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About Megan

"Hey ya'll! I'm Megan, a southern girl with a big mouth! I started blogging back in 2004, but then my entries were mostly filled with teen drama, a brief bout with poetry, and falling in love with the guy I would later marry. Now, six years later, I am happily married, living in Alaska, and enjoying life with our little boy! In-between changing diapers, dealing with life in the military, and running a part-time photography business, I do manage to post now and then. Of course, "now and then" can sometimes mean three and four times a day if I feel especially "chatty." I love to laugh, try out new recipes, go hiking and camping, study new photography techniques, and play with my husband and son. Our life has been filled with challenges and changes over the past few years, and having a newborn is just another season of life. But I'm loving every minute of it! A Southern Belle in an Alaskan igloo... me, hubby, and baby makes three!"

Visit my NEW public blog at http://meganpeter.blogspot.com
I'll be updating both here and there, though you never know when you might find a surprise post!

The sustaining hand of God

When I got my first real job at the age of 16, working the drive-thru at our local Burger King making $5.25 an hour, I knew that there were certain things I wanted to buy with my newfound wealth. Thanks to my parents, I also knew that the only way to get those things or go those places was to save up my money. So every two weeks on payday I took $30 out of my paycheck and used that to pay for gas (yes, I remember when guess was less than a $1 a gallon!) and any personal items and then I took out $20 that was my spending money. If I wanted any kind of non-essential item, even down to a pack of gum, then that came out of the $20. Once that was gone, it was gone. If I wanted a $40 computer game, then I saved up my money for a month until I could afford it without dipping into my savings. Over the next two years, my savings kept on growing, even after I moved and got a new job where I made almost twice as much as before. By still sticking to my $20 limit, I was able to go on many trips, even to Cape May, New Jersey to see Micah graduate from the Coast Guard, and eventually, to Alaska to spend three months during the summer before we got married.

But then we got married and became newlyweds, and what word is synonymous with "newlywed"? That's right, "broke"!

This November marks our third anniversary and in those three years, Micah and I have struggled more than we ever could have believed possible. We have our good times, times of plenty, and our bad times, where even lean would have been considered excess. Last spring Micah had a really good paying job and we managed to save up several month's worth of expenses. That was our saving grace when he lost that job a few months later and my student job ended as I graduated. All summer long he looked for more work, but couldn't find anything. It was those savings that sustained us. That and the grace of God.

Finally, after much prayer and thought, we decided that Micah would go back to school to work towards a viable career, while I would go to work to bring in a steady income. Yet, even with all our great plans, we still had a mountain of credit card debt that was racked up during those months. And it continued to grow as we encountered more lean months and just-barely-but-not-quite making it.

Right about that time we found out that I was pregnant.

And another boulder goes onto Debt Mountain.

This spring has been especially hard. Knowing that we would closer than tight in our input vs. output, we decided to leave our quiet, peaceful house with the beautiful view and move to a on-the-edge-of-the-ghetto neighborhood. A lot let peace and a lot more drama, but it's $250 cheaper in rent a month... you do what you gotta do, right?

Since that time, I have cried my tears, hating where we live, but knowing that it's all for a greater purpose. We want to own our own home within two years, which means making sacrifices now. But I still can't stand listening to the loud music, cussing, and fights when I just want to sit and cuddle quietly with my son.

June marked the beginning of a three-month struggle for us, one of the darkest times financially as we came within literally $30 of being completely broke. Scrounging up money from every place possible, God blessed us with numerous photo sessions that bridged the gap for us, carrying us safely over to where we are now.

We knew that if we could just make it until the end of August, everything would be okay. Micah's scholarships would kick in once he started back to school. Last year he barely got anything, this year we received an abundance. That, along with some personal money, money from Micah's Coast Guard drills, and from several more photo sessions all came together over this past week.

Which brings us to last night. Sitting down next to each other on the couch, Micah and I put on fingers on the mouse together and with one single click, did something that we have been looking forward two for the last five years: We paid off our Xterra!


Wooooooooooohhhhhhhhhhoooooooooooooooooooo!

I first bought the Xterra in February of 2005 and since we got married, Micah and I have lived with the inconvenience of only having one vehicle, many times riding the bus or bumming rides with friends in order to keep from having to purchase a second car. We agreed that this one got paid off first, before anything else.

Last night there was $451 left on the car loan. This morning, there is none.

Ahh... that is such a good feeling!

What's more, we also paid off over half of all of our credit card debt! And the rest will be paid off within three months! The only thing that we'll have left is student loans!

