Searching for Peace in the Unexpected

  I was debating on whether or not I should share a little bit about my birth story for a while. After much thought, I decided I would appreciate being able to look back on this post someday and typing all of this out would help me with emotional postpartum healing. My prayer is also that this post can encourage any woman who needs it. That she will realize that she is not alone. 

I have been struggling. Struggling with all of these ‘what ifs’ that flood my mind at night. As I lay my precious girl to rest, I try to grab whatever amount of sleep I possibly can get. Despite being so utterly exhausted and sleep deprived, I can’t help but think back to the birth of this child. I had everything figured out. I had my mind made up for a long time that my labor would be natural and unmedicated and I would do anything in my power to avoid any sort of medical intervention.

At my 39 week appointment, I was diagnosed with preeclampsia. My blood pressure and my baby’s heart rate were dangerously high and my doctor said that I needed to be induced immediately. We began the induction process and they had me on magnesium to prevent seizures due to the elevated blood pressure. I labored unmedicated for 15 hours. My contractions began immediately and were 2-3 minutes apart, lasting 1-1.5 minutes. The magnesium only made things more intense, as it made me incredibly nauseous and I was bed ridden and unable to move during labor. After 15 hours and no progression, the doctor decided to begin pitocin and mentioned an epidural. She knew I was not wanting to receive medication, so she explained that it would help to lower my blood pressure and possibly help me dilate quicker. I agreed to it because I realized the dangers of my blood pressure being high for so long. 

The epidural made me feel so dizzy and it knocked me out. However, my blood pressure dropped immediately and I knew I had made the best decision for me and the baby. After only three hours, I was fully dilated and ready to go. I was so ready to push my baby out when it came time. I was incredibly exhausted and just wanted her out and in my arms. 

I pushed for 4 hours. I was so terrified and knew that I needed to get her out soon or things would not go the way I wanted. After already needing medical interventions, I was determined to deliver my daughter vaginally and have the most important part go as planned. But that was not the case. She was not in a position to come out and my pushing was only wedging her head even more. I ended up needing a c section and this tore me apart.

As they wheeled me away and prepped me for surgery, I was a wreck. I knew this meant I would not get to deliver my baby myself the way I had imagined and to be honest, I was also absolutely afraid of the idea of surgery. When my husband was finally allowed in the room, I could hardly see him. My vision was so blurred and I couldn’t comprehend much. I had hoped to hold his hand, but my arms were strapped to the table. I focused on his calming voice as I felt my body being tugged and jerked around. 

After just a few minutes, we heard our baby cry for the first time. I was overwhelmed with emotion. We were so thankful to hear her cry and know she was okay, but I was still crushed that I didn’t get to see her face and hold her right away. They called my husband over as they weighed her and to cut the umbilical cord, and there I was; still strapped to this cold, hard table, as organs and layers of muscle and skin were being stitched back up. Unable to move. Unable to see my little girl. Unable to touch her. It was the most exciting and disappointing moment of my life. Part of me felt like I wasn’t even there. The most difficult thing was not even remembering the first time I held her. 

To be transparent, I am still dealing with a sense of mourning. Mourning the loss of the birth I wish I had. Mourning the loss of those precious moments that I will never get to experience with my little girl. I felt like a failure as a woman and a mother because I was not able to deliver her myself. I tried everything I possibly could to have her naturally, but I wondered where I went wrong. I never expected any of this to happen and therefore was not prepared for the lengthy recovery process. The first time I was able to change my daughter’s diaper, she was already a week old. She will be one month old tomorrow and there are still many things I am unable to do with her that I wish I could. I am still dealing with not only recovering physically, but emotionally as well. 

Before I went to my doctors appointment and all of this happened, I was at lunch with my parents. My mom said that she needed to tell me something and to not be offended by it. She told me that another woman said to her earlier that day that I needed to not be afraid of a c section. Of course I rolled my eyes because I had this grandeur plan of how my labor would be and a cesarean was out of the question for me. When the doctors came in and told me my baby was likely not going to be delivered vaginally, my mom leaned over and reminded me of this woman’s words. As I laid on that table in the OR, I kept thinking to myself that God knew what was going to happen. He had a plan all along and He knew I would need to hear those words, ‘to not be afraid’.

This whole experience has made me a stronger woman and has taught me so much. Although I still wish things would have gone differently, I must remind myself that I am no less of a woman or a mother. My body did not fail, nor did I fail. My baby entered the world in a way that was not what I had planned and that is okay. I became a mother the moment I had decided to put her needs above my desires and get her here safely. She is perfect and healthy and there is nothing more that I could ask for.

To all of the women who may have experienced something similar to my situation, it’s okay to mourn. Childbirth is supposed to be a beautiful and memorable experience and having unexpected complications can be traumatic and disappointing. Just remember that ultimately, it doesn’t matter how your baby enters the world. As long as you are able to hold them, at the end of the day, that’s all that matters. You are not a failure. Trust your body and trust that God has a plan. He gives me strength on the days that I am haunched over in pain feeling like my insides are going to fall out, trying to care for a newborn and running on no sleep. God gives mothers a love strong enough to conquer anything that may come up in their journey. I am so thankful for all of the things I am learning as I love and care for this precious little girl He has entrusted to me. 

