Never Say Never

Before I had a baby: “My child will never use a pacifier.” Reality:¬†“WHERE IS THE PACIFIER??”

Before I had a baby: “No sugar water for my baby!” Reality: when your baby is in the NICU, you don’t really care if she has a few drops of sugar water.

Before I had a baby: “No formula!!” Reality: when your baby is starving in the NICU because you can’t pump colostrum, and it’s formula or morphine to calm her down, formula is a God-send.

Before I had a baby: “I will never nurse her to sleep.” Reality: when you’re desperate for your child to take a nap, you nurse her to sleep.

Before I had a baby: “I will never rock her to sleep.” Reality: when she wakes up crying, you rush in to soothe her and rock her back to sleep.

Before I had a baby: “I have this mom thing totally figured out.” Reality: it is only by God’s grace that I do anything right as a parent.



Charlotte will be 11 weeks old on Tuesday. As we approach the end of the “Fourth Trimester” I am finally beginning to feel settled as a mom – we have a routine (even though she changes it up on me regularly), I am comfortable taking her places without worrying about all of the “what ifs”; I can get more things done around the house. She is a happy, adorable little bundle of joy. David and I thank God every day for her.

I wanted to share some of what I learned through Charlotte’s birth. The last month of my pregnancy and my labor and delivery taught me that all I can do is lean on God. I wanted and prayed for a lot of things at the end of my pregnancy, and basically everything that happened was the complete opposite. It was extremely difficult to understand when it was happening, but now that I can look back – I see God’s hand in every little detail. He was with me the entire time, guiding me, loving me, protecting me and my baby. He was in control. He knew what was going to happen – it was a surprise to us, but it was not a surprise to God. I might not have seen it at the time, but he was faithful to me throughout it all.

When I went to my 36 week appointment, I handed my birth plan to Dr. Boyd. He said, “You know this is the kiss of death, right?” I should have listened to him and ripped it up right then. I thought I had an “open mind” because I kept saying I knew I couldn’t control labor but that this is what I wanted in an ideal situation – and I really did believe I would get most of my ideal situation. Let’s review quickly:

– I wanted to go into labor spontaneously and avoid being induced. I was induced at 41 weeks 5 days.

– I didn’t want a csection. I had one after 36 hours of labor.

– I did not want Pitocin. I was on it for over 30 hours.

– I wanted intermittent fetal monitoring. I had a monitor strapped to me the entire time. Thankfully David kept asking the nurse for the floor’s only portable monitor for my use, so I was able to move around as much as I liked.

– I didn’t want an epidural. I begged for one after 24 hours on Pitocin. And it was awesome.

– Artificial rupture of membranes. That happened after I’d been on pit for 7 hours.

– Immediate skin-to-skin, optimal cord clamping, spontaneous delivery of the placenta – nope.

Prior to having Charlotte, I was all about natural birth and no interventions. And I still think that natural, unmedicated birth is amazing and if that is what a woman wants and she can accomplish it, great. I support her. I have close friends who have had multiple children that way. It’s wonderful. God created our bodies to carry and deliver babies.

But you know what? All of my interventions needed to happen. I firmly believe that. One of the themes of the natural birthing movement is letting the baby decide his/her birthday. Charlotte might not have decided hers – but God did, and he knows best. I had an induction scheduled a week earlier than when I finally went in, and I did not feel comfortable with that date. I finally cancelled it and eventually rescheduled. God knew Charlotte was going to be born on the 17th and he prompted me to listen to him and wait. And when the second scheduled induction came around, I knew it was time.

I was dead-set against that epidural, even knowing I was going to be given pitocin. Now, looking back, I have no doubt that if I had not had an epidural, I would have collapsed and needed an immediate emergency csection. I hadn’t eaten or slept for over 24 hours and I was on my third bag of pit. It was basically one never-ending contraction. My doula tried to encourage me by saying I was close, to just hold on, that I could do it. I had the nurse check – 5.5 cm. I told them to get the anesthesiologist, stat! She kept saying, just hold on, one more hour, I’ve seen women go from 5.5 to 10 in an hour.1 Two hours later, after I finally had my epidural and was resting, the nurse checked again – 6 cm. That was 2 am, and it took until 8 am for me to reach 10 cm. Tim the anesthesiologist may not know it but he remains my best friend to this day. ūüôā

I’m also thankful that Dr. Boyd broke my water early and that there was meconium in it. I have no idea if there was meconium because I was on pitocin and it had caused Charlotte some distress, or if it was there because I was past due. I don’t care and it doesn’t matter. The meconium guaranteed that there would be a NICU team present at her arrival, and having my water break early meant her lungs weren’t sitting around in all of that meconium for the next 30 hours.

