Thursday, April 25, 2013

her name

We chose her name after she was born, then 4 days later changed it. We changed it because in my heart her name was Kyra. That may sound strange- but I don't know a better way to say it. Kevin was so gracious with me as I struggled the first few days calling my baby a name that didn't seem like hers, and simultaneously feeling as though I lost a baby. Needless to say that first week was very emotion filled in ways we didn't expect.

Since then I have felt somewhat guilty that my baby girl's name was not chosen because of it's meaning, but just because my heart wrapped itself around that name. Naming our baby was one of the hardest things in the entire process of having a baby! For some reason we felt so much pressure about it.

But the other day a seminary student (who happened to be studying Greek) commented on her name saying it meant something about "time." Confused I later did a search online and what I found was astonishing-

The name "Kyra" comes from "Kairos"

Kairos (καιρός) is an ancient Greek word meaning the right or opportune moment (the supreme moment). The ancient Greeks had two words for time, chronos and kairos. While the former refers to chronological or sequential time, the latter signifies a time between, a moment of indeterminate time in which something special happens. What the special something is depends on who is using the word. While chronos is quantitative, kairos has a qualitative nature. In the New Testament kairos means "the appointed time in the purpose of God", the time when God acts.

"The right or opportune moment"

"A time between"

"A moment of indeterminate time in which something special happens"

"The appointed time in the purpose of God"

"The time when God acts"

These statements of meaning speak to my heart in so many ways. Kyra came at just the right time, a time between two chapters of our lives, a time that felt very indeterminate. From the beginning I knew God gave her to us at the right and opportune moment, and I now see how through her God has and continues to act.

At the appointed time in the purpose of God Kyra arrived. God knew where we were and knew where we were going- He acts at the right time. And when he does, it is so special!

Praise be to God that he loves us so deeply and sweetly that he beautifully weaves into our lives these reminders that He is intimately involved and invested in our lives!

Thursday, October 25, 2012


 Well I am now almost 4 months into this mom thing, and almost 2 months into this living in a new place starting over thing. I am really understanding all the strange things that both moms and displaced people do- for example, I have avoided this blog because I want the most recent post to remain being the birth story of my baby girl, because then maybe it will remain to be something that was "recent". Silly right? But if you are a mom you might have just read that and thought, or said aloud, "no!".

I know now, I get it.

So anyway- since that birth story my world has been turned upside down with both learning how to continue to function with a baby as well as moving somewhere that I know no-one when she was 7 weeks old. I am still sorting out my feelings about this move, about how God has provided in ways I don't like, and about the idea of being a mom in conjunction with every other role I have.

So I will probably take the next post to do some baby catch up via photos and snippits of Kyra's first few months, but for today I am going to actually post something I wrote right after we moved...


So I knew that the Lord was going to use my baby girl to teach me some things and to open my eyes and heart to understanding more about his love for me- his child. I don't think I expected it so soon though.

When our baby girl was first born it was pretty easy to figure out what she needed- she only ever cried to eat, if she was cold, or if she needed her diaper changed (she also would cry when her tummy hurt but that was a very different cry).

But now that she is a little over 2 months old, she is starting to express herself in more complex ways. She now cries because she is bored, or because she is sleepy, or sometimes it seems she cries just to cry. So now it is more difficult to figure out what she needs. Whenever she does cry- I am fully invested in figuring out what it is I need to do to make her happy and can't do anything else until she is calm because of how it hurts my heart to see her sad.

The hardest cry for me to handle (aside from if she was hurt) is when she cries out of hunger. It breaks my heart every time she turns her head and roots the air looking for me- I've seen babies do this before, but now its different. In my belly she never felt hunger- but now she does. The moment I see that I scoop her up and hurriedly try to get situated to feed her. But it usually takes a few minutes and sometimes she doesn't realize I have figured out why she is crying yet and so she continues to cry (the chin quiver is the absolute worst!)