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Awaiting Change 

  
I am almost through with my first pregnancy and already wishing there were things I would have done. I honestly thought I would have been better at documenting my pregnancy than I was. I didn’t take weekly or even monthly photos of my growing belly or write down memories and symptoms I have experienced. Between all of the holidays and events that have come and gone, I allowed time to get away from me. So here I sit, due any day, sipping my tea and reflecting on the last several months and years to come. 

From the moment I discovered I was pregnant, I felt a rush of different emotions. I was excited, nervous and in complete shock. These feelings haven’t gone away during the last nine months, either. It is all still so surreal to me that our lives are going to change forever in just a few short days. I am so excited to meet this little girl I’ve been carrying for so long and to be honest, fitting back into my normal clothes won’t be such a bad thing either. I do get sad thinking that when she makes her appearance, I am going to have to share her with the world. Despite being jabbed and kicked constantly, I’m going to miss feeling her movements inside of me. It’s also a bit intimidating- the unknown of what is to come. Things are going to change and I will have a tiny human fully relying on me to keep them alive and well. 

Little one, I wish you knew just how treasured and loved you already are. You have a family who will do anything to protect you and make sure you are always taken care of. I hope that I can be as good of a mother to you as my mother is to me and pray that we will grow to be best friends throughout the years. I hope that you never forget that I am on your team. I won’t discipline you to hurt you or make you miserable but because I love you and care for you. I pray that you will always follow your dreams and never let anyone tell you they are too big or impossible to achieve. I will support you and always be your cheerleader. You have an amazing father who will set a beautiful example for you of how a man should treat a woman. He loves me very much and I adore how much he loves you already too. You are worth far more than rubies and your value is in who Christ says you are, not what boys or other girls might say about you. I am looking forward to watching you grow and become the incredible little girl I know you will be. We are so thankful that God chose us to be your parents. We can’t wait to begin the next chapter of this adventure with you. 

Finding Balance

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It’s been a bit of a struggle for me lately trying to figure things out. My life is going to change completely next month when I become a mother and have a sweet little girl to care for. I am not working currently, mostly just freelance here and there. A year ago I was working a job that was great, but it just wasn’t right for me. Shortly after, I started a repurposing business and freelance photography and that kept me occupied until I became pregnant 5 months later.

I’ve been ‘stuck’ in a place of uncertainty and wondering what I was going to do over the last few months. I thought that maybe having a baby meant putting my other dreams on hold. Maybe this was God’s way of telling me it was not His timing for me to pursue the things I felt so deeply He was calling me to. It was about a month ago that He had shown me otherwise and He still continues to do so.

The last book I read suggested another book, Freefall to Fly by Rebekah Lyons. Without reading much about it, I added the book to my Christmas list along with a few others. I began reading it a couple of weeks ago and little did I know that this woman’s story would be used to speak directly to my heart. In her book, Rebekah takes you through her journey from vulnerability and uncertainty to a life of meaning and balance between motherhood and following her dreams.

“Some women uncover their talents before having kids and then shelve them while raising their children. They’ve experienced a sense of fulfillment in living out their purpose but believe they must set aside their pursuits for the sake of motherhood. They’ve bought into the belief that their gifts and child rearing are disparate parts, unable to coexist. Instead of fighting to figure out the balance, they stuff their dreams in a box marked ‘motherhood.’ ”

This very paragraph hit me like a ton of bricks. I realized that becoming a mother did not mean that I had to put my life on hold. I am just simply growing my family and have the privilege to raise my daughter while I follow my dreams. What an honor it is to be able to teach my little girl to pursue her calling and be an example to her! I believe that 2016 is going to be a year of not only birthing a child, but also the birth of new gifts and new vision. I am so looking forward to all that God has in store for me and my family this year.

If you are feeling stuck or are unsure of how to find balance in being a wife and mother, as well as pursing your life purpose, I highly suggest this book. It will definitely give you some encouragement and make you feel empowered.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My Baby’s Life Matters

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(Baby Peterson at 9 weeks 3 days)

“Don’t tell anyone you’re pregnant until you reach the second trimester.” “Wait to share the news until the risk of miscarriage decreases in case anything happens.” “Don’t get too excited yet, you’re still not medically in the clear.”

These are a just a few of the comments people made when I found out I was expecting. These days, most people typically wait until the second trimester to share the exciting news with the public. I debated for weeks whether I should wait or make it public. It was something I was struggling with each day. I was so excited and couldn’t express it or share the news with anyone and it really began to weigh on me. The first several weeks of pregnancy left me extremely sick and fatigued but I had to hide it so no one would know. The more pressure I felt about keeping my pregnancy a secret, the more worried I became. I found myself constantly fearful of losing my baby and it was the worst feeling living in a state of fear and anxiety.

