Monday, November 24, 2014

30 years

a couple weeks ago, I sat down with my pastor to have coffee. we started talking about different seasons of life + one thing he said that has stuck with me is this.

"marriage is a marathon. you may have some 5 or 10k's along the way, maybe even a half marathon. but your marriage is the main marathon."

while I have never ran an actual marathon, I have been running my marriage marathon for 3.5 years now. and guess what?! my parents have been running theirs 30 years today.

30 years people!

within these three decades, they have accomplished a lot. I think some things they might be most proud of include but aren't limited to :

- raising 3 beautiful, wonderful children 
- two who are married to some of the best men
- those 3 children have given them 4 grandchildren
- they worked in ministry together for 18 years
- they headed up 2 church plants

I can't remember a time when my parents didn't open their doors to welcome people in + make them feel like part of the garcia family. they have filled their different homes with grandchildren, friends, family, mine + my siblings friends + spouses, people of all different walks of life, drug dealer (yes, this shit is real), ex-prostitutes that my mom has ministered to, etc. they are technically "empty nesters" now but instead have been raising a granddaughter for the last 5 months. 

they are selfless + generous

they are a great team

they compliment each other well + love each other big. 

they have put Christ at the center.

I wanted to write a quick blog post to honor them. I also felt like I had to write this to say : ya'll, love for 30+ years does exist. here is proof:

happy anniversary mom + daddy. i love yall.

Monday, September 1, 2014

maternity leave.

what a blessed 3 months of life. leaving APU for maternity leave, i had no clue exactly what the next couple months would look like. they were full of rest (well, the first two weeks before raegan came were) and loads of love.

the first two weeks, i was able to have a lot of nesting + solo time. it was exactly what i needed. i rested, walked a ton, took about every measure possible to meet tiny baby harps but mostly soaked up time just being 'me + trav'. being 6 days late made me learn patience, something the Lord knew i would need in motherhood.

then raegan hope arrived. june 17. a day i will never forget.

i remember people saying, you will never know a love like this. it's SO true. not only a love like what i've experienced with raegan, but a new + deeper love for my sexy husband + God. through the last couple months, i could not have done any of this without those two.

raegan, i'm crying writing this now. you are my little best friend. someone who i am so madly in love with. i can't imagine not being with you all day, everyday. thank you for coming into my life, allowing me to be your mama, giving me grace when i mess up, love + pointing me more towards Jesus. i have never known a love like you. i'm absolutely devastated to be leaving you 32 hours a week but know that our time together will be more rich + intentional. thanks for lighting up mine + your pops world. we are changed for the best because of you.

trav, i didn't think i could love you any more + then it happened. seeing you become a dad is the sweetest, most precious thing i could have ever asked for. the way you love rae melts me. i mean, i am liquid on the floor! you love her so big + love me big too! through this experience, i know we can make it through anything. the middle of the nights, the sleeplessness, the bonding, the joys, the richness in knowing raegan is our gift from the Lord. all of this has been priceless. thank you for creating new memories for our family. the first two weeks we had home with you were the best. me + raegan will miss visiting your office, lunch breaks + early morning snuggles. but the best is yet to come. i look forward to watching you grow more as a pops, teaching her how to crawl, walk + run, taking her on her first date, teaching her about Jesus + sports, and mostly, loving her unconditionally + being an earthly example of how our sweet Jesus loves us.

God, you have been so good to our little family. last year, at this exact time, i was in the trenches. walking through the miscarriage was the worst thing ever but you brought us through which has made us not take any of this for granted. you brought us joy for mourning + peace for misunderstanding. thank you for your goodness, your faithfulness in all things. and thank you for the best gift, raegan. she has warmed + filled our hearts to the brim. you know this kind of love because it's why you died for us.

thankful to be returning to a work that puts God first + will give me grace when i cry the whole first week back. see you tuesday am APU admissions!


