Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Spending 1-on-1 With Your Kids

When I was pregnant with our second child, I swore up and down that each week I would do one-on-one dates with of our children. Of course I wanted us to have family times and those memories, but I also knew how important it was for each child to get that special one-on-one time with both Mom and Dad, and each individually. Selfishly, I wanted to have extra special moments with my kids that were all to myself. But, then our son was born and the chaos and hustle-and-bustle of having two children under two set in. You moms of multiple children know what I'm talking about. And if your a stay at home mom, you know exactly how I felt. You're being pulled in way too many directions to count. One needs to be nursed and the other is having an episode because you skipped a page when reading a book.  The laundry piles keep growing and you have to make dinner, even though you still have to go grocery shopping. And when you have a "moment", you try to squeeze in a shower or use the bathroom by yourself or finally watching that episode of Keeping Up With The Kardashians that recorded months ago and you still haven't gotten around to watching it. And finding time to do things one-on-one can be really tricky if your kids are like mine and, for the majority, go down for naps together and sleep at the same time. 

I get it. Life gets hectic. And excuses are just that - excuses. I had this vision of how life would go with two. Was it everything I imagined? H-E- double hockey sticks - NO. Is it more beautiful than I could of ever imagined? Forever and ever YES. 

Now that I've finally got most of it figured out (when you have kids, I don't think you ever figure it all out), I am trying to make it more of a point to have these moments with my boys. Why? Because they matter. And if you think they don't; you're wrong. There is a window of opportunity a parent has to be present in their child's life to really make an impact. And that moment is now. Your children will come to you for everything; to learn, for guidance, to teach them right from wrong, to accept them, for love and approval. When my three year old comes up and shows me how he "flies" his plane for the 9847376390th time, and I cheer and clap my hands and burst with excitement, I can see in his eyes how he feels. He feels cool, and accepted, and right. That says something. That MEANS something. 

Today, the weather in Michigan was beautiful. The sun was shining, there was a slight breeze, and it was a warm one, with the temps running in the 80s. We spent all morning at the pediatricians with McKinley and right when we got done, we picked up my dad and he had a doctors appointment. We grabbed a quick lunch on the way; Tubby's - a Michigan classic. When we got there, I realized Mick was sleeping so I opted to stay out in the car and my dad headed inside. I parked the car at the edge of the parking lot and opened up the trunk. I have an SUV and when the third row is down, we have quite a bit of room back there. I unbuckled Easton, took him in the back, grabbed our lunch on the go, and  and enjoyed a picnic date with him in the trunk. It was the best! He loved looking at the "cool cars" driving through the parking lot and the birds flying back and forth from the nearby trees to the ground. I pulled out our "restaurant reserved" toys and played with them. We laughed and "talked" and I learned so much from my son in those moments. I could see how happy he was just to have me there, and my undivided attention. I saw first-hand how much he has been improving and how much he's grown. Today was special and I am SO thankful for our time together. 


Today, I encourage you to FIND time. MAKE time. STOP making excuses. You don't "need" to take a shower right this moment. It can wait. The laundry doesn't HAVE to be done, stay up an hour later and do it then. Our children are only young once and we only have them at this little stage for a short amount of time. Just like everyone says, someday we will miss these times, so make the most of it! 

With encouragement and love!
- Christine 

Thursday, May 11, 2017

To ALL Moms on Mothers Day (Yes, Even You....)

There has always been one thing in my life that I've been completely, positively, sure of - and that's being a mom. I knew that if there was one thing I was meant to to be, it was a mom. And I've been lucky and blessed enough to be a mom of two. From the moment I found out I was pregnant, my life changed completely. The love I had for someone whom I've never even met was unexplainable. My whole pregnant, I longed for the day that I would hold my baby in my arms. When I was in labor and things started to go downhill, I prayed like never before to my God and begged him to let this baby be okay. From the second that I laid eyes on my son, my heart grew times a million. And when we found out we were expecting our second baby, I was terrified. How could I possibly love another being more than I love my son? But I was wrong. When I saw him, my heart hurt from how much love was pouring out of it. And when I saw my oldest son meet the baby for the first time, the pure joy on his face and the shimmer in his eyes, is a moment I will cherish for the rest of my life. Mothers Day will always be special to me. It's a reminder that no matter where life takes me, my biggest dream has already come true. I'm a mom to two beautiful little boys, and for that, I will always be grateful.

A mom doesn't always look the same to some as to others. A mom could be a grandma, an aunt, a sister, a friend, a mentor, a teacher, a dad, and so many other things. And sometimes, Mom's don't get enough credit. So here we are, on Mothers Day. And here I am, writing to all of you Mom's out there.

To the pregnant Mom:
You're first official-yet-unofficial Mothers day with that tiny, little peanut inside of you. Cherish those fluttery butterfly movements inside of you. When the mornings are nauseating and the nights are almost unbearable, just remind yourself that these moments won't last forever. There will come a time where you will miss feeling all of these different ways. But don't rush that little bundle of joy out just yet. Enjoy the chaos right now, and give yourself a huge pat on the back for growing a human being inside of you! It's a beautiful, terrifying, wondrous, indescribable thing that you are doing and you are doing great!

To the Mom who is experiencing her first Mother's Day holding her baby in her arms:
Whether your little one is still tiny and sleeping most of the time, or you have one crawling around on the floor or maybe even walking, today is your day. That little miracle, you made! And even though the days may be exhausting, and the nights may be long, they only stay this tiny for such a short amount of time. So embarrass the moments when food is shot across the room, puke ends up on your favorite shirt, or you hear the beautiful sounds of giggles for the very first time. You only get one FIRST Mothers day, so make this one extra special with extra snuggles.

To the Mom of a toddler:
From one toddler mom to another - you are surviving and right now, that's ALL that matters. These years are tough, I tell ya. But between the tantrums and the tears, you will catch a glimpse of pure love and gratitude and a sweet taste of kindness that makes it all worth it. They will share a teddy gram with you or bring you a book to read to them. And no matter what you are doing in that moment, STOP what you are doing and truly give them your attention. These years are crucial and so important and right now, you might not seem like their whole world, but you are! (And if you are anything like me, you've probably been working on some type of arts and crafts project for the past three days that was making you want to rip your hair out, but when it's all said and done, it actually looks somewhat decent. You got this, even if your project isn't as Pinterest worthy as you were hoping!)

To the Mom of the grand-school kid:
These are the fun years. Truly they are. When your child can acknowledge what this holiday even is, when they can pick out a gift they specifically want to get you (even when it is nothing you would ever pick out yourself), when they can bring you their version of breakfast in bed or pick flowers from the old ladies garden next door. You're probably the cool mom who will take them out for ice cream when their friends are over, or let them stay up a half hour later on the weekends. Between shuffling from work or PTA meetings, to dance class or football practice, going to games all day long on the weekends, and somehow still managing to cook meals, do laundry, clean the house, and look good doing it - you are super mom! Give yourself a pat on the back, go buy yourself a latte from Starbucks and sneak in a quiet, peaceful trip to Home Goods all by yourself. You deserve it!

