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Hello & Goodbye

I said goodbye to the job I have loved for over 5 years now. I shot my last wedding I have on the books this past Saturday, for a while at least. For the sake of laying out there, I still get plenty of inquiries and everything looks amazing – but to every single one God has said no. There is no explanation. Only a closed door. It feels scary to type this out because I still have hopes that I’ll do some here and there. I have LOVED loved LOVED every minute, and feel so overwhelmingly thankful for the privilege God has given me over these years. Never in a million years did I see myself becoming a wedding photographer. It has been such sweet years of growth, learning how to find my feet as a business owner and wife, then minister’s wife, mama, etc…It was just when I felt totally confident in my system, workflow and had been doing it long enough to feel so comfortable with my clients. I enjoyed the knowledge and experience and utilizing it to anticipate their needs. It truly brought me joy to serve however I could on these special, monumental days. Every single wedding has a special place in my heart. Every one was a true joy and honor. I cannot thank God enough for giving me this work, using it to grow my faith, to draw me closer to Him and bring such incredible people into my life. So many sweet friendships have been made and and beautiful places visited. It filled my soul. His gifts are good.

And now I say goodbye…

As I drove away from dropping of the girls to go work for what might be the last time, my heart was overcome with incredible peace. This, I know, is also a gift from the Lord. All of my flesh still wants it, still hopes, still wishes to hold on to what I’ve known and loved. But HIS ways are higher. He has so sweetly prepared me for this moment and my heart knows I must let go for whatever the future holds. I am so thankful to still be booking other portrait sessions, commercial, lifestyle and otherwise…but it is not the same as the thrill (or income) of weddings. Yet my heart is confident and my whole being rejoices. I can’t explain this sweet peace or His nearness. I’m saying goodbye to one of the biggest parts of my life, the creative fuel for my artistic heart and what has become part of me I thought I’d never part from. It’s always been His, from the moment He put it in my lap after asking me to quit my full-time job – to now. I know that it’s never been “mine” but after so long of “having it” it was hard to say goodbye.

During labor with Genevieve, God gave me the imagery of a boat being rocked by the waves. Now, I see I was tied to the dock. He had work to do. My ship had to be tied down, stripped and made ready for a new voyage. I was weighed down, but now I’m free of the things that would hold me back from this new journey. I don’t know exactly what He did, but it’s done and He’s beckoning onward. He’s loosing the ropes and now we’re off.

And now I say hello…

I’m not the same person I was a year ago. God has totally changed my heart and life in the last year. I can’t say I enjoyed the year or so of His stripping, pruning and discipline but I am thankful for it. The fog is clearing and He’s just now beginning to give me a vision for what lies ahead. He’s teaching me joy and faithfulness in the very, very small and menial things. Because they are important. He wants 100% of me invested in what is right in front of me every day. Most days, that is my two precious girls. (And what an incredible blessing they are! What an undeserved gift.) I’ve stopped fighting the pull to homeschooling. I’ve started enjoying finding new and innovative ways to make our home efficient and economical. Sometimes it’s good for the artist to stop creating and teach others instead. And maybe that will be more of what this season is about. I really don’t know! It’s half thrilling, half terrifying to have absolutely NO IDEA what God wants of me, other than my every day faithfulness. However, I do know this: GOD HAS BEEN SO FAITHFUL. Tears well up in my eyes every time I think about it. I worried about if I needed to totally shut down or not, but He said “Trust me. Be faithful with TODAY.” When I obey, He provides. Every time! Just when things start to look interesting, I’ll book something or we’ll get an unexpected gift. When I start to crave who I was, but instead look to Him and say “I am who YOU SAY I am.” Then, He gives me a piece of a song, the opportunity to travel or something to experience or create. When I grow tired of the tiny budget for “things” or grow weary of food prep, He ignites my joy and creativity for our home. He knows! He knows. He doesn’t owe any of this to me! He could strip away all the parts of my artistic heart, never make any more art in my life, and it would be so much more than I deserve. And yet He overflows my cup with what only He could give. It is astounding and such a grace that is overwhelming me with such joy and thankfulness. After all my struggle with the many levels (especially finance and identity) of letting this go, He still fills me up. My creator knows me, how He wired me and fills all the gaps He cut out of my life. He always does. He is always good. It’s just easy to doubt when our human eyes see lack. “Blessed are the poor in spirit for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” (Matthew 5:3)