Part of me can't even image what it will be like to only have utilities and insurance to pay each month. We will have hundreds of extra dollars each month that will be put in our savings account for *drumroll please* a down-payment on a house next year!

God has so richly blessed us and has carried us so far through so much. Even though I cried, questioned, yes, even doubted through those dark times, now, looking back, I can see what God has done and how there are so many times where I honestly don't know how we made it... except by the sustaining hand of God.

m.
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I was going through my picture files last night and I realized that I had all these pictures of Caleb that I never uploaded. For shame! So be prepared for a picture overload!

Ha, I was on a B&W fix when I edited these:

Oh gracious. I love a man in uniform. Mmmm.



Awww... I love that Micah loves babies and I love that Caleb loves spending time with Daddy. Love love love!



Now for the color again:

Will you just look at those baby blues!



I love Caleb's eyes!
He melts my heart.
Oh, please Lord, let Caleb's eyes stay blue!!!



These go back a bit in time...

I do believe that this was the last time he wore this sleeper. It was super tiny.



I love these next pictures. They came from our clamming trip down the Kenai at the end of June. And get this... these colors are REAL! The sky really was that blue! Beautiful!

Super baby! Caleb loves to fly!
 




Micah loves to play with Caleb, and that makes me love them both all the more.



These were taken that next day, all inside our tent, believe it or not. It was raining and the wind was blowing super hard so we just cuddle up inside, just the three of us, and had fun playing with our boy!

Whenever Caleb gets excited he opened his mouth all the way... don't you know you can catch flies that way, kid?



Then he started staring straight at the camera. Wow, what a gaze!
 




The walls of the tent where white and so it made some really cool back lighting!



And a picture of yours truly, thrown in for free! Surprise- I was actually having a good hair day after being out camping for three days without a shower!



So there are all your pictures for the month. :P

m.
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Caleb's Birth Story: Part 4

Click HERE to read part 1
Click HERE to read part 2
Click HERE to read part 3

Those first moments that you’re holding your newborn child is unlike any other moment you have ever experienced. Even though your body is physically exhausted, as soon as that squirming baby is laid against your chest a rush of strength, pure and true, flows through your body and you know that you will give your life to protect this tiny child.


Micah and I laid our heads together, just watching our son as he kicked his little arms and legs, wiggling his way straight into our hearts.


Tenderly, Micah left Caleb up and handed him back to the OB who gave him to the nurse to clean up. Even though I was a bit out of it, I motioned for Micah to go take a picture… his first picture… of our little son.







While they finished cleaning Caleb up, the OB helped me pass the placenta, catching it in a large pan. She then asked if I wanted to see it (as apparently some women are crazy enough to want to?), Micah took a peek (another mistake) while I politely passed on that honor. He said that it looked like my guts had come out of my body.


Thank you for that lovely description, I do believe I’ll go back to thinking happy thoughts about my son now.



After weighing him, measuring him, and make sure all the body parts where in the right place, they bundled Caleb up and handed him back to me. Oh, my heart overflowed with love with this little life. I love him so much that my chest literally hurt, even as I brought him close to suckle, his little mouth rooting for that life-giving nourishment. As he latched on for the very first time, I looked at Micah and the tears in his eyes mirrored the tears in mine. It had been a long, hard road, but finally, we were parents. Our family was complete.



As the nurses cleaned up, the OB proudly announced those birth statistics that all the grandmas love to hear and compare.  At 2:14pm on Wednesday March 17th, we gave birth to a healthy boy weighing a surprising 7 lb 4 oz (we had expected him to weight much, much more) and measuring 20.5 inches long. From the brief glimpses we got, it looked as though he had blue eyes with blonde hair to boot.





In other words, perfect.
 











It was two days before my due date and the baby that we thought was going to be late ended up being a bit early, but none of that matter as we held him in our arms. Micah went out to let his brothers know the news, who in turn would alert the world (i.e. Facebook) that the Peter Boys lived on! (Family joke) As soon as he got back into the room, we got on the phone and called the grandparents, the siblings, my best friend from grade school… we wanted everyone to know the good news. It was so wonderful to hear the laughter, the crying, and the hollering (from my southern family). All these people had prayed for us, encouraged us, and wanted only the best for us, and now they were able to share in our joy.



And what about Momma? We called her as her plane was closing its doors and getting ready to leave non-stop for Chicago to Anchorage. Just a few more minutes and she would have been left with 6 hours of wondering whether or not she was a grandmother yet. Part of my heart truly believes that Caleb hurried up that last hour just for his Grandmom, so she would know.



