Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Zariyah Toa Allen

Zariyah Toa Allen
Born at home on 5/8/12
at 6:46pm
7 lbs 1.5 oz 19.5 inches

Zariyah's birth story:
I had been having contractions through the week...  I think the first painful one that I had was on Wednesday May 2nd, but it was just one contraction and done.  I think I had another one a couple days later too...  Then I started having a couple a day and so on.  It was odd to me because with the boys, I had braxton hicks throughout the pregnancy, but I definitely didn't have labor contractions until labor started.  So Sunday May 6th we got up early to meet Nathan's parents at the Bellingham airport.  They were returning from their 4 month stay in American Samoa.  After that we went to breakfast with the family and then to church.  At church, worship began and so did my contractions.  I had about three painful ones during the 30 minute worship set.  I started wondering if my body was ready...  They stopped after that and returned that afternoon while eating at a family BBQ.   Once everyone went home, they got closer together.  Probably consistently 30 minutes apart and then closer... 15 minutes apart and in the evening after putting the boys to bed I was timing them at about 10 minutes apart for a couple hours.  We got excited!  We made sure we had everything ready just in case she came that night...  and as soon as I got in bed, they stopped.  I noticed right away and was upset.  I know that so many woman go through false labor, but I didn't think that false labor contractions acted so similar to "real" ones.  I prayed about it and went to sleep.  I woke up around 4:30 with very painful contractions for about an hour and a half.  Then they stopped and I went back to sleep.  I got up around 8 frustrated with my lack of labor and decided to go for a walk around Lake Padden with Keturah. We got to Padden and immediately, Isaiah did a huge poop in his diaper.  We were strapped for time because Keturah had to be at work soon.  I started changing his diaper only to realize that I was so distracted that I forgot to bring diapers! I decided to just put his pants on him and put a waterproof pad in the stroller and walk anyways.  I needed labor to start and I needed to be outside!  I had already told Zeke that we could play in the play area for a bit so we had to try to fit that in too...  once we got to the play area, Isaiah had wet himself.  I felt sooo bad for him!  It was totally a bad mom moment...  I know.  I let Ezekiel play for about 5 minutes and then explained to him that Isaiah was uncomfortable and we needed to go home. While that was going on we talked the whole 2.6 miles about my frustration, what God was trying to teach me through allowing me to go through this pain and frustration.  I realized that I already knew what he was doing.  I needed to change my perspective and start worshipping him through trials instead of whining about it.  During and after the walk the contractions where strong, but probably only 30 minutes apart.  I had to stop through a few of them or pause conversation to focus at some points.
I went home and they continued to be about 30 minutes apart.  They stopped for a couple hours in the afternoon and then picked up again a little bit when we went to a friend's house for dinner.  We had such a nice time with them and I was trying the whole time to just focus on enjoying that time rather than allowing my frustration with the "false labor" to carry on.  Once we got home, they hit hard again and were much more painful than before.  Nathan put the boys to bed while I laid on the bed trying not to cry as the contractions came and went.
