Cuteness Overload

by Terrica Joy in


What's cuter than a baby in a ridiculously over-the-top tutu??

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TWO babies in ridiculous over-the-top tutus!!  

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Okay, maybe Ev had a bit more volume than Roe... but Roe also had a bit more shirt than Ev seeing that Everyn's mother (that'd be me) seems to prefer half naked babies in ridiculously cute over-the-top tutus.  It's something my own mom taught me to be imperative in a baby's life.  They need to be naked.  As often as possible.  Especially when it's even slightly warm out.  It's healthy.  And they like it.  Truth be told I have full on naked photos of Ev as well, taken just moments before these were snapped... but some might consider those inappropriate so I'll try and refrain from posting.  And she might appreciate that later in life as well... ;-)

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Anywho.  I took half naked photos of my ridiculously cute daughter in her ridiculously cute tutu with her ridiculously cute BFF today.  

What'd you do for fun??

***Cuteness courtesy of Auntie Lyndsey who snagged this getup the moment she laid eyes on it, and in celebration of Auntie Brittany's birthday (that'd be Monroe's Moma).  Cause that's what everyone should wear to a birthday picnic.  A hot pink tutu.  End of story.***


Moments To Live For

by Terrica Joy in


Given my last post it's obvious how smitten my husband is with our tiny little girl.  No explanation necessary, it's written all over his face.  But did I mention how much she adores him in return?  Nah.  I didn't.  Truth is I'm the tiniest bit jealous. ;-)  

Certainly there are many days she doesn't want anyone but her Moma.  Certainly there are moments no one can calm or soothe her but me.  Certainly I can see it in her eyes when someone new is holding her but she's frantically scanning the room for me alone.  But oh man, she so adores her Daddy...  She giggles and smiles more for him in the first 5 minutes he walks in the door in the evening, than she does for me ALL DAY.  Yet despite that tiny tinge of jealousy, I have to admit I love it more than I can express.  It's beautiful.  Breaks my heart and fills it to capacity all in the same instant.  Every.  Single.  Time.

Point and case:  Yesterday I met up with our friend/realtor to walk thru the house we've been looking at.  Josh planned to meet us there.  Everyn was cranky as ever, just griping about nothing in particular.  I'd walked and bounced and fed, run thru every tool in my arsenal to try and make her happy.  Nothing did the trick.  Josh pulls up, walks up to me all smiles and grabs her, and this is her immediate response...

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She snuggled into his chest all smiles and endless giggles.

*sigh*

Yep.  She adores her Daddy.  And he adores her.  And I, well, I hopelessly adore them both.


The Mysterious 'Birth Box' Revealed

by Terrica Joy in


I've had a dozen people ask me about the contents of the 'Birth Box.'  Simply put, it was packed full of truth and life for the moment in time I would desperately need it...

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"...I pray the peace of God be released over you in abundance..."

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"...your life's goal, ordained by our Lord, was to do this, to be in this very moment..."

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"...the day that has been prophesied is here..."

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"...with the birth of your child today comes the fruition of His way on earth, as it is in heaven...all you've ever said and done has led you to this moment..."

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"...you are a valiant warrior..."

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"...shortly, when you hold her in your arms, you will know..."

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"...now push!"  ;-)

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Just a few snipets of many.  Cards, letters, notes.  Prayers, scripture, encouraging and profound words.  From some of the most cherished people in my life. 

My husband knows well that my love language is 'words of affirmation'.  Once labor got fairly intense, he would hand me a single item at a time from the birth box in between contractions.  As if I weren't emotional enough already, these really brought on the tears!  At one point, totally overcome, I looked up at him and declared very seriously, "I really don't think I can read any more of these!"

From dear friends and family as far away as the U.K., he spent weeks collecting each little treasure.  He also added a beautiful vanilla and fig scented candle from Anthropology (my fave!), and a gorgeous handmade aquamarine pendant. (Everyn's birthstone)

Love.  In every way.

I will cherish and reflect on that little treasure box all the days of my life.  It is the semblance and reflection of God's love in the hearts and words of those who love Him, and thereby love me.

