22 August 2012


My crazy beautiful life. My crazy beautiful, amazing, astounding, wonderful life. Insert more positive adjectives here. I do not deserve this and I am reminded daily of that fact. Did you know I never wonder what my life would be like if it wasn't this? I thought that earlier this week and then tried very hard to imagine it, but I can't. I married my best friend, the best man I know who treats me like the precious child of God I am and constantly forget to be. I had a baby with that man and he is lovely. Full of unbelievable vivacity. My life is so precious I'm not sure what to do with it. Should I wrap it up tight? Keep it safe from all the dangers in this world? Or should I let it flow as it may?

I think I already know the answer to that question, but it's hard. So hard. I am tearing up even as I think about how blessed I have been and how unworthy I am of any of it. How do you accept so many gifts? Ultimate humility. The realization that nothing I can ever do could afford this wonder. Humility is one of those fine lines. You need to let go of your pride, but also your self deprecation in order to truly know the meaning. It's the perfect inbetween that so few of us will ever really experience, I know I struggle with it on a daily basis. Whether I am too sure of myself or too unsure, both are downfalls of humility. But I trust in a God who is greater than I am and capable of granting me the humility I so desperately need in order to live out this magnificent life given to me.

"We have this as a sure and steadfast anchor of the soul, a hope that enters into the inner place behind the curtain." Hebrews 6:19 - Rory Heleuma

I feel like the thing people say constantly to new parents is, "Enjoy it, because before you know it these moments will be gone." I appreciate the sentiment, except I feel like they say it because they think I won't enjoy it properly unless they remind me. I know how fast it goes. I see the little boy who was in my womb only 11 days ago and he is a pound heavier and 2 inches longer. Don't think I don't know how fast this is going, I am bitterly aware. And as much as I want to hold on to every fleeting moment? It is so beautiful how quickly everything passes. I relish every cry and diaper and spit up. I love to watch him learn and pay more attention to his surroundings. I don't think there is a moment when I am unaware of how quickly time is passing - tomorrow my tiny child will be a toddler and then get his license and suddenly he will be getting married and having a little one of his own. And it will be perfect in all its speed.

As always, I couldn't do any of this without my delightful partner in crime. 11 days ago, Marko had never held a baby. He had never changed a diaper, never been woken by a cry or a whimper, never consoled a child whose whole world was ending. He is now one of the most capable caretakers I've ever witnessed. He can swaddle and diaper change, unstuff a stuffy nose, convince a fussy little boy that he is fine, and knows when Rory wants to cuddle or to eat. He didn't just get into it, he threw himself into it. He still gets upset that he doesn't clean the house well enough and doesn't wake up enough times in the night despite the fact that I'm fairly certain if he did any more than he already does? He'd be both mom and dad. He teases me about feeding Rory Skittles and helps him do "pull ups." My wonderful husband is a wonderful father, but I'm not surprised. I love the three of us on the sofa or in the bed. I love that we are our own family, headed for beautiful and surprising adventures.

Heleumau'ilanihekilikahiaualepo'i means beautiful, generous, radiant, wave breaking anchor. These are the hopes I have for Rory and so he is named. And yes, Marko can say it.

I am healing well, very well. It's actually almost a bit frustrating because I'm still not allowed to do a list of things that I would love to do. My September 18th appointment cannot come quickly enough. Yoga and walks are my friends. I am excited to go running, but I don't want to do too much too fast and end up in bed for a week. My tiger stripe stretch marks don't seem to bother me nearly as much as the weirdly loose skin hanging out in a perfect doughtnut around my belly button. What is even stranger is that it doesn't feel like fat, it feels like a deflated exercise ball - which I suppose is a good thing, but still strange. Today is the day I try a handstand though! High Flyers, here I come. My post natal goals are big, but big dreams are just how I roll.

This is Rory, he thinks he's Popeye a lot of the time...

15 August 2012


Heart beats fast, colors and promises, how to be brave? How can I love when I'm afraid to fall? But watching you stand alone, all of my doubt suddenly goes away somehow.

His name is Rory Heleumau'lanihekilikahiaualepo'i Dullanty. He is 6lbs 10oz and 19in long with brown hair and steel blue eyes that I'm sure will change. He is strong enough to pull his head and chest up when he is on his tummy and sounds like a teradactyl when he cries. His ears are perfect and his nose is perfect and his hands and feet are ridiculous big. He eats well, he sleeps well, he makes dirty diapers like a champ. He is the most beautiful thing I have ever seen. And he is mine.

One step closer.

