Monday, November 30, 2009

Now You Are Seven

Noah James, my first Thanksgiving baby, is seven years old today. I can hardly believe it's been that many years since I first held him in my arms.

Noah, you are such a joy and blessing to this family. You are helpful, intelligent, funny, and compassionate. We are extremely proud of you and so happy that we get to watch you grow even more.

Happy Birthday, Noah!

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Naming Miles

It was quite fun keeping the baby's name a secret all this time. We loved hearing the guesses and were quite surprised that no one guessed his actual name. Our favorite guess was from a four year old girl at our church. We'll just call her "A".

A: What's your baby's name?
Jeana: It's a secret but I will tell you that it starts with the letter M.
A: Hmm...Emmett?
Jeana: No, but that's a good guess. Especially if we spelled it em apostrophe eye tee.
Misty: Can you imagine his entire school life? All his teachers would take attendance, "Mitt Linhart?"
Jeana: Ha! And then he would answer, "Actually it's M'it. Em It. Emmett."

Miles is a name that I've liked for a long time. We actually considered it as a name for Toby but Geary didn't love it at the time. I thought choosing a name this time around would be torturous but it turned out to be very easy.

We started with the middle name. Noah's middle name is James, after Geary's father. Tobin's middle name is Joseph, after my father. We had a theme going and wanted to name our third son after another person who had taken a fathering role in our life. Miles John is actually named for two Johns who have loved us deeply and have been amazing benefactors to our family. John Linhart, Geary's uncle stepped in to the Papa role when Geary's dad died. And John Johnson, Geary's sister's father-in-law adopted us as extended family and has blessed us richly. Both Johns are precious to our family and we wanted to honor them by giving our son their name.

From there we just had to choose a first name that flowed with John. It was also important to me that the name have a clear meaning. Geary suggested Miles right away and even though I liked how it sounded I couldn't find a definite meaning for the name. Some sources suggested that Miles might be soldier or military man. That was fine but it didn't mean anything to me. Other sources said Miles was from the Latin word for mercy. Again, a great quality and something that is dear to us but it didn't speak exactly to the story of our family.

The name sounded so beautiful on our tongues. I would repeat it to myself day after day wondering why it just fit so well. I thought about the journey our family has been on with miscarriages and births and how our trust in the Lord has grown through all of it. Right now we are in such a blessed place in our lives. We live in an amazing community with loving family and friends. Geary's job is a perfect fit, we have an adorable house, and our children are incredible. We don't deserve any of it and yet God has chosen to bring us here and pour His abundant love over us. And that is when the name clicked for me.

Miles means just what it sounds like. Miles. Distance. Journey. God has taken us on a journey, is taking us on a journey, toward Himself. And we are marvelling over the fact that He has even brought us this far. I am reminded of David's prayer after the Lord established his covenant with with the king,

Then King David went in and sat before the LORD, and he said:
"Who am I, O Sovereign LORD, and what is my family, that you have brought me this far?

2 Samuel 7:18

Who are we, the Linharts, that God has brought us this far? We are undeserving of the miles he has led us through, and we are undeserving of the Miles he has blessed us with. It is only because of his goodness, mercy, and grace that we can even journey with him at all. Happy Thanksgiving, indeed.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Birthing Miles

For the beauty of the earth
For the glory of the skies,
For the love which from our birth
Over and around us lies.
Lord of all, to Thee we raise,
This our hymn of grateful praise.

I was on my way to an OB appointment and my 50 millionth session of monitoring when I got a phone call from St. Vincent Medical Center. It was an OB confirming that I had preeclampsia--something that had just developed in the last week or so. "Since your baby is full term the best thing for you is to be induced. We don't want this to develop into full blown toxemia," said Dr. Overbeck. "What's the time line?" I asked, "Are we talking about today?" I had been praying the night before and had a feeling things would go this way. "Yes, I'm at St. Vincent now and I'd like you to come to Labor and Delivery as soon as possible." I told the doctor that it might take me a couple hours to get my children settled and my husband from work but that I would be there soon.

We got to the hospital at about 2:30 pm. My doula, Melissa Brewster, met us there. We all felt very excited. Dr. Overbeck came in and introduced herself. I told her my concerns about being induced and shared why I wanted to avoid pitocin. She was agreeable to other methods but wanted to check my cervix and the position of the baby so we could determine which method would be best for me. I was dilated about 2 cm but my cervix was soft. The baby was still very high. We decided the best thing to do was give me a cervical ripening agent called misoprostol that would also start uterine contractions. I would be given one dose (1/4 of a tablet) and then in 4 hours we would either give a second dose or break my water depending on how my body responded. The doctor seemed certain that I wouldn't need more than 2 doses.