Richly loved.  I am richly, deeply loved.  As is this little girl, by so many before she was even born because they sincerely and diligently prayed for her as if she were their own.  They stood guard like watchmen in the night, calling forth her destiny, proclaiming God's purposes, waiting with anticipation for her arrival.  If only every child were welcomed in such a way...

Humbled.  Honored.  Overwhelmed by His goodness.  My heart is absolutely full to capacity.


A Daddy's Miracle

by Terrica Joy in


(As promised, I wanted to share my husband's account of our birth experience.  The day after we got home from the birth center having just brought Everyn Saige into the world, Josh looked at me very seriously and said, "I want to write a post for your blog."  He'd never even suggested such a thing before so of course I was intrigued, "Absolutely.  What are you going to post about?"  He wouldn't concede any of the details except to say it was about Everyn's birth, and I honestly couldn't have guessed that he would take it the direction he did in the end.  I was moved to tears, humbled, so proud, so grateful.  We sat together in our bedroom and wept, thanking God for the sweet, profound redemption we could never deserve, but for which we will forever be grateful.  Having said that, here's Joshua...)

Have you ever heard of the concept of Supernatural Childbirth

Well let me tell you a little bit about it… You see, there are countless testimonies of woman who have prayed and believed for a Supernatural Childbirth experience, many of them recounting entirely pain-free and super short deliveries.  After doing our own research on the topic we were quick to join their ranks in praying for just such a testimony, however in our case it proved to be so much more!  Yes – more actual time for sure (maybe about 15 and a half hours more!) but the story surrounding this entire conception, pregnancy and delivery is unquestionably Supernatural…so I feel as though we have a little bit of a “one-up” on all those other testimonies. (though of course, I’m biased)

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I’m going to spare a lot of the details in my story because I know Terrica filled you in from her own account, but I will say this; I have never been more in awe of a woman than I was with her during those 16 hours!

From about midnight on the 13th of March till about 11am(ish) the following morning, Terrica took every contraction of early labor one at a time and absolutely killed it.  (and yes – that is an item from the Birth Box in the photo on the left)

We even took a fairly long walk with her actually walking through each contraction.  She totally owned them!

But then – that active to transition period of labor hit and I suddenly lost all track of time.  When Terrica hit transition and her eyes closed as she went into “labor land,” my emotions got the best of me.  Seeing my beautiful wife go through such intense pain and knowing I couldn’t do anything about it absolutely crushed me.  Our midwife and doula began encouraging me through her contractions…probably because Terrica couldn’t have heard them anyway.

Finally around 2:30 pm, I finally heard the words I’d been waiting for from Terrica: “Can I push yet?”  The next hour and a half, my wife turned into some kind of mythological Greek goddess as she pushed with everything she had during each contraction.  After an hour, the midwife checked her cervix and said she was at a 9.5 and there was just a lip keeping the head from coming down…so during the next contraction she would manually move the cervix.  When that next contraction came – Oh dear baby Jesus – my bride was in such intense pain that it absolutely killed me!  However once that contraction passed, Terrica was immediately back up and ready to push.  Within 20 minutes we finally saw the head crown, and after a few more pushes the midwife finally said, “Ok daddy, it’s time to catch your baby!”  In what felt like a split second, I grabbed her head and shoulder and then all of a sudden I was holding my baby girl!

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I had an entire paradigm shift at 3:59pm on March 14th, 2012.  Up to this point, my whole life had been about being a provider, lover, and spiritual covering for my wife.  Being a son, brother and friend to those closest to me, and being the best colleague to those I’m around everyday.  All of which is of course important, but the moment I caught Everyn Saige – my world as I knew it instantaneously changed.  As I held my beautiful baby girl for the first time, I knew that I had entered a whole new realm of understanding the real meaning of love and provision. You see, there is a much bigger picture here... 

Remember when Terrica blogged about our Miracle last summer?  Followed by this, and this, and this?