To the Mom of the High Schooler:
Just keep breathing, breathing, breathing. Attitudes are at an all time high. "You're always wrong and their always right. You're never fair. You're the worst ever." I get it. I was that (horrible) teenager at times too. But boy, are they wrong. It's really easy to get really frustrated and have zero patience; but somehow you manage. She has to have her nails done for her birthday - you pick her AND her friends up from school and take them. Oh, and you even sit a couple chairs away so they can act like they came all by themselves because, I mean, who would ever want to go get their nails done with their mom? Yuck. And he needs you to go to the store RIGHT now because he forgot that tomorrow is their anniversary and if he doesn't get her the best gift ever, she'll dump him - so you drop what you're doing, grab your keys, take him to 4 different stores to get the best gift ever, and you even end up paying for it - even if he has a job. Sometimes you feel like you're doing it all wrong. And then you're out in public and you watch your son run over to an elderly lady in a parking lot and he loads her groceries for her. Or you watch your daughter, who is sitting on the couch comforting her best friend who just got dumped - "by like the worst guy ever" - and you hear the comforting and reassuring words she is telling her and how she is trying to make it all okay again. Those are the moments where you are reminded that you ARE doing things right. You are raising strong, kind, loving, generous, giving human beings with hearts of pure gold. And that, my friend, is the best kind of gift you could ever get!

To the Mom who's at home for the first time alone, because her "baby" is now away at College; and to all the other Mom's who's children have moved out:
Everyone reminded you that the time will go by in a blink of an eye, and now here you are. But it's okay. Yes, this is a new chapter, but a chapter you deserve! Time to focus on you. You have spent A LOT of years catering to little ones, and now it's time to put that much work into you. ENJOY your new found "time". Go to the salon and pamper yourself. Join on yoga or zumba class, or maybe get a membership at your local gym. Go to that cool "paint and pour" class that you keep hearing about from your friends, or maybe call up those friends and head to the winery. Take a trip with your husband (he is the only kid you are still fully responsible of - wink wink!) and enjoy his company. Read a book on the back porch - uninterrupted. Make whatever meal you want instead of following the weekly meal-plan calendar - or better yet, go out to your favorite restaurant. It's time to start thanking yourself for all of those hard working years. And don't worry, they'll still call and visit all the time anyways.

To the Mom who's "baby" just had a "baby" and now Mom isn't your name - it's Grandma!:
You never thought you could love someone as much as you loved your child, right? And then you held that little baby in your arms and you knew you were wrong. It's felt like your heart has grown by a million, hasn't it? That little baby has given you a new, fresh look at life. You feel young again. You feel alive! And remember when you thought they didn't need you anymore? Well weren't you wrong. Now they won't stop calling; asking you to come over so they can get a couple hours of sleep, asking why that baby is making these weird sounds. "Hey, is it normal for the diaper to look like this?" It's not that they didn't need you before, but it is comforting to know how much they need you now, right? And now you have the best job of all! You get to love this little bundle of joy unconditionally, and when it starts crying, you get to hand it over. Perfect! I bet after a couple days of hearing baby cries, you are finding comfort in the silence of your home. Grandma, good job! You will soon be the superhero, and the only person in the world who will never say NO! 

And now.... on to the harder ones....

To the girl who lost her Mom:
Today hurts. It's painful and reminding and just plain dumb. But today isn't the day to be sad. Today is the day to remember everything amazing about your beautiful mother. About how she brought you into this world, and about how she loved you since the moment she knew you were inside of her. There will be times in your life that will be hard to go through without her; like your first period, your first love and your first heartbreak, your prom, your high school graduation, your wedding day, or the day you bring your own baby into this world. There is nothing that I can say that will take that feeling of heartbreak away. But you and I both know that your mom wouldn't want you to dwell on things like that. She would want you to enjoy this moments, for yourself and for her. And she would want you to know that she is in your heart, always. 

To the girl who grew up without a Mother because her Mom chose not to be around:
Take a good look at yourself. You have become something, and you did that without her. You didn't need her to hold your hand or tell you how pretty you are. You know what it's like to be hurt, to question things, to wonder why you weren't good enough. But that's not it at all. She wasn't good enough for you. She didn't want to fight for you. She didn't want to try. But you know what? That's not you. No it's not. You are strong. You are brave. You are a fighter. And not because you wanted to be, but because you HAD to be. She doesn't define you. In fact, she doesn't get any credit for you at all. You made something for yourself, for you and for no one else. And that, my love, is a beautiful thing. I KNOW what it's like to feel all of that. But I also know what it's like to know that I did it all for me, and that will always mean more to me than anyone would ever know. And that is how you should feel. Proud of yourself, and all you have done. Because you don't need someone else; all you've ever needed is YOU and YOU will ALWAYS be enough!

To the Mom who lost their child; whether it be living or through pregnancy:
My heart will always break for you. Unfortunately, you have gone through the one thing in this world that every single person wishes they'd never go through. And I am so sorry you had to go through that. But because you have, you know what true strength is. You've picked yourself up out of the darkest place in the world, and you've lived to see the days through. You have shared your stories with others, in hopes that they can relate to you. You've reached out to other Mom's who have gone through or who are going through the same thing. You give them strength and hope and courage. You see the world differently; more beautifully. You notice the wind and how it moves branches on trees, or how the rain falls on the ground and makes it glisten. You appreciate so many things that others take for granted. The days are hard, I could only imagine. And the nights are probably worse. But just because your baby might not be here on Earth, DOES NOT mean that you aren't a mom. You are the strongest mom out there. 

To the girl who wants to be a Mom so badly, but God has different plans for you right now:
I may not be able to relate to you on every single level of this, but I promise you, I can relate. It's one of the hardest things in life to deal with; when you want something so badly that it hurts and yet, it's never close enough to grasp. And it's even harder to be completely surrounded by it. One minute, your in high school talking with all of your friends about the hottest clothing trend. Then, next thing you know, all of your friends are pregnant and talking about the latest baby craze, and your sitting there dying inside because you don't get to share in the glory. This chapter is hard. You often find yourself wondering why. Why can't you get pregnant? Why isn't your body on YOUR team and fighting with you to keep that baby in place, instead of fighting against you? It can be hard to be "happy" for others when you are so hurt inside. But God always has a plan. And it's not our job to always know that plan or the reasonings behind it. This chapter of your life isn't over. You don't have to close the book and call it quits. Your time will come. Just know that it might not be on YOUR time or in the way that YOU imagined it, but I promise, it will be worth all of this. Hang in there.

Happy Mothers Day to ALL of you beautiful souls. You are so special and you are so loved!

From one Mom to another,
- Christine

Recipe: Oven Roasted Potatoes

Carbs and starches tend to be the best part of meals.... and the most unhealthy part of them too. These roasted potatoes are quick and easy to make and even tasty! Plus, you can add or take away the number of potatoes you use depending on how many people you are feeding.

