Friendship 101

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I love friendships. This Christian life is not one that was designed to be lived lonely (Ecc. 4:9-10.) Sometimes being a friend or making a friend is a challenging endeavour that seems overwhelming. Will people like me for who I am? Can I be honest? Will I be able to reach that vulnerable place where friendships blossom? Perhaps you’re struggling with exactly how to be a friend. Thankfully, there is no shortage of direction in the Bible on how to create long-lasting friendships.

Humility. The Bible is consistently calling us to be humble. This is where a friendship begins. Philippians 2:3 tells us to “do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit but in humility, value others above yourselves.” Any friendship based on what you might get out of it, is a dangerous place to be. We want our friendships to be based on honesty and truth, not built on misguided intentions and deceit.

Listen. We are not the Lord. We do not have all of the answers, nor are we suppose to. Having the ability to listen – without thinking about what you are going to say next – is an important pillar in friendships. The best way to invest into others, is to ask about their life, listen intently to their answers, and then ask some more. How would we get to know someone deeply if we only talk about ourselves? Ephesians 4:2 calls us to be “humble, gentle and patient.” It’s important that we ask each other questions like “how are you?” and allow the opportunity for them to give an honest answer, not just the polite one. 

Stop gossiping. I’ve decided to “bold” this one – because it is just THAT important. This is a hard one, especially for women, myself included. I could honestly do a whole blog post just on this topic and how damaging it truly is. It’s so easy to use gossip or the latest dirt as your “in” to a friend group. But what are we sacrificing for the ease of acceptance? Our honesty? Another’s trust in us? Another friendship? In Romans 14:13 we are told to stop passing judgement on one another and to firmly decide to not put a stumbling block in front of one another. I think that it’s safe to say that bringing gossip into your friend group is you choosing to put a stumbling block in front of your friends, it’s not fair to anyone, especially the one being gossiped about. What is considered gossip? Any comment about somebody or a situation that you’re not directly involved in, anything that you would not say to an individual in a face to face conversation, and anything that was said to you in confidence by another. In Romans 12:10, we are called to “be devoted to one another in love” and to “honour one another above yourselves.” Is gossiping following through on these directions? Even more so, in 1 John 3:18 it says “My children, our love should not be just words and talk; it must be true love, which shows itself in action.” You must CHOOSE to serve and love your brothers and sisters in Christ, in an honest and supportive way.

Build each other up. This one goes hand in hand with the previous. Remember as a kid when grown ups all around us would be like “actions speak louder than words.” And if you were anything like me, you’d roll your eyes into the back of your head and think “blah, blah, blah…” But yet, here we are. You can say “I love you”, “I’m praying for you”, “you can trust me” and everything that goes along with that – but those words are empty without action. To build strong friendships, we need to be building each other up in Christ. It literally says in 1 Thessalonians 5:11, it says, ” Therefore encourage one another and build each other up…” I would say that direction in itself is pretty self-explanatory.

Disciple one another. As a Christian and a friend, it is important to be honest and truthful with gentleness and love (Ephesians 4:1-3.) If your friend is struggling, it is so important to walk alongside them through that – but also to be truthful. It says in Proverbs 27:17, “iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another.” We have the responsibility to help our brothers and sisters around us to further their relationship and journey with Christ. Challenge each other and hold one another accountable for your actions.

Forgive. Hurt happens. Mistakes happen. Be willing to forgive others and be forgiven by others (Colossians 3:13.) There’s that old saying that continues to ring true, day after day, that another’s poor and hurtful actions towards you, speaks more about them as a person than you. I’ve been in the position of hurting others during in the deepest and darkest area of my hurt – it’s no excuse, just truth. I had to accept that I had done wrong by my friend and wait for her forgiveness. I have also been in the position of being hurt by loved ones. It comes down to an understanding that no one is perfect – we are all sinners and flawed by our human nature. But Jesus Christ’s love covers a multitude of sins (1 Peter 4:8.) Let’s out-honour those who hurt us, by lifting them up in prayer.

