Six Months

Six months ago, my water had broken and it was time to welcome Little Man. It was the first {full term} time that I was in tears and not sure if I could do it. Anxiety, sadness, and fear threatened to choke the joy I didn’t even know was coming.

What if I didn’t bond with him over a fear of losing him, too? What if something does happen and we lose him? Will I keep checking the clock for the 45 minute marker after he’s born? What if each contraction pain reminds me of the last time I dealt with labor pains? 

Those were some of the questions plus many more that I had during Jed’s pregnancy. And, they all seemed to rush over my mind at 2am on a Tuesday morning. How would I walk back into a delivery room when I know what it’s like to walk out of one without your baby?

A friend came over to watch the girls and I bet she’s never seen such an unsure mother walking out the door to head to the hospital. Especially for a mother that’s birthed three before that night. But, we did what we could and snapped an awkward picture of myself before heading to the hospital. One of the very few pictures I even have to document our rainbow baby’s pregnancy.

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It was cold outside, but not too cold. The 20 minute drive to our chosen hospital was a bit surreal and then we were at the emergency room entrance {after hours entrance for L&D}. After a few contractions and some paperwork in triage, we were up to the room that I had feared for nine months. The room that held the ushering in of new life and our family’s next phase.

My admitting nurse would be off her shift very soon, but not before I cried all of the tears. Bless her soul, she seemed fairly new at her job and unsure how to handle a Mama that wasn’t decided if she could birth this baby without a broken heart. But, time marched on, as it always does, and the superstar nurse that would all but deliver our Jedidiah arrived.

She calmed me each time Jed’s heart rate dropped, which was quite a few times {and, the first time for this Mama to experience it at any of my births}. She explained and smiled and encouraged. She didn’t seem at all thrown by my obvious discomfort. And, discomfort of the body, any labor nurse is familiar. But, a discomfort deep down and beyond any explanation, takes a person placed by the Lord to be able to walk with a stranger.

I flipped through “Jed’s Birth Book” as I called it and read the Scriptures. God gave us many verses in our time with Him and God used others to give us even more. I spent the last couple of weeks before Jed’s birthday hand-making each page that I would flip through while he was about to enter a hurting family.

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John and I prayed over that room, those nurses, the doctor, and our baby. I would stop during a contraction and John would pick right up and continue praying. I’m not sure I’ve ever begged God for peace like I did that day. And, He brought it. Everything seemed to shift and we knew we had limited time until our lives would change forever. Again.

Four hours later, things got intense. Sweet nurse perfectly placed stays calm and declares that it’s time to have a baby. There was no time to wait for a doctor. Lots of nurses screaming for anyone that could come in and help. A heartbeat barely detected on a monitor, oxygen masks flying on, and lots of hard pushing. Everyone begins to look worried and I had a flash of “it’s happening again”. But, God is good and brings a deep peace that only He can. Doctor runs in just on time, and Jed is out. Sunny side up and out at an angle. But, out.

Is he okay?!” There was nothing else to scream.

Then, Little Man peed everywhere and everyone laughed. But, me.

Is. he. o.kay.?

Then, baby cries…what every Mom looks for to know that her baby is okay. Screams and cries and all is well with the world.

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I have never been so bonded so fast after having one of my babies. By the grace of God and the answer to many prayers, Jedidiah John was born to a Mama that was deeply in love with him. In the moments following his birth, he brought joy into a family that had been full of intense sorrow.

There may have never been a more scared Mama that entered that hospital room. But, there may have never been a more deeply grateful Mama that left that room.

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For the last six months, Jed has given everyone in our family a renewed sense of God’s faithfulness. God was good in the really bad. And, He’s been good in the really good. I rarely set Jed down and I don’t care how anyone {outside of our little family} feels about it. Jedidiah is one of our gifts of joy in the sorrow. He won’t always want to snuggle and while he does, I’m not putting that baby out of my arms.

And, what’s even better? While I snuggle him, his Daddy and sisters come in even closer. We all want a part of the gift that is Jed and for a few moments every day, it’s as though the world isn’t broken. God has taken the time to bring some beauty from ashes, this side of Heaven. And, we’ll spend the next six months continuing to marvel at how every single good gift is from Him.

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Birds

IMG_9999Okay, I’m always trying to make some kind of special moment with the kids. Before I became a parent, I was the best parent. Like, I was AWESOME. My kids never talked back. They went to sleep promptly at their bedtime. We played educational games. We never watched TV. And, we only ever ate the healthiest of food.

Imaginary kids are so easy.

Now that we all see where I’m headed with this post, I shall give you the latest and greatest of my “precious moments” parenting….

