Monday, June 9, 2014

To My Number 4

I have not blogged in two years....since the birth of our last baby but I needed somewhere to record my pre-baby letter so here it goes....

Dear Baby Number 4 -

Well, I cannot believe I am doing this again.  You are FOR SURE our grand finale.  I thought I was done after your sister but .... here we are again...waiting for you.  You know, I have tried to envision what life will be like when you get here...whether boy or girl...and it just seems impossible to imagine.  A fourth child in our house.  I feel like I have been in denial most of this pregnancy (and quite possibly still am) that we actually decided to do it all again.  Then again, my denial is quickly replaced by kicks and hiccups---a quick reminder that you are so very real and present.

So, what can I say to you on your own "baby day eve?"  You are in for a wild ride with this family.  You have three older siblings that are CONSTANTLY vying for attention.  They are rough, loud and can be downright mean to each other.  However, they can be sweet, snuggly and the best of friends.  I will tell you that what our family does, we do with ferocity.  We all love fiercely and fight passionately.  There is no passivity in the house.  Ever.  I hope you know that your brother and sisters are so excited for you.  They have rubbed my belly, talked to you, given you kisses, sang to you, asked about you and prayed for you every day since they knew you were growing.  You may get pushed around, bumped and bruised by them....but they will love you, defend you and protect you with everything that they are.  They want you here.  We all do.

As for Dad....hmmm...he has always wanted the "number 4" and it appears he is getting what he wanted.  He's been excited and laid back from the beginning.  He will welcome you into the fold just like the others.  Although the kids (and maybe dad too) think it would be great to have another boy to even things out, he will be just as excited to sit through ballet recitals, have tea parties and play dress up with you if you are a girl.  He loves his girls.  And he loves having a son.  He is just excited to have another.

As for have been an enigma to me this whole pregnancy.  I've been so scared and worried about what baby number 4 will add to the mix.  I have to admit, I've spent a lot of this pregnancy freaked out.  And then I've felt you kick and watched you on an ultrasound and pictured life without you existing...and its impossible.  I guess its just been hard for me to realize you were part of the plan all along...not my plan of course...but His plan.  I'm thankful that God knew what I didn't....that you would be the one to round out our family.  I will tell you that I make mistakes every day in my parenting.  I lose my patience and my temper and frankly think I'm losing my mind half the time.  I will say things I regret and I will make bad choices.  But I will try EVERY. DAY. to be better and to improve...and most of all to let you know how very very much you are loved.  I hope you always know you were wanted and you were prayed for. 

So that is we go.  I cannot wait to find out if you are a boy or a girl at this point!  I know no matter what you are, you will have a very special place in this family.  We can't wait to welcome you to the world.  Its a crazy world but you will fit right in with us.  I just know it.  :)


Thursday, June 14, 2012

Two Weeks In

So we are two weeks in to this family of five thing.  Its been crazy.  I'm feeling already like time is slipping away and I'm going to blink and Olivia will be 1 year old.  Since a week ago, there is good news and bad news...

Good News - I'm feeling a BIT more in control of my emotions.  I still waver from love, to guilt, to sad, to frustrated, to you name it at the drop of a hat.  I'm having a lot of sadness about Olivia being my "last."  And although Chad still hopes for more, I'm realisitic in thinking this is probably it for us.  It makes me so sad--never to be pregnant again, never to feel baby kicks, never to have those first blissful moments of meeting your baby, never to snuggle a newborn on your chest after this....sigh, just sad.  And obviously, like all moms, I'm struggling with balancing it all (already!)--but specifically time and love and attention for each of my kids.  I want to make them all happy all the time....haha, that's all!  :)

Bad News - We are all still so very tired.  Olivia is giving some 4 hour stretches at night but when you have to get up with two other little ones between 6-7 am, it never seems to be enough.

Good News - Kids love their sister.  They will often ask me to hold her throughout the day or I'll find one of them over by her in her swing or seat, just talking to her.  I love hearing them exclaim, "Mom! She's looking at me!"  They love to think about her love for them already.  Sydney is hysterical--she gives me a running commentary all day of things Olivia is doing..."Mom, Olivia is sleeping."  "Mom, Olivia hungry?  You feed her now?"  "Mom, Baby Olivia cough!!"  "Mom, Baby Olivia go poop in her diaper"  (I respond yes) "Oh, ok, I'll help you."  It is non stop and so funny.  They just love her.

Bad News - They are still out of control.  Often they are egging each other on and pushing each other's buttons which ends up in not so nice wrestling, pushing and/or yelling.  I know it is all a huge adjustment for them, but I'm hoping they come around soon.

Good News - I've had lots of help from my mom, sister-in-law and friends with Olivia and the other kids.  They have been having lots of fun and getting lots of entertainment.

Overall, we are adjusting.  It feels good to drive again and have some range of motion of my abdominal muscles even though I'm still supposed to take it easy.  It feels good to try to get used to our new life.  It feels good to not be so dependent on everyone else.  However, it also feels hard and overwhelming.  Adjusting is hard.

