the searles

Grace Evelyn – Birth Story October 18, 2014

Filed under: Uncategorized — aksearles @ 2:39 am

Dear Grace Evelyn,

Where to begin?  We are completely smitten by you.  You are a delight and a joy.  God is so, so good to us in giving us such a precious gift!

I must back up.. My memory is already foggy and days and nights are quickly mashing into another, but I want to capture the details of your birth, because just like your big bros, it contains such sweet and precious moments.  As mentioned, Friday, August 29th, my midwife informed me I was already at 5 cm and to start preparing for a baby to come!  Excitement, anxiety, anticipation all at once!  We tried to anticipate each labor pain as the real thing, but each pain would slowly subside to nothing and the wait would start all over again.  We tried to relax all weekend, and keep occupied, but was hard to do since our church family was up in Green Lake Wisconsin for annual Labor day weekend.  We were blessed to have Grandma Searles nearby for support and childcare, and camaraderie with our friends, the Sommerfields, also expecting baby any day.  We got away to the beach Sunday afternoon and soaked in last minute family of 4 moments. I was feeling uncomfortable, timing contractions on and off, but nothing that would send me further into labor.  Monday came and instead of waiting, and trying to stay busy at home, we ventured out of the house, doing errands as a family. At night, we headed to the Searles for a family dinner, walked to the school park and headed home.   I was feeling the weight of the busyness of the day with more cramping and aches.  Every time I was about to get discouraged or agitated that you hadn’t come (mind you, still one week ahead of your due date!) I would say a prayer and remind myself that all this work and cramping at home is putting me further into labor, and closer to meeting you!  In the end,  I am grateful for the weekend to mentally prepare for the birth ahead and felt it was very peaceful as we all anticipated your arrival.

Monday night we went to bed, and around 4:00am I started having solid, painful contractions.  10 minutes… 8 minutes…6 minutes apart.  I woke up your dad (he probably woke up with all my groaning and squirming anyway) and we knew it was time to go to the hospital.  How quickly your brain activates to pain of childbirth… “Oh yeah, there’s the pain, I forgot exactly how it felt..”  We knew we didn’t have alot of time, but made a quick call to Grandma and Grandpa Searles, asking them to come and cover the boys, while we loaded up.  We actually left before they got to the house, but we knew they would be minutes behind us.  Dad made the call to the midwife on the way to the hospital, and I vaguely remember telling him to take shortcuts to get to the hospital faster.  I had no idea how progressive labor was, I just knew it was really intense at this point! I was so thankful labor started this time of day with little traffic and while the boys were asleep!  It was an answer to prayer!  We got to the ER, and Aaron briefly chatted with a nurse saying I was already in labor, was 5 cm, and was probably much further along, he quickly ran out to move the car.  I then realized I was alone, and that the ER nurses didn’t really take me seriously.  I was moaning in pain with every contraction, and there was NO help from them!   I was started to grow agitated and…annoyed.  Aaron was back by my side and I started telling nurses I needed to push!  (OK, I really didn’t know if I needed to push, per instructions by Gretchen, one of the midwives, it would help them move a little faster in the ER…!)  Instead of moving things right along, they decided to lay me down in a stretcher in the ER. I kept hearing voices from one person to the other.. “Hey, do you know where we keep the OB kit?” What?  Are you kidding, I’m going to deliver a baby in a closet sized ER room with only a kit for supplies??  Ever grateful for the wimpy curtain they pulled across, because finally someone from OB showed up and checked me.  She then confirmed I was at 10 cm. and we needed to head upstairs. (Really?  I was loosing my patience)  I tried not to open my eyes during the wheel ride upstairs, and prayed I would not have to stop again.  We finally made to the OB unit and was greeted by Diane.  I remember thinking she was looking really pulled together and fresh, like she had just showered and put on lipstick, and I was jealous b/c I didn’t have time to brush my teeth..

