Weight: 8 lbs 3 oz Length: 20 1/2 inches
For details on the meaning of his name, Samuel Evan, see Geoff's blog at: www.TraveltheText.com
Born Tuesday, July 29th at 3:34 p.m.
Weight: 8 lbs 3 oz Length: 20 1/2 inches
Samuel had a beautiful water birth with no medical intervention. His delivery was an incredible experience that Geoff and I fully engaged in together; I hope to post more details on his birth story soon. Samuel means "God hears." There were lots of reasons we chose this name, but it carried even more power the week of his birth as we called out for GOD to hear our prayers and bring healing to Samuel's Uncle Kent.
For details on the meaning of his name, Samuel Evan, see Geoff's blog at: www.TraveltheText.com
Meeting his amazing grandparents. Thankful for Samuel's incredible heritage.
Last November we landed in Ecuador for a last minute, quick trip. (for more on that trip, check out past blogs here, here, here, and here.) We excitedly made it from the plane to the taxi, anxious to see the kids at the orphanage. It had been too long.
Taxi rides in Ecuador are normally reminiscent of roller coasters gone wild, and that trip was no exception. But that didn't help me explain the sudden, overwhelming nausea as we departed Guayaquil. I never got car sick - even in Ecuador's crazy driving. I couldn't have food poisoning yet, I had yet to eat or drink in the country. Strange.
We arrived at the orphanage after one of the seemingly longer car rides of my life. I was thrilled to see the kids, and tried not to appear as green as I felt. It didn't take long before the joy of being with them overwhelmed anything else.
At one point, one of the boys we had been particularly close to when we'd lived there came over to me, placed his hand on my lower abdomen and said, "you have a baby" (in Spanish). No, no, we still don't have any kids. They always found it strange we didn't have kids before so I didn't think much of it other than to reassure them we STILL weren't pregnant - but loved them to pieces.
Over the next 2-3 days a similar thing occurred with two of the other boys and one girl who'd known us before. They'd place a hand on my belly and say, very matter of factly; "baby."
"Geoff! Did I gain weight and you didn't tell me?!? Is my belly sticking out? What are they doing?"
Perhaps it was just a blessing they were offering. I'll take it. They never asked if we were pregnant, they were telling us. "Baby." We didn't get it.
I continued to feel nauseous the first few days in Ecuador, without a thought of what it could be. Never crossed my mind we were pregnant. Even with the not so subtle hints from these kids. We'd given up that hope long ago, and I didn't even anticipate it anymore. We were happy to travel and love on these kids, and open to however we could do so for others.
But by day four or so, feeling increasingly nauseous and just plain strange, I was out of options. A late night thought hit me and I finally dared suggest to Geoff that, "Um, either something is really wrong with me, or I'm pregnant." Such a possibility and hope isn't something you even want to bring up when you've tried for several years and know the odds aren't high.
I'll spare you the resulting details of our adventure finding and translating a pregnancy test in another culture. It was lots of fun.
"What?!? I think it says we're pregnant!" Even after 4 tests, taken over three days, we still could only muster a, "wow, we might actually be pregnant," the rest of our time in Ecuador.
You'll never guess. I really was - and am - pregnant.
Even after further pregnancy tests back in the States confirmed the pregnancy, we maintained this hesitant reality until we finally got to hear the baby's heartbeat when we were around 15 weeks along. Will never forget that moment. He was real. Alive. Part of us.
Today is this baby's 40 week anniversary of life. (I guess more technically he's been around closer to 38 since they add two "free" weeks on at the beginning - but who's counting.) He has travelled along with us to multiple countries and states and we've enjoyed having him with us through a myriad of adventures already. He's been quite a trooper.
My sister's family came to town last weekend. While they were here she obliged me and graciously took some family photos of us at 39 weeks. Thanks sis!
And drumroll please...taken today...40 weeks!!
It's been an incredible 40 weeks and I am so thankful for this journey of pregnancy. This little boy has been gracious while we've shared a tight (though ever expanding) space. He's endured all of my pregnancy symptoms and weaknesses in style, growing strong and healthy even when I've felt weak and sick. He's such a good boy.
I'm thankful he grew at least to "full term" and look forward to meeting him as soon as he's ready. There may not be much time for writing, but we'll get a picture up here as soon as possible after he's born to "introduce" you all to this little man more directly.
