Thursday, October 27, 2011

Josiah's Birth Story

Warning:this is a wee bit long, but I had to capture every moment, emotion, funny story, etc from the day I went into labor.

It's only been just over a week since Josiah was born, so I figured I'd get this written while it's still fresh in my mind.

For a couple of weeks I'd been dilated to a 3 already and my doctor kept saying "any day now he's gonna come!" After two weeks of that any day now crud, I was getting quite impatient, and growing (literally) quite tired of being pregnant. I finally just resolved myself to the fact that I would be pregnant forever, which made the waiting, well, somewhat bearable. I'd also been wondering, what is labor going to feel like? Will I know if I'm in labor? I'd experienced some Braxton Hicks, but they were never bad, hardly even noticeable, so I wondered what the real thing would feel like.

Monday, Oct. 17th
4 am
Woke up at my regular 2 hour increment to use the bathroom. When I laid back down, I felt this strange sensation in my lower back that spread to my stomach that I hadn't felt before. It didn't last long, but then about 10 minutes later there it was again. I tried not to get my hopes up and make myself go back to sleep, but the pains kept coming every 10-15 minutes and were noticeably stronger. Finally around 5:30 I went to the living room and started timing them. They were coming less than 10 minutes apart, up until about 8:00 am, then they just stopped. I was frustrated to say the least. But then about an hour later, I felt it again. And for the next several hours, they would come every 30 minutes, then every 10 minutes, then back to every 20 minutes. It was completely inconsistent and I began to think nothing of it, that maybe it was just Braxton Hicks.

Around lunchtime I called my cell phone provider because I'd been having issues using the network on my iPhone. Whatever they had me do caused my service to completely shut off! So I started panicking! What if this is real labor and it picks up, I have no way to call the doctor, call family and friends...the issue must be fixed! So I prayed that my labor wouldn't pick up, and Rob and I headed off to the AT&T store to get it fixed. The iPhone 4 just came out a few days prior, so the store was still reeling in business, and we had a 20 minute wait. Whatdya know my labor would pick up while I'm sitting in this very public place?! So I suffered through some increasingly painful contractions with my happiest face plastered on, finally got the phone fixed, came back home...and it stopped again. Back to 30 minutes, then 10, then 20.

At 4:30 I decided to call my doctor, just to let her know what was going on. When I told her I'd been feeling them since 4 am she nearly had a fit and told me to come to the office before they closed at 5. Oops?! After the urgency of getting there before they closed at 5, we waited until almost 6 before I was seen. I was then told that I was 5 cm dilated and it was time to go to the hospital! Hearing those words, that it was time, kind of left me in a state of shock. As much as I had wanted the time to come already, I don't think I was prepared to hear it from my doctor. It made it official, that a baby would be here soon, and all of my wondering and questions and fears were about to have to be faced.

After briefly calling parents and a few friends, we checked into the hospital and by 6:30 I was hooked up to IV's, blood pressure monitors, fetal monitors, and who knows what other kinds of monitors. It didn't feel quite real, especially since my labor still wasn't that strong, and I had a hard time believing we were there to have a baby!

Here is where the timeline of things all mesh together.

Pretty quickly I noticed the contractions getting stronger and very close together, and I remember the nurses reminding me to breathe instead of holding my breath. Uh, holding our breath is what we all do when we're in severe pain right?! Okay, I guess not. Anyways, so here I am thinking this is so painful and everything, but then I'm informed they aren't nearly strong enough and they aren't doing anything. Well crap, that sucks. So what do they do? Oh, I guess I signed a statement while I was in pain giving them permission to administer various drugs, like pitocin. Which is exactly what they did. Mind you, I was already at 7 cm by this point.

Anyone who has ever had a natural childbirth and is then given pitocin knows exactly the hell that I was about to face.

It wasn't long and I was having unbearably strong contractions that were lasting for almost a minute, and they were barely a minute apart. It was constant, no break, no time to catch my breath and face the next one. I've never felt such pain before. So they tried administering an analgesic through my IV which is used to dull the pain and is safe for the baby, but it did nothing except make the room spin wildly around me. Then the nurses realized the pitocin was too much, it was slowing the baby's heart rate, and cut the pitocin drip. But the damage was already done, the [devil] was in my system, and the contractions would not let up. Baby's heart rate was still low, and something needed to be done to bring it back up.