Since she was born I have said the same thing to her in this situation- Once she starts nursing and calms down I will tell her "see, I knew what you needed. I'm going to take care of you sweet baby, you don't have to worry"

Of course the Holy Spirit totally checked me the other day as I was saying this to her. We were in the car and were on the way to a place where I could feed her. I was trying to explain to my crying baby that we were on our way and it would just be a couple more minutes, but of course she couldn't understand why there would be any delay. All she could see was I was sitting next to her doing nothing as she cried to me for milk.

While at the moment, I don't feel like I'm presently at a place where God comes through and there is relief from the crying. But there have been many times like that in the past that I should remember. Times where he has said to me "See? I knew what you needed. I'm going to take care of you my child, you don't have to worry"


About a month 1/2 after writing this I am a little discouraged that I feel like I am still in the same place as I was then. I have realized my life is a nomadic one, and not just for myself, but also for my family. I'm comforted, however, because I know my love for this baby girl is far far far surpassed by God's love for her and for me. And if my heart is torn to pieces when ever she is in any level of pain, and it sends me rushing to help- I am without doubt that God's love for me moves him into action as well.

But- just like Kyra was not understanding of why I couldn't just feed her while we were driving, I have no more capacity to understand why God responds to my need in the way or in the time that he does.

I simply have to trust him the way my baby girl trusts me.

Thank you Lord for speaking to me through my daughter.

Monday, July 30, 2012

birth story

In this post I would like to share my amazing birth story. I wrote it for myself- so that I would not forget and so that I can share it with my daughter one day. But I'm sharing it with you for several reasons. When I was pregnant all I ever heard from anyone was birth horror stories and comments about how awful pregnancy and labor is. If I said anything positive about my pregnancy the return comment was "Oh, well you just wait!" and when I was nearing my due date the comment was "I'll bet you're ready to get that baby out of there!". It is as if women did not like to hear anything other than the miseries of childbearing. Now that I have had a birth experience as wonderful as my pregnancy was, I am getting comments such as "Oh, you were just really lucky". No. I was not lucky. Blessed- yes, lucky- no. And as you will read, my birth story did not just happen, but was the ending to a long road of intentional preparation of my mind and body. I knew if I didn't write this immediately, then my story would be attributed to after birth forgetfulness. So I wrote my birth story the very next day, and now I'd like to share it with you. 

     My baby girl's birth story is a story of a journey that began long before the first contractions. It is an amazing story that, like all births, cannot be limited to simply the physical act of giving birth, but must include the mental and emotional experience. 

     I cannot tell this story without telling of the role that Choice played in our journey. We decided to have a home birth when I was about 3 months pregnant. I very much liked my OB doctor, and she was supportive of that decision. The decision came after we started to do research on what pregnancy and having a baby looked like. I can't say that a home birth is the best choice for every woman- I can say that it was the best choice for me and now I can't imagine anything better. No matter what choice a woman makes, it is so important to be informed, to know what is going on in your body and to be educated about child birth. If for no other reason, learning about all of this makes this miraculous event all the more amazing! As we did research and asked my doctor questions about birth procedure, I found that there were many aspects of the birth that I was not permitted to decide on that I felt ought to be my choice. I also found little confidence in my body from the general medical perspective of my doctor, and began to notice that the majority of people we knew having hospital births were ending in C-sections many times after the same chain of events that seemed to result in some cases from this lack of confidence. Lastly, we began to discover many benefits to having our baby at home, especially since we were so committed to having our baby born naturally with no unnecessary intervention.

     What resulted from this decision was a formative experience for me as a woman, gave my husband and I a wonderful and intimate birth experience and gave my baby girl what I believe to be the best possible birth. We were blessed by God with a healthy baby and were blessed to not have any serious complications or concerns. This miracle of childbirth makes me marvel how anyone could experience this and not believe in God- and certainly he is intimately involved in the entire process. I talk a lot about confidence throughout this story, but I want to be clear that my confidence is founded in God, and that we prayed for his help through this entire journey- and continue to. It is because of my faith that I found reason to not fear and my confidence grew out of knowing that God loves this baby more than I ever could.

