Monthly Archives: January 2014

Snowed in

We’ve been snowed in since the day Olson was born!  First at the hospital and now at home 🙂  With few outings, we’ve had to get creative to keep from being bored, and also have taken some pictures to document our time as a family of five!  Here’s the rundown:

snowed in! 003They have obviously learned the importance of bouncing on a birth ball.  And the fun of it 🙂snowed in! 004

snowed in! 005Olson is not as amused.snowed in! 007Blanket time! (wow, My and Sul are HUGE)snowed in! 011A favorite Christmas gift: indoor trampoline!snowed in! 027And being SUPER silly pulling each other around in this plastic wagon NOT rated for over 10lbs, I’m sure…snowed in! 029

snowed in! 031Always, always ALWAYS asking to hold Ollie 🙂snowed in! 032

snowed in! 033Suckers on the stairs while listening to Adventures in Odyssey after lunch!snowed in! 034

 We’re getting into a groove.  Because I enjoy routines…and also because being snowed in demands some sort of sanity!

What have you done this month while being snowed in?!?!

Olson’s newborn pictures

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Olson’s Birth Story (VBAC #4)

The 4th (but maybe not final…) part in our VBAC series (catch #1, #2, #3): Olson’s Birth Story

Thursday January 2nd: 39 week appt.  2-3 centimeter’s dialated – YAY! Feeling positive, a little nervous, really excited and a bit anxious.  That night we were visiting with our dear friends Mat and Abby, who were here for a short while from London, and I noticed a few painless contractions.  Those continued off and on through the night, but with no consistency worth timing…

Friday January 3rd: Up early with the contractions – 10-15 minutes apart.  I send Joel to work anyways.  I call my mom, she comes and helps me get the kids ready and takes them back to her house.  I keep Joel up-to-date throughout the morning and call our doula.  9 am: everything halts.  I’m disappointed, call my mom, kids come back, Joel eventually returns home at the end of his day and we enjoy our evening as a family of 4 🙂

Saturday January 4th: Up at 4am with painful contractions – much different than what I felt Friday.  Can’t manage them in bed anymore and am up and around, taking a bath (which made them SO manageable and was quite lovely – I see why so many moms choose water births!), walking trails into the carpet downstairs, and drinking warm tea.  Joel is up off and on with me, but I do not need him constantly.  When I’m up and moving I can keep them consistent, but when I lie down and rest they span out and eventually stop 😦  Throughout the morning I manage the contractions, call and chat with our doula, call my doctor and chat with him about the past two days and then 9 am rolls around again and everything halts again! Quite disappointed this time.  I go to the grocery to get out of the house, Call Sarah to go on a walk and see if I can kick things up again.  No such luck.

Sunday January 5th: The big storm is supposed to hit today!  Everyone is worried about/for us, many offering to pay for a hotel room close to the hospital (or at least suggesting we go up!).  Up by 2:30 am and down on the couches.  I am having regular, painful contractions, every 10-12 minutes.  We call our doula early in the morning.  She is concerned we’ll get snowed in and be alone when the baby is born and offers to come camp with us until things are for sure.  I am hesitant.  Everyone’s suggestions and concerns is causing fear in me.  We don’t know how to decide what to do.  We call my mom by 7am and tell her to come at 8am to get the kids – contractions are getting down to as close as 5 minutes a part, but not consistently.  They are painful, we are tired from lack of sleep, and we need to concentrate on my labor and not the littles 🙂

All the bags are packed.  We miss our niece’s baptism. 😦  The weather and roads are getting BAD.  We call: our neighbor cop, our friend the plow driver, and our friends that live 1 mile from the hospital.  Our doula calls and tells us if she’s going to be able to get out, she needs to leave very soon and we need to probably head to the hospital.  I feel like it’s too early.  Everyone is worried for us, we are the only ones that don’t seem worried about the weather…  I call my doctor.  We agree that I should come in, get checked and then will either be admitted or we’ll go to our friend’s house who lives close by and labor there until it’s time to go to the hospital (which is NOT my ideal plan).  We meet up with our doula on the way to the hospital – road conditions are slippery and scary.  Contractions while being buckled in are not fun.  They are VERY spaced out now and I’m worried labor is stopping again.  I’m texting my prayer warriors, asking for prayer for our driving, and that God would bless our initiative of going to the hospital earlier than we had planned.  I receive these texts back (amongst many more):

