About Me

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Hey Ya'll I'm Rachel I'm a "Southern Girl" with a passion for writing, cooking, crafting and running. Three of the most important things in my life are my, handsome guitar playing, husband Stephan our hilarious genius child Ephraim Brite and our beautiful girl Wren Eisley Take a look around and get to know me!

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Pre Diagnosis

After Wren was born we had three wonderful hours with her, until she took a turn for the worse. The NICU doctor, at her birth hospital, met with us after taking a look at her lung x-ray. He told us by looking at the x-ray, he thought she had some fluid in her lungs caused by being born so fast. He told us they would take her to the NICU, put her under an oxygen hood,  monitor her breathing and hopefully get us all home together, two days later. We followed Wren and the nurses as the took her down the hall and across the hospital to the NICU.  We then met the nurses that would be taking care of her that evening and watched as they stuck monitors to her and drew blood from her, put her under the oxygen hood and under the bili light.



  Before Wren was born, we had asked for no hospital visitors the first day, and for my parents to keep Ephraim (our 4.5 yr old) until we asked them to come, later in the day.  Ephraim had the best day with my parents. They made him feel so special, and made Wren's birthday, Big Brother Day for him.
You can imagine his confusion when he finally got to the hospital, to find me in a bed empty handed.

I will never forget him asking over and over... " Mommy where is baby Wren?" "Why is baby Wren not here" "I want to see baby Wren, I want to see her RIGHT NOW!!".
We all tried to explain it to him the best we could. NICU visitors at our birth hospital had to be over 12 years old, so for the next three days Ephraim wasn't able to meet his sweet sister.
 
Day One was all a blur.
I remember crying, pumping milk to take to Wren, more crying, going down the longggggg hall to see her multiple times and the strangest sleep I have ever experienced, that night.
The NICU nurses told us that if there were any changes through the night they would call us. When we didn't receive a phone call over night I expected to greet a baby who was doing much better.
That wasn't the case..
When we arrived to see Wren on Day Two, she was still under the oxygen hood, but was requiring a much higher oxygen rate than before, her blood gasses were not good and her sats were extremely unstable. The doctor met us and told us that he would be giving her a surfactant treatment that day.  He seemed to think the problem was that there just wasn't enough surfactant (Surfactant, a naturally produced substance, is a kind of foamy, fatty liquid that acts like grease within the lungs. Without it, the air sacs open but have difficulty remaining open because they stick together. Surfactant allows the sacs to remain open.) in her lungs, and this replacement therapy would help her condition immensely.  She would be given three doses of the artificial surfactant throughout Day Two and we were told that IF it worked she would be much improved by Day Three.
There isn't a lot I remember from Day Two, aside from sitting bedside looking at Wren, but not being allowed to touch her. I remember wanting to talk to her, but not really knowing what to say. It was an awkward situation with the nurses literally breathing down your back, in our tiny cubical, of a room. I wanted so bad to speak life to her, to pray for her harder than I have ever prayed before.
but I didn't...
 
 


  


Saturday, July 25, 2015

Wrens Birth Story[my favorite story in the world]

Wren Eisley Nichols
Born: 6/15/15
11:46am
7lb 2oz //19 1/2in
this is the story of her birth...

Before we found out we were expecting, I had decided I would have our next baby without an epidural. I was not a fan of the one I received when I had Ephraim and the more natural birth stories I heard, I knew I could do it too!  

I had to be induced with Wren, due to high blood pressure, so we arrived at the hospital at 5 am Monday morning to start the process. Through out my pregnancy I experienced so much fear [you can read about that here] and Wren was laying breech until 32 weeks, that I hadn't REALLY given much thought to a natural child birth. I didn't go to any training, read any books, I didn't have a birth plan and I only mentioned it to my doctor in passing. So naturally, when the nurse walked in to get all of my info in their system, the first words I said to her were " just wanted you to know, I'm going to try to do this without an epidural, so don't offer me one unless I ask". She just stared blankly for a second, said "oh okay great" and went back to her paperwork. 
6:00 am-My sweet nurse comes in to start pitocin. She also tells me that they have 15 inductions today so she may lose us.
around 6:20am- my sweet bubbly nurse came in to introduce a not so bubbly nurse, that will be taking her place. At first I wasn't a huge fan of our new nurse. I thought I needed our old bubbly nurse to get through a natural child birth, to keep a pep in my step so to say. Turns out I didn't need her. God had given me the exact nurse I needed to help me through it all.
6:30am- a doctor [not mine] came in and broke my water-- does it freak anyone else out that they basically use a huge chopstick? Anyway, at this point I hadn't progressed any from my appointment the week prior, so I was a whopping 2 1/2 cm and 70% effaced 

