Monday, April 24, 2017

"She's Busy Being a Great Mom"

"She's too busy being a great mom..."  These seven words cut so deep when I read them in a Facebook comment in regards to me scaling back on my business in order to focus on what took priority in my life after God... MY FAMILY! 

As a first time mom who had difficulty expanding our family, I wanted to make sure I devoted as much needed time with my family as well as to myself.  I mean it does make logical sense doesn't it? In the hierarchy and order of my life it is always God, Family and then business and other things.

After allowing these words to pierce my feelings, I used them to allow myself to heal and to be an even better mom, wife, entrepreneur and Business Professor. During this time I was able to support my husband, regroup, launch my daughter's hair bow business, restructure my tshirt division of Legacy Graphics and Designs, LLC. (www.legacygraphictees.com) and become a better a me.

Becoming a mom requires lots of organization, a whole lot restructuring, several mess ups and a whole lot of balance. This road is not for the faint at heart but it's definitely the most rewarding.

Things I learned on the "She's Busy Being a Great Mom" Road

1) You don't owe anyone any explanations on why you are doing what you are doing.

2) It's okay to prioritize and realize what's important.

3) If they aren't offering to help, work for you or take things off of your To Do List, they are really insignificant. (Sounds harsh but true.)

4. Enjoy the time with your baby and family.

5. When the time is right engage your baby and family in things such as family business, cooking, etc.

6. Keep your baby on a good Schedule!!!! (IT WORKS!!!)

7) Laugh!



I pray this blog allows you to look at life a little differently.


Song: She's a Bad Mamma Jamma  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6QIw1BQIvT4



Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Another Answered Prayer... #FaithToFertility

No one will ever know the joy that my husband and I feel when someone who we prayed for calls us to tell us they are PREGNANT! Honestly it feels like 11/11/15 all over again. It was on 11/11/15 that I found out we were with child. The joy we feel when a couple has endured what we went through.... you know the waiting game, the tests, the failed fertility treatments, seeing God answered the prayers of others and trying to be patient as we wait on Him to answer us.

I can't tell you exactly what we say to God concerning the people we pray for because that's an intimate conversation we have with Him based on our conversations with the couples, but what I can tell you is that our prayers are beyond specific and we pray for everything imaginable concerning the conception, the pregnancy and delivery of a healthy baby who is created to work in the kingdom of God.

Over the last few years it has been our honor to pray for couples who have been having difficulty expanding their families. In fact we were praying for couples while we were facing our own challenges. We are often reminded that if you pray for others to receive blessings God will turn around and bless you because of your selflessness. We also remember the times that it were too difficult to pray or when we felt like God wasn't hearing our faintest cry nor was he going to answer by and by. During those times we knew someone else had to have been praying for us.

So today I rejoice in the answered prayers of over 20 couples we have prayed for that have conceived and delivered or conceived and waiting on their blessed babies. One day we will all gather together with our blessings and proclaim that it was nobody but God.

I speak your name! I speak your names in prayer!!



Song: The Struggle is Over   Click Here

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

And On Wednesdays We Wear Pink



"And On Wednesdays We Wear Pink" is a famous line from the movie Mean Girls when they discuss what fashions they as a group wear during the week. Many people compliment or wait to see the fashion that Miss Braylen and I wear on Sundays to our worship experience or what outfit of the day (OOTD) she wears during the week. Some have even asked do I go out intentionally shopping to ensure that we have matching outfits. Braylen and I have both been blessed with a wardrobe that had similar clothing or colors where for the last 8 months we were able to coordinate our outfits to some degree on Sundays.

WHY????

No one will ever know what it takes for moms, especially new moms, to get to a place called Here every day. When I was overcoming Postpartum Depression my way of ensuring I "Got Up" and faced the world everyday was dressing Braylen and making her my human doll baby. However, I forgot about me. On Sundays I decided that we would dress alike and literally enter His courts with a HAPPY yet fashionable praise. (LOL) I would plan our outfits and take the time to look in my wardrobe to see if I had something similar. Surprisingly, we've gone through 32 Sundays dressing alike. I even started looking through Jarrett's ties to ensure he was coordinated as well. This entire process involved me ensuring our clothes were laid out and packed on Thursday nights so that we had no excuses for being late on our hour and 1/2 commute to Hemingway. This also ensured that I enjoyed doing something for me. Even when I was on maternity leave I felt like I had something to do besides change diapers, nurse or pump every 2 hours. I began feeling better about myself and coming out of this PPD.