It might all make a bit more sense now, because speaking of deliveries – there was a moment at our pastors’ house on June 8th, 2011 when God delivered ME from serious bondage that threatened my marriage and very salvation.  Three days later the Lord miraculously healed Terrica of the pain I had caused, and then literally within that very same week– we conceived Everyn.  The most beautiful part of the entire story is that we had been trying to conceive for several months – but the Lord wouldn’t allow it.  His timing is always perfect and there is no way He would have let this precious little girl be conceived into sin.  But after I was delivered, set free, a truly new creation – I was ready for a new life, one the Lord could now trust me with.  One that included not only my wife, but this little girl, this family.  Things simply had to be in the proper order. 

Having been believing with us to conceive, our pastor had noted that fateful day following prayer and counsel, “Thank God Terrica isn’t pregnant yet.  That’s the difference in birthing an Ishmael and an Isaac: one is born into bondage, the other into freedom.” 

So this isn’t just about one delivery – it’s about two.

Back to 3:59pm on March 14, 2012.  The first moment I laid eyes on that beautiful baby girl, I couldn’t help but think of her as our miracle from the Lord, His metaphorical rainbow to us. (after I completely lost it for a few minutes, of course) 

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I laid in the bed with my two girls and kept kissing them both.  My respect and love for Terrica and the female body went to a whole new plane!  The way she handled natural childbirth like a pro made me fall more in love with her. 

My emotions certainly got the best of me, as I was keenly aware of God’s grace and the miracle He had first birthed in my marriage about ten months earlier.  Now I was holding the fruit of that miracle.  

So, back to Supernatural Childbirth… 

Did we have Supernatural Childbirth experience?  Absolutely!  

Our Everyn Saige was born at 3:59pm - 8lbs., 2.5 oz. and 21” long with absolutely no complications, and most importantly into a home of freedom – not bondage.  We went home that night at 8pm and started our new life together, as a family.  

I would definitely describe that as supernatural. 

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Our Birth Story

by Terrica Joy in


(Typically I would edit this story extensively making it more entertaining/easier to read/etc, however I’m currently still deep in the throes of newborn fog where simply completing a sentence is, in itself, a major accomplishment!  And being that time is of the essence and I have an absolutely amazing post written by my husband next up, please forgive my lack of finesse this post.  These are essentially the facts plain and simple, along with a few photos, of course!)

Wednesday, March 13th, 2012 ~ 40 weeks, 6 days pregnant

9:00 pm- Feeling beyond exhausted I told Josh we had to go to bed.  Though we’re usually up a bit later, having been on two super long walks, to the chiropractor for an adjustment and acupuncture session to help naturally induce labor, and of course distracting myself the day long with all sorts of to do's... I was crashing hard and fast.  At around 9:30 we actually crawled into bed for the evening.

11:20 pm- woke up needing to pee, per usual.  I was thankful I’d actually managed to sleep for almost two hours before having to get up.  Rolling onto my side to sit, I felt something like a pop low in my pelvis, almost like a kick had that been the proper area for baby’s feet rather than her head.  There was a small gush of fluid, and of course my immediate thought was that I’d accidentally wet myself.  Making my way to the bathroom I realized that no, in fact my water had broken.

It was such a surreal feeling realizing, okay here we go.  I felt entirely calm.  Back in the bedroom I attempted to rouse a very hard-sleeping Josh, shaking him gently,  “Babe...  Babe...  Babe...  Josh!”  He opened his eyes and squinted at me.  “I think my water just broke.”  “Huh?!”  “I think my water just broke…”  “Huh??”  “JOSH, my water broke!”  “What?!?  Seriously??  Are you sure?!”  “Yeah, I’m pretty sure.”  In an instant he turned into some sort of super human, wide-eyed and giddy.  Blankets and pillows flew across the room as he bolted upright and busied himself throwing on clothes, packing the cooler and the car, calling our midwife, making a run to the drug store to get castor oil just in case my contractions didn’t kick into high gear … I think he even washed a few dishes.  I, on the other hand, remained surprisingly clear headed and calm.  I can’t say that I felt any specific emotion other than that, simple peace. 

