"I went to the woods because I wanted to live deliberately. I wanted to live deep and suck out all the marrow of life;
to put to rout all that was not life and not when I had come to die, discover that I had not lived." ~Henry David Thoreau

Thursday, February 25, 2010


Warning- Do not read unless you are ready to weep uncontrollably.

An old high school classmate of mine has a two year old daughter who is dying of cancer. In fact, she likely only has a few days to live. My heart has broken time and time again as I have followed their story. And the question "why" constantly comes to mind. Layla is only two months younger than Lauren. I continuously look at Lauren and internalize the Marsh's agony. Cody and I both have talked about their pain and what we do if it were one of our own babies.

The night I took that picture of Lauren in the bath dumping the water out, I had just finished reading this post from their blog. I cried in heaves, uncontrollably. Then and there I vowed to not sweat the small stuff with my children. To cherish the noise, the messes, and the chaos. Because one day it could be quiet and I would be filled with regret. So much regret.

Taken from Shanna's blog- You can follow their story at

Towards the end of a pregnancy, a mother will wake up to go to the bathroom every few hours. I think this is the body’s way of preparing you for a newborn and the sleepless nights that come along with it. Layla now spends most of her days sleeping. 30-45 minutes after she wakes up, she is ready to lay down and sleep again. Is this God’s way of preparing me for all the quiet time that is coming soon? The house is quiet. I am able to go through the motions of laundry, dishes, cooking and picking up without interruptions. But I WANT interruptions. I WANT Layla to be under my feet asking for cookies. I WANT to hear her playing with her toys. I WANT to take 45 minutes to unload the dishwasher because she keeps trying to help. For every time I uttered the words “I just can’t get anything done with these kids under my feet all day” I am eternally regretful. The days that I looked forward to naptime so I could get a grocery list made, or finally fold all the piles of laundry…I regret those days too. If I could do it all again, I’d enjoy EVERY SINGLE WAKING MOMENT I had with her. I would never wish for her to sit still or take a nap or go to bed early. I would never look forward to the days when she could sit through an entire episode of Dora silently. I would treasure every second with her.

So I’ve spent the last few days in a quiet house, able to do whatever my heart desires. But all I want to do is wake her up and hold her. She doesn’t really want to be held much anymore. She prefers to be rocked in her dark bedroom for a little while, then laid down in her bed. She gets easily overstimulated by the noise of the other children downstairs. She wants dark, silence, peace and sleep. So we give those things to her. As much as it breaks my heart to not be able to hold her all day, I know her little body needs peace and sleep.

We have tried to put her in our bed with us but she screams. I’ve tried to rock her in my room, but she just cries. She wants familiarity. Her own bed. Hospice told us that when the time comes that we shouldn’t leave her side (i.e, she only has a few hours or days), she won’t know where she is and won’t put up a fight about sleeping with us. She’ll only open her eyes for a few minutes at a time.

We had plans to visit family in Oklahoma this week, to go to the zoo, the beach, the rodeo…outside to play. That will not happen. We had family pictures taken last week and I’m so happy we did. We can hardly get Layla to say a word, let alone give us a smile or lift her head up long enough for pictures. Family has come over to visit her the past few days without success. She doesn’t want to leave her room and they have come and gone without being able to hold her, talk to her, and some instances even see her. Our Pastor came by yesterday and we started making some funeral arrangements. At the end of his visit, he asked if we would like to have her baptized. We said YES and he baptized her right there in our kitchen. She was very peaceful and didn’t cry or make any noise during it. I truly feel like God was holding her in his hands and comforting her.

She is hooked up to a morphine pump and had a dose of Dexamethasone on Saturday. Sunday morning she ate 4 bowls of cereal and was in a fairly good mood. She sat up in my lap long enough to open her Valentine’s present and watch some tv. Since then, it has been a steady decline.

Please pray for her comfort; both physically and spiritually. Please pray that she knows how much God loves her and she isn’t scared about what she is feeling and what is happening. Please pray for minimal pain and suffering. Please pray for Claire and Jenna. They are so confused and uncertain about what is happening. They cannot fully grasp the finality of her impending death. I can hardly grasp the finality of what is happening.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Lauren the Dumper

This child loves the water. She loves to splash in water. She loves to play in water. She loves to make messes with water. She loves to dump water. Why is it that she doesn't just dump a little bit of water out of the tub, but is has to be BUCKET FULLS of water? Why the obsession? I turn my back for a second and she dumps a whole bucket, right out of the tub. And then I hear "uh oh". And when I say "WHO DUMPED ALL THIS WATER OUT??!!" (knowing good and well that it was her and not Hailey) she shoots her little arm in the air and says "ME!!" Lauren, it's not the best thing to be proud of! But you sure are a cute little stinker!

