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Small-Town Preacher's Wife http://www.audrafalk.com In pursuit of Proverbs 31 Sat, 07 May 2016 13:17:36 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.7.5 Mother’s Day 2016 http://www.audrafalk.com/?p=548 http://www.audrafalk.com/?p=548#respond Sat, 07 May 2016 02:42:01 +0000 http://www.audrafalk.com/?p=548

Continue reading »]]> There are all kinds of moms. New moms, older moms, lonely moms, expectant moms, wishing-to-be-moms, bereaved moms, all who deserve to be remembered, honored and celebrated on Mother’s Day. This is written for some very special moms who didn’t plan to be moms, but who made a courageous choice in the face of a hard circumstance. Whether these moms chose to parent alone or to place their child up for adoption, please hear my heart as I say “thank you” for choosing life.

 

Here’s to You

Here’s to you, the mom who

didn’t know what to do

when two pink lines stared back at you.

 

Here’s to you, the mom who

cried and said, “This can’t be true

There are too many things I need to do–

The dad’s not here–my school’s not through–

How will I take care of you?”

 

Here’s to you, the mom who

dried her tears and raised her chin.

And chose to begin again.

Chose to love and chose to give

her heart to someone new.

 

Here’s to you, the mom who

watched as her belly grew–

and labored all the hours through–

and brought forth someone new.

 

Here’s to you, the mom who

made a new life, together as two.

Or made another’s dream come true,

and went home alone,

heart unglued.

 

Here’s to you, the mom who

was scared and brave and lonely too

and found the courage to see it through,

found the courage to bring forth someone new.

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What Is Pro-Life? http://www.audrafalk.com/?p=391 http://www.audrafalk.com/?p=391#comments Tue, 22 Sep 2015 19:01:30 +0000 http://www.audrafalk.com/?p=391

Continue reading »]]> Being pro-life is more than being pro-birth. It’s more than being anti-abortion. It’s being supportive of everything that goes along with mothering, motherhood, pregnancy, infants, and children. (It’s being supportive of all life, actually, since everyone used to be a fetus!) Someone who is pro-life does not view pregnancy, birth, infancy, and children as inconveniences or distractions or just a hard phase of life to ‘get through’. Sure, sometimes babies come at inconvenient times! But pro-life figures out a way to work with our blessings, however unexpected or untimely they may seem. In reality, if we all waited until things were 100% perfect to have a baby, there wouldn’t be many of us around.

When Tim and I got married, I was just starting my junior year of college. We found out I was pregnant in March of my spring semester. I remember getting some varied feedback from those on campus. I was taking an elective dance class (just for fun), and one day I didn’t participate due to the style of dance being ill-advised for pregnancy. Afterwards some of the girls asked if I was OK, and I said yes, I was just pregnant. I got some very pitiful looks! I remember telling my college advisor I planned to stay in class instead of taking any time off, even though Naomi was due in the middle of the fall semester of my senior year. I was convinced if I took any time off from college, I just wouldn’t go back at all! And I remember feeling so, so self-conscious walking around campus with a huge belly and swollen fingers that wouldn’t fit my wedding rings.

But I also remember the last day of one of my English courses in my spring semester. I was an English major, and this was a higher-level class with a professor that I had enjoyed very much. I was only a few months along and not really showing yet. Class that day was very relaxed because it was the last class before summer and all our work had already been completed. The professor asked everyone what their plans were for next year. When I told the class that my husband and I had found out we were expecting a baby due next November, I was kind of expecting dead silence. But my professor’s face lit up in a huge grin. “Wow! That’s great!”

That’s all he said, and then we moved on. I never took another of his classes and I didn’t keep in touch. Sadly, I can’t remember his name now. But so many times, so many times, I have remembered his excitement when I announced our pregnancy. I remember how he grinned, and was genuinely happy for me.

That is being pro-life.

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Go and stop, stop and go http://www.audrafalk.com/?p=386 http://www.audrafalk.com/?p=386#respond Thu, 13 Aug 2015 21:20:50 +0000 http://www.audrafalk.com/?p=386

Continue reading »]]> This is dedicated to all the road construction workers. Thank you for doing a job I would NEVER want to do in the heat of the summer! Everyone, please be alert and follow the rules out there. We want to make sure all our workers go home safe at night!