Oven Roasted Potatoes

2 large yellow Potatoes, washed, skins left on
Extra Virgin Olive Oil or your preferred cooking oil
2-3 tablespoons of Italian Seasoning Blend
1 tablespoon of Garlic Powder
Fresh Cracked Black Pepper


Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Dice the potatoes into small, bite sized pieces that are all relatively even in size. Spray a baking sheet with non-stick cooking spray (you can line the baking sheet with aluminum foil first before spraying for a quick clean up). Put diced potatoes onto the baking sheet. Drizzle with cooking oil. Top with italian seasoning blend, garlic powder, and some fresh cracked black pepper. Using your hands or a spoon, toss the potatoes together so everything is incorporated and coated with the oil and seasonings. Spread out the potatoes on the baking sheet so that they evenly disbursed.
Place on the lower rack in the oven and cook for 20 minutes. Take them out and gently toss them, and again, evenly disburse them. Place back in the oven on the higher rack for another 10-15 minutes until they are browned and cooked through.
* A great way to check potatoes is to stick them with a fork. If they go in easily without force and come out easily without force, they are usually done. Also, you could "attempt" to smash one with a fork. If they smash easily, they are done. * Take out of the oven and serve!

If you try this recipe out, be sure to let me know what you think!

Stay healthy!
- Christine

Recipe: Garlic Zucchini & Summer Squash

Last summer, I successfully grew vegetables in our back yard (after trying and failing for 4 years - HA!). I underestimated just how quickly zucchini and summer squash grew and I planted a LOT. So I had to come up with a ton of recipes to use them in. Now that it's winter, I find myself still buying them from the store because they have become a staple in our home. This recipe is so simple and easy and comes together so quickly. Plus, it's a hearty dish so it fills your tummy up quickly.

Garlic Zucchini & Summer Squash


2 Zucchinis, sliced
2 Summer Squashes, sliced
Extra Virgin Olive Oil or your preferred cooking oil
1 tablespoon Worcestershire Sauce
3-4 tablespoons Garlic Seasoning Blend (I use the one pictured below because my dad get's it from his Dialysis company for free and it's very flavorful and salt-free which is a plus. McCormick and Kroger Brand both make great garlic seasoning blends. Also, this may seem like a lot of seasoning but I've found that both Zucchini and Summer Squash are pretty bland in flavor and they absorb a lot of the flavoring of what you cook them with. If you are concerned about that amount of seasoning, I would start with 1 tablespoon of seasoning and then taste test it and continue to add seasoning until you are happy with the flavoring).


Make sure your zucchini and summer squash are sliced.
In a large sauté pan (preferably non-stick) heat 2-3 tablespoons of cooking oil over medium-high / high heat. Once the oil is hot, put the sliced zucchini and summer squash in the pan. Cook for 5-6 minutes, stirring frequently.
Add in your seasoning and mix thoroughly so that all of the pieces are coated. Cook for another 2-3 minutes.
Add in the Worcestershire sauce and stir through. Cook for another 3-4 minutes, until majority of the sauce in the pan is absorbed. Serve!

I have used both of McCormick's brand Barbecue and Mesquite seasonings on these as well and they were SO good. If you end up making the recipe or using another type of seasoning, be sure to let me know what you think!!

Stay healthy!
- Christine

Recipe: Green Beans with Sautéed Mushrooms & Tomatoes

I "invented" this recipe one day by randomly pulling  some ingredients out of my refridgerator and hoping for a miracle. It shockingly came out out delicious and has now been one of my "go-to" side dishes during the week. The best part about this is you can change the portion size to fit your family size or really just kind of wing it! Maybe if try some different veggies in it too! Fresh, healthy ingredients and a super easy recipe makes for one happy Mama!

Fresh Green Beans with Sautéed Mushrooms & Tomatoes


1 pound of Fresh Green Beans, ends trimmed and cut into bite size pieces
1 8 ounce package of Baby Bella Mushrooms, sliced
1 dry-pint package of Grape Tomatoes, sliced in half
1/2 cup - 1 cup of Chicken Stock
3 tablespoons Worcestershire Sauce
2 tablespoons Soy Sauce
1 teaspoon Steak Seasoning (or any type of blended seasoning you might like)
Extra Virgin Olive Oil, or your preferred cooking oil
Sea Salt, for taste
Fresh Cracked Pepper, for taste


Make sure all of your vegetables are prepared: green beans are trimmed and cut into bite size pieces, mushrooms are sliced and the tomatoes are sliced.
In a large sauté pan (preferably non-stick), put green beans in and just enough chicken stock to coat the bottom. You will be "cooking" the green beans in the chicken stock on medium-high heat, with a slight boil, until they have begin to soften. This usually takes 8-12 minutes.
Once they have softened slightly, remove them from the pan and drain them into a strainer, discarding the used chicken stock.
Return the pan to the stove and place the heat to medium high / high. You want your pan to get nice at hot. Drizzle a couple tablespoons of olive oil into the pan. Once the oil begins to noticably "pop," put your sliced mushrooms and tomatoes into the pan. You will hear a lot of "sizzling" sounds. This is good!! * Note: Mushrooms tend to absorb a lot of liquid so you may need to drizzle more oil on top of them if you think they are beginning to look too dry. *
Season the mushrooms and tomatoes with sea salt and fresh cracked pepper. Continue to sauté them for 5-7 minutes, until they have began to release liquids and get soft.
Once this happens, add in the green beans. Continue to cook on high heat, stirring occasionally you have noticed majority of the liquid in the pan is gone. The green beans will absorb a lot of the liquid.
Then, add in the Worcestershire sauce, the Soy Sauce and the steak seasoning. Mix well so that everything is incorporated.
Continue cooking for another 5-7 minutes, until the amount of liquid in the pan has reduced significantly. Serve immediately! 

* You can make this side dish ahead of time and keep it warm in the oven on an the warming seating or if you don't have that setting, then on a low heat, like 200 degrees. *

We love this recipe! It's tasty and healthy! Be sure to leave me comments if you try it and let me know what you think, of if you add your own spins to it! Enjoy!!

Stay healthy!
- Christine

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Looking Back at Easton (Pregnancy & Birth)

IThis whole week I have been having one of those "mom moments" that everyone tells you you'll have but you never believe them. This week, my baby boy - my first born - turns 3. And it has been very difficult for me to accept. (Que all of the tears and crying - wahhhhhhhhhhh) The two's weren't exactly terrible, but we had a lot of turbulence on our ride. For those who don't know our family or aren't super close with us; Easton has had a significant speech delay which has laid down the path of a rough year for our family. Speech is never something you most people even think about, until they come face to face with a speech delay. I do know one thing, I will NEVER take the simple task of speaking for granted. EVER. So to say the least, this year has taken it's toll on all of us mentally, physically, and emotionally. There is the constant battle I have within myself: he can't talk all that well, he's still a baby, he needs his mama. And the other side of it: I wish so badly that he was able to communicate, to be more independent. It's been a long road. We still have a long road ahead. But is certainly isn't anything we can't handle!

This past year was filled with so much! We moved into our new house, and as a family we've made it our home. Easton grew with his little brother Mick (who sadly, also isn't a baby anymore but a toddler now - again - wahhhhhh). He also got a new best friend, our dog Duncan that we rescued! He has learned so many new things and is so smart! His speech has come a long way and is getting better day by day. And the big one.... drum roll please.... he started Preschool! At the beginning, lets just say there was a lot of tears (from Easton.... and mom) but he has adjusted well and now he loves it! He gets so excited and happy and waves good bye to me from the hallway and walks right on into his classroom without a care in the world. Again, tears. 

