the epidural.

This deserves a post all of its own.

I went into labor/delivery with an open mind. I was planning to go as long as I could with out pain relief. Stuff is never what you expect, and I think that goes especially for bringing a baby into the world. You gotta be ready for the curve balls.

That said, I ended up getting one. Reasons why I think it was one of the best decisions of the night…

1. Any future children of ours can thank the epidural. Pre-epidural I had decided I was never doing this again. People kept asking me, mid labor, if I was excited. I didn’t say it out loud, but, “No! No I’m not excited. I am only 5 cm dilated… I have 5 more cm to go and then this baby has to actually come out! The pain has only just begun. So no, I’m not excited.”

2. The moment I got the epidural, I was overwhelmed with joy at the thought of meeting my son. I was water works at any thought of it. For that alone, the epidural was worth it. The joy of anticipating meeting my child.

3. I got to sleep. After an early morning and long day, I was tired. I had lost my appetite earlier in the evening, thrown up throughout labor, and needed rest. By the time we were ready to push, I was as rested as I could be and ready to go. I think it was a healthier and happier option for all parties involved.

4. I had a partial episiotomy because he came so fast [nothing had time to stretch] and he was under duress [which we learned was because of the cord wrapped around his neck] so he needed to get out. That said, I’m so glad I didn’t feel any of the repair. I got to snuggle with my son as I was stitched up, none the wiser.

I said it then, and I will say it again, thank you God for the epidural.


the birth.

And so it began…

My mom and sister flew out the moment I started having consistent cramping. They arrived Tuesday afternoon. I didn’t go into active labor until Thursday, so we had a few days to putz around. We went on walks, got coffee, and did impromptu maternity photos since we didn’t have any taken–thank you iPhone.

Thursday morning I had a doctors appointment. I was dilated to 3 cm. The doc could feel the amniotic sac, and she swept my membranes [encouraging the progression of labor]. By 4pm The contractions were much stronger and closer together. We waited out the evening, laboring and watching Date Night for a distraction.

By the end of the movie we decided to go in to the hospital. I was admitted at 10pm, dilated to 4cm. We had the most fabulous nurse, making the whole labor and delivery experience a joyful and peaceful event.

At midnight [5cm dilated] they broke my water and things really started to pick up. By 2am [6/7 cm] I had decided an epidural was a good idea. Man am I glad. It was a game changer. After a long day and evening, everyone settled in to get some rest.

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Throughout the next few hours we experienced the wonders of the peanut ball (a peanut shaped exercise ball that helps the progression of labor), and kept a close eye on baby boy as his heart rate had some notable drops.

By 5am, I was 10cm and his head was in position. We did a couple pushes to get ready for the doctor. Once she arrived, I pushed through three contractions and baby boy Van Essen came bursting into the world at 6:46am– with the cord wrapped around his neck twice. He went straight to my chest for the next two hours as we snuggled, gave lots of kisses, and looked into each other’s eyes for the first time.

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Well, all of our projects are done, Caleb’s time off is way past over, and I finished work last week. Alright baby, it’s your turn!

Here’s a recap of the last couple months…


We said good bye to dear friends…

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We celebrated Caleb taking his boards… and then celebrated again when we got his scores!

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We got to see family and friends in faraway places…

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We did lots of projects. Thank you “nesting.” Made some rainbow shelves inspired by this lovely home. In the process of creating a travel wall- made a cork world map that will soon be surrounded by pictures of us in the places we have traveled to.  We made a mobile for above the crib, and repainted and put a glass top on a wire side table.

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This summer we also got to celebrate 4 years of being married and 25 years of this guy being alive.

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We are just a week away from this boy’s due date and are eagerly awaiting his arrival!


Although I’m not a parent, but I work with little humans. This is hilarious. Because it’s so real.

Happy Memorial Day.

Gettin’ there.

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We are just a few days shy of 28 weeks over here. Besides a practically sleepless night last night, we are feeling good–everyone involved. And I am considering it a good sign that this made me smile and cry with joy for the day we get to endure our little man.

Spring Cleaning

I love spring cleaning, but for us, it usually doesn’t end with purging and organizing closets. It’s also marriage reboot time. For the last few years, we seem to emerge from the depths of winter, look at each other, and think, “this can be better.” Maybe this is true for most people? It’s time to get outside and enjoy being with the people you love… and then you realize you don’t enjoy them like you want to…or you just don’t even know how to be with them. What to talk about, what to do, who they are.

For us, a lot of it is going back to some basics. Practicing old tools that we don’t need when things are easy and good.

And I always like some camaraderie and inspiration.

To be lovers, not business partners.

And talk that keeps a marriage going. We were given similar tools in our premarital class.

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I’m so thankful to have a lover who wants this to be a good thing. Who won’t settle for anything less.

Blessings on you and yours as you clear away the cobwebs…yet again.