We don't even know what his name will be yet. We have to meet him first. I can't wait to see him in his Daddy's arms. I can't wait to hold him in mine. I can't wait to see what his gifts and blessing to this world will be. We already love you sweet one, and praise GOD for you.
I have finally stopped waking up each morning in slight panic, instinctively reaching for my belly to find out if the baby is still there. Making sure it wasn't all just a strange dream. I'm really pregnant.
I'm REALLY pregnant.
The pregnancy waddle thing? It's legit. Analyzing chairs for their ease of getting out of before taking the plunge? Becomes second nature. Getting into the bed you built that now seems freakishly high - earns the purchase of a new step stool.
This whole pregnancy thing still feels surreal, but certain aspects of this new reality - that there's really this baby with us - are starting to sink in. I'm no longer worried the doctors or pregnancy tests made a mistake. Rather, I can identify body parts actively poking out to say hi throughout the day (and night). This little boy stays very well in touch. I'm so thankful for every movement - even the not so gentle ones. But overall, considering the tight space we're sharing, I'd say he's been quite the gentle little man.
Pregnancy has been an incredible journey. One I didn't think I'd be able to share in not so very long ago. I feel like I've had a full experience, complete with nausea, heartburn, backaches, and other such pregnancy pleasures. I have officially gone to the restroom more in the last 8+ months than in all my previous days on earth combined. At least it feels like that. And what I knew of my body is long gone. Further than I ever imagined it would go. And I haven't even given birth or raised the child yet. Bring it.
Above all I am so thankful for the chance to experience this crazy, remarkable, miraculous journey of bringing new life into this world. I want to experience it in all of its fullness - no matter the necessary discomforts.
I have complained at times during this journey. Like when nausea was so constant the first several months that I couldn't imagine ever finding favor with food again (we're still on survival terms), or when my back seized up a few weeks ago and I felt crippled and quite helpless (yay for great chiropractors!). And now I'm nearing the end of this pregnancy journey and part of me is already sad to leave it behind - though I can't imagine being more excited to see this baby boy face to face (and to be able to bend over, etc.).
Our desire to experience this journey in all of its fullness is what led Geoff and I into seeking the most natural pregnancy and delivery possible. We looked into all kinds of options, fearing the hospital alternative the most.
Hospitals just flat freak me out. Always have. They are where you go when you get sick. When you have a problem. I don't have a problem. I have a baby.
I know, I know, it's the "just in case." Problem is, in hospitals, you're more likely to encounter the "just in case." There are many known and who knows how many unknown risks to every intervention, be it pain control, drugs to speed up labor; you name it, they sell it. And that's as much as I'll soap box here.
So back to our plans.
We are planning to have the baby in a hospital.
I know, riiight? After all that. BUT, we're actually really excited. First, because all those who would be genuinely concerned for us to be in a more natural environment such as a birth center can relax, and two because this hospital offers most everything we wanted in a birth center PLUS the backup..."just in case."
We are working with some incredibly fabulous midwives at the hospital in Cleburne, TX. Though there are ob/gyn's available, they will only intervene when necessary, as it should be. The midwives are available to work with women who are seeking a variety of childbirth experiences, from the most natural of labor and birth to offering various hospital standards such as pain control, etc. The GOOD is - there are options. You aren't just moved through like cattle, strapped to a bed flat on your back, hooked up to a host of machines and iv's, and moved through the process as the physicians see fit.
We can pursue a completely natural birth, walking, moving as needed, and even water labor and birth options are available. Since they specifically promote and support the natural options it's easier to meet this goal without being pressured into routine interventions that are common practice at hospitals. We don't want the "natural" birth so we can have a trophy for getting through it. We want it because it's an experience GOD designed and we don't want to intervene in the process at all, unless absolutely necessary. We want to experience everything as fully as possible, not sacrificing the intensity of the experience and possibly cheating ourselves and/or this baby from Who knows what Good.
We get to be the ones actually having our child - not the doctors. And I mean WE. I didn't get into this situation by myself and I haven't, and won't complete it that way. Geoff has been an incredible partner throughout this pregnancy and will be a very active player as we labor together to bring this baby into the world. His role may look more like massage techniques and relaxation help, but we're so thankful that the location we've chosen not only allows but encourages him to be as active a participant as possible. He can be there at every step along the way, from walking the halls to being in the labor pool with me, to actually catching the baby if everything goes well.