Apparently this is like bird birthing season because we have two nests at our house right now and I see another at the neighbors. Well, the one in the backyard was conveniently built on top of the fireplace exhaust (is that even what it’s called? BEATS ME. I’m from Florida). But, whatever it is, it gets hot when the fireplace is on. So, to avoid accidental scrambled eggs, we’ve been diligent to make sure that loose-hands-Charlotte isn’t allowed near the fireplace switch.
OKAY, TRUTH POLICE! Charlotte flipped the switch on once. But, John {believes} he caught it pretty quick.

Each time we’ve gone in the backyard, we check on the nest. It has been my “I’m rocking this parenting thing. I’m all, check out this nature. Check out life. Let’s observe and learn and cherish this together“.

Why do I think these things?

The girls have been super into it. {okay, okay, other than the very initial discovery and we tried to lift Ella up to look at the nest and she screamed as those we were lifting her up into her demise}.

IMG_0094Several days ago, the eggs hatched. We’ve loved checking on them every day and seeing their little balls of fluff hanging out in their nest. Then, it happened…

So, the girls asked to play in the backyard. Since Jed has been born, they’ve gone out to play in our fenced in backyard on their own. I open the window and they can come in and out the door {okay, okay, not a million times and I may say things like “IN. or. OUT.?!”}. But, it’s been a good little set up lately while I nurse Jed or get dinner ready. So, I’m nursing Jed and looking out the windows at them while they play. Ella whizzes by and swings the door open…
{panting heavily} “MOM!! The bird was flying and walking and hopping and…. The bird fell. We hit the bird

WHAT?!

I immediately stop feeding Jed (yeah, he was thrilled). I lay him on the ground (again, thrilled) and go running outside. At this point, Charlotte runs up. I ask them to take me to the bird. Way on the other end of the yard, I approach a bird on the ground with its wings flailed out and…

UNDERNEATH A TENNIS RACKET

Like a little bird prison. I immediately yell tell Charlotte to remove the tennis racket. I notice the bird is still breathing just fine and just staring around. I start frantically answering for the story.

IMG_0153I start to surmise that the bird was minding its own business, fell, and Charlotte put it in bird prison. I then begin to grasp that the bird prison was an effort to catch the bird and they began to say they wanted to hold it.
Well, I’m panicking now.

HAVE WE PARALYZED THIS BIRD?!

What is my logical next step? Call John. You know, because he’s totally sympathetic to the needs of me and this bird.
His responses were things like:

“Ohmygosh, first thing is to have the kids wash their hands so they don’t get bird germs.”

“It’s just a bird. If it dies, it dies”

Next thing I know, I’m screaming talking at the girls to go inside and wash their hands (because of bird germs?). And, don’t touch Jed. Then, I kept John on the phone while I knelt down by the bird to try and figure out how I can scoop it up to get it back in the nest.

I get down next to it and start to whisper sweet nothings while trying to gather my nerve. Turns out, the bird was a liar and wanted nothing to do with our family moments anymore. Guys, that bird done hopped up and flew away while squawking for backup. Next thing I know, birds are squawking from trees and everyone has been alerted to kill me. The second that bird jumped up I screamed the name of Jesus twice. Cue John bursting out laughing

“Are you screaming for Jesus to help you with the bird??”

Uhhhhh, YES, I am. It is telling its Mama bird to come peck my eyes out.

I realized that it was one of the baby birds and it was obviously just now learning to fly. Just the day before, the birds were in the nest and now all of them were out of the nest. I realized that the girls had nothing to do with the bird falling. They were trying to use the tennis racket to hold the bird and analyze it closer. They were somehow gentle with the racket and no injury to the bird. But, I mean, here’s the deal, if something insane (rather than precious) is gonna go down, it’s gonna go down with us.

Excuse me, I’ve gotta go see if it’s time to put the front porch birds into bird prison yet…

{Linking up with A Little R&R Wednesdays!}

Home

The idea of home has intrigued me so much lately.

Home town.

Home state.

Home church.

Home is where the heart is.

This earth is not our home.

So much seems to center around this idea of home, whether we realize it or not. What is home? How does one get home sick and what does that even mean? Why do we even care about the idea of home when we’re told that this earth is not our real home?

Last month we loaded up the car with all of the babies and all of the things to survive a week of vacation as a family. I haven’t been “home” to Orlando in a year and a half, so I had really been looking forward to getting back. A 17 hour drive {not including stops} was quite a task to take on with a just-turned-4-months-old-that-day, a 3 year old and a 4 year old, but we can do it! Especially to stop in Georgia, which will always be a “home” to us because it has our son’s final resting place.

I’ve dreamt of getting a picture of Jed as a baby next to his brothers resting place. Every time I think of it, I cry. Brothers. Grace. Mercy.

Well, we all got on the road a little later than expected. Ella woke up and had a poop accident. Yeah, what is it with our family and poop on road trips?! So, we hung out a little later to see if she was a fluke or a real illness. I also had a minor mental breakdown because we hadn’t started the world’s longest drive yet and I had a potentially sick kid.