The most terrifying moment of my labor and delivery was laying on the csection table, knowing that my child had just entered the world, and not hearing her cry. “Why isn’t she crying??” I pleaded and was told by a nurse that she hadn’t been breathing but the NICU team was giving her oxygen and getting her cleaned up and that she was going to be okay. I don’t dwell on “what if the NICU team hadn’t been there” – I’m just immensely grateful that they were. ¬†Charlotte spent a week with the NICU nurses and doctors. With their efforts, and God’s providence, she came home on Christmas Eve. She remains happy and healthy to this day.

One of the themes I came across in my months of research into natural childbirth was that “a healthy mom and healthy baby isn’t enough.” That women NEED to have a specific type of birth experience – free of interventions, a natural, empowering birth, one of which they can be proud. If you don’t get all of that, then you will be cheated, even if you and your baby are perfectly fine. Let me be clear – I know that this is not what everyone who supports natural childbirth believes; but I did come across it a lot. And prior to my own birth experience, I totally bought into it. I thought I needed to have “the experience” that all of the blogs, articles, and books told me I needed to have.

Now that I’ve actually had a baby – that is an extremely unhealthy way to think. At my postpartum meeting with the doula she started talking to me about how if I have negative feelings regarding my csection, that it was okay. Do I have negative feelings about my csection? None. Zero. It has never even crossed my mind to feel upset about not getting my natural vaginal birth. My daughter’s birth was beautiful and I have zero regrets. It doesn’t matter to me that I didn’t get to hold her immediately or that her cord was cut within 30 seconds or that my OB took out my placenta. She was born the way she needed to be born, she received the help she needed, and she is the most amazing thing that has ever happened to us. I am so grateful to my OB, to the nurses, to the anesthesiologists, to everyone who helped Charlotte and me along the way. The person I am most grateful for is my amazing husband, who was with me through the entire journey of pregnancy and through 36 hours of labor (while I don’t regret them, they were still extremely grueling). ¬†Charlotte brought David and I closer together from the minute we knew she existed, and she hasn’t stopped since.

Praise God from whom all blessing flow!


One year later…

Recently I’ve been thinking about my blog a lot – specifically that I should start writing one again. I just logged in and looked at the last time I wrote a post – July 13, 2012. Today is July 12, 2013. Crazy.¬†

The most important thing that has happened in a year is…we’re having a baby! Yippee! Our little girl is due December 4. David and I are extremely excited. I’ve always, always, always wanted to have a baby, but David and I agreed when we married that we would wait two years before we started trying for one. And when those two years came, he was as ready as I was! For our second wedding anniversary, he gave me a card and wrote on the inside, “The last two years of just the two of us have been great. For the third, let’s add a third!” I cried, of course, and thanked God for the wonderful man he has given me.¬†

David also supports me in my desire to stay home with our baby. He’s known from when we were dating that it is what I wanted, and he’s always wanted it for me, too. I’ve never been career oriented, I’m not gifted at music or singing or drawing. I enjoy learning but never wanted to earn a higher degree than my bachelor’s. But I know I can be an awesome mom. I can love my child, and provide for her, and be with her and enjoy almost every minute of it (because I’m not naive enough to think every single minute will be pure bliss). Being a mom is my calling in life, and I’m so incredibly thankful and humbled that God has blessed me with the opportunity.¬†

I was 19 weeks on Wednesday, and my pregnancy has gone very well. I wasn’t sick much in my first trimester – I suffered some lack of appetite, food aversions, occasional nausea, but overall I was fine. And even though I often felt like eating nothing, I could eat fresh fruit like nobody’s business, haha. I was mostly just tired, and chasing after 3 children (who weren’t even my own) just made it worse. But I made it through and into the second trimester, regained my energy, and I’ve been doing well!¬†