Since my little man is turning 3, I've had some big reminiscing moments this past week. There's so much to look back on. From pregnancy, to delivery, nursing and the baby years, to my now big toddler. So many moments that I wish I would have recorded so I could go back and replay them over and over. With that being said, I decided to write this post. I wanted something that for me. If no one ends up reading this, I'm okay with that. Something that I could look back on and read and remember and smile about. I would have done this in video form and put it on YouTube on my vlog channel, but I get so emotional about it and I would have just cried the whole time. (And it definitely wouldn't have been a pretty sight haha). I will give you full warning though; some parts of this will be detailed and probably make you envision some pretty graphic scenarios in your mind so nows your chance to exit this open window. No? Good. It's definitely worth the read. I promise. Here we go; a trip down memory lane.

Easton's Birth Story

I was working at an OBGYN office as a Medical Assistant when I got pregnant. Which let me tell you - was a blessing and a curse all for the same reason. A blessing because you know everything; and a curse because you know everything. I found out I was pregnant the day after Father's Day (HAHA Joke was on us). I had no real big symptoms at the beginning other than the fact that I craved weird things; salt and pepper potato chips, cheesy potatoes, garlic bread, ice cream. But I didn't feel any different and thankfully I never experienced nausea. I couldn't eat bananas or granola bars though. Every time I would try it always came right back up. (Which is weird because Easton now LOVES both of those things). I was tired, yeah, but nothing too horrible. I basically had an idea pregnancy at the beginning. At our 20 week mark in October, we found out we were having a boy; which is exactly what we prayed for! For Halloween at work that year, I was a "mummy". In November was when things started heading in the wrong direction. I started swelling, my blood pressure started rising, and my urine samples weren't coming back good. Right around then was when my Preeclampsia started. Because I was constantly on my feet, I was switched to working behind the desk; doing paperwork, answering phone calls and doing scheduling. I hoped this would fix things. But it didn't. At the beginning of December, I had my first baby shower. Then we had Christmas and right after, my next two baby showers. We had our third baby shower on a Sunday. On that particular day, I was feeling extra off. I was just really drained and tired. By this time, I was huge. Not just from Easton, but the water weight was killing me. I couldn't fit into anything anymore, especially any of my shoes. This was when I started realizing why people hated being pregnant. Not that I hated it, but it was definitely becoming unpleasant. I felt like I had ran a marathon and went to bed right when I got home. The next morning, on Monday, I didn't have to work. I woke up and decided today was the day that I was going to get this nursery done. I washed all of the baby clothes, organized everything, and packed my hospital bag. By the time I was done with that, I had no energy to finish hanging things on the wall or put on all the bedding. Jake got home from work that evening and I was giving him the list of everything that needed to get done. He kept telling me it was too early to put the car seat in the car. And I kept telling him that he needed to do it anyways - because I said so (lol). Needless to say I wasn't dropping the subject and he agreed to do it the next day.

Jake didn't work on Tuesday and I was so jealous when my alarm went off that morning and he just rolled over and went back to sleep. It had become a full blown battle with myself to get ready for work. Thankfully, I had to wear scrubs and another girl I worked with was previously pregnant and she gave me some. The fact that I didn't have to wear actual clothes to work was a blessing. When I got there, we were short a staff member so they needed me in the back, seeing patients. I was actually pretty excited about it because I was so sick of that damn desk. Our schedule was full and I knew it was going to be a busy day. In the middle of assisting in a room, I got this sudden weird discharge feeling. Once we were finished, I went to the bathroom. It doesn't look like discharge? But it doesn't look like pee? Hmmmm. I blew it off. An hour or so, it happened again. Hmmmm. Weird. I blew it off again. Then, around 3pm, I was in a room assisting a doctor when it happened a third time. I went to the bathroom and I thought "This is the strangest thing ever. I know it's not pee because my pee is more of a yellow color and this is clear." I walked out of the bathroom and walked over to my doctor (another perk of working at an OBGYN office; my boss was my doctor). I told him what was going on and he told me to go leave a urine sample so they could check my levels and to go into a room because he wanted to check me. We couldn't have been in that room for more than 2 minutes when he told me that I needed to go down to the main hospital. That my levels weren't looking good and he wanted me to go to Triage so they could check everything. One of the doctors from our office was working shift down there, and he was going to page her to let her know I was coming. He told me to go home, get Jake, and go straight there. No stopping, no nothing. Straight to the hospital. Jake's coworker was actually admitted at St.Joes so I knew that he had planned on going down there that day to visit. When I got in my car, I called Jake to fill him in. He said he was on his way home, that his mom was with him, and that they would meet me at the house. I called my mom and my dad to let them know what was happening too. Once I got home, I went inside and showered. Why? Because I'm a crazy person and there was no way I was going down to that hospital with a bunch of nurses I didn't know checking out my junk. Jake came rushing in the house. I heard the door slam. I heard him going from room to room. All of a sudden the bathroom door opened and he fling the shower curtain open screaming "What are you doing? We need to go! Get out!" He than ran out. I knew what he was doing. Someone forgot to put the car seat in the car like I asked. Sure enough, I get out of the shower and he's walking out to the car with the car seat. I threw on some clothes, sopping wet hair was tossed up in a bun, I grabbed a phone charger and tossed it in my purse and upstairs I went. We were getting ready to walk out the door when Jakes mom stopped and walked downstairs. She came back up carrying my hospital bag and she said "We should put this in the car... just in case." Let me just say, at this point, I was 100% sure I was coming home. This was my job. This is what I did every single day. I saw women who had uneven levels or low levels or high levels and they were sent down to triage, some blood tests were ran, they were sent home, and we saw them in the office the next day. Because I was so sure I was coming back home, is probably why I was so calm about everything. Jake was pretty nervous and in a complete panic (which wasn't helping me at all) so his mom made him drive one car, and she took me in the other. He was speedy gonzalas trying to get down to Ann Arbor, we followed and we got there pretty quickly. We checked into Triage, they ran labs immediately, and a little while later, they took me down for an ultrasound. Once I got back to our room, the doctor from my practice came in. Again, this was someone I worked with every single day so I wasn't worried. I said "I know the drill. Bed rest? I have to do some extra labs? You want a urine sample tomorrow?" Well, that's not how it was going to work. She laid it all out on the table for me. My urine had an extremely high amount of protein in it. My blood pressure was way too high. And my ultrasound showed that my placenta had torn away from my wall. Placenta Previa had begun. At first, she told me I had two options. I could either be admitted to the hospital. Or I could go home, Jake had to check my blood pressure every single hour and call it in to the hospital, and I would have to do a urine sample every 12 hours. Both options would be indefinitely until I delivered. I sat there in shock. She left the room and came back a couple minutes later with my actual doctor. Shifts were switching over and he had finished at the office and had made his way down to the hospital. When they came in, they basically made the decision for me. They had talked about it, and there was no way they were letting me go home. My levels were too bad and my blood pressure was too much of a risk, not to mention all the complications that would follow with my Placenta. They told me that I needed to be admitted and that, as my doctors, this was the smartest option; but as my coworkers and my friends, they didn't want to take any risks by sending me home. Boy, was I in for a rude awakening. Panic set in immediately. My due date is two months away. I have to be in this tiny, little room for two months? What am I going to do? What about the nursery? Nothing is finished? What about Jake and his work? What would we do? What about me and work? Jake didn't even have any clothes? I only have my hospital bag? It was all so much and definitely not part of my plan. It wasn't part of anyones plans. But this is what is going to happen, whether we liked it or not. So Jakes mom headed home, got a bunch of stuff for us, dropped it back off at the hospital, and we settled into our VERY small triage room until further notice.