From Joy: Isaiah 40:31

From Lilli: “So, do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God.  I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand” – Isaiah 41:10

and: “And behold, there arose a great tempest in the sea, insomuch that the boat was covered with the waves: but he was asleep.  And they came to him, and awoke him, saying, Save, Lord; we perish.  And he saith unto them, Why are ye fearful, O ye of little faith?  Then he arose, and rebuked the winds and the sea; and there was a great calm.  And the men marvelled, saying, What manner of man is this, that even the winds and the sea obey him?” -Matthew 8:24

and: “There can be peace in the storm.  Even the wind and waves obey Him.  He’s got this.”

I am crying out of hormones, anxiety, sleep-deprivation, thankfulness, excitement, and gratefulness for sweet friends who love me through God’s eyes and in reverence of Him.

We check-in at 1:30.  5-6 centimeters dialated and officially admitted!  We are in awe that the time is here and continuing to pray that God will bless our decision to come to the hospital.

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8:00pm or so: 8-9 centimeters dialated.  Contractions are never closer than 5 minutes.  I’m cheerful, we chat, tell stories, laugh and joke.  My doctor keeps encouraging me to eat as much protein and sugar as I can so I have energy for late labor and pushing.  We all eat and continue walking and walking and walking and walking – and a little bouncing on the birth ball for me 🙂 By now the hospital is ‘shut down’ in the sense that NO ONE IS ALLOWED TO LEAVE because of the weather…

10:45pm: My ‘bag is so bulgy’ (isn’t that just a lovely term?!) they can’t tell if I’m fully dialated or not, so we decide to rupture my membranes.  I am 10 centimeters! But I have a cervical lip 😦 That has to go away before we start pushing.

The next 4 hours are a b l u r.  Between Joel, our doula and myself, we aren’t sure exactly what happened when.  At this point contractions were too painful for me to continue joking through (for the most part – there were still some funny things I said and did…).  I labor a lot, I rest and endure the contractions some, and I do some practice pushing.  I ask for Joel and our doula to pray over me from time to time.  So thankful for the peace and assurance that brings.  Joel is my main stronghold.  For a decent portion of labor he is sitting on the bed supporting me through all my contractions.  By the end of this entire experience, we weren’t sure who was more sore! But we both agreed we had achey muscles where we knew no muscles were before 🙂

Around 3am we find out that baby’s head is turned towards my leg instead of down = not ideal.  I am feeling exhausted.  I don’t have enough energy to push him out.  We discuss the options.  Discouragement to achieve our VBAC experience sets in…I am not fearful, I am determined.  I want to hold my baby.  I feel like I cannot go on.  I am praying as every contraction begins “God, please let this be an easy one, You have to endure this, I cannot.”  I even tell Joel between contractions that ‘no one believes me! You all think I can push this baby out but I can’t! She doesn’t believe me (pointing to our doula) and he doesn’t believe me (pointing to our doctor) and you don’t believe me, but I can’t do it anymore!’  (I told you I still did some funny things…)  This is semi-humorous and so are the one-liners my doctor keeps delivering back to me 🙂  Our doula springs into adrenaline-fueled action encouraging me to try many Spinning Babies positions.  We do some; I cannot summon the strength to do many.  Joel validates my feelings but continues to show confidence and encourage me (seriously. He is THE BEST).