So hello new season. I’m all in. I’m 100% here, showing up, excited for what is to come. I’m light. I’m free. I’m hopeful! It really makes no sense on paper how or why God has closed off this part of what I’ve known, what I loved and something I knew He was using for His glory. And yet I have never felt more peace in all of my life. He is undoubtably here in this boat with me and up to something beautiful. My hands are totally and completely off the wheel and He has full control. I’m just a willing vessel for His will, wherever that leads from here. Farewell to all I’ve known up until this point. I’m with you God. I gladly greet whatever you have ahead…

Genevieve Morgan | Two Months Old

Wow – time really does fly these days. Elle is officially 3 years old (her update to come soon) and Genevieve has been with us for two months! I’m so thankful for these sweet little girls. Just look at that cherub face! She’s angelic. Those smiling eyes get me every time. Life has gotten less crazy and we’re finding a good rhythm for our days. As long as she is near us and what we’re doing, she is very go-with-the flow and flexible. Just about everything is easier with her. I don’t know if it’s just because this is my second time or if she just isn’t as boisterous as Eleanora…probably a bit of both.

Weight: Not sure, but our scale reads around 10lbs. I’ll update after her appointment Thursday. She is in size 1 diapers as of about 2 weeks ago. Her chub is definitely coming in nicely.

Clothes: She has finally outgrown her newborn clothes, which is exactly what I said about Elle in her update at 2 months. She wears most of her sister’s old things, but I am LOVING the brand called L’OVED BABY this time around. It’s just about all I want to put her in. I can tell I’m much more minimalistic with Genevieve than I was with Eleanora. It’s totally pointless to put a newborn in dresses! Sweet, simple and soft onesies and rompers are the way to go for sure. I also think it might have to do with their differing personalities. Everything with Elle was flashier…colors and everything. With Evie I feel drawn to muted tones, softer pinks, muted blues, cream, gray and white. Maybe it’s her skin tone or the fact that it contrasts better with her dark hair. Idk? It’s so fun to try to get to know their personalities and see their unique differences.

Sleep: Genevieve started sleeping through the night about 2 weeks ago all on her own. We started off attempting the same schedule we did with Elle, but she has her own rhythm. We always had trouble getting Elle to go to sleep at night but Genevieve is ready to be out around 8-9 pm and we wake her for one last feeding around 9:30-10 pm. After that, she’s out until 6 am most nights! If she’s “off” it seems to be due to gas/ trying to poop. I can also put her in her crib at night or after a feeding in the morning with her AWAKE and she will go back to sleep pleasantly! (This is huge, so huge. E never would do that in a million years.) Sleep has been a breeze with her, seriously. I still get about the same amount of sleep as I did with E, since I don’t have any option of sleeping in ever or napping with 2 kids, but her night schedule is easy and predictable. I cannot express how thankful I am for that fact! She isn’t the best at napping in her room, but for the most part we stay busy with errands and adventures that she is kind of used to napping on the go. I’m trying to make sure afternoons are always consistent and make sure that rest is in her room. I love that she’s so great on-the-go, but so far both girls haven’t known much else! She took a 2 hour trip with me to the beach at 5 weeks and slept the whole way down and back. I am SO SO SO SO SO thankful the girls seems to love the car!

Eating: Little G loves to eat, just not so much from a bottle. But that is ok. I don’t have to worry about that too much right now. I think it’s more her personality to want to be close to me all the time. She likes to be held and wants to nurse for comfort often. I don’t mind nursing as much this time around, since it’s about the only times I sit down or get a rest during the day! Thankfully she doesn’t spit up hardly at all either! Hooray!

Mood: Little miss G seems to be pretty calm and laid back. So far E and G are night and day. E was always taking in everything about her surroundings and G seems to be drawn more to faces. If we are out she’s not looking around, she’s looking at me. E had to have her paci, G likes it sometimes. She doesn’t seem as picky about who is holding her either, as long as she is being held. Even her little cries are mostly whimpers, until she is REALLY hungry or has a bad gas pain. She seems to have more facial expressions than E did at this stage – but her only one one was wide-eyed just about! Genevieve does all the faces! Ha!