The midwife had said to try and sleep and call her at 5 am if my contractions hadn’t hit the 5-1-1 mark (5 minutes apart, lasting 1 minute each, for at least 1 hour), and to drink the castor oil at that point, as well.  I had a very certain feeling none of that would be necessary, and I was right.  Within 20 minutes of talking to her contractions started coming on fast, consistently 4-6 minutes apart.  There would be no sleeping thru them or waiting until 5 to head to the birth center.  We labored at home for about the next 4 hours.  For the most part I kept myself busy, and when I felt one coming I’d rush to the bed and hit all fours and Josh would squeeze my hips.  The squeezing, surprisingly, helped more than I can say. 

3:30 am- I was eager to get to the birth center.  Josh called the midwife back and she instructed us to meet her there in about an hour.  (side note: Contractions in the car for half an hour weren’t fun.  I did not wear my seatbelt.  And I might have put the seat back down and remained on all fours most of the way…maybe…)

5:00 am- We arrived in the darkness and I immediately headed inside while Josh unloaded our bags.  I found Carol, the midwife, sitting quietly playing ‘Words with Friends’.  ;-)  She checked me right away and announced I was 100% effaced and 4 cm dilated.  Time to head upstairs.

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The amazing thing about a birth center is the sense of intimacy and peace.  No machines, no bright lights, no noise, no people rushing about.  It feels a lot like a bed & breakfast.  There are two birth rooms, both essentially large master bedrooms.  Four poster bed, fire place, glider, private bath, warm rugs, furniture and décor, dimly lit with candles.  It was also well equipped with a huge birth tub and laboring necessities like birthing balls, etc. 

Carol began filling the tub per my request and then excused herself to the adjoining room where she’d remain for the next few hours, popping in only to check the baby’s heart rate every half hour or so and see how I was doing. 

At some point over the next couple hours our amazing doula, Kali, arrived.  I was just crawling into the birth tub and she immediately began comforting and encouraging me.  I can’t say how long I was in the water, but I can say I loved it!  It made such a difference in the intensity of the contractions.  After awhile I’d gotten too hot so Carol suggested I get out to cool off.  She also suggested we take a walk to speed up dilation. 

7:40 am-We set out determined to hike a few blocks, at least.  It was cool and overcast, almost chilly.  A lot of people say they can’t walk thru contractions, but it felt great to me.  I joked that it gave me the illusion that I was running away from them ;-)  Just after 8 am we passed the birth center as Carol was heading home, Leslie taking her place.  (There are 3 midwives.  We worked with all of them throughout the pregnancy so we’d be comfortable and familiar with whomever was on call when finally going into labor.)  She waved and encouraged us one last time as we rounded the block again.

At some point we headed back inside and Leslie checked in on me, encouraging me to try and lie down for awhile and actually sleep.  I could NOT imagine sleeping or even more so lying down.  Let me squat, walk, bounce, hit all fours… but please don’t make me lie down.  Far too painful.  Somehow they convinced me and I actually DID manage to sleep on and off for about an hour, however when I woke up Josh told me my contractions had slowed to about 8 minutes apart.  They assured me all was well, just my body’s way of letting me rest, but the news catapulted me back to my feet and it was only minutes before the contractions started closing in again. (I should note that the birth center’s on staff doula, as well as a midwife in training had also joined the party at this point.)

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The next several hours are a total blur.  I remember very little besides labor, midwives and doulas coming and going, being encouraged to eat and drink as much as possible, and Josh staring at me intently.  What I do remember is when things got really intense: Transition.

1:00 pm-Because I was squatting, walking, or leaning over the bed for each contraction my legs had gotten incredibly shaky.  Leslie encouraged me to lie down again simply to give them a break, so I ended up back on the bed.  That’s about when transition hit.  Eyes glued shut, lost somewhere in ‘labor land’, all I could do was moan my way thru each contraction.  There was violent, uncontrollable shaking, there was vomiting, and there was lots of assurance that all these things were good.  I do remember opening my eyes once and looking at Josh, then making the mental note NOT to do it again.  He looked shocked and horrified.  Despite endless reading, preparation and Bradley classes, neither of us was prepared for just how intense this was actually going to be. 

I’m not sure how long transition lasted and I’m not even certain when I got up, but I do remember grabbing the bedpost and asking, “Can I push?”  Leslie quickly responded, “You can do whatever you feel you need to.”