Lastly, in 1 Peter 3:8 we are called to be “like-minded, be sympathetic, love one another, be compassionate and humble.” These are the beginnings of a great friendship. Be aware of who you surround yourself with, its common knowledge that those around us greatly influence our decisions. 1 Corinthians 15:33 even says, “do not be deceived, bad company corrupts good morals.” Seek out wise and honest friendships, ones that will stand the test of time. Popularity does not equal good friendships. It is better to have one GREAT friend, then to have multiple acquaintances. So take some time and invest into one another. Meet your neighbour, make that coffee date and most of all, bring your friendship needs to your Heavenly Father and lay these budding relationships at the foot of the cross.

Who am I?

blogphotosmallI’ve been debating what I should write for my next blog post. I have some ideas coming up but they require a little more research before I am able to finish them. Then it hit me, I don’t think that I’ve fully introduced myself yet.

Hello. It’s so wonderful to meet you – thank you for following Let go, Fear less, Trust more. My name is Brenna. I am very imperfect and flawed – made perfect only through the grace and love of Jesus Christ. Here is my testimony.

I was born and raised in a Christian home, surrounded by loving parents and 3 sisters. I first accepted Christ during a church day camp when I was 8 years old – although, I had a  biblical understanding of what Jesus had done for me, I had little practical knowledge of my own death and destruction in the world of sin.  I lived an amazing youth – filled with demonstrating the love of Jesus through friendships, school and summer camps – both as a camper as well a counsellor. Those were the days. The joy given to me by Christ was totally contagious. It was a time in my life where the only emotion that I ever really felt was this high of happiness.

Unfortunately, after this high of happiness – there also came a time of deep, DEEP lows. In my early 20’s I was in a relationship that started out great, but time told a different story. When that relationship had finally come to an end – I was totally different. I doubted my value as a woman, my belief structure, that my opinions even mattered and most importantly, I doubted that I was even saved (HOW could a God who claimed to love me so much, allow me to go through a relationship that caused so much damage and hurt?) I decided that if this was what male Christianity was, I didn’t want anything to do with it. I walked away – far, far away.

It was easier to feel nothing at all then to deal with the deep sense of emptiness in my heart. So I did. I felt numb for a whole year. I faked the laughter and smiles – all while crawling into my bed alone and in tears every night. I lived solely to survive. The faster I was going into the ground the better. I hurt people. I hurt my friends with my lack of loyalty and honesty. I crumbled from my very core. I lived in the darkness without Christ for the first time in my life, jumping from one temporary high to the next.

One night, in a dream, I saw myself from the outside looking in. I saw just how desolate my life had become. The next day, I emailed my pastor, “asking for the friend…” as I sought out a female Christian counsellor. I was able to connect with one, who was so kind and compassionate. She walked me through the trauma that I was refusing the deal with – it was hard and painful – worse than the feeling of numbness. She helped me work through what God’s truths were against the lies that I had been fed in the past. That I was  loved SO deeply that Jesus gave himself up for me. That my worth would never come from those around me, men or otherwise, that the only value that would ever matter was my value in Christ – created in his own image (Genesis 1).

I slowly started to come back. Nearing the end of 2013, I went over to my parents house – and as I was watching television with my mom and dad, I asked, while feeling so small, if I could move back in with them. My parents have never, ever not been there for me. My dad, although I could see on his face, a slight disappointment as they were so close to finally being empty nesters, turned up the television and responded with “hmmm, where are we going to park all the cars?” There was never a question of whether I would be welcomed back home for him, there was only the logistics of vehicles to think about.

