Tag Archives: jesus

LOOK UP.

Someday, you may have a kid, and then you may have another kid. Three weeks after this other kid is born, you may wiggle your head and marvel at how three weeks can simultaneously feel like three days and three months. You may feel physically incredible, not unlike one of those miracle healings, considering you just squeezed a small person through your pelvic bones. So incredible, in fact, that you purposely try to find something negative because this is supposed to be a rough time and women are starting to look at you sideways when you tell them how great you feel. You walk past a mirror and there it is — negativity’s best friend, your body. You can’t help but smirk a little, the same smirk you’d find on the face of someone who had just spotted an old fling. It may be negative but it’s familiar. Your eyes narrow toward where your shirt pulls in places it didn’t used to, but when you say “pulls,” you’re really grasping here because the reality is that out of the thirty pounds you gained for this pregnancy, you maybe, maybe have ten left to lose and it’s only been three weeks.

“But it’s a floppy ten pounds,” you say to yourself.

In a search for something negative, you can always count on your trusty body. Just look down and it’s there. Look down at the way your thighs spread a little wider on the couch, at the way you can’t quite button your hot pants yet. Yes, look down and find something to bitch about. Forget about the fact that your son came on his own and your labor didn’t have to be induced. Forget about the four short hours of labor that made you feel like Warrior Woman and the five minutes of pushing with only one tear that healed in a week. Forget about how your newborn regularly sleeps for six straight hours at night, a feat that enables you to enthusiastically engage and love your toddler during the day. Forget about how your fridge has been full for weeks because of the generosity that overflows from your community. Forget about the two paid weeks your husband was able to take off of work so the four of you could really get used to being just that — the four of you.

Forget all the good stuff, then walk by that mirror again and focus only on yourself because that is much easier to do than to live your life in gratitude for the four hundred blessings you’ve just received.

Or.

You could snap out of it. You could lift up your eyes and look around at your beautiful life. You could recognize that, even if it’s always at the last minute, He always comes through for you. You don’t deserve any of this. None of it has been gained of your own accord. If it were up to you, you would revel in your own pathetic depravity because you know you don’t deserve any of this. But you’ve been adopted and with that adoption comes the most magnificent inheritance and abounding grace in the form of health and babies and food and love. Stop looking at your body because your body does not matter but this grace and these people are forever.

Look up.

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AND THE OSCAR GOES TO…

It was a dark and stormy night…

Just kidding.

I was sure that God had forgotten about me. Oscar was ten days late and my doctor would not let me go any longer than that without inducing labor. Induction was my biggest fear — I believed that my body and my baby would tell me when they were ready and I hated the idea of staging an intervention while the baby and I were still healthy. That being said, I also trusted my doctor with my life and respected her medical opinion. She was nothing but supportive throughout both my pregnancies, always complimenting my ankle bones (because she could see them) and telling me “you do this so well,” so I knew her recommendation to induce was for my safety and my benefit, not to fulfill her own agenda or cash another paycheck. We were put on the induction list for Thursday (9/13) and were told to wait for a call any time after midnight. Brandon came home Wednesday night (9/12) with a cough, so I put him and Elliot to bed at 8pm and moped around in despair for the next four hours watching Prison Break and eating my feelings (what empty ice cream carton?). I finally relented and went to bed, cursing the heavens for overlooking all the desires of my tender little extra pregnant heart.

What a dummy.

I woke up at 3:30am due to some painful ruckus in my uterus. I mean contractions, due to some contractions, but I didn’t yet believe that they were real contractions because, if you remember, God had forgotten about me. I got up (I’ll sleep when I’m dead) and paced my bedroom while timing the ruckus with a handy dandy iPhone app. It’s a modern world, folks. When I saw that I had had three what-I-was-still-calling-“fake” contractions in ten minutes, the sun started to part through the grey clouds of my despairing heart. When I had to hold onto the wall and moan through the next one, the angels started singing.

God hadn’t forgotten about me!

I packed up some last minute things for the hospital, woke Brandon, and called my mom. She came over to our apartment so Elliot could keep sleeping and would take him to her house for the rest of the time that we would be gone. On the way to the hospital, I played “He Leadeth Me” over and over and over. My gratitude for what was happening was already bubbling over.

