I’d love to formally introduce you to our little girl, Selah Eden Carney!
While she has made an appearance on our Carney Monthbooks, I wanted to share a little more about her birth story, the meaning behind her name and how our the transition to a family of four is going. Plus, it’s an excuse to share more pictures of my cutiepie baby cakes!
FINDING OUT WE WERE PREGNANT | Both pregnancies tested my heart’s trust in the Lord, but were two totally different experiences. With Ethan, we had been planning for a family for a while and the wait was longer than we had anticipated. I don’t think my heart was prepared for the turmoil I experienced every month as I was waiting for two pink lines. I was having to re-learn trust and contentment in Him regardless of the future. There’s nothing like the test of faith in the waiting, as you are faced to lay your plans down. Submission, my friends. Then, a few years later, the same lesson, but for different reasons. The “plan” was to grow our family next year, so this little girl was a surprise. I was so surprised that I needed time to process and resubmit my plans. The thing with the Lord is that He is good, always. His timing is His, and while He doesn’t need to prove Himself, the timing has always proved to be better than my own. My heart realigned with the direction of His will and my feelings caught up. This little girl was the surprise gift this year that brought the Carney crew a lot of joy.
HER ARRIVAL | Our girl, Selah, joined our family the morning of August 12th, a few days earlier than her due date. I had been clearing our garage the entire weekend. To be honest, I’m pretty sure the strain of the work in the garage set me into labor late that evening. It was 11p when I went to lay in Ethan’s bed, trying to put him back to sleep after the thunderstorm woke him. As I lay with him, a feeling came over me… it was going to happen soon. I hugged Ethan tightly, with tears streaming down my cheeks as I realized that this was his last hug as an only child. I told him that I love him so much and that his baby sister is coming soon. True story, the moment I finished talking to Ethan, my water broke in his bed.
I walked over to Wayne and told him with tears in my eyes, because I was overwhelmed by the fact that I was about to pull an all-nighter to labor for my child after two full days of physical labor in the garage. We called my mom (who drove four hours through the middle of the night), Ashley and Tori, to be with me as I labored. After our other friends, Dave + Ashley came over, Wayne and I were out the door to meet my midwife at the birth center at Comprehensive Women’s Health. I had the whole birthing center to myself, pacing back and forth. I was only dilated a little bit, so we sent Tori and Ashley home to nap.
When I labor, I am pretty quiet to focus on my breathing through contractions, but this was really challenging since I was beginning labor exhausted. I tried praying through, but my exhaustion was almost distracting. My midwife could tell I needed a break so she suggested I get in the tub to relax and try to nap. To be honest, I have never thought you could nap while laboring unmedicated, but I didn’t hesitate! The tub helped me relax. Wayne said that as soon as I laid down, I fell asleep. From there, my contractions slowed down a bit and were less intense. I woke up 30 minutes later and knew my body was slowing down, so I got out of the tub. As soon as I was out, the pain intensified and it was go time. My midwife said I had a few centimeters left, but to trust what my body was telling me… so I pushed. My mom had just arrived. I had my girls, Tori and Ashley praying over me, Wayne holding me up in the bed and my mom by my side. That was honestly my favorite part of labor, having my people beside me interceding in prayer and physically helping me. I pushed for about 10 minutes (PRAISE THE LORD) and she was out screaming (PRAISE THE LORD AGAIN)! We were all in tears as we met our girl for the first time. Such a beautiful moment to share.
HER NAME | Wayne and I were not agreeing on anyyyyy names for this little girl. When I went to DC with my girlfriends, we visited the Bible Museum (MUST SEE! I promise). There was an interesting section that was called Bible in the world, which had an exhibit dedicated to birth names. Naturally, since there was still no frontrunner for this child, I walked over to the wall and looked at all of the names being used today that were inspired by people in the Bible. The more popular names like Mary or David were larger in size, while the less popular names were smaller. I walked towards the end of the wall and found Selah.