I was given the first dose at 3:30 pm. Within an hour contractions started. They were mild but regular. Geary, Melissa, and I chatted and made estimates on what time the baby would be born. Mel and I were rooting for a Thanksgiving baby but Geary was convinced the process would take much longer. We watched TV for a little bit, the nurse brought in a deck of cards, we all took the opportunity to eat some dinner.

At 6pm there was a shift change in the hospital. My doctor and nurse were both off duty so I got to meet my new medical team. A midwife who I'd met before and didn't really click with, a resident who immediately made me feel comfortable, and a nurse who was way too chatty. I was a little nervous about this change in staff but simply repeated my concerns and made sure they all knew about my birth plan. The midwife and resident really validated me but the nurse took about 20 minutes to share all three of her own birth stories and tell me what I supposed to be feeling. When she left, I stared wide-eyed at Melissa, who knew exactly what I was thinking. "We can always switch nurses," she comforted.

One thing the new team brought up was giving me an IV of magnesium sulphate to keep my blood pressure down and prevent seizures. They would start the IV now and I would have it continuously in my system until 24 hours after the birth. I had never heard of this and Melissa asked if I could have a minute to think about it. The doctor and midwife agreed and left the room. Melissa was prepared and had brought along several birthing books. She was able to look up magnesium sulphate and we learned that it's often given to stop labor when babies are pre-term. When the doctors came back in I was able to say, "I'm not comfortable with having magnesium sulphate now because I'm concerned it would slow labor and then you would want to give me something else to speed it back up. I'm refusing the IV for now but once the baby is born it's okay with me if you still want to use it during that 24 hour post-birth risk period." I really thought it would be a big fight but the resident simply nodded and said, "Okay. It's your decision, I just need to make sure you know why we suggest it and what the risks are. I understand why you're deciding this way and it's perfectly fine." I felt very respected and was so thankful that Melissa had brought resources so we could make an educated decision.

At the end of the 4 hours my contractions were getting stronger and closer together. The baby had moved down a station, my cervix was much softer and I had dilated to 3cm. I was so excited! My body was doing it! It was taking over labor on its own. I agreed to let the doctor break my water. I also made it clear that I wanted to be able to move around as much as possible so could they please let me off the monitors. Instead of being completely released from monitoring they suggested an internal fetal monitor hooked up to a telemetry unit so that I could go "cordless". That way they could still keep an eye on the baby's heartrate but I could have the freedom to change positions and walk around if I wanted to. I agreed and once everything was hooked up the contractions really started coming!

I tried sitting in a rocking chair and bouncing on my balance ball but sitting upright just didn't feel good. I really wanted to be able to curl my body around the contractions. Geary and Melissa spread out a blanket on the floor and I got into a kneeling position with the ball in front of me. When a contraction came I would lean forward into the ball and then stretch with the contraction until it peaked and come back to a kneeling position as the contraction went away. The whole process was really relaxing and I could imagine myself as a wave, rolling into the pain and then rolling back out. After a while though it wasn't so comfortable on my knees. Also, I was cold.

The contractions kept getting stronger and closer together. At once point I rolled into the pain and had to push the ball away and almost put my face to the ground because it was just lasting so long. I heard Mel say, "Look at you! You were off the charts!" When I could sit up again I looked at the monitor and saw a line that went up, disappeared for a couple minutes, and then came back down.

After that the baby's heart rate went down. The midwife and Nurse Chatty came in and asked me to lay on the bed on my side to see if we could make the baby happier. There was talk of giving me oxygen if his heart rate didn't go up. I, on the other hand, was miserable. Laying the bed meant I simply had to endure the pain. I couldn't move with it. I knew I had to trust my body and I told the midwife, "I really need to be able to rock with the contraction. I need to get up." She said, "Well, I want you to be comfortable but I also need to make sure the baby stays happy." I suggested being allowed to get back on my knees and lean forward on the ball while on the bed. She agreed as long as I didn't sit back on my legs. As soon as I got up and in position the baby's heart rate immediately improved. As long as I was on my hands and knees he felt good and I felt good. It was amazing to see the instant results of trusting my body.