Lazy Boys

The other morning while I was getting ready for the day, the girls were watching cartoons and Devin was chillin in his little chair. When I came back into the family room this is what I found. The girls grabbed their chairs and lined them all up in front of the TV, including their baby brother's chair. I just think this is too cute.

Ethan's Tooth

This boy is growing up so quickly! About 10 days ago Ethan came home from school and was a little nervous that one of his bottom teeth was wiggly. Well today he was REALLY nervous because it was super loose. I told him to stop messing with it and that Dad would pull it when he got home from his business trip on Wednesday. A few minutes later he came running to me very excited because HE pulled it out!! My baby boy is a stud. He was brave and didn't cry and just yanked that sucker out himself. But we will wait to leave it for the tooth fairy until Dad gets home. It's kind of front page news in our house right now!

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Devin- 4 Months Old

I blinked and these four months passed by! It's hard to believe that his first year of life is 1/3 over. Makes me kind of sad. But this is an incredibly fun age and I am truly savoring every moment. At four months:

-He is a great sleeper at night. He usually eats for the last time at 10:00ish and doesn't need another snack until 4:00 a.m. And then he just nibbles and doesn't want another full meal until 11:00 a.m.

-He LOVES the boobie. I am thankful that he has never had a moment of difficulty with nursing. He has great instincts and he can find the boob during the night on his own. He's like a puppy that way.

-On his four month birthday he weighed 16 lbs 3 oz (76%) and was 25.5 inches long (73%).

-He fits nine month clothes just right, with a tiny bit of growing room.

-He isn't really fat, just husky. Big boned and broad like his big brother.

-His Bumbo chair is his favorite thing, other than Mommy.

-He drools constantly. Puddles pour out of his mouth all the time. He loves to chew on things and I think he'll be an early teether like Ethan.

-He wears a size 3 diaper.

-He has discovered his hands and more so, he's thrilled that his hands are tools! If he is laying on his back and I put something in his hand, he slowly holds it up and when his eyes catch sight of it he gets really excited.

-He will pull anything to his mouth to suck on it. Hence, the great nursing instincts.

-He has a really funny cowlick in the front. People ask me if I part his hair in the middle on purpose. I always looks at them like they are dumb. Yes people, I want my child to resemble Alfalfa from "The Little Rascals".

-He knows his mommy. I am happy to say that I am still his favorite person on the planet. No one can comfort him like I can. And that is how it should be at this age.

-He likes to be in my wrap facing out so he can see the world. But when he is sleepy he likes to be worn against my chest.

-He has hist first ear infection which was discovered at his four month check up. Thanks Daddy. He inherited his bad ears from your side!

-The poor boy is trying so hard to roll over, but he hasn't quite gotten there yet. He gets very frustrated and starts crying when he gets stuck on that arm.

-He smiles ALL THE TIME and has the most precious dimples. They make me melt. He also started really laughing and it is music to my ears!

Devin is a very well adjusted and happy boy. We are so grateful to have him in our lives. We are all madly in love with him and he is a ray of sunshine!

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Happy Valentine's Day!

I love V Day. Maybe it's because I am a girly girl and the holiday is all about pink and red and hearts. We've had a fun week doing Valentine festivities and tonight we had a Valentine feast. I am married to a truly good man who goes all out to show me that he loves me on days like this. We didn't do anything extravagant today, but it was nice spending the day together as a family. We frosted sugar cookies, made heart shaped Jell-o Jigglers, and continued to gorge on left over candy.

Cody "secretly" shopped to make me the perfect dinner. He made the most incredible baked garlic and butter king crab legs, tomato and basil bisque, wild rice, parmesan asparagus, and strawberry cheesecake for dessert (which none of us had room for at the end of dinner, so we'll save it for FHE). And he made the kids their favorite mac 'n cheese. Cody is such a thoughtful guy and I am very lucky to have him. Also, Devin even sat at the table to enjoy his first Valentine's celebration. He is growing up so fast!