 

Go and stop, stop and go

It’s roadwork season in Colorado

The snow is gone! Hurry, while there’s time

Gotta fix those winter potholes while the sun shines.

 

So if you’re going west on Hwy 14,

I hope you remembered a movie for the kiddos.

And leave the travel cup at home.

There are no bathrooms, nor even a bush,

Out here on the high plains of Colorado.

 

North to Cheyenne isn’t any faster,

So you make an alternate route.

“Recalculate,” says your GPS

as it tries to get you back to the highway on the map.

 

And if you are traveling south to Greeley,

You still aren’t free of those cones.

Make sure to put your a/c on recirculate

So the smell of money doesn’t get too strong.

 

But a little longer for your commute

Does’t have to be a bad thing.

Just think–

I thought of this rhyme

While passing the time

Stuck in traffic on 85.

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Peace with all men http://www.audrafalk.com/?p=363 http://www.audrafalk.com/?p=363#comments Mon, 29 Jun 2015 03:59:39 +0000 http://www.audrafalk.com/?p=363

Continue reading »]]>

If possible, so far as it depends on you, be at peace with all men.

Romans 12:18

 

I want to get along with everybody. If you know me in person, you would probably agree that I am generally easy-going and not easily angered. If I think that I might have said something or done something that might have hurt someone’s feelings, I will obsess over it until I have an opportunity to talk to that person and apologize or clear up any misunderstandings. Often the other party didn’t even give the incident a second thought. I just cannot stand the feeling of conflict, or the feeling that someone out there and I are not on good terms.

 

Maybe I struggle a little bit with people-pleasing, but it hasn’t really been an issue. I enjoy being at peace with everyone. It is comfortable and it doesn’t cause any stress.

 

Now I am afraid my days of being at peace with all men may be coming to an end. Because I see a time coming in our country, in my lifetime, when simply respectfully disagreeing with the majority opinion will be viewed as unkind, intolerant, or judgmental.

 

Obviously everyone right now is talking about same-sex marriage. With all of my fleshly being, I would love to let everyone marry whoever they want, and let everyone find their own path to happiness. However, my beliefs are not based on how I feel, but rather on what my faith teaches me. Several years ago I put my trust in Jesus Christ as my Savior. He says there is only one path that leads to life. He says that marriage is between a man and a woman. He says marriage is a picture of the Church’s relationship to Himself.

 

Even now, having an opinion such as mine can cause one to be labeled a hypocrite, judgmental, intolerant, or to be compared to a racist. Will it get easier? Will my conservative opinions become widely accepted across America once again? Will society become more “tolerant” of those of us who they think are so “intolerant”? No, it is unrealistic to think so. More likely, I will face greater levels of marginalization and ridicule.

 

People might not like me.

 

And…if I don’t face those attitudes…then it’s likely because I’ve insulated myself to such a degree that I am around only those whose opinions are the same as my own!

 

Jesus Christ did hang out with sinners. (He really couldn’t help it; everyone is a sinner.) But, yes, He went to sinners–and told them to follow Him. If I am to follow His example, I can’t go along with popular-yet-un-Biblical opinions, ensuring that I can continue to please everyone–and I can’t isolate myself in my little evangelical Christian community where everyone  agrees with me, either.

 

Following Christ gives me a single hard option–Go into the world, and make disciples. Go and tell people who don’t think they need a Savior that they do, in fact, need to repent. Then tell them about the grace of God that goes deeper than any sin.

 

Because the truth is that love does win. Love won 2000 years ago on a cross, and love wins each time someone repents and turns to Christ.

 

The Spirit and the bride say, “Come.” And let the one who hears say, “Come.” And let the one who is thirsty come; let the one who wishes take the water of life without cost.

Revelation 22:17

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To My Father http://www.audrafalk.com/?p=338 http://www.audrafalk.com/?p=338#comments Sun, 21 Jun 2015 00:19:50 +0000 http://www.audrafalk.com/?p=338

Continue reading »]]> With a newborn Bethany

With a newborn Bethany

Dear Dad,

For 33 years I have watched you, and you have taught me.

As an infant, though I do not remember, you taught me: Safety. Love. Security. When I later learned that God is our Father, I understood and embraced His love, because your example had prepared my heart.

As a child, you taught me: Swimming. Riding a bike. How not to wear shorts when working with wet cement.  (And, oh my goodness, how to hold a pencil correctly.)

