A challenge to myself--a short story

I don't write a lot of fictional stories. Though I love to write, I tend to write non-fiction, as creating believable characters and stories worth investing in is difficult for me. But I wanted to challenge myself so I wrote this little piece. I was listening to the "ocean" on Blythe's sound machine and the story just kind of took off from there. 

She glanced out her window towards the sound of the waves, her blue eyes matching the intensity of the color of the ocean just beyond her view. She let out a sigh, knowing it was too late to go for a swim, but she threw a sweatshirt on over her bronzed skin and headed out the door. She sank her body onto the shore, letting her toes sink into the sand cooling with the moonlight.

The tide was coming in, and Lydia planned on remaining in this spot until the frigid water licked at her toes hoping it would help her feel something again.  At the beginning of this week life had seemed so uncomplicated--so normal-- but now even the shoreline looked different to her; just this week she had been there with her.


It was a typical school day, unlike so many of the hundreds of others that she had muddled through. Being a junior in high school had proven about the same as being a sophomore, or a freshman. Lydia assumed that in the few short months that would ebb slowly away and turn her into a senior would not do much to change anything too drastically. She grabbed her PopTart as it emerged warm from the toaster, double checked that her backpack contained her lunch money, phone, and calculus homework, then hollered down the hallway to her parents that she was leaving.

Flopping her bag into the backseat, Lydia eased into the driver's seat and turned the ignition. Instantly the car was flooded with music, too loud for her father's taste, too girly for her brother's, and just right for her. Her PopTart was still cooling when she pulled into Katie's driveway, and honking the horn with her left hand she guided the pastry to her mouth with her right. In the two minutes it took her best friend to situate herself in the passenger's seat, Lydia was licking her fingers.

"You really should expand your diet. My mom says that too many PopTarts can make you constipated, but she thinks anything but fruit and vegetables will make you constipated." Katie had a way of making constipation seem like normal conversation, but between these two friends, not much was off limits. Lydia and Katie had been discussing everything from Barbies, to worms, to hairstyles, to boys since they were practically in diapers. Lydia was the one Katie called when her mom and dad filed for divorce, and through tears the girls made a pact never to put their future children through that experience. And Katie was the one that drove Lydia to the hospital when she had attempted skateboarding and broke her wrist. And Katie was also the one who kicked Tim in the shins on Lydia's behalf after he took her to prom but never called her back. As Lydia wrenched her neck to back out of the driveway, she smiled at Katie's backpack, knowing it was filled with notes she had passed her in between classes.

"I finally figured out that probability question on the homework last night. Sorry I sent you that text so late, I was just stuck." Lydia glanced over and saw the puzzled look on her friend's face. "You never got the text did you?"

Katie laughed a little under her breath. "Umm. No. I never got the text. And I never did a probability question either. Whoops!" She fished for her phone, her left arm draped awkwardly over the seat. "Speaking of texts, I HAVE to show you this one I got from Mark last night. I mean, seriously, I think he's been eating too many PopTarts because I'm SURE he really IS constipated." With a furrowed brow she scrolled through her phone until she found it and read out loud, "Hey Kates!"


"Yeah, because clearly Mark and I are close enough now after I said hi at the water fountain for him to call me 'Kates.'  I mean, obviously a water fountain hello is the equivalent nowadays of giving someone your class ring, or sweater, or whatever they used to do, but hey, who am I to say that…"

"Ugh..Katie…I mean,Kates…continue."

"Oh. Right. Well, I wrote back: 'Hey'. To which he responded: 'I liked your ponytail today.' I mean, seriously?! Who says that? Why can't he figure it out?" Lydia was laughing now. Katie had always been the pretty one of the pair, and ever since they started shaving their legs she was always having guys after her. Usually they were guys like Mark, completely oblivious to what may actually attract a girl of Katie's quality, like a sense of humor and a personality beyond that of an ameba.

"I have to admit, you do have a nice, well-groomed ponytail. Well, what did you say back?"

