I've been feeling like I should write this for a while now and whenever I feel like that I know there must be a reason. There is always a reason...for everything. I really believe that with every part of my heart.
I started thinking about this a few weeks ago. I was given the link to a blog which literally left me feeling depressed. Not sad about the situation but truly depressed. It actually took me a good hour to snap out of it. And I got to thinking, if just reading some of her posts and her "about me" left me that terribly upset, I can't imagine what she must be feeling each and every day when she wakes up?
You see her blog, the picture at the top shows her two daughters, and then it has a spot with the two names of her babies that died. So every single person who visits her blog sees that she had two miscarriages instantly. The more I read, the more I realized, every single post, circled around these two lost children and the sadness she walked through. It was truly difficult to read. Every comment left always stated their sadness for her and how sorry they were.
Now, I in no way am trying to minimize the pain of a miscarriage. They are devastating and they hurt every muscle and every bone in your body. They really do. Unfortunately, they are terribly common and statistically they say 1 in 5 girls has to walk through this pain in their life, but as I wrote in the opening paragraph I believe there is a reason for everything. I KNOW without a shadow of a doubt God uses each and every painful experience to draw us closer to Him and to shape our character. I don't understand it, but I don't try to. I think you can get into some dangerous territory when you try and "understand" everything God does in your life. We just can't. As He says "As my ways are higher than your ways so are my thoughts higher than your thoughts." I think it's pretty clear in that verse alone, we can only see a teensey, insy, little minuscule part of his amazing plan for the world. So, it's just easier to trust, because believe me, I've tried to understand it and it's exhausting and unproductive!
Now, with that said, learning to trust I've found is about 14,567,388,781 times harder than it sounds, but it is a key component of absolutely every single aspect of your life. I've also found that I believe God won't take you on this journey until you're really surrendered to His will. There were so many areas I had to work through laying down before I could even begin the journey of trusting. I mean, it doesn't really count if you are say suffering from an addiction and saying, "I totally trust you God, but I just need to hold onto this addiction because it is comforting while I'm learning to trust." I think that kind of negates the trusting, don't you? Unfortunately, it just doesn't work.
So, to the girl who lost her two little angels, I hoped she'd soon find a place of healing so she can see there was a purpose behind the pain. I prayed that she would be able to give up this excruciatingly difficult situation and trust that the One who made her was also going to walk with her as she moved forward through the pain to a place of peace.That she knew her two babies could look down from heaven and see their mom walking with hope in her heart and not living in the pain of the past.
So, that is why I think, disasters should not define you, but REFINE you. I hope that each and every time I am forced to walk through a situation that feels impossible, that I am able to come out a stronger, more peaceful, more hopeful, more loving individual who can use that experience to help face the next difficult situation with more grace and more confidence than before.
I've had baby fever recently. Many of my blogging friends have either just had a baby or are about to. So let me surmise: We want two babies....but we do not want two babies two years apart! :) I think the whole building a baby process alone would surely kill me. I think it would be great to have children close together for the whole friendship aspect, and many many other reasons but I, my friends, would die in the process. Probably literally. JK. :) (maybe)
So, to put a top on this whole "I WANT MORE BABIES NOW" I'm going to write about my birth story. I think just a nice reminder about what happened to me at the end of the 9 months will help to ease my incessant thoughts about more babies. :) Also, to my bloggy friends who are considering kids, I'll be honest about my whole experience to help you have the most information possible before you take off on this adventure. ;)
My birth story begins on Tuesday, the 27th of October. I was set to be induced the next morning (Wednesday). However, Clara decided she wanted out that night. So we got to the hospital, and then she changed her mind. Awesome. Since I was set to be induced the next morning, they just let me stay (but not eat).Okay, had I known I wouldn't be able to eat I would have NEVER let them keep me overnight. I think that was one of the main issues I would have changed looking back.More on that later.
Throughout this entire pregnancy process I was in the 1% category. 1% of girls get crazy bumps (PUPPS) all over their body and I was the 1%.