 

Granddaddy and Sarah

Granddaddy and Sarah

 

As a teen, you taught me: A good work ethic. Keeping my commitments. The value of an education. The importance of saying you’re sorry. And when I messed up–every time I messed up–you taught me grace, forgiveness, and reconciliation.

 

As a college student, I watched you care for your mother, my beloved Grandmother, when she came to live with us as her dementia progressed. I learned a lifetime in those few years she was with us. When she needed to move in with us, and we didn’t have an extra room, I learned sacrifice.  Daily, hourly, I learned patience. When Grandmother picked out a can of beer from the refrigerator one morning, and you humored her, I learned it was OK to choose your battles. Most of all, I learned that love is action. That love finds a way to care for the family, even when it is unexpected, inconvenient, or unpleasant. And when Grandmother could no longer live with us, I learned that there is a time when love has to let go.

 

Real men wear bows in their hair sometimes.

Real men wear bows in their hair sometimes.

 

As an adult now, and parent myself, I am still learning from you. You are teaching me the importance of enjoying my children. I watch you when you come to visit us now–as soon as you are in the door, you’re on the floor with the kids, putting together a puzzle or playing with dolls. The message you are telling me, unspoken, is this: “They grow up. Whether you believe it will happen or not…they will. Then they will be gone. Leave the suitcases in the car for a minute. Leave the dinner on the table. If it’s cold, it can be reheated. Play with them.”

 

I love you, Dad. Today and every day, I am thankful you are here, in my life and in the lives of my children.

 

And they sometimes use parasols, too.

And they sometimes use parasols, too.

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Reflection http://www.audrafalk.com/?p=325 http://www.audrafalk.com/?p=325#respond Sat, 16 May 2015 02:34:30 +0000 http://www.audrafalk.com/?p=325

Continue reading »]]> I guess that it’s not always typical to reflect on a past year in the middle of May, but if you have school-age children or are in school yourself, you might be like me, and your years run more August-May than January-December. (As a child of two teachers, the summer months have always been a strange timeless zone, not really in one year or the other.) Anyway, so here I find myself, in the second week of May, looking back on a year.

At our winter getaway in Estes Park, CO

At our winter getaway in Estes Park, CO

 

It’s been a challenging year. Hard, with a few unexpected trials. I know that everyone has their own trials, so I hope this doesn’t come across as a “My-Trial-Is-The-Worst” post or something. Please, let’s not have those comparisons. But for the sake of honesty and reflection, this has been one of the hardest years of my life.

 

We, as a family, faced my first major health crisis when Bethany was born and I suffered a PPH. We then faced financial trials when our home in Alabama required all-new flooring and interior paint on all walls and ceilings, along with several other repairs, after our tenants moved out and left it in a mess. And I’ve faced emotional health challenges for the first time, dealing with some anxiety and fear.

 

Besides all the big things, the regular day-to-day has been harder for me this year, than ever before. I joke that “I’ve never worked so hard and had so little to show for it.” Yes, Bethany is my 5th child and so I was used to having a larger family before she was born. (Incidentally, when did 4 kids suddenly become a Large Family?) But I have never had 3 kids under the age of 5 before! It makes quite the difference! And I have two older kids, ages 8 and 11, who are capable of actually helping out in practical ways. NO idea how you moms–and several of you are friends of mine–have multiple little kids and no big helpers! Infant feeding schedules, infant napping schedules, toddlers that get into litter boxes, preschoolers that no longer take naps, approximately 15-18 loads of laundry per week…My days are a blur of constant motion from child to child, laundry room to kitchen, table to sink, in pursuit of that one blessed hour of naptime that I just might be able to grab hold of in the afternoon, if I can manipulate Bethany’s and Jojo’s naps to coincide, and if I can convince Sarah to settle down in front of a Disney movie.

 

Jojo: my sweet, affectionate, kind, tiny tornado

Jojo: my sweet, affectionate, kind, tiny tornado

 

ah...finally naptime

ah…finally naptime

But while this has been a hard year, “hard” does not mean “bad.” There is much I’m thankful for. Many of those blessings only came through the hard times and the hard work. Primarily, Bethany herself. My labor and childbirth experience with her may be the single most exhilarating moment of my life, and in the past few weeks I have found that I am now able to look back happily at that experience without also unnecessarily dwelling on the resulting trauma. And when we were in the middle of financial stress over the home repairs, we opened the mailbox one day to find a substantial gift from a lady that Tim had known over 12 years ago, who simply felt that the Lord wanted her to help us out. Beyond the real practical assistance she provided, that check in the mail encouraged our souls. I clung to this tangible reminder of God’s provision. And a few months later, we were able to write our own check to cover the entire cost of all the repairs, free of debt.