Finally back home, where I felt much more accountable for my actions, I had a dream. A crazy dream, that even when I woke up, I couldn’t get out of it. There was noise, static and the sound of battle. I had overwhelming sense (tears streaming down my face, just as I’m remembering this moment) that the Lord was fighting my demons for me. He was literally fighting my battle for me because I was too weak to fight for myself. He LOVES me, He CARES for me, He FIGHTS for me. I am worth more. It was there, in my midst of this, that Jesus Christ became my Saviour – when I lived through death, destruction and despair – he fought for me. It was here that I understood the meaning of the Gospel. It was here that Romans 8:37-39 became a reality.

“No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, no powers, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (CSB)

I gave my life back to Christ, wholly this time, aware of the desolate despair that awaited me without him.

Shortly after this, my husband and I started dating, then were married 6 months later. A man, that God was working in and continues to work in, a true man of God – not afraid to show his vulnerabilities to the me and to his Heavenly Father. A man who loves deeply, leads fiercely and serves humbly. A man, who I didn’t think existed, was here before me. He was waiting for me just as the Lord had promised.

We continue on our adventure together, both growing and thriving in God’s grace. I never, ever would have imagined that I was worthy of this life that the Lord has blessed me with, because on my own, I am not – but with Christ, I am.

Thank you for reading my testimony, for following my story and for living to thrive in Christ alongside me!

 

Valentine’s Day

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Yes, I do realize that this post is a day too late. It honestly took me all day yesterday to be able to process just how I feel about Valentine’s Day.

This year’s holiday was a busy one with my husband away for work, Elsie refusing to nap, switching places as he got home and I headed out to my Postpartum Anxiety counselling appointment, to switching places again as I returned home and he headed out to the gym. We finally connected around 10:00pm as he brought up some store-bought chocolate cake (which I had purchased earlier on in the day, hoping to have a few moments with him after supper) with a couple of forks to me (who was already in bed.)

Other years have been celebrated with flowers, chocolates and dinners but this year was different.  Somehow through all the madness, it was the best Valentine’s Day yet.

While snacking on our chocolate cake, we started talking about the idea of Valentine’s Day. He stands firm on his view of it being a generic holiday of over-charging on the worldly idea of “love”. I agree to a certain extent, for sure – how could I not when I walk into Wal-Mart to 5 seasonal aisles covered in over-priced chocolates and cupcakes in heart-shaped containers –  in which you can still buy in their regular shaped containers for their regular price a couple of aisles over.

This year’s Valentine’s Day, sitting on top of our covers as Patrick was apologizing for not doing anything for me – all I could think in my head was, “What do you mean you didn’t DO anything for me?!” He serves me, day in and day out. He works incredibly hard at his job for well over  40 hours a week to ensure that OUR bills will be paid, he is in school part-time working hard to further OUR life as a family, he does his devotions daily to lead OUR family confidently in the path that the Lord has laid out for us, he takes care of himself to ensure that he will be around for US, and yet still on top of all of that – he makes sure to shower Elsie and I in love every single day, letting us know that we are the two most important people to him. I would take that over a heart-shaped box any day.

Although companies have cashed in on days like this, I love that Valentine’s Day for me is so much more than stuff – it’s marking a day to sit down and pause on everything that makes your spouse valuable and irreplaceable to you.

I would just like to encourage YOU to sit down today to write 5 ways that your spouse is valuable to you. How amazing would you feel if you came home to your spouse who had consciously thought up all the ways that you are valuable to them? Knowing that you were being thought of in the highest regard to them throughout the day?

Wow. Imagine the positive impact that it would have on you as a couple and in how you complete your role in your household, whether it be a wife, working Mom, or a stay at home Mom.

Let’s spend this year, advocating for marriages, out honouring each other even on the toughest of days. Lets love each other well this year.

Happy (day after) Valentine’s Day!

 

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I Want to Smell like my Husband

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Is your sense of smell a strong sense for you? Mine is linked so closely with my memories, add in my visual mind and I can be right back to anywhere I want to be – just from one sniff. The smell of Nasi cooking will bring me back to my mother’s kitchen, the smell of a freshly cleaned floor brings me back to my summer camp days, my old perfume takes me to that sense of freedom of my early twenties – but my favourite is the scent of my husband, that smell makes me feel safe.