My biggest struggle during pregnancy has been fear. I am a fearful person. I always have been. David usually tells me when he leaves work, and it takes him at least an hour to get home, if not longer. If it gets late enough in the evening and he hasn’t contacted me, I try calling, texting, and emailing him – and if I don’t hear anything back, I am immediately convinced that he has died somewhere on his way home. Every single time my mind goes to the worst case scenario – despite the fact that I know he’s more likely in a late meeting, left his phone somewhere, or is on the phone with his parents or a friend.¬†

I’m also well known among my family and friends as a neurotic person who spends too much time on WebMD diagnosing my fatal illnesses. So, you can imagine what pregnancy might do to me. Up until I was 12 weeks, I struggled every single day with the thought of miscarriage. I had to fight every single day thoughts of losing my baby. I spent a lot of time repeating to myself, “God is in control. God is in control. God is in control.” After our 11 week ultrasound and getting past the 12 week milestone, it became much easier to relax and banish anxiety from my head.¬†

Yesterday, however, I had a really, really tough day with anxiety. I had accidentally read about second trimester complications earlier in the week – I was just browsing one of the baby books I had, and happened upon the possible complications. And yesterday I was gripped with fear that something was going to happen to my baby. I think it was even worse because I’d seen my healthy, beautiful baby girl on the ultrasound on Monday, so I feel more attached to her than ever. Every pregnancy symptom I had yesterday, was somehow related to a horrible complication (in my head). I knew it was irrational. I did. But I spent most of the day struggling with it.¬†

I don’t think I could handle pregnancy if I wasn’t a Christian. My calmest moments yesterday were when I took a deep breath and prayed to my God and asked him to comfort me, to take my fears away. I repeatedly told myself, “You and your daughter are in the Father’s hands. No matter what happens.” I read devotions and the Psalms. It didn’t make everything go away in an instant, but I knew I wasn’t alone.¬†

Today I am feeling much less anxious and fearful. I am thankful to Jesus for taking away my fears and replacing them with his enduring love and comfort. I know that I will struggle with anxiety for the rest of my life Рbut I also know that I have a Savior who will gladly bear my burden for me. He enables me to be still, and to know that He is God. 

Psalm 46

God Is Our Fortress

To the choirmaster. Of the Sons of Korah. According to Alamoth.[a] A Song.

God is our refuge and strength,
    a very present[b] help in trouble.
2 Therefore we will not fear though the earth gives way,
    though the mountains be moved into the heart of the sea,
3 though its waters roar and foam,
    though the mountains tremble at its swelling. Selah

4 There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God,
    the holy habitation of the Most High.
5 God is in the midst of her; she shall not be moved;
    God will help her when morning dawns.
6 The nations rage, the kingdoms totter;
    he utters his voice, the earth melts.
7 The Lord of hosts is with us;
    the God of Jacob is our fortress. Selah

8 Come, behold the works of the Lord,
    how he has brought desolations on the earth.
9 He makes wars cease to the end of the earth;
    he breaks the bow and shatters the spear;
    he burns the chariots with fire.
10 “Be still, and know that I am God.
    I will be exalted among the nations,
¬†¬†¬†¬†I will be exalted in the earth!‚ÄĚ
11 The Lord of hosts is with us;
    the God of Jacob is our fortress. Selah

On food, weight, and exercise.

I recently came across this blog.

I find this woman’s weight loss story to be the most honest, realistic and refreshing weighloss story I’ve heard (at least on the internet). Because what she struggled with is what I’m struggling with now. And until now, I couldn’t find anyone else who felt the same way as me.

How do I feel? Well, in the last year and a half, I have lost 30 pounds. Half of that was weight I gained after I got married. The other half has brought me to a weight that I can’t remember ever being.

And I have been TERRIFIED of gaining it back.

Let me start from the beginning.

My weight loss journey began about a year and a half ago. David and I bought a scale for the first time, and I remember stepping on it and seeing a number flash that I’d never before seen when I weighed myself. I knew I’d gained weight, because I had a lot of clothes that had become tight on me, as well as quite a few that I could no longer wear. But seeing it on the scale brought it home.

