Monday, November 17, 2014

long-awaited arrival [birth story, part two]

Read part one of my son's birth story here.

I was SO glad to have avoided traffic as I worked through 4 surges on the drive to the hospital at 2:30am. I remember feeling much more alert and aware than I expected to be. The whole drive I had coached myself that when we checked in, no dilation number was going to bother me. I knew I was making SOME progress, and that was enough for me.

We checked in to the hospital around 3am, and it took about 20 minutes for them to get me in a room because they lost all of my paperwork! We gone in to the hospital two weeks earlier to provide copies of my insurance and drivers license, but of course, when we arrived this night, they couldn't find anything! I remember being pretty patient, responding to questions in between surges but Eric was visibly irritated and my doula kept asking if we could just get into the room!

When we finally got into our room, I had my first (ever) cervical exam. OUCH. Part of it was that we had a terrible traveling nurse (I later told my doctor about her and he apologized and said she was no longer at the hospital). She was really cold and didn't seem to listen at all, more concerned with the hospital policy than even my own doctor's orders.

I was positive for group b strep, so I knew I needed IV hookup when I got there, and also that there would be mandatory fetal monitoring. My doula had already been SO helpful up to this point with the thousand phone calls and texts from me - encouraging us when labor was lasting forever, but here is where she really kicked in to gear.  She set a timer and sat next to me adjusting the monitor to make sure that it didn't fall off or move with the baby. When the 20 minutes was up she was bugging the nurse about getting it off me so I could get in the tub. She knew the hospital and staff and got us extra pillows and supplies. She was right with me the entire time, and provided whatever I needed (even when I couldn't vocalize it) in seconds. It made me feel so at ease.

About two hours after arriving to the hospital, I sunk into the tub. It felt heavenly. My doula set up LED candles all over the room, turned the lights way down, and put lavender essential oil on a cloth near my head. This was the best stage of labor for me. I was in the hospital and had been assured I wasn't leaving without a baby. I was laboring really well, although things has slowed down a little bit to 3-5 minutes apart. Everyone said that was normal as the transition from home to the hospital is disruptive. As I waited for my body to kick things into gear, I was still able to talk a little bit to my mom and Eric in between surges.

The awful nurse came back in around 6:30am and made me get out of the tub for more monitoring. While I silently cursed her and waddled back to the bed for the IV and fetal monitor, we found out that my doctor was on a 24 hour shift at the hospital starting at 7am - yay! Our doula went to the charge nurse before the shift change and requested a nurse she loved and had worked with before. By morning, things were looking so much better - I was so relieved about the shift change for the nurses and my beloved doctor being there and I thought things were moving.

After monitoring, Eric and I decided to take a short walk up and down the hallway to keep things moving. It was eerily quiet. I don't know why, but I really thought labor and delivery would be louder and more chaotic. I was conscious of trying not to make much noise when the surges came during the walk. It was so weird knowing that we were in our last few hours of just being the two of us.

Back in the room my doctor came in to check my progress at 8am. He was WAY more gentle than the nurse had been, but he didn't have good news for me. I was still at three centimeters and my contractions hadn't been picking up. He suggested breaking my water to kick things into gear. I started bawling. It seems silly now, but I just remember wanting to avoid ALL interventions and I knew this was going to be the first one in a cascade of them. I was also nervous that the intensity would get to be too much for me. He kindly left us to make a decision and it took me about 10 minutes of crying before we agreed.

Water breaking was so weird: gushy and warm and freeing. Immediately afterward I felt excited because there was no turning back now! With so many false starts and stops, there was something so reassuring about the definiteness of the water bag being broken. Very shortly though, my back labor picked up in intensity. I had been feeling some back pain with each of my surges since I got out of the tub, but it really intensified. During every surge I had my doula, my mom and Eric pushing on me - one on each hip and one on my lower back. It is hard to describe how hard this was. Up until this point I was able to be so mentally present despite the discomfort (okay, PAIN, I said it. it frickin' hurt!), but this was a new level. I was in denial that I was experiencing back labor though, because the sensation was so different from what I expected. The next 3-4 hours are a complete blur to me. I know I was back in the tub for a little, but I didn't like it nearly as much. I leaned on the bed a lot. I wasn't talking at all in between surges and I was groaning loudly and often.