Though I've kicked PPD's butt, this habit has literally become a part of my weekly routine that I enjoy and probably will continue until our wardrobes run out of matching outfits. I started a routine where I also lay out our clothes for the week, make baby food for the week and ensure I'm okay during the week.

So why this blog? There are many women trying to fight PPD and are looking for a way to get to their HAPPY place. No matter what anyone says or the unsolicited advice people give, I want to encourage moms to do what it takes to stay at a happy place. Whether that means dressing like your little one or if that means dinner for one and enjoying your favorite expensive chocolate and a glass of wine in your favorite glass that you've been holding on to for that perfect moment. You don't owe anyone any explanations for why you do what you do! When fighting PPD it's perfectly normally to fall but you have to remember you won't always stay there. So find your way of "Getting Up" and find your way through your own routine that works for you.

Over the last few months I've encountered moms who were on this journey with me that have battled and beat PPD. Those of us who were on this journey from faith to fertility often didn't understand why we felt this way but this is another hurdle we overcame!!

If you are reading this blog and know a first time mom please hug them, tell them they are doing an amazing job and offer to just be there for what they need you to do. Don't tell them what they should be doing but just be there for them.

LIVE, LAUGH, LOVE!

"It's taken you awhile to get to this place called HERE so don't let anyone take you THERE!"-- Deronda C. Washington


Song: So Happy Being Me 

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Now We're Giving Her To The Lord






I remember being asked while I was pregnant what I was looking forward to most upon the arrival of our sweet baby girl. Many asked would it be holding her for the first time, seeing who she looks like most, or dressing her up in the all the cute clothes everyone bought her. While all of those were important the one thing that I looked forward to most was dedicating our sweet baby back to the Lord.

Her baptism was so important to us because we made a promise to God that when he blessed us with a child we would dedicate her back to Him to be used for His glory and service. In everything that we do, we ensure that her life is filled with love and her knowing that she is truly a child of God. 

In prepration for her baptism, I literally spent hours and days if not months on Pinterest looking for the perfect baptism outfit. I think I pinned outfits before I even knew the gender of our baby. Jarrett ensured the most beautiful baptism invitations were designed and printed. Braylen's Auntie Carmelita had already purchased her baptism bible and delivered a beautiful baptism bib while Auntie Benita sent baptism shoes. I'm so grateful for my former student, Tiffani Hodges, who crocheted her the most beautiful baptism gown. I even added a personal touch from our wedding day. I am so excited that the day I prayed to God for is finally here!

A special thank you to her Godparents: Dr. George and Phoenicia Flowers and Mr. Jerome and Ladonna Davis for agreeing to help us ensure she matures spiritually and that she understands the way of the Lord. This is no easy tasks. Though she has us as parents to guide her, there may be times that she needs a better understanding from her godparents. Dr and Mrs. Flowers, thank you for being positive role models for us as well as showing us and example of a positive couple in ministry. To Jerome and Michelle thank you for being with us for every step of this journey from before we were even on our faith to ferility walk. Braylen is blessed with amazing Godparents!

Jarrett and I are blessed to have so many wonderful people who shared in such a special day. 





VIDEOS


  



A few pictures from her baptism. Professional pictures will be posted later.

Braylen's amazing GodParents










   


Scripture: 1 Samuel 1:28 Now I am giving her to the LORD, and she will belong to the LORD her whole life." And they worshiped the LORD there

Sunday, November 13, 2016

A Letter to Braylen Jael on the Morning of her Baptism


Dear sweet Braylen Jael,

Today you will become a Christian.

A white gown will be worn. You will be baptized with holy water sprinkled upon your beautiful hair by Godfather Flowers. Your family and friends are gathering to celebrate, and your life will forever be marked by the promises of God that we will witness together.