     Once we began meeting with our midwives, Nina and Kelley, we were quickly amazed at the difference in care provided. Instead of the 15 rushed minutes with my doctor, our appointments were an hour long! I was asked immeasurably more medical and family history questions relevant to the birth than I ever was by my doctor. I left every appointment feeling so empowered and so excited about the birth. The difference that made for my husband and I was huge. Our society has made childbirth out to be something to be feared and has so many women believing they couldn't ever do it without an epidural. Many women even believe that having a C-section is "taking the easy way out." Before our decision for a home birth, I found myself very much a product of these messages. This was changed when I began educating myself about childbirth and was empowered to have confidence in my body and my baby to tell me what was needed and if something was wrong.

     Another aspect of our birth story that took place in preparation for the birth was the mental and emotional preparation. As I began to consider how child birth might be hindered or helped by my mind, I began a list of "replacement thoughts" for possible negative and defeating thoughts triggered by fear or pain. Many of those messages were even helpful through discomforts in pregnancy. The more I became aware of and changed my thoughts about pregnancy and birth to positive and uplifting messages, the more they actually changed my emotions and even physically how I felt. I cannot over emphasize how powerful our thoughts are and how our body (and even our babies!) respond to them.

All that being said- here is how the birth began...

     Monday afternoon at 4:30pm I woke up and rolled over from a nap to feel a sort of "pop" and release of fluid. It was 6 days before my due date and being my first pregnancy I thought there was no way my baby would decide to come this early. It occurred to me that perhaps this could be my water breaking so I went to the bathroom. After a second and third release of fluid, and having tested the pH level to confirm it was not urine, I called my midwives to let them know my water had indeed broke. As I held the phone about to make the call, I felt a flutter in my stomach and a rush of nerves as I realized "it had begun". When I ended the call with Nina I reassessed myself and noticed the nerves were gone and my confidence had returned. After that moment I did not feel nervous or afraid again.

Early labor
     I made a quick grocery list for Kevin (we hadn't quite finished preparations for our home birth...) and made a few more calls- including finding someone to transport and store our dinning room table so there would be room to set up the birthing tub. It was about 5:00pm (30 min. after my water broke) when I started feeling contractions. They were about 7 minutes apart and so faint that I was not sure at first if they were real contractions. By 6:00pm when our friends came to get the dinning room table, I had no doubt that what I felt was contractions and I was already having to be somewhat intentional about keeping my body relaxed through them. Each contraction was about 5-7 minutes apart and by 6:30pm I was needing to sit on the corner of my bed and gently rock through them. When rocking, I could still talk through them- but they were growing in intensity and frequency at a faster rate than I was expecting.

     While the physical intensity was still moderate, I remained in tune with my thoughts and spent much of the time talking to my baby girl as Kevin scurried around trying to get the birthing tub set up. I repeated messages I had been telling myself for months- "My body knows exactly what to do", "I can do this", "I am amazed at my body", "God designed my body to handle this", "This will be over tomorrow", "I don't have to do this alone", "This is so amazing" and other variations and similar thoughts. As I talked with my baby girl through labor, I encouraged my baby that she too could do this, that she could come whenever she was ready, and many words of my love for her. In combination with my thoughts I continued to use progressive relaxation, guided imagery and mindfulness of my body through each contraction. Even though each contraction was growing in intensity- so was my confidence that I really could do this, and I was sure to focus my mind on that growing realization.  

