Sunday, August 30, 2009

Hope's birth story

Hope was born on November 16, 2008 at 5:58 pm.

Hope was conceived after two miscarriages, several failed attempts at hiring a replacement for me at work, three trips to the hospital, and five days after my due date.

But even though November didn’t appear to be a good time to have a baby, it was perfect in God’s timing.

On November 6, I was watching our kids and four “extras” by myself. By the time the parents came home, we were making arrangements for Henry and Harmony to spend the night with the friends. But by 2 am, we were back home…while I was having contractions every 3 minutes, I wasn’t making “progress”, so they let me go home to sleep in my own bed. In the morning, the contractions were gone.

November 11 was my due date and my grandmother’s birthday. It would have been a great day to have a baby for many logistical and honoring reasons. I tried going for a long walk to encourage things. And while I did start having contractions and the OB sent me to the hospital (and the kids had another slumber party at a friends’ house), once again they went away. No Veteran’s day baby for us.

I was a very miserable, emotional time bomb for the remainder of the week. My mom came, hoping to meet a baby, but no dice. I may have even made another trip to the hospital on that Thursday, but same story. Every trip they offered to break my water in the morning, but considering I had ruptured waters with Henry for two days before being induced with Pitocin, I wasn’t very interested in that route.

Sunday morning I was having contractions—the first time I had them at the beginning of the day. My mom took the kids to church (their last time there), then to Chuck E. Cheese for lunch and playtime. Meanwhile, we walked around WalMart—I wanted to be completely, absolutely sure I’d deliver before going to the hospital. We saw several people we knew (You’re still pregnant?), bought a few things, and ate a final meal at Burger King.

When we got there around 2:30, the nurse-midwife was on duty and checked me. I was at 6 cm—no way I’m going home now! She checked me again at 4 and I was at 78cm…yes! Progress! It definitely got intense, and Patrick and I did “the labor dance” for a while. At 5:30 I was ready to push. Her chest was bigger than her head, so delivering her body was almost as intense as the head. The midwife did a great job making sure I didn't tear. She was born at 5:58 pm.

The midwife's comment was, "if your day job doesn't work out, you should teach the lamaze class"...somehow I doubt that, but I was glad that once everything FINALLY got going, she came quickly.

Patrick's parents got there about 30 minutes later, the kids and my mom 15 minutes after that. Since we knew they were coming, I got up when they took Hope to the nursery to weigh her (gone less than 5 minutes) so they could clean up the bed (and me a little). I was surprised by how badly I was shaking. With Henry I had an epidural and didn't get up for at least an hour, and with Harmony, I was in surgery right afterwards, so I guess I hadn't tried walking after the others!

We had a great hour or so with the kids and grandparents, meeting Hope. What a beautiful addition to our family!

Having Hope

One reason I went into labor multiple times before having Hope was that I was pretty much convinced that she would be stillborn. Despite no logical reason, I was convinced of this. Maybe it was the previous miscarriages, maybe it was the turmoil at church, but for whatever reason, I was pretty much expecting that Hope would be dead. (Even though we didn’t know the gender, I was pretty sure it was a girl.)

But Hope wasn’t dead. She completely lives up to her name, and daily reminds me of the passage she was named from, Romans 5:3-5:

Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us.

It totally hit me this weekend how perfect God’s timing is. I definitely had my plans – “wouldn’t the fall of 2007 be nice? I’ll be on leave!” was cancelled via miscarriage. My plan for my grandmother’s birthday on Nov 11 didn’t work either, despite my attempts to “walk” the baby out.

In both cases, God needed me to be broken so I could fully appreciate the gift I was getting. I don’t think I would have treasured the third (or my first or second) baby had I not had the miscarriages. I wouldn’t have gotten the “pre-requisites” for hope—perseverance and character—had I not had all the prior labor. And her birth in the midst of turmoil and stress over church drama reminds me that really, God IS in all of the messiness of life. His timing IS perfect, even when it’s not mine.

So Hope was born, both literally and figuratively. And she continues to grow and bring joy daily, if not moment by moment.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Harmony's weekend report

This weekend was a busy one. Friday I picked up Henry, Harmony and Emi from school, then our friends Emma, Ruthie, Olivia, and Sarah joined us (Henry escaped for a boy playdate). The girls played, made pizza, and watched a movie.

Saturday we did chores (folding a mountain of laundry) then celebrated Samuel's birthday (Happy Birthday, big guy!). The kids went to a movie with friends and hung out at their house while Patrick and I had some adults over for a project Patrick's working on.

Sunday, we went to the donut shop and "home schooled" for church (Patrick played the keyboard for worship, Henry read, and we discussed it). After lunch, the kids and I met a friend at the ice cream store and played at the playground. We ended up eating dinner at Little Mexico.

So what did Harmony write about in her weekend report? The pajama party? The movie? The birthday party? Ice cream at the park?

"I stad hom" (translation: I stayed home). Maybe its what she wishes happened...

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Happy Birthday, Henry!

Today was Henry's 7th birthday and the first day of school! We had to run to the bus, but made it...

I brought snack for Henry's class--ice cream bars. I'm amazed at the difference between kindergarten and first grade--Henry came home with an assignment book; they have homework every day!

After school the kids took the bus to their "normal" destination. They had a mini-party for Henry there and played on the playground while I picked up our CSA veggies (yummy!). Then we went to Henry's requested dinner...the mouse house, Chuck E. Cheese! We met some friends there and had a pleasant time.

Happy Birthday, Henry! What a great boy you've become!

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

The Queen of Bumps, Bruises and Grapes (er, Scrapes)

That was Harmony's self proclaimed titles last year. This year she's just "The Queen" in her mind... Tomorrow The Queen starts Kindergarten. Where did time go?

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Party Planning

Henry's birthday is on Wednesday--the first day of school (what timing!) Since I was out of town this weekend (Hope and I went to Colorado for a conference), his party will be next weekend. He wants a military theme, and this is what I have so far:

Enroll into a division (Marines or Airforce)
Basic Training (push ups, jumping jacks)
Sargeant Says (Patrick will be the sargeant)
Hike to campus (one block away--we'll get another dad to help)
Capture the Flag game
Hike back to the "mess hall" for lunch, birthday cake and gifts
Make paper airplanes with special airplane paper
Land airplanes in enemy territory (a hula hoop)
Obstacle course
Water grenade fight

Food will be:
hot dogs and fixings
watermelon or grapes
birthday cake :) (9x13 with crushed graham crackers to be sand with clean army guys on top)

Is it ok to do two rounds of games? The party is from 10:30 to 1, so I'm figuring the first round of games will be 10:30-11:30, food from 11:30 to 12:15 and round two of games from then until the end.

I'm a little stumped on favors. I think this will be the last co-ed party; we're inviting 14. I think I'll make dog tags...other suggestions?

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Six year old narcissism...

Me: Henry, do you know what day today is?
Henry: Saturday.
Me: Do you know what else today is?
Henry: No.
Me: It's my birthday!
Henry: Oh good! That means it's only 12 days until my birthday!