A few minutes later, Micah’s brothers joined us in the room to hold their newest nephew for the first time. It was so amazing to see the smile on Nathan’s face as he looked into Caleb’s eyes, only to have Caleb look right back at him. That is a moment I won’t forget.




The nurse soon came in and shooed out the boys (making sure we got the baby back first!) and began to get me ready to move to the regular day room. Massaging my stomach, she suddenly pushed down and with an unladylike *BLURP* whatever used to be inside was now outside. Micah and I both agreed that it was very weird to witness. I said, imagine feeling it then. Helping me to the bathroom, the nurse helped me get changed into a clean gown and under things, and so the process of becoming a woman once again began.



Settling into the wheelchair they provided for me, we rolled through the L&D unit to the regular day room. All the private rooms were taken and so they gave us a double room, which was bigger, and just said that we were welcome to use the entire room but we would have to move to my side should some else be placed in the other bed. We were thankful for the additional space, but a little disappointed since it meant that only one person could stay the night at a time.





Lying back in bed, with my pillow behind my head, we watched as Caleb settled in for his first nap of his new life. He had the most perfect features of any baby and I was amazed by every little detail, from his long fingers to his pert little nose, from his rosebud lips to his soft downy hair. Everything about him was simply perfect and I gave thanks to God for blessing us with a healthy child. He had rewarded our faithfulness in such great abundance.





 


When Caleb woke up it was time for a milestone: his first diaper change. Micah, of course, was blessed with this great honor. And yes, it was the icky, sticky stuff.



 



By this time it was after 4 o’clock and I felt as though I had run a marathon, swam the English Channel, wrestled with a grizzly, and drove 30-hours non-stop across the country. In other words, I was tired and I was hungry! Ordering dinner, I waited in anticipation, hoping that I would stay long enough for the food to arrive. Thankfully, they were prompt and the food arrived, tasting like manna from Heaven. The best part was that for the first time in nine months, I didn’t throw up after eating!



With my tummy full, I laid back, closed my eyes, and drifted off to sleep with my sleeping peacefully in the bassinet beside me. It was a good thing I slept then because a few hours later, visitors began to arrive! Friends and family (some that we didn’t even know lived in town!) arrived, brining flowers, cards, but best of all, prayers. All the “grandmas” loved on Caleb, exclaiming over his tiny toes and little nose. Our friends, some of whom were leaving for the airport that night, thanked Caleb for coming before they left.



After a while, the visitors waned off, the brothers headed home, and it was just Micah, me, and our baby boy. Our family.







Talking softly, we played with Caleb, marveling over the change in feeling from even just the day before.





Truly, a transformation had taken place. We weren’t just newlyweds any more, we weren’t college students, or even just “kids” … now, we were parents.



Soon, it was 9 o’clock and time for Micah to head to the airport to meet Momma. Caleb fell back asleep in my arms as I laid back and rested while we waited.





It seemed as no sooner did I close my eyes than I opened them to find my mom coming through the doorway, all full of smiles.



“Momma….” I whispered.

 




And then I cried.



---- Part 5 tomorrow!-----


m.
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Caleb's Birth Story: Part 3


By noon, I had endured contractions for the past four hours and was really getting antsy (and hungry)! On the hour, the midwife on duty came in to check me and see how dilated I was. When we had first arrived, I was not dilated at all, but surely something had happened over the last four hours.

With the examination over, the midwife sat me down and explained that I was 6 cm dilated and would probably give birth late that afternoon at the earliest, most likely sometime during the evening.


Umm… that was a lot closer than the next day?


Calling Momma, we told her to be prepared for the possibility that the baby might not wait until she got here to come. It was a very sad moment, realizing that my mom wouldn’t be here for “the moment” that our first child was born. But knowing that she would BE here (which almost didn’t happen) eased some of the aching of my heart.


Over the course of the next hour, Micah and I paced the room, talking in between my gritting my teeth, trying to help the time go along. But there wasn’t a topic that could alleviate the weariness of my body. With over 30 hours having passed since I last slept, my body was being pushed past its limit of endurance and I didn’t know how much longer I could last. If I did have hours ahead of me then I was going to need rest of some kind in order to stand, much push.


Paging for the nurse, I asked if there was anything that could help me get some rest in spite of the contractions. Saying that she would have to examine me first, she looked to see how far along I was. All of a sudden she jerked up and said, “Honey, you’re fully dilated and fully thinned out. You’re having this baby now!”


Umm… could you repeat that?


