Please Stop Saying “Black Lives Matter.”

FullSizeRenderBefore you start throwing virtual stones, hear me out. For weeks now, I’ve watched as my facebook and twitter feeds have become this outlet of pure hatred. My “friends” with strong beliefs on either end of the spectrum just spewing hatred towards the other end. All I have thought is, ‘how is this helping anything?’ I’ve kept my virtual and literal mouth shut about my opinions until now.

The media only seems to report the crimes that fuel the fire and create more and more turmoil. The other morning while getting ready to walk out the door, the news was on. Blasted all over the screen was the “breaking news” this week. A white cop was arrested for excessive force on black teenagers at a pool party. A white cop had shot and killed an unarmed black man that ran away from him. A white man entered a predominantly black church and opened fire. Nine people dead. I walked into the family room just in time for Aiden to turn around and ask me, “Mommy, what’s a hate crime?”

I froze. I’ve spent the last five years doing everything in my power to protect Aiden from learning to hate. I wanted to protect his innocence as long as possible. I wasn’t sure how to respond to his question. Alongside the images of prayer circles in Charleston, flashback images of protests and riots in Baltimore and Ferguson flashed across the screen with people chanting, “BLACK LIVES MATTER.” Aiden looked at me and asked me, “does my life matter too, Mommy?

“Of course it does, babe. Especially to me!”

“Well, why don’t they just say that everyone’s lives matter then? Duh!”

And just like that, my four year old felt the sting of prejudice for the first time. No, he probably won’t be profiled shopping in a grocery store. No, he probably won’t get a second glance walking down a sidewalk one afternoon. No, other people probably won’t have this preconceived notion that he’s up to no good, at least if I do my job correctly. But that doesn’t mean that for a moment, he didn’t feel that same hurt that minorities everywhere deal with daily. Seeing “black lives matter” plastered all over everything just causes other ethnicities, not just white people, to feel the same inadequacy that African Americans neither want nor deserve to feel themselves.

I understand that #blacklivesmatter is meant to be a movement for equality. I really do. And I understand that many people have the good intentions of it being used to move America forward instead of backwards. Unfortunately, that’s not the case. All it’s doing it pitting different ethnicities against each other even more so than before. The movement should be that #ALLlivesmatter. THAT, to me, preaches equality and love. Which is what I would hope we’re all striving for.

I leave you with this:

“Don’t we all come from one Father? Aren’t we all created by the same God? So why can’t we get along? Why do we desecrate the covenant of our ancestors that binds us together?” -Malachi 2:10 MSG

Edited to add:

Anyone who took my message as one preaching ignorance or “white supremacy” could not be further from the truth. Clearly, many have gone off of the blog image and not the actual words. I am not scared or intimidated at the idea of talking about racial issues with either of my children. I have taught my son, and will eventually teach his brother, what hate means. He knows and understands that some people are made differently. He knows that sometimes people hate other people ONLY because they are different and because of a nation of people that judge based off of preconceived prejudices. We had the “why is his/her skin different?” conversation months ago. I explained to him that God made everyone different and that He loves ALL of His children. My hope is that by the time he is grown, the focus will be on ALL lives being equal, and not one race being more or less superior than the other. That is what was meant by this message.






Be sure to click here to “like” not just another teen mom on facebook!

Asher’s Birth Story

birthThe day of my due date, I was so over being pregnant. I was uncomfortable, tired, in a lot of pain from endless pelvic pressure, and I was just ready to hold him. My nerves over whether my VBAC attempt would be successful or not were getting the best of me, and I was almost ready to just schedule a repeat cesarean.

The week prior, I spent the afternoon in L&D thinking that my water was leaking (it wasn’t) and after being checked, I was ecstatic to learn I was just over a centimeter dilated and about 50% effaced. For someone whose body did NOTHING on it’s own the first time around, this was beyond exciting. Drew and I decided that we would be induced if I didn’t go into labor by 41 weeks, and scheduled the induction while still remaining hopeful that my body would work on it’s own.ashFast forward to my due date. Not a single painful contraction or cramp, no more potentially leaking fluid, Asher seemed comfy in there. I went to my 40 week check up fully prepared to hear that my cervix had just closed back up. Imagine my surprise to learn that I was actually at two centimeters and 75% effaced.

WHAT.

