Saturday, November 30, 2013

A Baby Story

Willow's birth story doesn't start the day she was born, but rather the day her oldest sister entered the world. I now know from personal experience that these days, you can't just walk into a hospital and have the natural birth you are expecting. It rarely happens. You have to be determined. You have to be educated. And you need to have a doula or someone there to advocate for you. I had none and was none of those and so it was no surprise that my first two births were via cesarean. This caused a lot of emotional guilt and postpartum depression for me, and I knew I did not want another cesearean.

When I found out I was expecting for the third time, I put myself into high gear and read anything I could get my hands on about homebirth. Because I was wanting a VBA2C, (Vaginal Birth After Two Cesareans) homebirth was my only option and the more I researched, the more I learned how much safer it was than a hospital. It took me awhile to find the right midwife, but the moment we met Jen we knew she was who was supposed to be present at my daughter's birth. After talking with her, both John and I were even more confidant homebirth was the right decision.

I was due mid November, but had prodromal labor (labor that takes an unusually long time) and started contracting often a little before 30 weeks. My body was slowly dilating, but it felt never ending. I would contract regularly for hours, and taking a shower or moving around did not make it stop. Almost every day I would call John and tell him this was “the real thing”, but it never was. My parents drove over from Michigan when my due date arrived, but they came and left, and still nothing. I was definitely anxious, but patient. I was confidant my body was doing what it was supposed to and I would go into active labor at the right time.

When I turned 42 weeks, I met with Jen and she checked my cervix for the first time. I was dilated 5 centimeters! She told me she knew labor was going to be within the couple days. I had been contracting even more the entire week on and off and continued to when we left, and although they were intense, they were not strong enough. Finally, at 42 weeks and 2 days, I started contracting again at 9pm. By this point, I wanted to go into labor so badly. I had tried every trick in the book, even castor oil, to put me into labor but nothing worked. This particular night when more contractions started, I did 100 kegels, bounced on my exercise ball, and was praying they would not go away like every other time. By 5am they hadn't stopped so I was pretty sure this had to be active labor! My parents had arrived (again) that night, so in the morning they took our daughters away for the day so we could try to relax.

We called Jen, our midwife to let her know that my contractions were still 15 minutes apart, so it was slow, but I was definitely in labor! We filled up the pool, sipped tea, read, listened to worship music and relaxed as much as possible. I had back labor and would walk around often, but for much of the time I was laying on my side and John would put a rice sock on my back during each contraction. My parents had set up their cots they use for their overseas trips in the living room for their stay and I loved laying on them. They were so firm and comfortable!

Around noon, Jen came by for a few minutes but things were not progressing very fast, so we told her we would call when my contractions were closer together and more painful.

It was the most amazing feeling to sit in my own home and contract with the candles lit and music playing. As things progressed, John was my rock. He was there every minute and did every single thing I needed. Jen came back in the evening and waited with us as labor continued. She checked the baby's heartbeat often and although I was in so much pain, I had never felt so calm and safe. As the night went on, my contractions got closer together and were more painful, but it felt like labor was never ending. There were times I sat in the pool, a contraction would come and I would jump up and cry from the pain. I have heard many people say they were really “out of it” or don't remember much, but I felt very aware through most of it. People were so worried about me having a homebirth and were calling and texting often, but I did not want John to talk on the phone. I often clung to John during contractions and he would recite the scripture we had chosen as our “labor” verse 2 Con 12:9 “My grace is enough; it is all you need. My strength comes into its own in your weakness. I just let Christ take over! And so the weaker I get, the stronger I become!”

At one point, I moved from the living room to my bedroom to lay on my side. John lay behind me and was supposed to be putting the rice pack on my back during contractions. After a few minutes I looked over and saw he had fallen asleep. I was so thankful he was able to get some rest... he had been up for SO long! I went into the living room with Jen and Amanda, her assistant, and they helped me through contractions until John woke up. Jen checked me for the first time during active labor around 10pm and I was dilated 8 centimeters. I was upset that after all the prodromal labor, and 24 hours of active labor, I still wasn't fully dilated. We made the decision to break my water. I am so thankful we did because I went from 8 centimeters to being in transition within minutes. I got sick and knew I was in transition but did not feel pushy at all. After almost an hour I still did not feel the urge to push. We decided to put saline drops in my back to take away the pain of back labor just enough because Jen thought it was possible my back labor was so strong I could not feel the need to push. And sure enough, as soon as she gave me the drops (which had an extremely painful burning sensation... it was the only time I came close to screaming during labor), my back labor subsided enough for me to feel I needed to push.

