Hi, I'm Dara!

Welcome to Living My Someday! 

Here on LMS, I share my Whole30 tips, hiking and travel adventures with my family, motivation + life  lessons, and a few blogging biz tips.

Hang out and stay awhile! 

Pregnancy Reflections: Weeks 39 & 40

I cannot even believe it's been

20 weeks

since my last entry about this pregnancy! I don't even know what to make of that kind of lapse, other than I guess I just wasn't sure exactly what to say in this particular medium. I've been filming vlogs on a regular basis on

my YouTube channel

--

click here to go to my Pregnancy Vlog Playlist

or scroll down to the end of this post for my most recent video--but here? Crickets.

Still, as this third and final pregnancy comes to a close, I felt the need to return to my first communicative love: writing. Once I give birth, I'll most assuredly be sharing the story here as well as

YouTube

! If you'd like to read about

my previous birth, an all-natural VBAC, click here

. I'll be embarking on another natural birth this time around and I can't even convey how excited I am to do so! I know it sounds bizarre, but I find it incredibly intoxicating to be fully present for the birth of my children. It wasn't always that way, though...

When I became pregnant with my oldest son, I was 25 years-old and

terrified

. Having not heard one--not ONE!--single pleasant birth experience, I was committed to a scheduled induction with my precious epidural. Why go through the excruciating pain of childbirth if I didn't have to, right? My greatest fear was having a C-section; if I could avoid that, everything would be A-okay.

Guess who ended up having an emergency cesarean? *raises hand*

My oldest son, Asher, and I, in 2007.

Light of my life and worth every stitch.

But you know what? I came through it just fine. I had great doctors, good meds (didn't even need to take them all--my recovery was fantastic!) tons of support, and the strength of my faith. God showed me He was there, standing next to me as I lay on that operating table, and He remained with me through the physical, emotional, psychological, and spiritual healing process that followed. Further, my inaugural birth put me on a path to becoming my own health advocate. Because I knew I wanted to have more children, I refused to accept the adage

"Once a cesarean, always a cesarean"

. What really catapulted me into researching my options, though, was the documentary,

The Business of Being Born

. After watching it, I burst into tears because I'd been one of the many women who'd believed all the medical interventions were necessary, that labor and delivery were meant to be controlled rather than allowed to naturally progress. I'd neglected to trust my body to do what it was made to do.

Three years later, pregnant with my second son, I was a changed woman. With the help of the VBAC (vaginal birth after cesarean) community, I was able to pore of over websites, blogs, and books to stay informed.

Ina May's Guide to Natural Childbirth

was particularly helpful in supplying beautiful natural birth stories, as well as emphasizing the importance of changing one's mentality regarding the birth experience. Also,

ICAN

was instrumental in my quest to find a truly VBAC-friendly OB-GYN and hospital (many medical establishments have banned VBAC or simply make it very difficult to obtain one). I practiced my deep breathing and worked on relaxing into my Braxton-Hicks contractions rather than fighting them. "Pain" became "discomfort", and "contractions" were renamed "surges" or "rushes"--changing my words aided in transforming my mindset. In return, my body rewarded me with the empowering, joyful birth I'd prayed for. My youngest son, Isaac, was born alert and ready to nurse, and I eagerly obliged him, high on nothing but adrenaline, oxytocin, and ecstasy.

Blissed out after my natural VBAC in October 2010. Isaac looks a bit shocked, lol!

Now, here I sit, 39 weeks pregnant with our little girl, once again marveling at His goodness and wisdom. This journey to making our family complete has unraveled precisely the way it was supposed to. As a woman, I had some growing to do before being ready to raise a girl in this world. I am so thankful my sons came first because I needed that extra time to connect with my femininity, my essence. I gave birth to the boys in my twenties; now, at the age of 32, I've settled into my authentic self and I quite like her! I couldn't have said that a few years ago, honestly. I want my daughter to see that Mommy is happy, flaws and all, so that

she

, too, can embrace her entire being. In this culture of loudly proclaiming what's "acceptable", having that quiet self-assurance is an act of defiance, especially for women and girls of color who are consistently told we're lacking in just about every way imaginable. May she never forget she is loved, supported, and a precious daughter of the Most High.

My boys and I, April 2014.

They can't wait to meet their baby sister (and neither can I)!

I'm tremendously excited to finally lay eyes upon this beautiful girl I've had the privilege of carrying for nine (10? I've never understood the math...) months! I've got tons of ideas for blog posts and videos after she arrives, so please stay tuned. :)

Introducing...Joy Audrey Shultz.

Baby Joy's Nursery Reveal!