Again, that may not seem like a big deal to some, but to someone who barely even progressed WITH drugs before, it’s a big freakin deal.

My midwife offered to do a membrane sweep (it hurts. a lot.) to try and get things moving. She told me Asher was head down and low, and she had a feeling we’d have a baby by the weekend.IMG_1741Drew was at the firehouse and Aiden was with me so we went to get some dinner before going to my small group meeting that evening. I noticed I was beginning to feel a bit crampy, but nothing major. We arrived at the small group meeting, and I was having what I assumed were contractions. They weren’t super painful. Just irritating and hindered my ability to focus.

Halfway into the meeting, my contractions became a little more intense. I sent Drew a text telling him I was going to head home, let my co-leader know that I felt like I needed to leave, and left. My husband had my fathers-in-law come pick up Aiden just in case (I never in a million years imagined I wouldn’t see him again until we brought his brother home!), and after a hot shower, we climbed into bed to try and rest in between contractions.

Bad idea.

I could not get comfortable. The contractions stayed about eight minutes apart the entire night. They weren’t unbearable, but made it impossible to sleep. I don’t know how many times I got up in my sleepy stupor to pee or to pace around the room willing them to get closer/more intense. They didn’t.

Drew woke up, and asked if I thought he should go to work or not. At that point, my contractions were more intense, but further apart. I reluctantly told him to go, but to keep his phone close. The idea of having a quiet house to labor in sounded amazing at that moment. He left, and I waddled out to our living room with some breakfast, a timer, and my birth ball.IMG_1754I spent the entire day moving back and forth from the ball to the couch. I was exhausted, and the ball made my contractions pick up, but as soon as I would lay down they would essentially stop. I don’t think I ever really believed that this was it, and that I was actually in REAL labor. Finally, in the afternoon, I lost my plug and was hopeful that it meant I was making some progress.

Drew got home shortly after, and we decided to go get some dinner and walk around, hoping it would make things progress a little faster. The contractions picked up the instant I sat in the car. Gracious. I struggled to make it through dinner at Jason’s Deli, picking at my food between contractions. (Which were now down to 6 minutes apart.) After dinner, we went and walked around Target. I braced myself against the buggy while walking through each contraction. My contractions stayed around 5-6 minutes apart, but were getting more intense by the minute.

[At some point, I called the midwife, whom I remember told me to wait until they were a little closer together. I also remember temporarily hating that midwife. I do not, however, remember exactly when I called her.]

www.facebook.com/deannadeckerphotography
http://www.facebook.com/deannadeckerphotography

We left Target and headed home, and I hated this ride even more than the first. We arrived home around 8pm, and I laid on the bed to try and get a few hour’s rest. As soon as I hit the pillow, my contractions became unbearable.

Around 10ish, I got up and told Drew that I thought we should go to the hospital soon. I was losing more and more of my plug, my contractions were 4-5 minutes apart and lasting about a minute. Our hospital was 30+ minutes away, so I wanted to go. Even if it meant waddling through my contractions around the hospital.

I called the midwife to tell her we were coming, and texted my mom to let her know she needed to head to our hospital. We gathered up everything and got into the car.jess2Longest drive of my life.

At one point, my contractions were down to three minutes apart and I seriously thought I would give birth in the car. I don’t think I’ve ever witnessed my Hubs speeding more than five over until that night.

We finally arrived at UNC Women’s Hospital. I think it was close to or around 11 by that point. Drew drove up to the curb, jumped out of the car, and ran over to help me. We walked inside and he let the guard know that he would come back to move the car after he got me up to L&D. My contractions were still coming steadily at 3-4 minutes apart, and multiple times we had to just stop walking and Drew would literally hold my body up when I couldn’t. We were checked in and triaged. I was only at 4cm, so the midwife said I could be admitted if I wanted. I chose to be admitted and receive some pain meds to attempt to get some rest. We were quickly put into a room, my IV was placed and the monitors were put on my belly. The first sign of a potential uterine rupture in VBACs is the baby going into distress, so I chose to do continuous fetal monitoring. I wanted my VBAC desperately, but I wanted a healthy, safe baby more.jess1The on call OB came in to have me sign the “just in case” forms for an emergency cesarean. I had yet to get any kind of pain meds or anything, and I was still contracting every 4 minutes or so. She proceeded to tell me that I would most likely end up with an emergency cesarean because my VBAC chances weren’t very great.