after that, we just hung out... Stephan (the hubby) was cracking jokes, and I was just bouncing and rocking on the birthing ball.
8:45am- they checked me again and I was only 4cm. That was frustrating, but I was in zero pain so I wasn't too concerned. At this point all my contractions were in my back so it was just pressure. I think the nurse thought I was crazy when I told her they were not hurting, because apparently they were pretty strong on the monitor.

I was in so little pain, that I was texting with a few friends.
here is a close up of the cat photo- my bestie has jokes, and we have a common love for cats
9:15am- I asked to be checked again because I was feeling more pressure and I wanted to know how much longer miss Wren was going to decide to stay warm and cozy in the womb. I was 5 and a half cm. Praise the Lamb! only 4.5 more to go. I went in saying if I can just get to 7cm I know I can do this drug free and at this point I was still in no pain, so I knew getting to 7 would be a breeze.
Still texting my friends and joking with my husband at this point. Between jokes, Stephan was helping me a ton, by applying pressure to my back during each contraction. Him applying counter pressure and heating packs were my bae during this time!

I get this lovely visual from Brittany
saying "yay you're past a daisy!!"

9:45-11:00am- I was up out of the bed, using the birthing ball, and a ballet bar at
the end of the bed, to help little miss turn over, because she was sunny side up. I wanted this delivery to be as painless as possible so I was determined she would turn over. I was getting really tired and the pain was picking up. We turned on a worship play list, my wonderful husband put together, to help me focus.
11:15am- my contractions were all in my belly at this point and around a 6/7 on the pain scale. I was almost 8cm so I got in the bed to take a break from laboring on my feet. The nurse told me she was going to give me a 30-45 minute break to rest or take a nap-- I am not sure what kind of woman can nap while having contractions that are on top of each other, but sure whatever works for ya.

From here on I lost track of the time, but my contractions went to being around a minute apart to sometimes 10 seconds apart. I had zero recovery time between them and I couldn't breathe. My nurse showed Stephan pressure points on my arm and hand that would help to counteract the pain-(Turned out, my nurse had only been st vincents for a few months, and she came from a natural child birth background-- God knew...). He was so great at talking me through each contraction, even when I wanted to kill someone.
Pretty soon I felt like I absolutely had to push, I wasn't really in pain it was just this indescribable amount of pressure and I knew it was time. A nurse came in to check me and I was at 9.5 cm.
I think at this point I was telling them I was going to push, they couldn't tell me not to and that I needed them to get my doctor now before they had to deliver this baby without her. My nurse told Stephan to hop in the bed behind me so I could lean on him-- and possible also so he could restrain me. After what felt like forever my doctor showed up. She told me it was time to get this baby out and I push, while also screaming that I am peeing a lot and I'm worried that Wren will be covered in pee. I know my husband was thrilled to hear this, since he was in the bed with me. He was probably thinking "dear God please don't let the pee reach me"--poor guy! 

 I pushed a grand total of 3x and at 11:46am she was here, with a  head full of dark brown hair, which was all could talk about when I saw her.

I wanted to do skin on skin, so they gave her to me immediately and I was so in love. I held her while they cleaned me up and for a while after then I decided to share and let Stephan hold her.  I got a bite to eat because having a baby will make you famished!
he was smitten. the first thing he said when he held her "oh goodness this is going to be so bad"
yep he was so wrapped. never had a chance :)

Wren came out grunting... The nurses initially thought it was due to her being pushed out so quickly. They told us that usually when that happens the baby will transition to breathing better around the 4 hour mark.  They gave us 3 hours with her. At the 3 hour mark, it was obvious she was not going to get better on her own. It's all a blur what happened next but she was taken from our room, to a little room behind the nurses station, where she had a chest x-ray an we met the NICU doctor...