My husband travels for work quite often, not always overnight, but he’s away for a least one evening, if not two per week. Those are the long days. (Who can relate to this?!) There was one trip a couple of weeks ago where he was away for multiple nights. By the end of the second evening, I was so lonely. For those who know me, you know that I am a talkative person – I LOVE conversation, interactions, and social gatherings – I thrive on these – but I wither away when I am alone. I feel weak, trapped and desolate. (Hence why this time of postpartum has given me a run for my money.) It was a Tuesday night, my husband Face-Timed me as he got settled back into his hotel room. He could tell by my face (and the fact that I was in bed at 7:30pm) that I was not doing so well. I asked him how his day was, he walked me through it then he kindly asked me how my day was, I broke down and blurted out “I’m wearing your deodorant”. He burst out laughing. “WHAT?! Why are you wearing that?!” “It’s so that when I roll over, I get a whiff of you.” I said through the tears. He couldn’t keep a straight face for the rest of the conversation. But the truth of the matter is, sometimes all I need is that little tiny reminder that I am loved, safe, protected and most importantly not alone – even when I am lonely.

In Isaiah 43:1-2, the Lord promises to be with us, through thick and thin, though loneliness and abundance.

Now this is what the Lord says—
the one who created you, Jacob,
and the one who formed you, Israel—
“Do not fear, for I have redeemed you;
I have called you by your name; you are mine.
I will be with you
when you pass through the waters,
and when you pass through the rivers,
they will not overwhelm you.
You will not be scorched
when you walk through the fire,
and the flame will not burn you.

Isaiah 43:1-2

Although the smell of my husband gives me the physical sense of home, the Lord gives me a permanent affirmation of home. “I will be with you” – a statement of true love.

Now excuse me while I go and take a shower with my husbands body wash.

What’s the date again?

blog“What’s the date again?” I ask myself as I reach for my phone. I have to return some calls from yesterday – or wait – was that yesterday? Nope. They are from Monday and Tuesday – today is Thursday. Great, I just woke up and I’m already behind.

It all started Saturday night (back when I still knew what day it was) at 11pm. Elsie woke up screaming. This probably doesn’t seem to strange to you – she’s a baby isn’t she? YES! Elsie is a baby, but she is a baby who, just like her mama, LOVES her sleep. After a difficult pregnancy and a challenging delivery/postpartum, I was blessed with a baby who sleeps. Praise the Lord. I knew that this was coming, all of the baby books and blogs told me to be prepared, but how can you really prepare for her 9 month sleep regression AND a tooth coming in all at once?!

Monday morning I woke up with the head cold that has been going around. My husband had it Friday-Saturday, although like most husbands, he recovered quickly. He swears it’s not the same cold, I promise him that it is – I just also have a child feeding off my immune system on top of trying fighting off the virus. He lovingly gives me a hug, acknowledging my feeling of defeat.

On days, excuse me, weeks like this, I think of my Oma. 11 kids. She raised 11 kids – through colds, teething and sleep regression. I’m slowly falling in love with one of her favourite Psalms:

 

The Lord is my shepherd;
I have what I need.
He lets me lie down in green pastures;
he leads me beside quiet waters.
He renews my life;
he leads me along the right paths
for his name’s sake.
Even when I go through the darkest valley,
I fear no danger,
for you are with me;
your rod and your staff—they comfort me.

You prepare a table before me
in the presence of my enemies;
you anoint my head with oil;
my cup overflows.
Only goodness and faithful love will pursue me
all the days of my life,
and I will dwell in the house of the Lord
as long as I live.

Psalm 23 (CSB)

I can imagine her sitting beside the wood stove, praying herself through days like this, finding comfort in her Heavenly Father.

Who is someone in your life who inspires you to keep going?

