Birth Story: Hollis June!

06/18/2014 6lb 6oz 20.5 inches long

06/18/2014 6lb 6oz 20.5 inches long

Hollis June is here! Actually, she’s been around for almost 9 weeks now. We love her. I can tell her personality is much different than my spirited Benjamin. She’s sweet and snuggly and she loves to be swaddled almost all the time.

I’ve had quite a few people ask me for the birth story of Hollis. Can I just say … this birth was completely  different my birth experience with Benjamin (you can read about that here). She was born 6/18/2014 at 6:01am, weighing in at 6 pounds 6 ounces.

Let me preface real quick: I was terrified of this labor. My birth experience with Benjamin was difficult and the end result was a mixture of heartbreak and joy all at the same time. In my birth with Benjamin, I had the presence of my husband, my parents, and two (yes, two!) doulas. This time around, I decided I only wanted my husband in the room so that we could make decisions on our own. Though doula’s are amazing, I felt pressured during my birth with Benjamin to not have a c-section (when, looking back, I should have definitely had one because he had lost oxygen and needed to be taken out of me immediately).

On Monday night, June 16 (which was my due date), I was up all night with contractions. They were about 15 minutes apart and only lasted from about 11pm to 7am. Then, they just stopped and I figured I must have just been paranoid. I was exhausted, considering I had not gotten any sleep the night prior. But, when you’ve got a toddler running around the house trying to stick his hand down the toilet and demanding a “Nack” (snack), I just didn’t have time to take a nap. Thankfully, my sweet husband had part of the day off from studying and had asked his mom to come over and manhandle the toddler for me. So glad she did, because I was able to get a little nap in during the day. My husband suggested that we send Benjamin home with his parents for the night so that I could get some rest and he could take care of me that night if I happened to be up all night again with contractions. The Lord must have been speaking to him because as soon as my mother-in-law left with Benjamin, I started having contractions that were 5 minutes apart for over an hour. I told the husband that we should go ahead and get to the hospital, so we packed our bags REALLY quickly and zoomed to labor & delivery.

At this point, I was definitely having contractions but was mentally preparing in my mind to be sent home. A few days prior, when my OB had checked me, I was at 0 cm. So, I was thinking that for sure I was probably still at a 0 or 1.

When we got to triage at 8pm, they checked me and surprised my by telling me that I was already at 4cm! My first response, “Oh my gosh! Get me my epidural!!” I tried the whole natural, no medicine route with Benjamin and it didn’t work out. So, I knew with Hollis’ birth that I would want the medicine and I have no shame in that!

About an hour or so later, I was given my epidural and felt much better. Except, just like my birth with Benjamin, I could feel all the pain in the lower, right back. My thoughts flooded with memories of his birth at that moment, and I began to panic a little bit at the thought of something going wrong (again). I asked the doctor to come back in and give me another dose of the epidural, which he did. I could still feel the pain and it was painful. Around 1am, they checked me again and I was at 7cm. At this point, I could not believe that I had been in labor for only 6 hours and was already at a 7. I couldn’t believe that I was going to meet my little girl so soon!

Around 2:30am, I was at 8 1/2cm. I could feel a lot of pain because the epidural had not worked completely, but was excited that I was almost there.

Except that I stalled at 8 1/2 cm. And the nurse came in around 4:45am and told me that they had called the OB in to come and talk to me about what my options were since I had been at 8 1/2 for longer than normal. I was kind of screaming at this point because my epidural felt like it had worn off and there was no end in sight. The anesthesiologist told me that if I wanted another dose of medicine, he would have to start all over and do it again. I screamed and laughed and panicked all at the same time, because I knew that was absolutely, positively not an option. The pain was too excruciating to have him start all over.

The OB came in (not my doctor) and checked me. Thankfully, I was at 10cm and he told me that it was time to push. I was crying at this point because I realized that I was going to feel everything and that the epidural would not be working like I had hoped it would. I was also in mounts of fear because the last time I had pushed to get my baby out, he had come out almost lifeless. All I could think was that something was going to go wrong. Thankfully, my husband is in medical school and had just finished his OB/GYN rotation. He had been meticulously watching Hollis’ heart the entire time and kept telling me, “She looks great. Her heartbeat is perfect.” His reassurance helped me in my panicked state.

The OB put on his scrubs and I panicked once again. Except this time, the doctor looked at me straight in the eyes and told me, “Brittany, you are going to push because we do not want the other option, do we?”

“Right, I don’t want a c-section!”