4:30am: We notice baby’s heartbeat slowing below what they like to see (through intermittant monitoring).  We begin continuous fetal monitoring and change positions to see if we can get the heart rate to go back up.  It doesn’t.  I put on an oxygen mask and lay back in the bed.  Joel begins to cry.  I am reassuring everyone that it is ok.  Baby is fine; we’ll be fine.  In my head, I’ve already decided and resolved myself that this will end in a c-section.  I’m still not feeling fearful or disappointed.  Even though I never voice it, my doula and Joel both know I’ve decided on c-section.  My doctor can sense it.  He asks what to do.   I tell him I want an epidural.  If I’m going to have a c-section, I’ll need an epidural or spinal anyways, I might as well get one and see if I can still have a VBAC! Even though it won’t be unmedicated…  Doctor tells me there’s no way it’ll work (PAUSE: He is not being mean.  He knows how passionately we want the unmedicated birth and is helping us keep our confidence and also he is very passionate about the type of birth we desire).  He says there’s no way I’ll be able to push when I can’t feel (because of the epidural).  After we discuss more he says he’ll go find the anesthesiologist and see if he’s even willing to give me one, since I’m fully dialated and have been laboring so long.  In the meantime, he tells my nurse to hook my up to an IV so I’m ready.  That is an ordeal with contractions…

The IV is started and I have a SURGE of energy.  I begin spontaneously pushing with no direction and not even during contractions.  I feel like I have to poop, just like everyone says it will feel like! (I’ve never been so overjoyed, ha!).  The anesthesiologist comes in and tries to take control of the situation.  Joel chases him out and says we want our doctor instead.  Our doctor comes in, checks me and says baby is moving down, despite the turned head!  I start directed pushing (thank you, God, for our calm doula and amazing doctor who instructed me so well!).  Baby continues to move.  More people filter in.  They are getting everything set up and our doctor summons Joel to the foot of the bed to assist, cautioning him of the ‘splash zone’ 🙂

At one point Joel is told to look because the head can be seen!  He begins crying tears of joy and astonishment and doesn’t stop.  They bring in a mirror – how motivating! I can see the head inching it’s way down.  Just as his head emerges, it turns exactly how God intends: to the right position.  Our doctor and Joel watch it happen and are amazed by our endurance and God’s faithfulness.  I am told to stop pushing and the only thing that my body can do at this point is sing! So I SING our baby into the world! Not a song, but just a very high note.  It was so silly and joyful and Joel and I laugh every time we tell this part of the story!  I feel “the burn” and then everything goes numb, just like I’ve been told.  It isn’t painful at all, just intense.

6:19am: Baby comes out and is placed on my belly and all I can say is, ‘Thank you, God.  Thank you, God.  Thank you, God” over and over and over.  We are in disbelief.  For the first time I begin crying too (I have a lot of catching up to do match my husband!).  We are so in love and it is so surreal and we cannot believe God granted us this blessing.

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And just to show off, as our sweet baby is placed on the scale, God just sits back and smiles as they announce “Nine pounds, fourteen ounces, Twenty-three inches long!”  Everyone is shocked.  We just laugh 🙂

We decide on Olson, meaning ‘jOeL‘s SON and Emmanuel meaning ‘God with us’ – there couldn’t be a more perfect description for our son’s birth.

Evidences of God’s faithfulness:

  1. The preparation we had through classes, a Christian doctor, a Christian doula, and being covered in prayer for months by friends
  2. The encouragement to go to the hospital when we did
  3. A cheerful heart and joyful attitude throughout much of labor
  4. That even in our ‘giving up’ and deciding on an epidural – through the electrolytes provided in the IV – I had the energy to deliver Olson vaginally AND unmedicated – just like our hearts desired!
  5. God showing off by Olson’s large size and amazing us all 🙂

We are in utter awe of this gift.  Of Olson Emmanuel, our precious third child.  AND of the blessing of a VBAC which means so much for my health, our family, and our future family.  THANK YOU, GOD!

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To read about why we had 2 previous c-sections, read Mylin’s birth story and Sullivan’s birth story

Bookshelf 2013

Well…this year did NOT compare to the roll I was on last year with my reading! BUT, I did read about half of the books I wanted to this year…maybe I’ll get to those other ones in 2014…

Below is a list of what I read (to the best of my recollection) and highlighted/bolded are the ones I ABSOLUTELY recommend and why…

The Shack – William P. Young

She’s Gonna Blow – Julie Ann Barnhill

Sold – Patricia McCormick: get some perspective on what is happening in our world.  And no, I don’t mean our world here in America, or the Midwest, or even as ‘middle class’…I mean how sin is ravaging and raping this world in so many ways that we cannot sit idley by if we call ourselves followers of Christ.