We'll get there....and in the meantime...I'll be thankful I have the oppotunity to adjust.  God's given me a great reason to go through this "adjustment" and right now she's sleeping soundly across my lap making sweet newborn squeaks and sighs.

Friday, June 8, 2012

First Few Days

Here are a few shots of Olivia's first few days....full of love and snuggles.  Lots of people were pretty excited to hear about her arrival and couldn't wait to welcome her to the world with open arms.  She soaked up the warmth between snoozes.  While in the hospital she liked to have her wake time at night....the first night nurse we had coined her "miss socialite" as she spent most of her evening in the nursery wide eyed checking everything out.  Even in a post surgery, pain medication, sleep deprived haze I could make out her tiny cries coming down the hallway to my room in the middle of the night.  (Funny how it only takes a couple times of hearing it until you know exactly which baby cries are yours.)  There is something about those first days....although they are exhausting and hard and still painful...there is something euphoric and blissful about them as well...something about a little quality time soaking up your baby's newness that just feels right.
Grandma and Grandpa holding her for the first time!
Grandma and Grandpa Harris.
"Little Miss Socialite"
Grandma Dody and Grandpa WeeWee.
Kyle...such a baby lover.  :)
Auntie and Uncle excited to meet her!
Passed her hearing test!
Wow.  This picture is humbling - we are incredibly blessed.
Thomson love.
Bonding with baby girl.
Getting to know one another.
I can imagine it just feels good to stretch out....after all, its been a while.
Hands by the face....always...must have been a favorite womb position.

Basic pattern of our, snuggle, kiss, repeat.
Her presents from her big brother and sister -- picked out themselves.
Still can't believe we have another "pink tag."
Ready to come home.
Sweet baby face.

Hard to remember how to buckle them in this tiny!
Our welcome home committee!

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Big Bro & Sis

Obviously, the birth of this baby has been HIGHLY anticipated and talked about in our house.  We've tried to prepare the kids as much as we could for how and when it was going to happen.  We've also been pretty open about how badly Gavin WANTED a little brother.  In fact, when we called to tell him it was indeed, another little sister, his initial response was a tear filled "I don't want a girl baby, I really want a boy!"  However, within hours he had turned a corner and was telling everyone he could about his baby sister Olivia.  He proudly told all his friends and teachers at school (even insisting on wearing his big brother t-shirt) and when he showed up at the hospital, he was beaming so huge it was priceless. 

They were so excited to see me and the baby and the baby was only slightly overshadowed with the prospect of seeing my "owie."  In fact, that was Gavin's first statement to me upon entering--"Mom, let me see your owie." 

They were quite enamored with her and took turns holding her...although when I asked who wanted to hold baby Olivia, Sydney chimed in with -- "Not me!  I'll change her diaper!"  She is a little Mommy in the making for sure.

All in all the visit was good--albeit a bit chaotic in close quarters.  They were very excited though and even though they were bouncing off the walls, I was happy to see those sweet smiles while stuck in the confines of Christ Hospital.

 Pointing out baby toes.

 I love this.

 Gavin is completely smitten.
 Whew...this is a big family of five!!
 Watching Miss O and the other babies in the nursery.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

One Week Old

 One week old today!

Wow--One week has come and gone in a blur of hospital and feedings and kids and family and drowsiness.  I'm not even sure how we got here!

This week has been full of wonderful and challenging moments.  I feel like I am on a rollercoaster of emotions (which is to be expected)!  I hold Miss Olivia in my arms and am overwhelmed with love and joy at her perfect little being.  I'm so glad she is here and healthy.  Then I see my other two "little" ones and I'm feeling guilty I can't give them everything they need right now.  My feelings turn on a dime.  I want to be engrossed in my kids and my husband....and two minutes later, I want them all out of the house so I can just snuggle Miss O.

All in all, week one has been pretty rough.  We are all so tired....and I'm so sore...and so limited.  The kids don't understand and they just want attention.  They have been ROUGH lately.  It seems their "go-to" coping mechanism is chaotic silly behavior to an extent of which I have never seen before.  It is unbelievable.  We are all struggling to deal.  There have been lots of tantrums, crying over very tiny details, lots of running, jumping, silly talk and basic chaos.  We're feeling like we may not survive.

But in the middle of it all....there are naps with a sweet sleeping baby on my chest, sweet cuddles from Gavin, funny comments from Sydney and plenty of adorable big brother and big sister moments with their sister.  And...a husband who has been playing with the kids and cleaning and making trips up and down the stairs for me non stop.

Life is rough and chaotic and full of tears (for a million reasons) but there is so much love that somehow we'll survive. 

Olivia's First Pics

Our beautiful Olivia's first pics.....

 Chad all "suited up" for surgery.
 Mom...all "PLUMPED up" for surgery....clearly full of IV fluids already.
 First glimpse up close of baby girl.

 So excited to FINALLY have her in my arms.
 The best part of having a baby...first moments together.

 Still thinking this full face is reminding us of Sydney.
 But when she opens her eyes....there's Gavin!
 Listening to Daddy.

So thankful we get to do this again!