In less than an hour I had dilated to the full 10 cm and gone from roughly 30% effaced to 100% effaced. Baby had moved into the birth canal and was on his way out!


I will admit that at this point, I began to panic. Instead of hours, I had minutes. Was I ready for this? Were we ready for this? It obviously didn’t matter because Baby was ready!


As soon as the nurse told us the news, Micah jumped on the phone and began to call everybody before the action began and we were both too caught up to contact people. Back when the nurses had first checked me, Micah had called to let his brothers know that it was time to make their way to the hospital. Now that it was “the time”, he went out and let them know that this was it… he was about to become a dad.


The next thirty minute were climatic as I could literally feel each and every movement that Baby made as he prepared to make his entrance into the world. The contractions were barely a minute apart and were becoming more and more forceful with each one. Even if the nurse hadn’t told me what to expect, I would have known because it felt so different than before.


By 1:30pm I was ready to jump out of my skin because the need to push was so strong. The nurses had had me move up into the bed and get into whatever position was most comfortable, which ended up being my sitting up, with my legs spread out in front of me. All the other methods and positions that I had research went out the window as we came down to the moment. Baby didn’t care about all my research; he just wanted to get out of that cramped space!


Suddenly, the need to push became I-AM-GOING-TO-PUSH-OR-I-WILL-SPLIT-WIDE-OPEN and began frantically pushing the call button for the nurse. Wouldn’t you know it; the mother in the room right beside mine went into labor at the exact same moment and had the nurses a bit preoccupied. Wild-eyed, I told Micah to go get someone, anyone, but that this baby was going to come!


Our lovely nurse from earlier finally strolled in and I had to try very hard not to yell at her for being so calm. Hurry up, lady, can’t you see I’m having a baby! In the end, her calm was more unnerving than soothing. Thankfully, Micah was as revved up as I was, so that helped balance things out. With the other mom also in the process of delivering, the midwife was busy with her, so the resident OB actually came along with several other nurses to help me give birth to this anxious kid.


Micah stood on one side and a nurse on the other, and I lifted up my feet to push against their raised hands. Curving my back, I began to breathe, just breathe, as I tried to listen to the instructions that they were giving me.


You’re doing great, Megan. You’re having a baby.

*whooo whooo whooo*

Alright, when a contraction comes, I want you to squeeze our hand and push with your abdomen

*whoo whoo* ARGH!

Okay, okay, relax. Don’t strain. Channel all that pressure into pushing. Don’t clench your teeth, don’t try to scream, just breathe. Push. You can do this.

*whoo whoo whoo* whooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo*

That’s it! Great, just keep this up.

The nurse at *the* position broke into a grin and cried out, “I can see the head!” Micah and I looked at each other and smiled big, even as sweat poured off my forehead. The nurse guided my hand so I could reach down and feel the soft baby hair just pushing through.

And it all became real. A baby. We were having a baby. A tiny, little human being.

Micah took a peek and I think was a bit traumatized by the sight. He didn’t look back down there again.
Finally, Baby moved until all that was holding him back was the shoulders. It was time for the final pushes.
With each contraction I felt coming, I squeezed Micah’s and the nurse’s hands, pushed my feet into their palms and exhaled, feeling the little body move a little bit further. Then, I pushed one more time and with a disapproved-yelp, I felt the pressure release as Baby slid from my body. Collapsing back against the bed, I just breathed as the OB held up the squirming, crying baby and proudly announced, “It’s a boy!”

We got our boy….

Micah looked at me with tears in his eyes as the OB quickly wiped the baby off and handed him to Micah who gently laid him against my chest, and together we whispered the name that was held in our hearts for the last nine months:

“Caleb… our son.”
------ Part 4 to come tomorrow!------
m.
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Caleb's Birthday Story: Part 2

By the time my labor officially started it was 8 am on Wednesday, two days before my March 19th due date. We had called my mom to find out her status and found that she was in the air, on her way up to join us in Alaska. That was the good news; the bad news was that her flight wouldn’t arrive until 9:30 that night.

Okay, Doc, what’s the verdict?

As the nurses and my midwife examined me, they determined that although I didn’t have any actual serious labor symptoms, in spite of my water breaking, and given that my 5-1-1 (five minutes apart, 1 minute in length, for at least 1 hour) contractions had just started, I probably wouldn’t actually give birth until late that evening, possibly even the next day.

Alright, that’s good news. And it was, even though it meant that I would most likely be in labor for 12 or even 24 hours, my mom would be able to arrive with time to spare.