I talked to Nathan a bit that night, but it was frustrating for him too.  How could a guy really understand  the frustration of false contractions when they have no idea how they feel?  He really did a great job trying to be understanding, but it was difficult for both of us to know how to deal with it.  We went to sleep and I had a few contractions.  I don't remember any waking me in the night.  So Tuesday I woke up to contractions around 7am when the boys woke up. Nate was getting ready for work and running a little late.  He was trying to help me get set up for the day knowing that I was exhausted and in pain.  by the time he was ready to leave, I was beside myself.  I was in almost constant pain at this point even between contractions because the muscles were so exhausted from the "false labor" I begged Nathan to stay home from work because I didn't want to be alone with the boys in that state of labor.  I felt irritable and didn't know how I would survive the day without snapping at the boys constantly just for being kids or needing me for something.  I needed him to be home.  Finally he got it and walked out of the room and called his boss to let him know he wouldn't be coming in that day.  Thank God!!! I laid in bed all day!  I continued having painful contractions and Nate would come in to sit with me, rub my back or just listen to me in my frustration.  They were still inconsistent at this point... between 30-18 minutes apart.  But painful.  I was really having a hard time though them.  At around 3pm Nate prayed with me.  He sat on the bed and rubbed my arm while I relaxed against him.  I was focusing so hard on relaxing my body that he thought I was sleeping during his prayer.  My husband's prayers are amazing, but when he doesn't think anyone is listening... They are even more amazing.  I am so thankful to have such an amazing man of God as my husband and friend.  As he was finishing his prayer a song came on pandora by Jesus Culture from the album Come Away called My Soul Longs.  It caught my ear and I started singing it in my head:  Let it rain, let it rain.  after I sang it through, I immediately had my most painful contraction.  Then 18 minutes later had another one after continuing to sing to myself.  I felt at that point like God had given me a war cry.  It was my inspiration to carry on and finish what was started.  I got up and the contractions stopped.  I used the bathroom and came out feeling frustrated that the contractions stopped, but announced to Nate that I thought we needed to just call the midwife, Ann, to let her know what had been going on the past few days.  He agreed so I called and explained that I knew that I wasn't in "active labor", but felt like something was happening.  Since my birth with Isaiah happened so quickly, Ann wanted me to come in to check dilation quickly before she had an appointment at 5.  So I jumped in the shower and then Nate and the boys brought me to her office.  I went in by myself at about 4:35.  She checked my dilation and got a strange look and said that I was dilated to a 5!!!  When I went into labor with Ezekiel, I was dilated to a 2 and with Isaiah it was 0.  I was shocked and so relieved that I was actually making progress and that the baby could actually make her appearance soon!  Ann asked if she could strip my membranes and I agreed.  She said that if that didn't send me into labor, she wanted to discuss breaking my water  because walking around at 5 centimeters dilated in my case meant that I could go into labor and have my baby anywhere... driving, at the grocery store, alone with the boys...  anything so I told her that I would talk to Nate about that and that she could call after her 5pm meeting.  I got in the car and told Nate what happened.  I felt such relief that something was actually happening!  I had my first contraction on alabama st on the way home.  The second one when we parked the car and the third one on our door step.  I had a feeling it was actually happening.  I timed the contractions for about 30 minutes and they were consistently 3 minutes apart lasting 45 seconds to a minute.  Nathan called an and told her that what was happening reminded him of what happened last time (while in labor with Isaiah) and asked her to come.  Then called Abby who was at work so he called Jesse and he came to pick up the boys.  They were soooo excited! as you can see!!