 

Like my day organizer? Pick up your 2018 Planner at www.baronfig.com

 

The Queen of Patience – A Journey through Esther

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I have been reading through the story of Esther in my daily devotional. The only way that I’ve ever really heard the story of Esther is through the VeggieTales version – which, for what it is worth is a great learning tool for children – but as a 27-year-old woman, I figured I should probably have a better understanding of this prominent woman of the Bible.

As I wrote this, I finished about a page of writing, when I went to save the document, Microsoft Word shut down without saving anything that I had just written. I did all of the restore options that I could to retrieve it. I walked away from my computer feeling frustrated and defeated – like I had just wasted an abundance of precious time in my day. That’s when it hit me. The main lesson that I’d learned in Esther so far was patience – and yet given the opportunity, I completely failed in having any. Its like God was asking me to take a read through the first couple of chapters all over again to remind me to implement what he is trying to teach me.

For those of you who don’t know the story of Esther, I encourage you to read through it, slowly. Esther is a unique book of the Bible because there is no actual “response” from God throughout it – but Esther and Mordecai’s faithfulness to Him is what we learn from.

During King Ahasuerus’ 3rd year of reign, Queen Vashti refuses to comply with the King’s request when she is asked to appear at one of his celebrations. This decision embarrasses the King in front of his people. King Ahaseurus and his nobles decide that she will be removed as Queen to make an example out of her – lest she encourage others wives to also disobey their husbands. She would be replaced with a new virgin Queen who would be more worthy of the name.

Some time later, they finally got around to starting the search. Enter Esther, niece of Mordecai (a Jew whose family heritage has a long and violent history with the Amalekites, the family in which Haman – the King’s right hand man – belongs to. You can follow up with the history throughout the Old Testament: Exodus 17, Numbers 14, Deuteronomy 25, 1 Samuel 15, 30, 2 Samuel 8, 1 Chronicles 18 just to name a few.) Esther was well liked throughout the beautifying process and “fast tracked”, if you will, in to see the King. Esther followed Mordecai’s instruction to not reveal her ethnicity, as he knew that it could stand in her way. She won the favour of the King and became Queen during his 7th year of reign.

Mordecai soon overheard a plot to kill the King. He relayed it to Esther for her to warn the King, which she did on Mordecai’s behalf. The plotters were then hanged and the King remained safe.

After this, Haman was honoured by the King and promoted above all officials – with this promotion came the expectation that he would also be bowed too by the King’s subjects. Mordecai refused. Word got back to Haman that Mordecai was a Jew and he was filled with rage. He approached the King and told him that there was an ethnic group causing a whole world of trouble. He convinced the King that it would be in his best interest to just do away with the ethnic group as a whole – an opinion that was solely based on his hatred for Mordecai and their family history. This was in King Ahusaerus’ 12th year of reign.

Are you following this?! We started way back in his 3rd year and we are now full speed ahead into his 12th year. When you’re a kid, even as an adult, it’s easy to read these stories and think that one thing happened after another – bam, bam, bam – movie over. But that’s not accurate at all. This story is currently in its 9th year. Can you think about the last 9 years of your life and all that has happened?

Okay, back to it. Haman orders a decree that on one particular day, the King’s subjects to are purge the world of the Jews – men, women and children – and loot their property. A little harsh eh?! This order caused panic amongst the city of Susa and all other regions- right under the King’s nose. Mordecai tore his clothes and put on sackcloth and ashes, went into the middle of the city and cried out. Not cried, not wept – but wailing loudly and bitterly. Esther’s servants told her about the decree and Mordecai’s response, she was distressed. Mordecai then persuades Esther to go before the King – unannounced, I might add, which had the chance to carry the death penalty depending on the King’s mood.