"Nothing. I am finally learning that my kindness, and general sympathy towards guys like Mark gets interpreted the wrong way. So I left it at that."

"I can't believe you! A nice guy like Mark just wanting to chat with a friend and you leave him high and dry." Katie laughed at the sarcasm dripping from Lydia's tongue. "Well I guess I'll just have to remedy that. Grab my phone, would ya?"

"You can't be serious," chuckled Katie, searching for the phone in a side pocket. "You don't have the guts." She plopped the phone in Lydia's extended hand.

"Oh. I am SO serious." Laughing, Lydia glanced down to see if she had Mark in her contact list.

And that was all it took.

It sounded as if a canon had exploded in her backseat, loud and ominous. The ringing that ensued made it difficult to open her eyes, and the pain in her neck was alive and real. She had always heard people explain the slow motion of such moments, but she didn't understand what they meant until now. She could barely see, and the ringing in her ears disillusioned her further. She grabbed her neck as another sharp pain ran through, then forced herself to feel the rest of her body. She frantically felt her face, and the warm sticky blood clung to her petite fingers. She moved her torso with slight pain, and glanced down to see her toes wiggling in her flip flops. She reached over towards Katie, the edges of her vision still foggy. She grabbed her friend's thigh, and then screamed her name. It came out as a mere whisper, raspy and sounding painfully frightened.

That is when she realized the blood on her face was not her own.

Frantic and afraid, she began to panic, her sobs choking out any words that tried to bubble to the surface. Then someone was opening her door, and helping her out onto the grass. Grass? They were just on the road. She looked at the intersection about a hundred yards away, and as she blinked it into focus she saw the stop sign she had driven through; the stop sign that had been there every day of her life.

There were lots of people around now, some talking to her, some trying to console her, and some paramedics trying to check her for signs of internal bleeding. As loudly as her head pounded, her heart pounded harder as she watched four men lift Katie onto a stretcher and into an ambulance. Her face felt numb as she watched the policemen try to pry the pick up truck off the passenger side of her car.


Even though she didn't attend school the rest of the week, she heard from others about the grief counselors they shipped in. This was to be expected, she supposed, remembering when a classmate had died of cancer in elementary. But when she learned they had had a special assembly in which the students had to listen to lectures about the dangers of texting and driving, she went to her bathroom and threw up. 

Katie hadn't made it through the night, the impact of her injuries too severe for her small 5'4" frame to compensate. Lydia had sat by her side and read her some of the notes that had been in her backpack. On the back of one note, Katie had responded. Lydia tucked it in her back pocket, not knowing if she'd ever have the strength to read it.


The moon shone brightly over the calm ocean. The waves gently lapped over one another, crashing occasionally against hidden rocks in the night. 

Lydia slowly unfolded the note. She didn't cry, feeling any more tears would be useless. 

Hey, guess who I just ran into at the water fountain? Mark! Ha. I said hi becuz u know how I feel the need to do stupid things like that. I'll keep u updated on the situation, or as Mrs. Hinker would say-- I'll keep u abreast. Seriously? Does she really think we're ever going 2 talk like that? 

My dad called last night and he and my mom actually talked for about 5 minutes before she gave me the phone. That was progress. I'll keep u abreast :) 

oh and 1 more thing before the bell rings- at youth group last night I heard this quote and wrote it down but forgot to give it to u: 
- " Be careful not to complain about anything, even the weather, since God is the Author of ur circumstances. The best way to handle unwanted situations is to thank God for them." 

bell! gotta go. 

Lydia wanted to hurdle the note into the night. Thanking God for unwanted situations? That was typical Katie talk. But surely even Katie wouldn't want her to thank God for the situation she had been left in. She slumped down further into the sand, wanting the coolness of the night and sound of the ocean to sweep her away forever. 