 

Over the course of this year I have spent more time in Scripture than in the past. Yes, I am a pastor’s wife; but I have never read the entire Bible. That’s changing now, though. Starting around the first of January, the Lord gave me a nearly insatiable hunger for His Word. I read through the New Testament by Easter and have since started over from the beginning in the Old, with a goal to finish by Christmas. I know that this desire couldn’t have possibly come from myself, but only from God.

 

 

Naomi has been such a big help this year

Naomi has been such a big help this year

We are facing yet another challenge now. This summer, we must move out of the home where we’re living now–a rental–as our landlord is selling his property. At this time we are not able to purchase a home here in Colorado, and rental options in our small town are almost nonexistent. We have a few promising ideas, but in the end, where we will go is in God’s hands and He has not fully revealed that to us yet. I am yet again learning to trust. I look back, not just over the past year but over all my years, and I know that God has been with me, and with our family,  all along. Sometimes that makes it easier to trust Him for the future. Sometimes it doesn’t make any difference! Sometimes I am like the Israelites, who would see the Lord’s miracles and then just a short time later, get thirsty, or hungry, or just tired and hot; and they would start grumbling…again. How I can relate! I thank God for His grace. Grace which covers my sin, and grace which gets me through the day. Grace which reminds me of His love, and grace which keeps me in His hands. He knows where I will be in the future, and His grace will get me there.

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Today We Laughed http://www.audrafalk.com/?p=305 http://www.audrafalk.com/?p=305#respond Sat, 04 Oct 2014 20:48:31 +0000 http://www.audrafalk.com/?p=305

Continue reading »]]> There is nothing like having a new baby that teaches me to live in the moment. I love to plan ahead, have routines, and make schedules. But every mom knows that baby doesn’t really care what’s on the schedule for the day. As much as I love being a manager of my home–I have to admit that, at least for now, it’s really the newborn who’s in charge.

Rachel, Joanna, and Sarah at our town's

Rachel, Joanna, and Sarah at our town’s “International Food Festival.”

This past week, I slowly added more of our regular activities back into our schedule. We had good days and trying days. Here’s what we’ve been up to:

 

Tuesday morning, we went back to storytime at the library. Bethany let me shower, do basic chores, and get the other kids ready, all well before 10:00 a.m. At the library, she slept the whole time–a good librarian’s granddaughter.

 

Wednesday, the only reason the kids got dressed, and I got a shower, was because a friend came by and held the baby for me. Bethany was in a different mood that morning!

 

Enjoying a soda at the Food Festival--and it's not even

Enjoying a soda at the Food Festival–and it’s not even “Soda Sunday”

 

Thursday, I went back to my weekly women’s Bible study group for the first time. Bethany, who normally sleeps like an angel (4-6 hour stretches at night since we brought her home from the hospital!), decided to wake up around 1:30 a.m. Thursday morning and not go back to sleep until 3:30–and then she decided to wake up again at 5:00 a.m. She took a “nap” at 6:00 a.m. but of course that’s when I had to get up. I had a cup of coffee that morning at Bible study, but it was totally worth it.

 

Friday morning, I took the 3 little ones on a walk to the local bank. Bethany was happy in the stroller, but as soon as we got inside, she cried the whole time we were there. Screamed may be more accurate.  While I’m filling out the deposit slip, writing a check, and fielding “help” from the well-meaning bank employees (who probably just wanted us to leave). Oh, and Joanna decided to take her shoes off in the lobby. Of course as soon as we got out the door, she fell asleep.

 

Today (Saturday), Tim had to leave super early to help set up our church’s booth at the town’s “International Food Festival.” (Did you know a town of 1600 people has an international festival?) I’d be on my own with all 5 kids for most of the day. How would it go? Well, first of all, everyone slept in until 8:00 a.m. This is considered “sleeping late” by most parents. Bethany had a fantastic night–she only woke up once, and was back asleep right away after nursing. When we finally woke up, we got up slowly.  Four of the kids were snuggled into my bed and we just cuddled (Sarah, Rachel, and Joanna) and nursed (Bethany) for over half an hour. Just before lunch, we walked over to the festival. For 2 hours we ate nachos, egg rolls, Navajo fry bread, and of course, the “international” cotton candy. I let the kids have sodas and balloons. Generally, I just spoiled them a bit.