While there is no one definite explanation of the word, scholars describe the word as meaning “to lift up,” “exalt,” “pause or reflect.” Since it is found in Psalms, one person described it as “a pause in the song of your life.”Finding that word was from the Lord. Our season of life was incredibly full. Full with distractions, deadlines, plans, ministry, work… just full. The Lord speaks in many different types of ways, but for me, in this moment He was speaking to me with this word over my season. A reminder to find selah with Him. To breathe a fresh new breath of stillness with Him. To pause right there and feel. Two days later, I was sitting in church and a woman walked up on stage and asked everyone to “take a Selah before the message,” almost as if to prepare our hearts to hear from the Lord. There was that word again.
I came home from my girls weekend in DC and shared with the name with Wayne. He wasn’t convinced, but he was open to it. It wasn’t until the month before she was born that baby girl Carney became Selah Eden Carney. One of our pastors mentioned praying “on earth as it is in Heaven.” This led me to think of the Garden of Eden, where man and God lived in perfect communion, before sin was introduced. Where the presence of God is, there is Heaven. If stillness/reflection brings connection to God, it joins Heaven and earth there. A selah for Eden. We were done with the search. A word over her life and a reminder for mine.
ADJUSTING TO A FAMILY OF FOUR | Ethan was able to meet baby sister at home later that morning (you can read more about this experience in our August Carney Monthbook). He is smitten by her. SMITTEN! He has been so helpful with her. In the mornings he comes in to our bedroom and walks up to her crib to talk to her. He has this cute little baby voice, higher pitched than his normal toddler voice, and scrunches his face around her. Watching Ethan with Selah has been my favorite thing about being a family of four. Even his behavior has gotten better, which a lot of people warned of the opposite.
The transition has actually been easier the second time around, but it helps that I got to have a maternity leave (versus 3 weeks off with Ethan). I’m so grateful that my parents and Wayne’s came to stay with us right in the beginning. They helped A LOT so that Wayne and I could rest and focus on the kids or ourselves. I cannot stress enough the importance of fighting for community, especially if you live far from family. We have friends that are family to us that would bring us a meal, clean our home, take Ethan to the park, take me outside of the house… or just sit with us. I love quality time, so if a friend came over to just sit with me while I nursed or offered to fold laundry with us, I was all about it. Some people assume that “they don’t want to be bothered,” or “they’re having family time,” and are afraid of coming over. Some days that was the case, but quality time always left me feeling refreshed and thankful. I think it’s important to know what you need and to voice that to your people.
Our initial challenge from becoming a family of four was finding a daily rhythm. We took Ethan out of daycare while we were both home for three months and slowly learned each other as a family of four. While we weren’t strict with a schedule, we did have to have grace on ourselves for starting the days a bit later, due to being up all night. We had a lot of PJ time which was nice, but that sometimes felt “unproductive.” This brought with it the temptation of “doing.” However, I quickly realized that it was necessary for my heart to let go of my expectations for what this season should look like and fall into the natural rhythm of what is. The ritual of just being.
Now that Selah is 3 months old, Wayne and I are back to work. We jumped head first into work with a double header wedding weekend! PHEW! I think that our family would have benefitted by navigating minimal office hours before “being back to work,” so that there would be more of an ease into the next season. We decided we are putting Ethan back into daycare starting next month. We want to give him the attention he needs during the day, while I work on MP full time during the week. Selah will continue with a babysitting schedule at home.
Selah really has a very calm demeanor. She’s a pretty chill baby, most of the time. Our favorite milestone right now is her giggling. We just heard the sound of her laugh a week ago and we’ve been tickling her ever since. Also, if you smile at her, chances are she will be smiling right back at you.
Moving forward, I hope I can make the choice to remember God’s word over my past season and find selah even in the transition from one season’s rhythm to the next. May Selah’s life be a reflection and reminder of that to herself and everyone she meets.