1% of girls need to have surgery on their hernia's while prego and I was that 1%
1% of girls get polyhydramnios and I was that 1%
So you see a trend here. :)
Well...I'm making up the 1% for this issue only because doctors kept commenting on how I wasn't reacting to the Pitocin and that never happens apparently. Maybe I'm like 0.01% here...I don't know? :)
So there I was, on Pitocin, HIGH DOSES of Pitocin, and not having regular contractions. Don't get me wrong...they hurt. They hurt ALOT! But they weren't regular and I wasn't dilating. Painful contractions all day with no progress = depressed mommy to be. So there I was, in pain, no progress, and HUNGRY. By 9:00 that night I told my doctor if she didn't let me eat I was going to have to quit, due to starvation. So, by the pure kindness in her doctor heart she took me off the Pitocin and let me eat. Yeah Yeah!!! I seriously ate soooo much. I hadn't eaten in about 30 hours by that point, was growing a baby and laboring all day. I think I ate everything on the menu. :)
The next morning we were at it again, pitocin and no progress by noon. So, knowing I couldn't eat (seriously that was my driving force at that point lol) until this baby was here I decided to stand. No more sitting for *this girl.* Me and Clara and Dave danced to 50 Cent, played scatergories, and shook our bon bon's all.afternoon.long (taking breaks between contractions). That was seriously the only time we stopped! I asked the nurses not to check me until that evening because I just couldn't hear one more time "Sorry Amber...no progress yet." So at 5:00 that night I asked them to check me. And what do you know... 1 1/2-2 CM's LOL!! But, do you know what that meant??? They could break my water which was our goal this WHOLE TIME. I was seriously so excited. SO EXCITED!
So, they break my water. HOLY.FREAKING.MOTHER.OF.POTATOES.That was when for the first time I felt the for realllllll pain of contractions. So far I'd done without pain medicine (2 days now) and was quite proud of myself. Now though? Now, I couldn't say "Epidural!" fast enough. I remember after they put the epidural in it still takes about 15 minutes to set in and I kept asking the dude "Are you sure you got it in right because (OWWWW) this hurts and (OWWWW) maybe we should do it again just in case and (OWWW)!!" I just remember him kindly smiling and saying he promised it would take effect shortly. And it did. Thankfully. :)
I wanted to have a natural childbirth. My friend Laura did and she had me determined I could do it, but I think the sheer exhaustion of 2 days on Pitocin had already defeated me...and my hunger. Because here we were about 48 hours of labor and one meal.
But this is the amazing thing about epidurals. After 2 days of no sleep and barely any food, my doctor turned off the light in my room and said she would check me in 5 hours. Wow...that was the most amazing sleep of my life. Next thing I know, I was being woken up to bright lights and my doctor saying I could start pushing.
Yeahhhhhhhhhhhhh! And push I did. For 2 hours.However, the closer we got, the more scared I became. Polyhydramnios can cause severe problems in a baby and as healthy as she looked on the monitors we just weren't going to know until she was here. I remember thinking, no matter what happens, God knew we needed this baby girl healthy or not healthy and we will love her with every ounce of our heart and do our best to raise her with His help.So that's what I did,I just kept breathing, looking at my husband and praying. That's all I did. And then, the moment you never think will never arrive....did...
She laid beautiful Clara Grace in my arms. Clara with a whole head full of dark beautiful hair. Her cute little pink squished up nose.Her little smile already surfacing. My precious baby girl.
So that, my friends, is how Clara Grace came into this world.
I haven't posted about my mom in a while and I know her stories used to be everyone's favorite and so I wanted to share a conversation I had with her this weekend with all of you.
However, before I begin: I love you to pieces mom and it's conversations like this that make you even more precious to me (and proud of you)!!! :)
Okay, here we go.
Me: Hey Mom, I have a quick question. Do you know how to text?
Mom: Well...when I was on the roof in Kurdistan.....
Me: (laughing hysterically) Wait...What?????
Mom: Amby What?!?!? Why are you laughing????
Me: Well...I just wasn't ever expecting that to be the way you would start to answer that question...Sorry...go on...
Mom: Thank you. When I was on the roof in Kurdistan...they taught us how to text and.....
Me: Okay mom, I'm sorry. I still don't get this?!?!