Then she saw them. Turtles marching towards the ocean in a procession as long as she could see. Lydia had only seen this one other time, though she had lived on the beach her entire life. Her dad had brought hot chocolate and blankets and they curled up next to each other and waited and waited. He had had to wake her up, and he whispered in her small ears, educating her about what she was witnessing. "Few people ever get to experience something so special," he had told her then. "Some people say that only one in A THOUSAND of those little guys will make it to adulthood; they have many obstacles in their way." Then they watched in silence as one little turtle struggled through a footprint that had been left in the sand, and eventually made his way into the white, crashing water of the sea. "God must have big plans for that one." Lydia nuzzled in closer to her father's chest and soon was fast asleep. 

Now she was 17. Now she sat with grief by her side, wrapping its arms around her in the blackness. This time she focused less on the turtles that were actually making it to the sea, and more on the ones that seemed to be off course. She noticed the eggs that appeared they would never hatch. Though she had promised not to cry again, she began weeping at the injustice of it all. She weeped for the sea turtles, for Katie, for her guilt, and for her anger towards God. 

How was she not to complain about anything? How was she to thank God for this situation? She dug her hands into the sand and clenched her fists around the small particles. And then, surprising herself and the night around her, she said, "Thank you," quietly at first and then with increasing vigor. "Thank you. Thank You. Thank you!" She didn't even know what she was saying thank you for, and then she glanced at the note in her lap. 

"Thank you for giving me 17 years with her. Thank you for letting me know her. Thank you." She didn't mean it yet, but prayed that someday she would. 



As March approached we were well aware that our lives were about to change drastically. While we anxiously anticipated the birth of Blythe, we also mourned the dwindling days of "just brentandkels". And then March 23rd happened. Blythe joined us. And I think it is safe to say this has been the longest, craziest, fastest, strangest, most emotional, most painful, most joyful month of my life. Yes, month.

I write to decompress. I write to express what is burning inside of me. And I haven't been doing that lately and it is now time. I have a few moments while she is sleeping right now. I have a million other things I could be doing [like getting OUT OF MY PAJAMAS at 2 in the afternoon!], but this is what I think I NEED to do for me right now.

First, before I dive in too far, let me just say that the Lord has blessed us with a truly wonderful and beautiful daughter. She rarely cries, just fusses. She eats like a champ. She is growing perfectly. She is sleeping for a 4-5 1/2 hour stretch at night now. Did I mention she is beautiful? And, though she is still a tiny little booger, Mom and I were just discussing today how I may not buy another package of newborn diapers the next go round! I think she may just be close to 8 pounds now! [Yes, Kali, I know…yours started out bigger than that :)]. She really is a sweet, sweet little girl, with lots of snuggles and love to give.

That being said, I have had my fair share of struggles this past month. Needless to say, my body has been through a traumatic experience [if you don't understand, YouTube "birthing videos" and you'll have a traumatic experience of your own]. I knew some recovery time from this was to be expected. I was around after Kali had Caroline and I understood that I would be emotional and in pain. But I still didn't really get it.

After we came home from the hospital my mom stayed with us for a week. To say that she was a whirling dervish of efficiency would be an understatement. Seriously I don't know how that woman did what she did that week, and still worked half days. I'm exhausted when I think about it. Brent and I were both unbelievably thankful for the time she was here. We also had a ton of wonderful people bring us meals, and Brent's mom also came over and helped out countless days to get us through that first bit. We will never be able to repay them. [I don't know if they are for hire, but if you're pregnant, you should seriously consider looking into it?!]

That first week came and went rather quickly. I was still uncomfortable, but on pain meds. Thank you, Jesus. And I mean that in a very serious way, not sacrilegious at all. Trust me. I remember the day clearly that I decided to wean myself off of the meds. I was so proud of myself. At this point, feeding her was still taking a lot of patience and was still a learning experience, however, I was pretty positive it was all going to be okay.