Wednesday consisted of a lot of tests. Blood work, ultrasounds, you name it. My blood pressure was a really big problem, so I was put on bed rest. I had monitors and IVs hooked to me 24-7, and wasn't even aloud to get up and go to the bathroom without paging a nurse. I was on lockdown. We watched movies. I slept. Or at least, I tried to. It's hard when you have a machine beeping non-stop and someone walking in every 30 minutes. Residents came in and asked tons of questions. It wasn't bad at first. I told myself I was being a good human being by letting a bunch of students ask me the same questions over and over again. I heard the same lectures over and over again. It became exhausting. My mom came up and brought me food and some magazines. Jakes mom visited. And even though I was doing nothing, it was tiring. Thursday, a group of friends from the fire department came up to visit. A group- as in 8 of them. They brought us food and snacks and movies; and everyone piled into our small room. My mom and stepdad came, and so did Jakes mom and little sister. They told stories and jokes and made me laugh and I was so happy they were there. We needed someone to lighten the mood; everything and everyone was so serious all the time. We convinced the doctor to let them take me down to the cafeteria in a wheelchair. I basically begged and pleaded. I was so sick of looking at those same 4 tan walls in that tiny room. I needed to remind myself that there was life outside of those walls. They finally agreed and off I went, with Jake and our 8 friends, down to the cafeteria. Now listen, when your husband is a firefighter, and his 8 friends are all firefighters and EMS, they don't let you break the rules. Trust me. I begged each of them to let me get out of that wheelchair. None of them would have it. So there wasn't even any rule breaking. We were only gone for maybe a half hour. We got back into the room and paged the nurse to come hook me back up to the machines. When she did, she didn't look the happiest and she left the room and not but 2 minutes later, came back in with my doctor. He wasn't too pleased with my levels and gave everyone the boot. Out they all went. And it was back to Jake and I. No more leaving. Even moving was causing too much stress on my body; my blood pressure was at an all time high and the babies levels were peaked. So once again, we had the law lay down. Thursday night came around and I wasn't feeling too hot. I remember actually saying to Jake that now I understand why they didn't want me to move. It had felt like I had been hit by a bus. I was so beyond exhausted and uncomfortable. That evening, my doctor came in and told me that he was leaving the next morning (Friday) for a weekend trip, and that he would be back at the hospital Monday. He told me that another doctor from our practice, Dr. Ziff, was working the entire weekend shift, and that he was going to monitor me. He would come in when he arrived in the morning to check on me and he would give him any updates that he thought he might need. He said that if he got back on Monday and things hadn't changed, that he would probably induce me the following week. That was too much to even think about and I was tired.

I had a hard night. I was starting to feel a lot of pressure and a lot of braxton hicks. It was almost impossible to get comfortable. My levels were constantly up and down so nurses and residents and the triage doctors kept coming in. A doctor came in and "had" to talk to us about emergency c-sections. A doctor came in from NICU and had to explain what would happen if we did deliver and our son had complications. A high risk doctor came in and talked to us about transfusions, complications, and all sorts of terrifying things. It got to the point where I stopped listening. I couldn't get comfortable. I couldn't sleep. I was exhausted and it felt like I had been hit by a bus. After a night from hell, early Friday morning, around 6am, Dr. Ziff came in to check on me. He brought my chat and we chatted for a little while. I filled him in on what the other doctors had been saying, and he filled me in on what I had missed down at the office. See, I loved my job. And I would have much rather been working. So it was nice hearing all the stories I had missed. I told him about how horrible my night was and about how I just wanted to sleep. He told me he wanted to run a set of labs this morning and that he would send them down to draw it right away so that I could sleep for a little while. I agreed, he paged the lab, and while we waited he did some other tests. They got there, drew some blood, and off they went. He told me he would come back in a couple hours and talk. I remember telling Jake to close the curtains. I attempted to get as comfortable as I could and finally fell asleep. I remember waking up for a moment or two, realizing that residents were in there talking with Jake, but I didn't care. I went right back to sleep.

Then, I felt Jake shaking me. He was saying "Christine, get up" and I remember instantly be livid with him. Like, excuse me? Did we not have this conversation? I haven't slept in days. I'm tired. And I'm finally sleeping and you decide to wake me up. NO. I gave him the dirtiest look and said "WHAT". Then I heard Dr. Ziff's voice say "Christine..." I rolled over and there he was, standing there, with two nurses, and two other doctors I hadn't seen before. I instantly knew something was wrong because I could tell by everyones face. He began explaining to me that my labs had gotten substantially worse over night and that there was a lot of concern. He explained to me that the babies levels kept bouncing back and forth and the heart rate wasn't staying consistent. He said that he had called my doctor and they talked, and they decided that I needed to be induced immediately. I was in shock, once again. I was terrified. First off, I am a planner. There is no "fly by the seat" for me. I make plans, I make schedules, I like to know what is going to happen. This was not my plan. My original OB doctor was out of town. Yes, I knew Dr. Ziff. Yes, we worked together. Yes, I trusted him. But I went over MY plan with MY doctor. I wasn't ready. The baby wasn't ready. I was almost two months early. I looked over at Jake with complete panic in me and I realized that he was feeling the exact same way. All at once, a million different questions started spewing out of both of our mouths. But none of it really mattered. Just because I asked, doesn't mean things were going to change. He explained to me that my levels changed so much in just 12 hours, that they couldn't risk waiting 3 more days for my doctor to get him. That they were going to take me to do an ultrasound right now to check on my placenta, and to check on the baby before we began. They explained a lot of complications to me, and everything that could go wrong. I had a lot of paperwork to sign. They asked me if I was okay with blood transfusion, because that could happen. Was I okay with an emergency cesarian section, because that could happen. They pulled Jake aside and explained all the things that could go wrong in delivery with me - and with the baby; because that could happen. I had to sign paperwork allowing them to transfer my baby over to Motts at UofM if there were complications. The entire thing was horrifying. We were first time parents. I was a first time mom. This was my first pregnancy. I worked in OBGYN. I took care of myself. THIS wasn't suppose to be me. THIS wasn't how it was supposed to go. They brought in an ultrasound machine and I cried. A lot. So far, everything had looked good with the baby but my placenta began deteriorating and it had shrunk in size a lot. I just laid there, almost numb. Knowing that this wasn't going. Knowing that a lot could go wrong. I held my husbands hand, wondering if our baby would be okay. Wondering if I would be okay. When they were done, three nurses came in and helped us pack up our stuff. It was time to move into a delivering room. Down the hall we went to the last door on the right. I will never forget the feeling that I felt during that walk. It was as though I was walking down a plank. Not knowing what was coming. Knowing all that could go wrong. It was scary. Too scary.