Today is a most important day. My head is filled with so many thoughts and prayers for you. Today is the day dad and I make good on the promise we made to God. We prayed so many times that if He would allow us to have a child we would dedicate that child back to Him for service. I'm not sure how emotional I will be today but just know if you see tears on my face it's simply because I'm in awe of God's work and I'm so happy He chose me to be your mom.

My prayer for you today is this: Do not take your baptism for granted and do not be a casual Christian. Spend some good amount of your time and your life trying to figure out who God is and who you are and why it all matters.

Your own calling on your life will emerge gradually over time, but your story begins in a new way today. Baptism is new birth and a promise of life that reaches even beyond death.

My dear, sweet Braylen, faith is a gift I cannot give you. Today your father and I along with your Godparents will pledge our hope and our love and our promise to raise you as best we can in a life of faith. We cannot hand it to you as simply as we might wish. We can only plant a few seeds, step back and pray for rain and good sun.

Before you were my child, you were God’s. When we were having difficulty expanding our family we knew God had you in heaven with Him waiting on the perfect time to bless my womb. So today we will seal that truth with a sacramental sign. The church waits to welcome you.In this broken world in which we live, there are few things more beautiful than that. May your heart always hold some memory of the peace you know today, the joy we will know today, and the love we will have for you always.

In peace, joy and love of Jesus –

Mommy

Sunday, October 16, 2016

You Are Doing A Good Job



In the last 3 months, 12 days, 4 hours and 14 minutes of being a parent to this sweet little lady, I have learned a tremendous amount about her and myself. I can finally recognize what her different cries mean from when she's sleepy to it's time to up the dosage on the amount of milk she intakes in her bottle when she's not nursing or when she simply just needs some attention. This was definitely no easy feat. I finally know what the old folks mean when they said sometimes you had to drink your own tears.

There were times when I thought getting her on a daily schedule and routine wouldn't come to fruition but through consistent days and timing for feedings, naps, and play time, we are in a good place. (Thank you to my sister in luv Christine Washington for the advice with the Moms-On-Call schedule. This schedule gave me life! Literally!)

In the last 3 months, I've learned a lot through trial and error. I've mistaken an "I'm sleepy" cry for an "I'm hungry" cry and wasted 4 ounces of liquid gold and thought the world was slowly coming to an end.. and then I get a text from my a special sister friend that simply says...."You are doing a Good job!"  How in the world did she know I needed to hear that right then and there!?

There were days when sweet Braylen and I didn't see eye to eye on some things and it made for a long rough day that resulted in both of us laid out on the couch for a 4 hour nap. I recall days when she hated her car seat and my driving skills because she screamed loudly just as soon as we were midway to our destination and too far to go back home. This would send me into straight panic mode and I would have to do the "One Arm Mommy" dance to ensure I didn't wreck while she holds on to my pinky finger for comfort while I drove. I remember being at a red light and lady must have been watching and witnessing this moment and got my attention to say "You are doing a Good Job!"

My husband Jarrett often tells me  "I'm proud of you. You are doing a good job!" He's even learned to score extra brownie points when he arrives home after work with my favorite Oil of Olay Shea Butter body wash or a box of Ferrero Rocher candy.

Recently, I returned to work and I was undoubtedly ready to get back in the swing of things. I truly love Braylen and love the time we spent everyday but duty called. My mom has been doing an amazing job keeping her while I'm working.  The first day I picked her up from my mom's house my mom just looked at me and smiled. She then said six words that I've heard before but it meant so much more because it came from my mom... "You are doing a good job!" She then began to recount their day and all that Braylen did to make her smile. She went over the schedule I left for and told me how helpful it was or when she had to deviate from it. She expressed to me how much of a good baby she was and how much joy she gets spending time with Braylen and then she said those words again..."You are doing a good job!"  She rambled on a little more about some things they did and how she was ready for the next day with her Grand Baby Girl. I honestly couldn't hear much of what my mom was talking about at this point. My heart was just so filled because my mom, my first Wonder Woman, and amazing example of a Christian woman told me how proud of me she was and that I was doing a good job! I think my chest stuck out so proudly beaming with pride!