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Ethan's Family Party

We had a nice little family party for Ethan tonight. He had his friend party on Saturday (post to follow!) When asked what he wanted for his special birthday dinner, he picked home grilled cheeseburgers, tator tots, and blue KoolAid. Mmmm, a boy after my own heart. We are all big fans of home grilled burgers.

Lauren accidentally crashed on the living room floor so she missed the festivities, but then had cake for dinner when she woke up. Yes, we are great parents. Anything to avoid a meltdown. This kid got spoiled again, as you can see. Aunt Kara gave him a McDonald's gift card, Grandma and Grandpa gave him a new book and a roll of quarters for his piggy bank, he has money coming from Granana and Gov, a Disney Rummikub game from his sisters, and then a bunch of transformers, bakugan, and a new game from Mom and Dad. It all made for one happy birthday boy!

Happy Birthday Ethan!

Happy 6th birthday to my sweet boy! It's hard to believe that 6 years have flown by since Ethan made me into a mom. I blinked and these years have passed. And I can't believe it was 6 years ago that I was lying in a hospital bed still quite shaken from the events that took place during those 24 hours. It was an experience that I will never forget!

I know that no mother could ever forget the day her first precious baby was brought into the world. To others my story isn’t exceptional, but to me it is. The circumstances surrounding Ethan’s birth are somewhat humorous and disappointing, depending on how you look at it. I have had five years to get over it and in hind sight I suppose it is pretty funny. Irony is quite often the ingredient that makes a story amusing, and Ethan’s birth was laughably ironic.

I was absolutely gigantic in my last two trimesters of pregnancy. I was still in college that fall semester before he was born, and all of my professors were worried that I was going to have the baby before finals in December. I was so big and they assumed I was further along than I was. “I wish I was having this baby that soon!” I would tell them. From conception to birth I gained a whopping seventy pounds. Even though I’m 5’8”, that amount of weight is huge. The day he was born I tipped the scale at 205 and burst into tears. I was wrapping things up at the University of Utah, a campus that is full of hills and it would have been impossible to walk around it all day and not get a great deal of exercise. So I know that I was plenty active and burning lots of calories each day. I ate right (okay, I craved chili dogs the entire time) and I got plenty of rest yet the weight kept piling on.

Because I got pregnant while on Depo Provera (the birth control shot) my due date was never very accurate. It ranged all the way from January 6 at one point to February 12. Toward the end, the doctor was saying February 2 was to be the big day. So that day came and went, and then the next day, and then the next. By the end of that week I was a blubbering mess and I was convinced that God did not want me to have this baby! It made me sick when I would hear of women giving birth two weeks before their due date. It just wasn’t fair.

My obstetrician, Dr. Farnsworth, told me at a routine appointment near my due date that he would try inducing me in a few days if there was still no baby. My blood pressure had gone up a little and since I had gained so much weight, it seemed to be the ideal solution.

“No,” I told him when he suggested it. “Don’t you know that an induced birth raises the chance of having a c-section?” Of course he knew that. The guy had been in practice for over thirty years. Through out the entire pregnancy I had it set in my mind that I would have a drug free, intervention free birth. I had spent the last nine months reading every book on natural childbirth. I had been to birthing classes and I had watched the videos and gone over every bit of material I could get my swollen hands on. So no matter how many people tried to convince me that childbirth was going to hurt like the unthinkable, I simply care. A c-section was the most UN-natural way to have a baby, so for me that was completely out of the question. It went against everything I had been planning for.

And so I waited. Day after day after day, each night relishing in the comfort of a hot bubble bath. I was so heavy and water was the only thing to relieve me off the extra flubber I was carrying. I would lie in the tub, sobbing and pleading with that stubborn child to please be expelled from my body. I thought for sure that he had decided to take up permanent residence in my hospitable uterus. For several nights prior to Ethan’s debut I was jolted awake in false labor. Contractions would start and then stop again, each time getting my hopes up so high that this was the real thing. And each day Cody would come home from work asking me “Any thing new down there?” Between the raging pregnancy hormones, sleep deprivation, and pure anxiety, Cody is lucky that I never reached out and strangled him.