We settled into our delivery room, and the nurse that was assigned to us helped me get into the shower. They fought me about it for a little while, but I was persistent that I take one last shower before this all began. While they were helping me, Jake got in the phone. We both come from divorced, big families. So the list is never ending when it comes to phone calls. Jake called his mom, and she told us to keep her in the loop with things. My dad, at the time, lived 4 hours away upnorth. He began making arrangements to come down. My mom and stepdad were closest to the hospital, only 15 minutes away in Livonia. Jakes dad was out in Kalamazoo. Looking back, I feel horrible that Jake had to make those calls without me. Everyone wants to know every single detail and you don't even know them yourself. But I couldn't call. I was too emotional. I was exhausted. And I didn't want to cry anymore. I was aloud to have one last meal before they began things so we ate. Dr. Ziff came in and explained how things were going to go. They were going to put a Foley Cath in me, and those last 12 hours. They help prepare the body for the dilation process. Once that was done, my nurse, Annette, was going to break my water. Then I would be started on Petocin. After that, we would watch contractions and go from there. He explained that there was a chance that I wouldn't be able to have a vaginal delivery. THAT was not part of my plan and I made sure he knew that. I wanted to do everything in my power to have that baby vaginally. I was terrified to have a c-section. Completely terrified. He reassured me of everything and told me that they were going to get started on things. Annette, with one of her assistants, came over and got me situated. They inserted the foley cath, and told me to get comfortable. So that's what we did. We watched movies all afternoon. I wasn't aloud to eat so apple juice and popsicles it was. By the time evening hit, Annettes shift was over and our midnight nurse Stacey came in. I was getting hungry again. I mean, of course I was. I went from being a huge pregnant chick eating whenever I wanted, to nothing. They kept telling me that once they took the Foley Cath out around midnight, that I would be able to eat again. Thank God. So I held out for midnight. The funny part about laboring, is that everyone tells you to get some rest. But rest is IMPOSSIBLE to get when you are in labor. I made Jake get food delivered to the hospital room right around 11pm because I knew that Foley Cath was coming out around midnight and this would probably be my last meal until after delivery - and I wanted to make it count. We ordered from a sub shop and when it got there, Jake opened it to check the other. That of course, they messed up. And I lost it. I'm yelling at Jake. I'm yelling at Stacey. Jake calls to yell at the sub place, you know, "because my win is in labor and this is the last meal she can eat and you messed it up and now she's screaming at everyone." That poor man at the sub place. They made a whole new ordered and delivered it to the hospital. (So nice of them!) Around 12:10am, Dr. Ziff came in and wanted to check how things were doing. He took out the Foley Cath and the bad news came. It... did.... nothing. No change in my dilation. Nothing. Dr. Ziff explained to me that they would have to do another 12 hour round of Foley Cath because they can't break my water yet. I was livid. This can't be happening. He said they would give me about an hour break and then come back to put a new one in. He left and I asked Stacey if I could eat. She said no. And again, I lost it. I was not a nice patient. I was screaming, then I was crying, then I was begging. I was so hungry I would have eaten anything at that point. Poor Stacey. I laid the guilt card on her so much. She walked over to the bed and said "Listen, I'm going to go out into the hall to start the paperwork for the new Foley Cath. I will probably be gone for 15-20 minutes. Which means I won't know what you are doing in here." and then she looked at Jake and said "Don't let her eat that entire sub. We have to worry about vomiting during anesthesia if she has to go to a C-Section." And that Stacey walked out. YES Stacey. My girl. You all could only envision what I looked like eating that sub. HAHAHAHAHA. It was not an attractive moment for me. At one point, Jake told me that I probably shouldn't eat that much, and the look I gave him alone was enough to shut him up. About 20 minutes later, in they came, a new Foley Cath was inserted - again, and Jake turned a movie on. Surprisingly I fell asleep. Yes, I woke up a lot because those damn machines and the nurses have to come in and check on you. But still, I think I actually got some rest.

Saturday was complete and utter chaos. Around 9am I started to feel a lot of pressure. Like, a ton. It was impossible to get comfortable and I couldn't tell if I had to pee or if that stupid Foley Cath was just irritating me. Finally around 10am, I paged the nurse and told her I wanted to go to the bathroom. Annette was back for the day shift and when she walked in, I told her about the food situation last night and we both laughed. Into the bathroom we went and I bent over to go pee and out came the Foley Cath all on it's own. She asked if I had been feeling pressure and I said yes. She reassured me that was good, and that the Cath had done its job. Dr. Ziff came in to check me and confirmed that I had started dilating. He then gave the clear to break my water. Annette came back in and explained to me everything I needed to know about breaking my water. Then, a resident came in and did exactly that. Broke my water. It was the craziest thing. A huge gush of fluid came out for about a minute or so and that was that. I BEGGED to get back in the shower because the thought of all that fluid disgusted me. They helped me shower and they sat me back down into a chair. Annette suggested that I labor in a chair for as long as possible, because if I got an epidural, I would have to be in the bed. I agreed and that made sense so they set me up in a chair, in front of the tv, with Jake next to me, and started me on an IV drip of Petocin. An hour or so went by, around about every 15 minutes, Annette would come in and ask me how I was doing, was I feeling anything. I said no, and she would bump up the amount. Another hour went by, same thing. She asked, I said no. By now, my IV drip was dripping as much as it could. We were on max level people. And still... nothing. I kept thinking in my head "I don't know why people complain about labor so much. This is nothing." HAHAHA. I kept telling Jake it was cold in the room. I already had a blanket on me and he put another one on. A couple minutes later, I had to pee and I told told him to page Annette. She came in, took of my blankets.... and there it was. My HUGE arm. I can't even begin to describe this next part. The IV that was suppose to be in my vein, had somehow pulled out just a little bit, and was stuck in my muscle. Petocin is a drug that is used to cause muscles to contract. So with an IV drip straight into my muscle, pumping a HIGH dosage of Petocin into my muscle, my arm looked twice the size of Shreks. I am not joking when I say this. It was huge, massive, wild, crazy. My arm was rock hard and cold too. We all immediately knew what was going on. That damn IV slipped, and basically, we just wasted half of the day on nothing. So Annette took the IV out, put a warm cloth over my arm, and we had to wait until my muscle stopped contracting and went back to normal size. So again, more time wasted.

