Ladies and Gentlemen…Well, really just mostly Ladies

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So when I was pregnant, I was of the “meet me in the parking lot with the epidural” camp as far as giving birth is concerned. I had friends that did all natural childbirth, and a part of me was happy for and proud of them, and part of me was sorry for them. Just keeping it real. Ripping my vagina open and feeling every bit of it did not seem like something I wanted any part of. So my “birth plan” consisted of “I go into labor. Bryan drives my panicking butt to Willow Creek. I check in, get epidural, and push out baby. I smile and cry at miracle. The end.”

God must have been all “HAHAHA that’s cute. Remember how your mom had preeclampsia, spent 22 hours in labor pushing and then the doctor told her that her pelvis didn’t do that? And remember how I created genetics?”

So yeah, NOTHING happened like it was supposed to. I got preeclampsia and was induced at 39 weeks and some change. I almost tied my mom’s labor record. He wasn’t a-comin’. At almost 22 hours, I was still only at a 5 and Grady was still a -3 station. (For those of you that don’t know what any of that means, it is a measure of cervical dilation and how far down into my lower extremities he was, respectively. The station starts at -4, so he had only moved one unit after all of those contractions.)

At long last, the doctor told me I would have to have a c-section. I was devastated. I felt like a failure. I was terrified. My mother’s fate had become mine. I cried, Bryan cried, my mom cried. We all know how well I deal with change, and I had been served a whole lot of it all at once. Laying on that table waiting to be cut open was one of the most out-of-control, least fun feelings I’ve ever experienced. But you guys, look what I got out of it.

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Wait, no. Bad example.

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That’s better.

I found myself becoming so thankful that I live in a day and age where my experience was possible. What if c-sections weren’t a thing, or if I lived in a place without access to the right equipment to do one? One or both of us may have died. And also, there are perks to having a baby extracted from me instead of pushed out of me. I didn’t poop in front of anyone, for one thing. There are others, I’m sure, but I was pretty psyched about the poop thing.

So when I was asked to do a tour of The Birth Center, I was skeptical. I had friends who went there for their pregnancies and childbirth, but what could they do for me? I mean, even if I wanted to participate, that ship had sailed, right?

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The founder of the Birth Center in Rogers, Cara, telling us all about it. She is an extremely educated, wise businesswoman who is passionate about women’s maternity health.

So wrong. What I imagined was a super crunchy, all natural, granola place was actually an incredibly modern, beautifully decorated, home-like place. Their 4 birthing rooms are set up like bedrooms I want to live in STAT. They have heated, vibrating, cleaning toilets, you guys. WARM TOILETS. I gave birth in December, you do the math. They also boast of low waiting room times. As someone who had to wait upwards of an hour at my appointments sometimes, I was all ears.

Imma need to know where you got that bedding.

Imma need to know where you got that bedding.

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Here is me striking an awkward pose during a tour to show off how nice their bathroom set up and decor is.

I have to pause here and give a shout-out to my friend Sarah, so I’m sure is thinking “I tried to tell you all of this, you jerk” right now. Sorry I didn’t listen, Sarah!

This was all fine and dandy…for other women. The ship had sailed, right? I had the scar that got me into the “no vaginal births unless you want to drive somewhere else to maybe, possibly, painfully make it work” club. Then I took a look at their exam room and found out that they do all-over women’s care. So basically, I can partake in the dreaded yearly in a fluffy robe in a warm environment instead of the alternative, which I feel no need to explain. They also do birth control care, will test for hormone levels, can give prescriptions for UTIs and stuff, and tons of other needs.

I mean, look at that. That just looks comfy. My friend Jacqueline actually put it on. I wanted to but am less brave than she is.

I mean, look at that. That just looks comfy. My friend Jacqueline actually put it on. I wanted to but am less brave than she is.

I loved my experience with Willow Creek, and will definitely go back IF I have another baby by growing it and not adopting it, but I am going to the Birth Center for my yearlys from now on. I didn’t expect to be sold, but man, it’s hard to say no to their amenities, especially when it’s just as, if not more affordable than traditional settings.

Above all, I love how empowering they are for women. They have somehow found a way to make you feel like a delicate flower and strong warrior all at the same time. And I love that.

Acorn Disclosure

You can find more info on The Birth Center in Rogers here. They are happy to answer all questions you may have and THEY DO FREE TOURS, y’all!

Love, Alex

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The Secret We’ve Been Keeping

Remember all those times when I alluded to something that was going on with me and Bryan that I couldn’t really share yet?

Well, If you follow me or Bryan on Facebook or Instagram, you may have gotten a clue when he posted this: adoption

With this caption–> “Adoption Training Day 1! Wish us luck!”

Yeah.