 

Balloons

Balloons

 

It has been a great day. It has been fun. It probably won’t be repeated tomorrow. But right now, my typical daily goals are to get necessary chores done, get everyone fed, and keep everyone reasonably clean. This morning was a wonderful reminder to me that life is also fun; that transitional times are in deed transient; and that laughter is healing.

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Last Night I Cried http://www.audrafalk.com/?p=297 http://www.audrafalk.com/?p=297#comments Mon, 22 Sep 2014 01:21:30 +0000 http://www.audrafalk.com/?p=297

Continue reading »]]> Last night I cried.  That’s not a very surprising statement for anyone who is a new mom. What’s probably more surprising is that last night was the first time I have cried since coming home from the hospital over a week ago. I don’t know if it was because I was just so relieved to still BE here, or if my hormones were slightly in ‘shock’ (if that’s possible?), but whatever it was, I finally had to give in and let it all out last night. I met Tim in the hall with a box of Kleenex and told him, “I’m going to be in our room crying for awhile. I’m not mad. I’m not upset. I just need to cry.” Poor guy looked a little scared.

 

But that’s how it is after you have a baby…at least for me. Eventually the hormones come around and I am a puddle. Shortly after Naomi was born, I got an advertisement in the mail for infant formula. I cried because I felt like the world was sabotaging my attempts at breastfeeding.

 

So last night I cried for normal new-baby reasons: I’m tired, there’s too many things to do and too little time, too many kids who need my attention and not enough of me to go around.

 

But I also cried for new reasons. Since my hemorrhage, I’ve been struggling with fear. Fear that something bad will happen to me, or Tim, or Bethany. Last night I dreamed Tim was held up at gunpoint while Naomi and I watched helplessly. None of this is normal for me.

 

And I cried because Bethany is most likely our last baby. And even though I have five children, and that’s probably more than enough for most of our society…it was not what I had planned. I didn’t think this would be our last pregnancy, our last infant. I’m gaining peace with this decision, but I’m still sad that she is the last. The last baby I will carry. The last baby I will nurse. The last baby for which I will fill out one of those baby books.

 

I do not expect everyone to understand how I feel; I hardly understand how I feel these days! But I am so thankful that even when I can’t explain my feelings–there is someone who does understand me me, completely–the One who created me, the One who loves me with an everlasting lovingkindness. I don’t have to explain my feelings to Jesus. He just knows. And He is there to listen as I cry out to Him, and His Spirit is interceding for me with groanings too deep for words, and He searches and knows my heart. And what does a woman desire more than to be known and understood and loved? This is comfort. And so I am healing.

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Bethany’s Birth Story, Part 3: Recovery http://www.audrafalk.com/?p=288 http://www.audrafalk.com/?p=288#comments Fri, 19 Sep 2014 00:51:02 +0000 http://www.audrafalk.com/?p=288

Continue reading »]]>  

Tuesday night, after my surgery, I learned that the D&C had gone as expected. A portion of the placenta had been retained, and the surgeon had removed it, finished the curettage, and then had even come out to talk to Tim and let him know I would be out soon. But meanwhile, in the OR, I started bleeding again. The surgical team had to call the surgeon back in, and they found a laceration on my cervix. No one knows where the laceration came from–either during the delivery or during the curettage. My poor cervix was quite soft and stretched out and the surgeon had a very hard time with the stitching. Stitches kept falling out. In the end I had 30 stitches in my cervix.

 

Tim did not know what was going on; he only knew I was supposed to be out of surgery, but I wasn’t. A real angel, my original labor & deliver nurse, somehow found the time to come to his room and tell him what was happening.

 

It was about 11:00 p.m. by the time all of us–me, Tim, and Bethany–were in a regular postpartum recovery room. That night is a blur. I was not able to sit up, so I nursed Bethany lying on my back, with her kind of stretched across my chest. I hardly slept. I was not in any pain, but mentally I was completely wound up and just couldn’t relax, even though my body was exhausted.