We are incredibly thankful for this location and for the midwives we're working with. We're thankful that there are good ob/gyn's and emergency facilities on the same floor as the birthing unit - just in case. We're excited about experiencing this final stage of the pregnancy journey together as we welcome our little boy into the world, as naturally and freely as possible, to give him the best start we can. We are 39 weeks along this weekend and are ready to meet him as soon as he is!
Geoff, Reyah, and I were thrilled to move into an apartment just over two weeks ago. This is the first time we've tried apartment living (in the US at least) in our married lives and though it wasn't our original goal, we're very thankful to have a place to call home once again.
Recently it had begun to feel like we existed in the perpetual state of being on the road. Mostly it felt like this because - we were.
We've been traveling more often than not since April of 2012 and several of the boxes we opened upon move-in contained things we hadn't seen since. Unpacking was like opening Christmas presents or wedding gifts all over again. We got rid of a lot of household "stuff" when we began our recent nomadic explorations so it was interesting to see what we had deemed worthy of storing. Silverware and pottery plates from our wedding gifts, framed photographs and keepsakes were so much fun to find places for around the apartment. We felt like newlyweds again.
After much debate we finally decided to settle in the heart of Texas for a while. We are in Granbury, TX which is about as perfectly in between our parents and many siblings as possible so we're excited about that. Granbury is just about the cutest Texas town around as well. Though it isn't likely to be our loooong term base, we're very thankful for the opportunity to live here for this season.
There are always things going on in Granbury. Memorial Day saw parades and vendors spilling out from the courthouse square. All of my immediate family were able to converge in Granbury for Memorial Day weekend to see our new apartment and we enjoyed lots of fun time together.
We were very thankful to find an apartment that had a place for Reyah to run. This dog run area is immediately down the stairs from our place and serves as Reyah's backyard. She hasn't quite figured out why she can't get to it from our balcony, or why other dogs always seem to have been in her territory EVERY time she goes back to HER yard, but we're working on it. Living in community.
Of course, when we get tired of the dog run there are great places to walk within the apartment grounds. It's fun to be so near the lake, though for all practical purposes, it does seem to be more of a still river. By either name, Reyah loves that we can take a short walk down from the apartment where she can play fetch in the water and splash around to her hearts content.
We enjoyed several days of beautiful rainstorms and even this double rainbow shortly after moving in. We're very thankful for a place to call home and enjoying getting settled in as quickly as possible.
In regard to our recent post of our Baby Prep Top 3, we can now cross number one off the list! Yeah! The rest is details. And no, we haven't figured out either where this baby will be born, or what all we need to take care of him.
At least he is doing his part and growing well! Geoff and I realized with alarm this week when counting the days that we missed a week along the way. It just disappeared. Somehow I thought I was 32 weeks along, 2 weeks in a row. It caused quite moment of panic when we did the math yesterday and realized we did NOT have 7 1/2 weeks - only 6 1/2. And that's just to the July due date - no telling when his actual birthday will be. !!! We can't wait to meet him but are still treasuring this time of life we are in.
I especially am savoring more moments each day than I necessarily intend to as volcanic heartburn and this fantastic restless leg thing keep me up at night. I anticipated cramping, but instead my legs keep a bizarre tension and randomly spaze out, kicking anything in range. Our poor dog is no longer keen on sleeping with us at night - poor Reyah. I really didn't mean to kick you in the nose!
So bedtime has become an exercise in balancing in an upright position to keep the acid down, while not falling out of bed when my legs try to escape without me. In the meantime, baby boy is most active at night and so we enjoy our time together no matter how much my body rebels against us. We've agreed, however, that we will both work to sleep better at night after he's born and leave the intimate hang out time for the daylight hours. We'll see how that goes. Here's hoping he sleeps like his daddy.
So, though feeling exhausted, sore, and just plain awkward as I grow right along with my baby boy, we're LOVING this. Oh, and in addition to forgetting what week we are in pregnancy, we also have forgotten all about that weekly picture thing. Seems like just yesterday he was only 30 weeks...
Hope to update you with a visual of how he's growing soon!
We have had a great time in the land of the Bible so far. Even with rain and cold weather that greeted our group for their entire first week, things have gone very well. Their last week the sun came out and we enjoyed great weather during their trip. Tomorrow is our last day and we are so thankful for a fantastic trip so far and are looking forward to finishing strong tomorrow!