And then it just seems like my body decided that I had put it through too much, and that it needed to revolt against me. I don't want to go into too many details, but the next three weeks involved a lot of crying from pain and exhaustion, a lot of prescriptions being called in [creams, ointments, antibiotics…you name it!], an intense fever of almost 104, more frustration and pain with feeding her than I ever though possible, a support group for breastfeeding [in which the lactation consultant looked me over and said she couldn't believe I hadn't give up and had stuck with it for so long because of the state my…err…body was/is in. She said I must be really tough, though I don't feel like that right now], several calls to my doctor, the possibility of an outpatient surgery to deal with one of my "issues", etc etc etc. To say I'm a bit emotional about all of this, and exhausted, and frustrated is an understatement.

I know women have been in my shoes for centuries. I know many of you reading this are nodding your heads, reliving your own horror stories from the weeks post-delivery. And I know many of you right now want to tell me, "Hang in there…it gets better, I promise. Soon you'll forget you ever felt this way and you'll be ready to have more." But right now, while I'm living it every single moment of the day-- while I'm still struggling with feeding her, while I'm still in so much discomfort it hurts to sit sometimes, while my poor husband has to go get me yet another kleenex because I'm crying yet again-- it feels all- consuming and never ending.

And then I look at Blythe. So perfect. So wonderful. So healthy. I AM thankful I am the one struggling with issues and not her. I know I should be grateful my body was capable of having a baby naturally, and grateful to feel these pains that remind me of this…but I'm not quite there yet.

I know it all takes time. I do know that. I guess I just want to know exactly what day, what moment, that will happen.

I don't want this post to be a downer… nor do I post it to garner your sympathies. I simply needed to relax today, and this is how I relax best-- with pen and paper, or a keyboard at my finger tips. Also, I have documented this journey for Blythe from the beginning as honestly as I knew how, and I feel in some way she deserves to know this too; in some way, some day, she may want to read this part of my journey so she can best prepare for her own [and I hope she will see me in those days as I have seen my mom].

But I don't want to leave you simply on that note-- it's only fair I give you a few more pictures! :) Enjoy! And this is the reason it is ALL worth it in the end:

Without this man, these past  four weeks would not have been possible. 

Cousins and tutus! How much fun will these three have over the years? 

She of course had to dress the part for Torri's prom! [Thanks for the dress, Ana!]


blythe's birth story

For those of you that just read the blog title and thought, "Thanks, but I'll pass…" don't worry, I'm not going to be overly detailed. I simply want to document this significant and special time when Blythe came to join our little family of two.
Here is the "baby bump" picture I took Wednesday for my 39th week. Little did I know, in two more days I would get to meet that little bump. 
To start, it's surreal to me to be sitting here, listening to Blythe's little sleeping squeaks, writing my story of labor and delivery of my daughter. I loved being pregnant. And I'm not just saying that so you all think I'm awesome and strong and wonderful. I had an easy pregnancy, and I enjoyed all the milestones-- hearing her heartbeat for the first time, the sonogram [it's a girl!], watching my belly grow, feeling her first kicks, having her hiccup all the time etc etc. Though there were  some discomforts along the way, and having to use the restroom every 20 minutes was not overly convenient, I loved having her close to me at all times. I loved having this growing relationship with her before anyone else did. And there have been times that I do miss it.

But she is here now…and that is even more wonderful. Her little eyes slitting open to peek around. Her slurping sounds while eating. Her half smiles and folded hands. Her soft cheeks and her smell. Sigh. She is wonderful and it's safe to say I'm smitten.

But this is supposed to be the story about getting her here. Well, I really thought I would go past my due date. I said all along I thought she would be an April baby. I had started making sub plans at the end of February. I started with Monday, March 26th and continued them through to the end of the school year. This took quite a bit of time, but when I was finished I placed my hands on my belly and told her and God that anytime after Friday the 23rd would work great for me now that I had these plans ready to go.

