Jan 20, 2012

Is Your Marriage In A Rut?

I was recently asked, "What do you do to keep your marriage from being boring?"  I had honestly not thought about that.  As you know, us woman have a huge list of daily to do's.  Between taking care of the family, kids, making dinner, and making time to spend with the Lord, it can be easy to get lazy in the area of marriage.  I personally have had moments when I was floating in the clouds and deeply in love with my husband.  Then there are days when we feel like ships passing in the night.  I ask you, "Are you in the clouds or just sailing along?"

For Joel and I, we make it a choice not to get into ruts or get bored with each other.  The simplest way to do this is to plan a monthly date.  I hear you saying, "A date, what's that?"  You know those wonderful things you went on when you really wanted to get to know each other before you were married.  I know what you are thinking, "But we don't have money or the funds to go out."  That's all right.  I have been there.  Here are a few creative date ideas we have done.

  • Go to a local coffee shop, get something you like, and hold hands while talking.
  • After the kids go to bed, have a picnic at home.  You can either pick up takeout or make a small treat at home.  Lay out a blanket and light a few candles to set the mood.
  • Take a walk in the park and share something new with your spouse.  Maybe there is something the Lord has laid on your heart that you need to share.
  • Have a competitive game night at home.  Whatever you do, don't get into an argument if you loose.  That totally ruins the entire purpose of the date.  
  • Make some popcorn, sit on the couch together, and watch a movie. (Fireproof is a great movie.)
For those of you who have a little extra money to spare, I encourage you to go to a weekend Christian marriage retreat.  Joel and I have attended three events in the last six years and they have been instrumental in improving our communication and understanding of each other.  I suggest the following retreats.

My challenge to you is take a step outside of your comfort zone and get to know your spouse on a whole new level.  The adventures that God has in store for your marriage are endless.  God Bless!! 

Jan 8, 2012

The Story of Piper Grace Morse

I once read that pregnancy is like a marathon.  Months one through nine is training, labor and delivery is the last mile, and birth is crossing the finish line.  That describes my pregnancy exactly.

I had experienced a fabulous pregnancy.  From the beginning to the end, there was not a single complication.  I had great support from my husband, Joel, my family, friends, my midwife, and doula (Helen Kociba).  I experienced the norms of pregnancy like being tired, hungry, thirsty, and needing to pee a lot.  During my first trimester I had mild nausea but managed it by taking capsules of ginger oil.  I enjoyed exercising regularly and worked at an organic restaurant waiting tables at night.  We had a detailed birthing plan and wanted to have as natural of a delivery as possible. 

Labor began the night of March 4th, 2010.  I was one day past my due date.  I had started contractions around 5pm.  They were approximately 5-6 minutes apart.  I could still talk and walk around comfortably.  My midwife had said that I could call her when contractions started but not to come to the hospital until I could not talk through contractions.  We made the call to the hospital to let my midwife know what was going on.  She suggested I take a bath, go to bed, and rest up in the event labor did start.  I also made a call to Helen so she knew to be waiting in the wings.  After a long bath, I went to bed around 10pm. 

Around 3:30am I was awaken by contractions that were much stronger than what I experienced earlier that evening.  I didn’t want to wake up Joel so I decided to hang out in the bathroom for a bit to see if the contractions continued.  Not only did they continue but they got stronger and it was getting hard to talk through them.  I woke Joel up and we started clocking contractions for an hour.  I went downstairs to do pelvic rolls on my exercise ball to get my mind off of each contraction.  We had planned on staying home to labor as long as possible so we would not be sent home from the hospital.  Around 5:30pm, I was in tears, couldn’t talk through contractions and finally said, “It’s time to go to the hospital.”  I knew this was what all my friends were talking about when they said that I would know when labor was starting.  Joel called Helen and told her it was “Go Time”.  Bless her heart; she drove all the way from Midland to West Bloomfield, an hour and a half drive, to be with us.

Helen has arrived!
After arriving at the hospital, my midwife told me I was dilated to 3cm.  She wanted us to stay at the hospital for an hour to see if I progressed before admitting me.  That hour seemed to last an eternity.  I was breathing hard, overwhelmed by the pain, and couldn’t imagine this not being active labor.  Then, the heavens opened and Helen arrived.  She went right to work and helped me get my head on straight.  She helped me breath calmer, used essential oils to relax me and helped me regain my focus.

