Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Tonight's Thoughts...

It is so clear in scripture that as believers we are to care for the orphans and widows and yet the truth is... at this season in our lives there really isn't much action in our home in regards to this.  Trav and I have a heart for adoption and someday, we hope to adopt.  But, there has to be something for us to do now... even if it is just prayer.  So, tonight as I tucked my son into his warm bed, we prayed together for the orphans.  We prayed that God would keep them warm and comfort them.  To hear my son's small sweet voice say those prayers, a deeper part of my heart began to ache.

I felt convicted.

Then after saying goodnight to Hudson, I walked into the other room and held our baby Jude.  I watched him with complete delight as he smiled back at me and kicked his legs so rigorously.  I stared into his blue eyes and felt such joy as I listened to his sweet baby sounds.  And I was reminded of those children who don't have parents to take delight in them. 

My heart broke even deeper.

And in the midst of this, I thought of our great Rescuer  
Of the One who is the Father to the fatherless. 

I felt hope.

And so for now,
Although, we alone cannot save all the orphans of the world
We know the One who can.

So, for now we will start by praying.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Jude's Visitors...

For us the time in the hospital is always such a sweet time.  Being there with Jude brought back so many vivid memories of our first days with Hudson.  Even now, when we drive by the hospital, I get butterflies in my stomach because it just brings back so many fond memories.  I have said it before, but I really do love being pregnant, giving birth and having children.  I just love the whole thing.  Anyway, here are a few more pictures and a few more tid bits about our stay at the hospital. 

First off, I must say... I love being married to this man.  He is the best partner in life, companion, best friend and husband that I could have ever asked for.  God was so good to me when he blessed me with Travis:

After Travis and I had some alone time with Jude, all of our family came back into the room to visit and hold Jude: 

The next morning, I was up and showered and ready for visitors.  I felt great and I probably had a lot more energy than most do after having a baby considering Jude was born in less that 4 1/2 hours of labor.  Having a fast labor is fine, but the only thing that concerns me is that the next baby might be born in the car... that would be awful!  We keep saying with the next baby we aren't going anywhere and as soon as I have my first contraction we are rushing to the hospital.

Anyway, our friends, Kristin, Mike and "How-ee" (aka Hallee their daughter), were watching Hudson and they brought him to the hospital in the morning so he could meet "baby Jude".  (Hudson never says, "Jude"... he always says, "baby Jude".)  Trav and I were both so excited to see Hudson and we couldn't wait for him to see his baby brother for the first time.

We had purchased a gift for Hudson "from" baby Jude... a Thomas train.  He had really begun to like trains, but we held off on giving him any trains knowing that we were going to give him a train set as something special after the baby was born.  When he walked in the room, he really didn't seem to know what was going on.  But once we told him baby Jude had something special for him, he got really excited.  It didn't take long for him to be completely enthralled with Jude.  Hudson was touching Jude's face, holding his hand, smiling at him and he was so excited to get to hold him.  And he hasn't stopped... he really already seems to LOVE his brother and I have been so taken back by how nurturing Hudson is.  

First pictures as a family of 4!
Hudson opening up his Thomas train: 

Kristin, Jude and I:

Jude meeting the Hofschroers for the first time: 

My "Danish family" :)
Actually, Lina's parents were here in the states so they came to meet Jude.  We were so excited they for them to meet Jude and Lina's mom knitted for me 2 beautiful Danish beanies!

Then we had a surprise visit from Rick Warren and Rick Muchow.  Both of them came into the room singing very loudly, the portion of the Beatles song, "Hey Jude".  They had seen on facebook that we had the baby and stopped by the hospital for a little visit.  They both have very busy schedules and we would never have expected them to stopped by, however, we were so blessed that they took the time to come visit us.  It was another moment at the hospital that I will always remember and cherish.  

They visited with us and our families for a little bit, held Jude and then they took some time to gather everyone who was there to pray for Jude and our now family of 4.  I don't know what else to say about it, but that we really just felt so loved by both of them. 
Pastor Rick and Jude: 

Another visitor was our friend Mark.  He is actually a friend of Travis' family and he lives in Ohio, however, Saddleback hospital is one of his clients so he is constantly flying back and forth.  We didn't even know he was in town until he sent the CEO and CFO of the hospital down to our room for a visit.  The CEO walked in, introduced himself and said Mark had told him to come pay us a visit.  Then later that day Mark came and visited us.  It was so great to see him and just feels like a little bit of home for Travis. 

