Sunday, January 31, 2010

Claire's Birth Story

With great anticipation the big day had finally arrived! I was very anxious to meet this little person that had been growing inside of me for the past nine months. Who was this child that would complete our family? With four boys already, I had learned to embrace the role of being a mom of all boys. "Five Guys and Me"--that was me. Would this new addition add to my outnumbered status in our house or change the dynamics of our family drastically? For the months that I could feel those little kicks (and even before then) I had felt a sense of peace, knowing that God had a purpose and a plan for this new life inside of me. I had truly enjoyed the suspense, but I was ready to meet my baby and find out whether this little one was a he or a she. January 7th was here, the date labor was scheduled to be induced. The house was cleaned, bags packed, car seats ready, childcare arranged, and we were off to the hospital bright and early. Friends and family were eager to get the call with the big news.
We arrived at the hospital just after seven and at around eight o'clock labor was induced. It was reassuring to see my O.B., Dr. Hyde, who had seen me through all five pregnancies. My nurse, Tricia, was wonderful. She was so kind and we exchanged little boy stories as she also had a three year old son. By about nine thirty I was beginning to feel contractions and by ten they were every three minutes and I was starting to get uncomfortable. Brian sweetly cared for me by bringing me ice chips, pillows, holding my hand, or whatever I needed. I had planned on going as long as possible without pain medication and at this point I was in a lot of pain, but not completely unbearable. My nurse did notify me, however, that there was a "point of no return" at about 7-8 cm, especially with fifth babies which tend to come fast. When I had come in to the hospital I was only 2 cm dilated but by ten thirty I was 5-6 cm. It was at this point that I decided to continue with labor without any pain medicine, i.e. no epidural. My contractions were very close together, just one to two minutes apart, so I was not getting a lot of relief in between. By eleven o'clock I was in extreme pain and at eleven thirty I remember thinking that not getting the epidural may have been the dumbest decision of my life. Brian massaged by back and the counter pressure did provide some relief. The nurse checked me at about a quarter to twelve and said that I was 8 cm. She paged my doctor with the update. It was about a minute later that I felt the baby drop and I yelled out, "It's coming! It's coming!" From that point on I was in so much pain that my memory is a little foggy. The nurse had my doctor paged again and she called for backup. She coached me through some breathing techniques to try and keep me from pushing, all to no avail. Brian was very brave and handled the situation quite well. I remember thinking through all the pain that I hoped he wouldn't pass out from seeing me that way. Two other nurses came into my room and helped set up for delivery. A few short minutes later Tricia said to me, "Well, all that got you a girl!" The doctor hadn't even made it up to my room yet! I was in shock from the pain and also the announcement that it was a girl. It was all like a dream. I really couldn't believe it. They laid her on my chest and I still couldn't believe that I had a daughter. She was perfect.
The nurses took her over to the warmer to clean her up. They asked what her name was. Brian looked at me and I said, "Claire." It was the name we'd hoped to use for so long and now she was here. About then Dr. Hyde walked in huffing and puffing from rushing up to the labor and delivery floor. He was obviously disappointed that he had missed the big debut, but congratulated us on our little girl. I was still in a significant amount of discomfort and asked for some pain medication. I was hurting so much and my arms were completely numb from gripping onto the bed rails for so long (I had been dealing with pregnancy-induced carpal tunnel syndrome) that I asked Brian to hold her first. It was a little while till I was feeling up to holding her, so her daddy was able to get in some good time with his daughter. Finally, Brian placed her in my arms and I couldn't help but get teary-eyed. I was so grateful to have her. She was a much prayed for child, and a true answer to prayer. I was overwhelmed. God is so good.
By this time Brian was getting eager to share the big news. It had been almost an hour since her birth. My mom had just arrived at the hospital and we thought it would be fun to share the news in person. Brian walked to the waiting room and announced, "It's a girl!" My mom jumped for joy, hugged Brian, and shouted out. Susannah was also very excited. Everyone in the waiting room heard about our baby girl. Susannah and my mom were both able to come back and meet her. Everyone was all smiles. We had so much fun making the calls to share the big news. We got lots of screams, tears, and heartfelt congratulations. Everyone was so surprised and so happy for us.
We spent two nights in the hospital where we were able to introduce Claire to many family members and friends who came to visit. It was a relaxing time for Brian and I as he stayed with me in the hospital. The boys introduction to their little sister had to be postponed till we went home as a result of the national no kids policy in an effort to reduce the spread of the flu. So, for us it was a refreshing time of resting, visiting, and getting to know our baby girl.
On Saturday, January 9th, we packed up all our things from the hospital and prepared to go home. I had come with two outfits, one blue and one pink, as going home outfits for the baby. I still couldn't believe it when I got out the pink one to put on my baby. I put her in her pink outfit, with her new pink booties, and her pink coat before putting her in her car seat. She was ready to go home. This was definitely a whole new world!
When we arrived home there were pink balloons on the mailbox and my mom had gone in and "pink-i-fied" the house with more balloons, streamers, ribbons and some of my old baby things. It took me by surprise and made the event even more special. It really was a dream come true. That evening we had both sets of grandparents and the aunts over along with the big brothers for a pizza party. Two of the four brothers were happy to be introduced to their new sister, and two were not so sure about the change. Brian had put together a little video of photos taken from the hospital put to the George Strait song "I saw God today" and we all watched that together. It was a special evening of rejoicing in everything that God had done in our family.
We thank the Lord for our four wonderful sons and our blessing number five, Claire Elise. The miracle of new life is such a testimony to the work of God. God has done great things for me and I give him all the praise for my five precious children.