 

The next morning my midwife and OBGYN came by very early. I was surprised at how shaken up they both looked. They told me that I had lost, in total, 5.5 liters of blood. 3-3.5 liters of that was lost in the delivery room and the other 1.5-2 liters was lost in surgery. I had received, by that point, 5 units of blood and 1 unit of platelets by transfusion. My hematocrit level was at a 25; it would later drop to a 23, and I would end up getting 2 more units of blood.

 

Though I have had trouble finding a conclusive answer, I believe from my research that the average pregnant woman has between 5 and 7 liters of blood–total–in her body.

 

Wednesday morning was when I understood how serious everything had been. My midwife told my husband that the two main causes of death in childbirth, the two things she fears most, are eclampsia and hemorrhage. She told me that if I’d had a home birth, I would have died. When every doctor who visits you starts their visit by smiling at you and calling you a “lucky girl,” you begin to understand that you’ve survived more than just a minor complication!

 

That afternoon, two nurses would help me to stand up for the first time since 3:45 p.m. on Tuesday when I started to push during labor. I managed to get upright, felt extremely unsteady, my heart started racing, and I was back down on the bed before anyone suggested trying to take a step. After that, they made the decision to give me two more units of blood. Late Wednesday night I would be able to stand and walk to the bathroom for the first time, and on Thursday morning I finally, finally got to take my first shower.

 

Thursday I was doing much better, but Bethany was dropping a lot of weight. At 48 hours after birth, they were getting ready to technically discharge her (I was staying an extra day, and she was going to stay with me, but she would no longer be a patient herself). But when she was weighed, her weight had dropped to 7 lbs 15 oz, after a birth weight of 8 lbs 14 oz–an 11% loss of body weight, and anything over 10% is not good in baby world. So Bethany earned herself an extra day’s stay in the hospital as well!

 

Even though she was nursing frequently, my milk wasn’t coming in, likely due to the blood and fluid loss I experienced. On Thursday evening, I started doing the “three-step feeding” process that is probably so familiar to any moms who’ve ever had a baby in NICU or had problems with milk supply. Nurse, pump, supplement; repeat. It was a nightmare, honestly. My hat’s off to all the moms out there who used this feeding system for days, weeks, or even months; I know some of you, and now I have had a taste of how demanding it was for you to feed your baby, and how determined you were to do the very best you possibly could. Whether you kept it up for a day, a week, or months on end, I applaud you!

 

For us, we only had to pump and supplement for one night and part of a day. Bethany was able to receive 3 supplemental bottles of donor breast milk, which meant the world to me. If you have ever donated breast milk, you’re awesome, and I thank you. My milk mercifully began to come in Friday. At the time of our discharge mid-day on Friday, she weighed 7 lbs 15.5 oz. That seemingly-insignificant 1/2 oz weight gain meant she not only had stopped losing weight, she was also starting to gain it back; and I wouldn’t have to continue pumping and supplementing over the weekend. I only had to concentrate on nursing, nursing, nursing, which I was more than happy to do. And on Monday, at 6 days old, at her first newborn checkup, her weight had increased to 8 lbs 6.5 oz.

 

I don’t like thinking about “what-if.” But I know things could have turned out very differently. There were several factors working in my favor on Tuesday: My blood count at the start of labor was very good–I didn’t have anemia, which many pregnant women do have; my midwife immediately recognized what was happening and called in the Rapid Response team; I was already in a hospital when the hemorrhage started; and not at all least, many people have told me they were prompted to pray for me in the days leading up to Bethany’s birth. We have much to celebrate and much to be grateful for! Above all, I am so thankful to be here, with all my girls, and my husband. 

Going Home! Sept. 12

Going Home! Sept. 12

Cuddle time with the little ones

Cuddle time with the little ones

Big sisters Sarah, Rachel, and Naomi being silly

Big sisters Sarah, Rachel, and Naomi being silly

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Bethany’s Birth Story, Part 2: Tuesday Night http://www.audrafalk.com/?p=280 http://www.audrafalk.com/?p=280#comments Thu, 18 Sep 2014 15:17:24 +0000 http://www.audrafalk.com/?p=280

Continue reading »]]> Bethany was born at 4:31 p.m. on Tuesday, Sept. 9. For the first 90 minutes after birth, everything was normal. Bethany and I were having skin-to-skin time, Tim was taking pictures, and Naomi (who stared out the window and refused to watch during delivery) turned around and came over to meet her new baby sister. The placenta was delivered and my midwife repaired a minor tear. Bethany and I had our first nursing session. Tim even went downstairs to the cafeteria and got me a sandwich and banana, which I ate about half of. We called my parents to let them know Bethany was here, and they started driving out to the hospital to see us. Everyone was feeling really good.

