I'm trying a new thing around here to get me sharing a little more about my motherhood journey. Maybe you are following me from my previous blog but, for those of you who don't know, I was the author behind the blog She Smile, She Writes. I talked about my faith, my college sweetheart, our engagement, a little about the beginning of my marriage and going to India. Most of what I wrote was from the deepest, darkest parts of my intimacy with the Lord. I often go back to those posts because it was such a fruitful season of my life, even though it seemed like the longest wilderness. Blogging gave me community, it strengthened my voice and it helped me have a new perspective on the what the future held for me. I don't blog as often as I should (I still journal offline) but I'd like to share my life again. how about we start with the most life-altering experience of my life!
I debated about sharing Alana's birth story for a few reasons; like how it's the millennial thing to do and what would people think of me. But you know what? Screw my insecurities. You're an open target for judgement the minute you become a mom so, might as well give them more opportunities to misunderstand me lol. Being a mom also makes you a little crazy. A little insanity goes with the territory (and let's face it—anyone who has kids these days cannot be normal).
DISCLAIMER: you're about to see the most unflattering, raw, real life, unedited images of my life. There are some images with some body fluids so, I'm apologizing for the TMI now.
Behind the Name
Alana has a few meanings. The Hawaiian origin means "awakening", while the Irish meaning is "little rock, or harmony, concord". It's kinda crazy because I worked at Concord Coffee for two years and after my last week there, we found out we were pregnant. Which brings me to another interesting point in our story. I had gone to Puerto Rico on April of last year because Louis wanted me to spend time with my parents since we didn't know what the future of self-employment would look like. I remember it as clear as day, getting to PR on a Monday night and Louis calling me to see if I arrived safely. "Well, in my prayer time, God told me you were pregnant," he said. "Uhhhhh. That can't be. I'm about to get my period anyways!" I protested. Why would God had me quit my job to pursue photography AND allow me to conceive. It sounded like more like a suspenseful movie rather than a happily ever after movie. But, I'm not one to disregard the voice of God in my life, so I thought LOL we will see about that. Anyways, back to what I was saying about how her name came about... So, I was probably in 5th grade and playing with barbies and stuffed animals when the name Alana kinda came to me. I really liked it and since having a daughter was lightyears ahead of me, it seemed appropriate to just save it inside my mind until the time came near. Years later, Louis and I talked about what we would name our children if we ever had any. I shared Alana and he added the Grace. Grace is the unmerited favor of God and it is almost prophetic to what motherhood has been for me. We always knew that our first daughter would be Alana Grace but it still took time to get used to saying it so often.
Here 'he/she' comes
We didn't know what we were having. I mean, yes we knew in our hearts that she was a girl and our prayer times confirmed it but we opted out on finding out through sonograms. Our moms were convinced that we were having a boy and secretly eager to prove us wrong on the girl theory. I was past my due date when my midwife schedule an induction. My heart sank at the idea because I was convinced my body knew what to do and that baby would be here when he/she needed to be. The induction was a slap in the face, an open portal to doctor interventions and things possibly going in the opposite direction I had hoped. I originally wanted a home birth but Louis was against it. We compromised by having a midwife delivery at the hospital. My last appointment came the day I turned 41 weeks—2 days before my induction. I was so discouraged I asked the midwife to move the induction to that day. My dad was leaving the next day and I really wanted him to be here to see the baby. My midwife encouraged me and told me that things could change at any point and that baby could choose to come before they induced. Well, when you're 41 weeks pregnant you DON'T care about much and I was feeling miserable. I felt like I was always going to remain in that state of pregnancy. She checked me, I was about 1 cm and barely any contractions so she sent me home. Around 5pm, I grabbed my cup of crushed ice and went for a walk around the neighborhood with Louis and my mom. As we walked, I felt like I had sweaty underwear (TMI, I know). My mom convinced me to call my midwife because she thought my water had broken. We sat by the swings while we made some calls. We called the hospital, explained my symptoms and we were told to come to the hospital. "Am I going in to get checked out just to be cautious?" I asked. she responded, "no honey, you're probably being admitted today." I hanged up the call and Louis and I busted out laughing. We really didn't think we were in labor. I mean, when your water breaks, isn't it this big dramatic thing? I told Louis to snap a quick pic of me just in case we were in labor. You can see how unhappy I am lol. They way I looked is the way I felt.
We went home, my mom put my hair in braids, I grabbed some applesauce (spoiler: the last thing I ate until a few hours after giving birth), but the yoga ball in the car and we were on our way to the hospital at 6:30pm on January 16. I had no contractions so we were joking about how we were gonna get sent back home. I got admitted as soon as we got there because my water really did break and they needed to hook me up to a bunch of things. As surprised as we were, I was relieved that baby was coming and my body did know what to do on its own. Louis called his mom in Melbourne and she happened to be shopping at Publix and practically left her groceries to head this way. We had asked both our moms to be in the room with us so, MIL needed a heads up since she was two hours away. She did make it in time to be there. By 8 pm I was feeling those contractions. I could manage but, I wasn't too sure if I would be able to withstand 15 hrs+ of more intense pain than that. I wanted a natural birth with no medication sooooo bad. I wanted to experience the raw, real experience of birth that many women before me have experienced for centuries. This was partly the reason why I didn't want to know what we were having. It would push me to be stronger in delivery, and it did. I was set on embracing the pain and welcoming the waves of contractions knowing that it would bring me closer to my baby. By 10pm I was given a dosage of pitocin. And that's when I began to experience the worst pain of my life. Laughing gas made me sick, another disappointing fact since that was my only solution to managing pain without medications. I was asking for IV meds by 11pm, which not only made me loopy, it also relaxed baby so much that she fell asleep and slowed labor. In hindsight, I would've just pushed through but since I didn't know how long labor was going to be, but I wanted to be prepared. Sleeping at last played in the background but the hours after midnight are such a blur. I retreated deep into my soul that, I couldn't hear the music anymore. I was in labor for 10 hours before I began pushing. The contractions were so violent, my body shook every time. I pushed for an hour and baby was born, screaming her head off at 6:25am on January 17, a day before my induction date. My favorite moment was when the midwife said, "it's a..."
GIRL!!!!! I cried out of relief for a healthy baby girl. My heart knew it well, it was a girl all along. Alana Grace was 7lbs 6 ounces and measured 20.5 inches.