Mom: Well...if we were captured by the Kurds, they knew we wouldn't be able to call from the trunks of the cars because the terrorists would hear us, so they wanted us to be able to text eachother.
Me: Wow. Okay. Well...regardless of how you learned..I'm glad you are safe now and that you can text!
Now, for a little piece of background to that story. My mom is a missionary and has traveled all over the world on some fairly dangerous missions. I never got clarification as to why they were on the roof and why the leaders of their group just assumed they would be placed in a trunk if they were captured but either way...this conversation reminded me of several reasons why I love my momma! :)
This literally would have been my favorite part of the WHOLE trip.It's basically a giant speed boat that does tricks on the water. It is crazy fast and insanely fun. However, before we left they gave us rain coats "just in case." But said it had been really dry all day and not to worry about getting wet. Well...wouldn't you know...the first person to get wet all day...MUAH! Yes, that's right, a sharp spin to the left and I was drenched...I mean drenched. Dave was laughing so hard I think I remember him snorting. I mean a few people around me got splashed a little but I think literally all the water in the ocean splashed up on me that moment. And...do you know how cold that gets going like 60 mph on the water around a bay???
So Mr.Rocket Boat...while I started out loving you I now loathe you!:)(jk I still love you but I'll always remember you ruined my hair for that whole day)
On the way back downtown we saw this adorable little band.
Everyone was about 10 years old and they were sooo cute and actually pretty decent musicians!
So guess what was next...Husker game!! That's right..D found a bar & grill that only played husker football so while like thousands of miles away it felt like home!
The group we were sitting with said I didn't look "husker" enough in blue so I got to wear that beautiful helmet the whole game.
Then it was off to Beach Blanket Babylon.
Yep I finally got to take a shower to rinse off the salt water (and 'beautiful' husker helmet).
I have to say this was literally me and D's favorite show ever. We've seen plays on broadway,etc but this one blew them all away so if you go to SanFrancisco you absolutely HAVE to see this. Andddd D met the lady in the big hat in the middle after the show and she gave him a hug and everything...guess where I was...the bathroom!!! Cry cry cry! This was seriously not my best day with the, oh being soaked in salt water all day and then missing meeting the star of the show LOL. :)
She told D her hat weighed...wait for it....300 lbs!!
The next morning we planned to bike the golden gate bridge. That sounds easy enough right?? Sure it does.
One of these bad boys...I can't believe I didn't actually get a picture of us on it. Boo.
So, they make it look pretty easy right? Oh.My.Gosh! It is insanely difficult to get used to and with me being in back it was even trickier because you totally have to rely on the person steering for balance and speed. I think they should make any couples going through counseling ride one of those bad boys because it is a team effort for sure!! However, it may actually work the opposite because I remember yelling kindly asking D like 5 times to please SLOW THE HECK DOWN!! But I could tell he was thouroughly enoying me screaming on the back of the bike as we were heading down the hills 100 mph at what I could only assume was our pending death at the bottom! :)
But we survived and look at the view once we finally got to the bridge.
It felt surreal. Like that couldn't possibly be a real view.
We literally stood up there in awe. Like how could anyone see something so beautiful and not believe in God? It was literally breathtaking.
*And, side note, the island behind me totally looked like the island from "Lost." Yeah Yeah!
We decided to keep going onto the small town of sausilito because we had finally figured out our bike and apparently are crazy. Ha! :)
Almost all the houses in this town were along the side of the hill so you could see across the ocean in every direction. It was the cutest little town with shops on every corner. Everyone was sitting outside sipping wine and watching the waves come in.
Don't worry...we weren't jealous. :(
After our 10 mile bike ride. Yep that's right. 10 miles, on a double bike with about 3 being straight uphill. We headed towards the ferry to head home.
We randomly kept running into a very sweet couple (Dori & Erik) during our entire journey and by the end, us 4 realized it was destiny that we become friends! (Thanks for making our golden gate experience even more memorable you two!)
Me, Erik, Dori & D arriving home on the ferry
That night, we ate at a cute little italian restaurant and went to bed at like 8. We thought our legs were going to fall off after our bike ride and we really wanted them not to, so we took it easy that night.
The next morning was.....(insert scary music)
The only way to get there was by boat and just pulling up to the island creeped! us! out!