Loves/Doesn’t love: She LOVES her mommy, nursing, being near mommy, mommy’s singing, napping on mommy, etc…She doesn’t like being away from mommy so much…She loves the sound of the vacuum – it always manages to lull her to sleep! lol! Then again, she likes sleeping. She likes her sissy’s raspberry kisses. She DOES NOT like being put down when she’s awake. She hates being left in a room alone and prefers being held, always always. She loves getting a clean diaper – it makes her smile as soon as it’s on. She likes noises and will wake up if things are too quiet.

Things I want to remember: HER SMILE – gosh it melts me! She makes cute little breathing and squeaking noises. Again, just like with Elle I can’t manage to capture it. I love how she looks at her big sister when she wakes up in the morning.

Genevieve Morgan | One Month Old

| ONE MONTH OLD |
 
I’m a few days late, but we haven’t had much good light, until yesterday. #PhotographerProblems Genevieve is such a sweet, calm babe. She is such a gift to our family and fits perfectly. It’s amaazing to me how God knows these things and has them all planned out before we become aware. So far she is the opposite of her sister, in just about every way apart from her blue eyes. Even those are deep like the depths of the ocean, instead of a bright sky like Elle. This is one of her favorite faces, along with a gummy smile. I feel time passing so much more quickly this time, so I savor every spare minute I find with just us two. She makes my soul feel the peace I know she’s meant to bring to those around her. What a treasure that I get to experience God’s purpose through her first. What a masterpiece you are darling! 
 
So far she is calm and relaxed in almost every way. She rarely cries, except when hungry or because of trying to poo. She doesn’t love to be put down (if she’s awake or even slightly aware of it) or left alone in a room away from the rest of us. She loves when Jonathan plays guitar. If she ever cries, she will calm down whenever Elle or I sing the lullaby I wrote for the girls. It’s precious. She likes bath time. Being held is her favorite. I know she’d be content all day long in my arms…which is basically where she stays. She likes to use me as a human paci, but she’s gaining weight like a champ…so I don’t mind so much. Speaking of weight, she gained 20 oz in 10 days – going from 6 lbs to 7 lbs 4 oz! I was so proud. I feel certain she’s almost 9 lbs now, with the sweet rolls she’s developing. Her eyes have turned into a beautiful deep blue and her dark hair is getting close to mullet status. Ha! She feels more narrowly built in the shoulders and torso than Elle, but a few of the same outfits are fitting her. (I maybe have 2 or 3 new things for Evie, but they grow so quickly there’s not much of a point!) She’s sleeping pretty well at night. The past week or so we’ve managed to sleep from 12-4ish! Yay! Then until 8 am. She seems to either sleep great, or terribly.
 
As for adjusting to 2 kiddos, that will have to be another post. Ha!
 
 
We love you darling Evie!

Genevieve Morgan Blair | Birth Story Part 2

Monday afternoon my parents arrived to keep Eleanora at our house. After such an up and down 12 days, I was so glad to finally see their faces. Bags packed, again, we kissed Elle goodbye and told her she could come meet us at the hospital to hopefully see her new baby sister the next day. I guzzled my last meal of Chickfila as we arrived at the ER. It was so strange to be wheeled up to our room without being in tremendous pain. We pulled out the essential oils, diffuser, our pillows, playlist and Bible to make it feel more homey. We knew it would be a while.

The nurses prepped us for the night and we expected to get ready for a night of having Cervadil in preparation for induction. (Cervadil is a softening medication used to get your body ready for induction – and it is very rare it will cause more contractions.) We alerted the doctor on call and the nurses of our last experience on Cervadil, and also on ambien. Apparently I’m the 1% of people that went into active labor while on the medication. It was quite an interesting experience while also totally out of it on ambien – and I had no idea where I was and could only scream! It’s funny now. Well, after that explanation the doctor checked me and said I didn’t need the Cervadil. We questioned her call, but didn’t want to push back too much. After all, they are the doctor and we are obviously not. (Spoiler: I should have gotten the meds and it seemed – not that we can know for certain – that the doctor just didn’t want to deal with a 3 am delivery.) A little perturbed about having to come in the night before for nothing, we slept.