Naomi refused to watch the delivery but was happy to come over and meet her new baby sister

Naomi refused to watch the delivery but was happy to come over and meet her new baby sister

 

At 6:00 p.m. I told my nurse and midwife that I was feeling several gushes of blood, and that I wanted to get up and use the bathroom. I wasn’t concerned at all, though I probably should have been, because that’s when we all discovered I was sitting in a big puddle of blood. Everything happened super fast after that. My midwife deployed the hospital’s “Rapid Response” team, and people descended into my fairly small labor room. More IV’s were started. They placed an oxygen mask over my nose and mouth so it was hard for me to talk to anyone. No one was thinking of letting me get up or even sit up, so they began a catheter, and they gave me a sedative through my IV. At this point, I was pretty annoyed because one of the main reason I had chosen natural childbirth was so I wouldn’t be hooked up to IVs and catheters–and here I was attached to everything under the sun anyway!

 

My parents showed up right around this same time. A nurse took them straight to a family waiting room, but didn’t give them any details about exactly what was happening–just saying that “we are doing a process right now and can you wait here for a bit?” My mom immediately looked at my dad and said, “We need to start praying.”

My mom said,  We need to start praying.

 

I quickly realized this was getting serious so I asked Tim to take Naomi out of the room and to the waiting room where my parents were. Therefore, thankfully she was not present for most of the scary moments. When Tim came back to me, I asked where Bethany was. I couldn’t hear her or see her from my bed. I was told that they had taken Bethany to the nurses’ station and the nurses were holding her. At that point, I started crying. It seems irrational, but I felt like I had failed as a mom because not only could I not hold my own baby, but I didn’t want Tim to leave me either, so now she was in the care of strangers who didn’t even know her.

 

The timeline gets a little blurry after this for me, probably a combination of blood loss and the sedative. I know everyone kept taking pads soaked with my blood and weighing them on a scale, trying to figure out exactly how much I had lost. Then they asked my permission to start a blood transfusion. I consented, blood was ordered and brought up from the blood bank and they started the first of many transfusions.

 

Still no one knew why I had hemorrhaged so badly, but it seemed like things settled down between 7:00 and 7:15. The bleeding slowed, and people started leaving my room. My parents and the kids were finally able to come back and see me and Bethany, and Tim took a few more pictures. My family did not stay long, and left by 7:30.

My mom holds Bethany for the first time while Rachel and Sarah look on

My mom holds Bethany for the first time while Rachel and Sarah look on

After they left, my midwife and OBGYN came to check on me again, and the bleeding was back. The OBGYN–whom I had never met before that day, actually, because my pregnancy was considered totally low-risk, so I had only ever seen midwives at their joint office–recommended a D& C, a surgery to scrape the inside of the uterus to be sure no parts of the placenta were still being retained.

 

I asked who was going to feed Bethany during the operation. A nurse helped me hand-express a few drops of colostrum into a cup, which was given to Tim, along with a spoon, so he could feed her.

 

An anesthesiologist was called in. Because I had been eating and drinking recently, he didn’t want to do a spinal block, so I ended up being put under general anesthesia. By 8:00 I was saying good-bye to Tim and being taken down the hall to the operating room.

 

This was my first time ever in a real operating room. They moved me to a pretty skinny table/bed and put another oxygen mask over my face. I knew they were going to be putting me to sleep with medication through my IV, but I don’t even remember receiving the medicine. I was asleep after just a few moments.

 

What was supposed to be a 30-minute procedure actually took 2 hours, and I woke up at 10:00 p.m. I remember the sweet words Tim spoke to me as I was coming around. I will always treasure that sweet reunion. It would be Wednesday morning before I understood everything that had taken place and how much of a “close call” I had experienced. But at that moment, I knew that I was there with Tim, he was with me, and Bethany was with both of us; and that was enough for me.

Proud big sister Sarah

Proud big sister Sarah

 

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