megan's blog

Monday, November 14, 2016

What I will tell my Daughters

To my daughters I didn’t really want to tell her. I woke up to feed the baby at 4am and saw the CNN update on my phone. Donald Trump had won the election and would be our 45th president. HURMPH! That’s the sound I heard inside my head when my spirit, stomach and jaw hit the floor. How did this happen? She was supposed to win. She was supposed to be the first female president. There are so many things I could say about Donald Trump and policy and the political reasons that I voted for Hilary Clinton, but that’s not what this post is about. It is about what I will tell my daughters. It is about how we will walk through the next 4 years of our lives and into the future. Nora is in Kindergarten, Lord help us all. She goes to a public school. She is surrounded by diversity, different genders, races, income levels, and religions. I like it this way. I want her to come home and ask me hard questions. Ok I don’t really like answering hard questions, but I like it in theory. During this election season, she came home and asked us who we were voting for. This seemed a tad bit intrusive, but I agreed to enter into the conversation. I asked her who she thought she would vote for if she could. She answered, “Hilary.” She liked the idea of “the girl” winning. She doesn’t understand politics or policies or what the president even does, but she knew she wanted to the girl to win. At the age of 5, all Nora sees is a person. She is a woman. She is strong. She is smart. She has a funny smile and wears business clothes. She identifies with her in some ways. I am sure she has also heard her mom talk about her and mommy’s seal of approval probably helped to sway her vote. So on Wednesday morning, I had to tell Nora and her 4-year-old sister Gracie, that Hilary didn’t win. The boy won this time. Nora said she was “mad” and just got kind of quiet. Grace likes to act silly when she doesn’t know what else to do. Her response was, “why did he win? He just wants to live in the Lighthouse!” I’m with her. Eight years ago when Barack Obama was elected president, Brandon, my new husband, came upstairs and woke me up to tell me the good news. This was the first presidential election that I was able to vote in. I, like many of my millennial brothers and sisters, liked Obama’s message of hope and change. We liked that he looked different and acted different that other candidates. He was young and full of energy, and bonus; he was African American. Double bonus; he was married to Michelle! I remember thinking; ‘this man will be president when my babies are born.’ He will be part of their history. I was hopeful that young black men would be inspired and young black women would become empowered. Maybe our country was moving in the right direction. I didn’t even care that he beat Hilary. So fast-forward to today. I felt a similar hope for women that I felt for African Americans. Maybe this was our turn. Maybe our country could be under the leadership of a women and equality in this country could take another step closer to its meaning. But we lost this one. So what will I teach my daughters (and my son)? I will teach them about Vigdis Finnbogadottir, the first woman to be elected Head of State in Iceland in 1980, or about any of the other current female presidents in countries such as Croatia, Chile, South Korea, or Switzerland. (Not that I currently know much about any of them, but I am willing to learn.) I will also tell them about Mother Teresa and maybe we will go hug Amma. I will tell them about Hilary Clinton and what she has fought for her entire political life. I hope they are inspired by her and rather than remembering this loss, they will take on the platforms of healthcare in America and education reform. Maybe they will see that we are still lacking in this country when they see progress in other countries and help to come up with good solutions. Finally, I will teach my children to respect the president of the United States of America. I will do my best to give Donald Trump the respect that he may or may not deserve. I will politely disagree when we disagree and try to give any changes he makes that affect me a chance. I reserve the right to have an opinion, but will try my best to not let my opinion get in the way of the important task I have of raising respectful human beings. Mine are little. I can protect them from most negative images and turn the TV off when the language is inappropriate. If they hear something at school and are confused, I can be the voice that guides them. When policies or actions of our government affect us negatively or make life harder for our neighbors, we can show our kids what it means to live in the Kingdom of God. Ill be honest, I am scared. I don’t know what that loose cannon is going to do. I’m bummed that my girls don’t have a new female figurehead to inspire them, but I am hopeful. This will be challenging for me as parent, and I know I will fall into negativity at times and have to ask someone for forgiveness along the way, but we will get through this. The girls might have lost this time, but in the end, I know it will make us stronger. We will just have to work harder. Susan B Anthony did. Harriet Tubman did. Dorothy Day did. We can too.