And here come the biggest lesson from this book, “ If you remain silent at this time, relief and deliverance for the Jews will arise from another place, but you and your father’s family will perish. And who knows but that you have come to your royal position for such a time as this?” (Es. 4:14 NIV)

BAM. Just like that – PERHAPS you were MADE for this moment – right here. Mordecai had faith that no matter what Esther’s decision would be, that His Sovereign God, would deliver the Jews regardless but that he was giving the opportunity to Esther. All she had to do was step out in faith, trusting that God was in control. Let’s also quickly look back, Esther was made Queen in the King’s 7th year – we are now in his 12th year – therefore Esther had already been Queen for 5 YEARS. She has been sitting in this royal position, which I can only assume that she felt not worthy of, having no idea why she is there or what God is doing with her.

Have you ever felt like this? Stuck in a rut, day in and day out – maybe feeling that if God was going to use you for something, it would have happened by now? How often do you think that Esther felt this way over these 5 years? I can only imagine her confusion, but I also feel like I can relate to this on such a personal level. Being a Christian in the workplace, a wife, a mother and a friend I’ve often doubted the steps that I’ve taken to get to where I am – feeling useless at times – thinking to myself, what on earth could God be doing with this area of my life that just feels stagnant. Our God is a God of purpose. When we are serving the Lord, nothing happens in our life without it working for his glory and giving us the opportunity to voluntarily GIVE him the glory. It sure does make these long days of being a stay at home mother seem to be a little more purpose filled than I once thought (which when I typed this line, speaking out loud as I go, I peered over my shoulder at my sweet Elsie playing on the bed – she gave me her famous smile and a little giggle – I can’t wait to see what God has in store for this beauty.)

To finish off the original story of Esther, she invites the King and Haman to multiple private banquets before she has the nerve to tell the King that if he follows through with this plan – orchestrated by the evil Haman – that he will then need to kill his trusted Queen because she herself is a Jew. The king is appalled that this decree has happened but tells her that unfortunately, he cannot take back a decree with a royal seal. Instead, he sentences Haman to death for his part in this, and allows Mordecai (whom he did end up honouring for saving his life from the assassination plot, much to Haman’s dismay) to be promoted to his right hand man and issue another royal decree – calling the Jews to take up arms against those who come to hurt them. When the day came the Jew’s claimed victory in the name of God over those who threatened them.

Because of Esther’s faith in her Heavenly Father, God was able to use to her to further his Kingdom. Where in your life is God giving YOU the opportunity to step out in faith and take your place as a pivotal part in serving and furthering His Kingdom?

“A bath tub and fried chicken” – A Pregnancy and Birth Story.

Now that I’ve had time to process our pregnancy and birth with Elsie, it’s easier for me to put into words.

It was an emotional and physical roller coaster. We started with severe pregnancy sickness – I refuse to say morning sickness, as that’s not even close to an accurate description – unless morning means all day. We were prescribed some medicine and we were on a roll back to health! 

I lived 40 mins from my work and had long days, which means I was up at 5am and returned home between 7:30-8pm most evenings. At about 4.5 months long, we lost my Oma and Aunt within hours of each other. You can likely imagine what that experience as a hormonal, pregnant woman looked like. 

The week of the funerals, my left arm became very sensitive and tingly. After a couple of days, a strange bubbled rash appeared and I was feeling really under the weather. Something wasn’t right. We called the Dr. on the way home and booked an appointment for the next morning. 

Friday morning he took one look at the rash and said Shingles. Shingles is a version of the chicken pox that lays dormant in your nervous system – it strikes when your immune system has been comprised. Having not been well during pregnancy so far and the events of the previous weeks had made me a perfect candidate. By Saturday morning, I’d lost any practical use of my left arm. My dear Patrick wrapped and rewrapped my arm countless times over the next 3 weeks. 

This pregnancy was giving me a run for my money. 

After the shingles, we realized the danger of the stress that I was under and that if I was going to continue with a healthy pregnancy, I needed to take a step back. We decided to take an early Maternity leave, starting 2 months before my due date.