After another monitoring session around noon, my doula suggested a hot shower, which sounded good to me at this point because the shower had one of those removable heads and I could direct the pressure right on my lower back. I wanted a little time alone, so everyone left me in the shower for a little while. Then Eric came in and started to ask me questions about how much longer I thought I could keep going like this. He had been my number one support and cheerleader, but now I could see he was visibly upset watching me struggle. But at that point, I didn't care - I bit his head off.

Our birthing class had emphasized getting through one surge at a time rather than trying to project how many there would be or how long the whole process could last. I reminded him of this in an irritated manner, and then got out of the shower to complain to my mom and my doula that Eric wanted me to give up (e.g. get the epidural).

It was then I noticed that the nurse, doula and my mom were all conferring. They all thought it was time to get some more help. I protested. This was not in my plan! The nurse asked if she could check my progress before I made a decision. Around 1pm - 10 hours after arriving to the hospital - I was still three centimeters dilated. (She was nice enough to say to me that I was almost four). Despite my determination not to be discouraged and to "calmly accept whatever turns my labor takes," (fromt he hypnobirthing tracks) I felt really torn. I wanted a natural birth and I knew that I could do it, but so many things were going wrong - between the back labor, complete lack of progress and not having slept in three nights. I decided to wave my white flag.

It helped that everyone around me, who had affirmed and encouraged my desire for a natural birth, thought the epidural was the best and wisest decision at this point. But even writing about it now, eight weeks later, with my perfect, healthy babe sleeping next to me, I struggle with it. I feel like I gave up, like I didn't get the experience I wanted. Part of me is mad at my body for not cooperating. Part of me is disappointed with myself for not pushing through. Part of me was mad at God for allowing it to be so hard.

I'm still working through these emotions, but ultimately I know that I made the right decision, because I made the decision that brought my son into this world. And I know that this difficult decision was the first of many hard parenting decisions I will have to make on this journey. One decision I will be judged for, among many I will be judged for.

I struggled and fought to bring forth this child, just as millions of women have since Eve, and I succeeded. I birthed that baby and gave him life. I am a warrior mama.



I am a warrior.

I wish I could say that the epidural turned things around, but as it turned out, something else was turned around - my baby's head. At this point that the nurse confirmed what my doula has suspected for days, that the baby appeared to be presenting sideways in the birth canal - asynclitic. This is what was causing the back labor and likely, the lack of progress.

After the epidural, around 2pm my legs got hot and heavy, and I fell asleep for two heavenly hours. I continued to doze and when the nurse came back in to check me at 5pm, I was confident that my body being able to rest and relax would have gotten things moving. Finding out I was only at 5 cm and my surges had dramatically slowed down caused another emotional breakdown. My doctor came back in to confer and suggested we consider pitocin. I was determined to avoid any more interventions, so we started going through every 'natural' labor augmentation technique. I tried using the hospital grade breast pump, my doula tried pressure points on my feet, and at one point my leg was propped up on a table and three pillows to try to get the baby to move. After a few hours, the surges hadn't intensified or regulated, so we agreed to the pitocin, really thankful for a doctor who had allowed me to make these decision at my own pace.

 It was 8:45pm. We all sat and watched the internal monitor to note the intensity of the surges, which at this point felt like braxton hicks again - I noticed the tightening, but wasn't in pain at all. At 10:30pm the nurse checked me and her face immediately betrayed good news.  finally good news! I was dilated to 9cm and about 80% effaced. The pitocin had worked the baby out of his stuck position. She smiled, we laughed and I felt the tension leaving my shoulders for the first time in days. I thanked God for those drugs. I even put on mascara to celebrate.

finally go time!

Within an hour I was fully dilated and effaced and started to feel pressure. One of my conditions in getting the epidural would be that it was turned off for pushing so I could feel it. Boy, was that intense. Pushing may have been the hardest part of labor for me - I just was not prepared for the intensity and constancy of the pressure. After an hour and fifteen minutes of the most mind-bogglingly concentrated effort of my life, my doctor came into the room and I knew I was finally close (the nurses and doula had been saying 'you're so close' for thirty minutes, so their word couldn't be trusted). Eric was at my head holding my oxygen mask, a cloth on my forehead and being so amazing and encouraging. My mom and my doula had each of my legs and suddenly the room was full of people. I remembered thinking it was so crazy - one second there was no baby, and then (push, push, push!) there was.

And there he was. White and purple and goopy and squalling. And, a BOY! Eric announced it to the delivery room and everyone cheered. (Eric himself was shocked - he had convinced himself our baby was a girl).