Thursday, July 23, 2015

When Fear is Crippling

You are peace, You are peace
When my fear is crippling
You are true, You are true
Even in my wandering
You are joy, You are joy 
You're the reason that I sing
You are life, You are life, 
In You death has lost its sting
-Hillsong- Forever Reign

From the very beginning of my pregnancy, with Wren, I was overwhelmed with fear. We found out we were expecting at 4 weeks. When my doctor told me no ultrasound until 8 weeks I was scared.  We had been wanting to expand our family for so long, I just wanted needed to see that sweet little gummy bear on a screen.  Although, I begged, they wouldn't budge on the ultrasound, but they would have me come in for some blood work.  The blood work would give a rough estimate of how far along I really was, and how all my levels were looking- basically I was going into see if this was in fact a "viable" pregnancy.  I went in for blood work one day and then three days later for some more.  When the results came back I was told "We think this will be a viable pregnancy, but your progesterone levels are a little low. We want you to take a progesterone pill every night for the first 10 weeks of pregnancy until the placenta can take over and do its job.  This will help decrease your chance of a miscarriage".  This just wasn't something I expected to hear, so fear reared its ugly head and consumed me.  For the next 6 weeks I was totally crippled by the fear that I was going to lose this baby. I had awful dreams and most nights I hardly slept at all, in fear of dreaming. All the while I am praying constantly for this baby- to be full of life, to be healthy and strong not only in body but strong in the Lord, for peace and rest for me... and still there was fear. After my first ultrasound the fear subsided a little.I was elated to see that gummy bear and its heat beating on the screen. Still, I made sure to keep our pregnancy under-wraps til around the 12 week mark. 


Right at 12 weeks we announced to everyone we were expecting!
by way of Christmas card
banners by All Things Brite
Excitement grew and fear subsided through the holiday season.  We were just so happy to share the news with friends and family! Right after the new year, we had a sweet gender reveal with our closest friends and family

video
I think it goes with out saying, I was a little excited
Fast forward to our 20 week anatomy scan... We headd to the consultation room, doc came in and said... "Well, everything looks good, but she is just a little on the small side. I am sure I'm worried for nothing, but because I am OCD will you agree to do genetic testing just to make sure we aren't looking at any chromosomal issues".  So here comes fear...
After 10 years days we got the results in that our girl was just fine, tiny but perfect.  So the fear subsided.  I prayed for her every day that she will be kind but fierce, that she will love the Lord, that she will be a blessing to everyone around her, that she will be peaceful and bring joy to our home, that she will be an amazing sleeper, and totally healthy, perfect in every way- but never speaking directly to the fear.

Skip to the third trimester... My blood pressure started to be on the high side. I went in for non stress tests and blood work with each doctor visit.  We had an ultrasound at 36 weeks to check on her fluid and her size. She had grown, and was no longer as tiny as expected. Wren was estimated to be 6lb 7oz at my last ultrasound, so the doctor scheduled an induction for the following week [due to my blood pressure]. 

Welcome back fear... What was I afraid of? That was the question I kept asking myself and the question I would be asked by those who I shared my fear with. My answer was always,"I don't know, every thing I guess". That week was the longest of my life and the Sunday before being induced on Monday felt like and eternity. I will never forget all the tears I shed, from sheer terror that Sunday. 

Through the whole pregnancy I was constantly telling God "I know I shouldn't be afraid" but what I wasn't doing was confronting the enemy and telling him, he had no power over me. It wasn't until Wren was born that I realized the fear I was experiencing was not the fear of the Lord preparing me for something to be wrong, it was the devil consuming me with fear. He wanted me in a place of all consuming crippling fear, so that there would be no way for me to handle what was coming after Wren was born. For nine months I let the devil win, but not anymore.  
Isaiah 41:10
So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.
This verse rings true to the season we have been walking. God has strengthened me, He is helping me and He is upholding me. I will no longer let fear, ungodly fear cripple me.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

No One Likes to Talk About the "I" Word

This is a preface to the season we are in now.. The journey is important

Infertility
Infertility: Not being able to become pregnant despite having frequent, unprotected sex for at least a year

The statistics: 
  • The "I" word is NOT an inconvenience; it is a disease of the reproductive system that impairs the body's ability to perform the basic function of reproduction.
     
  • The "I" word affects 6.7 million women in the U.S. -- about 11% of the reproductive-age population.
     
  • In a survey of married women, the CDC found that 1.5 million women in the US (6%) are infertile 
  • The "I" word affects men and women equally.
     