     Kevin and I were keeping our midwives, Kelley and Nina, updated through texting and we were all expecting this to be the beginning of labor which would last perhaps till the early morning hours. Between 7:00 and 8:00pm Kevin was getting a bit frantic while trying to get the birthing tub assembled and filled and I was getting into contractions that I needed to breath through. As I verbally encouraged him that he was doing a great job and everything would be ok and that he could do this, he paused to laugh and comment that I was far more calm than he was. I imagine that is normal for soon to be dads in that moment, and it actually encouraged me to be all the more calm in order to balance his stress. But when he said that to me I realized that I was in fact calm- and the continued realization of my body's ability to respond positively to the intensity of the experience of birth was incredibly empowering.

Active labor
     A little after 9:00 pm my friend Amy arrived. At this point my contractions were about 3 minutes apart and about a 7-8 in intensity. By now the birthing tub was up and being filled and Kevin was with me helping me through the contractions. I wanted to create a calm and soothing environment so I had some aromatherapy candles lit, low lighting and instrumental "relaxation" music playing. As I had a contraction, Kevin would visually scan my body and softly instruct me to relax the areas he could see were tense. Most of my tension was in my face, hands and toes. I used a lot of breathing techniques and guided imagery at this point in labor.

     Nina and Kelley had been keeping posted on my contractions and decided to send Alison, the midwife apprentice, out to see how I was doing. Alison arrived between 9:30 and 10:00pm. After waiting through a few contractions we decided to check and see how dilated I was: 4 centimeters. She also found out that the baby was "sunny side up" and would need to be turned. To turn her I tried several different positions and ended up laying on my side. This was the most difficult point in the entire process. At the time, I rated those contractions at a 9-10 and was really struggling to keep my body relaxed and my mind focused. Kevin stayed close, was encouraging me verbally and kept a firm hold on my hand. On each break between contractions he would coach me to just do one more and kept my focus. Alison was not only encouraging, but maintained the calm in the room. After several contractions like this Alison noticed I was starting to push- she asked if I was trying to push in response to the pain or if my body was telling me to push. All I could say was that I couldn't keep from pushing. She checked me between my next two contractions and found that 45 minutes after her previous exam I was already fully dilated and was in fact ready to push (baby had successfully turned). Very calmly and reassuringly, Alison suggested I get in the tub and quickly called Nina and Kelley to let them know about the sudden progression. Nina and Kelley were on their way but about 20-30 minutes from our house, so Alison helped me breath differently through the contractions so that I could try to keep from pushing till everybody was there.

     Around 11:00 pm Nina and Kelley arrived and I gave my body full permission to push. Everything had changed physically since I got into the tub. Almost immediately I felt relief in the warm water from the soreness in my abdominal muscles. My contractions, while probably still just as intense, were only uncomfortable at their peak as opposed to a sort of bell curve. I immediately knew that the tub was an incredibly good decision! The water was so warm and I felt so relaxed despite the events taking place. Shortly after really starting to push I switched over to a hands and knees position with Kevin facing me. I was surprised at how weightless I felt and what little pressure there was on any part of my body. Between contractions I would rest my head on Kevin's shoulder and for most of the time Nina held a fan so it blew on my face. At this point in the birth I could honestly say I was completely comfortable and relaxed were it not for the contractions. Even those, combined with the pushing, were not anything like I had expected after hearing the many horror stories of birth and being generally influenced by the ways media portrays birth. I was actually able to really soak in the experience and, yes- I'm going to say it, enjoy it. A miracle was taking place in my body and it was not scary, and it was not an emergency. I was surrounded by people that believed I could handle this and that my body was made to do this. I expected a lot of instruction from the midwives when it came to the birth- but when I asked what to do they responded by asking what my body was telling me to do, and each time I knew the answer.

     Perhaps the most surprising thing about our baby's birth was that I never felt the "transition" phase. I knew about it and was ready for it, and at one point even asked while pushing if this was the point at which I should be feeling that "I can't do this" feeling. I asked that because I wasn't feeling that way, but it did seem like the pushing was taking forever and I was getting a little tired. I remembered reading that when you experience that transition of feeling you can't do it, that you are close to actually doing it...and I was hoping I was getting close to the end.