Dr. Farnsworth finally made the decision that he would not let me go past February 11. That was a Wednesday and I was to check in to the hospital that morning. However, at 3:00 a.m. on Monday, February 9 I woke up with massive cramping in my abdomen, pains that I had not felt before. I wasn’t going to get my hopes up so I tried to ignore it and go back to sleep. Then the baby kicked my bladder so hard and I almost wet the bed, so I decided to give in and go to the bathroom. And there it was. I had lost my plug! That disgusting, pink, gooey mess on the toilet paper was such a sight for sore eyes. At that moment it was the most beautiful thing my eyes had ever beheld.

I was far too excited to go back to sleep. I began timing contractions and I was sure that they would be irregular, but to my surprise they were each exactly eight minutes apart and gradually getting stronger. This had to be the real thing! I decided to let Cody sleep for a few more hours before I told him what was going on. So I hurried around and made sure my hospital bag was in order. I took a shower, made myself breakfast and then turned on the T.V.

I had an appointment with Dr. Farnsworth that morning and then a scheduled non-stress test immediately following at the hospital. I was just sure that when the doctor did the internal exam he would say something like “Whoa! You’re already dilated five centimeters! Get yourself to the hospital!” After all the contractions I’d been having I knew I couldn’t be smaller than a five. But to my chagrin, Dr. Farnsworth looked up from the exam and said “Nope, you’re still at a one and 50% effaced.” What?! He had to be wrong! “You’re probably in labor, but it’s going to be a long time. I still want you to have the test done this morning, but then go back home and try to rest. You’re going to need your strength.” I went over to the hospital for the non-stress test.

All of the books about natural childbirth emphasized the importance of staying away from the hospital for as long as possible. They said that once I was there, my labor was likely to impede and that complications could arise. So I spent the next several hours cleaning our apartment, washing clothes, and scrubbing the kitchen floor on my hands and knees. Surely being in that position would speed things along.

I was fully aware that once I got to the hospital I would lose all self respect and dignity. With nurses and doctors examining me and my personal areas exposed for all to see, I knew that I was in for a nightmare. I wanted to hold onto any shred of beauty I still had so I decided to shave my legs and give myself a pedicure. My legs and my feet were going to be pushed up against some poor soul’s face so I wanted them to look as nice as possible. Now it’s a very funny thing when a walrus tries to shave her legs. I balanced my huge backside on the edge of the bath tub and in between each contraction I raced to shave another section of leg. When a contraction hit I would hunch over and attempt my breathing exercises. Then it would subside and I would again hurry to shave another section. I repeated this same ritual with my toenails, only that was far more amusing. What stood between me and my feet was an enormous beach ball and it was near impossible to get around it.

By the time Cody got home from work that evening I was in serious pain. He came through the door and I met him with “I don’t think I can hold on much longer. We need to get to the hospital.” Having labored all day I was so excited to get to the hospital so I could have an internal exam done. I just knew that my cervix was wide open and that the baby was on his way. The ride to the hospital was so long for me, even though it was only about ten miles from home. The whole way there I was busy doing my focusing exercises and it was to the point where I could no longer talk during contractions. Even breathing was a challenge. They were coming every three minutes and boy did they hurt!

Stepping off the elevator and into the labor and delivery department was a very surreal experience. I was aware that right down the hall was where my baby boy would enter the world…probably only an hour or two away. It was 7:00 at night and after I was changed into a gown and my room was situated, the labor and delivery nurse came in to do an exam. By this time the contractions were extremely intense and each time one of them hit I would entertain the idea of an epidural.

After I was examined, I was horrified when the nurse told me I was only dilated three centimeters. Dr. Farnsworth had checked me at 9:30 that morning and in nine hours I had only dilated two more centimeters! I was beginning to think that all the pain I had endured all day had been for nothing.

“You’re likely looking at another six or seven hours before this baby is born,” the nurse assured me. I couldn’t believe it. How could it get any worse? How could I possibly go through that much more pain?

I was getting so annoyed with people asking me if I wanted an epidural. “No!” I would bark at them. “No drugs at all!” I should have asked for a piece of leather to bite down on. The rational side of me argued with the emotional side that I needed an epidural. I was told that it could speed things along and make me dilate faster. But I felt stuck because I had spent the last nine months shooting my mouth off to everyone about what a tough girl I was and how I could do it with no drugs. If I could pass kidney stones I could do this. So instead, I kept on being a martyr. And if my femininity hadn’t been blatantly obvious in the fact that I was about to expel a baby from my womb, I could have sworn that I had two testicles, a penis, and lots of burly hair on my chest proving that I was a man.