I looked into that baby's eyes in awe and wonderment and I couldn't believe he was just staring back at me like he already knew me. I wrote this to a friend right after he arrived:

In that moment, I didn't feel the elation I expected, I just felt very peaceful. I thought "oh! It's you. Of course it's you."

I had been so nervous about meeting and welcoming a complete stranger into our perfect family, but he wasn't a stranger at all. I had known him all along.

He is our son.







Saturday, November 1, 2014

long-awaited arrival [birth story, part one]

I debated about how much detail to share in a birth story, or whether to share at all, but as I grew to love reading all the myriad ways that babies come into this world, I wanted to share my own story, my own journey to motherhood. Writing about it helps me own the experience, even though it didn't turn out as I hoped and planned. It is my story, and it is E's, and I love it for that.

My last belly shot, taken one week before E was born
Pregnancy was rough for me. Not in the sense that I had any complications, but I just hated being pregnant for most of the 40 weeks. By the time I got to week 39 I was so uncomfortable and overwhelmed I decided to quit working a week earlier than planned. We bought our first house in August and I couldn't take any time off for the move, so life was feeling very chaotic and unsettled - not great feelings when you're in hyper nesting mode, but also physically exhausted from carrying around 40+ extra pounds and a tiny MMA fighter in your belly.

That first morning sleeping in, staying in my pajamas and putzing around the house were glorious. (I wish I had enjoyed them more, but I was certain that the baby would arrive late, and I would have at least a week to get ready.) I spent my days lazily unpacking a few boxes, stressing about the organization of my kitchen and brainstorming furniture arrangements, and sleeping.

On Thursday morning around 1:30am, I woke up to my first "real" contraction. For the past couple of months I had been googling and texting my doula about the difference between braxton hicks and the real deal because I had been feeling BH contractions since around week 20, increasing in frequency. But when a cramping feeling woke me up that night, only an hour after I had been up to pee, I knew it was something new.

Wise people tell you when you're in early labor to just relax and enjoy the last rest before the really hard work and the craziness of life with a newborn, but it's so freaky and exciting - I can't imagine many first-time moms are able to chill out. I turned on my hypnobirthing track and got out my lavender essential oil and starting breathing through each surge. (I'm not a crazy oil person, but lavender was really soothing to me in pregnancy)

This is going to sound nuts, but labor felt SO good at this point. It wasn't comfortable, but I was prepared to handle it, felt excited, powerful, and in control. I tried to remember these feelings later as my labor story twisted and turned in ways I hadn't hoped for. In those moments I was strong and in tune with my body and I was doing it.

After 2 hours I woke up E to let him know what was up and decided to hop in the shower to relax. It felt great, so I laid back in bed with my giant body pillow and then next thing I knew, almost an hour had gone by - we had fallen asleep! The surges started coming very sporadically after that -  sometimes 6 minutes and sometimes 45 minutes apart. I texted my doulas in the morning to let them know what was up and they encouraged me that it was normal, that my body was getting ready to have this baby and that it would happen really soon.

Since it had finally started to feel real, I tried to accomplish my To Do list at a little faster pace during the day, getting the hospital bag packed and making sure things were ready with the baby stuff and a bed for my mom to sleep in when she arrived. All day the surges were coming and going, but not consistently or as intense as they had been at night. After dinner we went on a long walk and got the car seat installed. Things started picking up again during the walk.  My doulas encouraged me to take a warm bath and drink some wine to relax. We have the world's tiniest bathtub, so it wasn't exactly comfortable, but a candle, a little bit of wine and warm water were so soothing and I dozed on and off.

I headed to bed still frustrated at the tease of labor, but determined that I would get things started the next day. I woke up two hours after falling asleep to a good strong cramp, and they increased again. I woke up Eric more quickly this time and had him start timing the surges. We put on instrumental music, I leaned over the ball and got in my groove. WIthin an hour surges were 3-4 minutes apart, though they weren't terribly intense yet, and I decided to call my doula. We talked for about ten minutes, she could tell I wasn't working too hard yet, and we agreed that I would labor at home without doula support for at least a little while longer.

Meanwhile, all Thursday evening I had been in touch with my mom in Chicago trying to figure out when she should come out and I was getting kind of freaked out by the not knowing if it was going to be a few hours or a few days before the baby decided to make his/her appearance. At this point I called her and told her to definitely come TODAY.