Once we realized that Ella hadn’t needed the bathroom again and I pulled myself together, we loaded the car and left.

“OKAY. We can soooo do this”

There were even talks of “Let’s just drive this whole thing. We’ll take shifts and we’ll be there by tomorrow morning”

Well, because it’s us, we stopped approximately 37 times to get a mere 2 hours away from home (which we squeezed into four). Ella had to keep going to the bathroom. Each visit was a little more suspect than the last. BUT, she didn’t have any accidents and we kept stopping in time. No one else was sick, so maybe we should just keep going. I really debated turning around when we were only 2 hours out, but we’re already packed.

We can make it. 

Except, we can’t.

We get to Tupelo, MS, which is 6.5 hours away from our home. Or known to our family that day as 10.5 hours away. We stopped for dinner. And, when I pulled Jed out, I noticed that his eye was oozing a whole bunch of green. I thought it looked a little off, but now it was a whole lot of green.

I had another minor mental breakdown.

Therefore, let’s just stop here for the night because things are going crazy. Let’s get some sleep and we’ll hit it hard tomorrow. We all finally fall asleep.

Around 2:30am, John and I both wake up because the beds were horrible. Baaahhhh. After some whispered conversation, we decide that we’re both pretty wide awake. Let’s transfer the crew to the car and book it to Orlando. Ella wakes up from us shuffling around.

Bathroom trip.

Ugh. Okay, it’ll be fine. Let’s just get Jed up. I’ll nurse him and we’ll go. 

I get Jed.

His eye is now completely crusted over with green and swollen. Lovely.

Cue another mental breakdown. (Third one in 24 hours if you’re keeping track. Let’s also remember postpartum hormones. Yeah, I know. I feel sorry for me, too)

While I nurse Jed, John and I try to look up pediatric walk-in places in Orlando. We found a few, but then look at each other and realize, what the heck are we doing? We’ve got two out of three kids sick. And, coming from the last time we ignored the writing on the wall, we should probably just get home while we’re ahead.

So, we headed home. Like, Arkansas home.

I cried half of the drive. But, each time I cried, it was about time to stop for another poop trip for Ella.

We were so close to seeing Warner. But, so far.

We were so close to vacation. But, so far.

We were so close for me to get home for a bit. But, so far.

We’re not sure when we may be able to try again. We’ve tossed around the idea of just Jed and I going to Atlanta for a short trip to see his brother. The thought that Jed hasn’t been to see him yet really hurts my heart.

We’ve also tossed around the idea of going to Orlando this Fall. Whether I’m being a negative Nellie or a realist, I’m unsure. But, I just doubt that it will logistically work out. And, once we hit the Fall, it’ll be two years since I’ve been “home”. Like, Florida home.

Why is there such a pull to visit home? I’ve struggled with that since our failed attempt. But, I think the Lord has finally connected the pieces to the puzzle in my mind.

Our earthly home (whether it be a place, a town, a church or whatever) is one of the closest depictions we can get to the feeling of Heaven one day. A place to feel known, secure, loved, comfortable, renewed, and at peace. A place where you can take a deep breath.

Obviously, I feel “at home” with our little family. And, wherever they are is where I want to be. But, I don’t doubt that one day, when they’re off and married with their own families, the thought of coming home will be a gift that they treasure. At least, I can only hope that we will create a home where they feel safe and loved.

But, for me, today I sit and long for Heaven. If I don’t get to touch the ground of two of my earthly homes today, I can’t help but picture how much greater it will be to enter into paradise one day. No more botched road trips. No more graves to visit. No more missed friends and family. One day…

Warner’s Birthday Funnies

You know when something is super sad and you find yourself laughing? The harder you try to stop, the more you laugh. Guys, if you follow me on Instagram or Facebook, you know that I’m always finding something deep to share. Or something completely ridiculous. My life tends to oscillate between those two extremes. Therefore, if something is going to be super sad, it’s likely that some super funny things are going to happen, too.

For example, Warner’s funeral? Terribly sad, right? Yes, completely right. But, God gave us some humor, too. We bought two baskets of flowers for the girls to leave with their brother. They were very kidsy and brightly colored. What we didn’t realize was that they were also full of water. And, because I’m all “We need to make special moments out of this difficult time”, we gave one of the flower baskets to Ella. Approximately 4.5 seconds into holding her flowers, she realized it was full of water. So, every few minutes you heard a big pouring of water from Ella’s flower basket. Because, cmon?! A basket full of water to pour everywhere?? That’s a toddlers dream. I had to keep from belly laughing each time I heard the pouring of water during such a serious time.