For more updates and pictures as we travel through the land of the Bible, check out the blog at www.TraveltheText.com, and/or "Like" our Travel the Text Facebook page. We're doing our best to post pictures of the group experience as often as internet connection allows so you can travel with us from home. Our next group arrives on Sunday so you'll be right in time to "join" that trip from afar.
On another note, I'm glad to report that Baby Carroll seems to be enjoying the time in the land of the Bible as well. Much to my chagrin, I had yet to feel definite movement from the baby before we left. I was ready for this experience and was well past the time most seemed to feel their babies moving. Well, soon after arriving in Israel the funniest little feelings started coming from my middle. This child already seems to be taking after Geoff - dancing from the moment we landed in the land of the Bible.
I'm thankful for the now quite frequent, easy to detect movements of the baby to let me know things are going well. The small bumps and touches are great assurance each new day. I likened the kicks to bubbles at first, but it has now become much more popcorn in nature. Little bursts of popcorn popping all over my growing belly at random intervals during the day.
Oh, and we meant to announce sooner, but got caught up in all this travel stuff - we did find out the gender of the baby before we left the States.
But we aren't telling.
Just kidding . . .
We got a few cupcakes for the occasion with culturally coordinating (pink/blue for girl/boy) icing in the middle to announce the gender to my folks who live nearby. We had extra, so Geoff did the honors of eating one on your behalf to show you which variety of human child we are expecting:
What could it be...
Is it true??
The icing is blue!
It's a BOY!!!
Even better, he seems to be very healthy and growing well. Almost 23 weeks along he checks in regularly now with little kicks and waves, but seems to be as gentle natured as his daddy so far. We are looking forward to meeting him more directly around mid-July but are treasuring each day of this season as well. We are very excited (well, there's a major understatement) and are already enjoying sharing life with this precious little boy. We appreciate your thoughts and prayers for this blessing as he grows and prepares for life in this world.
2014 has already been a big year for us. We got behind on the blog quite a bit in all the hustle, so this will be a ridiculously long blog post to make up for it. You've been warned.
This year we've spent time adjusting to the shock and implication of this pregnancy, doctored our dog through another foot injury and surgery, moved into and out of a house, finished a major project for our personal business (Travel the Text), and are leaving for Israel tomorrow (Monday). Whew. January and February went by fast. I've never regretted that February was so short a month as I did this year.
The baby news has kept us plenty busy. We found out I was pregnant when we were in Ecuador, though it took us longer to believe it. There are a few details concerning this revelation that I left out when recounting our time there last November. We look forward to sharing these in the future.
In the meantime, I've been sick. Sick and tired. I had no idea how nauseous, exhausting, and just plain miserable pregnancy could be. I felt the need to call all my friends who had ever been pregnant and experienced even the slightest of symptoms and apologize from the bottom of my heart for not really understanding.
I fell suddenly asleep in a stiff chair, thinking I was just pausing to rest for a moment when we were moving into our house. I don't even take naps. This alarmed me. I have many other examples, but really, women in their first trimester especially should be allowed to just crawl into a cocoon and sleep for 3 months.
Then there's the nausea thing. Supposed to be "morning" sickness, but this name is just a cruel joke. It's the 24/7 stomach flu for months. Well, it was for me. As further insult, the first trimester came and went without taking the nausea away as promised. This was the low point. Thankfully, by around week 18 I was slowly growing able to talk about food again and listen as others discussed various foods without turning completely green. Still, I haven't seen my appetite in a long time. This is hard for me. I remember the joy of eating in my past life, I just have no concept of what that could be like anymore. I'm sure I'll make a full recovery and return to my weak-willed eating self soon enough, but right now, I miss her.
The baby has also made packing an interesting concept as we will be in Israel for the next 5 weeks. I am only showing a little now (thanks to being tall, apparently) and have no idea what will happen to my hijacked body during the next month. Though we leave in less than 24 hours, I'm still processing this dilemma. It would be a shame to wake up one morning unable to put on my pants or button my hiking shirt. Hmmmm.
The hardest part of leaving the country is leaving our sweet dog behind. She's been such a constant for us, more than we have for her, and we are better having her around. Animals are like that. In addition to the normal anxiety of missing her and worrying about how she's doing, she is on the tail end (we hope) of recovering from her recent foot problems.
