled, sweet girls, by the glamour of what you saw. Be wiser. (Tweet, tweet.)~

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Something to be Said for Predictability

Everyone has something they do, every single morning. 

Recently, mine is nursing Baby Girl Mo. It happens every morning without fail. Drinking a cup of coffee (of half of one) is a close second. But before motherhood, it was a tie between going to the bathroom and checking Instagram.

I'm a pretty spin-on-a-whim type girl. Routine and schedules and consistency make me nervous. I like spur of the moment trips and switching up the brands of my food. Sometimes to our tastebuds detriment. 

However, there is something to be said for a little predictability and stability and its place in the sanity of women. ~

"True stability results when presumed order and presumed disorder are balanced. A truly stable system expects the unexpected, is prepared to be disrupted, waits to be transformed." - Tom Robbins

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Why I Didn't Photoshop My Pregnancy Line

Perspective leaks like water in a spaghetti strainer. 

There were a lot of things during pregnancy I was completely ignorant of. Like I didn't know everything got bigger. I thought it was the belly (obviously), maybe my face would chub up a little and no doubt my booty was done for. But my fingers swelled to an unrecognizable size, my feet went from size 7 to 8, my eyelashes left the building and don't even get me started on the unmentionables. 

By week 37, I was ready to meet my baby girl. Or at least that's the partial truth I responded with when people asked if I was done being pregnant. Of course I was ready to meet her, but the unspoken half of the answer was and have my own body back. 

Can I have a moment of transparency? This reality was really hard for me. After 2 years of struggling through the sorrow of miscarriages, I would give anything (!) to let my body distort in exchange for a baby. 

And when it happened, I thought for sure I'd carry everything, everyday, in perspective. But when I didn't, the guilt and fear began to set in.

"This was a miracle. The one I'd begged God for. She's here and she's mine." I reminded myself nearly every morning when Ty brought my breakfast. (Oh yes he did.)

But then there comes a time when perspective gets warped and the dark line appearing on my rapidly expanding belly (Linea Nigra) was the tipper to push me off the emotional edge of self loathing and fear. Supposedly it's from hormones and fades after birth, but it was so ugly to me. Harsh? A little. But I couldn't help it. Because it wasn't really about the line. It was about me. 

The physical fears started booming into emotional fears, landing into my spiritual fears:

What if it never goes away? What if my husband doesn't think I'm sexy any more? What if that ruins our marriage? What if we drift apart? What if I am not a good wife anymore? Will that hurt me as a mother? What if I'm not a good mother?! What if I screw up my girl? What if she doesn't know God? What if I don't show her!?

See how damaging this can be? Yet, it's real. You know it and now I know it.

It's so easy for us to surrender perspective to the details in life, regardless of permanency or importance.  (Tweet that!)

Yes, perspective leaks like water in a spaghetti strainer. We need constant reminders of who we are, why we're here, and what is most important in life. (Tweet, tweet.)

This is why, when my photographer offered to touch up the line on my belly, I said no. It's not beautiful to me, in fact, it still bothers me a little. But it represents a tiny baby, growing at a rapid and miraculous rate, who represents the grace and blessings of God in my life. 

And that, to me, is beautiful.

(Am I alone in this? What do you feel is ugly yet representing beauty to you?)

Photos taken by Oopsy Daisy Photography. Book her. You won't regret it.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Oh Symphony, A Lullaby Album

There once was a guy and a girl. They fell in love and wrote music inspired by the loved ones around them. Then, after some long and sorrowful years, they welcomed their sweet Symphony into the world with a song and a dance.

Oh Symphony is an 11 track album written for both parents and babies. As musicians, we strived to create lullabies with quality musicianship, instruments, and lyrical content that would soothe your babies and your heart. This isn't your average lullaby album, if I do say so myself.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Dear World, Meet Baby Mo. She Will Change You.

We had a baby and as all parents find themselves saying, she's perfect. She was born June 27 via C-Section at 8pounds + 21inches after 20 hours of labor and 5 hours of pushing. Everything up until delivery was just as I had hoped and wished for. And while a C-Section wasn't in my game plan, and I didn't prepare Ty for it, the experience as a whole was beautiful and so right.

We had some scary moments, freaking hilarious moments, and emotional moments I can't wait to share with you next Thursday via video! But for now, feel free to gawk and melt at the #babyspam on Instagram.

Want to more gory details? Read Parts 1,  2 and 3 of Symphony's Birth Story.

Monday, August 5, 2013

Having Your Cake and Eating It Too

You've heard it said,"You can't have your cake and eat it too."

But really, who intentionally gets cake and then doesn't eat it. Even you crazy healthies out there who have crazy will power to abstain from such evils, wouldn't go through the trouble of serving it up it in the first place if you weren't going to eat it.  

If you work for cake, you're going to eat that sucker. Am I right? (And you're going to make it german chocolate or coffee cake. Just me? Ok.) 

In a world where dreams are becoming more and more of people's realities, there are a lot of nay-say-ers that have shuffled their way to the top of the soap box. They might inform you your writing isn't up to par or your space just doesn't flow. They might get into the nitty gritty of what they assume you're saying instead of actually listening and reflecting. 

Don't get me wrong, I'm all for cohesive and pretty blogs/books/lives and grammatically correct pieces, but life is a little messier than that. Some of us are a couple steps behind and we need to be allowed the space to walk at our own pace. We need to be allowed the grace to figure our purpose, our calling, in the ever changing seasons of life. (Click to tweet that!)

That's what this blog has become. In a time of shifting roles and responsibilities, likes and dislikes, passions and questions, I want to be able to stand up and say, "Hey, the only thing all these little sectors have in common is me! And that's okay!"

These past two months have been a beautiful whirlwind of figuring out that yes, my life is shaping up to be a seemingly mismatched patchwork quilt, but it's oh so beautiful. 

  • Design, by myself, my husband, and Dunkin Donut Coffee
  • Topic Organization, most everything I write here will be on one (or a blend) of the sidebar topics (motherhood, worship, faith, next generation)
  • About & New Reader pages, some new fun and updated facts
  • One Half Worship Coaching, a virtual mentoring program with women in (or who want to be in) worship
  • The Free Box (coming next week), filled with downloads, music, printables, worksheets and the like. 

Original photo via
^^^Opinions, two-cents, questions and ramblings are welcome. And go above. Go ahead. Try it.

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