Once I had a chance to sleep/nap when my body needed it and had the opportunity to eat proper meals, I quickly gained back my health and some extra energy! It was such a blessing not only for me, but for everyone around us. Patrick and I were able to enjoy the last 2 months of pregnancy together in such a positive and excited environment. 

Shortly into my maternity leave, another Aunt of mine had passed away. Our beautiful pregnancy was an abundant amount of joy, surrounded by a large amount of sorrow. Throughout it we learned what it meant to truly praise God in every circumstance. Shortly after that, on a not so positive day, I was suffering from constant Braxton hicks and what they call “lightening pain” – which I will describe as a knife ripping through your cervix – I could barely make it through my grocery trip to Wal-Mart. I quickly left my cart and shuffled out to the car with tears streaming down my face. I came home, warmed up some left over fried chicken and got in the tub. That’s when I realized I was experiencing the epitome of pregnancy – you are bound to have at least one day, where all you need to do is to sit in a warm bath, eating your fried chicken while crying out of control.  

Our hospital due date was April 22nd, but by my own personal calculations, my due date was April 26th. My sister’s birthday is April 25th and it was the running joke that she would have to share her birthday with this new addition! I even had it marked in my calendar as “the day Tiny Turvey would most likely arrive”.

Labour started on April 23rd. While we were puttering around the house, I noticed a huge change in the appearance of my belly in the mirror on our stairs. It all the sudden looked as if it was about of drop to the ground! It was so different then when I had taken a photo just two days before.

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I had been having Braxton hicks since 6 1/2 months, so I didn’t think anything different about the cramping going on. We went to my in laws house and while speaking to my mother in law, I was describing these Braxton hicks and she gave me a funny look and said “you know those are early labour contractions right?” And I thought, well ya, isn’t that similar to what Braxton hicks are? 

We went and picked up some Hot and Spicy sausages – an old wives tale. I didn’t have high hopes. I knew that this baby would come when it was ready. 

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That evening, I begged Patrick to rub my lower back for what felt like hours – it was just aching so bad. I was sitting on the birthing ball while he massaged out the ache, I saw a book given to me by my doula sitting on our coffee table. I started perusing through it and got to the section about “signs of early labour”. As I read through the chapter I started checking each sign off in my head, thinking, “hmm, I have that, oh and that, annddd thaaatttt, but I haven’t had any blood yet, so it must not be it.” Alas, 10 mins later I went to the bathroom and there was blood. I went back downstairs and looked at Patrick and said, “I think it may be happening soon. I’m going to go and have a bath and then head to bed – maybe you should think about coming to bed early tonight too.” He said “yep, okay, sounds great.” I don’t think that he even processed what I was saying.

After I had climbed into bed, the contractions started to get progressively worse. After about an hour I texted Patrick who was down in his office asking if he was coming to bed soon. He replied with “yep, I’ll likely be up in the next half hour.” It was another 2 hours before he finally came to bed. He walked in to find me sitting on my birthing ball breathing through a contraction. He said “what are you doing on your ball?” And I said “I’m in labour, I said you should come to bed!” And he said “BUT YOU DIDN’T SAY YOU WERE ACTUALLY IN LABOUR!” as he quickly shuffled into bed realizing that he might not get any sleep tonight. By 3 am we were on route to my parents house (where we had planned on labouring because of our house’s distance to the hospital). When we got there we made a comment about the baby not coming on my sister’s birthday after all. I followed it by saying, “Well, with my luck this baby still won’t be born until tomorrow.” Sometimes your gut knows more than you do.