Respectable Sins – Jerry Bridges: need a wake up call to how deep your pride is rooted and how far it infiltrates your life?!  Be prepared to be disgusted at yourself and repent.

Simple Living – Lorilee Lippincott

Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl Written by Herself – Harriet Ann Jacobs

Radical – David Platt (again)

And the Shofar Blew – Francine Rivers

31 Days to Great Sex – Sheila Wren Gregoire: This book changed our marriage this year during our Marriage Challenge month.  We have adopted several disciplines that continue to keep our sexual intimacy focused on God’s design and plan for husbands and wives in marriage.  You MUST read this book this year and commit to putting your marriage relationship #1 on your list of earthly priorities

Christian Atheist – Craig Groeshel: Loved it. Love him. Read it 🙂

Weird: Because Normal Isn’t Working – Craig Groeshel

Out of the Spin Cycle – Jen Hatmaker

Follow Me – David Platt: Convicting, thought-provoking, important to be challenged by these thoughts and sort through how God so plainly calls all of us so simply in scripture.  Don’t hide behind excuses.  Just do what He says.

Sparkly Green Earrings – Melanie Shenkle

What’s It Like to Be Married to Me – Linda Dillow: Another book that has challenged me as a wife and I would highly recommend to any woman looking for some accountability and challenge for her role in marriage.  It’s not about our husbands, it’s about Christ.  We must do what He has required of us in our marriage covenant no matter who or what we are married to.

The Steadfast Surrender – Nancy Moser

The book of John in The New Testament

Praying God’s Word Day by Day – Beth Moore: Helped me to become disciplined in my daily scripture reading

Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth – Ina May Gaskin

Pregnancy, Childbirth and the Newborn: The Complete Guide – Penny Simkin, Janet Whalley, and Ann Keppler

All I Have to Give: A Christmas Love Story – Melody Carlson

I’m so looking forward to reading some Beth Moore books I got for free on my Kindle and continuing the Little House on the Prarie series with Mylin – plus who knows what else!

What books have you read recently?  What would you recommend?!

The first night…

Remember my first day at home alone with 2 kids?!  Well I haven’t had my first day at home with 3 yet, but we did have our first night at home as a family of 5…and it was eventful, to say the least.

1:30pm: Mommy, Daddy, and Olson arrive home!  We put stuff away and rest all afternoon

5:30pm: Mylin and Sullivan arrive to meet their new brother! (along with both sets of grandparents).  Pictures, kissing, hugging, and holding ensue.

Olson Emmanuel 011 Olson Emmanuel 023 Olson Emmanuel 024

7:00pm: Mylin is intrigued by Olson’s diaper change and gets close enough to get peed on.  Hysterical crying and confusion and bathroom fleeing follow while the rest of us chuckle and try to calm her down.  (Sullivan uses this opportunity to climb onto mama’s lap.  It is evident he is a bit jealous of my lap and this new little boy consuming it…).

8:00pm: Mylin and Sully go to bed.  LOTS of getting up, asking questions, wanting to see Olson and other excuses continue for about an hour.  Then there is lots of giggling coming from their room.  They sure missed getting to share a room while at grandma’s house

9:30pm: Exhausted daddy goes to bed and mommy gets alone time for some devos, reading blogs and emails and winding down.

10:30pm: I nurse Olson and put him down in the pack-n-play in our room.  We’ve never had a room-in baby before…but mommy was a little too emotional to let him be too far on our first night…

11:00pm: I pump. My milk came in way fast and Olson cannot keep up with it.  During this time I hear O-baby have a huge blowout.  During the diaper change, more newborn poopy explodes into his nice cozy swaddler. 😦

11:30pm: I crash

12: 30am: Joel and I both wake up and talk for a little bit, during which time we hear what sounds like a fountain coming from Olson’s bed…it turns out he just projectile spit up 😦  We’re both a little shaken by the sound and the fact that it happened and thankful he was in our room or we wouldn’t have heard it!