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Joel Eddie McDonald: The Name and the Birth

I had a baby which means I return to my blog. I thought I would share the origins of the name we chose and also share the birth story. I promise to make a very clear transition so that no one reads the birth story that does not want to. Joel Eddie McDonald When Brandon and I name our babies we like to chose names that are classic. We do not consider ourselves creative enough to put sounds together in unique ways. We like to stick with sound combos that people have heard before. The girls were both named for family and friends that mean a lot to us and also happen to be names we love. I have always loved the name Joel. I did not know a lot of Joels growing up, but I have never met a Joel that has ruined the name for me. (There may or may not be a certain Joel that writes books and preaches on TV that has definitely pushed the envelope, but I cant let him ruin it for me). The Joels I know tend to be laid back, intelligent, and kind. I would love for my son to be these things. Another interesting fact about the Joels I know is that 3 of the 5 that I can think of married women named Kelly. The Namesake, however, is my great grandfather Joel Graber. He was my Gramma Eva’s dad. I never met him, but I know his daughter and if he was half as great as her, I am sure he was amazing. When I told gramma that we chose this name, she was so honored. She loved her dad and now she has an excuse to say his name regularly. She prays for him daily and loves calling to ask about him. Eddie Thats right, Eddie. Not Edward. Papaw’s name is John Eddie. I think we have enough Johns in the family for now, and I love when Gramma refers to Papaw as “John Eddie.” She uses both names often, but I love it the most when he is being extra ornery and needs reprimanded. She rolls her eyes and sort of gasps like his behavior surprises her, and then he gets a sly smile on his face and giggles a little. I love it. I love my papaw very much and I love that when I talk about my son, or yell at him, or watch him do something official like graduate or get married, I will think of my ornery papaw. And now for the birth story. This is your cue to get out if you don't want the details. I mean it. Last chance….I went to work on Monday as scheduled. Towards the end of the pregnancy, I pretty much dreaded every work day. I went to sleep slightly hopeful that my water would break or I would go into labor and not have to go in the next morning, but it just kept not happening. I was just tired of people asking me when I was due or how I was feeling or why I had not had the baby yet. I don’t know why this pregnancy was so different, but I just wanted to be done. I didn't feel beautiful and glow-y like I did with the girls. I felt big, and sick and tired. I had more fear with this pregnancy too. I think a lot of that comes from working with a sicker population and seeing more risk than I was used to at the birth center. So anyway, it was Monday. I worked all day and then before I left work, I had my coworker check me. (A perk of my profession, I suppose). I had been having contractions for about 12 weeks so I did not really think twice about the ones I felt that day, but I did have a few that seemed stronger. I was pleased to hear that I was about 3 cm with a bulgy bag of water. Not a bad place to start considering it took me about 24 hours of contractions to get to 3 with Nora. When I got home, I noticed that I was having more and more contractions. They were more noticeable than usual, but I could ignore them still. After dinner we walked to the park. It was such a nice evening and it distracted the girls some. When we got home, we got the girls ready for bed and I sat on the birth ball and read to them between contractions. Turns out I can read a children's book in about 5-7 minutes. Mom came to stay the night. We stayed up for a little while and then I thought, Hmmm, I should go to bed. I tried to sleep for a few hours. I dosed between contractions for a little while, but by 1230 or so, I needed to sit up and do something else. I tried listening to the hypnobabies CD, but I really wanted to get into the tub instead. We called Lynda to let her know what was happening, but didn't feel like she needed to come yet. Finally around 130, Brandon’s midwife instincts told him to call in the professionals. Lynda and Amy came and started setting up. Lynda brought her “name tag” that Nora made for her, but poor Amy did not get a name tag since Nora “didn’t know she was coming.” :) I felt ok between contractions. I was able to talk and even throw in some wit here and there. It didn't take long though to get a little more serious. I got in and out of the tub a few times and each time seemed to bring stronger contractions. The tub was such a relief, but at some point, I just could not get comfortable. Lynda was very encouraging. She also kept saying things that I say to patients. Good news those things actually are encouraging. I will keep saying them. :) Around 0400, I went to the bathroom and felt very unsure of what to do. I tried to lay on the bed for a minute. Great idea, Megan. Of course my water broke…all over my bed. It felt so violent. The whole labor was intense, but the last 15 minutes were wild. I got back into the tub and felt like we were nearing the end. Again I was afraid. He felt so high up and I just did not know if I could bring him down. It was similar to the end of Graces birth, but this kid felt big. Luckily, this was baby number three. Three pushes later, I was holding a sweet little baby boy in my arms. I feel like I was the most present during this birth. Im still trying to decide if that was a good thing or a bad thing. Like the pregnancy, this birth was nothing like the others. It felt like it was all happening to me and I just had to give in to it. I did not feel control, but I did feel like I knew where he was and what was coming next. I remember thinking about pushing and thinking that I just did not want to do it. I knew if I gave a good push, he would be low and I did not want to feel that. Im glad that I decided to do it though (not that I had much choice). I can’t decide how I feel about Joel’s birth. I felt broken down and humbled by Nora. Grace made me feel strong and empowered. I think I feel accomplished and done! I am so grateful for my son. I wanted him so badly and although the pregnancy and birth were not necessarily enjoyable, I am glad that we walked through it. Now I just have to raise him….gulp.