And just a few more pictures from our time at the hospital:
Hudson looks like he was very thankful to get to share a little bit of my pumpkin spice latte :) 

This is what happens when you get to hang out with your Auntie Summer... She lets you wear your sweat shirt backwards and walk around like a pirate ;)

Here are just a few sweet details from the hospital: 

the boys:

Getting ready to head home: 

This is the moment it always hits me... It is just such a surreal moment leaving the hospital with a newborn baby.  I can't wait to do it again! :)

Thursday, December 1, 2011

The story of how Jude came into the world...

This just might be the longest post ever.

I am finally getting around to sharing the story of Jude's birth.  I must say after hearing that most people have their second babies early, I was expecting that I wouldn't make it to my due date with Jude.  So, for the last 2 weeks it felt like everyday I was thinking, "Is today the day?".  What made it worse was that 4 weeks before his due date I was already dilated to a 1 and then 2 weeks before his due date I was at a 2 and 30% effaced.  However, Jude didn't make his arrival until his actual due date, October 24th.   I have since found out that only 4-5% of babies are actually born on their due date!

Anyway, Jude's due date was on a Monday so Travis took off work the weekend before so we could either spend time together as a family or we figured we would be spending time in the hospital.  He hasn't had a weekend off were he wasn't leading somewhere or we weren't out of town, since Hudson's birth.  Needless to say, we were excited to spend time together as a family.  Since I still wasn't in labor on Sunday morning, we decided to make the most of it.  We decided to spend the morning walking to the pier to get breakfast.

Last belly picture:

It was a beautiful quiet morning and we just enjoyed conversation with each other and the beautiful view.  Travis mentioned at breakfast that ideally he was hoping for me to go into labor that day.  However, the only sign of labor were the braxton hicks I had been having for months.  They were more uncomfortable and happening more often, but I knew it wasn't labor.  On our walk back home, we stopped at the park for a little bit and let Hudson play.  It was nice for us to have a little time to focus just on him. 

Once we were home, we all took naps and once we woke up, we decided to head to Disneyland for the evening.  On our way to Disneyland we picked up Travis' mom who was in town.  She hadn't planned on being here for the birth, however, her father's health was declining and he actually passed away a week before Jude was born.  We were all sad to have lost such a wonderful man and although the circumstances were unfortunate, we were thankful it allowed for Debbie to be with us for the birth.

Little did I know we were about to have our baby in about 4 hours...

We spent the evening walking around Disneyland and enjoying all of their fall decorations.  At this point, I was feeling a little bit more pressure and the braxton hicks were definitely uncomfortable, but still no sign of labor.  We then stopped at our favorite place in downtown Disney to eat some beignets.  While eating our beignets at around 8:40pm I had my first contraction.  I told Travis that it was definitely stronger than a braxton hicks, but I still wasn't sure if I was beginning to go into labor.  Travis got a huge smile on his face and was ready to take me to the hospital... haha!  I assured him it wasn't time :) With Hudson I had these type of contractions for about an hour each day for 2 days prior to actually having him.  I had Hudson in about 11 1/2 hours which is really fast for a firstborn, so I knew to expect this time to be a lot faster (my doctor was guessing 4-6 hours).  We headed home and began keeping track of the contractions.

Hud eating a beignet:

By the time we left I had 2 more contractions and they were each about 10 minutes apart.  On our 45 minute drive home, they continued to get stronger and were now about 4-7 minutes apart.  We dropped off Debbie and headed home knowing that would we see her at the hospital probably sometime within the next 12 hours.  Little did we know how quickly Jude would come. 

I called our friend Kristin, who was planning on sleeping at our house if I went into labor during the night.  I called to gve her a warning that I might be going into labor and I figured she would probably need to come over in the next couple of hours.  I was still planning on waiting it out a little bit, but I just wanted to let her know... again, little did I know how quickly things were about to happen.  

By the time we got home, Travis put Hudson to bed and I figured I would just call the doctor to see what I should do.  I knew I wasn't in active labor because I could talk through the contractions and I remember how painful active labor was.  However, my worst fear was missing the window of opportunity to have an epidural.  

Being that it was the weekend I knew my doctor wouldn't be in, so I spoke with the doctor on duty.  She wanted me to come in immediately to be checked since my labor was so quick with Hudson and because I was already dilated to 2 cm on Friday.  I was a little shocked... I seriously thought I was going to have time to shower and labor at home for a while.  However, after talking to our doctor I quickly called Kristin who came over to our house within 10 minutes.  We grabbed the last few things we needed to throw into our already packed bags took one last belly picture and headed out the door.  Everything was beginning to happen so quickly.  By this point it was only about 10:30pm and I couldn't believe we were heading to the hospital.  I still wasn't convinced they were going to check me in and I didn't want to have my family heading to the hospital if I wasn't going to be admitted.  However, good thing my mother knew better, she had my family already getting ready to leave and meet us there.  