“Okay, let’s do this.”

Whew. He told me to push and even though I could feel everything and the pain was terrible, I did it. I waited and then pushed again. She was crowning…already! I pushed for the third time, and she was almost here. AND ON THE FOURTH PUSH, SHE WAS HERE!

Completely different than my first birth.

I cried as I saw her for the first time. She looked exactly like my firstborn. And all I could say was, “I love you. I love you. Oh, I love you!” She cried as they cleaned her up and then they placed her on my chest and all I could think was how redeeming this birth was for me. Just as the Lord had spoken over me for the entire pregnancy – that he would be redeeming the birth experience for me. God was faithful, again.

 

Benjamin holding Hollis for the first time.

 

4 weeks old.

4 weeks old.

 

6 weeks.

6 weeks.



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We love you, HJ! You are precious and loved.

xo

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Texas Tradition: Bluebonnet Pictures

Last year, we attempted to take some bluebonnet pictures with our then 3-month old. We drove around the city looking ALL OVER for bluebonnets and could not find one good patch of them. So, after 2 hours, we decided to pull over on the side on the road and take a very, very lame bluebonnet picture…

Last year’s ONE picture:

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So, to say the least, we were ecstatic when Grandma informed us that one of her teacher friends was taking bluebonnet pictures, professionally! Yes, yes, yes. And, they came out so perfectly. We were close to a meltdown, but thankfully Shannon had a baseball and all was right in the world with Benjamin. Big thank you to Shannon Reeves Photography (Dallas, TX based).

This year’s pictures:

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Fowler 3

 

Fowler 2

 

Fowler 4

 

Fowler 5

 

Fowler 6

lots of love,
b

 

Quick Catch-Up!

I’m attempting to catch up on this blog since it’s been a few months since I’ve posted (oops!). Life has been nothing less than full and I am so grateful for that!

In January, we celebrated Benjamin’s first birthday! I look back on this past year and still cannot believe the goodness of God in Benjamin’s life. The theme of his party: Camp Benjamin. We had Sloppy Joes, hot dogs, s’mores, a fire going and a tent for the kids to play in. We had a blast (and so did Benjamin!).

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Also, we found out that we will be welcoming Baby #2 into the world THIS JUNE! I’m currently 33 weeks, which means we have less than 2 months until we get to meet this sweet baby girl! Although some people already know what we have decided to name her, I have decided to wait to tell social media the official name until she is here.

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The husband and I took our first trip away from baby to Sedona, Phoenix, and the Grand Canyon. To say the least, the Grand Canyon was breathtaking and photos cannot capture its beauty.

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Benjamin got his first haircut and really, really, really did not enjoy it. But, the end result was nice and his hair was out of his face. Win.

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Other News

The husband is almost done with his third year of medical school (that means we only have one more year to go before residency – hallelujah!) He’ll start interviewing in the fall of this year and then we will find out where we are officially going in March of 2015. It seems like a long time from now, but I know that with a newborn on the way and a toddler keeping up on our toes, that 2015 will be here before we know it and we’ll be moving our family to a new city.

Please feel free to pray for this upcoming baby: labor & delivery, healthy baby, successful breastfeeding, no postpartum anxiety, extra measure of grace as we add another member to the family, and for a sweet transition for Benjamin as he has no idea that he is about to receive a sweet gift of a sister! Thank you, friends, we thank you for every single prayer!

Thanks for catching up with the family!

b

 

3 Years

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3 years ago.

I committed my life to this adventurous, persistent, hilarious, determined, going-to-follow-these-dreams-that-God-gave-me man.

Then we moved cities and left the community we had built for years to start medical school.

I worked, he studied. Then studied some more. And then some more.  (Doctors really do know their stuff, you guys)

Then we found out I was pregnant.

We welcomed our Benjamin in January after a very difficult labor and he was sent to the NICU. We spent 2 weeks crying and praying that God would heal our baby, and He did.

And, in this last year of marriage we’ve become parents and realized that there is nothing like the love you have for your child. The learning curve is high but the rewards are even better.

Here we are. 3 years later. Lots of stories, laughs, and tears later. It’s been worth it all!

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I love you, Dustin. There isn’t anyone else I’d want to live this life with than you.

Fighting for Joy

Yesterday morning, I woke up feeling completely defeated. There wasn’t really a rhyme or rhythm to it, except that I wanted to curl up into a ball and hope my responsibilities would figure it out themselves. Looking back, I woke up to many lies being spoken over me and I believed them. Lies that said:

Your husband is too busy for you. You are a terrible mother. You don’t have any friends. The promises of God aren’t for real. Dump those dreams – they aren’t worth fighting for.

