Tuesday, March 22, 2011


Five short years ago Isabella came into our lives and made "us" a family.
As I write this and see Vivian now here beside me I find myself marveling that just yesterday Bella was this tiny, new and helpless.
She slept in this Bassinet 
She wore this yellow sleeper with the pink trim.
That was her pink and purple binky.
I bought her that blanket for her first Christmas.

And now her babyhood is a memory.
I find it harder to complain about dinner time fussiness and midnight feedings in light of the milestone we have reached today.... our first "baby" is five.

I blinked and she is five.
She doesn't need me to lift her into the car,
she can even buckle herself now.
She can get her own snacks.
She gets dressed by herself in the morning, and puts herself in her PJ's at night.
She isn't a baby anymore, she isn't a toddler... she is barely a preschooler.
We will start Kindergarten this fall.

The other day I came home with just the boys, she stayed with Nana...
and it was then I realized how much she helps me, 
keep an eye on Daniel...
Run and let the dog out...
go and grab a diaper...
get Tommy's milk out of the fridge....

I wonder where five more years will take us.
What will our lives look like then?
A ten year old, an eight year old, a seven year old... and another five year old princess.

Certainly five years ago I didn't imagine we would be here with four blessings making a constant noise and mess. But there is no place else I'd rather be... 
ok, maybe a spa once a month or so... but you know what I mean.

And the amazing thing that I've begun to understand after five years of motherhood is that I need to stop looking ahead. Tomorrow, next week, next year... it will be here in no time.
I need to stop looking ahead and start looking around
I'm going to really watch tomorrow, how she looks when she sleepily crawls into my bed at sunrise.
How she plays with her brothers.
How she holds her new sister.
How she squeals when Daddy gets home, and how her eyes will light up when he hands her a gift.
And last but not least... how she looks in the glow of five candles on a birthday cake.

“Time is free, but it's priceless. 
You can't own it, but you can use it. 
You can't keep it, but you can spend it. 
Once you've lost it... you can never get it back.”

~Harvey MacKay

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Two Weeks, Fourteen Days, Forever Ours

Vivian is two weeks old today.
I can't imagine life before her or without her.
I have taken to calling her Vivi.
Bella calls her "Sissy"... which I think is her way of protesting the fact that she didn't get to name her.
Tommy says "Bibian Drace" or Baby Bibian.
Daniel says "my baby" or Vivi like I do... only he yells it at the top of his lungs.
Her Daddy has his name for her too, Vi... like the beginning of Violet.
She is sweet and mostly sleepy. She is sleeping four hour stretches at night, even once for six hours!
 She is a great eater and after four bottle fed babies this time nursing is working well and is even enjoyable and so far pretty convenient... less dishes and no mixing bottles at two am.

She is fussy between dinner time and eleven or so at night... 
which works out fine because that's when Daddy comes home!

She likes to be held up on my shoulder and have her back patted.
She  has huge eyes just like her sister, but otherwise she looks most like Tommy when he was a baby.

She seems to be the first of our children to have dark hair, but she doesn't have much so we'll see.

So far having four kids is easier than I thought...
but maybe that's because I was just imagining the worst case scenarios.
Or maybe its easy cause we are only two weeks in and I've only been on my own for one.
Or maybe its because she is and "easy" baby, though what baby is really easy?

Anyway more about the goings on soon... its harder to type with one hand!

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Vivian Grace

We are home. Snuggling and slowly settling into a new routine,
a new sort of normal.
...part of the "new normal" is doing everything with one hand... or less.

There is also less sleep than ever before.
But for me at least the quality of sleep is better than it was a week ago!

This was taken about five minutes before nap time.
 Even the littlest is feeling the effects of having a newborn in the house.
My kids NEVER fall asleep anywhere but they're beds... really they hardly ever even fall asleep in the car.
So this was first for us.

But let me rewind a minute here to a week ago and explain how she finally came into this world.

Last Tuesday we were scheduled for an induction. I was twelve long days past my due date.
Hospital policy says that they need to induce by fourteen days overdue. Of course I didn't have to but beyond that I was going against medical advice. So we decided on Tuesday simply because that was the day my usual Doctor would be in labor and delivery.
I was nervous because I really hate the thought of being induced.
I was induced with Bella and it took forever to get her here. And with her I had an epidural.
With this one I didn't want that.
I had a great epidural for Bella and Tommy's births...

But with Daniel they just couldn't get it right. They tried a few times to get it.
It hurt going in... and that is an understatement,
It didn't kill the pain at all.
It numbed only my legs so I had to stay in the bed anyway...
and when it was all over I got the headache that they warn you about.
It was blinding and I spent two days flat on my back in agony before they finally did a "blood patch" right before sending me home.
That is basically another needle in your back to stop the headache.
If you don't do it you might have the headache for up to six months.
As much as I didn't want to let them near me again I did. and it worked.
For about 48 hours.
Then it came back worse than before.