Anyway, they were able to maneuver me into the delivery bed in between contractions, and Rebecca came in.  I was not used to her or her style but was surprised how little she engaged or communicated with us.  I had not had her for previous births as a midwife, and didn’t know what to expect. All this time I was trying to breathe and calm down in between contractions, all the things that they tell you to do.  I wasn’t feeling like it was going… right. Nurses kept coming in and asking random (stupid) questions like, “Is the baby getting such and such done?”  “I’m going to start putting an IV in now..” I kept being rude and pushing people away and telling them “No” but I didn’t care at that point.  The pain was intense, and I was growing frustrated that it was taking this long to get the baby out (It wasn’t taking long, but it felt like hours to me)   I was looking around for someone to boss me around and tell me how to get this baby out!  Every contraction came, and I was pushing against gravity, away from the pain, instead of letting it work with my body and to help transition the baby out.  We tried holding onto a bar, and finally one nurse said, “You have to get mad, and bear down, and get this baby out!” And “Do you want to have a baby or what?”  I didn’t know if  I wanted to cry or yell at her, but I do know that was motivation to adjust how I was moving and pushing.  And then everyone got a bit more excited.  I could tell contractions were actually helping and pushing was actually getting me somewhere!  I was hoping for a little more guidance like “I can see the head”  or “you’re crowning” SOMETHING to tell me how things were going, but I don’t remember much of that. I just remember Rebecca reaching and guiding and all of a sudden, I knew you were there!  And then that magical moment when I heard you cry and you were in my arms and there was instant RELIEF and JOY and LOVE all crashing in on me at the same time.  Its like the whole room breathed and I was so overjoyed the hard part was done and I looked down at yet another precious little sight; your snuggly warm body right on my chest. What a beautiful little baby. Perfect.  Everyone said you were very healthy, because the umbilical cord was VERY strong and thick.  But Daddy got to cut that and then we marveled at you in those first precious minutes.   There’s nothing in the world that prepares for that moment of holding your baby for the first time, and the emotion and joy that overwhelms.  We didn’t think long about your name, even thought we didn’t have it put together before we got to the hospital.  Grace Evelyn.  It seemed to fit you perfectly, like God laid it on our hearts; chosen for you.

You were born at 5:43am, just as the light was coming in from the window.  Your dad was so proud and happy and calm.  The first thing I noticed about you was how long and delicate your fingers were; and how you instantly reminded me of Isaac.  Strange because now, at 7 weeks you resemble Will so much more.  We knew you were a girl from around 30 weeks, but we kept it a secret from everyone else.  We had fun processing, and planning together, but also anticipating everyones reaction to a girl!  We called Grandma and Grandpa Rietema right away.  I had texted my mom just as were heading to the hospital but being around 2am, didn’t know if they received it.  They hadn’t.  It was a big shock to them to not only get a face-time call around 3:45am that I was IN the hospital, but that I had also given BIRTH already and that it was a GIRL!  Their reactions were priceless!  We also face-timed Uncle John and Aunt Erin, because living in Korea has its time perks, and they were just finishing the day, got to be one of the first to see you too.

Afterwards, it was a blur.  I was grateful that everything moved quickly; that you were a healthy baby and things were all unremarkable in the days following.  You are precious and a perfect part in our family.  The boys have adored you and loved to be close to you since day 1.  They have been their usual boisterous selves, including having a major fight and meltdown that ended in loud wailing the minute we got home from the hospital with you.  But you handled it ever so calmly, sleeping through the chaos!
We are so thrilled you are here, and life has not been the same, but for perfectly good reasons.  When it seems overwhelming and busy and out of control with an infant and 2 other young children, I am reminded that God’s grace is sufficient to parent and to love for exactly what you need.  He has chosen you from the beginning to be in our family, and we are the ones who get to be the beneficiaries of such a great gift!  We love you, Grace!