while they were waiting for Uncle Jesse to pick them up, they started getting concerned for me as my labor was getting more intense.  Between contractions I was explaining to Zeke how the bones in my body had to move to make room for his sister to come out.  Below I was telling him how her head would pop through and then her shoulders...  He thought it was hysterical. I on the other hand was having a hard time thinking about what was to come!

Jesse and our midwife Ann got here at about the same time.  I continued laboring and as it got more intense, focus got more intense too.  This is my mid-contraction focus face.

I was laboring in my room on my knees with arms up on the bed for a while, but once the boys were gone and things quieted down, my body needed to have something lower to lean on.  I moved to the living room so I could lean on the couch.  Ann and her assistant were sitting in the corner talking quietly and Nate sat on the couch talking with me while I went through it.  He was encouraging me, telling me how good I was doing and giving me kisses and rubbed my hands.  He is such an amazing birth partner.  I could not believe how amazing he was.  Every labor and delivery he has been amazing, but it still makes me love him more and more every time.  He is such a blessing.

Suddenly things started changing... first of all... I'm sure all of you want to know this...  I totally started to notice that I had some intense body odor.  In between contractions I actually said "I stink!!"  I needed to use some deodorant stat! Which was odd because I usually don't stink.  I haven't used any deodorant in maybe 3.5 years?  sick.  Anyways, I was getting closer and closer and then my water broke and I made a comment about how I felt what I thought was her face moving back and forth and then she entered the birth canal!  Transition started and I felt every bit of her body moving through.  Man!  I think that was the most painful of my three labors.  Once I started pushing I think I may have pushed for 10 minutes...  It could have been 5.  I know that part always seems like an eternity.  When she reached the "ring of fire" I heard/felt a pop and thought that I had torn big time! Her head was out and then her shoulders... They hurt worse or the same as her head! I found out later that she had her little fist right up next to her chin as she was coming through the birth canal. Silly girl. Once her body was out I felt almost immediate relief.  I felt my body going back to some sort of normal and almost forgot that she was still attached to me and we had the placenta to deliver too.  I rested for a brief second and they passed her up to me.  I sat back on my knees expecting excrusiating pain from my tear, but I felt no pain.  It was odd....  Then they asked me to spin around and lean on the couch so we could deliver the placenta and as I tried to sit, I couldn't sit straight.  It wasn't until the next morning at the chiropractors office that I discovered that I may have broken my tail bone during delivery, which would explain the pop and I didn't tear which I am incredibly thankful for.
When they put her in my arms I was so taken back by how beautiful she was.  She had a full head of dark brown hair and beautiful little eyes, ears, lips, nose and cheeks! I instantly fell in love with our little baby girl!  So in all, once the midwife got to our house we had her about 45 minutes later.  It was fast, but also felt like an eternity!

This was as soon as I turned around.  She was still attached!  The placenta took it's merry time to deliver. :)

Zariyah is a great nurser and is growing and changing so fast.  It really is amazing how fast things change.  She went down to 6lbs 14oz the first few days but at two weeks was back up to 7lbs 5.5oz.  She is growing and changing and super strong!  Her eyes are stunning! They are three distinct shades of blue like a rainbow.  Light in the center then a ring of medium blue and then a dark ring around the edge.  I can't wait to see what color they settle into. 

Nathan's first time holding his daughter
Look at that hair!
The boys got to see her the next morning.  This was their first time meeting their sweet baby sister.

Isaiah was so eager to hold her.  He kept saying "me? me? hold, baby?" So cute and of course lots and lots of kisses! He is such a great big brother!
Zeke was a little more unsure of her.  He loved her from a distance but has since warmed up quite well.  He is a great big brother!

We are so thankful to God for blessing us with the most perfect children.  We love them in every way and we consider ourselves blessed beyond belief. 
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Sunday, April 29, 2012

What's in a name?

A lot.  In my mind, names can be a blessing or a curse.  It's something that you speak over someone every day of their lives and in a sense declare it over them.  I am not writing this to criticize anyone for their name or name choices.  This is just a strong conviction that I have for my family.

My name is Shaloma.  It comes from the Hebrew word shalom (שלום) which means: "Peace, wholeness, safety, prosperity, wellness, to restore..."

My husbands name is Nathan.  It is also a Hebrew name (נטהן) which means: "He (God) has given" or "He will give."   The popular translation is "Gift of God."

We named our first son Ezekiel (אזקיל) which means: "God will strengthen" or "Strength of the house".
His middle name is Manuia which is a Samoan word meaning: "blessing, peace, grace"
His personality lines up very well with his name.  He is a tough boy with so much heart and cares for the people around him.  His mind is strong and he can focus intently on tasks that would make my mind feel crazy!

Our second son is Isaiah (ישייה) which means: "God is Salvation" or "Salvation of the Lord".
His middle name is Tumau which is a Samoan name meaning: "to stand up/to stand firm"
God has recently shown me how much the word salvation means love.  Or how great love is to save to the extent that he has and wants to do for people.  Isaiah is a bundle of love.  He hugs and loves constantly!  He gives kisses and still at 21 months old, loves to just rest on my chest with his head on my shoulder and hug me for minutes at a time.  He looks you in the eye and has the most tender of hearts.  He also knows what he wants and stands firm in it.  He is a very decisive little bugger sometimes.

We obviously put a lot of thought into our kids names.  When it came to naming our little girl we had a couple names picked out from right around the time that we found out we were pregnant.  Our understanding of the meaning of the name was that it meant "princess of the Lord" or "daughter of the King".  However, after doing a ton of research, we found that it means: radiance in Russian, Shining/flower or beauty/light in Arabic, I saw one site that said it means princess in American. It's across the board.  We finally decided that we needed to be ok with what ever it actually means considering that all things seem positive and go with it the way that God gave it to us.