I started having regulars contractions Friday, roughly 15-20 minutes apart, but I didnt't want to get my hopes up. Waiting to go into labor is essentially torture. Because you want your baby to get here and every little twinge feels like "Maybe this is it!" But, at the same time, you don't want to go to the hospital too early and be told to go home or have to sit around forever. By 7pm my contractions were 6 minutes apart and I had to really concentrate to talk through them, but I could do it and was not convinced. I wanted nothing to do with spending 36 hours in labor and I wanted to do as much as possible from the comfort of my own home. My parents took me out to dinner and Mark asked that they hang out with me afterwards (he was at work), just incase this really was the real thing. At this point my parents were sure and Mark was sure, but I still had reservations. By 9:30 contractions were between 4-5 minutes and had been that way for at least an hour, even I had to concede that this was the point I had been told to get my butt to the hospital. So I got in the shower and let my parents drive me to the bar.

I have died everyday, waiting for you. Darling, don't be afraid, I have loved you for a thousand years. I'll love you for a thousand more.

Mark had the bar shut down and the car ready to go by the time we pulled up at 10:30pm. He kissed me and we drove ourselves to Bellevue. If I thought really hard about it, I could still talk through a contraction, but maybe one or two words and they were breathy. Contractions don't hurt initially, they feel like a rather grumpy nurse has placed a blood pressure cuff around your insides. But then that blood pressure cuff starts to get too tight and squeeze things that do not want to be squeezed. By the time we got to the hospital, my contractions were still 4 minutes apart and I was terrified they were going to tell me I was a whiney little bitch and to go home. Triage nurses treat you in that exact manner. They expect that you are a whiney little bitch and that they will tell you to go home. It's not that they aren't nice or polite, but they probably send about half of the women who come in back home. Even I was surprised when she checked me and found me at 4cm, 90% effaced. But women can spend hours, even days at 4cm. So they had me walk around the hospital for an hour to see if I was idle or progressing in labor. 12:45pm came around and I believe the nurse's exact words were: "Wow. This is going to blow your mind, but you're at 7cm." Needless to say, I was checked in.

Time stands still, beauty in all he is. I will be brave, I will not let anything take away what's standing in front of me. Every breath, every hour has come to this.

Contractions are no longer blood pressure cuff twinges when you are 7cm dialated and headed quickly into labor. They are rolling waves of pain unlike anything I have ever experienced. Not because they are so horrible or anthing - it's just literally unlike any feeling I've ever had before. It's almost like a kaleidoscope. It starts in the middle of your low back and gets bigger and bigger until it wraps around to your stomach and gets small and tight when it suddenly starts spreading out again, rolling down your legs. I am GBS positive, which means absolutely nothing for me and never would have come up if I hadn't been pregnant, but it can cause infections with babies (especially if your water breaks early in labor) so they want to give you at least two doses of antibiotics through an IV. After setting all of that up, taking vitals, some paper work and other things I vaguely remember, the nurses ran a bath for me. And when I say bath, I mean jacuzzi. It's meant to be sensory overload and water aids in taking gravity out of the equation when it comes to contractions, and quite honestly? It feels pretty nice. But it was too hot and I didn't want to have my senses overloaded, I wanted to just get it over with and have my baby. Mark read to me and squeezed the pressure point between my thumb and pointer finger as the contractions rolled over me. If he was scared, nervous, or uncomfortable, I couldn't tell. He was an unbelievable anchor during the entire process and seemed to know exactly what I needed and adjusted the moment I was uncomfortable. Have I told you how much I love my husband?

One step closer.

After the tub I was still only 7cm dilated which was so discouraging to me, but the midwives and nurses seemed completely fine with it. I am, apparently, impatient. Or maybe I just knew that I was going to have a quick labor and needed to be further along than that. They had me stand next to the bed and lean down, putting my arms and chest on the bed. Gravity works. They say that alcohol lowers inhibitions and that's why people love to drink. We like feeling loose and not really caring what people think of us. Labor is like that, only your inhibitions aren't just lowered, they no longer exist. Before Friday night, I had never thrown up in front of anyone. And while I'm not necessarily the most modest of human beings, only my husband gets to see me in anything less that a swimsuit. Even in a swimsuit, I'm not the most comfortable human - at least, I wasn't until Friday night. As of Friday night? I am a wild woman who throws up in front of complete strangers and allows them to hold her hair and dab her mouth with a wet cloth and wanders around completely naked because it is too hot on top of the nausea and the pain and the inability to think straight. Oh yah, alcohol has nothing on labor. I ended up getting back in the tub and then out of the tub and wouldn't you know it, fully dilated.