     At 12:15am, after about 1hr. and 15 min. of pushing, our baby girl was born. She had her cord wrapped once around her neck tight enough that Alison and Kelley "somersaulted" her out. When they put her on my chest her eyes were open and she was stretching her neck, but she hadn't cried yet. After rubbing her back a little she finally let out one or two little cries and we watched as she took her first breath! I have heard people say that immediately they felt overwhelming love for their baby- for me I felt overwhelmingly shocked at what had just happened. I couldn't believe that she had just come out of my belly!

     After moving out of the tub and to our bed, I began to feel that intense rush of love you see in the faces of parents as they look at their new baby. After a little work to get my placenta out, Kevin and I were left with our baby girl for about 45 minutes to bond with her. She never did cry very much, but was alert as we studied each others faces. A little over an hour later Kevin cut her cord. I couldn't believe that in just under 8 hours our baby girl had arrived. While I was shocked at how quickly she came (as was everyone!) I feel blessed to have had only 45 minutes of active labor and just over an hour of pushing. 

     When Nina, Kelley and Alison returned they did their exam of the baby while we were still in the room so we could watch. I couldn't help but think even then at all the differences I was experiencing to being in a hospital. My baby was not washed of her vernix or wisked away from me. She wasn't placed on a hard metal tray to be weighed or strapped with ankle and arm bands. I watch as Alison very lovingly checked, measured and weighed her in a way that was soft and sweet and not at all just work routine. I also loved that we were there for all of it- there was no mystery to where my baby was and how she was being handled. I was in my home with people I loved and felt personally connected to, rather than strangers I had just met.

     The rest kind of does become a blur- Amy made me eggs and turkey bacon- it will remain to be one of the best meals of my life! I felt great comfort knowing she was holding my baby as I went to shower. Amy's role in the birth extended beyond the beginning of labor. For months she had been encouraging me and with me on the journey of discovering the confidence that I believe in great part led to this birth story. She took photos and video that I will forever cherish and continued to be there for us and we began the rather terrifying journey of parenthood!  

     There aren't words to express how glad I am that we decided to have a home birth with Choice. I will forever consider this to be one of the best decisions we have made as a couple. The very personal care we have experienced from the midwives has just been unbelievable. I wish that every woman who has feared child birth could see birth through their eyes.

Our baby girl, named Kyra Aaron Reed, is a beautiful, calm baby girl. She was 7 lbs. 8 oz. and just under 20 inches long. We cannot count our blessings!

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

the end

One year ago I completed the 2 year co-hort of my masters program and proceeded on to the final year of advanced classes. I took this picture on the day I completed my cohort:
I thought it would be cool to take this same picture on the day I graduated one year later:
Funny how a year can mean so much more than you ever anticipated! For example, I was not expecting to be 8 months pregnant in this picture!

It is always a weird feeling to be at the end of anything. There is the strange emotional mix of excitement, disbelief, fear and even grief. We are very adaptable and resilient creatures of habit. Kevin has been reminding me of how at the beginning of this 3 year journey I was often in a state of tearful stress and would say to him that I didn't think I could do this program. Over time I adapted to the demands of school and now can't hardly imagine life without class and internship. What has become a familiar routine is now over and a new journey is beginning. Interestingly, I find myself with many of the same fears and hesitancies that I felt at the beginning of this previous journey, as well as many others throughout my life as they have started.

One of my favorite chapters in the bible is Isaiah 41. An insert I have read many times says:

I took you from the ends of the earth,
    from its farthest corners I called you.
I said, ‘You are my servant’;
    I have chosen you and have not rejected you.
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. 

For I am the Lord your God
    who takes hold of your right hand
and says to you, "Do not fear;
    I will help you.