Last May I had been reading a book called Captivating by John and Staci Eldridge which was amazing.  God was showing me a side of being a woman that I had never allowed myself to embrace.  I went on a long run from home down the interurban trail.  It was raining and when I had run about 4 miles I noticed a name etched into the cement on a corner that I had run on for years.  This was obviously very old etching and it was the first time I had seen it.  The name caught my eye.  I will reveal it in a minute. I continued running for another few miles and felt led to pray Psalm 23 into my and Nathan's life. As I was praying this, I saw a vision of Nate and I on a hill.  It was a stormy, cloudy day with the wind barely blowing.  We had conquered the hill together.  Nathan was holding a long sword out with a strong stance. One hand on the sword and one arm back as though he was protecting me. Eyes fixed forward as if he was defending what had been conquered.  I was beside and slightly behind him wearing a long flowing white dress. Obviously dirty and torn from battle holding a small dagger with my eyes fixed on the offending party.
The feeling I got from this picture for me was that I can be rugged and beautiful.  I can battle in a dress and be graceful and beautiful and strong and a threat.  That Nathan and I can and do work together and that it had to do primarily with spiritual warfare.
At this point in my run I ran another mile or two and turned around.  I was praying about what I had seen and again passed the etching on the sidewalk.  When I was about a mile from home I saw a homeless man up ahead on the sidewalk in an area that was a bit secluded and started feeling a little nervous.  Mostly because at that point I was exhausted and he had looked up and taken an interest in me.  At least enough of one to stare as I was running toward him.  As I got close, he stepped back and took a very royal bow toward me as I passed.  I felt like God had spoken to me at that very moment.  I am his princess, I can and will defeat the enemy and He made me to be rugged and beautiful.  I am a daughter of the king.

Later that night I asked my sister if she had heard of this name that I saw etched in the sidewalk and without hearing my story she responded by saying that she though it meant "princess of God" as she was going through all her knowledge of Hebrew words and trying to put it together for a meaning.  Come to find out that it doesn't mean princess of the Lord....  If the first letter of the name was changed from a "Z" to an "S" then it would mean princess of the Lord.  However, I felt strongly that she needed to have this name that God showed me on my amazing run that left me feeling very empowered as a woman and a mother and feeling somewhat capable of raising a daughter now that I knew what my place was in the eyes of the Lord.  Nathan and I have discussed it and discussed it and decided together about a week ago that this is what she needed to be named.  There was no other possibility for her and we need to trust that His intentions are met with the meaning.

So the name...

The second part is the middle name which I have loved ever since I saw it the first time.  The Samoan word for Warrior.  How fitting with the vision that I had at the time that I saw the name etched in the ground.

Our beautiful daughter is to be named:

Zariyah Toa Allen

A name fit for the beautiful daughter of the King that she is and will always be.  We are so excited to have a little girl join our family and we are excited to see the personality that God has chosen for her.  We are honored to be entrusted with her care.
It's hard to see, but this is the etching in the cement from my run.  I went back several months later to take a picture. 
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Thursday, April 19, 2012

36 weeks and updates

This picture was taken Tuesday.  I was 36 weeks and 2 days.  I also had my midwife appointment where I was unfortunately lectured because I am still sick.  I have been sick for between 4-6 weeks so far.  Coughing, sneezing, tired...  Doesn't feel good with an almost full term belly.  I have been ordered to go to the Dr. for antibiotics by the end of the week if it isn't better.  :(

Her heartbeat was in the 140's and sounded strong!  My blood pressure was good and all seems to be well.  The one thing that I had as a complaint this time around was how intense the braxton hicks (BH) contractions have been.  She informed me that this happens the more babies you have.  Pretty crazy... I've had one BH contraction last for 5 minutes...  it isn't painful, but it is intense.

My belly grew two centimeters in the last two weeks and is now measuring at 35 centimeters which is technically small, but she has already dropped so Ann said that it isn't reliable as an actually measurement at this point. I also learned that I have only gained 15 lbs during this whole pregnancy so far!  That is far below what I gained with my previous two.  I will thank the Paleo lifestyle for that!

Yes, I look excruciatingly tired in this picture...  Mostly because it was late in the evening and I've been sick and it's been difficult sleeping lately with all the aches and pains associated with being this far along.  I will say that since then, I feel much better and intend on only feeling better from here on out!