I was in my friend Adrienne’s wedding last June. I went jogging for the first time in my life, with David, at a park near where we live. As I ran, wishing every moment that I was laying in my bed instead of out there embarrassing myself in front of strangers, I had to keep telling myself, “This is for Adrienne’s wedding. You do NOT want to weigh this much at her wedding.” By the time her wedding occurred, I had lost 10 pounds.

At the end of August last year, the woman I work for had her (third) baby. She went on maternity leave, so I went on maternity leave too. I only worked a few hours a week for her and there was a month where I didn’t work at all. With all that free time, I started exercising. I started out by doing Leslie Sansone walking DVDs. When we signed up for cable TV, I used exercise TV programs. Eventually I started doing Jillian Michael workouts, then Insanity and p90x.

I also began to cook healthier for David and me. I learned to count calories. I taught myself self restraint and discipline. I learned portion control – if you can master portion control, you can eat whatever you want. I never cut any one food out of my diet. I love french fries. I still eat french fries, and I ate them while I was losing weight too – I just didn’t eat them every day, or even every week. Instead of giving in to buying that bag of frozen fries at the grocery store, I’d resist and wait until we went out to dinner somewhere. Then I would enjoy really delicious fries, instead of wasting calories on sub-par frozen ones.

Now, I would be lying if I said I loved to exercise. Or even that I want to exercise. When I was losing weight, I liked to exercise because I felt accomplished when it was done and because I knew it was burning calories, but I was always so glad when it was over.

In December of last year I had to go back to work full-time. I spend 9 1/2 hours a day with 3 small children who are not mine. They are 5, 3 and 10 months. And they wear me OUT. The baby never sits still and can move at the speed of lightening when she sees an open refrigerator, dish washer, cabinet, closet, bathroom, or even just an opportunity to try and climb the stairs. The 5 year old and 3 year old are at an age where they want to be out and about doing things. I rarely stop moving during the day.

And then I come home and fix dinner for Dave and me, clean up, pack our lunches, and whatever else needs to be done, while trying to be in bed by 10.

So after I went back to work, I could no longer get myself to exercise every day. I could usually manage 3-5 times a week: Monday night, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday and/or Saturday. I don’t work on Fridays, so that does help. I was still doing Insanity for most of these workouts.

But after awhile, life got busier, schedules changed, and I was no longer working out 3-5 times a week. A good week was getting 3 workouts done. Now I consider one workout a week to be an accomplishment.

You’re probably wondering why I’m sharing all of this. I’m sharing it because over the last six months, as the frequency of my workouts has diminished, I’ve become guilt ridden over it. Every night when I come home from work, I think “I should exercise.” When I don’t, I spend hours mentally obsessing over whether I’m going to gain back all my weight. I’ve convinced myself that I am going to gain 30 pounds over night because I didn’t get insane with Shaun T.

Looking at weight loss blogs didn’t help either, because they are all women who are super toned with a great tan, perfect hair and makeup, cute clothes, and they exercise for at least an hour every day. They don’t eat pizza, cookies, cake, french fries. I pull my hair into a ponytail every day, put on the bare minimum of makeup, and wear clothes I don’t mind getting baby food on. When I was in Peru, one day we had pizza for lunch and I ate six slices. Every time I read those blogs, I ended up feeling discouraged and wishing I could find someone like me. Someone who lost the weight, but who doesn’t love to exercise. Someone who isn’t burning 500 calories a day, but is just eating healthy on a regular basis and exercising when she can. Someone who still eats cookies and pizza and s’mores.

And then I found her. ¬†Let me post the link again.¬†¬†Her story is in 3 parts. I encourage you to read it if you struggle the way I do. She quit running five years ago. She doesn’t do any form of exercise other than walking. She hasn’t gained back her 135 pounds. After reading her journey, I no longer feel scared that I’m going to gain back my 30 pounds. Instead of a guilt ridden conscience that pushes me out the door for a 30 minute run of which I hate every minute, I am resting in the confidence that I made a change in my lifestyle, and that is what will keep me here.

I exercise when I can. Sometimes I do want to go for a run. I like running with my husband – mostly because I run faster than him. ūüôā Sometimes on Fridays when I don’t have to work, I go for a run in the morning. We live in a great apartment complex where I can do a half mile loop. I love to go for walks in the evening with David. I take the kids out for a walk, or play soccer with them for ten minutes. Right now though, I am suffering from bursitis in my knee so I can’t run at all. And it’s okay.