I honestly wasn’t sure it was time to push yet but I was ready to move this thing along.  I pushed thru each contraction for what seemed like forever.  Nothing seemed to be happening.  Finally, about an hour in, Leslie announced she wanted to check me.  Back on the bed I went, flat on my back.  Sure enough, I had only dilated to 9 ½ centimeters and that tiny lip of my cervix was prohibiting the baby from making her entrance.  Leslie explained that with the next push she would manually push the cervix back.  Oh my word.  There aren’t words for that kind of pain.  I vaguely remember screaming and multiple arms holding me down so I didn’t come out of my skin.  At that point Josh said he was so upset everyone began encouraging and calming him.  But as soon as that cervix was out of the way we started making progress…

Back at the bedpost in a full squat, I pushed for about another half hour.  I vividly remember refusing to open my eyes even when she crowned, thinking I desperately wanted to go to the hospital at this point but knowing full well that wasn’t an option, resolving I would never ever do this again, that this baby would likely be an only child unless of course we decided to adopt, realizing I would never have an ounce of judgment for another woman having an epidural, thinking I was definitely going to tear, and finally, that if I didn’t push hard she wasn’t coming out and we’d both be stuck like this forever! 

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There was lots of encouragement and cheering me on, but it was the obvious excitement in my husband’s voice that rose above the others.  I could clearly hear the giddiness as she came closer and closer, inch by inch.  Finally Leslie told him to get ready to catch, and within moments she was out!  I think the entire room breathed a sigh of joy and relief.  Josh yelled out “It’s 3:59!” and everyone laughed.  I was standing, leaned over the bed as they passed her to me.  Dark hair, dark eyes, gorgeous in every way…  I was stunned.  I stood there mouth agape until someone finally ushered me onto the bed.  Josh crawled up next to me and they placed our tiny Everyn Saige on my chest.  I just stared.  Josh laughed and cried and laughed some more, enamored from the moment he laid eyes on her.  I was absolutely dumb struck by the entire ordeal.  Speechless.

We waited for the cord to stop pulsing before Josh cut it, and shortly thereafter the placenta was delivered.  (I appreciated that everyone marveled about how healthy it was, evidence of ‘excellent nutrition’ they chirped!  A proud moment. ;-)  All the more reason to have it encapsulated as well, a service my doula offers.  So yes, of course I had her pack up my placenta to be dehydrated and ground into powder, packed into pills and added to my daily supplementation regimen.  Of course.  Why wouldn’t I??  I hear some people actually put it straight into smoothies and whatnot… now that's a bit much!  Oh and btw, it seems to be working wonders in the ‘baby blues’ department!  But I’ll have to tell you more about that later.) Back to the birth story…

After all the initial checking me out, checking her out, a super short visit with my parents and sister and chowing down on gluten free pizza, I was ready to go home.  By 8 pm we were climbing in the car and saying our goodbyes.

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Of course none of this covers the spiritual or the emotions of it all, but that’s another story entirely ;-)  Like I said, these are the simple facts.  For the moment suffice it to say it was beautiful, it was overwhelming, it was nothing I could have fully expected, and though I wanted to hit eject more times than I could count, given the opportunity I wouldn’t do anything differently.  Everyn was so alert and present, bonding with Josh and I both immediately and nursing like a pro.  I had absolutely no tearing or any kind of complications, and less than 4 hours after giving birth I literally walked out and headed home (and would have earlier if they’d have let me).  I took with me the confidence that if I could do this, I could do just about anything… and most importantly, I took with me the most beautiful, perfect, miraculous baby girl. 

I couldn’t be more proud.  I couldn’t be more grateful.  And I certainly couldn't be more head-over-heels for this tiny little beauty.  Life itself makes more sense now than ever...

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As I mentioned earlier Josh has a story of his own to tell, one I won’t even try to prep you for.  What I will say is when reading it for the first time I wept uncontrollably, as did he.  We sat together and cried, and laughed a bit, and cried some more, marveling at all that God has done. And I’ll be posting THAT little story for you soon ;-)  Promise.