In other news, the boys are now officially in their bunk beds and absolutely love it! Nathan finished them about a week ago and we couldn't wait to get them into the room so the boys started sleeping on them a week ago today actually! We have rearranged their room a bit and we are trying to get our room arranged to fit her crib until we move her into the boys room in a few months.  We finally have a car seat and we feel like we are close to ready.  Still have a bit to do, but at this point if she came early, all would be well.

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Sunday, April 8, 2012

35 and more

Today marks 35 weeks of pregnancy and 35 days until my due date!  If our little girl is anything like her brothers, she should show her pretty face within a couple days of the due date. 

Things have been going well for the most part.  Pregnancy is hard...  I've decided though that I have it pretty easy...  I think I mostly just get annoyed with the inconvenience of pregnancy.  I can't sleep so I get cranky, I am hungry a lot, I have a ball attached to my belly that makes activity difficult and I can't eat certain foods.  I know I have a ton to be thankful for because there are so many woman out there who have much more difficult pregnancies than I have.  So I am grateful for the ease of this pregnancy and my previous two. 

Nathan is still working hard on the bunks.  They look great!  It is going to be a nice ebony color but here is a sneak peak at the bed before staining and finishing touches.

about a month ago Nate discovered a fun app for my iPhone that allows trailer editing...  He spent a few hours on this adorable video of our kids.  I shared it on Facebook before so you may recognize it. 

I was outside playing with the boys and put this one together in about 15 minutes... You can tell the quality difference from Nate's and mine because he actually had the patience to make it cool.  Mine on the other hand still turned out fun even though it is seriously the same shot and the cast members were less than enthusiastic about the whole thing.  
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Monday, March 12, 2012

The family

Nathan has been working his tail off on this project!  Bunk Beds for the boys!  We are pretty excited about them. I will post pictures of the finished product in the coming weeks...  It is still under construction. 
This is a common scene in the kitchen while I'm cooking/washing dishes. They are pretty stinking entertaining!  Sorry its long, they are just so cute!
 This is what happens when the boys find the forward facing camera on my phone.  Crazy munchkins! They sure are cute though!

30 weeks

This picture was from last week at 30 weeks.  My 30 week midwife appointment was good.  We are still measuring correctly and baby's heartbeat is strong.  Can't believe its 10 weeks until the due date!
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Tuesday, February 7, 2012

26 weeks!

This is my belly at 26 weeks 4 days or almost 7 months
I had my midwife appointment this evening! My belly is measuring big! She is measuring at 27.5 weeks. I had a huge growth spurt a couple weeks ago so I guess that measurement was proof that I wasn't just seeing/feeling things. :) Her heart rate was in the 140's and seems to be head down despite the kicking I feel that is low... she must just have really strong punching arms. Crazy girl! I have had a itchy rash on my belly for a few months now so we did a blood test for my liver. I will get the results within the next couple weeks. I'm sure all is well, but they just want to be sure.

Our next appointment is March 5th and then we start with every two weeks!

Wednesday, January 11, 2012


Nathan texted this image to me this morning. This is a view of the sunrise from where he parks for work in the morning. I can't help but thank God for his beautiful creation. What an amazing gift.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

New year and more

It's been a long time since I last used this blog, but I figured that I should just start again. We have had quite a year this past year and I'm so thankful every day for my family. As for blog news, most of you already know that we are expecting our third baby, but some of you may not know that we are expecting our first GIRL!!! We are beyond excited about this (we would have been with a boy too, but still... it's a little different.) Now we get to come up with girl names and start filling our home with pink in preparation of her arrival.

In other news, the week after Christmas, Nate and I drove with my sister Keturah and her roommate Kristianna across most of the country to Kansas City Missouri. We felt strongly that God was leading us to go to a conference called "One Thing" hosted by the International House of Prayer in Kansas City. Tino & Donna graciously took the boys for a week while we went. It ended up being an amazing transforming trip for both of us. God met us there and we definitely have a renewed need to follow Him, to know Him and to fulfill our God-given calling to love and obey Him by worship, prayer and reading His word.