Fast forward to the week of her arrival. Monday was the first day I uttered the words, "I'm ready, she can come any time now." I was just feeling a little more…uncomfortable…than I had been up to that point. I emailed Brent that day and told him I just needed a relaxing night at home, since our weekend had been busy. He delivered. He gave me a backrub and let me take a bath, and we went to bed early. It was perfect. Tuesday we ate supper and then spent the evening with the Blythes and watched "Biggest Loser" and spent some time with Paige before she had to head back to college. Every night I kept saying, "Brent, this is our last time we'll do ______ together…" and we'd laugh, but we always knew it was a real possibility. I felt like a ticking time bomb. Wednesday Brent went to youth group like he always does and I headed out to Mom and Dad's where Mom fed me pita crisps and repainted my toenails. And then Thursday I had a doctor's appointment. I thought I would have progressed slightly more from the week before, but my doctor informed me I was still at a 2, and was still about 60-70% effaced. This is what I'd been hearing for about three weeks, so I again was pretty confident that I would have to wait a little longer. After the appointment Brent and I ran several errands: Sam's club to get a new phone, Walmart to make a few exchanges and pick up a few items I still needed, and Kohls because, well, I had Kohl's cash and a coupon :-). I was on my feet A LOT. I was exhausted [and to be honest a little cranky], and when we got home we just crawled in to bed.

That night I woke up with some "crampy pain things." That is how I described them to Brent. Needless to say, I did not sleep very well. I was up and down most of the night, and couldn't find a comfortable position. This was a first for me. I thought about calling in the next day, but when I finally rolled over at 7:20, I knew it was too late to get a sub. "You'll be fine…suck it up," I told myself.

I informed my kids at the beginning of class that I wasn't feeling awesome. I've learned that if I tell them this up front, it's way more fair than snapping at them later. So they were great to me through the entire day. In one class when I told them I wasn't feeling well, a boy in the front slapped his hands up to his mouth and got huge eyes. I looked at him and he said, "Oh my gosh, are you, like, going to, like, have your baby right now?" I assured him I would wait until the end of his class period, at least. As I dismissed my students that day I said, "Have a great weekend! I don't know if I'll see you on Monday." Things just felt different and my "crampy pains" were kind of not going away. Brent checked on me a couple times throughout the day but I assured him I was fine. Since we had such a busy night before, he promised me another relaxing night in.

I left school and when I got home I plopped on the couch and didn't really feel like moving. Brent came home around 4:30, and I asked him to make us some Mac-n-Cheese because it sounded delicious. As he made it, he told me that his coworkers had given him some cash with the explicit instructions to take me out before the baby came. So we made plans for Saturday. We would go out to eat and then go see a matinee of "The Hunger Games." Sounded great. Pretty soon Mom called to check on me. I had let her know I wasn't feeling the best and she and Dad were getting ready to leave for Sedalia [about three hours away] to watch my cousin in a play. She was wondering if she thought they should stay--i.e. if I thought I was in labor. I told her to go. I really didn't think I was anywhere near labor, and if it turned into something I was sure they would have plenty of time to make it back and be at the hospital with us. And off they went.

And almost as soon as I told them to go I felt like my "crampy pains" were getting a little more intense. I told Brent I was going to start timing them, just in case. When I did, I realized they were between 5 and 7 minutes apart and lasting for about 40 seconds each. Hmmmm. Interesting. That sounded like something I should maybe pay attention to. I called Kali, my older, wise, and birth-experienced sister. "So uh, what do contractions feel like?" I cut right to the chase. I described what  I was feeling and she said, "Yeah, I think you're starting labor, Kels!" She suggested I call my doctor, see when they wanted me to come in, and then maybe go for a walk if I wanted to "speed things up." I wanted to make sure they were really something before I did anything too crazy. I sent Brent to Subway to get us something to eat [a little more substantial than the macaroni] and then I got in the shower and relaxed a little.

I looked down as the water trickled over my very expanded belly. I put my hands around it, and realized that possibly within the next 24 hours I could be holding my daughter.