I got up around 4 am to try to progress the contractions and have some time alone in the Word. I felt such peace light up my heart, like the sun that was starting to break through the clouds. My heart dwelled on Psalm 16 & 37 and I let the words anchor me to the peace God had given…I wanted to start the day and finish it, regardless of what happened, from the right place. I read, listened to Shane & Shane’s Psalms II album (straight scripture put to music – so beautiful!) and asked God to show me Himself above all else. As much as I longed to see my sweet baby’s face I prayed my heart would stay in the place of wanting to see HIS beauty more.

(Emphasis mine)

“The LORD is my chosen portion and my cup; you hold my lot. The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places; indeed, I have a beautiful inheritance. I bless the LORD who gives me counsel; even at night my heart instructs me. I keep my eyes always on the LORD. With him my right hand, I will not be shaken…You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.”

“Be still before the LORD and wait patiently for him…those who wait for the LORD will inherit the land…and delight themselves in abundant peace…the LORD upholds the righteous…the LORD knows the days of the blameless…the steps of a man are established by the LORD…I have not seen the righteous forsaken…He is ever lending generously, and his children become a blessing…the LORD helps them and delivers them…he saves them because they take refuge in him.”

Isaiah 26:3: “You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you.” Isaiah 30:15-16, 18: “In returning and rest you will be saved; in quietness and trust will be your strength…The LORD longs to be gracious to you; therefore he will rise up to show you compassion…blessed are all who wait for him!” Psalm 23:”The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not want…You restore my soul…You are with me…my cup overflows…surely goodness and mercy will follow me all the days of my life.” Psalm 25: “None who wait for you will be put to shame…He leads the humble…he teaches the humble his way.” Psalm 31: “Oh, how abundant is your goodness which you have stored up for those who fear you and worked for those who take refuge in you…Be strong and let your heart take courage, all you who wait for the LORD!” Psalm 34, Psalm 84, Psalm 139…so many passages met me and helped me battle the fear and pain.

My doctor came in around 8am to check on me, and was surprised to find out I did not get the cervadil as he expected. (It probably would have sped up our day considerably. Oh well. We we’re not that happy about it, and neither was our doctor it seemed…) Still 1 1/2 cm. The plan was to break my water and let me labor on my own…but little lady was too wiggly and small and my water wouldn’t break. They started me on a low does of pitocin and let me labor on my own. Things were going pretty well. I was working with the contractions, staying in a peaceful place and enjoying the pitter patter of the rain coming down outside. Elle came to visit us around 10am. She had a hard time with me not being able to hold her and be with her like before. As much as I tried not to let it stress me at all, it totally messed up my contraction rhythm. They upped my dose a bit more after that and things progressed again. In my heart, I was afraid of not progressing at all and needing a c-section. I also really wanted to be able to labor on my own without the epidural. Labor has so many unknowns. What if my water would never break? It was hard not to let a million other worries enter my mind. Around that time the Lord spoke so clearly to my heart and reminded me of 2 Timothy 1:7: “For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and love and self-control.”

I knew the day was already a gift, regardless of its end. God, so gracious and so full of mercy, was pouring Himself out into my heart. He was next to me. He was speaking to me. I won’t forget it as long as I live. All the pain, fear, wounds from pruning and attacks from the enemy on my heart I had faced in the past few weeks melted into his peace, peace that passes all understanding. I truly didn’t deserve it. What a gift.