I had to make a decision to do something that in my mind didn't even exist, was not an option, and I viewed as "ringing the bell" like in ESOAL at Teen Mania. But if I didn't choose to take an epidural, I might be putting the baby at risk. For the sake of Josiah's health, I took the epidural. At first I felt so defeated, I felt like I failed, and I had to let go of the pride in my heart that I had to prove to people I was somehow strong enough.

I think it was less than 10 minutes when the pain relief kicked in. I remember looking out the window and noticing it was storming, lots of rain and lightening outside. I commented on it and everyone laughed and asked where I'd been the past hour! Apparently it had been storming for quite a while, but I had been in so much pain that I had no idea!

Golly let me tell you, by this point I had no regrets whatsoever in getting the epidural! I was so relaxed and happy, and felt like I was just peacefully floating along waiting for Josiah to come. I was able to talk with Rob, and my best friend Emmie was there as well. We were able to joke around, take ridiculous pictures (which I made them swear would never be viewed by anyone on the face of the planet), and rest. By 11:45 pm I was dilated to a 10 and was ready to start pushing.

No one tells you how hard this part of labor is. During pregnancy I feel like I heard all about contractions this, contractions that, but barely a word about the pushing stage. [deep breath in, okay hold it and push with all your might! 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, (counting gets slower and slower) 6, 7, 8, 9, 10. Okay now quick, deep breath in, and again! ...deep breath in and one more time!]

I did that for almost 2 hours. Two exhausting hours.

Then all of a sudden, I knew the end was near. The nurses called for the doctor, then a team of like 30 people piled in to the room. Within minutes I pushed one final time and then I heard it - that first piercing cry, that beautiful sound that said welcome to motherhood! I began weeping, and just watched in awe as [my little boy] screamed and screamed while the nurses cleaned him up and weighed and measured him. After what felt like ages he was finally handed to me and snuggled next to my own skin. My heart melted and transformed and I felt emotions I'd never felt before. I immediately felt this fierce, intense, and unexplainable love for him. All of the fears of motherhood and having a baby were suddenly wiped away and replaced with a miracle that only God could do.

The past week has surprised me in many ways. The dirty diapers I dreaded changing? I find it to be a fun part of the routine. The losing sleep at night? Yeah, it's hard, but I'm mesmerized every time I get to look at my son's sweet face when I feed him. Already he's enriched our lives. Josiah has made what was already a good thing just that much better! I am so, so, so thankful to God. He answered all of our prayers about a healthy pregnancy, quick labor, easy recovery, and a peaceful baby. I am one very content and blissfully happy mama.

Monday, October 24, 2011

A Heart so Full

My heart.
Is so full.
Of love.
Of previously unknown emotions.

I look at my son. [my son]. Oh those words! I am a mama. Something that was not a dream of mine. I didn't want children for a very long time. But God had other plans.

To tell you all the dead truth, I've not been completely honest on this blog the past 9 months. I've put my most optimistic face forward, tried so hard to convey a complete trust in God's plans in this. But at the core, I've been afraid. I've been angry. I've questioned God, told Him it was a mistake...asked Him to take it all away.

And now, now when I look at my son [this beautiful, precious, and perfect little boy], I almost weep at the thought that I didn't want a baby.

This morning I was reading a blog of a couple in the middle of an adoption. They were planning to adopt for a woman who was pregnant and didn't want her baby. On October 6th, this woman gave birth, then decided to keep the baby. This couple, who has been unable to conceive, and who for 9 months believed they were finally going to have a baby, lost him. They essentially miscarried. And my heart broke. I just wept at my computer this morning.

I began thinking of all the couples who have been trying so hard for a baby, and they would love to be in my position of being spit up on, peed on, losing sleep. They dream of those days. Who am I that God would choose me to have a baby, that in my selfishness and pride would give me such a beautiful gift? I cannot understand or fathom why God does what He does.