Thursday, September 06, 2012

Naming Grace

GRACE: “Unmerited divine assistance give humans for their regeneration or sanctification.” We chose this name for our second baby mainly because we liked it and also because our friend Grace is a wonderful person to be named after and we feel like we owe her a lot after the birth of Nora. I really like this definition though. I think it is very fitting. This baby has already taught me a lot about who is really in charge here. We did not plan on getting pregnant with this baby and if you must know, based on science and other things that should be fairly trustworthy, it is a miracle that she ever came into existence. However, as we all know, sometimes God has plans for our lives that differ from our own. We definitely wanted more babies, but maybe not quite so soon. Baby Grace reminds me over and over that I am so lucky to be pregnant. It was so easy this time. I think back to our miscarriage and then to the year we tried to get pregnant before Nora. Those were hard times. I was trying so hard to have things my own way. I feel like such a baby when I look back at that time. I could not fully trust that God was loving when he took away the only thing I have ever really wanted and then seemed to not want to give it again. I will never say that the miscarriage was a good thing, because I still do not understand and probably never will, but I can say that God has blessed us so much since that time. He did hear our pleas and feel our sorrow. He was sad because we were sad and all he asked us to do was to wait a little while. I’m not sure that having this baby is what will sanctify me or according to Timothy save me, but I do feel like there was divine assistance in our lives. God knew that this baby needed to come into the world at this time, and has chosen us to bring her up. What a wonderful gift we have been given. I do not know a lot about this little girl yet, but I know she is wanted. I also know she is undeserved and I feel so blessed for this gift I never even asked for. The word Grace is also used to talk about thanks. (Gracias in Spanish, saying “grace” at mealtime). Now that Gracie is here, I will add that not only do I feel like I have been given something wonderful that I do not deserve, I also feel such gratitude. I am thankful for a healthy baby. I am thankful for an exceptional birth. I am also so thankful for an easy transition into nursing and also being the mother of 2! Grace is indeed the most fitting name for this baby and for this season of our lives.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Grace's Birth