That leads to Warner’s second birthday hilarity. So, we got our crap together and I managed to get all three kids out the door to an indoor play place in town. I’m feeling pretty much like Supermom because John had been out of town since the day before (first time since Jed was born). So, I had been all kinds of awesome that morning. I even put everyone in special outfits for Warner’s birthday (lots of Warner blue as we call it and Jed in Star Wars). We swoop into the play place parking lot and I’m ready.

I grab Jed first. I wrap him onto me. Again, feeling like SuperMom. Yeah, that’s right. I just took this long piece of fabric and knew exactly what to do with it. Baby boy is snug and ready to rock. BOOM. Pride always comes before a fall, guys. Learn from me, mmmkay?

Next, I get the girls out and we meander into the overpriced play place that basically has the same toys we already have at home. But, whatever, it’s a special day. So, let’s play with the germ infested toys rather than the ones we have at home. The girls scamper off and are owning place. (Side note: Ella is the sweetest kid ever at these places. Charlotte likes to tell everyone else what to do. Precious.)

All right, this place is bumpin’ because it’s Spring Break. Every stay at home mom in Northwest Arkansas was all “I know exactly where to take my kids to run amuck for a few hours”. Therefore, most of the seats were taken. But, God smiled down on me and saved the only glider rocker just for me. I slip into it and think about how awesome I am. I text John to tell him about all of my awesome. He agrees, because he’s smart.

Then, it happens.

Humph, what’s that warmth? Is Jed peeing in his diaper and I just feel the heat because he’s pressed up to me in the wrap? OH MY GOSH, IT IS WARM AND WET!!!!

I immediately start panicking texting John because WHAT ELSE AM I GOING TO DO?!

Jed could care less that he urinated all between the two of us. He was like a small animal. Peed, settled right on into it and immediately fell asleep. The girls are whizzing (see what I did there?) by and loving their most special time with all of the toys we already have at home. We had been there less than 5 minutes. I can’t drag the girls out because they’ll melt down (can you blame them? Only 5 minutes in germy paradise??). But, I left the other baby carrier and his car seat in the car. While I have a change of clothes for him readily available, I don’t have anything for my soiled shirt.

I decide to assess the outside of the wrap. It appears that I totally did own my wrap job and the pee has been contained between us and the seat of the wrap. I make the executive decision to live with the pee. No one else can tell and who cares? What’s some pee between mother and son?

Time goes on and I honestly forgot about the pee. Gross, but true. I also lost the glider rocker. I had to get up and tell Charlotte to stop doing something. As soon as I vacated it, a woman pounced. Bless her. I admire her gumption.

After I settled onto a wooden bench that I had been excommunicated to, I overhear the chair stealer on the phone. Something about “Did you see her post on Facebook??” And, her conversation ended with a “I’ll let you get back to your newspaper,” at which point, I wondered into what year I had been transported. But, enough about the chair stealer, whom I secretly admire.

Jed wakes up and starts to get hungry. I forgot my nursing cover. So, I decide to just lower him in the wrap and I’ll feed him that way. I’ll be covered to my comfort and he can stay secure to me in case I have a chance to run and steal the glider back. I start to untie the wrap to lower him…

THE PEE.

Guys, we’re talking I could wring the wrap out and a puddle of pee would hit that ground. I’m sure it wouldn’t be the first time to see a puddle of pee on the ground, but maybe the first time from a Mom that walked around in it for over an hour. I start to spazz. My eyes start darting around as though the toys I already own at home can give me a clue on what to do next. Nada.

At this point, Jed’s cries start to gain intensity…along with the looks of all the Mom’s from the state of Arkansas.

Bahhhh.

Okay, we’ve just gotta get to the car. This is when I drop any sense of SuperMom I have left. I go scrambling around to the two ends of this place to gather my big kids. I grab them and say

“We need to go now. Do you want a cookie? Or a cupcake?? We’ll get cupcakes. Come on!”

I didn’t even try anything before start to bribery. I just immediately went to code red of junk food in hopes that they would follow me without any complaints. It worked. They both traipsed after me like they owned me. They did.

We leave and I shove everyone in the car quickly. I check the damage. Me and Jed’s shirts are soaked. The wrap is full pee. I scavenge around the car to see if I have anything I can change into. Maybe having a messy car will finally pay off. Nope. But, if I could fashion a shirt out of a week old dirty diaper or an empty Chipotle cup, I’d be in business.

I get Jed cleaned up, changed, and fed. He’s now living the dream. I, on the other hand, have made a promise of junk food to the big kids. So, I take them to lunch. In my half dried pee shirt.

Best part? It was totally dry by the time we ended up at home and I spent most of the afternoon in the shirt until I remembered it was covered in pee. Is short term memory loss a thing?? Am I the girl from 50 First Dates when it comes to baby pee?

This is only half of the funny from Warner’s second birthday. I’m so grateful for a God that gives us joy even in the sorrow! We’re such a circus and I love it!