Motherhood is not for the faint at heart. It will test your faith, your patience and your sanity but it has been the best 3 months, 12 days, 5 hours and 6 minutes of my life.  I love the smiles Braylen gives me when she sees me in the mornings or the content face she has when she's asleep and holds my hands. In her own way, my sweet angel is telling me, "You are doing a good job!"




I've learned during this I can not allow anyone to question how I'm raising my child because "I'm doing a GOOD job!"  So when you see a mom in the hustle and bustle of your day, take the time to stop them and simply say, "You are doing a good job!"



Scripture: Nehemiah 6--- I'm doing a Good work
Song: I Feel Good by James Brown 

Sunday, September 25, 2016

Oh What a Difference A Year Makes...................



"For this child we have prayed and the Lord granted me what we asked of Him." 1 Samuel 1:27




Today makes a year since the day I thought I lost everything. It was on September 25, 2015, when we were in the final days of the SC Annual Conference of the AME Church. If you recall the blog, We've Got to Get Out of Here, I was on the verge of a breakdown. (Click here to See Blog: We've Got to Get Out of Here) I literally felt like I was losing everything. This included but not limited to, my peace, my faith, my marriage, my sanity, and I even felt like I had lost me.

It was on this day the doctor had given us yet another "NO" letting us know we weren't pregnant from our last and final fertility treatment. It was on that day we were told our options for treatment were maxed out with three tries and we would have to go a more expensive route with only a 5% chance of it working.

Who knew that at this very moment when I felt like all was lost, He was literally stirring my womb and preparing it for Baby Braylen Jael?  Who knew that exactly three days later while on vacation we would conceive one of the most precious miracles ever? My husband often says, "If we lose everything, if we have Jesus we have enough to start all over again!"  And that's what we did! We prayed like never before and we rejoiced knowing that even if we never got pregnant, never bore any children of our own, if we had Jesus and each other we had enough to start all over again.

Today I rejoice! I rejoice knowing that even when I thought all was lost, God loved me so much that He began putting me back together again and in doing so, blessed my womb.

One year after falling apart God has put so many things back together again because of Baby Braylen. Through her, He has restored my faith where I have been able to transparently help hundreds of women who are going through difficulty expanding their family. He has made me fall in love with my husband all over again. I also see how family relationships are being restored and made stronger.

I recall, the day in which we shared with our Hopwell AME Church family, we were with child. One of the associate ministers, Rev. Brenda Blackstock prophesied to my inner man on that Sunday. Paraphrasing her, she explained how God in the Bible had to shut Hannah's womb not to punish her but she surmised that the Lord shut her womb to prepare her for the great Samuel who would be her son. (1 Samuel 1: 1-20). She prophetically spoke to my womb and the seed that lie there that this child would be great, a prophet, a strong carrier of the Word of God! I believe it!

So today I love on our baby girl even more! For this is the child we prayed for and God answered us! Her name is Braylen Jael... Jael is the heroine in the Bible who killed Sisera to deliver Israel from the troops of King Jabin. She is our heroine because she continues to show us the true meaning of love and faith!



Exactly a year after doctors gave us a no... we are smiling with our gift from God because He always has the final say!

#faithToFertility
#BraylenJael

Scripture: 1 Samuel 1:27
Song: Made A Way by Travis Green


"Made A Way"


You, made a way
Don't know how but you did it
Made a way
Standing here not knowing how we'll get through this test
But holding onto faith you know best
Nothing can catch you by surprise
You've got this figured out and you're watching us now
But when it looks as if we can't win
You wrap us in your arm and step in
And everything we need you supply
You got this in control
And now we know that

You made a way

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Postpartum What???

**Disclaimer: In my 'About Me' section of this blog I stated early on that I would be as transparent as I desired. I also noted that some people will say I reveal too much or I don't reveal enough about this journey. This post is very candid and transparent and I am writing in hopes that I continue to help others along the way.**


I had heard the phrase Postpartum Depression prior to conceiving. I had heard it several times on television, mommy books and forums but no one in my inner circle really talked about it. I thought Postpartum Depression (PPD) was used to describe women who cried all the time, who resented their babies or who sat in rooms with the blinds and curtains closed. So what I felt weeks after delivery was not Postpartum Depression.... at least that's what I thought.