This is the first building you enter into.
Seriously...how much does this look like it should be in a "Saw" movie??
This is one of the jail cells..Could have been Al Capone's!
This was their "yard" where they could walk around
And look at their view from that yard
See Alcatraz was designed exactly for that purpose. Everything was mental anguish for the prisoners. They could see freedom, but just couldn't experience it. They told us on certain holidays the prisoners could hear people in SanFrancisco celebrating, such as New Year's etc and it would drive some inmates to insanity. The prisoners were also not allowed to exercise either. The wardon knew that if the inmates were not in shape they were never going to be able to survive the swim across the bay and they also were given very hot showers. So, were they to escape their bodies weren't used to such freezing waters and they would be captured right away. The prison guards actually told the prisoners that they had great white sharks circling the island at all hours of the night. They told them they had cut off their dorsal fins so they could only swim in circles.lol. I guess it was said most inmates actually believe this to be true.
Surprisingly, despite all of these things, one prisoner managed to escape by tunneling out through his vent and made it to the shore of SF. However, he was so bloodied and beaten by the waters that once he reached the shore he was immediately taken to the hospital in town. By 5:00 that afternoon, he woke up, back in his cell. At Alcatraz. Now that would be depressing!
One last shot, leaving that terrible place
And, well, I'm not going to lie, this entire segment has completely exhausted me(and probably you) so I'll leave you with a few of my favorite things that I'll miss so much about SF trip!
I'll miss the amazing seafood
I'll miss Ghiradeli Square and the ridiculously delicious chocolate!
I'll miss the sparkly streets!
I'll miss the restaurants named after me! haha :)
The wonderful chinese food in China Town!
All the candy stores that let you sample the candy FOR FREE!
I will miss...no wait I WILL NOT miss the hills! :)
I will miss seeing raw fish on the street and D pretending to kiss them.(I actually asked him to do this and he was not too happy about it lol):)
I will miss meeting famous "Erhu" players! (This little man was SO sweet..I mean he's buddies with Will Smith! How fun is that!)
I will miss jumping on the hotel's bed! :) Wohoooo!
I will miss wine tasting in the afternoon and apparently "tasting too many" and deciding to do a little jig for the camera!:)
And, apparently SF was sad we were leaving too. The day we left was the first day it wasn't sunny.
It's okay...we'll be back someday Mr. Amazing City!!!
But you know who I don't miss anymore now that' I'm home!!
This beautiful little lady!!
Because we missed her more than ANYTHING!!! :) Love you sweetheart!!
* A couple ending notes
1) Thank you for everyone who actually made it to the end of this post with me. There should be some sort of award for writing and reading this long of a post.
2) Ashley B - I totally saw your parents and the Oliva's at Alcatraz...how crazy is that???
2) It may seem as though I wore the same outfit everyday and in fact I almost did...because I thought we were going to be hiking. However, do not be alarmed I did change my panties and socks each day. HA! :)
Hey Everyone!!!We're home!!! (We weren't actually gone this whole time but we were gone a week soooo I needed a little time to get back in the swing of things) Anyways...I bet you are all wondering where we went. Wellllll before I get to that let me tell you the mental anguish my husband put me through that entire morning!!
D had said a few times we would be driving so I had envisioned a trip to Colorado or something like that. However, then he brought up all our camping equipment so I was thinking probably a little hiking adventure(not my idea of a romantic getaway but I figured I'd go with it because I knew his heart was in the right place) However, the morning we were supposed to leave I climbed in the car only to hear D saying..."Now we're going to be doing alot of driving this trip so just get used to being in the car because we're going on a little adventure up north.) At this point my head was about to explode, because I could take ONE long day in the car, and a couple nights camping, but thinking of unpacking and packing a tent every single night and being on the road all.day.long. does NOT a good vacation make!!! Sooooo in typical Amber fashion, I started crying. Yes big, round sad tears. I just couldn't hold it in any longer. D looked over and I could tell he didn't know what to do...he just kept assuring me we were going to have a great time just being together. So I tried to be strong and prepare for long hours in the car...just as I was really getting my head around the idea he took a sudden turn...toward the airport!!!!