I spent the next two hours walking the halls, lying in the whirlpool tub, and trying desperately to focus on Lamaze. When Dr. Farnsworth finally got there and checked me, he said “This baby hasn’t even dropped yet. He’s still very high up. I think he’s a big one.” Dr. Farnsworth decided to break my water to help things along (Looking back on it now, I think that was a mistake). When he did so, I swear Niagara Falls couldn’t hold a candle to what had been cooped up inside of me. All of the sudden there was a loud gush and the doctor jump out of the way in order to miss what seemed to be the opening of the Hoover Dam. Within minutes the pain intensified to a level that almost sent me over the edge.

It was close to 10:00 and they decided to put me on pitocin and that terrified me. I could barely endure contractions at the level they were now. How could I do it if they intensified? After a while the nurse checked me again. “You’re a six.” I thought I was about to die because the pain was unreal. Then I heard a strange beeping sound and I looked at the monitor to see the baby’s heart rate falling fast. Sheer panic over took me and at that moment two nurses came in to the room. “He’s not doing well,” one of them said to the other. “Get someone in here.”

The next several minutes were being played in slow motion. I didn’t know exactly what was going on, but the room was filled with people in scrubs and white coats and I was being poked and probed and I could swear there were a dozen different tubes coming out of me. A monitor was put just below the surface of the baby’s scalp and I could hear myself saying “My baby is going to die!” I have no clue what they did to me. All I know is that a few moments later the baby’s heart rate was back to normal but I felt like I’d been hit by a truck. Adrenaline began pumping vigorously through my veins and I began to shake uncontrollably and vomit. “That’s totally normal,” the nurse reassured Cody and me. It only felt like hell.

For almost two hours Dr. Farnsworth was in and out of the room, closely studying the monitor each time he was there. By this time I felt like I was going to split wide open and I screamed bloody murder each time a contraction hit which were now right on top of each other. I think that at one point I must have pleaded with Cody to take a pillow and smother me with it. “Veronica,” Dr. Farnsworth said “I think you need to get the epidural. This is too much for you. You have a big baby who’s having a very hard time making his way down and you need a little help to relax.”

All I remember is yelling something pretty vulgar at him and Cody. How on earth could I give in now? After all I had been through, how I could I succumb to the pain when I was so close to the end? The next thing I knew the anesthesiologist was by my side.

It was nearing midnight and I was dilated seven centimeters. I had just started adjusting to the numbness in my body and I began to relax a little. Then again the baby’s heart rate fell. The circus of medical personnel came flooding back into the room and then I heard those ironic words: “Prep her for a c-section.”

“It’s either this or your baby might die,” Dr. Farnsworth said boldly when I tried to fight him on it. I was utterly devastated and I thought for a moment that I was dreaming. This couldn’t really be happening, could it? Before I knew it I was in the operating room, lying under such bright lights that I could barely see anything. Or was it the tears in my eyes that were blinding me? The shaking was so severe and I felt like my limbs were going to go flying off. An oxygen mask was strapped to my face and the whole room was spinning. Suddenly every part of my body that I could feel began to itch so badly as if I had gotten into poison ivy. My tongue began to swell and I thought I was going to stop breathing. It turned out I was having a severe allergic reaction to the morphine they were injecting into my veins. What I would have given right then to have general anesthesia and not know at all what was going on! Even a good conk on the head would have done the trick.

There were two medical students assisting Dr. Farnsworth with the surgery, so the entire time he was describing exactly what he was doing, what he was cutting, what was being pulled, and what was being taken out. Taken out? What?! Put it back in!! Then I remember the doctor saying “Okay Dad, you might want to see this.” At that point the stubborn child was pulled from my belly and held up for all to see. I of course could see nothing because of that blasted blue drape that was hanging right in front of my face.

But I did hear his cry. That angelic, screeching, nasally, beautiful cry was the most awesome thing I had ever heard. He cried and he cried! And if I hadn’t been crying already from the nightmarish ordeal I know I would have shed fresh tears myself. In a matter of seconds they wrapped him up and brought him over for me to see. My entire face was terribly swollen from the allergic reaction and my eyes were small slits, just barely wide enough to make out the soft white hat on his teeny little head. I stroked his face with my finger and in an instant, my entire life changed and I knew I would never be the same. Right there in that operating room there was not just the birth of a baby, but also the birth of a mother. I had entered the hospital that night as a naive and sheltered girl, yet I would leave as a mother bear protecting her fragile cub. I was a woman suddenly aware of every danger and evil that lurked in the world. I was in charge of this little person for the rest of my time on earth and my heart began to swell so large that it felt like it would burst from my chest.