I was hoping for a water birth, but I was just so tired. I had been in and out of the pool during contractions many times, and was exhausted. Too tired to even sit down. I felt all I could do was lay down at this point. I remember feeling like I could not push. I actually asked if I could take a nap and just finish pushing in the morning! But we pressed on. Jen and Amanda kept asking me if I wanted them to take pictures, or if I wanted a mirror. I think I was a little rude and just kept telling them no, I just want to keep pushing. I wanted it to be over so badly, I was so tired. They kept telling me they had never seen anyone concentrate so hard during pushing and I think that is what kept me going. Pushing was pretty unbearable for me and she had a big head so it took me several sets of pushes to get her head out. After 1.5 hours of pushing I finally delivered our sweet Willow Joy at 1:05am on December 1st! Words can't even express how exhilarated I was. Birthing Willow was literally the most empowering, joyous experience I have ever had. I remember repeating “I can't believe I did it!!” over and over. This was incredible to me, because I do not finish well. Generally in life when things get tough for me, I quit out of fear of failure. This was something I had accomplished, and it felt amazing.

In all this excitement I forgot I still had to deliver the placenta. I was bleeding quite a bit, and at first Jen thought I might be hemorrhaging, but thankfully I wasn't. She was pressing on my stomach quite a bit and it hurt, so instead she just lay Willow on top of my stomach and her weight naturally helped deliver the placenta. I didn't realize how uncomfortable and painful it was going to be.

Instead of having to go into recovery like my previous cesareans, I was able to hold my sweet baby to my chest and keep her by my side at every moment. I nursed her a bit and she latched. I don't really remember much at this point, but I do remember John making some phone calls and the midwives helped me to my bed. It was there they weighed Willow and stitched me up, as I had tore just a little bit. My dad came over from the hotel he was staying at with my mom and our girls. Jen came in to tell me she was leaving a bit later after cleaning up some and tears streamed down my face as I thanked her. She was with me during the hardest and most beautiful moments of my life, and I felt a huge bond with her. She believed in me when I did not believe in myself, and I had confidence because she was confident in me.

Monday, August 20, 2012

A little bit of my story

This summer marks ten year since I battled the most shameful time of my life.

A domino effect that left my friends,family and co workers baffled at how I could be a part of such a scandal at seventeen and just barely graduated from high school. After all, I was the pastor's daughter and taught the four year old's at church on Sunday mornings.

In the ten years since, stumbling my way through counseling, college, marriage and babies, I have carried around baggage from the events past. Thanks be to God, the weight of my baggage gets lighter everyday as I learn to give that weight to Jesus, and stand a little taller knowing His grace is truly sufficient for me.

I feel more comfortable to talk about what I went through. I am able to articulate how I felt during that time and tell my husband bits and pieces as things come up in conversation. It makes me feel free. Free of feeling worthless and used and shamed.

I have no idea how God is going to use the events of ten years ago for His glory, but I am confident that he already has and will continue to do so.

"You stood before my failure, carried the cross for my shame, my sin weighed upon your shoulders, My soul now to stand...

So I'll stand with hands high and hearts abandoned, in awe of the One who gave it all"

Sunday, August 19, 2012

A long week

It has been a long week.

A week of middle of the night meltdowns, whining, crying, fighting and so much more.

My toddlers have Hand, Foot and Mouth right now and it is making them cranky, moody, sleepless and in pain. And I am 28 weeks pregnant. And tired. And without family to help and a husband who doesn't have the luxury of a flexible job.

This week has been hard, but I knew I could make it because come Friday night my parents would be coming to visit and I could relax just a little bit and have some help. Only, last minute, they weren't able to come.

It has been a long week.

A week filled with middle of the night snuggles, kisses and the opportunity to teach my girls patience.

My toddlers have Hand, Foot and Mouth right now and it is making them persevere and learn to use their words. And all the while I am blessed to be creating a new little one. And feel her sweet kicks. And I have amazing Buffalo friends, one who even offered to make our family a meal. And my husband has an amazing job that allows me to stay home and teach my children every minute of everyday.

My parents were supposed to come this weekend and I was excited to see them and relax a little while they helped with the kids. However, they weren't able to make it, which worked out beautifully because the girls got extra Daddy time this weekend, we were able to take them somewhere special yesterday and make amazing family memories and were also blessed with a stranger giving us an area rug we were in need of.

Tonight as I prepare for the week ahead and spend time reflecting on this past one, I am thankful for a God who knows how to make all things beautiful, and gives us peace when there is chaos all around.

It has been a long week. A long, good week :)

Friday, April 6, 2012

We are counting our blessings... literally!

We have some exciting family news!

Baby Bradfield #3 will be arriving in November, Lord willing!

We are thrilled (and a little scared) to be adding a new little one to our family! Please be praying as we prepare for this. And please pray for me, as I once again struggle with morning all day sickness. I am thankful it is temporary and is because I am creating new life, yet it is still very difficult to be so sick while caring for energetic toddlers.

Blessings to you all on this Easter weekend. I pray that your weekend will be more than bunnies and egg hunts, and that you will take time to reflect on how our sweet Savior came to die, so that we can live!