" Him who is able to do more than all we ask or imagine." Ephesians 3:20

Monday, January 18, 2010

Sunday, January 17, 2010


Our three-year-old is giving us quite a few laughs these days with the funny things he says. Here are a few Carter-isms from the past couple of weeks.
Carter went through a phase recently (short-lived, thankfully) of having difficulty going to sleep after being tucked in bed. Brian and I would have to answer calls of "Mommy!" or "Daddy!" for up to two hours after we had turned off the lights and said goodnight to the little guy. There were several 'urgent' reasons for this beckoning such as: monsters in his room (I think he felt this got the most sympathy from his parents), needing a drink of water, it was too light or too dark in his room, and of course the "I've got to go potty" call.
On two particular occasions Brian and I came down from telling him goodnight for the umpteenth time with a chuckle under our breathe. There was one night that I went in to answer the call for at least the third time and made it very clear to Carter that I was not happy with him. He was not supposed to be calling me. He was supposed to be sleeping! That's when he looked at me with his 'sweet face' on and said in his most endearing voice, "Mom, you pretty." Ahhhh! That's when I tucked him in (again), kissed him on the forehead, and said goodnight. He managed to get out of his consequence for the time being.
Another night the same week Brian was up watching a college football game and decided to put some wings in the toaster oven for the game. It was almost ten o'clock. As soon as the oven said "ding" Carter called for his daddy. Brian reluctantly marched up the stairs and asked Carter in a not-so-happy-voice, "What?" Carter answered with a "Wha chu eatin', Daaaad?" Apparently he had heard the "ding" and knows that whatever food comes out the the toaster oven is his kind of food (chicken nuggets, fish sticks, pop-tarts). Needless to say he did not manage to get any wings that night.
This week Grant received a chocolate football for his birthday from his Uncle Jake and Aunt Jessica--cool, huh? Grant agreed to share his treat with his brothers the following day (it was late when he opened the gift). Carter, being the sweet-tooth that he is, was very distraught that he would have to wait on the chocolate. "Tomorrow" we told him, "you can have it tomorrow." Through his whining and tears (yes, tears) he looked up at us and said, "But I want it this-morrow!"
I am enjoying this stage of funny sayings and silly preschool antics. Carter's recent craze is marshmallows. He loves marshmallows. It is both a good thing and a bad thing that I can motivate him to do just about anything with a handful of miniature marshmallows and that the answer "no" to his request for marshmallows can bring on twenty minutes of dramatic crying.
Carter certainly adds a lot of pizazz to our family and we enjoy the many laughs he gives us.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Introducing Blessing #5

December 2009

For unto us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
Isaiah 9:6

The Christmas season was full of fun for our family of six. We enjoyed good times with friends and family and our first Christmas in our new home. All the boys enjoyed looking forward to the celebration of Jesus' birth.