Tuesday, July 8, 2014

raegan hope

it all started Monday, June 9. I went into our OB, tamayo, to my 39 week and 5 day appointment. I was dilated at a 3 + feeling great. we decided tamayo should strip my membranes. so she did. it didn't hurt as bad as I heard it would. I also didn't feel that much change. my best friend whitney also had her membranes stripped that same day (we were due 3 days apart. i highly recommend being pregnant with your bestie). we were texting all day about how we were feeling. her contractions picked up quick - mine didn't. she told me around 11 that night that she was headed to the hospital! I couldn't believe it! I woke up to texts that she had him! ahhh! so exciting! okay, now it's game time!

in the week leading up until TBH arrived, I did everything I could! walk the rose bowl, check. sex,
check. primrose oil pills, check. raspberry tea, check. nipple stimulation, check. spicy foods (yes I ate flaming hot Cheetos thanks to the advice of two dudes from church lol - worst decision ever), check. and still nothing.

the following Monday, June 16, I went to see tamayo again. now I was dilated at a 4 (yes! progress was being made)! we asked her all our options. she told us the days that week that she was off + she wasn't the OB on call that weekend either. it meant more to us to have her there then going into it naturally (especially since I was 5 days late too), that we decided unless the baby comes tonight, we will have her break my water in the morning.

for the rest of the day + night, I felt fine. not too many more contractions.

trav + I went on a date night to Houston's. we chatted + laughed as we reflected on the last ten months + talked about what we were looking forward to! we crawled into bed later that night + prayed. we knew the next day, our lives would forever be different! bring it on.

 trav had a go pro set up in the car to capture the chaos of going to the hospital while in labor. since I was dilated at a 4 + not in any pain, we just interviewed each other on the drive in. we didn't have the "holy crap my water broke, let's get our asses to the hospital" moment. this was just what The Lord has intended for us though.

so we arrived to the hospital at 5:15am on June 17. we checked in +they didn't have us on file. they told us to sit in waiting room. we started to grow anxious, maybe we weren't supposed to be doing this?!! 2 minutes later, they checked us into triage.

triage was mellow. ivy, our sweet nurse took my vitals. we were just waiting there for a while. we kept
looking at each other feeling doubtful. "should we do this?!" then after 45 minutes, in walks tamayo! she always brings such peace. she was like: 
"good morning dear! how are we?!" 
"doing good!" 
"great! we are 6 days late right?!" 
"okay, let's get this party started!
GAME ONNN! I needed her to fire me up + she sure did!

we got admitted around 7am. she broke my water at 7:15 ish. it was the craziest feeling! I was obviously laying in the bed + it was like a river flowing! lol but seriously! (our ultrasound tech told me I had a lot
of amniotic fluid + that when my water breaks - it will be like the movies! it sure was like the movies! i guess 10-20 is normal. i had 27 liters! LOL)

during this time, I was feeling great! making besties with the while hospital staff, jamming out to our tiny baby harps playlist, watched trav hang up our "baby harps" banner + eating ice chips, texting away!

my parents + sister showed a little after this. they brought trav coffee + tons of snacks. it was so good knowing they were here + Travs fam was shortly behind them! my dad prayed + blessed the room + labor. my mom + sister got straight to work - massaging me + helping coach harps! we were just planning on having it be me + trav in the room, but we are SO thankful my sister + mom stayed. we could not have done it without them. #teamharps

this is always the part that gets a little blurry. the contractions picked up. I was very focused in between each one, had my eyes closed the entire time. didn't say much, just concentrated on what was coming up.

trav was such a great coach. he held my hands as I squeezed his so tight. there was one point when I guess I got a little pissed at him. he was reading the monitor + telling me every contraction that was coming up. i was internalizing my breathing during contractions, so he would say, "okay, here it comes. breathe (then he would deep breath in + out). breathe...." so at one point. he was literally two inches away from my face telling me to breathe. first I know that the contraction coming cause it's happening to me!  so I look up at him + say, "I hate that you're doing that right now." hahaha he backed off + got me some ice chips! lol