Do you ever have those days?

Here’s the deal. I woke up to these lies and I immediately believed them. I decided to not seek the Lord and instead I accepted defeat.

And I went to church and the sermon was on parenting, and I was immediately reminded of the wisdom from Ann Voskamp when she says, “If you don’t fight for joy, it’s your children who lose.”

So, when I accept defeat and decide to dwell in that place – it’s my CHILDREN who lose.

Not me. My children.

My joy must be fought for because generations after me are affected. This is not just a “me” thing, where I can wallow away with no consequences. It’s quite the opposite, in fact.

I think of Mary in the Bible, mother of Jesus. She was “blessed, chosen, and glorified.” Yet, I think of the circumstances of her time, her life was probably one of the hardest to lead. From the angel appearing (Luke 1:26-38) to Jesus dying (Luke 23), Mary was given a difficult role in the Kingdom of God.

Yet Mary declares, “Behold, I am the servant of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word.” (Luke 1:38)

Today, as I hear Benjamin waking up from his sleep, I choose God.  I choose His grace and I choose to fight for joy no matter what the cost. This calling as a mother may not be the easiest or grant me the most sleep or give me much “alone” time, but I choose to not accept defeat and to instead rest in the victorious life of Jesus.

Also, I just realized that I went to my workout this morning with my pants on inside out. So, there’s that.

Identity

8 months ago.

Life changed.
((and for the better))

8months

My husband and I recently put together a “statement” for Benjamin. We learned this from our former college pastor and his wife, who put together statements for their children and then continually spoke it over them. As their children got older, you could ask them, “Who are you?” and they would recite their statements back to you.

I love this.

I love this because if you don’t speak identity over your children at an early age, somebody else will.

And I don’t want anyone else telling my child who he is.
Not his friends, not his teachers, not his babysitter.
That’s our job.

So, here’s our statement for Benjamin.

BenjaminStatement

((I am a child of God, pursuer of holiness, steady & unafraid, a warrior for justice, a faithful friend, and a lover of God’s presence))

Happy 8 months, Benjamin! Life is sweeter with you.

Friday Favorite: 5 Baby Products I Love

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Oh, baby products. There are so many of you.
Here are a few of my favorite, minus the diapers and wipes.

((click on links to see pictures, reviews, and where to purchase!))

Skip Hop Shopping Cart/High Chair Cover
I honestly didn’t know how much I would need/love this product. If you are a little grossed out by the amount of germs on shopping carts and high chairs, this is such a great solution. This one from Skip Hop is easy to use and fits nicely in my diaper bag. I’m surprised by its reviews on Amazon, as people are saying that it does not fit the shopping cart. The only shopping cart this did not fit on was Target’s. And I think Target has different shopping carts at every store. So, there’s a good chance that this will fit every cart you use.

Chicco Travel Seat
Y’all. I never put this on my registry but someone gave it to me any way. AND I AM SO GLAD. We take this to almost every restaurant we go to, and my baby will sit it in chair the whole time (unlike a regular high chair, where he wants to be held within 5 minutes). I am so grateful for this thing. The downsides to this: it’s a little bulky and it does not fit all tables. It fits most (I’d say 95% of the time it will work) but there are some thick tables that we have come across that don’t fit. Other than that, it’s easy to use and a lifesaver when me and the hubby want to eat dinner without having to hold a baby the whole time.

BOB Revolution SE Stroller
Love. This is our main stroller and use it for almost everything: walks, runs, zoo trips, etc. The only time we don’t use it is when we are shopping (we use a $20 umbrella stroller from Target for that).

Burt’s Bees Baby Products
We have loved this shampoo/body wash for Benjamin. It’s a little pricey, but it does not contain any sulfates, so it gets an A+ from me! Plus, it smells nice!

The Vintage Honey Shop Teething Necklaces (shop on Etsy)
Goodness. First of all, I love Etsy.com. It’s nice to support small businesses, and I love that Etsy gives us the chance to do that online. Second of all, these necklaces. They are WONDERFUL and totally necessary in my opinion. Instead of my baby pulling/chewing/playing with my hair, this necklace does the job! Do yourself a favor and get one of these.

What baby products are your favorite?

Disclosure: All opinions expressed on this blog are my own. I did not receive any compensation from any of these companies for my reviews. 