On a day to day basis, I cook pretty healthy. I pack lots of fruits and veggies in my lunch. I still practice portion control and self discipline. But I still eat what I want.

In fact, tonight for dinner I had a McDouble, a small fry, and a hot fudge sundae from McDonald’s.

I am at a weight that is good for me. I am healthy. I am happy. And I am tired of worrying about food and weight gain. So I’m not going to. And you shouldn’t either.

Confessions of a Pinner


I’ve been total blog slacker in 2012. I know the five people who read this blog have really missed me and I don’t want to let them down any longer. ūüôā

Pinterest is all the rage right now. If you haven’t heard of it (which is unlikely if you spend anytime on Facebook or other social media), it is a virtual pinboard. It enables you to organize and share what you find on the web – clothes, recipes, home decor, events. You can browse other people’s pinbaords for inspiration and re-pin your favorites. I don’t use Pinterest regularly but I do enjoy pinning recipes and really yummy looking food. Lately I’ve been trying a lot of the recipes on my pinboard. Recipes may look good in a picture and sound tasty, but you never know unless you try it. Some of the recipes were a success, others are better left as a picture. Here are my thoughts on the recipes I’ve tried (the pictures are from the original website or blog – I am not a skilled enough blogger to remember to take pictures of everything I make, nor do I have a decent camera).

Santa Hat Brownies Рthese look adorable, right? I made them for our Christmas party. Mine were not quite as adorable, but still looked pretty cute. They were relatively easy to make, too.   

Peppermint Oreo Truffles¬†– Another Christmas party treat. You’ve probably heard of oreo truffles before and this was a delicious Christmas version. Guests of our party referred to them as “chocolate bombs” and “chocolate heroin.” Extremely rich, so one batch goes a long way. ¬†

Pepperoni Bread¬†– When I was growing up and we lived in New Jersey, there was this place that made the best pepperoni bread. I have such fond memories of it that I wanted to try making my own. This is the easiest recipe ever. The “loaf bread dough” is a little vague, so I just picked up a Pillsbury Italian loaf from the store and it worked great. ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬†¬†Cheesy Vegetable Chowder –¬†Dave really enjoyed this chowder; I was on the fence about it. I liked the veggies in it (I added more than the recipe called for). But when I took it for lunch the next day, it wasn’t very filling. It also took awhile to make, despite the fact that I prepped everything the previous night.¬†



Polenta Stuffed Peppers – I liked this, Dave didn’t. I’m not sure I made the polenta quite right, it was a little soupy but had good flavor.





Chicken Enchilada Soup – I had really yummy chicken enchilda soup at my pastor’s house and I should have just asked Allie for the recipe. This one was totally bland and not my favorite.¬†


Spinach Ricotta Mini Lasagnas – these were pretty good! I love the wonton wrappers…they are easy, taste great, and are less calories than pasta. I found the basic recipe for this a little uninteresting so will definitely kick it up next time and try different fillings.¬†





So there you have it – my pinterest recipe breakdown so far. I’m sure I’ll be trying more in the future. Have you found a favorite recipe through Pinterest? Do you enjoy looking at food as much as I do? I don’t get on Pinterest a lot, but when I do, I just look at recipe after recipe and wish I could make all of them. I also pin a lot of baked goods because I would love to open a bakery one day.

Christmas Confessions

Is anyone else having a hard time believing Christmas is this Sunday? Time has gone by so fast. I suppose that is a good thing, since the faster time goes, the sooner it will be spring. I was crushed to hear on the radio that today is the first official day of winter. In my head, winter started a month ago. Boo. Despite our Halloween snow surprise, the temperatures have stayed in the upper 30s and low 40s and there hasn’t been anymore snow. But last year it didn’t snow until after Christmas and then we had a snow storm every week, so I’m not holding my breath.

Anyway, back to Christmas. I always liked how my parents handled Christmas when we were growing up. We always received our presents on December 6, St. Nicholas Day. Nicholas was a Christian who generously provided for those in need. This is a good site to read up on St. Nicholas. On Christmas day we simply woke up and had hot chocolate and breakfast while my dad read to us from Luke. We pondered what Christmas is really about Рthe birth of our Savior Рand spent quality time together as a family.