By the time we were driving to the hospital, the contractions were getting closer and closer and definitely getting more painful.  I knew at this point, I was definitely in active labor and I was really looking forward to the ever-so-wonderful epidural.  The funny thing is with both my labors I wasn't really in painful contractions until we were in the car.  Both times I had to be convinced by the doctor and my husband that I needed to go to the hospital.  It must be something about driving there that makes my body get into gear ;) haha! 

Anyway, when we arrived at the hospital Travis dropped me off at the front of the entrance while he quickly went to park the car.  At this point, I was squatting in the lobby and doing breathing techniques during the contractions.  Travis grabbed just the small camera and our video camera.  I didn't want him to grab the rest of our stuff in case they didn't admit me.  I must have been in denial because I was clearly in labor at this point.

Travis came running in and we had to wait for a nurse to come down with a wheel chair.  She then took us up to labor and delivery and by this point... I was in a lot of pain.  They had me quickly change and checked me.  The nurse asked me what I thought I was at and I figured maybe a 3.  Well, I was at a 4 1/2!  So, I was definitely getting admitted.  

They began drawing blood, putting in an IV all the while I am making sure they are very aware that I really wanted an epidural.  Once we were in our room, the nurse said I had to wait until I had a certain amount of the IV fluid in me before the anesthesiologist could give me the epidural.  So, we figured it was a good time for Travis to run to the car to get our things... which really all we needed was our big camera. While he was gone, I had to lie on the bed which for me is not comfortable and absolutely an awful position to be in while having contractions.  I asked the nurse if I could stand up and squat on the ground, but she assured me the doctor would be there soon and I was already set up to receive the epidural.  She asked me if the doctor made it there before Travis was back did I want to wait to get the epidural... to which my reply was NO...haha!  However, luckily Travis walked right in after she asked me.

I remember feeling panicked inside thinking that if I didn't get an epidural I didn't know how I could do this.  I have no idea how women give birth without medicine... it is absolutely amazing to me.  Maybe I have a really low level of pain tolerance or maybe because I knew I was about to have a way out from the pain, but I really felt convinced I couldn't have this baby without medicine.

The anesthesiologist came in and had me sit in a particular position and then I just waited.  I remember the epidural being little painful with Hudson, so I was expecting the same feeling.  He told me I would feel a little sting and burning which I thought was just the shot to numb the area before the epidural.  So, after that...which it really wasn't painful... I just keep waiting for the painful part.  Then he asked me if I was starting to feel some relief which I was.  I couldn't believe it... the epidural didn't even hurt.  It may have been because my contractions were so much more painful with Jude than they were with Hudson.  I assume they were worse this time because they came on so quickly and were so much closer together.  Plus, I was only at a 3 when I got my epidural with Hudson and I bet I was probably at a 6 or more when I got the epidural with Jude.

After the epidural:)

My family had just arrived and all came into the room to visit.  We were beyond excited to meet this little baby and of course, to finally find out if we had a boy or girl. Within no time, the doctor came to check me and they couldn't even tell what I was at because the bag was bulging.  They broke my water then checked me to find out I was at a 9 and said it could be anywhere from 5 minutes to an hour before I was pushing.  The doctor was washing her hands and I told her, I REALLY feel like I need to push now.  She checked me again and sure enough... I was at a 10 and she could already feel the baby's head!

While they were prepping things, I asked the nurse if the water was clear.  It wasn't... so I knew what to expect.  The doctor explained to me there was meconium and she was going to have some specialists come in to suction out the baby's lungs immediately after the birth.  She explained that Travis wouldn't be able to cut the cord, but he would be able to cut the remainder of the cord after they took care of the baby.  Also, she wasn't going to be able to put the baby on my chest immediately after the birth.  I was surprisingly calm, partly because I knew what to expect and partly because I wanted them to do what was best for the baby.

They wanted me to do a few "practice pushes", but thankfully I explained to the doctor that I only pushed for 43 minutes with Hudson and he was face up (when they are face up it is more painful and takes longer... most mom's push anywhere from 1 1/2 hours to 2 1/2 hours with first).  Once she realized how fast Hudson came, she told me NOT to push.  She checked the position of the baby and the head was down... she could already feel his ear.  She immediately called the doctors and specialists who were coming for Jude to rush because the baby was coming.  This part was definitely painful.  Pushing was painful, but waiting to push when your body is telling you to push is also painful.