Joel being a great help during contractions.
From 6:30am until 4:30pm, I went from 4cm to 5cm.  I had been in labor for 13 hours with no pain medication.  Contractions were every 2 to 3 minutes and lasted just over a minute.  I was exhausted and frustrated that I was not progressing.  My water had not even broken yet.  This was not how I imagined things would go but Helen kept reassuring me that I was doing great.  Her encouragement kept me going.  Joel was there with me the entire time, too.  He let me hold onto his shoulders, rubbed my back and danced with me through each contraction.  He took on the responsibility of helping me to the point of exhausting himself.

I had just got done soaking in the tub for two hours when the midwife on duty wanted to chat with us.  She was concerned for my exhaustion and lack of progression.  We made the decision to get an epidural so I could rest up and be ready for pushing.  The epidural was not originally planned but we knew it was not going to harm the baby.  After getting the epidural at 4:45pm, an overwhelming sense of relaxation settled in.  I could finally nap and rest.  At 10pm, my water was broken.  They found that my amniotic fluid had meconium in it.  I didn’t fret about the news but knew that our little princess needed to come out soon.  We continued to rest and wait until I was dilated to 9cm. 

Around 3:30am, I received the thumbs up that it was time to push.  I looked at Helen and she looked at me and we put on our game faces.  Helen was right there with Joel, my mom, and my midwife to guide me through two hours of pushing.  I remember my mom yelling, “Keep going!  She has a lot of hair.”  Just hearing those words made me push even harder.  I recall praying, “Lord, I need Your strength to get me through this last bit.” 
Piper Grace moments after her arrival.
Finally, at 5:30am, March 6th 2011, we welcomed our beautiful daughter, Piper Grace Morse, to the world.  She came out screaming and was perfect in every way.  The midwife put her on my chest and I cried tears of joy.  Our precious daughter was finally here and we were officially a family.  I remember telling Piper, “Hi honey.  You did so good.  Mommy loves you.”  Joel smiled at me and said, “You are the one who did it.  I’m so proud of you.”  Every contraction, hours of labor and pushing was totally worth it to see Piper arrive healthy and safely.  She was 7lbs 2oz and 22 in. long.  

A very proud daddy.
Love at first sight.
After Piper’s arrival, Helen had to play super woman and drive back to Midland, in an ice storm, to prepare for her daughter’s baptism.  If that is not the picture of commitment to her family, I don’t know what is.  She is truly an amazing mother, doula, and friend.

Helen and Piper at our home.
I cannot wait to have another child and experience another delivery with Helen in my corner.  From the bottom of my heart, thank you for everything you did, Helen.      

Jan 6, 2012

I'm Back & 2011 Review

Hello everyone!  It has been way too long since my last.  I pray that everyone has had a great 2012, so far.  I am so thrilled to be back on the blogging band wagon and hope everyone enjoys the great line up of topics that I will be sharing.

To bring you up to speed, her are some key events from Morse's 2011.

  • March 3, 2011 - I was very pregnant and due to have my daughter that day.  Instead, I spent 24 hours  in the hospital with my sister, who was also pregnant, and our family welcomed the arrival of our niece, Audrey Paige.
  • March 6, 2011 - Three days after We were blessed with the arrival of our beautiful daughter, Piper Grace.  She is now 10 months old and growing into a wonderful toddler.  (I will be posting my birth story in a future post.)
  • April 1, 2011 - My father in-law died and went to be with the Lord after a hard battle with Leukemia.  Words cannot express the roller coaster of emotions of having a new baby and then having a family member die. We miss my father in-law so much and we know we will see him again.
  • June 1, 2011 - We were struck with another tragic event and lost our apartment due to a fire.  By the grace of the Lord, Piper (3 months old) and I escaped with no injuries.  However, we did end up loosing about 80% of our belongings to smoke damage.  Our apartment was so damaged that we had to move into an Extended Stay hotel.  I don't recommend living in a one bedroom hotel with a 3 month old but we managed to make it work.
  • July 1, 2011 - After living in the hotel for a month, we were able to find a new apartment that was 5 miles away from my husband's office.  Having a place to call home was wonderful. 
  • November & December 2011 - We celebrated our first Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Years with Piper.  It was great to celebrate the holidays with her.  Trips to the grandparent's house were eventful and full of memories.

Now I know what you are thinking, "Wow, you had an eventful year full of many ups and downs!  How did you not loose your mind?"  The truth is that we didn't do it on our own.  We were so blessed by family and friends who supported and prayed for us.  We also found tremendous comfort in the arms of our Lord and Savior.  He was the one who knew what we were going through.  He was the one we prayed to every day to ask for wisdom, provision, and the grace to make it through another day.  Have you put all your trust in the Lord during the small and big events in your life?

I am excited to see what the Lord has in store for our family for 2012.  What goals or plans do you have for your family this year?