Around 4pm, it was time to start the Petocin again. By this time, everyone had arrived. My dad, my mom, my stepdad, both of my sisters, Jakes mom, and our friends Brad and Jake. We had a full house in the family waiting room. Annette got me situated in a chair and we turned on some music. My mom came in and brought a nail kit. She filed my nails and cut them (because I was so terrified they were going to be long and cut the baby). Everyone took turns coming in and out, visiting with us. When I actually noticed the Petocin starting to kick it, it wasn't bad. Just a minor cramp here or there. It felt like my period. But as time went on, it started to slowly get worse. When I noticed that things were picking up, I made Jake kick everyone out of the room. We sat there; me in one chair and he was in the other. He held my hand and we talked. As the contractions started getting worse, that changed too. I would get quiet during a contraction; breathing through my nose. Then it got to the point where nothing was being said; just a lot of tears flowing. Annette came in and checked on me. I told her it was hurting pretty bad. She told me to stick it out; lets go a little bit longer and check in an hour on where I was at. Jakes mom and my mom would both come in to check on how things were going. When I talked to my doctor, I didn't shut out the idea of an Epidural; I just wanted to go as long as I could without one. When things started to get bad, I got in the shower. I let the water run on my back, and it helped, but only for a short time. I got out and sat on the bed. It was getting worse and worse by the minute. It was to the point where it was hard to fight the tears. Then it got so bad that I told Jake he needed to page the nurse. Right around that time, my doctor was actually coming in to check on me. I was crying at this point, and the contractions were unbearable. I had toughed it out for awhile but I couldn't do it anymore. I wanted an Epidural right that second and he agreed. He checked me and I was at 6cm so he paged down to have someone come up to give it to me. He then told me that I was going to have to sit tight, because he was getting ready to go in to do a C-Section an that he wouldn't be able to come back for at least another hour.

The Anesthesiologist arrived and gave everyone except Jake the boot out of the room. She wasn't even going to let Jake stay but I was literally latched on to him and wouldn't let go; I begged her and basically didn't give her a choice. My husband was staying because I was convinced I might die. (lol - ohhhhh labor). They got me on the bed and made me sit "indian style". They shoved like 3 pillows around my stomach and told me to hug them. Jake sat in a chair right in front of me, holding my hands and I laid my forehead on his. The doctor came around to the front and explained how things were going to go; She was going to push on the spine of my back to feel it, I would feel something cold - which would be iodine to sterilize - on my back, and then she said she would count down and that during that count down time, I had to breath really calming through my nose. And then she went behind me. I felt her pushing on my back and she told me that she was. I felt the cold and she asked if I could feel it. I shook my head yes, knowing that it was the iodine. She said "okay I need you to start breathing really slow and calm. Don't worry, I will count down from 10 and then we will do it, okay?". I looked one more time at Jake, buried my head back down into the pillow, and said "okay". Then the counting began. 10.... 9.... 8.... 7.... and then BAM. I felt the most sharp, excruciating, pain I have ever felt in my life. I screamed so loud, that the nurse that was sitting at the nurses station down the hall came in to make sure everything was okay. I squeezed Jakes hand so hard that I thought I broke it. It hurt so freaking bad, I can't even explain it. Once the initial scream settled and I came to the conclusion that I indeed, was not dying; I felt this cool liquid moving down my back and through my body. The doctor came back around the front and asked me if I could feel the cool liquid, and I said yes. She asked me if the pain was getting better and I said yes. I asked her why she did it like that? She said "I do it like that with everyone. When I tell you breath calmly from 10 to 1, most people start to tense up around 4. I can't do it if your body is tense. So I basically lie to you for your own good. The surprise takes away the initial shock and fear." I agreed, and after I thought about it, it was better that she did it like that. I probably would have been a basket case by the time she got to 1. So, that joke was on me.

They got me situated into bed, and the glory set in. No pain. My legs were numb. I kept telling Jake to feel them because they felt so hot to me. He reassured me that they weren't hot, and that was just probably the Epidural. It was pretty funny. I was feeling great. No pain, no tears. Now I understood why people got the Epidurals. They were amazing! It was time for the nurses to switch shifts and Stacey came back in. Oh Stacey. She always has to deal with the worst sides of me. lol. But for now, life was good. Family and friends took turns coming in and out; visiting with us. We laughed, told stories, joked, watched movies, listened to music. My contractions started picking up around 11pm. They were okay at first, but they got strong, quickly. They checked me and I was only at 7cm. All this time and I only dilated one sticking centimeter? UGH. They said that Easton seemed to be breech, so they wanted to keep an eye on things over the next hour in hopes that he flips. An hour went by; more contractions, more pain. They were definitely getting stronger. Stacey came in and checked me. Still 7cm. Unbelievable. But she said that the good news was Easton was no longer breech, but the bad news was that his head was facing upward - and that was a no-go. So they decided that they wanted to flip me over, so that I was on all 4s, and put a large yoga ball under my belly to roll on. It was suppose to help gravity along to get him to roll on his own. Yes, exactly, what you're thinking. You want the girl who got an Epidural who can't feel anything below her belly - AT ALL - to flip onto all 4s and roll on a ball. HAHAHA. I actually laughed at Stacey when she said that. Poor, tiny little Stacey actually tried to roll my huge self over on her own. Jake stopped her and told her to move over. He basically hulked me over onto all 4s. So here I am, balancing on my arms because I sure as hell can't feel my legs. Jake is holding my waste up, my mom is next to my head, and Jakes mom is down helping Jake. Stacey is standing on the other side of my head. As she is getting this ball and getting things ready, I look over at my mom and tell her that it was really hot in there. A couple seconds later, I go "No, Mom, It's really hot in here. Like, I'm sweating." I could feel the sweat starting on my forehead. My mom grabbed a small clip on fan and put in in front of me on low. I immediately told her to put it on as high as it could go. They shoved this huge ball underneath me and then Stacey told me to start slowly rocking up and down on it. I did it once or twice, and then I got hot. I mean, REALLY hot. I turned to look at my mom, who had already grabbed a cold towel and was holding it to my head. I felt my breathing get heavier and I was could barely say "mom" before everything went dark. Everything was black and I couldn't hear anything or feel anything. I opened my eyes and I was back laying on the bed. That evil, devil ball was gone and everyone was asking me if I was okay. Apparently, the baby did NOT like that position and his heart rate dropped, causing mine to drop and put in me distress. So Jake made it VERY clear to Stacey that we were not going to try that devil ball every again. Once I was settled again, she checked me. He had flipped on his own. Apparently that trauma of the evil ball did the trick.