I have died everyday, waiting for you. Darling, don't be afraid, I have loved you for a thousand years. I'll love you for a thousand more.

At this point I had been at the hospital for 3 1/2 hours, just a half hour to go before round two of antibiotics. The nurses and midwives let me know that I could push if I wanted and gave me tips. So I pushed through my next contraction. Pushing hurts, but I much preferred that to just allowing contractions to riddle my body. It's a much more tangible pain and therefore makes it seem more manageable - at least to me - plus you are actually participating in the labor at that point, rather than just letting it happen to you. I think everyone initially thought they had a little bit of time and were very encouraging, but I didn't make that second half and hour. The one thing I very distinctly remember was the midwife very suddenly saying that they needed to get gowned, "Yah, the quicker the better." I pushed through my second contraction. Mallory, the midwife in training, looked at me, smiled and said, "If you want, you could push your baby out on your next contraction." And I did. They dropped a towel on my previously bulging stomach and then placed my beautiful little boy there, toweled him off and then rolled him so he was on my skin.

All along I believed I would find you. Time has brought your heart to me, I have loved you for a thousand years. I'll love you for a thousand more.

His name is Rory Heleumau'ilanihekilikahiaualepo'i Dullanty. Born on the 11th of August 2012 at 4:34am. 19 inches long, 6lbs 14oz, brown hair, big feet, wiry hands, and already strong enough to pick his head and chest up while he's on his stomach. He has dark steel blue eyes that I am praying turn green and is so expressive it makes me laugh on a regular basis. He eats well and makes dirty diapers like a champ. He lets us get just enough sleep and keeps us up the rest of the time. Mark says he looks like me, but I think as he grows we will find out he looks like us. He tested perfect on all his response tests and everyone tells me how beautiful he is, but I think that is partially just what you say to anyone with a newborn. Most importantly though, he is ours. He is ours and we love him. Most ardently. I suddenly cannot imagine our life without him and I can't wait to write more of it with him.

One step closer. One step closer.

We had a nurse as well as a nurse in training, a midwife and a midwife in training. I didn't mind in the slightest, they were all phenomenal and encouraging and treated me like I actually knew what I wanted. Helen, the nurse in training, talked to me for awhile while everyone was out of the room and let me know how amazing it was that I had a natural birth. I thanked her, but she persisted. She has been doing rounds at Overlake for a year and had never seen a natural birth until me. Even the women who come in expecting to do natural child birth end up asking for drugs. That absolutely shocked me. Did labor hurt? Oh yah. Was it worth it? No doubt in my mind. Now, I was lucky and my labor was relatively short and I got to spend most of it at home, but still. The thought of not being able to feel any of that trauma to my body and then having to deal with the consequences afterwards anyway along with a longer recovery time? Far more terrifying. Plus, I wouldn't have been able to hold Rory until I could wiggle both my big toes and he would have been groggy and probably unable to feed for several hours. Far. More. Terrifying. To be honest, being pregnant again is more daunting to me than labor. Do I discredit women who want an epidural? Nope. I think labor is 90% mental. If you genuinely believe that your body was created to do this and consider that women have been giving birth for thousands of years, you are going to react to it much like I do. If you are afraid of the process? You are going to have a miserable labor and I truly believe that. For some women? Drugs are the best option because otherwise they are going to have an impossibly horrid time. There is also the last 10% that falls into the realm of chance when it comes to having a difficult labor. That's just my opinion though.

I have died everyday, waiting for you. Darling, don't be afraid, I have loved you for a thousand years. I'll love you for a thousand more.

Having a little one of my own is just as wonderful as I imagined it to be. I am sore and for the first time in my life I have a little tire around my waist, I can't wait to get the go ahead to work out and I would love to be able to do more than talk a quarter mile walk, I am exhausted and will probably not see the other side of 8 hours of sleep for the next two years, my breasts are full and leak milk, I am hungry and  change 8 diapers a day - but it doesn't even matter. Because I have the most precious thing in the world. I have no idea what I have done to be so blessed, but I am not about to second guess or question it. Just shut up and love every moment of it - that's the plan. We are now three. Mark and I have had such good talks and snuggles and cuddles with our beautiful addition and I am so excited for our future.

All along I believed I would find you. Time has brought your heart to me, I have loved you for a thousand years. I'll love you for a thousand more.