I am a changed woman today from who I was a mere week ago. I was just checking into the hospital at this time last week, clueless to the blessing that was waiting for me. Thank you God for knowing better than I do, for your extravagant love and grace, and for the sweet and perfect blessing of Josiah.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Baby Josiah

I know I'm supposed to sleep when the baby sleeps, but this morning I feel so refreshed and excited, and I absolutely must share about the past few days!

Josiah Robert Griffioen finally came into the world Tuesday at 1:26 am after just 7 hours of labor, a perfectly healthy and beautiful 6 lbs 15 oz, 20.5 inches long. Yeah, he's a long, skinny little man, with sweet chubby little cheeks and a dimply chin <3

That moment, of seeing him for the first time, is a moment that you can never fully describe or convey unless you've experienced it. I've wondered for 9 months what it would be like to see him - would I love him instantly, what would he look like, am I really going to be a good mom, am I capable of doing this, what is God thinking?! And in that instant, all of those fears and questions seemed to disappear, and I've quickly realized that I truly was made for this.

As I was feeding him at one point last night, I was just gazing at his peaceful little face, and God's words that each of us are fearfully and wonderfully made came to mind. It blows me away when I look at Josiah knowing that the very hands of God purposely and carefully knit him together inside of me! Looking back over these 9 months, especially in the beginning when we had just found out about being pregnant, I can't believe I ever questioned what God was doing.

I could go on and on about how amazed I am, but I'll spare you all my ramblings. I just feel so overwhelmed and blessed at God's grace and goodness. I'm so excited for the journey that's begun :-)

Sunday, October 16, 2011


A word I live with...a lot. There are a lot of things recently that I've felt regret about. A big one has been moving to Texas when we did. I've looked back on our decision and the timing so many times and my heart just wonders if it was the right thing. It placed us in the difficult position of me being the provider because Rob can't work here yet, which has caused a lot of stress on my end.

A more recent decision I've felt regret over is going on maternity leave when I did. I listened to my doctor who was so surprised by my progress and was saying "any day now, any day now!" Now here we are, two weeks into this "any day now" bologna. It could have been another paycheck in the bank.

But the book I mentioned yesterday addresses this issue. Joyce Meyer explains that regret is how the devil loves to work. Satan waits until a decision has been made, until it's too late to change anything, when you can no longer do anything about it. Then he tries to bring on regret and condemnation.

I believe the Holy Spirit guides me in my decision. He speaks to me and gives warning signals if I shouldn't do something. Now of course I'm not perfect, I make mistakes, I don't hear correctly sometimes, but even if that's the case, God is not the one filling me with regret! Quite contrary, God loves to show His kindness, which leads to repentance, when we've made mistakes.

Satan wants to steal our peace and joy. What better way to do that than do fill us with regret and waste our time over that which cannot be changed?!

I will not be burdened by regret. I trust that God has led us in each of our decisions. And if we have made mistakes, His love, grace and mercy for us is not based on our performance or if we do the right thing or not! Grace is unmerited, and it is who God is! He will always be there to take care of us.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Enjoying Life

Enjoying where you are, on the way to where you are going...

That's the title of a book I just started reading by Joyce Meyer. A little gem of a thing I found in the dirt of life's mess right now.

I think we can all relate in some way or another. We're often looking ahead to what's will be better when I get that promotion, when I'm able to move to this place, when I finally get married, when the babies are out of diapers, etc, etc...

When I was a house director at Teen Mania, my biggest message to the girls under my leadership was to make the most of whatever situation you are in. That was easy for me to preach back then. I was in one of the best seasons of my life, and even though Rob and I were long distance, I held on to the fact that I knew we'd be together for the rest of our lives and I only had that short window of time at Teen Mania left.

But since leaving Teen Mania, enjoying life in the season that I'm in has been the most difficult thing to do! When I was working with Rob's foster sister, I always said life would be better when I got a different job. When it was bitter cold and snowing every other day, I said life would be better once it was warmer again (hmm, well it kinda was better...haha). Then I said life would be better once we were back in Texas. Now I say life will be better when we are done with immigration, when Rob can get a job, when I'm done being pregnant, when we have a better place to live. It's never ending!