Motherhood & the Promises of God

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I always envisioned motherhood as immediately natural. Something that I would immediately understand, embrace, and love. So, I thought it was odd when we first brought home Benjamin and I cried uncontrollably and randomly and when my husband asked my what was wrong, my only response was, “I don’t know.” Looking back, I thought that there was something was wrong with me. I loved my son, but I just did not love motherhood. I struggled with the lack of sleep, constant crying, and the reality that I just had no idea what I was doing. None. Where were my mother instincts? Was there really lasting joy in motherhood? Was I really cut out for this?

The first 6 months of motherhood were extremely difficult for me. It was the darkest, hardest season of my life thus far. I didn’t quite understand my feelings and I felt very overwhelmed. Each morning was difficult, as I knew that it would be filled with attempting to establish a routine, walking around in  a messy house that I did not have time to clean and maybe I could find some energy to make dinner? I also struggled with the fact that we had thousands of dollars in medical bills from the 2 weeks Benjamin was in NICU, all of which seemed so impossible to ever be paid for a lifetime {more on that in a different post}.

But, you know what I love?

I love that God is present even in the darkest of nights. Even the darkness hides nothing from You, but the night shines as the day; the darkness and the light are both alike to You. Psalm 139:12

God is not scared of your darkness.

In your impossible circumstances. In your sleepless nights. In all your tears.

God is for you. He’s your advocate and He is fighting on your behalf.

And, that’s what God did for me. He tenderly reminded me of these promises and I held on tightly to them until my heart believed them.

Here I am in month 7. With a new heart, a new mind.

Finally.
My heart believes it.
My mind knows it.
My soul rests in it.

I see motherhood as more of a becoming, a skin that I am growing into. I feel inadequate most of the time, but I do have days where I feel like my “clothes” are fitting just a little bit better. Yes, I do have mother instincts. Oh yes, there is endless joy in mothering a child. And no, I am totally not “cut out for this.” But, that’s where God’s grace is so vivid and alive – where he can get the most glory and I can just get out of the way. As Ann Voskamp has said before, “You can only parent as well as you know your Father.” My goal is to know Jesus and let parenting and shepherding my child’s heart come out from the overflow.

If you’re struggling today with any sort of depression, anxiety, or hopelessness – I encourage you to hold on tightly to Jesus. Seek advice from wise counsel and dive head first into community. I pray this promise over you: “Thou shalt compass me about with songs of deliverance.” Psalm 32:7.

Deliverance is near.

 

 

Some Things You Should Definitely Do This Weekend

  • Go outside. Sunshine or rain. We all need a little more vitamin D, any way.
  • Write in your journal. Even if it’s only a couple of sentences…
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  • Sing your favorite song as loudly as you can.
  • Grab a cup of coffee with a friend you’ve been meaning to catch up with.
  • Laugh 300 times today. ((that’s the average amount for preschoolers))
  • Slow down. Life is not an emergency. ((via Ann Voskamp)
  • Go to the neighborhood playground and meet someone. Then, go swing on the swing!
  • Put your phone down and choose to be completely present with your spouse or child.
  • Dance with your husband or wife.
  • Try that recipe that just seems too hard.
  • Make cookies for your neighbors. And then walk over to their house and give it to them. Even if that’s awkward. You can do it.
  • Paint a wall that crazy color you’ve been eyeing at Sherwin Williams.
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  • Dream. “The day we stop dreaming is the day we start dying” -Mark Batterson
  • Get a sno-cone … before they close down for winter!
  • Plant a flower.
  • Choose to enjoy the small, ordinary things in your life today. 
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Lastly, watch this video —-> Vine Video

Happy Weekend, y’all! Let’s have fun!

Love.

My Little Arrow

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:: a letter for my son ::

Benjamin,

May you always be strong and courageous.
May you look fear in the face and choose not to follow in its path.
May you find joy in the mundane and in the smallest things of life.
May you put a stake in the ground at a young age that God is good, all the time.
May you dream big and pray even bigger.
May you rest in the promises that God gives you.
May you have a compassionate, tender, and kind heart.
May you walk in humility and understand that pride will stop you right in your tracks.
May you understand that passivity does NOT change the world.
May you obey quickly, cheerfully, and fully.
May you know that God loves you more than you can comprehend!

My little arrow. You’ve got places to go.

I promise to do my best in shepherding your heart, leading you, praying for you, and letting go when it’s time. There are so many places you can land. My hope for you, little arrow, is that you’ll land right on target.

Love you always and forever.