Around 2pm (I can’t quite remember) our doctor came in to check me again. Still about the same. Maybe 2cm. But after trying several times, he was able to break my water! I was so thankful. Finally, we could hopefully get things going. And they did. I started feeling the more intense pain like I did the times we came to the hospital in the previous days. But pitocin contractions make them come much closer together. I wasn’t able to read much by this point without breaks, so I sang through the contractions to the beautiful scripture-lyrics of Shane & Shane. It felt beautiful, peaceful, somewhat out-of-body to put my mind on the Word instead of being consumed by each wave of pain. In my mind God gave me the imagery of a boat, gently rocked by the waves. He was in my boat. I looked at Him and the sea didn’t seem so tumultuous. I felt His nearness like I have only felt during my years of unexplainable illness in college. I couldn’t describe exactly what the Spirit of God spoke to my heart, but all His Word He had given washed over me…”I know you. I know her. I love you both more than you can know. I know her life, from start to finish. Rest in my purpose and my plan. I know what I’m birthing in you next. I’m not done. Let your heart have quiet trust. Settle into my power, love and self-control. Put your mind on me and you will see my work. Wait on me. Trust in me. I am giving you something beautiful from my hand.” For 2 hours I sang when every contraction hit and found such a special place of peace in the Lord. And I saw His beauty in a new way.

Around 4 they checked me again. 4 cm. The pitocin would need to be upped from 8. As much as I wanted to labor on my own, I knew I needed the epidural. I knew that it could still be a long time until push, and was already starting to lose feeling in my legs from the pain and shakes. I wanted to be able to feel to push my baby out and also didn’t want to slow my labor by getting the meds, but my body was already so exhausted. I felt peace in the decision. In the next hour it took to get the anesthesiologist to the room, the pain doubled and the contractions came less than a minute a part. My voice was too horse to sing anymore. I thanked God for making that call so easy and giving me the strength to make it that far on my own. This is the part I feel like was a gift upon a gift from the Lord. One of the reasons I didn’t want an epidural was that I couldn’t feel ANYTHING when I got it with Elle. Well, this time I could still feel my legs, and move the left one. I could feel the contractions more than the last time as well. It hurt, but wasn’t scream-my-head-off-painful. Some made me stop and breathe through until they passed. I was so glad to be able to feel some. All I could do was thank God for that gift! I don’t remember much from 6-8pm besides letting my body rest and enjoying the few visits from my sister and doing a FaceTime chat with Elle. The rain kept gently coming down. Everything was peaceful.

They checked me around 8 pm and we were up to 6cm. We all guessed how long it would take to make it to baby time. All the staff and doctor guessed 10pm or later. The doctor joked that 8:30 would be fine too. The new nurse had me lay on my side for 30 minutes and by time she came to switch me to the other, I felt different. She left saying, “If you feel the urge to push, let me know.” The next contraction hit and I said, “Oh my goodness! Oh my goodness! That is lots of pressure!” Jonathan asked if I needed the nurse and I told him we’d see what the next few did. He went to the bathroom and just as he closed the door the next one hit. “OH MY GOODNESS! OH MY GOODNESS! GET THE NURSE! SHE IS COMING!” All of the sudden I FELT her. I FELT the urge to push. My sister ran out to the desk, and as soon as the nurse looked she said, “There she is! She’s coming now!” It felt a little like a circus as everyone wheeled in and the doctor suited up and arranged his tools. It was about 8:35 pm. It felt like an eternity before they were ready for me to start pushing. I felt every contraction. I could feel my legs when pushing. I felt all the pressure. I felt her head leave my body and my head hit the pillow in relief! By 8:41 pm, our girl was BORN! The moment I saw her, I still felt everything. She looked like Jonathan and I cried a little. It was OVER. She was HERE. She was BEAUTIFUL. And I felt it. It She is such gift.

We waited until we saw her to decide her name for sure. As soon as I saw all her dark hair, I knew. Genevieve Morgan. She has part of both our names. Jennifer and Genevieve have the same root and Morgan is Jonathan’s middle name. Perfect. I dreamt she’s look just like she does, with dark hair and completion and deep blue eyes. (Her eyes are still not quite for certain yet, but I just know they’ll be deep blue like the peaceful depths of the ocean. And Morgan means “by the sea.”)

My beautiful, beautiful girl!

Elle came in and her reaction was better than any dream. I hope the link works below, because I could watch it a million times.