08 August 2012

The Countercultural Phenomenon

There are too many wonderful things I could gush about conerning being married. The cuddles, the sex, the shared bank account, the romance, the nerf gun fights, the coffee in bed, the home cooked meals because going out to eat is rape your wallet more expensive and not as delicious... the list goes on. But one of the things I think I enjoy most? Are the conversations. There is not a day that goes by that my beloved and I don't have a meaningful converasation about one thing or another. Politics, Religion, Ethics, Sustainability, Economics, Stereotypes - we cover the basis.

Mark is my best friend. We share everything with the exception of toothbrushes and other toiletries. When I've had thoughts rolling around in my head all day and want to bounce them off someone? He's who I talk to. When I have a bad day and need to be comforted? He's who I turn to. When I am struggling with some moral dilema or frustration? He is my voice of reason (or, occasionally, lynch mob). He is second only to God and there is no one on earth I would rather share myself with. I love our conversations.

We got married "fast." We became friends in April and began spending nearly every day together. Starting dating in May. Were engaged on August 1st and married in November. People took bets on how quickly our marriage would collapse, the confidence in us was overwhelming. Then we found out late December we were expecting, a marriage killer for sure. We didn't just dive in head first, we back flipped off a platform we weren't even sure was above water. And yet...

We went into our relationship with this exact conversation:
"I'm looking to get married, so if you're not? It was really nice to get to know you."
It was never going to be a long dating or engagement process. We were intentionally getting to know every intimate detail about one another so that we could determine if marriage was the right step. Sometimes that process was more painful than joyful, other times the process was more fun than solemn. But it was always brutally honest. We filled eachother in on our histories and debated all the big issues about marriage, living together, kids, careers - and every conversation simply cemented our call to be together.

To say our marriage has been simple or easy would be an outright lie. Marriage is not simple and it is not easy. But none of the great things in life are. Mark and I have times when we are hurt by one another and we have teary discussions, but we believe in our love and our marriage. Sometimes I have a pregnant meltdown about whether or not he still finds me attractive as I steadily reach the size of a beach ball and other times he has a meltdown about whether is he doing enough for me and treating me like I deserve to be treated. And when one of us melts down, the other holds them close and reminds them of all the reasons they are loved, so loved.

playing footsy

Where we grew up you often hear that "love is a choice." I don't believe that. If love was a choice, it would never hurt you because you could simply choose to stop loving. The choice is choosing to stay. It's choosing love over anger, bitterness, resentment, hatred, even sorrow. But that is very different than love being a "choice." If your boyfriend/girlfriend/husband/wife/lover cheats on you - you still love them, that's why it is so unbelievably painful. But you are also angry, bitter, resentful, hateful, and heartbroken. It isn't that you need to choose to love them, you already love them, you need to decide whether you will choose your love over those other feelings. This is where relationships fall apart. We would rather hold on to those emotions which are raw in us, rather than the love that has remained steady in us.

We live in a culture that teaches us to throw away broken things rather than fix them. And occasionally we "upgrade," regardless of whether or not the thing we are upgrading has passed its expiration date. And we not longer create things to last, but rather to live to their warranty. How could we possibly expect our relationships to reflect anything else?

Marriage has become an almost counter cultural phenomenon, especially for young people. "Don't even think about getting married until you're 25, 30, 35..." - whoa. And even after we exchange vows, they are no longer "until death do us part," they are "until the feelings go away." Conditional love - appealing, isn't it? We say things like "I need to know who I am before I get married." Or there is a goal you feel like you need to reach before you consider "settling down," whether graduating from University, having a career, etc. But why? I agree, you should have an idea about who you are before you get married, but don't ever use that as an excuse not to get married because you will find more out about yourself once you're married than you ever discovered on your own. As for having a list of things you need to accomplish before you get married, you're just delaying the inevitable. Why not get married and do those things together? And "settling down?" Who says you need to settle down?! Marry someone likeminded and never "settle down" - that's Mark and my end goal.

All that being said, you should wait until you're ready to be married. How do you know? Well, I'm not sure that you ever really know. But marriage is about being selfless, so ask yourself - "Am I ready to be selfless? Or do I want more time to be selfish?" And be honest with your answer. Maybe you want to have more you time, an apartment to yourself, to go dancing up in the club with all them honeys (I'm embarassing, I know). Or maybe you're ready to put that other person ahead of yourself. To be clear, I do not mean that you should give up all your hopes and dreams and pour your soul into this other person - if you're marrying the right person, you should have similar hopes and dreams anyway. What I mean by "selfless" is that you share your soul and seek after those similar hopes and dreams together, but also that you are willing to give up some things for that other person. And they should do the same for you, there should never be onesided giving. This is, of course, complicated. I said marriage is neither simple nor is it easy. And there will always be bad examples.