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

DIY Doily Embroidery Hoop Wall Art

We recently moved our desk into the family room and so I wanted some fun wall art to go above it. I recently found an idea on pinterest (wish I could find the website) where a doily was stretched over burlap. I loved the idea but wanted more color to mine. This is what I came up with!

> Pictures are taken with my iphone because my camera is MIA, so sorry about the quality.

I have been waiting for my favorite Katie Daisy print to come in the mail so I could share this project! Katie's shop if filled with some of the most beautiful art and it is slowly starting to take over my home :)

Since I am on a limited budget, instead of using two 8x10 prints, I used one print I already had, Mountain Bouquet and then a You Are So Loved greeting card. I think the framed card still needs a little somethin' something'... but I haven't decided on what. Maybe a little bunting?

Anywayyyy... here are the supplies I used to make this gallery wall.

-Three different sized embroidery hoops (stole from another room in the house)
-Two doilies (already had on hand)
-Two Katie Daisy prints $21 altogether
-Two thrifted frames (already had on hand)
-White acrylic craft paint
-Fabric (leftover from other projects)

I love this project because I already had almost everything on hand. Here is what I did:

First I put fabric inside the embroidery hoops. Then I took one doily and stretched it over the entire hoop. For the other two, I just cut a doily in half and put the edges inside the hoops.

Then I painted the frames with Folk Art Acrylic craft paint (my fav!)from Hobby Lobby. After I painted two or three coats, I took my sandpaper and distressed the frames. They were originally an espresso color. I LOVE how the distressing turned out!

Sidenote -- if you already have a frame and you want to distress it but the frame is not the right color underneath, you can paint the dark color first underneath and then paint the actual color you want to frame on top. I have done this with several distressing projects :)

When I had all the doilies in the hoops and the prints in the frame I thought the project still needed a little something. So, I took a one of my favorite pictures of my dad and Amara and cropped it. Still didn't look right so I took some of the fabric and made a couple fabric rosettes. And voila!

When finished, I just laid out the frames and hoops on the floor and moved them around until I found an arrangement I liked.

This may be one of my favorite diy projects ever. I mean seriously... aqua, doilies and Katie Daisy art. Can't get much better than that! I smile every time I walk past it :)

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Table Love Part 1

I have been wanting a new dining room table for a couple years now. Every time we plan to purchase one however, we find other ways to spend the money. Last year we had decided that we were finally going to purchase a new one with our taxes. I got so excited, and claimed our "old" table as my craft table. I started to paint and hot glue and Modge Podge without putting anything between my project and the table. And then a couple weeks later, our car died. So then not only could we not get a new table, but the one we already had was ruined on top.

So, I have been debating for the last year on what to do. Every time I sit at, wipe off, or do anything on that table, I curse the table. I want it to die a slow and painful death. This Big Lots piece of junk has got to go. I search Pinterest and drool at all the beautiful farm tables and refurbished tables like these ones.

Then finally last week, the most amazing thing happened. One of the chairs broke.

Then yesterday, another chair broke.

I was in heaven! Finally, I can start looking at tables, or hopefully find an old one for free to paint and sand. Seriously, best day ever!!

So, that's the exciting happenings around here :) Table Love Part 2 coming soon when we actually purchase a table or pick one up from the side of the road. I can't wait! But first... a ten day trip to Michigan is in order!! We leave on Wednesday and I can hardly breath thinking of all the hugs and laughter and fun!


Friday, January 20, 2012

2012 Reading List

I really love to read. But, since I don't have as much time as I used to, I have to work on making it a priority. I have a ton of books that I can't want to dive into but had to whittle it down due to lack of time. So I am making a list of my top 12. I figure one a month is doable :) I am excited to order the first couple on my list today!

1. The Prodical God by Tim Keller

2. Sacred Parenting by Gary Thomas

3. Give Them Grace: Dazzling You Kids with the Love of Jesus by Elyse M. Fitzpatrick, Jessica Thompson and Tullian Tchividjian

4. One Thousand Gifts: A Dare to Live Fully Right Where You Are by Ann Voskamp

5. The Urban Homestead Your Guide to Self-Sufficient Living in the Heart of the City by Kelly Coyne and Erik Knutzen

6. Unfashionable Tullian Tchividjian

7. The Help by Kathryn Stockett

8. Beyond Charity by John M Perkins

9. Real Marriage by Mark Driscoll

10. Adopted For Life by Russell D. Moore

11. Small Town, Big Micacle: How Love Came To The Least Of These by W.C. Martin

12. Developing The Leader Within You by John Maxwell

I am hoping to do a little gardening and canning for the first time so I am planning on getting a couple books on those subjects soon. I am up for any recommendations!

I also have a couple books on my list to read to the kids. I don't think we have yet to purchase new books for the girls. Everything we read to them is from the thrift store. Even their Beginners Bible is secondhand. But here a couple books I want to purchase for our devotions.

My ABC Bible Verses

The Jesus Storybook Bible

What's on your reading list?