On Monday the 20th, Nora and I spent the morning with our friends Katie, Miles and Evie at the petting zoo. I guess I was having some contractions all day, but really if I say that, then the truth is I was having them all week! That evening was pretty normal. We ate dinner and Brandon put Nora to bed and went to McCoys for a birthday party. I spent the evening stretching and putting my birth cd on my laptop. Brandon got home around 10 and we went to bed. I had a weird feeling that maybe I would wake up with contractions, and even made a joke to Brandon about Nora waking up to a crying baby. I laid down and noticed a few harder contractions. Then I felt a bubble move around my belly and POP! My water broke at 1042. I ran to the bathroom to clean up. I called Debbie to let her know the clock had started, but she should go to bed and I would call her. I was a little upset since my plan was for her to be born in the caul (in her sac). I had a positive GBS culture a few weeks ago and the homebirth plan was still on, but plan B was to go to the hospital if my water was broken longer than 4 hours with no labor. This also meant that no one was going to check me which is hard for a control freak like myself. Luckily my contractions started quickly. I told brandon he could get some rest, but a few minutes later I told him it might be better to get the pool up and ready and then rest a little. It took him about an hour and a half to do this however, which meant no rest for the daddy. My contractions came every 5 minutes and were getting stronger. This was foreign to me since my contractions never became regular during Nora's marathon birth. I called Grace Seeley to let her know and see if she wanted to come. She listened through a contraction and said, "oh Megan, I will come, but I dont think I will make it." This was sad, but I kind of believed her. I decided to lay on the bed and do some relaxation exercises until Brandon could be with me. I did about an hour of this and felt like a lot better. In fact, I got nervous that my labor was going to slow down. Brandon came in and all of the sudden, the lady's voice became irritating and I made Brandon turn her off. Brandon sat behind me and held my belly and helped me breathe through contractions. By this time contractions were about every 3 minutes and I threw up. As a midwife you would think I would get the clue that we were probably in transition, but with my history, I was afraid I was transitioning from 3-4 like last time. (silly Megan). we called Debbie anyway and asked if I could get in the tub and told her she should come soon. She listened to me through a contraction and said ok. This was 200am. I got in the tub. With Noras birth this brought so much relief, but this time I felt swallowed up by the tub and could not get comfortable. On the next contraction, I locked eyes with Brandon which is another good sign of transition, but Im sure Brandon thought I was about to kill someone. On the next contraction, my body began to push, I could not stop the force and I felt out of control. This happened a couple more times and I did not know how much more I could handle. I went ahead and checked to see where we were. The baby was right there. I told brandon we were going to have her before Debbie got here. He hopped in the tub and told me the baby was coming. Pretty soon her head was out. At this point, I felt a lot more calm. I told Brandon she was going to turn and then she would come out. We pulled her up and she was just perfect. Then Brandon caught the placenta and Grace started nursing. A few minutes later my team arrived. "Why didnt you call me?!?!?" Debbie said. We told her we didnt want her to worry. :) They checked out vitals and helped us get cleaned up and in the bed. What an amazing experience. Brandon felt so proud and I was so pleased with our accidental unassisted home birth (although I do not support this and I am glad that help was coming.) This was such a different experience from Noras birth and I am so thankful for the experience. I was so defeated by Nora's birth and this time I told Debbie, I felt like I did a good job!