At the hospital, I got dressed and strapped to the monitor, still having to make noise through each contraction but not quite to the Annoying Labor Lady stage, which I think is pretty impressive since I was seven centimeters dilated during my first check by the triage nurse. They started an IV and we were moved to the delivery room, where I got an epidural from the nicest anesthesiologist ever (bedside manner is sort of a big deal when someone is inserting a giant needle into your spine). I am a big fan of epidurals and I’ll stop to tell you why: I know that my body was made to birth babies and I know that I could do it naturally. BUT. I also know that I don’t handle pain well and that my memory shuts down during the times that I’ve been in mind-blowing pain (like contractions), and the birth of my children is something I want to not only remember but enjoy. With the absence of pain, I felt so completely present with each birth and was able to scoop each baby up and hold them for the first time without any sensation other than joy. My positive experiences might be the exception to the rule, but that’s what they are — my experiences, and I wouldn’t change a thing about them. Epidurals for the win.

I rested in bed until I was jolted by a firm “pop” and rush of fluid. My water had finally broken (on its own! Remember when God didn’t forget about me?). I called the delivery nurse, who was the reincarnation of Mother Earth and Mother Goose (and by that I mean AWESOME), she checked me, and I was fully dilated! Woot woot! My doctor arrived in record time and we proceeded to “get this show on the road,” as they say. Except it wasn’t much of a show because five minutes and four pushes later, our perfectly perfect little man was welcomed into the world and I clutched him to my chest in all of his glorious amniotic wetness. “Thank you, Jesus. Thank you. Thank you.”

Oscar Maxwell Piersol was born on September 13th, 2012 at 8:05am, after only four and a half hours of labor. He was 7 pounds 13 ounces and 20.5 inches long.

I loved my hospital birth. I never felt disempowered. Oscar was never taken from me without permission or explanation. I felt nothing but taken care of by every nurse we ever had. I felt safe and informed and understood.

I had worried this whole pregnancy that I couldn’t love another kid as much as I love my first kid, but then this kid looked me in the eyes and I fell completely in love. I’m in love, you guys. Three times over.

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On having zero debt and then having all the debt.

We have been debt free our entire marriage — even before that, actually — save for some small personal loans from family that have been paid off / forgiven / are almost paid off. Now we’ve made the decision to enter into some serious, serious debt, and it is the best thing we could possibly do for our little family.

Husband has been in school for a, uh, really long time. It’s taken so long because he, of course, has to work full time, and with a family, that really only leaves room to take (online) classes part time without dying. Except he has been dying.

This is what our life has looked like:

Husband works 8 to 5, does homework from 5:30 to 10, goes to sleep (dead).

I single-parent from when E wakes up at 7 until he goes to bed at 8, then read books or blogs, then go to sleep (also dead).

The end. The WORST.

The fact is that if we continue with this life, Brandon will graduate in 200 years and miss every important moment in his sons’ lives and I’ll shrink to invisibility. He will have a degree but will not have a relationship with his family. Yes, Pell grants have covered all his tuition. But is it really financially responsible to remain debt free but want to kill yourself? I’m being dramatic but I’m also being serious.

We’ve prayed and thought and searched and then prayed harder for a solution to this. Brandon’s heart has always been to teach, and more recently it has been to teach the Bible, so we started looking into Arizona Christian University. It is the world’s smallest school (<– probably not an accurate fact) but almost 100% of their alumni are successfully doing what they went to school to do. Many of the professors also teach at Phoenix and Fuller Seminary or do important political, church, and activist stuff. Basically, it’s Brandon’s dream school. He wasn’t confident in applying because his GPA is less than lustrous (being dead will do that to you), but after meeting with an advisor there and praying endlessly, he couldn’t shake the duty he felt to try, at least. We also had no idea how we were going to afford it, and life, but God does crazy stuff. So we went for it.

He applied on a Monday and was accepted that Thursday.

Praise, praise, praise God.

We flirted with the idea of Brandon working part time while going to ACU full time, just to keep that door open and to keep some earned money coming in, but have felt sincerely convicted that that isn’t how we’re supposed to do this. It would be the same life, only flipped — school full time, work part time, sleep, death. So we, my friends, will be living entirely off of debt. And you know what? I look at the five, potentially six figures we will owe the government and the bank and I smile. I welcome it. My family will be whole. My marriage will be whole. I’ll have my best friend back and he’ll be pursuing his dream and then he’ll be living it, which means we’ll all be living it, and how could we not have joy at that? I’ll tie pretty ribbons and thank-you notes around the money we pay back. After all, it is impermanent, fleeting, gone in a second, but my people, my men, our families and our community — they are foreverso we choose to invest in them.

It will be worth it to have Brandon doing what he wants in two years instead of 200. It will be worth it to be making a real living instead of a retail living. It will be worth it to have dinner together again.

It will be worth it.

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