I finally decided to share the news at almost 9 weeks. I came to the conclusion that if I happened to be one of the 1 in 12 pregnancies that ended in miscarriage, I would rather have the support of others. Miscarriage is such a terrible thing and no one should have to experience going through it alone. The power of prayer is amazing and I know that I would personally want the prayer, support and encouragement of family and friends if anything were to happen. I believe that the moment your baby has a heartbeat, only 10 days after conception, you become a parent. There is another beating heart inside of me that isn’t my own. I recognize that heartbeat as another human being and when you share the news of your pregnancy, I believe you are validating that life and for me that was so important. We need a stronger community to support women who deal with miscarriages, infertility, etc.

I have had problems my entire life and was lead to believe that I would not get pregnant for a long time, but my God is so much greater and He had other plans for us! I knew that after receiving this precious miracle, there was a reason behind it and I wanted to share the good news rather than being fearful and keeping everything private.

I am almost 15 weeks now and my child is already bigger than the size of a lemon! I really enjoy following along with the weekly progression and growth of the baby. The miracle of life is absolutely astonishing to me. With all of the sadness that is going on in the world and everything that is happening with Planned Parenthood, I just can’t help but have a broken heart for these mommies and precious babies. By now, my baby has developed his or her own finger prints. The very thing that physically gives us our own identity and distinguishes us from one another, my baby already has. To me that means that child has their very own identity in this world- so amazing! If my baby is a girl, she already has millions of eggs in her ovaries! How one could deny that this is a legitimate life and a human being with a purpose, I do not understand.

Unfortunately, this is such a sad and cruel world that we are living in. There are people who do evil things and think that it is perfectly okay to discard human life as if it is something that we were given the authority to steal as we please. However, I am also a strong believer in supporting young women and girls who deal with unplanned pregnancy and the uncertainty of keeping the child. I believe that we need to have a stronger support system for our children and raise them knowing that there is a risk in becoming pregnant when you are sexually active and that there is no way to prevent pregnancy 100% other than abstinence. I also believe that we need to teach our young boys how to be men that are respectful and the importance of being a father who is active in his child’s life when the day comes. We can make a difference by starting at home with our own children and being there to love on others who may not have that example in their own lives at home.

God is so gracious and merciful and although our actions may break His heart, we are never too far from redemption. I do not condemn those who may have had an abortion or considered getting one, but I do want for those women to know that there is another way if you are not capable of raising a child on your own. Many families would love to have a child but cannot and perhaps you can give them that special gift. My father was adopted so this touches my heart deeply. His birth mother gave him the opportunity to leave his finger print on this world and he certainly has. He was raised by a wonderful couple who longed to adopt a precious boy; and that boy grew into a man who has touched the lives of many.

If you or someone you know is dealing with an unplanned pregnancy, please feel free to send me an email and I would love to be there for prayer and support. You can also reach out to someone and receive free confidential counseling 24/7 at 1-800-712-HELP(4357).

xo, Alyssa

New Seasons, New Life

I am so very excited to be launching my new blog today! I was planning on launching in a week or so, but I thought, what better of a time to talk about new seasons than the first day of September? Autumn begins this month and it is by far my favorite season. Leaves changing pretty colors and falling from trees, a chill in the air and pumpkin spiced everything! This quote from Christine Caine reminds me of this season, “God prunes us when He is about to take us into a new season of growth and expansion.” This statement has proved true so many times in my life. I have had to say goodbye to friendships that weren’t allowing me to grow and quit a good job making decent money that was consuming too much of my time and energy.

For this reason, I have decided to start fresh by creating a new blog. Although I have had a good following on my last website, I wasn’t very committed. I was often distracted and would go months between posts. This is a way for me to begin with a clean slate and see what God wants to do through this blog. I didn’t have a very clear direction before and I believe that is what was holding me back. I have also struggled with the idea of fashion posts for quite some time. I wondered if it was too self-centered as a Christian woman to post photos of what I’m wearing each day. However; The Lord confirmed that this was not true for me in a few ways. Young girls are going to look to someone as an example for fashion advice and if there aren’t many Christian role models, they will look to the media and what the world says is cute and trendy. He has also shown me that it is good for women to feel confident in who they are, and we have that confidence when we are well dressed. With that being said, I will be focusing more on fashion blogging than before. This blog will also be a platform to share my faith and anything that has been resonating in my heart.

Along with this new season…we are expecting new life! Yes, we are pregnant! Our little miracle will be making a debut in February and we couldn’t be more excited! I believe that this is a time for new life physically and spiritually. God is so good and we are extremely blessed that He has chosen us to raise this precious child.

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Be sure to subscribe to this new blog to receive daily updates on our growing family and more! I am ready to embrace this new journey and so happy to have you joining alongside me.

xo, Alyssa