Brent was back by the time I was done and was literally sprinting through the house and throwing last minute things in our hospital bag. At this point, he was more amped up than I was. I still wanted to make sure these contractions were the real deal because one of my fears was going to the hospital and being sent home. I just thought that would be the worst. Like, "Hey…yeah…you think this is labor? You sissy! Go home!" So we sat down and ate our sandwiches. I wasn't really hungry at this point, but the thought of not eating for hours and hours on end made me want to get a little more in my system. I was still timing my contractions, which were definitely beyond "crampy pain things" at this point and were actually taking my breath away. They were consistently 5-6 minutes apart and lasting for about 45-50 seconds and I had to stop talking when they came. I called and the nurse said I should come on in. We finished getting everything we needed and piled into the car. I laid down a big pad/sheet thing Kali had given me just in case my water were to break on the way.

And then my next contraction wasn't coming. It took 13 minutes. I told Brent I thought we should stay at the house a little longer, but when the next one his in 4 minutes, he made the call and said he really thought we should go. This ended up being a very wise decision. We let our parents know, but told them they didn't need to come until we were admitted, after all, first children labor lasts an average of 14 hours. Regardless, my mom and dad left the play at intermission.

We got to the hospital around 8 that night. Since my water hadn't broken, there seemed to be no rush. We had to wait at the reception desk for about 10 minutes or more, and I had 2 or 3 contractions while we waited. Finally they let us in, but put us in one of those "we'll-wait-and-see-if-you-really-know-what-real-labor-is-before-we-fully-admit-you" rooms and hooked me up to a monitor. Blythe's little heartbeat was going crazy, but the nurse said this was normal. She checked me and…I was at a 2. Nothing had happened since my doctor's appointment the day before. She kept talking like I would most definitely be going home. This was very disappointing.  They had a hard time getting the monitor to read my contractions though, and after an HOUR a new nurse finally came in and hooked me up to a new one. My contractions were happening about a minute apart now and lasting for 45-60 second or a little longer. I looked at Brent and said, "If this isn't labor, and they send us home, how in the heck am I supposed to know when to come to the hospital!?!" It sure felt like the real deal to me. However, I was trying to stay calm and when the nurse asked my pain level I didn't want to be too generous right away, thinking it would get a whole heck of a lot worse before it got better, so I said, "Umm…probably a six?"

After an hour-ish, the nurse came back and checked again. A two. I was so disappointed. However, my contractions were even more intense now, lasting longer, and coming closer together. She asked where we lived and I told her 45 minutes away. She said because we weren't right in town, they would keep me one more hour. I sent Mom a text and filled her in, letting her know they were most likely going to send us home. She responded, "Stay positive. I think this is the real deal." That would be the last she heard from us in awhile.

After that, things started to get crazy rather quickly. There was no more timing my contractions because they were happening all the time. I was still fairly in control. A contraction would come and I would breathe deeply and just say quietly while exhaling, "Okay. Oww. Okay. Ouch…" The meanest thing I said to Brent during this time happened when I got really hot and so he started blowing on my face. My response? "You need gum." He was a gentleman and didn't respond, "SO DO YOU!" though he probably could have.

At this point, around 10:30 or so, I told Brent I felt like I needed to go to the bathroom or push or something. The nurse came in and said I should walk around to try and speed things up before she checked me again [and sent me home]. I stood up as I was having another contraction and felt like I was going to have the baby right then and there. Wowsa. I sat back down. I didn't want the nurse to think I wasn't trying though, so when that contraction passed, I stood up as quickly as I could and started out the door to walk around the nurses' station. I didn't even get halfway and had another one. I had to get back to that bed and lay down! I told the nurse I was at least at an 8 on the pain scale now…holy cow…at LEAST an 8, and asked when they usually gave epidurals. I was under no illusions that I would do this au-naturale. It was 2012, the drugs were good…give them to me whenever, please and thank you. The nurse just smiled and said it depended on the doctor, but they didn't want to give them too soon in case it slowed things down. It was about 10:30 and I'd only been at the hospital an hour and half, but I was pretty sure I didn't care if things "slowed down" a bit. The nurse finally actually stayed in the room while I had my next contraction, and though I wasn't screaming or doing anything hysterical like seen in movies, I think she could tell I was in pain. My back was killing, and Brent was pressing on it while I had contractions to try to relieve some of the pressure. She said, "Well, let me just check you one more time." If she were to say, "You're still at a two" I think I would have yanked the monitor off my belly and whipped it at her.