This infuriated me. I signed the papers as quickly as I could manage so she would get the heck out.

She finally left, and the next hour or so was a blur as my walking epidural was administered. The anesthesiologist was phenomenal. I highly recommend the walking epidural. I could still move and feel my legs, and also the tightness and pressure of each contraction, but with barely any pain whatsoever. It took rolling from side to side a few times but eventually it took all over.

Then the waiting game started. I was told to “rest.” Ha. Eventually, my parents arrived and helped entertain me. Hubs and my Daddy snoozed while my Mom and I chatted endlessly about nothing. I think she sensed how scared I was and knew I just needed to be distracted.

Around 5ish(?) I started feeling like I was peeing myself every time I shifted positions. I thought maybe my water had broken, but it wasn’t constant so I wasn’t sure. Shortly after, I felt this strange gushing feeling. It still didn’t feel like my water had broken, but I knew it was something unusual so I made my poor momma check. She looked only to discover that my bag of waters was bulging in a way that was comparable to a water balloon. So. Freaking. Bizarre.

www.facebook.com/deannadeckerphotography
http://www.facebook.com/deannadeckerphotography

I called the nurse, who called my midwife. She came in to check me, and as soon as she touched my “water balloon,” my water gushed out. I was also completely dilated. I didn’t feel the urge to push just yet so she had me sit up in my bed with my legs in the butterfly position so I could “labor down.” I sat like this for an hour or so. Somewhere in that time frame, my amazing doula, Lesa Williams, arrived. (If you’re in the NC Triangle area and having a baby any time soon, you should check her out by clicking here.)

Around 7am, nurses and midwives started trickling into my room. The baby nurse came in to set up the warmer, and I think that is when I finally had the ‘holy crap, this is actually happening’ moment. The nurse asked if I was feeling any pressure yet, (I definitely was) and if I wanted to do a few “practice pushes.”

FYI, the term “practice pushes” is stupid. They’re real pushes. There’s nothing “practice” about them.

I did a few, and more nurses and my midwife came in, as well as an OB med student. At some point in labor, you stop caring about who walks into your business, don’t worry.IMG_1858Around 7:45 or so, I started the real thing. Shortly after 8, my epidural wore off. I pushed like a madwoman. I was so freaking determined and I was so freaking exhausted. Drew was still holding me up, physically by helping me lift my head and chest to bear down, and emotionally because he knew I was terrified. He really was my rock. My doula stood next to him with a nurse or two next to her. A sea of midwifes and nurses floated around behind them, and my Momma stood next to me and my Daddy stood above my head, armed with a cool washcloth for my forehead. They both wanted so badly to be present for Asher’s birth, since they weren’t allowed in the OR for Aiden’s.

The midwife insisted at one point that if I looked at what I was doing in the mirror, it would help me have stronger pushes.

I did not want the mirror.

Nope.

And it didn’t help.

So they put the mirror away, and I started making more progress. Everyone started telling me that they could see him coming and that he had a full head of hair.

And then my Husband asked if he had time to go pee. Yep. Baby’s head is coming out, Husband has to pee. A nurse told him that he had better hurry, and he went. I could’ve killed him. Asher began descending more, and I yelled (the only time I yelled..FYI) for Drew to get back out, and now. He finally did, and I was relieved.

I pushed a few more times, and he started crowning. By then, my epidural was non-existent and the ring of fire is a real thing, people.

There was barely any time between contractions anymore, only just enough to catch my breath. The midwife looked up at me and said, “this one is it, push.” I looked at Drew, waited for the contraction to start, and pushed with all my might.

And at 8:45am, after just over a hour of pushing, he was out.

Another push and the rest of him was out too.

It took a second for him to make a sound, but then he started crying and it was the most amazing sound I ever heard. I reached down and pulled him onto my chest. He immediately looked up at me, and I cried. I was so overwhelmed with love and joy that I couldn’t even really speak. The pain was gone, the exhaustion was gone, and it was the moment that I had spent the previous nine months praying for. We had delayed cord clamping, and then the placenta came out without any issues. He latched on and stayed there while I received a few stitches. He only left my arms for a few moments while he was weighed and measured. All 8lbs, 8oz and 20 inches of him were absolutely perfect. Drew picked him up from the warmer and I watched as his Daddy fell completely in love instantly and shed a tear or two as well.IMG_1870

This birth experience was exactly what I needed to heal from the trauma of my first one. While Aiden’s birth was beautiful in it’s own way, Asher’s was everything I could have asked for and more. The healing processes were night and day different. Ash was born Friday morning, and I was up and going to the bathroom unassisted by Friday afternoon. I took a solo shower Saturday morning. There was no obnoxious swelling, minimal pain, and I was back to “normal” within a few weeks.