Bryce putting the star atop the tree. Our tree was simply decorated with ornaments given to us by friends and family and ornaments made by the boys. It was also "redecorated" by Davis (at least the bottom half of the tree) many times throughout the Christmas season.
The weekend before Christmas we enjoyed an early Christmas with Brian's family in Williamsburg. It had all the makings of a Christmas movie as we drove through a snowstorm to get there and family members came in slowly after battling icy conditions on the road. We were almost snowed in for the weekend! We were all grateful to arrive safely and to be able to spend time together as a family.

Davis and Grammy

The boys playing an intense game of Fusball. This went on for a long time!

Davis on the John Deere toy.

Our family of six. Merry Christmas!
The week of Christmas we had my family over for a simple dinner and Christmas gift exchange. The boys had fun opening their toys from Gramma and Granpa, Uncle Jake and Aunt Jessica, and being entertained by fun Uncle Eric. Aunt Susannah was enjoying warmer weather in Peru at the time!
Davis and Uncle Jake

Eric and Grant

Aunt Jessica, Davis, and the cool robot toy from Gramma.

Grant and Carter in their new Transformer costumes.
One of our family traditions is to make gingerbread men at Christmas time. The boys had fun cutting out the gingerbread cookies and decorating them with M&Ms (I think Carter ate quite a few M&Ms in the process). Being very pregnant at the time, I appreciated Brian's help in rolling out the dough this year. Christmas just isn't Christmas without gingerbread cookies!

On Christmas Eve we have made it a tradition the past couple of years to read The Light of Christmas, a beautifully illustrated children's book sharing the Christmas story and the reason Christ came. The book explains how the world was dark with sin and needed a Light from Heaven. God set forth his plan of salvation by sending Jesus to earth--the Light of World. It is through Jesus that we can receive forgiveness of sin. How amazing is God's love for us! This year, with some ideas gained from friends, we sat around the kitchen table and each boy was given a cupcake with a candle in it. As Brian read the story we lighted candles at the appropriate time to represent the birth of Jesus. When the story was finished we all sang Happy Birthday to Jesus and blew out the candles before enjoying the cupcakes. It was a good reminder to all of us of the true meaning and significance of Christmas.

Christmas morning was great fun with four boys opening gifts. We had Legos and Transformers galore along with remote controlled trucks, Nerf guns, and light sabers. One gift that was most entertaining was the "Wolverine Arm" that Bryce had been requesting for quite some time. He was so sweet about asking for it, and so seldom wants anything that I was really looking forward to giving it to him. It was the last gift he opened and he was all smiles when the wrapping paper came off the box. The "Wolverine Arm" you see, is a plastic sort of glove that goes over the hand with three 15 inch (or so) prongs that come out from the fingers and makes a sort of eery sound as it is swung around or when it hits something. Kinda scary. I'm still not quite sure why I bought this toy except that I love my little boy. So far it has not made impact with any brothers and will be taken away (we've made that very clear) if it becomes a weapon. But definitely not something I thought I would ever be purchasing until I became the mother of four boys.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

November 2009

Tsk Tsk, it has been so extraordinarily long since I've posted! It has been quite a whirlwind around here the past couple of months, but I cannot make excuses for the time lapse in updates. I will, however, try to be brief in catching up so that I can do a better job of staying up to date.

On November 13th we celebrated Bryce's 5th birthday. He requested a Star Wars cake and we celebrated at home after eating dinner at Red Robin. It was a simple event, but getting into bed that night Bryce told his daddy that "It was the best birthday ever!"

November 21st was a big day for our family as we moved into our new home. After spending seven months in a rental house, watching our new house being built, moving day had finally arrived! The big day went off without a hitch. We were blessed with help from family and friends. Thank you to all who watched our boys, lifted our furniture, carried boxes, lined shelves, and helped in so many other ways!

This is a picture of our new home. We are grateful to have a little more space for our family and praise the Lord for the many ways He worked so that we were able to move. God is good!