So on top of everything else we have going on what with HAVING A BABY and all, we’ve made the decision as a family to start our adoption process earlier than we had originally intended.

Adoption has always been on our radar and an ultimate plan for our family. I think on like our second date I planted the “oh hey I hope you’re cool with adoption if this works out” seed. Thankfully, Bryan was super on board. On top of wanting to adopt in the first place, I’ve always had a heart for a certain type: taking in older kids and sibling groups. The ones who usually struggle the most. the ones who are hardest to get adopted and will likely age out of the foster care system with no forever family.

This is something Bryan was also on board with. However, I always prayed that Bryan would not just “be on board,” but that this would be his thing too. I mean, there is that whole “spiritual leader of our household” factor. I knew that this was the case when I came home from work one day (pre-pregnancy) and he had submitted our general inquiry and filled out some basic paperwork to get us started. Out of the blue. Yeah, God seems to have known what he was doing with us.

We did a lot of praying, talking, and driving other adopted families nuts with questions about birth order effect, what our timing should look like, and if we should adopt after or before our first biological child. Our answer was a lot of silence.

This is pretty common with me actually. God usually doesn’t speak to me in sweet whispers and precious moments like He does with some of my peers. I never “feel led” necessarily. What I do feel is an indescribable urgency and conviction to run full speed ahead at a goal or mission until God slams that door closed and (usually much later than I’d like) gives me a peace about standing still for a minute. Bryan loves this about me. You can ask him and he’ll tell you how adorable it is when my anal-retentive, logical mind turns into irrational mush when I “feel led.”

So in this silence, we “decided” (<–lol) to just wait it out until we felt like we weren’t supposed to wait anymore.

Flash-forward to pregnancy, where we were still just, you know, waiting and stuff, when I felt that familiar conviction and urgency.

I was scrolling through Facebook at work one day, and a photo listing for Project Zero rolled through my feed. If you’re not familiar with this awesome non-profit, then please click that link. They serve to bring awareness of waiting children, usually OLDER KIDS AND SIBLING GROUPS, to families in Arkansas. This was nothing new, I saw their stuff all the time. The smiling, heartbreaking faces of kids who desired deeply to be loved forever always move me. Always. But I always say to myself that we are waiting. Until this day, when a photo of two brothers popped up. They were different. They were important to me somehow. I took a screenshot of them and “jokingly” (<–not really) sent it to Bryan with the text “I want them.”

Bryan, the one of us who is rational in these situations and NEVER takes off running without carefully considering where he is going, replies “Let’s do it.”

Our next steps involved a whirlwind of emails and calls to Christie (the co-founder of Project Zero), the boys’ adoption specialist, DHS, and the directors of The CALL in NWA.

See? Full-speed.

Our next few months involved an initial home visit with our DCFS caseworker (Who we LOVE!), lots more emails and phone calls, filling out every form in the history of the world, becoming CPR certified, and most recently, the completion of 30 hours of training. Hence the photo and caption above. (Just to put things in perspective, this is about 85% of the process. We only have 2 steps left to complete.)

CPR Certification never looked so fun.

CPR Certification never looked so fun.

It also involved us learning a powerful lesson: Not everyone will be supportive of us and what we’re doing.

My first reaction to the comments that we received from our shocked friends and acquaintances was anger.

Why do they care anyway? This isn’t their family.

How could she say that to someone she doesn’t even know very well?

 What gives him the right to have an opinion about what we do?

Do they really believe that we are so naive to think that this will be a cake-walk?

I realized that this came from a place of hurt. As a person who too-deeply merits validation from others, I needed positive reinforcement that we were doing the right thing. It was hard not to get indignant and want to point all of them to the multitude of Bible verses commanding us as Christians to care for the least of these. How could they not see the need, and much worse, discourage us from looking at it too?

We stopped talking about it. We didn’t tell people unless they asked, and we certainly didn’t broadcast it on any social media.

I was tired of crossing names off the list of people we could depend on when the going was sure to get tough.

The best part of training to me was that no one seemed to think we were crazy. No one batted an eye to the fact that I am 7+ months pregnant and working toward opening our home for concurrent-planning foster care. As we introduced ourselves, we made a joke about how we were apparently crazy to be doing this, and to our delight, no one seemed to get the joke.

It validated us that we were following God’s lead here. The amount of encouragement and strengthening we received in those 30 hours is priceless. And having a ridiculously sore butt after 30 hours of sitting is worth it.

We might not get those boys I saw, and I’m finally ok with that. But for whatever reason, God used them to strike that ever-familiar fire under my feet and get me, and Bryan, running. I hope we can provide a forever home for them. We already love them so much. Whatever the case, I pray continually that God will give me a peace about whatever direction His opening and closing of doors leads us.