I had planned on going natural. not because it makes you "more bad ass". it was just a decision that me + trav had made. i think anyone who gives birth, regardless of getting an epidural, going natural or having a c-section is bad ass. moms, you rock! there were two points where I asked for an epidural. the first was when I was dilated at 7 (transition time). I told trav that I think I wanted one. he told me, "you can do this Joeley. your body was made to do this + you're doing an incredible job! you're progressing quick + dr thinks it will slow things down." okay okay - I won't get one. then when I was at a 9, I literally felt like I couldn't take it anymore. trav said, "we will get the nurse in here to check your progress. she will be in here in 15 minutes." great! I have to wait a little. by the time the nurse came back (an hour and a half later), i didn't want one anymore. LOL 

i got on the ball a couple times. since i had so much fluid, i was still leaking on the ball. so i stopped doing that. then i put the ball on the bed + put my head on top of the ball (don't worry, they cleaned the ball after i leaked on it!) + did some circles. at this point, our whole family had arrived. my mom told me to look out the window cause they were all standing outside + we could see them waving. i didn't have enough energy to do so but i'm so thankful for the cute pix they got of them waving!

during the whole time, my body would be SO hot + they would put wash rags on my face. then my temperature would change + i would be shivering. my body went through some stuff! i also threw up a little water during a transition into a 7. #hotmess

once I was at a 9, I knew it was game time! an angel charge nurse walks in + in between a contraction, makes me lock eyes with her. she pep talks me + walks me through the proper way of pushing. she also told me to wait to push until they told me to. I was still holding Travs hands. my sister was rubbing my back with heating pad + my mom is on my other side. 

my body felt like i should push, so i started pushing (and pooping - yes, it happened). i would apologize with every push + poop - "i'm so sorry, soooo sorry!" the nurses were so great! "oh! we've seen wayyyy worse." i literally thought poop was going everywhere, but it was just little nugs! the nurses told me not to because it wasn't time. i thought they were just saying that because my OB wasn't there yet. but if you push too early, you can cause your cervix to swell. the idea of that stressed me out more! so every contraction, i would breathe through it + push at the end. the nurses knew that i was ready! 

in walks tamayo (i swear she's an angel). she asked, "how are we doing my dear?!" the only thing that comes out of my mouth, "tamayooooo! i'm shitting everywhere!" everyone laughs! i was relieved she was there. i knew tiny baby harps was so close! 

tamayo gets ready + everyone gets into position. my mom was on my right side, then angel nurse, tamayo in catcher's position, my sister behind her with camera, other two nurses down on my left + trav holding my hand on my left.

contractions were intense. i'm talking, pressure like i've never felt. trav was whispering + telling me i could do this! he was right! i can! so the ladies told me to push up to 10 seconds! WAIT WHAT!?!?! i thought you just sneezed + the baby came out?! LIES! lol so i start pushingggggg. they counted. 

tiny baby harps was crowning. they could see hair! thank GOD. i needed a baby with some hair (trav was bald til 2 + i had an abundance of hair!). i heard that + was so excited to meet this lil love. so i got a little crazy! in between contractions (they were about a minute apart), i could hear everyone chatting. my mom + tamayo were talking about grandkids. and there was other chatter. i was focusing + resting in between every contraction. so when i felt ready, i looked up + shouted, "ARE YOU LADIES READYYYYYY?!" they all looked around + probably thought i was crazy! lol but they said yes + then i shouted, "okay, one, two.." and started pushing on three. 

i did that twice, had to fire myself up a nit + then out came a beautiful baby... GIRL!

tamayo let trav announce the sex. so as tamayo pulled tiny baby harps out, she grabbed her arm + made her wave at us, then continued on to pull the rest of her out. that's when trav said, "it's a baby girllllllll!" (we have this whole thing filmed thankfully. cause i wouldn't have remembered much of it!)

baby girl! in all her glory! our little gift arrived at 3:02pm. 7 lbs + 20.5 inches long. so much perfection. 

raegan hope, we are completely in love with you. we cannot imagine life without you. we are so thankful you are ours. our Papa God is so good. daily thanking the Lord for the sweetest gift. it's such a blessing to be your parents baby gal.