This was my totally creepy smile moments after I found out we weren't driving anywhere!!!!(Sorry I just had to share this picture to show how ridiculously excited I was...I actually started screaming lol)
And this was my sneaky husband moments after revealing he pulled off the BEST SURPRISE TO DATE!
So, now the second surprise...where on earth were we going?????
Well...I think Tony Bennett sang it best when he said....
I left my
So, I was thrilled to say the least and we truly had the time of our lives. Our first stop...lunch!!Ha. Of course...a girl has to eat!So, we found a fun bar and grill that literally had more alcohol than I'd ever seen in my life in one place. I tried to capture it, but this picture didn't do it justice. It was crazy!
This was our sweet waitress who we absolutely loved. Yes, I asked alot of random people to take pictures with us this trip because I wanted to remember every part...I'm not sure they were all to thrilled about it lol. :)
Then it was off on a tour of the city so we could get a good feel for where we wanted to go over the next week. There is nothing special about this picture besides to show you how almost ALL people had to learn to park in SF. These hills were killers!!Our tour driver said the tricky part isn't the parking as much as making sure your door doesn't swing down and dent the car next to you as you climb out. Craziness!
China Town! The food in china town was seriously unbelievable.
Recognize this corner?? Mrs. Doubtfire anyone??? Yep...that is the house Sally Field lived in during the movie!
And I KNOW you know why this place is famous!! FULL HOUSE was filmed here! :)
This was called crayola corner for obvious reasons. The part that was fascinating to me. One of these little homes...6 to 10 MM. Yep...you heard that right. 1,000 square feet for 10 MM dollars!
And this was Mr. Toad! Ha...we seriously loved him though. He's been driving SF for 35 years. Literally anyone famous who comes through SF has gone on a tour with him.He's the "go to" guy I guess. He has driven everyone from Dolly Parton to Marilyn Manson to ACDC and so on. He named about 50 people (to name a few he said) who had ridden with him in his tour bus. So fun!
Then we started exploring. This place was crazy to me. The only way to get to the houses was this stair case. So all the residents had to climb about oh 7 flights to get home. Can you imagine carrying groceries up this bad boy???
Another shot looking down...
That night we went dancing but I didn't get any pictures. :(
The next morning D wanted to ride the trolley so we caught the early one. OH WAIT...D did...the trolley driver left me!!! Yeah, so apparently you have about 3 seconds to hop on before they start moving again when they stop to pick you up. Well I had Starbucks with me and the driver said I couldn't bring drinks on the trolley so D hopped on while I ran to the nearest trash can. Next thing I know, I look and the trolley is halfway up the hill!!!! Yeah, he totally didn't wait for me and D was so surprised he didn't have time to jump off. So there I was, 7:00 in the morning, lugging my huge purse running up the hill trying to catch the trolley before it got to it's next stop!!!! And do you remember the picture of the hills in SF. Yeah...I was dying LOL!
Here we are after I finally caught it and got my breath back. That smile was somewhat fake in the picture...
(He was actually really nice..it was just kindof funny) :)
To help recover from that fiasco we decided to have breakfast at this cute little joint. They were said to have "world famous pancakes."
They were actually pretty regular tasting lol but now I can at least say I've ate world famous pancakes! :)
Then off to my favorite spot!!! BEST SEAFOOD ON EARTH!!
I loved this little seagull. I gave him all my crackers and this picture cracks me up because it looks like he was copying my stance! :) You have a special place in my heart Mr. Seagull bird dude.
Then we went to this arcade on the pier that had arcade games all from the 1930's. There was a huge crowd around this man and not one guy could beat him.
So I decided to give it a try. First attempt = epic fail.
Second attempt = HECK YEAH (with a bit of cheating hehe) :)
This cracked us up. All of the "love barometers" kept rating D like "dead fish" "flat tire" etc. It was SO FUNNY. By the third try it had become a big joke...but I can assure you all he's not. RARRR!! hahaha. Sorry. TMI!! :)
Then it was one of my favorite parts of our trip. The Rocket Boat!!!! However, that my friends will start our journey tomorrow....because that is a whole post in itself!!! :)