With that long-term goal in mind, I settled in to labor the day away. When writing out my labor plan, I had originally intended to do my laboring in the water, maybe even delivering in the water, but the back contractions quickly put a stop to that to that idea. Throughout my pregnancy, any time I had the least amount of discomfort, I soaked in a warm tub and that was enough to soothe my tense muscles and aching back. From what I had read, that some strategy would work for labor pains, which actually made me a little excited about the laboring process, as I would be able to spend the whole day in the tub.

Oh, boy was I mistaken!

The thing nobody told me about back contractions is that you cannot-sit-still. As soon as a contraction hit me, I was up out of that chair and pacing the room, back-and-forth until the minute was up, then I would sit down for a few minutes until the next wave hit. The whole idea of soaking in the tub was completely forgotten as it was actually more painful for me to sit in that position when all that helped was arching my back and walking. At one point Micah did find one thing that helped, and that was my bending over so that my head was between my knees, and then he used the massaging sprayer to shoot water right at the small of my back. Oh, my! That felt good.

Since my labor had officially started, we contacted our families and friends to let them know the good news. I was a little occupied so Micah took charge up fielding the phone calls and updating Facebook for us. (I really wish I had my Blackberry back then!) Every few minutes we would get a phone call, text, or message, all of our friends and family just letting us know that they were praying for us and couldn’t wait to meet the little one.
As Momma reached each new layover she would give us a call to find out how far I had progressed, and to make sure that I hadn’t had the baby while she was in the air! Meanwhile, my brothers, Brandon and Tyler, had started a “race update” on Facebook: Momma against Baby, who would arrive first? Even in the midst of the contractions, it was fun for me to see how excited everyone was, and that helped the process along so much.

Two of Micah’s brothers live here in town, Matt and Nathan, and they both came by to see us and find out when their nephew/niece would arrive. It was shortly after eight when they arrived so my contractions had definitely started and it was interesting to try and carry on a conversation while trying to do the breathing exercises I had practiced. And yes, the exercises do help! After a while, Matt went off to work with the promise that we would let him know as soon as I got into the last stage, while Nathan stayed around for a little while longer before Micah went to drop him off at school. After dropping him off, Micah swung by the house and gathered the items that we had forgotten in our hasty departure, such as our cell phone chargers, the computer, my pillow, and my cushy socks. Just having those few personal items (especially my pillow!) made the room feel so much more relaxing.

By mid-morning, I had only managed to get about an hour’s sleep between all the quick-cat naps and was really starting to feel the exhaustion overcome my weary body. Since my water had broken at 11:30 the previous night, we had never had the chance to actually go to sleep and so I had actually been up since 6:30 the previous morning, nearly 28 hours by that time, and I could feel each and every hour of missed sleep.
Looking back, I do think that the exhaustion was the hardest part of the labor process. My body was so tired that I could barely stand, even though sitting was too painful and once a contraction hit, I couldn’t sit. Instead, I would pace back-and-forth across the room, painfully, slowly, just waiting for the minute to pass.

That was my whole mindset right there: It’s only a minute. One minute. I can do anything for a minute.

When you think about it, a minute is such a small amount time when compared to the grand scheme of things. Yes, my labor my take a whole day, or longer, and there will be wave after wave of contractions, but I only have one contraction at a time. And so if I focus on that one contraction for that one minute, then I can withstand anything.

Telling myself that over and over again really did help as I would literally watch the clock, sing songs in my head, quote Bible scriptures, carry on conversations with Baby, anything to make it through those 60 seconds. With a sigh of relief, I would sit down and rest my tired legs for a few minutes until the next contraction hit and then I would be back on my feet, watching the clock once more.

Yet, even my awesome contraction-management system was interrupted as the nurses had to come in every hour to plug me into the machine so they could check on Baby. In and of itself, that wouldn’t be so bad, except that they made me sit the entire time that I was plugged into the monitor. That, my friends, was torture.
The first nurse we had, from the time we were admitted until 8 am, was really sweet, and understood that I was most comfortable moving, so she was great about only leaving me to monitor the absolute minimum amount of time. But once they did the staff change, our new nurse was nice enough, but it must have gotten busy in the wing because she would hook me up to the monitor and then forget about me, leaving me there for 30 minutes while the first nurse only had me hooked up for 10 minutes. Let me tell you, the difference between 30 minutes and 10 minutes while you’re having contractions… it cannot be compared. Just know that it’s a huge difference, especially considering that I hit the real labor pains right in the midst of the shift change.