Friday, March 25, 2011

Birth Story

Well here it is if you want it, but Im not forcing it on you. :) On Sunday January 30th at 2:30 am, I woke up to a new "sensation." 7 minutes or so later when it happened again, I realized, these might be contractions. I could be in labor. I couldnt really fall back asleep because I kept having these contractions so I watched the clock while I laid there and tried to practice relaxing. I was having them fairly regularly, but they were not too intense. I went downstairs around 6 am to get a change in scenery. I also called my mom and told her I thought she should go ahead and come. It was a 9 hour drive so I wanted to give her plenty of notice. Brandon woke up around 7 and I told him I was in early labor and wanted pancakes. :) He took me to Winsteads. Then we took a little walk (in the cold with snow on the ground). I decided I wanted to try to go to church to distract me. Labor slowed down at church and I got very tired so I thought it would be good to take the break and get some rest. I do not think I fell asleep but I laid down for awhile. Brandon went and got some lunch. Around 3, my mom arrived. I was slightly frustrated that it had been 9 hours and I still felt about the same. I called Debbie since she was at the birth center and asked if she would just check me while she was there. When we got there, she said i was effacing, but only about 1 cm dilated. Again, slightly frustrating, but I knew I was not in crazy labor. I just hoped I could get some rest. My biggest fear in all of this was that I would be in labor for a long time and would get too exhausted to push when I needed to. I have been in the business long enough to know how much trouble that can cause, but who can sleep when you are going to meet your baby soon (and when you are having uncomfortable contractions every 3-9 minutes!)
That evening is kind of a blur. I took another walk. I laid down and napped a little for a couple hours between contractions. Then I got in the tub. I do not know when they picked up, but I remember that the contractions were more intense and it was getting late. I had brandon call Debbie and tell her that I wanted to come labor at the birth center. We got there around 11pm. Debbie checked me again and I was 1-2. WHAT! I was discouraged, but asked Debbie if I could stay and labor since we live with people and I knew I would not relax well if I felt like I was keeping them up. Brandon called Grace at that point. He and my mom were tired and not really sure how to help me any more. Grace was wonderful! She walked the halls with me and helped me relax during contractions. She helped me eat small snacks and give me drinks. I love her and will always be grateful to her for her help. Around 4 or 5 am, Debbie came to check on me again. I just knew I had to be at least 5-6. I had thrown up and I had the shakes and everything. so you can imagine my disappointment when after 24 hours of work, i was 3 cm. ARE YOU KIDDING ME?!?!?!? I broke down, along with my midwife. This was the point that Debbie told me later she wanted to throw me in the car and get me an epidural. Silly Debbie. She did give me some medicine to help me sleep though. While this was probably the thing that helped get me through without being completely exhausted, it also made that part of labor intense. For the next 3 or 4 hours, I would wake up every 3-12 min at the peak of a contraction. There was no way to relax or ease into the contractions. It just would hit me and I would jump out of bed like crazy person. I kept feeling like I needed to go to the bathroom, but mom would encourage me to lay back down, and most of the time I would fall right back asleep. Whenever I did have a 2nd contraction it was not as bad, but I was so sleepy I needed to go back to the bed. Around 8:30 or 9am, I got up during a contraction and went to the toilet. As I was sitting there I felt like I needed to poop. In my world that sometimes is code for you need to push. I told my mom to get Debbie. When she came in, I told her she better give me good news. She agreed. :) Luckily, she said I was about an 8! finally some progress. I finally felt like I was allowed to say I was "in labor" although the only thing that had really changed was some number. I decided to stop sleeping and get in the tub. About 20 min later, I started feeling pushy at the top of contractions. Debbie said, "are you complete" I said I dont know but my body is pushing. :) She let me go with it. For the next two hours, my stupid irregular contractions continued to be unpredictable. Over that time I started pushing a few more times with each contraction. At one point I remember mom saying, I bet the baby will be here by 10:30. I looked at the clock and it was about 10:10. I smiled to myself and thought...Silly mom! I was making good progress, but I was not going to shoot this baby out. I had brandon hold a mirror for me to watch and I kept my hand down there to protect myself. I remember the first time I felt her head, it was so encouraging. At this point I did not feel tired or frustrated, I felt strong and ready to see my baby. I am proud of this part of my labor. I know there is nothing I could have really done to help the first part go better or differently, but this part was something I felt like I did right. At one point I did feel like i had torn and then I just pushed her out because I thought the damage was already done. Luckily, I had not torn already and I did not tear at that point either. At 11:45 am, I was holding my sweet 6lb 12 oz baby girl Nora Kate! She was so sweet. I remember saying, She has no eyebrows. I am proud to tell you she has them now, although they are blonde and hard to see. :) So anyway, It was worth the 33 hours it took to get her here. It was worth the 9 months of pregnancy to grow her and it was worth the year of waiting to get pregnant. I love this baby, and yes I plan to do it again.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Great Expectations!