I'm only on chapter 3 of this book, so I can see more blog posts in the future on this topic. Right now I'm learning to wake up to the fact that there isn't one final destination on this journey that's the jackpot to happiness. I desire to enjoy the journey, and to once again make the most of each season of life. I'm hoping and praying that this little book will spark a change in my heart and my attitude toward the season we are in.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

The Blessed Life

Our pastor at Gateway, Robert Morris, has been doing a series based on his book, The Blessed Life, and it's all about financial stewardship and giving as God designed. For many of us, it's a refresher course (Rob and I read the book while we were dating and it transformed our thinking and attitude towards giving), but refresher courses are often a very GOOD thing.

We've felt recently that we have little to give because we ourselves have been so in need, but we're being shown through these messages that it's not just about money, it's about time, it's about attitude, it's about love. It's not about giving out of abundance (think about the widow in the new testament who gave her only two mites). But God says in Malachi chapter 3 that when we give in our tithes and offerings, that He will open for us the windows of heaven and pour out such blessing that there will not be room enough to receive it all.

That said, I say the following not to brag on myself by any means, but to show that God's word is true! On Monday it was on our hearts to put together a gift bag for someone who is having a baby. We knew it wouldn't be much, but we just wanted to bless this person in some small way. Then last night after our church small group, we found out that all the couple from our group had gotten together to bless us! They had put together a large gift basket full of items, all of which were things we had gotten this other person on Monday. It was as if God did exactly what He said in Malachi and poured out such abundant blessing back to us. And not only that, they all pitched in and got us a rocker/glider for the baby's room! I feel so overwhelmed with blessing and God's goodness!

Friends, I know many of you are like us right now, and times are hard financially, even spiritually. But I encourage you to get this book, or listen to the sermons from it online (go to and it's on the homepage). There is blessing promised in God's word when we tithe, and there is also a curse when we don't. Don't let fear or insecurity stop you from giving. I promise, God will bless you and provide your every need!

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

The Calm Before the Storm

Thank you Kailene over at Jubilee for inspiring a list themed blog today :-)

1. According to my doctor, baby Josiah could literally arrive any time now. Basically, it's a sit and wait game right now. She said she wouldn't be surprised if he came this week. Buuuut I'm trying not to get my hopes up. I'm feeling the calm before the storm right now.

2. I'm extremely excited for Josiah to arrive. And I don't think I can quite convey the miracle of that statement. 9 months ago I was terrified, I was upset, I thought God made a mistake. For many of these months I've asked God what the heck He was thinking. But now, just the thought of holding Josiah in my arms, and kissing his sweet cheeks, and holding his little hand, is almost too much for me. To hold him, and know that the very hands of God knit him together inside of me, completely overwhelms my heart.

3. I can't wait to not be pregnant. AKA I can't wait to go running again. And uh, drink a margarita...

4. I just had coffee. Which means Josiah just had coffee. Which might explain the jelly bean like effect happening in my belly right now.

5. This is what Boss looked like the day we got him. He was so tiny and innocent looking. And friends, this is my firstborn. He will not be forgotten when Josiah comes. Mark my words. That's all for now :-)

Monday, October 3, 2011

One Batch of Thoughts

It's Monday morning, and for the first time in a VERY, I mean very long time, it doesn't arrive with dread.

I don't have to work today. I don't have to do anything today.

Officially, I'm on maternity leave. Yeah I know, I just got the new job, but Josiah could literally arrive any time now, and I don't want to risk going into labor at work! Plus, 8 hours on my feet the past 2 weeks...I'm sore and tired! Time to rest up and prepare for this baby.

Rob and I are taking the utmost advantage of our time together. Going out as much as possible, going on walks, going to the gym, going out with other couples from our small group. I don't know what more we could do to enjoy "us" time, but simply be thankful for the sweet, quiet times of just me and my love. I'm feeling more ready for Josiah to come. I'm feeling VERY ready to not be pregnant anymore.

This morning I woke up thinking about the Honor Academy. I realized that all the interns had already been up for a few hours, run a few miles, and were all scurrying to finish getting ready in the over-crowded bathroom. My heart really misses those days. Who knew four years ago what a lifelong impact that time at the HA would have on my life? I wouldn't trade it for anything, that's for sure.

Here's to change, and continually trusting that God's plans are always the best.