During this time, Micah was wonderful, so very wonderful, which I think is the only reason I didn’t go crazy sitting in that rocking chair. Unlike some men, he is quite comfortable with the idea of childbirth, having been there for several of his sister’s home births. For hours upon end, he helped me in and out of the bathtub, rubbed my back, rocked my chair, and simply held my hand and told me how amazing I was. Since the first few hours from 2-8 weren’t really that important, I had managed on my own while Micah got some much-needed rest, though I will admit that I was a little jealous that he got to sleep while I was stuck having his baby! But only a little…
At one point, our nurse told me that it was my last chance to eat before the baby came and handed me a menu to choose from. I was ravenously hungry, having eaten nothing since dinner the night before, when I was used to eat every 3 hours. Ordering a simple eggs and French toast plate, I called in the order and waited while I rocked. Once the food arrived, I took the first bite, sighing with content as the food hit my empty stomach. Then Baby realized what was happening and decided that he wasn’t going to miss the opportunity to make me miserable.

Within minutes, I was bent over the toilet, throwing up what little food I had managed to eat. Even on the day of delivery, even in the midst of labor, the morning sickness just would not leave me alone! Thankfully, that would prove to be my last bout with the most hated pregnancy symptom.

Since I was having our baby at the Native Hospital (since Micah is an Alaskan Native), I was blessed with the fact that they promote natural-births and as such did not push to have me medicate for the delivery. Not long after arrival, I was asked if I thought that I would want medicine, pain-killers, or an epidural. Adamantly, I told them, “No,” I want to do this naturally. I know that it will hurt like crazy, but I can do this.” And that is a decision that I do not regret in the least. Yes, it hurts. It’s hurts a lot, but as women, our bodies are designed to do this and often we find that we have a much higher pain tolerance that we ever imagined. For some woman, medicinal help or an epidural might help tremendously, perhaps even saving their life or the life of their baby, but in the end it comes down to what’s right in that situation and for me, this was right. It was important to Micah and me to give birth naturally, to breastfeed, and to not vaccinate our baby until he was at least a year old. We made a commitment to each other and to our child, and so no matter how great the pain, I was determined to keep that promise.

As the hours ticked by, nine o’clock, ten o’clock, eleven o’clock, we got closer and closer to finally holding our little baby in our arms. We had waited nine months, no, our whole lives for this moment, what was a few more hours? What was another day? We could wait… our moment would come.

Oh, little did we know how soon the moment would come.

-----Part 3 to come tomorrow------

m.
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Caleb's Birth Story: Part 1

After nearly five months, I'm finally doing it. I'm finally writing down Caleb's birth story before I forget all the precious details of the day that would change my life forever.

So here is part 1 of the story. It's already shaping up to be pretty long, so I don't want to overwhelm you all at once.

Here it us, the story of Caleb's birth:


Oh, how do I begin to share something so life-changing and extraordinary? The story of Caleb’s birth deserves more than simply, “I had a baby.” The story deserves the shots of a thousand guns, the peal of a thousand church bells, and the applause of a thousand people… for on that most amazing day, the most amazing baby was born.

My due date was Friday March 19th, 2010. In my family history, babies had a habit of running a week or two late, and so we weren’t expecting Baby (remember, we didn’t know his gender) to show up for awhile. Momma (my mom) was supposed to arrive that Wednesday and the next day we were planning on walking the town, in hopes of urging this little one to come before she left in two weeks.

It was Tuesday, the 16th, and I was just finishing up at work, my last day of work actually, before I would begin my scheduled maternity leave. For the past week there had been no contractions of any kind, not even any Braxton Hicks, just the regular squirming by Baby. As we made our way to the door, co-workers teased me about never having the baby and that I would be pregnant forever, and then one person said that I had better watch out, that this baby would surprise me when I least expected it. Smiling in response, I waved good-bye, logged out of my computer for one last time and headed home.

The rest of the evening was pretty uneventful. Seeing how I was three days short of being 40 weeks, there wasn’t much that I could do, but what I could do, I did a lot of. With Momma arriving the next day, I waddled around, cleaning the kitchen, the bathroom, making sure the sheets were cleaned and the floors were vacuumed. Oh, and I cooked dinner for Micah and his brothers, too, though don’t ask me what I cooked. Once the housecleaning was done, I took a leisurely bath, which had become my favorite pregnancy pastime. Somewhere around 10 o’clock I sat down to play video games while Micah rummaged around in the kitchen. The game was Civilization Revolution, though I’m not sure if there is any real significance to that detail.