My doula recommended a shower again to keep my body relaxed, so around 4am I got in again. But (of course!) things slowed down and by the time I laid down in bed, I was back to 30 minute breaks instead of 4-5.

By 8am Friday morning, I was feeling so pathetic (I had woken everyone up and kept them up half the night for no reason) and so discouraged. But I still had determination left in me. I put shoes on and marched outside and started climbing our back porch stairs to kickstart things again. Up and down, up and down for about 45 minutes. (Which is a really long time to climb up and down only about ten stairs.) Then E and I walked about a quarter mile to our local donut shop and had to stop about five times to breathe through the surges. I felt good but didn't want to get my hopes up. The next 24 hours passed much like the previous 48 - speed up, slow down, speed up, slow down, but never stopped. I would lay down to try to rest, and invariably get woken up shortly after with a series of surges close together again. Once I got in a rhythm, they would slow.

My mom arrived and tried to help keep my mind off of things by helping me reorganize some things in the house and unpack a few more boxes. Everyone encouraged me to go on with life while I waited, but it was impossible. I couldn't do anything out in public without having to bend over, grimace and breathe slowly for a minute, every 15 minutes!

Saturday evening E went to a friend's birthday party on his own while I stayed home and pouted. He brought back some leftovers which I ate and then couldn't fall asleep. The surges were coming back, about ten minutes apart. At this point, I was on auto pilot. Get out the lavender oil, exercise ball and relaxing music, open the contraction timer app on my phone, get on my hands and knees and moan. Legitimately wonder if I will be in early labor for the rest of my life. Moan some more. Lather, rinse, repeat.

At midnight things had picked up to 3-5 minutes apart and I decided to wake up my mom. It felt a little different and just a little more intense, so of course I was willing myself to believe that this was it. This had better be it! We called my doula and asked her to come over. At this point I wanted someone experienced with labor to evaluate the situation. After observing about an hour and a half of consistent, strong surges, she suggested we head to the hospital. Our hospital has tubs in the birthing rooms, which sounded really good at this point, and we could avoid traffic if we went in the middle of the night.

At this point I was in complete denial that I would ever have this baby and was loopy from three nights without sleep, so my doula needed to reassure me, over and over again, that I was going to have this baby and I was going to have it today. Everyone ran around grabbing last minutes items, snacks, etc while I hung out on my bed moaning, and then...

WE FINALLY WENT TO THE HOSPITAL!

(oh, but this story is not over. Not even close)

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

He's Here!


Our darling son (SON!) arrived in early morning hours, on his due date, September 22 after days of labor and a lot of coaxing and pleading.

He was worth every second.


What a joy and what a privilege the past nine days have been with our sweet baby boy.

I can't believe he is ours!

Friday, September 5, 2014

Anniversary Maternity Photos [Photographs by Anjuli]

Last month we had our maternity photos taken (and boy, am I glad we did them at 33 weeks instead of 37, considering what my feet and cankles look like these days!) We knew when we scheduled the shoot that we couldn't have hired anyone but our favorite San Diego photographer, Anjuli. She did our two-year anniversary photos, three years ago.

We decided to head to the old downtown area of our new city (just a few blocks from the house we just bought!) to capture some memories of this crazy time in our lives - moving, celebrating 5 years of marriage, and getting ready to welcome our baby. We are thrilled with the results - what a treasure to have these pictures to remember our last little bit of life before three. Thank you, Anjuli!!

Latte Love Maternity Photos | Photographs by Anjuli

Latte Love Maternity Photos | Photographs by Anjuli


Latte Love Maternity Photos | Photographs by Anjuli

Latte Love Maternity Photos | Photographs by Anjuli


Latte Love San Diego Maternity Photos | Photographs by Anjuli



Latte Love San Diego Maternity Photos | Photographs by Anjuli

Latte Love San Diego Maternity Photos | Photographs by Anjuli

Latte Love San Diego Maternity Photos | Photographs by Anjuli


Latte Love San Diego Maternity Photos | Photographs by Anjuli

Latte Love San Diego Maternity Photos | Photographs by Anjuli

Latte Love San Diego Maternity Photos | Photographs by Anjuli

Latte Love San Diego Maternity Photos | Photographs by Anjuli


Latte Love San Diego Maternity Photos | Photographs by Anjuli

Latte Love San Diego Maternity Photos | Photographs by Anjuli

Latte Love San Diego Maternity Photos | Photographs by Anjuli

Latte Love San Diego Maternity Photos | Photographs by Anjuli

outfit 1
dress: Imanimo (on sale now!)
shoes: Steven Madden
belt: Emerson Fry

outfit 2
top: H&M
jeans: Gap Maternity
jacket: Skunkfunk

E
chambray: Old Navy
vest: Heritage 21
pants: Dockers
shoes: Red Wing Iron Rangers