PS, in case you wondered, my midwife forwarded my delivery notes to the OB who told me I couldn’t do it.jess3We’re now finally beginning to settle into life as a family of four, and you can follow our daily adventures by clicking here. :)IMG_1885

I Love Jesus, and Caitlyn Jenner.

CJI have an opinion about everything. (As you should all know.) Since the images of Caitlyn’s transformation dropped Monday, I’ve mostly kept quiet. Just lurking behind the scenes and reading the posts my friends (also opinionated) have shared. Clicking on the #CallMeCaitlyn hashtag? Not for the fainthearted. So much hate swirling around in cyberspace, it’s absolutely overwhelming.

My own facebook friends, who claim to know and love Jesus, sharing these hateful posts about how she is disgusting, against nature, blasphemous, and nasty.

What Jesus do you know and love, exactly?

I love Jesus. And because I love Jesus, I love Caitlyn. My Jesus is full of love, and acceptance, and forgiveness. My Jesus has no stipulations on that whole “love thy neighbor” thing. My Jesus weeps while scrolling through his twitter feed this week.

Transgender, gay, lesbian, straight, black, white, WHATEVER. We are all His children. When we hurt, He hurts. More than 50% of transgender youth will have at least one suicide attempt before their 20th birthday. That’s insane. This percentage is so high because these people are lost and confused. And these people are so lost and confused BECAUSE society doesn’t accept their lifestyle. As a Christian, I’m called to be loving and accepting, regardless of the situation. When I stop being a “sinful” human being, then I’ll expect it from others. Until then, I’m thankful for a loving, forgiving God who accepts me where I am.

Someone asked me on a post I shared earlier, “So, you, as a Christian are saying that what Bruce (Caitlyn) is teaching to others by example, is acceptable and should be accepted, allowed and teached in the Christian community? Judging is one thing. I understand that. But knowing right from wrong, in a Christian standpoint… I think there’s confusion.”

As a Christian, I’m saying that God doesn’t make mistakes. He made Caitlyn different for a reason. Everything happens for a reason. Maybe her sole reason for existing is to save the lives of other transgender adults, teens, and even CHILDREN who are scared to be the person they feel they really are instead of the cookie cutter molding of what society expects them to be. Maybe God created her the way she is to be an example for those who are too scared to be themselves.

And yes, if more Christians were taught what it really means to be transgender, instead of freaking out over “a man putting on a dress, some makeup, and some boobs,” I feel like acceptance would come more easily.

I’m a Christian, 100%. But my children will be taught that God makes every human being beautiful and in His image. But that image isn’t always the same. He made some men, some women, some gay, some straight, some transgender, some black, some white, some a little bit of everything. And I will teach them that being like Christ means to accept even what they may not fully understand, and to love them anyway.

Yeah, physically, it’s obviously a man made modification. But, mentally? No way. She didn’t “magically transform” from male to female over time. She felt, for as long as she could remember, like she was in the wrong body. As many children do. I can’t imagine being terrified to be myself in a world that hates me. The man made modifications allow her physical appearance to portray her heart. Some may blame the devil for the idea of accepting this “monstrosity,” and the devil may be clever and deceiving, but allowing myself and my children to love without exception is not his doing.

I’ve never met Caitlyn Jenner. I probably never will. And that’s okay. But I love her anyway. Jesus loves her too. Jesus wants me to be full of love, compassion, and grace. You don’t have to agree with her choice to modify her physical appearance to love her. But, as a child of God, that’s exactly what you’re called to do.

This is my command: Love one another the way I loved you. John 15:12 (MSG)

Click here to follow NJATM on facebook

Click here to follow NJATM on instagram

Click here to follow NJATM on pinterest

Asher – One Month

It’s already time to do Asher’s first monthly update. Actually, it was time a week ago. Time is FLYING. Absolutely crazy to me that he is already 5+ weeks old. I’ve also been working on his birth story, and can’t wait until it’s ready to be shared. This is maybe the third time I have touched my computer since giving birth, so if I haven’t responded to your email yet, I will be soon! I’ll be back to blogging more in May.FullSizeRenderHeight: 21.75 inches

Weight: 9 pounds 2 ounces

Clothing size: Still Newborn and some 0-3 month.. which blows my mind because Aiden barely stayed in NB for a week.