I actually didn't know I had any symptoms of PPD until a few mommies who didn't know each other ask me the same questions. "How are you?" "Are you getting enough rest?" " Are you eating and taking care of yourself?" So I answered these questions...

"How are you?"----- I'm great!! I finally have the blessing that I've waited so long for. I'm really great!!!! My baby is beautiful and my husband is amazing! I'm good!

Are you getting enough rest? ---- I'm getting enough rest as expected. We were blessed that Baby Braylen began sleeping through the night at about 6 weeks of age so nights were not as tough as they were weeks 1-3.

Are you taking care of yourself?-- I had no answer. Am I taking care of myself?  This question hit me like a ton of bricks. I realized I wasn't taking care of me. Braylen was well taken care of. She was fed, bathed and dressed to the nines everyday. What happened to me? This is when I had to take a step back and reevaluate where I was.

At that very moment I felt like after June 28, 2016 at 1:25 a.m. my world stopped. I felt like I was put on pause while everyone else went on with their lives. My reality was everyone had options of what their days look like except me. My reality was I just got blessed with a newborn baby who needed and only wanted me for everything. I loved being around this sweet little girl and loved playing dress up with her everyday but I forgot about me. How do I get me back? Was it even necessary while I was on maternity leave? Did I really need yoga and meditation like I needed it before?  Who needs manis and pedis and days at the hair salon when you have the most gorgeous baby girl God blessed you with?! Me!! I needed it.

My form of PPD involved me resenting everyone who had a "normal" life and I didn't. I remember getting upset with my husband who was able to shower, lay out clothes and leave for work everyday. When my girls had busy schedules where they couldn't meet for breakfast nor brunch I remembered and longed for the days where I too had committee meetings, sorority functions and days sipping mimosas with my friends planning the next event we wanted to host. Going out and grabbing something to eat was an event. I had to pack an overnight back with all of Braylen's things and once I was dressed, face beat with makeup and ready to go out, her crying once put in her carseat made me really want to cancel the trip and grab my favorite lactation tea and cuddle with her with my feet propped up.

When I mentioned PPD to some of my girlfriends who had babies around the same time I did, and to my relief and sanity, they too were experiencing what I was feeling. We committed to sincerely being there for each other motivating each other to take time for ourselves.

After having a heart to heart talk with my husband I had to let him know exactly how I felt. I don't think he got it at first because he assumed since I was on maternity leave I could handle all that came with being a mom.  The fact was, I couldn't. I wanted to feel relevant beyond being Braylen's Mommy.  He realized it and made sure I felt important. He even hired a stylist to come to the house to doll me up as well took me to work with him one day to help with getting the church database completed. I felt like myself again.

So what did I do to make sure this mild case of PPD didn't get worst?  I had to remember what made me happy. Whether that meant not sleeping when she slept and taking a long hot bubble bath and eating a hot fudge sundae with a brownie. I did what made Deronda happy. I also invoked my creative side again. My husband and I own a Graphics and Designs firm, and I began thinking of creative things I could do with Legacy Tees (www.legacygraphictees.com). This brought back so much joy and my clients were happy that we were back in business. I began working on Braylen Jael's tshirt line that she will be debuting in the Fall. I danced!! It felt good to dance and move again! Any chance I got, I danced. I began spending intentional time with Braylen. Intentional? Yes beyond nursing, changing diapers, getting her dressed or napping. I planned outfits so that we were dressed a like and coordinated. This ensured I got dressed beyond wearing yoga pants and a breast milk stained tshirt.  I read to her and made faces with her because I realized I would be headed back to work soon and I would truly miss these moments.

Taking care of Braylen has been the most joyous roller coaster I've ever been on. I'm beyond grateful to my sisters Gretchen Morgan, Tomekia Lennon, Ebony Webster Joy Stoney and my sister in luv Key Jenkins for being there morning, noon and night and not wanting anything from me but to be well to be able to take care of Braylen and be who I needed to be. You ladies are beyond amazing and I thank you from the bottom of my heart. A HUGE shout out to my Mother in Luv Lorraine J. Washington who babysat while I got my hair done and finds so much joy being with her granddaughter.