I have so many, many more thoughts on pregnancy and motherhood swirling around in my head these days, but lately those thoughts have been mixed with paint colors, craigslisting furniture and trying to keep my feet from ballooning with water weight. I feel like life might actually be slower and simpler when baby arrives!

Thursday, August 7, 2014

A Food Diary from San Francisco, Part One


Our trip to San Francisco (in May!) was really a food odyssey, with some sights in between meals for good measure. It's a good thing it is such a walkable city, because we consumed SO many calories. We even skipped our last meal - we just couldn't have fit in another bite!

I LOVE that SF'ers love Yelp. We came to town with dozens of recommendations, but we still relied heavily on Yelp for advice on what to sample from menus, or what options were available when our first choice fell through.

E and I have a little travel journal that we take with us on trips and vacations to record where and what we ate and what we saw (you know, so 2 months later when we're looking at photos, we can remind ourselves of what the heck that picture is of!)

(Also, I'm pregnant, so eating ice cream three days in a row is totally acceptable, in case you've forgotten.)

Ratings are starred on a scale of 1-5.

May 22

Paprika: afternoon snack and drink
Mission District
★★★★★
This place gets 5 stars for being quaint, authentic and neighborly. We stopped in for a beer and a snack since we were having a late dinner, and ordered a sample platter with sweet sausage, pickles, sauerkraut and bread and a cheese platter. We sat at a cozy table in the front corner where we could people watch. The service was friendly, the taste was yummy, but be warned! CASH ONLY.

Blue Plate: dinner
Bernal Heights
★★★
We picked this place because we wanted a little nicer meal to meet friends, and it was my birthday dinner! While the food was decent and the ambiance was nice, it didn't wow me like many of our other food choices. (And the menu was a little pretentious for us simple people).

What I would recommend is the macaroni and drunken spanish goat cheese - that was the highlight! The chocolate cake for dessert was great too. But my lamb ravioli in fennel broth was really strong and too salty and the smoked trout deviled eggs weren't my thing.

May 23

Blue Bottle Coffee Co: breakfast
Hayes Valley
★★★★★
The pour over coffee was great, but the real star was the New Orleans Style Iced Coffee (loaded with cream and brewed with chicory). It was tasty and unique. This location is fantastic - a warehouse kiosk in a manicured alley. We happened here just because we were taking a bike tour located in the same alley. The only downside? No bathroom!

SeƱor Sisig Food Truck: lunch
Off the Grid: Civic Center
★★★★

Our bike tour stopped at a food truck event for lunch right across the street from City Hall. We opted for our tour guide's recommendation of this filipino/mexican fusion truck and it did not disappoint. Between a California burrito and carne asade filipino fries, were in a heart attack heaven! Nom.



Smitten Ice Cream: snack
Hayes Valley
★★★
It's ice cream made while you watch with liquid nitrogen. It was a bit of tourist trap. The ice cream was good (I've never tasted such an herby mint!) and the experience was novel, but it wasn't our favorite SF ice cream experience.

 
San Tung: dinner
Inner Sunset (read: way the heck out of the way)
★★★★
DUDE. Chinese food was at the top of my priority list when coming to SF, but I was terrified about wandering into Chinatown and making a random choice. So we asked our local friend to take us, and I was very skeptical when the restaurant was nowhere near Chinatown. But it was SO WORTH IT. Our friend warned us about a long wait and terrible service, and had we not had that warning, this would probably be a very different review. The food was so amazing and the service was so aloof it was comical. I would recommend going with friends because it really made the time go by quickly and pleasantly while waiting forever to be seated, get food and get drink refills. The star of this are the dry fried chicken wings. I would have eaten my weight in them and nothing else. But we also loved the black bean noodles, mu shu pork, and mongolian beef.
Make sure you put your name on the dry erase board when you walk in (no hostess). And do not make the rookie mistake of visiting San Tung #2 next door, it's not the same restaurant!