Now that I’m grown up, married, and living on my own, I’ve been more exposed to the secular Christmas culture. When I look at the people around me who are putting up trees, buying gifts, stuffing stockings, talking about Santa Claus, I wonder, “What does this mean to them?” It’s so hollow. Yes, I decorate a tree and participate in giving and receiving gifts on Christmas. But I know it’s so much more than that. I love going to the Christmas Eve service to celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ. If the trees and gifts and decorations were all stripped away, my cup would still overflow on Christmas.

And that, Charlie Brown, is the true meaning of Christmas.

30¬†And the angel said to her, ‚ÄúDo not be afraid, Mary, for¬†you have found favor with God.¬†31¬†And behold,¬†you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and¬†you shall call his name Jesus.¬†32¬†He will be great and will be called the Son of¬†the Most High. And the Lord God¬†will give to him the throne of¬†his father David,¬†33¬†and he will reign over the house of Jacob¬†forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end.‚ÄĚ – Luke 1:30-33

8¬†And in the same region there were shepherds out in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night.¬†9¬†And an angel of the Lord¬†appeared to them, and¬†the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were filled with great fear.¬†10¬†And the angel said to them, ‚ÄúFear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all¬†the people.¬†11¬†For¬†unto you is born this day in¬†the city of David¬†a Savior, who is¬†Christ¬†the Lord.¬†12¬†And¬†this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby¬†wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger.‚Ä̬†13¬†And suddenly there was with the angel¬†a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying,

14 “Glory to God in the highest,
and on earth¬†peace¬†among those with whom he is pleased!‚Ä̬†– Luke 2:8-14

Confession: why I will never host Thanksgiving.

I just spent an hour grappling with a very large turkey.

Why am I roasting a turkey on Wednesday, Dec. 7 you ask? Well, Dave helped a family from church move last Saturday and they gave us a turkey. A really big one. And this is my last week before I ¬†return to full time work, and I have today off. We’re going to be gone all weekend, so I thought I’d take advantage of my day and make a turkey dinner for tonight. Easier said than done.

I don’t really like handling raw poultry. I find it gross. But I was the only person home, so I sucked it up.¬†First I started cutting the plastic ties that held the legs together. I quickly realized they went deeper into the bird and weren’t coming out anytime soon. I abandoned them and moved on.

How are you supposed to tell if the turkey is thawed on the very inside? I thought my turkey was thawed. It sat in the fridge for four days, and then I put it in cold water in the sink this morning. But once I’d gone past the point of no return, I realized the little bag in the breast cavity was still frozen to the bird.

I started running cold water down into the cavity. But that wasn’t working very fast. So I did what I know you should never, ever do. Please don’t try this at home. I ran hot water into the cavity. I know, I know. Bad Bekah. You should only use cold water. I’ve done it before on a roast chicken that had the same problem, and neither Dave nor I are dead, so I did it again.

Then it seemed like the little paper bag was loose enough to come out. But only the top was loose enough to come, and the bag ripped and left half of the nasty insides behind. Why do they have to put paper bags in there? Is it a sanitary reason? Because in my experience, the paper always rips and then I have to actually touch the insides, which I’m not okay with. Since the neck or whatever it is was still stuck in the cavity, I grabbed a spoon and started trying to pull it out. This went on for about ten minutes and I succeeded in breaking my spoon and splashing bacteria-infected water all over my kitchen.

Finally I got that stupid neck out. I drained my poor water-logged turkey as best I could and hauled it onto my “roasting pan.” I don’t actually own a roasting pan; I put a cooling rack on top of a pan, and voila…a roasting pan that doesn’t really work, especially when you have a 15 pound turkey to put on it.

The turkey is now in the oven. There was a small incident at the beginning involving a lot of smoke and my hectic attempts to prevent the fire alarm from going off… but I won’t bother you with the details of that.

What I learned from my time spent cursing this turkey is that I do not want to host a Thanksgiving dinner where I am expected to make the turkey. It’s too much pressure for someone who does not like handling poultry. If we ever have Thanksgiving dinner at my house, I’m taking a page out of my parents’ book and making Philly cheese steaks.