Why was I so transparent in this blog? There are so many women talking about it in their inner circles but no one is speaking up about it. Some women are dealing with severe cases of PPD and have no one to talk to.  I'm grateful that my mild case of PPD will be able to help someone along the way.

What's next now that I'm soooo happy?!!? lol. My goal is to find joy in every poopy diaper., satisfaction in every smile, happiness in each 3 am feeding and understanding when all seems to be out of control

Live, Breath Laugh

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

What I Know For Sure



After giving birth on June, 28, 2016 a lot of attention has been placed on baby and how cute she is or how she is growing and even who she resembles most. Often times mom and dad fade to black and become nonexistent. However, Jarrett and I are thankful to those who have brought a meal, sat with Braylen so that we could nap, to our moms who cooked, cleaned, organized and were simply there.

In these eight weeks of parenthood, I have learned a lot about myself as well as parenting. I never knew I could be so strong and so weak at the same time. I know this sounds like an oxymoron but it's true. I'm convinced our baby is one of the sweetest babies ever. When she was first born (first 2 weeks of birth) the feedings every 2 hours were a beast. I even had an app that set an alarm to make sure Braylen didn't miss a feeding. (Let's say I deleted that app week 4) lol. The first 2 weeks of life broke us down only to build us up.

Here is What I know For Sure:

1) It's okay to Ask for Help
I thought I was SuperWoman until Miss Braylen came along. Even after she came along I felt like I still had to answer every phone call, respond to every email, do laundry as soon as I saw clothes in the hamper. I couldn't do it! It was virtually impossible. I had to tell my husband when I needed him most and to also let family and friends know when I needed them most. Be specific in what you want others to help you with i.e., wash dishes, load dishes in washer, bring over a meal, fold laundry.etc.

2) When Baby is born you become an overprotective Monster
Okay so maybe not quite a monster but a bear. lol. We never shared publicly with anyone other than family, but the first week of Braylen's life was spent in the doctor's office EVERY day. She had jaundice and every day we had to get her levels checked. She slept under a blue light for a week to get rid of the jaundice. We are very protective of our daughter because she is the gift that we prayed for. We don't want to risk her little body getting attacked with big germs.

3) Watch what you say to new parents
After only 2 hours of sleep with a baby whose sleep pattern is off, changing 88 diapers in 2 hours, or trying to put on the cutest outfit only to have her scream bloody murder, the last thing that a new parent needs is your cynical comments or slick comments concerning how they are raising their child. I was in a local baby store and Braylen was crying and I was attempting to soothe her and settle her. A lady walks up and said, "Awww what's wrong? Mommy doesn't know what she's doing?" I honestly could've punched her when she said it. Not only was it inappropriate but it was also very insensitive to a new mom.

4) Do What Works For You
Jarrett and I have worked out a schedule and a system that works for us. Whether it means one of us puts her to sleep while the other showers or not getting her dressed until we arrive to church on Sunday mornings. Every child is different and every parent chooses to parent their child the way in which they choose to. Hence the reason God gave that child to you. He knew you would raise that child the way He desired you to.

5) There is no such thing as too many pictures
Braylen has changed her look about 1,000 times since she was born. When she was born she looked like a round faced Asian baby with straight hair. Eight weeks later she looks like her mom with long fingers and toes and a head full of curly hair. I try to make sure I capture those moments as well as pictures with others. Shortly after she was born I took her to see my godmother/and childhood neighbor. Braylen brought her so much joy and I was certain to capture the moment. 5 days later she passed away. I'm so grateful I captured that moment with the two of them.

6) Nothing really matters
No matter what kind of day I'm having or what what my house looks like, everything seems irrelevant when I look at this sweet little girl's face. She makes our days so much brighter and I love the joy she brings to so many we come in contact with us.



Thank you so much to everyone who called, texted, visited or helped out in anyway. Here are a few pics....










Sunday, July 17, 2016

Introducing Braylen Jael -- "Will You Always Be My Love?!"








"Never felt this way about love!"  I heard Brian McKnight and Alicia Keys sing these words but I've only felt like this once in my lifetime until now. The first time was my wedding day. I've so enjoyed the last two weeks and 5 days.