As soon as all the doctors were there, they had me start to push.  With Hudson, they had me positioned a certain way and had Travis holding my head up.  This time they just had me push... Travis didn't know where to help and didn't know what to do.   And it all just happened so fast. However, in the midst of the craziness, there is one sweet moment I will always cherish.   Seconds before I started pushing, Travis looked down at me and only he could hear me... and I told him, "I think it's a boy!".  All of a sudden I just had an overwhelming sense it was a boy.  We both just smiled at each other and we couldn't wait to find out.  Then after pushing through 1 1/2 contractions... Jude Dawson Collins was born!

For some people who get epidurals, pushing is not painful, however, for me... it is very painful.  So, when Jude was born the relief from the pain was so amazing.  The pain was over and we were so taken by the fact that the baby was born, it even took us a few seconds to realize we still didn't know what it was.  I looked at Travis and asked, "what is it?".  The doctor held up our baby and Travis proclaimed, "it's a boy!".  To which we all started crying :)  Both our moms and my sisters were in the room and it was just such an amazing moment.   It just felt so perfect.  I don't know how else to explain it, but waiting to find out was definitely worth it.  When Travis said it was a boy, it just felt like of course it is!  We loved finding out with Hudson for our firstborn, but it was equally as wonderful not finding out with Jude.

Anyway, after only 4 1/2 hours of labor, an epidural and 2 pushes... Jude was born on his due date on October 24th at 1:04am weighing 7 lbs 15 oz and 20 inches long.  (Side note... several people have asked for comparison what was Hudson's birth weight and height... Hudson was 7 lbs 4 oz and 20 inches long and he was born the day after his due date.)

Jude didn't start crying right away, but when he did it totally made me cry.  It is such a sweet sound. Thankfully, I couldn't see that they had to give him oxygen.  They told me they were, but I have since seen what it looked like on the video and I know that would have been really hard for me to see at the moment.  They were able to quickly suction out Jude's lungs and he was totally healthy and perfect.  And his apgar score really wasn't much different from a normal score!

Giving Jude oxygen: 

Travis loving on Jude while they were waiting for a little bit more color to come in his face: 
My sisters, taking video of the entire birth.  Brooke made the amazing video that has been posted with her iphone and Summer was the one taking all the pictures during the birth and immediately after. 
My mom crying after Jude was born:

After checking him to be sure he was ok, they placed him in my arms.  It is at this moment that it feels like your heart has never known such love...
That the reality of this amazing gift begins to sink in
And you know this could only be because of the grace of our Lord.
It is like you can sense the presence of the Lord in a way unimaginable.
The gift of life... from the One who gives life.
He was there with us.
And although we know He is always with us, it is in these precious moments that somehow you know it even more deeply than before.
Such beauty
The perfect addition to our family
A son.

Debbie and Travis watching the nurse hand Jude to me for the first time:
Travis waving the "boy" flag to announce to the rest of the family that we had a boy!

Travis and I both had said that if we could have chosen, we would have chosen to have another son.  We wanted Hudson to experience what it is like to have a brother close in age, but we also knew that a sister would be wonderful.  And although, we do think it would be wonderful to have a daughter at some point, we just felt it was so perfect that God gave us a son.

Another sweet moment I will always cherish, is when Travis told me what the name Jude Dawson means. We never looked up the meaning of his name, honestly we just chose it because we liked it.  However, we know that God knew He was giving us a son and we know that God is the One who put Jude's name on our hearts.  Jude comes from the word, Judah and if you go back to the Hebrew to the part of the name Jude is derived, it means, "the Lord is to be praised".   And Dawson actually means, "son of David".

When Travis told me, I couldn't help the tears from welling up in my eyes.  This whole time I have been pregnant we have been so focused with what God has been doing in our lives in regards to ministry.  The month before we found out we were pregnant, Travis signed with Integrity to begin writing worship music for the church.  In March, right after we found out I was pregnant, we traveled to Europe to allow Travis to write with Matt Redman and a few other worship leaders.  Not to mention, we were  just so encouraged by the believers that we met while we were there.  And even when I went back to Europe in June, the family I stayed with are a family of musicians... a family with a heart for worship.  And literally the days leading up to Jude's birth, Travis was in the studio finishing recording his first album with Integrity.  So, it just seemed so fitting that God would give us a son and that his name would have the heritage of worship in the meaning.

Some of our first moments with our sweet Jude... 
We are completely overwhelmed by how much we love both our boys.  They are our greatest treasure.