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(Carlie Pitka from Well Rounded Doula’s was an amazing support for both myself as well as for Patrick – if you’re expecting, I highly recommend that you contact her here: https://www.wellroundeddoulas.com) 

It was a long day of early labour with slow progression. Tiny Turvey was half “sunny side up” so we did a very painful routine to help her turn around. At about 7:30pm the contractions were every 2 mins apart and were very intense. The midwife came to check my dilation but couldn’t tell if my water had broken or not – so we packed up and headed to the hospital. When we got there, I was still only 3-4 centimetres dilated. The contractions stayed just as intense and grew as the night went on. They broke my water around 10pm to try to help Tiny Turvey along. The baby seemed to be stuck on my right hip and wasn’t entering the birth cannel correctly. Only half of my cervix was dilating. By 1am I was still only 4-5cm. I was in the shower for what felt like hours to help with pain and use gravity to the best of my ability. Finally, at 3am still sitting at 5cm, 28 hours into labour and after much deliberation, we decided to get the epidural. Thank goodness for Patrick, as he had the weight of the world on his shoulders as he weeded through these decisions alongside me and for me. I remember looking at my doula saying “I need the medicine, I cannot do this on my own anymore.” She and midwives agreed that in the middle of my second night with no sleep, I needed assistance to continue. I remember the midwives saying, “The Dr will be on the floor in 15 mins, we’ll have him come and assess you.” And I remember responding with, “I understand that the Dr. will be on the floor to assess me, but he’d better be coming to assess me with some pain medication in his hand, not going to get it after he is done and then have me wait an additional 15 minutes.” At that point, they decided to page the Doctor instead. I was so done. 

After receiving the epidural and pitocin around 4am, I finally fell asleep for a couple of hours. When I woke up, this wonderful nurse was siting beside me. She talked to me about everything under the sun. It was so good to feel like a human being, even just for a  moment. Once 7am hit, I was fully dilated. Patrick woke up to me spread eagle, being assessed by the nurse. We were ready to push. 

It was 45 mins of pushing when the Dr. came in to see how things were going. After one look into the birth canal, he, in the most kind way, let Patrick and I know that our Tiny Turvey was stuck, that the baby will not come out naturally without assistance. He told us that he would be prepping the room for a double set up in the OR – which means that he’d try to use forceps first, but would be prepared to do a c-section if that wasn’t possible. Once he left, the midwives jumped into action! They were determined to allow Tiny Turvey to move down just a little more to help me have the vaginal delivery like I wanted. About an hour and a half after we started pushing, we were moved into the Operating Room. There must have been 15 people in there, between the team for me, team for baby, team for the Dr, plus my midwives. I was quickly given some more epidural and strapped down to the table. The Dr. decided that he would be able to reach her with forceps and told us to be prepared as she would likely have a bad cone head from being stuck for so long. It felt like forever but it was only a few minutes, the room fell silent at the request of the Doctor. As Tiny Turvey was born, he held her up and Patrick exclaimed loudly, “IT’S A GIRL!” He looked at me, with tears streaming down his face as they placed her on my chest, “We have a daughter” he said, in the most sincere and joyful tone of voice. I struggled as I was strapped down on the table and couldn’t reach for her, it felt so amazing once the midwives freed me and I could wrap my shaking hands around our perfect little girl, with a perfectly shaped head full of hair. 36 hours after labour had begun, our little Elsie Jayne was born at 9:13am on April 25th, sharing a birthday with her lovely Aunt after all. 

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I had quite a bit of damage down below, with an episiotomy accompanied by a 3rd degree tear – we knew that it would be a long road of recovery ahead. I am so thankful that God blessed me with such a serving Husband, who cared for me and Elsie, day in and day out post birth. I had yet to understand the depth of his love for me before this, not because of a lack of him showing it, but just in the sudden new love for Elsie that we both shared and in turn, shared more love with each other. I fully believe that the birth of a child is one of the few times in life where the earthly realm and the Heavenly realm come so close that you can almost reach out and touch through them.  The name Elsie means “God is bountiful” and the name Jayne means “God has been gracious”, throughout this whole process we have felt God’s love ever so plenty and his grace ever so near. We thank for Lord everyday for our sweet little Elsie and for our team that supported us through it all. To our midwives, doula, nurses, doctors and our families, some of who were in the waiting room, praying and showing their support in the ways that we needed it most.