This morning after spending time with Braylen, I looked down at the face of our sweet angel and was totally overcome with emotions. Today was her original due date but she was more perfect on June 28 than she could ever be on today. From the pictures we posts on social media, comments are always made of who she favors most or how angelic she is with tons of hair. I just stare at her and realize that it doesn't matter who she resembles because she's truly our answered prayer.

I've learned so much from this angel in two weeks. She's mainly taught me to have more patience and to be swift getting her out of a messy diaper. Lol. More importantly, she's taught Jarrett and I the true meaning of LOVE. It automatically reminded me of Holley Maher's song, "Always Be My Love"

Our lives are forever changed!!!!


Enjoy these pics:

Introducing Braylen Jael--- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Nf6aL01M6n4









Sunday, July 10, 2016

A Christ Centered Covenant Pregnancy and a Supernatural Childbirth



On June 28, 2016 at 1:25 am, the lives of my husband and I changed forever. At that exact time we welcomed into our lives one of the many promises of God and looked into the eyes of our daughter Miss Braylen Jael Washington. I can remember how the atmosphere in the delivery room changed immediately after Dr. Gleaton placed her on my chest. The room was completely peaceful including the cries of our baby girl. That sound was peaceful as well because it was a sound I was longing to hear for almost four years. After the umbilical cord was cut, a few pictures were taken, measurements were noted and I shed a few tears, Jarrett came over to us and immediately starting praying and praising God for our answered prayer. This was our first prayer as a family unit. 

During our pregnancy we received an amazing book entitled, Supernatural Childbirth, and it's complementary book of prayers. We decided that God was able to do for us what He had done for those in the book as well. We prayed for what we later named a Christ Centered Covenant Pregnancy and a Supernatural Childbirth.  We prayed for our pregnancy to be filled with peace and no complications. We prayed for people to bless us through prayer and to not tell us horrific stories of their pregnancy nor childbirth. We prayed for God to surround us with positive individuals who reminded us of our promise. And He did just that. For our childbirth, we prayed for a pain-free, successful childbirth that resulted in a healthy baby girl. And He did just that.

Our Labor Story:

I honestly didn't know I was in labor on Monday, June 27. The night before I was extremely restless and didn't sleep at all. My husband woke up around 4:00 am and was concerned that I was still up. He asked if I was in any pain and I responded that I wasn't. I just felt weird and uncomfortable. I told him something private and he asked if my water broke and I told him I didn't think so. A few hours later he left for work only to return after a half day because my water had in fact broke.  This "a-ha" moment came after I ran errands to Walgreen's, Publix, Stella Nails and had cut an entire watermelon to enjoy with my lunch. It was showtime! I'm grateful my bags were packed and ready.  This took some of the pressure off of my husband who was extremely nervous.  He even cried tears leaving our subdivision. 

We arrived at the hospital and were double and triple checked to ensure I was actually in labor. IVs were started and we waited for the fabulous Dr. Gleaton to arrive and give us a summation and her thoughts on when she thought we would deliver. She was convinced this would be a sunrise baby arriving around 5 or 6 am. So we wait............ at least we thought we would. I'm grateful for an amazing husband who during my labor read scriptures from my Scriptures for Childbirth cards. After about 9 hours of contractions, that felt more like mild menstrual cramps, it was action time! I had dilated from 4 cm to 10 cm faster than anyone expected. The nurse came to simply check on me and she was surprised to see how quickly I had progressed. We looked at the clock and it was 12:45 am. Baby Braylen was on the way.   The nurses began preparing the room for delivery. Jarrett was by my side. Dr. Gleaton arrived and it was show time! Time to push!!!  Seven minutes and 9 pushes of Supernatural Childbirth (pain-free, anxiety-free, complication-free childbirth) Miss Braylen Jael entered our world singing at a 1st soprano octave. Oh the Joy that flooded Jarrett and my souls when we saw her face. Ironically, Pastor Telley Gadsden had prayed the week prior over my womb and declared, "Pain free! Easy childbirth!!! Healthy baby!" She knew in the spirit without us saying what we wanted God to do!!