1:00am: Everything is cleaned and changed and we’re back in bed

1:30am: The empty bellied boy cannot be comforted and mommy nurses him again, but in bed with daddy so we can all lie together and be cozy

3:00am: I wake up abruptly, realizing here lies Olson still!  I have no idea how much he ate and am a bit frightened we slept with him in our bed when we were SOOO exhausted!

3:30am: Inconsolable Olson cannot be put back to sleep in pack-n-play.  Falling asleep (for Mommy) during a feeding is not good, because baby doesn’t get a full feeding!  I nurse him and put him back to bed, again.

Next: I have no idea what happened next.  I am officially delirious.

6:45am: Mylin pops into our room and asks to hold Olson and wants to know when she can help me pick out his outfit for the day.  She is promptly put back in bed and mommy and daddy go back to sleep.

7:30am: book time for kids, shower for Joel, and our day ‘officially’ begins

I think I love my new life 🙂

 

 

Here he is!

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Olson Emmanuel Draper

January 6th, 2014

6:19 am

9 pounds 15 ounces 23 inches

While VBAC post #3 was being posted, Olson was making his miraculous entrance into the world!  As we settle down at home this week as a family, I’ll write up his amazing birth story to share.

God was with us during this entire process and His faithfulness has never been more evident!

VBAC #3: The Decision

Don’t miss out on Part #1 and Part #2!

We are so thankful that God has provided a Christian doctor who is our advocate in this VBAC journey!  When we first met with him, he was focused, inquisitive, caring, and supportive.  Everything a woman wants in her OB/GYN, but not always what she actually gets…He expressed his passion about VBACs and encouraged our pursuit of one.  He reassured us that he would never arbitrarily recommend a ‘cap’ on our family size (like my previous doctor, and most others, have suggested), unless we all decided for some reason that it would be the absolute best decision for our individual family.  In 18 years of practice he has only made this decision with 2 families.  By the end of the meeting, both Joel and I had cried (out of relief!) and decided God definitely led us to this man to be a part of our third (and fourth and fifth and who knows how many God will bless us with!) child’s birth.

Next on our list, after finding a physician that supported our birth desires and deciding FOR SURE that we would pursue a VBAC, was deciding whether or not we wanted to hire a doula.

Doula: a woman who supports other women – and in our case, during birth

During our time in our VBAC class, going to an ICAN meeting, and my mom’s group, I had come in contact with several doula’s.  Having never even heard of the term ‘doula’ until the last year or so, Joel and our families were curious and perhaps skeptical as to what role this person actually had.  As Joel and I discussed what we wanted in a birth support person, we began to narrow our options and interviewed 2 doula’s.  After we knew which one we would choose IF we chose one, we began to pray and discuss whether we thought it would be beneficial to our birth experience to have a doula.  Joel felt very confident in being my birth partner during this pregnancy (and I was highly confident in him!).  We were blessed and pleased with our decision in a physician, and reassured by him that his nurses would honor, and even be excited about, our birth plan.  Did we really need someone else?  I’m not exactly sure how we made our decision, but we did decide that we would rather regret having a doula (meaning we realized we didn’t need the extra support) than regret not having one and feeling alone at the hospital AGAIN during a birth.  So we hired one!  And after our first official meeting with her, Joel was already raving about her calm demeanor, wealth of knowledge, and quiet disposition.  He was really excited to have her on our team and knew she would be the perfect advocate for us (for the record, I already liked her a lot – knowing her from my mom’s group).  After learning about procedures such as the Vitamin K shot and eye ointment that are standard care for a baby born in the hospital (we might do an entire blog on this stuff!), nailing down our desires for an intervention-free birth and how we planned to accomplish that, learning techniques from spinning babies, and LOTS of prayer support, we weren’t only sold on having a doula for our birth, but we have been recommending it for all of our pregnant friends!  Having a woman who has not only experience the type of birth I want, but also assisted a couple other dozen women in the process puts more of our nerves and anxiety at ease as we approach BIRTH DAY!

God called

We followed

Now we wait and see what He will do

Hopefully our next VBAC post will be a birth story with redemption written all over it!