The cyst that developed between two toes on her front paw mid-January did nothing but get worse. Around $500 in vet bills later (and increasingly horrible experiences with the vets) she endured a sloppy foot surgery and an incredibly long healing time. She is now missing the webbing between those toes on that foot, and we were quite displeased with the entire process. 3 weeks after the surgery it is no longer an open wound and has "mostly" healed.
Our fetch loving dog misses her routine. My parents have graciously agreed to host Reyah in their home while we are gone. She should be able to run again shortly and go for walks with my mom (one of her favorite things) so she may not miss us at all. She's pretty sure we are just mean for not letting her run and play the last month and a half. We agree, but it couldn't be helped. I hate leaving her, but am thankful she has good "grandparents" to look after her.
Geoff in particular has spent an incredible amount of time these past two months on our new and improved Travel the Text Travel Guide. This is a big project we've been excited about for a long time and are thrilled to have completed - though it will just get better from here.
This book will be used as a learning/study tool by our group members throughout the trip as we travel throughout the land of the Bible. It contains brief information for each site (plus some) we will visit and additional maps, diagrams, illustrations and other reference to enhance the experience.
Geoff's brother, Keith, did the graphic design work for us and we are thrilled with how he brought it all together. I wish I could post all of the work he did for this book here to show it off but it would be too much. You'll just have to travel with us someday to receive a copy of your very own. If you're looking for a good freelance graphic designer, I know the man; but I'll likely keep him busy on our own projects as often as possible!
Geoff and I finished renovations on the Farmhouse and had all tools and personal effects packed out of there this last Thursday night. We had to wait on some of the projects until this last week as I was way too nauseous when we moved in to put anything over my mouth - like a respirator. These come in quite handy when painting, etc. while pregnant.
The trailer investment has paid off well and most all of our belongings are now resting within it once again, waiting to be hauled somewhere new when we return. We aren't sure where we'll live when we get back to Texas in April but plan to look for a six-month rental in the central Texas vicinity to remain close to family until the baby is born. Then we hope to pursue our previous dreams, which we haven't shared much of here (yet), plus Baby. There's no telling where we'll end up, but we're excited to find out.
For some final fun before we head to Israel we were able to drive up to Dallas on Saturday to celebrate our young nephew (my sister's son) at his first birthday party. We were in Israel when he was born on March 7th last year, and will be again this year, so were thankful that the early party allowed us to join family and friends in celebrating his young life. He is growing so big and is a delight to be with.
We also got to see my brother's kids who are just as beautiful and fun as always. The twins are growing up way too fast (turning FIVE this month), and Cade, our youngest nephew (now four months old) is getting so big. We topped off the day enjoying dinner with our favorite graphic designer (Geoff's brother) and his lovely fiance before returning late from Dallas.
Now it's time to finish packing and tying up loose ends before hitting the road/air tomorrow for Israel. We'll arrive in Jerusalem Tuesday night and look forward to keeping you posted on the trip, the baby, and the experience we call life over the next few weeks. You can also keep up with us by "Liking" the Travel the Text Facebook page where we plan to post photos and updates throughout the journey so you can travel with us from home.
Next time from Jerusalem - shalom!
Reyah is pretty excited about Baby Carroll, mainly because she has no idea what this implies. But really, neither do we.
So while she reflects on her upcoming promotions to Big Sister, Baby Guard Dog, and Food on Floor Cleaner-Upper, we remain in complete shock (and will likely stay that way for the next 20 years - at least).
We've prayed for this, hoped for this, but after several years we decided this was a dream we perhaps needed to let go of. We've been thankful to pursue many opportunities during our nearly 8-years together, some of which we may not have been brave enough to leap for had we had a child earlier in our marriage.
Perhaps for these reasons we are all the more overwhelmed with this surprising, still hard to believe, healthy, wonderful, overwhelming blessing growing strong within me.
Geoff and I are in awe of this miracle and are so thankful for the opportunity to cherish this experience each new day we are allowed. Please keep us all in your thoughts and prayers as we stand at yet another magnificent crossroad in our life. This is one of the hardest, most fun, rewarding, and AWESOME roads we could ever travel and we are already loving the journey!
"My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place,
when I was woven together in the depths of the earth.
Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were
written in your book before one of them came to be . . ."
Travel with us as we explore new lands, engage cultures, and learn to better love each other, those we encounter, and the Lord Jesus Christ at every crossroad of life.
Where Are We Now?