Back to the hospital for another blood patch.... except it didn't work.
The headache remained and that is when they started talking about meningitis.
Morphine wasn't helping me.
Over the next two days I got a spinal tap, two Mri's, a cat-scan, and every antibiotic they had intravenously.
I had people from infectious disease in my room in plastic suits covered from head to toe,
I wasn't allowed to have the baby with me.
In the end it was called chemical meningitis. It acts the same as the real thing because my body wasn't happy about all the foreign chemicals in my spinal fluid so it treated them like bacteria.

All that to explain that this time the epidural was no longer an option.
The fear of natural childbirth was overshadowed by the fear of another messy epidural.
I guess one in one-hundred people get the headache I got and to me it wasn't worth the chance.

But I can now say having made it through the delivery without the epidural that I'm pretty sure natural childbirth is as bad if not worse than that headache.
Its just less scary and much much shorter.

For our induction on Tuesday they said they would call between eight am and noon to tell us when to come in... they called just before eight while we were still in bed which was a huge blessing because it meant I didn't have to sit around all morning being a nervous wreck.

We made it to the hospital by eleven after dropping off the kids and grabbing a bite to eat for ourselves. We were in our room by one and they started the cervix medication.
After four hours they said they would check me and either give me more of the same or start the pitocin. So four hours of daytime tv and very few painless contractions later they checked me.
I was ready for bad news but once again our prayers were answered...
I was already four centimeters!

So we went to the pitocin which gave me more slightly painfull contractions and got me to six centimeters by seven thirty or eight... but I knew nothing would happen quickly unless they broke my water...  and I also knew that was when the real pain would start.
Which it did.

I can't imagine going through that for more than the two hours that I did.
Tom stayed with me every minute and held my hand through every pain.

His mom kept telling me everything she could think of to encourage or help me through.

And my mom just stood there offering encouragement when she could, I'm guessing she probably felt she didn't have much to offer compared to my husband, who is my whole world....
or my mother in law who has lots of delivery room experience.

But the thing that helped most was the look on her face.

It reminded me how of how I feel for my own children

Looking at her I knew that if she were able she would do this for me...
the hardest most painful thing ever.
I remember thinking that was the miracle of motherhood.
She would and did do this for me... and she'd do it again.

I think God showed me then that we were having a girl because I thought to myself...
she did this to have me, I am doing this for her... and someday I will see her in this place going through this herself and know that if I could I would do it all over again to spare her the pain.

So it was intense, it was awful, it was amazing,
and Thankfully once again God answered my prayers and kept it short!
At 10:27 pm after about fifteen minutes of pushing Vivian Grace was here.

God didn't answer my prayers in the way I had asked but He always knows better than I do in the end.

If she had been born on time she would have been exposed to all kinds of bugs that were going through our family at the time. Pneumonia, Bronchitis, ear infections, even RSV. 

We were able to calmly send the kids off to grammy's,

We got to spend the morning at home together at home quietly getting ready,

We had the fastest induction ever! my doctor was pretty obviously surprised by how fast it went.
We spent less than twelve hours in labor and delivery and really only the last two were very bad.
My mom and Tom's were both able to be there, no small thing with they're schedules!

Because we had her so early we got to come home on Thursday and enjoy a long weekend.

We were blessed, we learned a little more about patience and waiting for God's plan to unfold.

And its funny how the memory of the pain pales more every moment you hold them in your arms.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Abundant Life

I don't really have any words that seem to be able to explain our joy.

Her name is Vivian Grace... meaning "Abundant life and Grace".

 That is what we feel today.
Abundantly blessed... surrounded by this gift of life... and all because of Grace.
Our lives have been filled with so many sweet, screaming, needy,
beautiful blessings these last five years.

Bella was giddy about getting her sister.
This was her reaction when she was told it was a girl...

She then asked to be in charge of all clothing choices from now on...
I told her we could work on it together, she does have fabulous taste!

Also she thinks we all need matching toenail polish as soon as possible.
I agree.

Tommy was awe struck by how "tiny" she is... by the way she is 9lbs 1 oz. and 20 inches!
He kept asking to see her feet...  I know how he feels, they are just. so. cute.
I imagine someday he will be the natural father that his own father is.

And Daniel was the sweetest surprise of all... he called her "my baby".
And cried when we tried to take her back from him

 I'm all weepy just thinking about the protective older brother he has just become....
and he suddenly seems a lot taller too...

Thank you all for your prayers and well wishes!!! 
God was with us through this is so many ways big and small.
Let me get just a little more sleep and a few more cute pictures and I'll tell you all about it soon.

The grace of our Lord was poured out on me abundantly,
along with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus. 
1 Timothy 1:14