Even now, months later, I can still remember the exact moment that marked the beginning of the most drastic, painful, and sweetest 24-hours of my life.

It was 11:30 pm and I was sitting on the couch, playing the video game and laughing with Micah. He had just teased me about something and I had laughingly cried out in outrage. And with that burst of laughter came a burst of a different kind. All of a sudden, I felt as though I had lost complete control of my bladder, but I could tell that it wasn’t my bladder. Micah says that he heard my gasp and looking up, saw me make a mad dash for the bathroom. Later, he said that he had never seen me move so fast during the whole nine months of pregnancy.

Sitting on the toilet in the bathroom, I sat there in stunned silence as this liquid gushed between my legs, and I had no control whatsoever. I remember thinking, “this is it."

“Micah,” I called out in a wavering voice, “I think my water broke.”

His footsteps came down the hall and cracking the door a little, he peeked inside the bathroom, as though opening the door would somehow hasten the impending situation.

“Are you sure?” he asked.

“Not really,” I said hesitantly, “I’ve never had my water break before.”

We sat there for a while, letting my body empty out, then, pulling out one my extra-heavy pads (hadn’t used them in 9 months!), we retreated to our bedroom. The funny thing is that if *it* had waited just 15 more minutes we would have been in bed and then it could have been a potential mess. Instead, we just had a couple of drip-drip-drips on the carpet… and one thoroughly-soaked pair of yoga pants.

At midnight, thirty minutes after the initial breaking of my water, we called his sister even though it was 2 o’clock in the morning her time. But she had studied to be a midwife and had five kids of her own and so if anyone should know if my water really did break, it would be her.

A few minutes later, we hung up, our fears? worry? hope? confirmed. My water had indeed broken and Baby could come at any time.

The next step was calling the parents, and even though it was early in the morning (as in 3am for my parents and 1 am for Micah's mom), and they were really tired, you could still hear the excitement in their voices. This was really happening, they were about to become grandparents!

Taking a deep breath, we called the number on the business card that my midwife had given me, connecting me with the delivery wing of the ER. Explaining the situation and my symptoms, I was told to go ahead and come in since my water broke and that could be potentially dangerous for the baby if I did not go in labor within the time window. It had been our plan to do most of my laboring at home, but I guess Baby had a different plan.

Throwing a few things into a daybag, we got in the car and drove the ten minutes to the hospital. At 1:30 am, we were officially admitted to the hospital and sent upstairs to the labor and delivery unit. Up until that point, I had no experienced the slightest pain or discomfort. In fact, there was absolutely no sign that I was going into labor, except for the fact that my water had broken.

We got into the elevator and pushed the button for the second floor, where the L&D unit was. It was then that reality set in as I experienced my very first real contraction.

The feeling was like none other, the closest thing I can liken it to is a woman’s monthly menstrual cramps, but even that does do it justice. It literally felt as though my inside “woman parts” were being stretched and tugged in ten different directions at once. And in a way, they were.

Once we reached the L&D unit, they signed us in and took us to one of the examination beds, hooking me up to a bunch of monitors to make sure Baby was okay and to see what was going on down there. Since I had said that I thought my water had broken, they took me into a private room and the nurse said that they were going to check and make sure that it was my water breaking and not just typical leakage. Apparently, some women can leak before the labor actually begins, but it’s not the actual sac emptying out. She had this small container that couldn’t have held more than a cup of liquid at a time and placing it under me; she began to feel around on my rotund belly. All of a sudden, her eyes got big and she withdrew the container… it was overflowing. Looking me a she gave a sheepish smile and said, “Yep, your water broke.”

With that confirmed, they took me back to the examination bed where I was hooked back up to the monitors and waited while they readied my room upstairs. At 2:30am, they wheeled me upstairs where I was happily surprised to find that I was in the very room that we had toured during my pregnancy group tour! Feeling relatively at home, I hopped up in bed and laid back, trying to get as much rest as possible before all the torture, er, labor began. After about an hour’s sleep, at 4am, it began.

Some women have contractions in their front, some in their side, some in their gut; I’ve even heard of some who have butt contractions. I didn’t have any of that, instead, I had all back contractions.

And let me tell you, back contractions hurt!

For the next four hours, I had irregular contractions, nothing overly painful, just more uncomfortable than anything else. I was still able to get some rest in-between the contractions, which were every 10-15 minutes (with small twinges between that).
Eight o’clock that morning marked my official start of labor, with contractions being 4 minutes apart, 45 seconds to 1 minute in length.