Instead her response was very…interesting. "Umm…I'm going to go get the doctor. " She apparently couldn't find the doctor and brought in another nurse who checked me and said, "Yep. You're having this baby right now."

What?! Huh?! Right now?! No, I was just at a two, I think a 3,4,5,6 … has to come next somewhere in there. But apparently I had jumped right to a "you're-going-to-have-this-baby." I looked at Brent who looked equally shocked. We had gone from "you're probably going home" to "let's have the baby right now, waddya say?" in a matter of 30 minutes. Talk about no time to process things.

In a matter of moments, they had me unplugged, covered up, and were wheeling me, bed and all, down the hallway. Remember, I wasn't event ADMITTED yet? As we turned a corner I looked to the nurse and asked, "So is it too late for an epidural?" She sort of laughed and said it was, but that the hardest part was the labor and that was almost over. She assured me pushing wouldn't be as painful. I had my doubts.

Within seconds we were in a room--a real delivery room! What we had come for all along! Hallelujah. There was an entire calvary of nurses in there. Things were happening so quickly. A nurse grabbed my right hand and tried to start an iv in it, while another nurse was grabbing my legs, and then in walked the doctor. The nurse missed the vein the first time, and she didn't want to prolong it, because remember "you're having this baby right NOW" was what got me to this room. So another nurse grabbed my left arm and just stuck in the iv and we were in business.

"Okay, with the next contraction you can push." I felt her break my water, which was a great release of pressure, and I was ready to push at this point. I looked at Brent one last time and said something like, "I can't believe I can't get an epidural." He grabbed my arm and told me I was doing great.

And then it was time. There were several nurses around me, and when the one that was watching the monitor would say it was time they all joined in encouraging me and "helping" me push. There was one nurse in particular who was right by my head to my left…I'm not sure if she really existed because I think she may have just been an angel…and she said all of the right things at all the right times. I made it through the first pushing session and felt relatively relaxed before my next contraction. Brent said I was even making jokes/small talk with the nurses. I think I was still in shock that this was happening, I mean after all I thought I was going to be going home shortly.

The next contraction came, I pushed and breathed and pushed. And Blythe was partially in our world. One more contraction and some intense pushing, and then…then…

they laid my daughter on my chest.

Brent cut the cord.

We didn't cry, but just stared incredulously at each other. She was here.  Six and a half pounds of delicious baby to call our own. Blythe Kathleen. She didn't holler or cry after being put on my chest, and I just held her while the doctor…umm..finished up business [which hurt worse than the actual delivery…yowsa!]. Brent and I just kept giddily smiling at each other.

One nurse then took her to the warmer to measure and clean her etc. She told Brent it would be a good time to take pictures. We hadn't even brought in the camera at this point though, since we decided to leave our stuff in the car until we were admitted. He ran out and got the camera and snapped a few pictures while I signed the admittance papers…finally. They got to the consent form for the epidural and decided I probably didn't need to sign that one at this point and set it aside.

I had done it. I had delivered our baby girl, in a hectic and crazy and fast way, without any pain meds. Brent had encouraged me and loved me through it.

We decided we should probably call our family at this point, and both of our moms did not believe us when we said, "She's here!" Their response? "You're kidding right?" When they realized we weren't they were in their cars and on their way in a matter of moments.

Labor is definitely hard work. Even though mine went quickly, it was painful and exhausting. But it was incredible to see and experience first hand the incredible way in which God has created our bodies to endure it. And in the end we were handed this baby-- both a stranger to us, and yet someone we knew and loved intensely. And in that moment love filled up the space of pain and blood and fear.

And that is our story-- wherein Blythe, this beautiful little girl, was handed to us to take care of forever; where her life met ours.We are so glad she is ours.