May 24

Sightglass Coffee:breakfast
SoMa (South of Market)
★★★★
The cappuccinos were fabulous and I loved my chocolate croissant. The vibe is very industrial urban hipster with lots of burlap, exposed pipes and concrete, but it seemed like a really neighborly place where locals gathered and it was a nice stop on our long walk to farm:table.
We took home their "Owl's Howl" espresso roast. YUM.

 

Farm:Table: brunch
Tenderloin District
★★★★
A hidden gem on an unassuming street in a weird area of town (crack central!), but the food is locally sourced and delicious. They have a small menu for each meal and one communal table inside, with limited seating in a parklet right outside the door. You're forced to at least acknowledge your fellow patrons. A culinary highlight here was the house juice. I would pay a lot of $ to have that stuff shipped up to my door. It was some concoction of fresh-squeezed orange, grapefruit, apple and who knows what else but it was SO DELICIOUS.


 

Farmer's Market: lunch
Ferry Landing
★★★★★
We like farmer's markets and we like snacking. This was a really fun thing to do and place to eat. We ended up just stopped by 5-10 vendors and picking up little snacks like beef jerky, cheese, fruit, bread and pastries. Also a great place for designer stroller scoping.


Pizzeria Delfina: dinner
Mission District
★★★
The thin, crispy brick oven pizza gets a 4.5 stars (you have to love arugula!), but mediocre service, and a teeny tiny restaurant where people were knocking wine glasses into their neighbors laps (yes this really happened) brought this down to a three stars. The wine menu was pretty pricey for it being a casual pizzeria. We shared two pizzas with leftovers, (you definitely need more than one pizza for two people). Next time I would pick up the pizza to go!



Bi-Rite Creamery: dessert
Mission District
★★★★★
 This legendary ice cream shop came highly recommended and we were well-warned of the long lines. The line was a couple of blocks long, but it was less than 30 minute wait and it was well worth it. Their famous salted caramel I could take or leave, but here are my top three flavors (yes, we came back two more times)
  • Ricanelas (cinnamon ice cream with snicker doodle chunks)
  • Malted Vanilla
  • Coffee Toffee
Honorable mentions to Roasted Banana and Hazelnut.

I still have two and a half more days of eating to report on, so stay tuned!

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Five years of marriage

I know writing a mushy anniversary post is so bloggy cliche, but I was feeling really mushy this morning on my fifth anniversary, so you all can deal (or just roll your eyes and ignore it).

IMG_1024ed2

When I think about the giddy feelings of five years ago, I can't believe how naive and unprepared I was for marriage. I imagine many brides feel this way before their wedding day (especially those separated by 2,000 miles for most of their relationship, like we were!) I dreamed about travel, and romantic dinners and cuddling at night and kissing every morning.

I had the silliest ideas about how marriage would fulfill and complete me. About how fun and exciting and romantic it would be every day. Marriage was going to fix all of our long-distance communication struggles, soften our rough edges, and insta-solve our conflicts.

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But of course, marriage has turned out to be so much harder than I expected. It has been refiner's fire. It has been a wrestling of wills. It has been many, many moments of "intense fellowship" (as one of our pastor's calls marital conflict). It has been tears and frustration and disappointment and "I can't believe you!" and "how dare you!" and "who even ARE you?"

It has been long discussions with no resolutions. It has been going to bed angry sometimes and waking up still angry. It's been staring blankly at a wall for an hour and thinking there is just no way to fix this.

It has been the hardest five years of my life.

And it has been the best.


Happy, happy. #nofilter #graduation

Marriage has been so much more transformative and more fulfilling than I could have imagined. It has taught me about myself, it has taught me about others, and more than anything, it has taught me about the character of God. It has shown me my own selfishness in ways I never could have seen on my own, and it has changed me for the better. It has been a comfort, an encouragement, a haven and a home. (And it has involved those travel adventures, romantic dinners and morning kisses too!)

Marriage didn't fulfill my deepest needs, but it did point me to the place where my deepest needs are met. It drove me, time and time again, to Jesus and his redemptive love.

2013b

And as I sit here getting pummeled from the inside by one of the greatest blessings our marriage has produced while my husband builds homes in Mexico with our church, I am extremely grateful that God saw fit to bless me with E, and to bless me with marriage.

IMG_3727[1]

Here's to another 5 years of companionship, blessing and lot of growth!

 

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