There was no stopping it now... ready or not, this baby was coming!

---------- more to come! Stay tuned for Part 2 tomorrow! -----------

m.
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Caleb rolling, even during church! Doesn't he know that you're supposed to stay still during church??


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Oh, Flour Tortillas, how I miss you!

Okay, I'll admit it. Things are tight right now. Really tight. Between the lagging economy, ever-present bills, household expenses, and the as-sure-as-death-and-taxes "unexpected" expenses, this one-income family has to really cinch in our belts every couple of months. The summers are especially hard on us because we don't have the scholarships from Micah's schooling that help out with living expenses. Thankfully, school starts back at the end of the month and we'll be sitting pretty this time September.

But in the meantime...

Here's something amazing- I haven't bought groceries in three weeks. Wait, I take that back. I did buy a single loaf of bring early last week. But other than that? Nothing.

It's been interesting, that's for sure, especially in the meals department. I've been using up our pantry and freezer items (which is good to do every three months or so anyway), but it's kind of hard when I can't really go out and and buy additional ingredients.

But that's actually been easy compared to having to cope with what's really being missed: flour tortillas and tortilla chips!

I don't know how it is in your home, but those two items have been staples in our home since pretty much our first week of marriage. The perfect snack is chips and salsa. The perfect meal is enchiladas (my enchiladas).

Thus, at this moment our life cannot be perfect.

Sigh. I've started dreaming about flour tortillas.

I hear the crunch of chips as I'm driving down the road, at work, while sitting in a silent house.

I'm going insane from lack of tortillas. Hmm.. does that mean I can get a doctor's prescription for them?

Eh.. somehow I don't think that's covered under our insurance.

We had some leftover corn tortillas and have attempted to use those, but sorry, the only time corn tortillas don't taste like cardboard is when they're deep-fried and poofy. It simply isn't the same.

And of course, matters only become worse when The Pioneer Woman posts something like this:





Now that's just cruel.

I think she did it on purpose.

In fact, I'm convinced of it.

I'll go hide and eat my stale granola bar now. And if you don't think that a granola bar can go stale...

...believe me, they can.

m.
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Today was THE day! Caleb rolled over!

This morning I woke up with one thought on my mind: today was the day. Today was the day. Today was the day that Caleb would roll over for the very first time.

Don't ask me how I knew, caulk it up to mother's intuition. Somehow I just knew that our little boy would make that final push that would roll him completely over.

In fact, I was so sure that it would happen that I kept coming in from the bathroom while he was playing on the bed to make sure that he didn't do it while I was gone. Coming back to sit on the bed, I began to work on the computer, keeping an eye on Caleb as he continued to play. I made sure that he was far enough away from us so that we wouldn't cause the bed to slope and went about my work.

Then, I noticed movement out of the corner of my eye and turned just in time to see him on his side, then rolling, rolling, he rolled over!




I whipped out my phone (thank goodness for smartphones!) and snapped a picture of him. Since then, he has rolled over three more times!

Aww... my little boy is on his way to becoming a big boy!

m.
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Happy Anniversary Mom & Dad

Today is my parent's anniversary, and yes, it is amazing that I remember it. For some reason I always think that it's on the 9th, instead of the 6th, but last year I got smart and added it to my google calender, so ta-da! Perfect, thoughtful daughter.

And like any daughter... I think that my parents are the best.

And they are.




Today we celebrate their twenty-seven years of marriage.

Wow. Twenty-seven years. Twenty-seven. What would it be like to be married to someone for 27 years? For 40 years? for 65 years?

I think it's amazing, that's what.



I'm not saying that it's always been easy for them. I remember raised voices, disagreements, and tears, lots  of tears.



But I also remember that in spite of the tears, there was also laughter, and plenty of it.

In fact, there couldn't be two more opposite people than my parents, and no two people more in love.



They taught me what it means to have a godly marriage, to respect one another, to make time for one another. To take the good, work through the bad, and cherish every moment that you have together.




They taught me that no matter what happens.. don't give up. Stay together. Fight through it.

After all, it's all worth it in the end. Marriage it worth it. Love it worth it.




And so I've watched them walk down life's road, sometimes falling, but always getting back up. And always walking hand-in-hand.

Mom & Dad, I love you. Thank you for always being there for me and Micah. Thank for you for your advice and words of wisdom. Thank you for helping us through the tough times. Thank you for keeping us in your prayers. Thank you for laughing with us. Thank you for showing us how to love.


Happy anniversary, Mom & Dad.












Your *favorite* daughter, Megan
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