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Thoughts on 39 weeks.. August 31, 2014

Filed under: Uncategorized — aksearles @ 7:56 pm

On Friday, I had an appointment with Gretchen who let me know that I was already at 5 cm dilated w/ Babe #3.   To most this would send them to the hospital, but for me, this is normal-ish as the last two have slowly dilated until the time comes, then everything happens at once.  So, aside from having total mind games all weekend, we are enjoying the last few days of family of 4.  Its actually been more peaceful and quiet than I thought.  Normally on Green Lake weekend, we would be with our church family in Green Lake Wisconsin for family camp.  We are missing that time there, but have been planning to stay for a while now, so its not unexpected.  We’ve had the chance to visit another church we wouldn’t normally attend, go out to dinner, and having Diane’s company here has helped.  We also have friends down the street who are in the same position, awaiting their first baby, so we can commiserate together on the waiting game!   I’ve had contractions and cramps off and on; it seems like its been a never ending game of false labor, and timing contractions with no progression (even though I know its helping Little One come)

Even so, its led me to have more quiet time, more time to dig into the Word and realize this wait is NOT forever, there will be a change soon, and to embrace this small little season of waiting.  I’ve wrestled with some fears and anxieties, and the anticipation of birth and laboring.  I am feeling more and more that God has given me this time, these few days to mentally prepare for what is ahead.  What I’m taking away:

FEAR is not of God.  My body was created to do this thing, and He provides the Strength and never has he said will He leave me.

Zeph. 3:17 The Lord your God is with you, do not let your hands hang limp, He is with you.. He is mighty to save, He will take great delight in you.  He will quiet you with his Love, He will rejoice over you with singing.

Fear is a liar and so is Shame.

Taking captive my thoughts is so, so, so, so, so hard, but so important to do in the moment by moment, day by day.

“You make me brave, you call me out unto the shores.. No Fear can conquer where you have made a way”

Prov. 14:23 A heart at peace gives life to the body

It is so gracious of God to allow me to have progressed halfway and not even have to be in the hospital.  I know this is not the norm for most women, and it has been a true and deep answer to prayer that there would be peace and favor in this birth process.

I have been surrounded by friends’ and family prayers and encouragement.  Those who have gone before me, with pain medications, or with natural birth experiences, and each one has encouraged and lifted my spirits.  I know the other side will be AMAZING to bring a new little person home and what an honor to be the carrier of this gift!

I have received phone calls, texts and emails that have been perfectly timed in need, including this:

“Surrender. Quit. Stop being in charge of your pregnancy today. Quit.  Turn in your notice. Tell your employer – Sir Fearalot that you are no longer in charge of strategizing pain management.  No more watching labor/delivery shows, reading testimonials about child birth, no Pinterest or dear diary entries that feed the temptation.  If you’ve become addicted to fear, as God whats at the core and stay curious about it.  What is he asking you to focus on in its place? Probably things which are lovely, good, kind, etc.”

Thank you all for standing in gap, waiting, praying, rallying around our family in this time.  Next time I will have more news how God used this time and turned it to a wonderful birth story for our little precious one!



Dear Little One, August 14, 2014

Filed under: Uncategorized — aksearles @ 4:08 am

You are getting closer and closer to coming! With just 3-ish weeks to go, we are all getting excited to meet and hold you and welcome you to our family.  I think I will rightfully declare I’m the most excited to have you out and on the other side :) We are not sleeping great these days, and back pain has now become an issue… However, with every squirm, leap, stretch, jump and roll I feel, I’m ever so reminded. once again, what a gift and miracle it is to carry you, my sweet one.  I know the time is so quick compared to the lifetime of knowing you and having you as our child.  We are praying for a quick, safe, healthy and uncomplicated birth.  You can help with that in any way you choose :0  I’m now starting to truly nest; wanting everything hung up, and just so in our new home to welcome you, getting things ready for your nursery, bedding, diapers and supplies.  I know you won’t care one bit as long as you have access to food and a place to sleep, but it means alot to me to have these little details taken care of.  I’m  sensing more pressure, more movements, more cramping than before (or just more aware of it).  And this always leads me to start thinking “When and where will the labor begin?”  Will I be home, or out and about? Will I be at work in Cary?  Will I be near Daddy, Will and Isaac or will they be away from me?  How will those moments unfold?  I can do nothing but wait and see and pray that the timing will be perfect.  That no matter how it happens, it WILL happen and we get the greatest joy and blessing to welcome you as our little baby into our nest. They boys are so excited.  I think Will asks nearly every day “Is the baby coming out of your tummy today?”  And when I say “no” he just sighs “Aww..”  Isaac in all his 2 year old awareness is excited to see you too!  He is ready to give up his paci and blankets to you (or so we hope) and to no longer be the baby anymore.  He is moving right up into big brother-hood.  We are deciding and contemplating a variety of names and choices, and Daddy says he’ll just choose something when you’re born, once we get a good look at you!   I don’t know if I can wait on narrowing down of names…we will have to see.