Contractions had picked up quickly. This next moment will be burned into my brain forever. Jake was sitting in a chair in the corner of the room, asleep. Yes, I was annoyed that he was asleep. But it had been a long week of no sleep for either of us. Our friends, Jake and Brad, were sitting in some chairs by the end of the bed. We were watching a re-run of Saturday Night Live, joking and laughing. My contractions started getting worse, quickly. Within a 10 minute span, I went from feeling okay to feeling horrible. They were so bad that I was almost crying through them. I looked over and Jake (our friend) literally had a piece of paper up in front of his face with only his eyes showing, and he said "Do you need anything? You okay?" and I remember screaming GET OUT! And him and Brad jumped up so fast and got out of that room. (We still laugh about this now - it's so funny to look back on). At this point, Jake was definitely up and right by my side. I was in so much pain, I was pushing the pain injection button every 3 seconds hoping to even get a drip or two out. Jake's mom was putting cool towels on my head, and my mom was on the other side of me holding my hand. Stacey came in and I asked her to check me. She asked me if I was feeling any pressure "down there" and I said no. I was feeling a ton of pressure on my side, my hip, and the top of my butt; or tailbone. (What I didn't realize then but I know now - I felt full labor in my Sciatic Nerve). Stacey told me that it probably wasn't time yet, and that they didn't want to keep checking me because they were worried about bacteria, since my water had broke so long ago. So I went another hour in pain. It was bad. Stacey came back in and asked me again, if I was feeling any pressure. Again, I told her no. Finally around 4:25am, I looked at Jake and told him that if he didn't get Dr. Ziff in here now that I was going to kill someone. Then I literally yelled at him to hand me my phone out of my person because I was going to call him my damn self. Jake left, and came back with Stacey. Right as I was talking with her, Dr. Ziff came in. I immediately started begging. "Please, I can't do this anymore. Just take me to a C-Section. I am not going to last much longer. I can't. Just please take me. I will sign water I have to. Just get this baby out of me!" He calmly leaned over my head and said "Okay, okay. Let's take a look." So he sat at the bottom of the bed and went to go check me. But he didn't even have to. Before I could say anything he was telling Stacey to page the other doctors, that it was time. He quickly walked back up to the top of the bed; looked at my mom standing on the other side of my head, and then looked down at me and said "Christine. It's time. You are fully dilated and the baby is coming." And I immediately said "No. Take me to a C-Section. Now. I can't do this." Then very firmly he said "No, you don't have a choice. This baby is coming. As in, I can see the baby. We don't have time to get you to a C-Section and that is not part of the plan, remember? Now, we are going to have this baby and that is that." He then grabbed Jake and they were whispering about something in the corner of the room. I looked over at my mom, in full blown tears and said "Mom, no, I can't do this. I don't want to!" My mom looked at me, grabbed my hand, and very firmly said "No. You are going to do this. We are going to have this baby!!!!" And right then and there, something happened to me. I literally stopped crying, took a deep breath - and basically accepted the fact that it was time to have this baby. I sat up a little bit, while still barely breathing through contractions, and noticed that Jake and Dr. Ziff were fully suited up. Little did I know, Jake took it upon himself (after I threatened him not) to convince Dr. Ziff to allow him to deliver our baby. Yes, he is a firefighter. Yes, he is trained to do this. Yes, he had delivered babies before. But not his own baby who was about to come out of his wife. But I didn't have the time or energy to even comprehend what was happened. I just accepted it. I noticed on the far side of the room, doctors kept coming in. There had to have been at least 10 other people. I asked Stacey who they all were, and she simply said "We have to take a lot of precautions. Don't pay attention to them." I swallowed hard. A flood of reminders came rushing back over me. This was the moment that was going to define the rest of my life. A lot can go wrong, a lot probably will go wrong. And there was nothing I could do to stop it or prevent it. I just had to accept it and deal with it. I was terrified. I was about to meet my baby for the first time and I had no idea what was even going to happen.

It was time.

Jakes mom was standing to the right of me with Stacey. My mom was to my left side and my dad was standing right behind her. (Yes, my dad was in the delivery room. We have a very close relationship and this was his first grandchild. No, he did not see anything. He stood over behind my head and was just there for encouragement.) Jake and Dr. Ziff were both suited up waiting at the bottom of the bed. I asked Jakes mom what time it was. She said it was 4:46am. I wanted; I NEEDED to note this in my head. I needed something to focus on. A secondary nurse came in to assist Stacey and she was placing another pillow behind me to help sit me up a little. I had some tears rolling down and she looked at me and what she said next is burned into my brain forever. "Girl, listen. We are going to have this baby. It isn't going to be easy. It's going to hurt really bad. They don't call it the burning ring of fire for nothing. So let's do this!" (We look back and laugh at this so hard now. Who says that to someone? The burning ring of fire? HAHAHA). That was the shock value that I needed to hear to get me ready to do this. Dr. Ziff asked me if I was ready and I said yeah. I breathed through my contraction and then I pushed. The second that I started pushing, I realized something was off. They told me to breath and then Dr. Ziff said "Christine, I need you to actually push. Bear down like you have to go to the bathroom" (I was completely and utterly terrified to poop - I mean my husband was right there getting ready to catch out kid!) I breathed through another contraction and pushed for the second time. I pushed long and hard. Dr. Ziff told me that the baby was right there, and my mom agreed. I looked my mom dead in the eyes and said "DON'T LIE TO ME" (I mean, I know there are woman who push for hours. Don't tell me he is right there when he's not!) but my mom looked at me, crying, (and my mom NEVER cries) and says "I promise, he's right there. I can see his head!" There was a couple whispers shared that I couldn't hear and about a minute went by. Dr. Ziff told me to breath through this next contraction and then it was time to push. That's what I did. I breathed and then pushed like my entire life depended on it - and it did. They told me to stop and breath through the next contraction, but I couldn't. I yelled No. For those of you who have delivered vaginally; something weird happens to your body. The contractions hurt so bad that when you start pushing, it brings you relief. And that's exactly what happened. I finally had relief when I was pushing that there was no way I was going to stop. I pushed again and everyone started shouting. But I wasn't paying attention. I pushed again, and everyone yelled to stop. I opened my eyes, and there, in my husbands hands, was our baby boy. Crying a soft little cry. He was perfect, amazing, wonderful, beautiful, everything I could have ever wanted. Jake cut the umbilical cord and then handed him to me. We had our moment, but it was quick. The doctors took him away to the other side of the room and Jake went with him. Then Dr. Ziff told me that everyone was telling me to stop because the baby was already born and I had already pushed out what was left of my placenta. He showed it to me, and it was very, very small, no bigger than a couple quarters put together. He also told me that after I had pushed the second time, he knew there was no way that I wasn't going to tear so he had to give me a double episiotomy. He told me that I had lost a lot of blood, and that I needed to lay back down because he had to stitch me and look at things to make sure nothing was hurt. I was on the borderline of needing a transfusion. But I didn't feel a thing and I didn't care about anything. I cared about the baby on the other side of the room. MY baby. Was he okay? I yelled for Jake. He didn't turn to look at me. I yelled at him again and he didn't turn. I started yelling for anyone to tell me what was going on. Jake slowly turned around with our baby in his arms. He brought him over, with tears in his eyes, and said "Everything is okay. He is okay." I took him in my arms and cried and cried and cried. He was okay. Through this entire thing, he was okay. I was okay. We were both okay. He was my baby, my son, and I was his mom. And he was beautiful and perfect in every way. I was in tears, Jake was in tears, all of our parents were in tears. By the grace of God, in a situation when everything should have went wrong, we had a perfectly healthy baby boy who made his grand appearance into the world far sooner than anyone had expected!

Easton Jacob Andrews
Born: Sunday, January 26th, 2014
At 5:01am (Exactly 15 minutes of pushing)
5 pounds, 14 ounces
19 inches long

Today, my precious baby, my first born turns 3. There is not a day that goes by where I don't thank God for allowing me to be his Mommy. My number one goal, dream wish, in all of my lifetime was to be a Mom. And Easton made that dream come true. He is such a smart, funny, caring, loving, sensitive, kind, wild, ambitious soul. He has brought so much happiness to my life, to our family. I couldn't imagine my life without him and I never want to. Life was average before he came along. Now, life is full of adventure! Happiest of birthdays my beautiful little boy. I hope you know, throughout your whole life, just how much I love you! Always and forever, to the furthest star and back!