IMG_2497Eyecolor: Gray or green-ish. Still changing!

Teeth: None yet.

Eating: On the boob, all day long. (At least that’s what it feels like.)

IMG_2496 Words: Starting to make little cooing noises!

Favorite things: Tummy time, Daddy’s voice, breastfeeding snuggles with Mommy, and watching Big Brother’s every move.

IMG_2495Dislikes: Riding in the carseat.

Sleep: Varies. Some nights he’s up 4+ times, other nights just once!

IMG_3252Milestones, etc.: Can flip himself from his belly to his back without a second thought. And he does, 100 times a day.

Fastest month of my life, so far. FullSizeRender-1-1

Things Aiden Says: Volume Three

My child says some of the most ridiculous things. I often post them on facebook, but have been saving some of the best to share at once. Here are my favorites from this week:IMG_1138

Aiden: I wish I had my own special room to fart in.FullSizeRender-1

Me: Can you spell your name?
Aiden: Didn’t you name me? Shouldn’t you know how to spell it better than anyone?
Aiden: Is it going to hurt when Asher comes out of your belly?
Me: probably a little bit
Aiden: Can I watch? I’ll give you medicine and a band aid so it won’t hurt anymore. 
Aiden: Why does everyone always treat me like a dog?
Me: Who treats you like a dog?
Aiden: PawPaw.FullSizeRender
Aiden: Sometimes I get mad when I’m building things.
Me: You get that from Dad. It’s a crazy man thing.
Aiden: It’s because girls and mommies make us that way. 
Aiden: Do I have to worry about you when you go to the hospital?
Me: No, you just have to trust that God will take care of me.
Aiden: Oh, trust God. That’s right. I knew that. 
Me: How did you know that?
Aiden: VeggieTales. 

 

Things I Forgot About Pregnancy

2As my pregnancy is coming to an end, I’m reminded daily of details that I clearly blocked from my memory. Maybe for good reason. Pregnancy is a beautiful, messy experience.

  1. You may not LOOK pregnant right away, but you will FEEL like you look pregnant right away. I was so bloated that I was convinced EVERYONE knew I was knocked up weeks before we made it public.

    bloat
    from pinterest.com
  2. Morning sickness doesn’t happen in the morning. All day errrrrrryday. 
  3. The exhaustion is overwhelming. Especially if you already have one child or more. 

    from pinterest.com
    from pinterest.com
  4. Finding out the gender of your womb-dweller is ridiculously exciting. Enough said.
  5. People will think they have a right to touch your belly. Even if they’ve never seen you before that moment, ever. It’s okay to smack them. 
  6. You can be the tiniest pregnant woman ever, and you’ll still be asked if it’s twins. I like to respond with, “…I’m not pregnant.” The shock is so worth it.

    from pinterest.com
    from pinterest.com
  7. A cold in the late second trimester or early third trimester is horrible. Cough, sneeze, contraction, pee, repeat.  
  8. Everyone will have an opinion about how that baby is DEFINITELY COMING EARLY. He more than likely won’t. 
  9. A breech baby after thirty weeks is painful. Feet. In. Your. Cervix. And sometimes crazy yoga poses will flip them.

    from pinterest.com
    from pinterest.com
  10. Around 37 weeks, people you see daily will start asking you “isn’t it about time?” EVERY. SINGLE. DAY. It’s about 22 hours closer to that time than the last time you asked me.
  11. You will get up to pee more times a night than you would get up to feed a newborn. But at least you’ll be prepared to be exhausted.
  12. You will get to a point where the pain of labor no longer intimidates you (that much) because you just want him out. I may or may not be at this point. 

    from pinterest.com
    from pinterest.com
  13. Numbers one through twelve will be 100% worth it once that bundle of squishiness is snuggled up to your chest. And I can’t wait.

    Coming Soon: Things I Forgot About Postpartum (Assuming it ever gets here.)  

 

Follow me instagram and check out the hashtag #ACDCBumpWatch to be the first to know if/when our kiddo ever arrives.