So, enjoy your little cocoon for a little big longer, but we are excited to welcome you in our world, full of love, loudness and joy!


To Isaac August 7, 2014

Filed under: Uncategorized — aksearles @ 1:13 pm

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Dear Isaac,

The days are quickly approaching where your position will be from youngest, the baby, to the 2nd, the middle child.  And although I cringe when I hear all the associations with the 2nd/middle child phobia, I think you will be great at handling being an older brother.  You already seem to enjoy telling Will what to do, even if he is older, as I often hear you echo my requests and calls for Will.. You are a spirited 2 year old.  It comes with its challenge; that of being 2, and also many joys.  We love hearing you talk and express yourself, especially because you have a slight lisp in your words now which makes church sound  more like “chircsh” and Curious George like “Curious Georsch” I don’t think I can ever correct that and will feel sad that days you correct yourself.  You are growing up way to fast for me, and love trying to keep up w/ Will. I love watching you and Will equally play like best friends and tackle and wrestle to the end.  This summer has been full of changes: new house, saying goodbye to our first family home, adjusting to new surroundings, talking and preparing for new baby arrival and now the anticipation of another fall of school and activities.  I am trying hard to just relax in these days and moments, knowing that the monotony and waiting will soon shift to a new normal, and I’ll wonder what ever happened to life w/ just 2 children.  You are precious and unique in every way. I’m so thankful for you, and for the gift you are to this family.


June 10, 2014

Filed under: Uncategorized — aksearles @ 3:05 am

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Here we have my precious childrens’ personalities. Goofy, silly, ‘mad face’ and smiley.  Some quick pics before church on Sunday…


Dear Baby,

Filed under: Uncategorized — aksearles @ 2:35 am

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I have been meaning to begin the online dialogue for weeks if not months by now… But just so you know these are the 2 proudest big brothers you could imagine!  Dear Little One, we are SO excited to have you join our family in a few short months.  It seems that this pregnancy has gone by extremely and there are a billion things happening this side of the womb w/ the Searles.. Nonetheless, you are never forgotten; thought about a million times per day and so loved and adored by your big brothers.  Will and Isaac LOVE to sing and talk to you… even the extent of drawing you pictures and showing you their proud achievements already.  Don’t worry.  You’ll get multiple new chances once you arrive to see these things again. Least you forget!

I am feeling you move and bounce consistently every day.  I am so awed by the Creator by the work He is doing. The 3rd time does not change the impact, significance or miracle a baby growing is, and you are no exception.  You are about 2 lbs in weight, and Will loves watching the online videos of what you are actually capable of these days (opening your eyes, hiccups, sleeping/waking and regular intervals).   Isaac loves to rub my belly and give his 2 yr old sigh in terms of his happy contentment w/ you.  I am overjoyed that I have the honor and privilege to carry you for these months.  Once again, still humbled that God chose the mamas to bear this period of time; so special and bonding that no one else can understand.  Your moments to grow and bond with each member of your family are soon to be coming, but for now, I am holding on selfishly to these days that I can feel you so closely and have you (literally) all to myself! :)  These next few months are bound to be a blur (job changes, house remodel, packing, moving, re-starting of school, vacations, toddler and preschool busyness, church responsibilities…)  But each passing day gives us one more day closer until we meet face to face, and I’m growing in size and excitement w/ the anticipation.  Are you ready to meet these crazy boys and 2 smitten parents??   We are anxiously awaiting your day! XO