They placed the most precious gift from God on me and I fell in love with this promise of God and the little jewel that was growing in my womb for the last 9 months. After allowing her to have an hour of skin-to-skin contact with me, they wisked her off to be measured, weighed and to get her first shots. Jarrett went over to take pictures of her and be by her side. This is when I lost it and began shedding tears.  "Braylen, I'm your daddy! Do you know how much I love you little girl? I promise to be the best daddy ever!"  The first man Braylen will ever love expressed his love for her only hours after her entry into this world.  When he walked back over, I caught the sweetest picture of the two of them.



I'm so grateful for my labor team (Teka Coaxum and Lorraine Washington) who sat with us until we entered active labor. I'm thankful to Dr. Gleaton and the amazing staff of St. Francis Hospital.  Last but never least in my life to my AMAZING husband who was the greatest support to me and Baby Braylen. He is so smitten by her and he's wrapped around her little pinky.

Advice for expectant mothers:
Despite what anyone says, believe God that you can have a amazing pregnancy and delivery!


Enjoy these pictures











Monday, July 4, 2016

What's in my Hospital Bag?!

The Other Side of the Blessing: Bags Packed!

I can't believe it's been a week now that I actually went into labor. I had no idea and no pain as many told me I would be in. This time last week I was walking around Walgreens and Publix with no idea that something was different with my body and Baby Braylen was on the way. I'm so happy my bags were packed and ready to go. Lol

Enjoy this week's blog in the form of a video. Oh the irony that I recorded it last Sunday.


https://youtu.be/aW7LF_B3HKU

Sunday, June 26, 2016

There Shall Be Showers of Blessing



One of my many favorite hymns is "There Shall Be Showers of Blessing." The song written by Daniel Whittle in 1883 says:


"There Shall be showers of blessing;
This is the promise of love;
There shall be seasons refreshing, 
Sent from the Savior above."



I know this sounds very churchy and AME but I never realized how this hymn would mean so much to me. I hummed the song and realized that over the past few months God sent angels to shower Little Miss Braylen with so much love in so many forms. My husband and I are forever grateful because as new parents we really didn't know what we needed for the new baby. In fact we were stumped adding items to the registry after adding the Baby Travel System and onesies. My sister in love who just had a baby a few months prior stepped in and gave me some pointers and so did a good sister friend. Thank you Christine and Amie!


God poured His blessings upon us when He sent his angels in the form of sorority sisters, family and friends, church sisters and coworkers who planned amazing baby showers for Miss Braylen Jael and I. During the showers God reminded of the scripture found in Psalm 126:5 that says, "those who sow in tears will reap in joy." He reminded the tears I cried over the last four years were truly preparing us for our blessing. At each shower I remember thanking the hostesses and guests for being so thoughtful and considerate. What I do know along this journey called life is that people don't have to be nice. They don't have to do anything for Braylen nor do they have to make their presence known. I was reminded by someone after one of the showers that God had already seen my tears but because of my faithfulness to the process this is an example of what it looks like when He said, "I will open up a window and pour you out a blessing that you won't have room enough to receive." She then reminded me of how we never became bitter or jealous in the process. I began weeping silently and realized how at one point 10 family and friends were expecting babies and I felt so barren yet I still rejoiced.

As I think again about the hymn "There Shall Be Showers of Blessings" I reflect on the promises of love and this beautiful season of refreshing we are in that was only sent to us from above. What does that mean? God all by himself sent earthly Angels to be a blessing to us like only He could to prove yet again that He is a provider and sustainer.

I'm so grateful to each and everyone who showered Miss Braylen Jael with love, prayers and gifts. There were even individuals who anonymously sent gifts to our home with well wishes sand prayers. She's truly a blessed little girl. I said to all of the attendees at the showers that people don't have to be nice. They don't have to bless our lives with gifts or items as we anticipate the arrival of our blessing but I'm so honored they did.

Thank Yous---- https://www.facebook.com/alison.parson.7/posts/584636297861


Sorority & Line Sisters Gathering 
(We Love you Braylen Gift and Book Shower)





Family and Friends Gathering (Love on Braylen Day)


















           





Hopewell AME Gathering 
(It's a Girl Braylen Jael Shower of Blessings)





























Work Gathering (#TeamBraylen)