The contractions kept coming and at this point I really had to focus through them. I would lean into the ball and hum each breath. Huuuuummmmm, huuuuummmm. I tried to imagine myself as a wave again. I tried to imagine my cervix opening and chanted in my head, "I am opening." Geary and Melissa were super. Geary rubbed my back and told me I was doing a good job and that I was beautiful and strong. Melissa sat in front of me and her voice was so gentle and soothing. She would say, "You can do it. You are doing it." Sometimes she would just hum along with me which was very comforting. The constant encouragement and validation that I was laboring well made such a huge difference.

Pretty soon I was no longer cold. I asked Geary to remove my slippers and Mel brought me a cold wet washcloth. I wiped down my sweaty face and placed the cloth on my neck. "You're doing hard work. You're getting closer and closer to baby." I needed those words. As I continued to roll in and out of the pain I ate up every encouraging word from my husband and doula.

At about 11 pm I felt like I needed to use the bathroom. Melissa helped me to the toilet where I had a bowel movement and then the contractions just started coming right on top of each other. I didn't realize it but Melissa told me later that I would stand up and sit down through each one--an instictive motion that laboring mothers do to help get the baby down in the birth canal. I was in the bathroom laboring like this for long enough that the midwife and Nurse Chatty came in to say that I had been off the monitor long enough--they needed to check on the baby so I needed to get back in the bed. In fact, it seemed that the internal monitor had maybe fallen out so they needed to readjust it.

I could barely take a step before another contraction would come. At one point I was just hanging onto a bar on the bathroom wall. I wanted to give them what they needed but I just couldn't get myself there. I took one step out of the bathroom and immediately fell to my hands and knees. Everything inside me told me I was done. The end of labor was here I had to be done. The resident came in and graciously offered to fix the monitor where I was on the floor. I could only nod. She stepped over me into the bathroom and told me she was going to check my cervix first. I was sure I had to be complete.

"It feels like you're about a 6," she said. And that was it. With the nurse nagging me to get into the bed, a place I knew I would be doomed to intense pain with nothing I could do about it, and then being told I was only at 6 when I felt like I should be at 10, something snapped in me. It was a mental block. I felt like "if I can't get in bed then I can't do this. I can't complete this labor. I need to be done one way or the other." And then I shocked the room by saying, "I can't do this. I want an epidural."

"Do you really want an epidural?" Mel asked gently. I didn't. I really wanted to be done but I was a six! A six! I couldn't get past that. I couldn't endure any more if it going to be harder. I should have been done. I was done. So I said, "Yes, I really want an epidural." And I hung my head.

The doctor was still sitting on the floor behind me and said, "Well, let me fix the monitor here." And I hummed through another contraction and then, "Aaaah! I feel pressure!" The baby was in the birth canal and I could feel him coming. I could hear voices all around me, "Try not to push!" Well, of course I shouldn't push--how could the baby fit through a six! I was still mentally blocked by that thought. It wouldn't occur to me until later that my feelings of defeat were simply because I had reached transition. I knew I might feel like I couldn't go on but I didn't recognize that I was entering the very last stage of labor. And then hearing that I was only a six just added to that defeated feeling. In reality, I either was complete and my cervix probably just closed up a little when the doctor checked, or those last couple strong contractions opened me all the way. Either way the baby was coming.

Someone opened the door and called out, "I need an emergency table now!" and I heard several people rush into the room. The doctor behind me said, "I have the head!" I wasn't pushing. I was simply on my hands and knees halfway in the bathroom, halfway in the room, humming my head off. I didn't push at all but I felt a gush and heard a splash and Geary said, "He's here, Isha! Miles is here!" But I thought he meant that Miles was on his way out. How could he get out through a six! I was still hung up on that. Geary said again, "He's out! You did it." And I couldn't believe it! I stayed in my position on all fours just breathing calmly. I did it! I knew I was done and then I really was! My body hadn't betrayed me after all! Geary told me later that the doctor had a giant grin on her face when Miles basically shot out of me and she caught him.

Geary cut the cord and the baby was handed to a different nurse. Someone helped me up and took off my hospital gown. I remember that the floor was wet and I almost slipped. Suddenly my hormones surged and I started shaking uncontrollably. I could see my baby being wiped down and examined. I wanted to hold him but I couldn't stop shaking. The doctor came over and delivered the placenta. Geary and Melissa were cheering around me and telling me how well I had done. I was still just trying to wrap my mind around what had just happened. And I was thankful, so thankful that I had the natural birth I wanted, that I had a perfect, healthy son, and that even though I thought I had been defeated, I wasn't after all! I will be eternally grateful to Melissa for the role she played in this birth. Her gentle words and quiet wisdom were exactly the encouragement I needed. I don't think I could have done it without her.