  • Twenty-five percent of infertile couples have more than one factor that contributes to their infertility.
     
  • In approximately 40 percent of infertile couples, the male partner is either the sole cause or a contributing cause of infertility.
     
  • Irregular or abnormal ovulation accounts for approximately 25 percent of all female infertility problems.
  • Twelve percent of all infertility cases are a result of the woman either weighing too little or too much.

these statistics were found here

For two years I was part of these statistics. I was part of the 25% with ovulation problems and the 12% of women, who have trouble becoming pregnant due to weight.
When you want to expand your family, you never think of these statistics... until you become one.

After lots of prayer, working with a doctor to regulate my issues, losing 30lbs, and lots of prayer, we found out we were expecting


photo and caption from our gender reveal January 9th 2015

For two long emotional, trying years we tried to have a baby. There were so many times I woke up defeated. I let every negative test and a lost pregnancy destroy my faith. I was convinced E would be our only child and I was starting to plan our life with just him. Until about 5 months ago when I started listening this amazing worship album by Steffany Grezinger. The song "Steady Heart" just wrecked me. The opening line goes " though I can't see what's in front of me still I will trust You" I cried, I prayed, my faith was renewed and I knew, though I couldn't see it that God had a greater plan for our family. About a month later we were pregnant. God new better than I when the perfect time for this baby to enter our lives was. His timing couldn't be better. He truly knew my hearts desire and I am blown away by His love and faithfulness for our family

Our sweet Wren is a gift from God. She was created by him with a purpose. Her life has already helped me grow in ways I didn't know I could. She is a testimony of Gods grace and love for each of us. 

if you struggle with infertility, please know that my family is praying for you! Don't let the "I" word define you.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Hello Again Old Friend


Hi friends!

It has been so long, and I have really missed blogging.

but.. 
when life gets crazy you have to cut back. This was one of the things I had to cut for a while.

Here is a quick update on our family...
Since my last update in 2013 we have:
-Purchased a home
-I have grown my little craft business, into a bigger "little craft business"
-We bought a car
-We got a cat
-My car blew up
-We bought another car
-We got another dog 
- We found out we were expecting baby Nichols 2
-We found out baby Nichols 2 was going to be a girl
-We had our daughter, Wren Eisley Nichols

Since having a baby [5 weeks ago today] we have been spending our days with her in the NICU.

Did I think I would ever blog again? Yes! 
Did I think the thing to, kick me in the tail, and make me blog again would be having a baby in the NICU? Absolutely not!

But I have learned a lot these past 5 weeks, and I know it needs to be documented.
She needs to know all sides of her journey home. What she went through, how we dealt with all of it, how we grew, how God healed her.

I have so much from the past weeks, bouncing around in my head. I hope that you'll bear with me as I get it all written down, and spruce up the old blog a little. I'm looking forward to sharing every bit of it! 

Monday, September 30, 2013

Life

Laying in bed last night I realized it has been over a year since I have blogged. 
That's just not right! 
Sometimes life just happens....
And it takes away all your blog time.
Sad!


I wish I was coming back with a bang, but for tonight I am starting with this simple post.
Just a little something to let you all know I haven't died.

I have missed writing, a lot. I have missed reading other blogs a lot more!
When I took a little break stopped blogging, it was because I was just overwhelmed. 
It felt like more or a chore than a pleasure and I didn't like that.
I think I was trying to do too much too fast and things just got crazy.
 
I am excited about getting back into the blogosphere 
and updating everyone 
on all the things life has thrown our way over the past year!
So keep and eye out for new posts soon :)

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Beginning to Feel Like Fall

Here in Alabama it's finally beginning to cool off.
The cool weather has put me in that football season state of mind....
I was starting to think I was just not going to be too excited about football this year

In honor of college football, which is a HUGE deal where I live. I came up with two new projects to put in my etsy shop.

 I cant wait to make one for our home!

I am sort of on a "craft high" right now. I am participating in my first craft fair on October 20th!
I have so many ideas that a lot of my time recently has been spend in my craft room. 
Here are my Halloween lanterns

I've already got some Christmas ones planned as well.

I hope you all have a wonderful Tuesday. Off to work for me then back to crafting!
Don't forget to enter the three days of 100 follow giveaways I have going on!
There are only 14 hours left to enter day one.