That last portion is especially powerful to me- perhaps I have said this here before, but when I read Isaiah 41:13 I am transfixed on the imagery of the God of the universe, who is all powerful and who created everything, looking deep into my eyes with an incomprehensible depth of love for me and with an empathetic gaze gently taking my weak hand into his strong protective hand and saying to me "Do not fear, I will help you." 
Amazing. The God of the universe having an interaction like that with me?? Having that level of love and concern and compassion for me?? How could I then be afraid. And yet- I still am. This season of transition is certainly one which is challenging my faith in asking if I do in fact have faith in my God. Do I really believe he is going to help me? Do I really believe he is in control? Do I really believe he loves me? He has always always always provided all I have ever needed- His grace has always always always been more then enough for me- so why do I fear that this time will be different. 

I feel so much like Peter when he walked on water toward Jesus. When he took his eyes off Jesus and became increasingly aware of the storm around him, as you may know, he began to sink. This summer feels like I am stepping out of the boat in an effort to obediently follow Jesus. When I think about everything surrounding that decision, I feel so overwhelmed with an array of emotions that "sinking" is perhaps the most acute way to describe how I feel. But when I look to Jesus and remember his faithfulness and his love, I feel empowered by his grace and peace to take another step toward him and his direction. 

Someone once told me that a sacrifice is not a sacrifice unless it costs you something. In this step of faith and obedience, it seems as though the cost has never been higher and the sacrifice never more painful. 

Maybe I have been living comfortably and have forgotten what it means to have an active radical faith- one that keeps you out of your comfort zone and daily demands reliance on God. Maybe I have been too focused on what I want and desire, rather than living with my eyes and heart fixed on eternity rather than today. 
I think Satan's most effective tool is distraction. Eternally most of my fears are insignificant- they are only fears of this life and of this world. Perhaps if I were to be afraid my fear should be of complacency and the daily pursuit of comfort.  

So to climb out of the well of deep thought... are 2 more pictures from graduation- the first must be included because this journey required so much from my beloved husband (he was as relieved I was done as I was!) and without his support I am sure I would not have reached the end of this. I may never fully appreciate all he suffered through so that I could achieve this degree. And second is my beloved baby girl- she has given us so much joy and excitement over the last several months! I just love my little baby so much :)   

35 weeks!

I don't think this blog is viewed by many- but to anyone who has offered support and encouragement to me through the challenging moments of the last 3 years- thank you. thank you so very much from the bottom of my heart! I do not take for granted your role in helping me finish this race.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

the other side of the camera

So this past week the amazing and super talented Amy (see blog here) took maternity for me and Kevin and baby. I knew she would do great- but I could not be more happy with these pictures!! They are exactly what I was hoping for. I keep looking at these pictures again and again- it is so weird to be on the other side of the camera! So I will share a few of my favorites...

 So thankful that the man I married has only grown in the things that made me fall in love with him- I hope I never take for granite having a very physically and emotionally affectionate husband.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

all things baby

Since my last several posts have been heavy and pictureless- here is a lighter picture filled post :o)

Here is baby-

21 weeks
23 weeks

25 weeks
28 weeks

30 weeks
32 weeks

The funny thing is I remember taking this picture and thinking I was SO big! (13 weeks)

So with about 8 or so weeks left till baby girl arrives and 2 weeks left till graduation- I have been compiling things I want to make for baby.
I found this amazing wreath on pinterest- imagine adding "Its a Girl" across the middle (!)

I've also been thinking a lot about her newborn pictures (which there will be so many of!) and some hats that I'd like to get or make...

And headbands....

And lastly- like every other creative person I draw inspiration from the amazing work of others: newborn shots that I love and inspire me...
love the colors....

everything about this picture is great...except maybe the hat...

I love the lace!

All the pictures (with exception of the ones of myself of course) are found on
(I didn't site each one cause it would require re-finding them)

Next project is to search out a mobile to make, and perhaps make it (so much to make!!) Then I will be close to blogging baby's room (which is almost done!!)

What fun these next few weeks will be... :o)