So here we are. I feel like I have been pregnant for about 2 years! Not because I am uncomfortable or have a huge baby, but because I have had this mindset of expectation for 2 years. After the miscarriage I spent the next 10 or so months trying to get pregnant again. Finally I did and for the last nine months I have been planning for Nora. I love being pregnant with her. Many people have expressed disgust with my glowing attitude toward growing a huge belly and not having too many complaints, but I feel very blessed. The first trimester almost did me in. I was anxious about losing another baby, I was nauseated and threw up many mornings from the icky smell in my kitchen. I did not want to eat, but knew that protein was my friend. It was hard times, man. Then enter the second trimester. There is nothing better, I am pretty sure. I felt happy, I felt cute from the emergence of this little belly. I got to find out the gender of my baby, and I could eat again! I admit I was slightly dreading the third trimester. What would happen to my body, would I be sore, tired angry? Honestly it has not been that bad. I am just now at 38 weeks having some trouble getting comfortable in my own bed, but once I can calm myself down and get into a semi comfy position, I sleep really well. This post is not to be braggy, but the way, I just really wanted to share my experience. My girl will be here any day. I cannot wait to meet her. I have been playing with her for the last few months. I think I will know her pretty well when she makes her appearance.
I do not know exactly how she will change my life. I still plan to finish school and try to work. I have never wanted to be a stay at home mom, but now that I am getting closer to having her, I get sad to think about leaving her with someone else. I am sure i will get used to it though. I do have a baby wrap though and I plan to use it so that no one will even know I have my baby with me. :)
As I am nearing the end, I can almost understand why people want to have early babies, against the recommendation of the March of Dimes. :) I always thought they were doing it because they were uncomfortable or selfish or just did not want to be pregnant anymore (actually I still believe that about people), but maybe deep down they are just so excited to meet their little ones. Maybe they are just going to burst if they cannot hold her in their arms! Maybe they want to share the joy they are feeling with others. I dont know, its just a thought.

Wednesday, September 01, 2010

Debt forgiveness

Ok so I think it is always appropriate to share good stories, so here is mine for today. I got a phone call this morning from a Collections Agency. The lady said she was calling on behalf of an online listing company that I had agreed to work with and then we never paid them. The background on this for me is that I know I have had many confusing phone calls from this company and I am always like, "sorry this is not my job to discuss advertising or marketing" and I have them speak with the correct people. The lady told me she had a recorded conversation of me agreeing to pay this very large amount of money. I asked her if I could please listen to the recording. She agreed. So as I began to hear this conversation, I could not believe my ears as this lady slyly verified my listing information (for work), then she said "can I send an invoice to you or a PO?" I sounded a bit confused and I said she could send an invoice. Then she said, "ok I will send an invoice for $499.95 to you." I said (very confused) "Wait, what" and she repeated the part about sending me an invoice only this time did not even say the price.
As I am listening to my own stupid self, I start BAWLING. Not like sweet little tears running down my little cheeks, but like ugly cry, red eyes, blotchy face sobbing. I am sitting there thinking, how could I have done this. Mercy and Truth can't afford me making a mistake like this....what was I thinking! I mean I was very upset. So anyway, the debt collector is back on the phone and she realizes I am crying (mostly because you would have to be deaf to not realize it at this point) so she starts saying, "megan...are you crying?...PLease stop crying...Megan, I do not understand what has made you this upset." for a few minutes she tries to understand me through sobs. Then she asked me to hold for a minute. When she got back on she said, "ok megan you HAVE to stop crying so I can tell you the good news." I did not really stop crying because at this point you cannot really stop the cascade of emotions that have over taken me, but I did my best. Then she said, ok it sounds like you made a mistake. I talked to my supervisor and he said I could cancel this debt for you.
At this point the last thing you should do is give me a new reason to cry (happy tears this time), but I did my best to hold them back. I kept thanking her and apologizing for my outburst. Then we talked for min about my pregnancy and Mercy and Truth. She asked me to promise I would never talk to online advertisers again and I did. Then she said she would pray for me and my new little family. :o
I have never had much of a "testimony." Although I truly believe we are all sinners and have much to be saved from, I have never really been able to identify with stories in the Bible that talk about the weight that forgiveness can take off of a person. I really felt like I had done something bad. Something that was definitely my fault, no matter how innocent of a mistake it was and for a moment I knew that I was guilty of something I could not make better. When she literally canceled my debt, she had done something for me that I never could have done for myself/mercy and truth. Anyway, the parable parallels are fairly obvious so i will stop, but I had to share my debt forgiveness realization. And I promise to try to be equally as gracious. I will not be the guy in the Bible that got forgiveness and turned around and demanded what was owed to him. And I promise not to talk to anyone on the phone again....EVER.