Little Big Boys May 9, 2014

Filed under: Uncategorized — aksearles @ 2:59 am

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I just cant express how much I love these 2 little men.  I know every mom must feel the same way about her own kids, but seriously, God really nailed it for us in the blessing of children area.  Yes, they are stinkers at times, fully sinful creatures, have complete motives at heart for the unexpected (Like… using wood stain to “paint” the cozy coupe today, and raising tantrums and screaming fits for one unknown reason or another) but I cherish these moments and days.  Its been a long and draining week, after a series of long and busy weeks, with house renovations, 2nd trimester pregnancy tiredness, mental energies for a even a part time job, and supporting (ish) Aaron with ministry/church related events.. But I am loving the goodness of these days, and especially getting a chance to play outside in the sun for multiple hours, returning to the house with black and dusty feet, smeared faces with dirt and sweet and leftover tears, and red faces from sun and running.  Days and moments I’m grateful for.

To Isaac,

You are learning and growing every day.  I know you are a bit stubborn and persistent in areas, and can cry and pitch a fit like the best of them, but I know that deep down there’s a passionate heart and a drive to see you to the end of your goals.  You are a funny one, full of spirit, lots of expressions and words and always making us laugh.  You are experimenting with using the potty, and the look on your face when there is success… BEAMING.  You are so proud of yourself (and highly aware of the motivation scheme involving chocolate and stickers)  You have a fond affection for balls, cars, following Will, drawing, juice, food, candy, Curious George or any Ipad activity.  I love hearing about your day at ‘school’ and how your face brightens up with mention of Ms. Cindy, or any school peer.  I’m so grateful for you; for your character, heart for singing and having fun.  I love our Monday morning times together and know that theres a window closing in on that time, and want to make every moment last.  You won’t forever be the baby, but will move into the 2nd child place.  But you are special and unique, no one will ever take your place; you’re exactly where you need to be; positioned perfectly in our family.


To Will,

You have grown alot this past year, both academically, socially and emotionally.  I love hearing about activities you have done, or new things you’ve learned at school.  You amaze me with how much your brain is retaining and sponging up making me ever quick on my toes.  (I still haven’t quite figured out the details you’d like to know about the caterpillar turning into a butterfly..but I’m working on answering your questions)  You are 4 years old, and I have loved all that this year has already meant:  You are capable and responsible to handle all your basic needs, and help with essentials in the home, you enjoy taking on more ‘chores’ and enjoy being the leader in this.  You are becoming more confident in your abilities at following through on a task and are truly the biggest help to your dad and I.. You are understanding the heart of obedience, and not just to avoid punishment; I am so moved to see that work of God of obedience and yielding to the Spirit.  He is speaking to you, and your actions, questions and comments are so evident of that!  The other day we were talking about how God is the only one that heals perfectly, that He fixes and can make ANYONE feel better, even more than doctors and nurses.   You are gaining insight into how big the Lord is; how wonderful and awesome and perfect He is and I hope that only continues to deepen and develop.  You are using fancy and big words like: cooperating & similarly and comments of your own like, “Mom, you should talk nice to Dad because he’s a pastor..” (what?) and  “I’ll always love you” (melt) to the polite, “May I join you?” (Props to you, Ms. Lorrie/Ms. Carole)  You are constantly trying to recall a song of phrase from school, and hey, if you can’t remember, you are fantastic at coming up with replacement words without missing the beat, usually summarizing our day so far.  I just love you to pieces.  You are such a gentle big brother and helper to Isaac; a fair amount of direction and leading, and yet building such sweet friendship.  I am so grateful God placed you in our family; there is so much to love about you!




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