We had everyone come in before they moved us to our room and it was so beautifully joyous and calm. What a sweet night. Elle was born on a bright and sunny afternoon, and Genevieve on a peaceful, rainy evening. God knew the reality of who they were and even the day they were born spoke of who He was crafting them to be. I have never felt more peace in my entire life than I have since the moment of her birth. Even our stay at the hospital was calm and peaceful for the next few days. With Elle it was a rush and a blur and we didn’t get much rest. With Genevieve nothing felt stressful and we actually napped some! She was immediately so different from Elle, calm and easygoing.

Genevieve, you have such a special purpose – formed in the heart of God before your days came to be. One day I’ll tell you this story and all that God did on the day you were born. And that is just the very beginning of how He’ll use your sweet life! You have been prayed for, longed for and loved in my heart for a long time. Now that you’re here we are smitten! We pray over you that your life will be one of peace, that you will bring peace wherever you go and that God will allow you to be a woman of strength as you settle into a life of resting in God’s power and love.

Taking our precious gift home…and life will never be the same.

Genevieve Morgan Blair | Birth Story Part 1

I am so glad to finally be sitting down to write out our sweet girl’s birth story. Today is exactly 2 weeks since her entrance into the world. It has been a sweet 2 weeks indeed! But man, two kids! It is kind of a miracle that I have them both napping and have a spare few seconds to sit at the computer. Even time to go to the bathroom is luxury indeed these days. I had so much time when Elle was a baby! Ha! (Edit – it took me a week to finish this post! Genevieve is 3 weeks old now!) A word of warning for anyone reading – this is long, but so was my labor…

Labor for my body is apparently very interesting. It was only after Eleanora was born that I found out the term “prodromal labor” and realized that is what I had for a week before she was born. This time it started much earlier. I had contractions off and on starting late April on our way back from the west coast. On June 1st things kicked into high gear with consistent contractions that lasted for over 8 hours. We were at a wedding that evening, and our nurse (and long time friend of Jonathan’s family) who sat at our table joked with us that the baby may come that night. Well, in the middle of the night we ended up at the hospital. They hooked me up to the monitor and saw all the consistent contractions but with very little dilation. I was barely 38 weeks pregnant, so all they could do is send me back home until things progressed more. My doctor and the nurses both said they expected to see me back within 24-48 hours for baby show time. We came home and I tried to rest in our room while Jonathan took care of Elle. I was still in decent spirits and just prayed, asking God to show Himself to me through the process above all else. I felt like He was saying that He was giving me this labor as a gift, that He was going to use it in a special way. It had been a hard few weeks, months really, prior and it refreshed my heart just to work through the pain with Him as I tried to rest.

This is where my experience with labor gets interesting. So, prodromal labor is basically a labor that stops and starts and is entirely unpredictable. It’s like running a marathon with no mile markers and a spastic coach that makes you sprint for a mile, stop for 5 minutes, jog for 3 miles, then sprint for 3, then stop for an hour, and on and on…and you have no idea what is coming next or how to gear up for it. Physically it is incredibly draining when the contractions go through the night and are just painful enough not to be able to sleep through. The contractions also made me sick to my stomach this time – and I’ll spare you the details but it made it hard to eat much of anything. However, the mental toll is probably harder. If I have the privilege of having another child, I will not underestimate it again. I had already been dealing with contractions and insomnia for weeks prior to the prodromal labor – so this really took a toll on me mentally. Not sleeping, plus not being able to eat or care for myself or my child without great effort, trying not to worry about how my sickness was effecting the baby, on top of having NO IDEA when active labor would start in earnest was more than enough so send me over the edge…a few times.