I firmly believe that divorce is a sin. Now that I've dropped that loaded statement, let me say that it isn't worse than me lying to my parents as a 14 year old and I don't think you're going to hell if you have had a divorce. In fact, I even believe that you may have been justified in getting a divorce. Sin is something that hurts you and therefore hurts God because He loves you, one is not heavier than another. And no one can tell me divorce does not injure those involved. My theology could probably use work, but there it is.
I heard a story about a year ago from a woman whose father had been an abusive alcoholic but her mother had remained a faithful and devoted wife until the day he died. She talked about how growing up she had always thought her mom was weak and foolish for remaining with him, but as an adult she was greatful that her mom had shown her what a committment to marriage really meant. That was intense. And I'm honestly unsure how I feel about that. I don't believe you should stay in an abusive situation - not ever. But it was interesting to hear her speak on it.
My grandfather left my grandmother with six kids thousands of miles from home (military) for another woman. After my grandma moved back to Hawaii, that woman came to live with them until my grandfather got out of the service and could buy them a home of their own. My grandmother never changed her last name back and never even considered getting remarried. It is often speculated whether my grandma was weak, but I don't think so. She was amazing and believed that marriage was a lifelong committment, whether or not she was in it alone.
There is a couple I know who went through an infidelity and have remained married, which would be an amazing thing - except they chose bitter resentment rather than love and are still married out of obligation rather than respect. They are divorced at heart and I don't see a difference between that and paper. In fact, it may actually be worse because it is just keeping up pretenses rather than being honest.
Two of my dearest friends have been victims of terrible marriages that have ended in divorce. They both were single mothers for quite some time, but are now both remarried to amazing men who treat them as they should be treated. One of them told me "Second marriages are proof of love triumphing over experience." I think that's a beautiful statement. They each found someone who valued them and was willing to be selfless rather than selfish. And I see God present in those second marriages just as much (and sometimes more) than other first marriages.

Like I said, it's complicated. And I do not pretend to have all the answers. But I do believe that they exist as you seek them. And that every situation, God will lead you to an answer - it might not be one you wanted or expected, but it will be there. There is a reporter from a news show that Mark and I watch who got married at 19 and has talked a bit about being married and what it has meant to have gotten married so young. I really enjoy listening to what he has to say because it is so different from the norm we see in media today. He talks about how difficult it is to be finding yourself and growing up alongside someone else, but how it is also wonderful. He also talks about how so many 20-somethings talk about marriage with derrogatory language and how ignorant they are because they don't understand the joy they are missing out on. I couldn't agree more.

As for all you waiting for the right person to stumble into your life? I know your pain. Waiting sucks, patience is overated, and you have been ready for a long time. I get it, I do. I can tell you that it's worth the wait, but you already know that. I can also tell you that there is someone out there for you, but you probably already know that too. The only other thing I can even think to say is to learn to be happy on your own and stop looking for someone, which is just as difficult as it sounds. But the moment you truly stop searching for your future spouse and are truly content with who and where you are? That's when you will stumble upon them. It can't be forced, which sucks to hear, but is wonderful in reality. Nothing forced is ever truly good or beautiful. And know that I love you in the interim! Truly and whole heartedly.

02 August 2012


I am wild.
Wild like a hot sunrise after a lightning storm.
Wild like sweet pea vines.
Wild like jalapeƱos in raspberry jam.
I like it when there is dirt under my nails and pen ink scrawl on my body.
I like the splash of water that jumps up when I'm washing dishes.
I like the stubborn donkey's slow graze.
I pit my own cherries slowly and messily.
I seek the hot equator sun on my cheeks.
I crave dirt beneath my fingernails.
I am wild.
Wild like the breeze through broad leaf trees.
Wild like a thunderhead across the plain.
Wild like blackberry thorns.
I like it when my hair falls out of place.
I like swimming under an open sky.
I like discords and minors.
I fold over myself in strange yoga positions.
I drink water from the tap.
I desire quiet mornings and laughter filled nights.
I am wild.

I care not for plans,
I am whimsically sweet.
Enough to make your teeth hurt.
I write in cursive with ink covered hands
And read my books to life.
I sing to myself songs of nonsense
With wooden beads wrapped around my wrist.
My belly is swollen
With love, with life, with the future.
I flatten my hands against the floor
Unconcerned with any complications that may arise.
There is only now,
There is only today.
I sink my teeth into simplicity.
Forgotten and forsaken is tradition for innovation.
But is it always better?
Braid the two with a mind to live intentionally.