I got a new hospital gown, warm blankets were placed over me, my IVs were hooked up (the magnesium sulphate and a small dose to pitocin to control some slight hemmoraging) and soon the shaking died down. I was able to hold and nurse Miles and marvel over his amazing birth. I was convinced he would be a Thanksgiving baby but he showed up 15 minutes earlier. Just 8 hours of labor and now I am rewarded with a lifetime of joy.

For the joy of human love,
Brother, sister, parent, child,
Friends on earth and friends above,
For all gentle thoughts and mild.
Lord of all, to Thee we raise,
This our hymn of grateful praise.

Friday, November 27, 2009


Miles John Linhart
Born Wednesday, November 25, 2009 at 11:42 pm
8 lbs 8oz, 21 inches long

More pictures and the birth story coming soon!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Turkey Day Baby!

Well folks, in an exciting change of events it turns out that I have preeclampsia! So I'm heading to Labor and Delivery today to kick start my labor and give birth to this precious boy. Please pray for us! Pray that my body will take over labor on its own and that I'll still get to have the natural birth I've been preparing for. Pray for a safe and smooth delivery. Pray that my doctors and nurses will be wise and have our best interests in mind. And pray for Noah and Toby that they will have an anxious-free and fun time with their grandparents while Mom and Dad are in the hospital. We'll keep you posted!

Baby's First Hedgehog

A long time ago I saw this tutorial on how to make a hedgehog toy out of a dollar store car wash mitt. I filed the idea away in the back of my mind but it never came to fruition because I never came across any car wash mitts. Noah and I stopped at a Dollar Tree last week to pick up some flossers and lo and behold--they had car wash mitts!

My mitt wasn't exactly the same as the one in the tutorial (no thumb, shorter wrist) so I had to make some modifications. I also added ears. It looks a bit like a dog toy but it was still fun to make.

Noah and Toby really like it so hopefully Baby M will enjoy it, too.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009


I had my 40 week prenatal appointment yesterday and everything looked good. Except for one thing--my blood pressure was a little high. I am still only 1cm dilated and the baby is still really high up in my womb. Not super encouraging but really anything could happen at any time.

After that appointment I went to another monitoring session where the amniotic fluid was at an okay level. Not super, but not dangerously low. And my blood pressure was a little higher. Of course by this time I was a little stressed out by the low fluid (and the fact that I loathe going to this office). An OB/GYN came in to talk to me and put on the pressure to be induced that day. I refused and made a good case as to why I was not interested. He respected my decision but is asking me to consider scheduling an induction for this coming Sunday.

I know God is in control of this birth and that I can rest in his sovereignty over it...but it's really hard to do that when I've spent so long preparing for a natural birth and when all my medical support team puts on the pressure and makes me feel like I'm harming my baby.

Because of the high blood pressure and not super fluid levels I go back to the hated monitoring office this Wednesday for more monitoring and a chat with a different OB/GYN. Please pray for wisdom. I am still hoping for a natural birth. Hopefully Baby M will get the message and decide to make an appearance this week. Hopefully even today or tomorrow. Pray, pray, pray for me, okay?

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Today is...

November 22, 2009


Baby M's Due Date

And I am changing the way I pray. Instead of "Dear Lord, please let the baby be born today" I am praying, "Dear Lord, please help me to trust in your timing and to rest in the knowledge that this birth is part of your plan."

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Dear Toby...

Very soon you are going to be a big brother and a middle child. We are looking forward to discovering how these changes in our family will shape you. You are already so fun, so hilarious, so quirky. Like how you in insist on wearing your rain boots all the time. Even to bed. And always on the wrong feet.
Or how you pout at the breakfast table because I've offered you cereal instead of the requested pumpkin pie. Trust me, I wish we could have pie for breakfast, too.

You are learning new things every day and becoming such a helpful little man. I love it when you help me put wet clothes in the dryer. You're good at recycling paper and throwing things away in the trash for me, too. And you always know where to find my shoes--probably because you are the one who hid them in the first place.

Remember when I asked you to put away your (brand new) toothbrush in the bathroom? Yeah...this is not what I meant.

I love you, you little turkey.