It was a painful weekend to say the least. But God was true to His word and did show Himself to me. Through the pain He helped me deal with all the hurts the enemy had been throwing in my face and helping me face my fears of my life to come. I had let go of much and felt the great void that was left. Pain is always a great teacher, and can be a beautiful tool in God’s hands…but can also be an opening the enemy uses to get to our hearts. I felt the struggle deeply that weekend. God was faithful, and He kept reminding me of His word and using these days when I couldn’t do much from pain to teach me. Come Saturday night my consistent contractions took a much more painful turn. Jonathan had a back up plan for the service Sunday and my family was on standby. By Sunday afternoon they came hard enough that I was dizzy and had to sit from shaking so bad when they hit. Back to the hospital we went. We saw one of the same nurses from Friday and she said, “Ah! You have the face! Here we go!” After about 30 minutes the contractions stopped entirely for the first time since Thursday night. Suddenly I felt better than I had in weeks and my appetite was back. It was so sad it was funny. The nurse said everything looked like I should have gone ahead and had the baby. Facepalm. I got a Five Guys little bacon cheeseburger. Still, I was glad for a rest. Thankfully the reprieve lasted until Monday afternoon. My sister came over. We went to Target. It was a nice break, especially since I was really too weak and sick to drive myself anywhere…or really capable of caring for Elle and myself very well. I was so exhausted. My body was incredibly exhausted from contracting consistently from Thursday to Sunday afternoon. Little did I know I had another 8 days to go! But all I could say in my heart was, “Lord I trust You. I trust Your word. Help me in my utter weakness.”

The rest of the days leading up to June 13th are a blur. All I can say is that it was incredibly hard. My body was so ready, but not quite ready. Every contraction made me feel so sick and nothing I ate seemed to stay long. I was begging God for things to finally make me dilate more or let me have a break. Apparently my body’s way of getting to baby-push-time is just incredibly slow and painful. Thursday we were back getting checked. I was in the office, leaning up against the walls, rolling my hips, crying and praying, finding a peaceful mental place, doing anything to help with the pain. After a week of pain I was sure I was at least 2cm. “No, still about 1 1/2cm, but thinned more.” I couldn’t look my doctor in the eye. They gave us papers for inducing on Tuesday. Jonathan drove us through Chickfila, and cookies-and-cream milkshake in hand I let the tears come. I’m not sure I’ve ever felt so entirely void of all strength. I had been through this with Elle, but it only lasted a week and it wasn’t nearly as painful, nauseating or quite as consistent as the contractions this time. At the doctor I had lost over 5 lbs, which was concerning to me as well. I wasn’t sure my body could take more of this constant state of contractions and sickness that came with each wave. I was at a loss as to what would be best for baby and my body.

I spent the afternoon trying to rest again. We sat outside and watched Elle splash in her kiddie pool on the deck for a while. I prayed and Jonathan updated all the family. I hated feeling like I was inconveniencing my loved ones. I hated feeling like I was putting so much on Jonathan’s shoulders as he cared for Elle and me. I was worried about inducing, but not sure I could physically last beyond Tuesday. What was really best for baby? How do we trust the Lord in this? I knew the end would be so, so worth it but in the middle of laboring for so long I was feeling pushed so far beyond what I could physically, mentally and emotionally handle. God was so gracious to me though. He was so near through it all. He broke past all of the pain, worry, fear and exhaustion and brought my heart His peace and encouragement. That afternoon we talked with a nurse friend for advice and used a friend’s pool to help ease up all the pressure and also distract our toddler. The next day my precious for-always-friend Ashley drove hours to meet us. I did everything in my power to ignore the contraction pain and distract myself from my total and utter exhaustion. I seriously cannot put to word how empty my body felt of any strength. Having my friend there was the best way to rest and be distracted. When you can’t really do much but sit around, it’s nice to have a good friend to talk with for hours on end. God has done so much in both our lives over the 6 months. We hadn’t seen each other since Thanksgiving. The good it did my heart is inexpressible. She was so sweet to help with Elle and cheer my spirits. Sunday brought more of the same but my heart was in a far different place. I was still unsure of what to do, but I knew God would show us.

The next day I got on the scale to see if my suspicions of further weight loss were true. Over 10 lbs down. I was only up 15 lbs from pre-pregnancy weight. That did it for me. I knew I’d been sick but I didn’t quite think it was so bad that I’d lost that much. It was clear she couldn’t stay any longer. I was instantly ok with whatever we had to do to get her out so I could give her nutrients through nursing, since my body had been so drained by 12 days of labor at that point. The bags had already been packed, toted to the hospital and back again 3 times, so I just rechecked everything and took a shower. In the shower I thanked God for making the way clear to me. Jonathan already knew that is what we needed to do, but I asked God for absolute clarity – and He was so good to give it. As scary as it was to have been so sick I had to be induced, I was thankful for an answer and whatever the coming days would bring…