Monday, November 16, 2009

Final(ish) Countdown

There is just one week to go until my due date! Of course, Baby M could decide that it's way too comfy inside the womb and choose to hang out in there a little longer. I'm just really hoping and praying that he decides to come out on his own and that we don't have to evict him with the use of Pitocin.

At my appointment today the doctor said I was 1 cm dilated and "really soft." I forgot to get an actual number for what "really soft" means but it's still encouraging news. My body is getting ready!

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Family Dinner

I made this recipe for Enchilada Casserole tonight and noticed Noah sucking in his breath.

Jeana: Sorry, I made it extra spicy in hopes of inducing labor.

Noah: No wonder my mouth is fire!

Geary: No wonder I'm having labor!


Noah: Dad, one of my classmates has a question for you.

Geary: Okay.

Noah: What's Latin for "ninja"?


Jeana: Last night at the Craft Fair Holly and Shelly complimented Noah on his good behavior. I said, "Yeah, we'll probably keep him," and Noah said (hopefully), "And give away Toby?"

Geary: Ha ha! That was pretty quick. But we'll keep you both.

Noah: Yeah, who would even want Toby!*

*They really do love each other, it's just that Toby is...well...two.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Ruby Willow in McMinnville

My friends, Shelly and Holly, are letting me send some Ruby Willow stuff with them to the 20th Annual Church on the Hill Craft Fair in McMinnville this weekend. I won't be there (although I may stop by) but you can find my jewelry at the Dragonfly Designs booth if you go. I hear the bazaar has some amazing caramel apple dumplings, too!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Continuous Monitoring

So, I'm officially in the "any day now" zone. I saw my doctor on Monday and everything checked out fine. Then I had to go into Beaverton to have another non-stress test. That means another ultrasound and two more hours of fetal monitoring. And once again the fluid levels looked good and the baby looked great. So guess what the doctors there wanted? No, really, guess. They wanted me to go back on Thursday to do it again. I told them that I earliest I could go back was on Monday. I mean, three ultrasounds and nearly 8 hours of continuous monitoring and they still want more? Meanwhile, the baby continues to be very active and I continue to feel great (except when getting stressed out about more monitoring.) So my plan is to pray and walk and walk and pray and hope this baby decides to come out soon! Let it be so!

Friday, November 06, 2009

Narrow Escape

Well, I guess my low fluid levels were more serious than the radiologist suggest. My doctor called me last night after seeing the ultrasound report and said my fluid levels were not slightly low but very low and that I needed to go into Labor & Delivery to check the health of the baby. With low amniotic fluid the umbilical cord could become squished and the baby would have no source of oxygen.

So I spent the night in Labor & Delivery Triage being monitored, getting two ultrasounds and praying my head off that I would not have to be induced. After nearly 7 hours of being there I was told that my fluid levels looked good, the baby looked great, and that I was free to go home. It was a long, frustrating night to say the least.

I have an appointment with my doctor on Monday and right now she wants me to agree to have ultrasounds twice a week (at a location 40 minutes away) to keep checking the fluid levels. I'm planning on calling her back today to ask more questions. I'm also planning on drinking fluid pretty much non-stop and hoping that my body goes into labor all on its own within the next couple days so that this will be a non-issue.

Thursday, November 05, 2009

Baby News

I had an ultrasound today because my belly was measuring kind of big. The baby looks good and they are estimating his weight to be around 8 lbs today. However, my amniotic fluid level was lower than they'd like to see. The ultrasound tech, the radiologist and my doctor are not worried though because I'm basically at full term. On Sunday I'll be 38 weeks pregnant and officially in the any day now zone. The radiologist predicts I'll go into labor within the next 72 hours. We shall see!

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Veritas Raffle

It's fundraising time for Noah's school (and the school where Geary teaches) so I thought I'd just put the word out there about our raffle prizes this year. If you're interested in purchasing a ticket let me know. The tickets are $20 each or 3 tickets for $50. I know that sounds like a lot but wait till you see the prizes. Also, the tickets are limited (1000 max) so you have more chances to win. You also get to choose the prize you'd most like and there is a separate drawing for each prize which means even more of a chance at winning. The drawing will he held on Friday, December 4th and you don't have to be present to win. So, without further adieu (click on the item title to get more info on each prize):
MSRP $400



Pretty swanky, huh? Noah has a goal of selling at least 6 tickets this year. The class that sells the most tickets by December 4th will get to have a pizza and root-beer float party!

Monday, November 02, 2009

On Watch

"What are you doing, Toby?"

"I waiting for my Daddy."