Right then I fully understood why a person would throw herself in front of a speeding car to save the life of her child. Without a second thought, I would have gone through the entire pregnancy again. I would have suffered the four month long campout on the bathroom floor as my stomach turned itself inside out. I would have gladly experienced the unrelenting heartburn brought on even by drinking water, or the swelling in my feet that magically increased my shoe size from a seven to a nine. I would have suffered with the hemorrhoids so painful that I could barely sit at times, or the leg cramps and night sweats that kept me up night after night. I wouldn’t have thought twice about going through twenty one hours of labor so painful that no book on the planet could have prepared me for. And in the end, I would have undergone major surgery that would forever leave a battle scar on my once flawless belly. I would have endured it all again just to have that one precious moment with my son. I had done all of the research on ways of getting a baby into the world, but nothing could have conveyed to me the unspeakable love that would freely poor from my heart to my baby. Ethan had made it, all eight pounds eight ounces and twenty two inches of him. It was 12:37 a.m. on February 10, 2004 and after a day like that, exhaustion only touched the surface of what I was feeling.

“Irony is the gaiety of reflection and the joy of wisdom.” –Anatole France

Sunday, February 7, 2010

My Beautiful Bumbo Boy

This kid loves his Bumbo chair, no doubt about it!

Hailey's Class Birthday Party

I love working in Hailey's class once a month. When I was the class mom this month we got to celebrate Hailey's birthday. We made a poster all about her and she got to show it to the class. She also brought her new horse Licorice to show everyone. I just love this little girl and I especially love going to school with her! Being Hailey's mommy makes me feel very special.

Hailey's Family Party

After Kangaroo Zoo, we came home to eat burgers and have cake. In our family it seems that birthdays get celebrated over the course of a week! It's fun for us. That night we had chocolate cake and Hailey got spoiled with presents...again. Her favorite thing was a big black horse that she named Licorice. She sleeps with him every night, and even buckles him into the empty seat in the van when we drive somewhere. Such a silly girl.

Kangaroo Zoo

On Hailey's actual birthday we headed to Kangaroo Zoo when Daddy got home from work. A lot of fun was had by all! Afterward we went home and grilled burgers for dinner, per the birthday girl's request.

Hailey's 4th Birthday Party

Hailey had her friend party on January 16th. For months she has been talking about having a "rainbow" party. She's big into rainbows lately. I found a cupcake technique online to make awesome layered cupcakes and they turned out so well! Thank you Brandi, for helping me make them.

I had a lot of fun planning this party. I am all about color so this was right up my ally. We hung balloons and streamers of every color all over the house. We had a treasure hunt to find the pot of gold (a witches cauldron spray painted gold). Inside the pot of gold were their goodie bags. We hit a rainbow pinata, made rainbow fruit loop necklaces, and ate all kinds of rainbow themed junk food. It was so much fun, and more importantly Hailey had a wonderful time. She has talked about her rainbow party ever since!

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Sweet Lauren

I don't journal enough about this little girl. She is our 3rd child and somehow gets lost in the mix. But that doesn't mean that she doesn't provide me with plenty of journal worthy material. She is the most spunky and opinionated 2 year old I've ever known.

Lauren is our miracle child. I have mentioned many times before that we almost didn't bring her into this world. My pregnancy with Hailey was very traumatic and there were a lot of complications. And then I had such intense post partum psychosis after she born and I was hospitalized for a while. It was a terrifying time in our lives and we hoped to never experience it again.

We were told by numerous doctors that we should not have more children. Cody and I were both very saddened by this because we felt that there were in fact more children waiting to join our family, but we came to the conclusion that another family would have to "host" those spirits because I wasn't capable of bringing more children into this world.

I was in fact devastated by this. It hurt me so much as I packed up maternity clothes. It killed me as Hailey would outgrow clothing and I would pack it up to hand down to a friend or family member. All around me I could feel the presence of another spirit child. It haunted me. No matter how hard I tried, I could not shake it. But the thought of going through what I had experienced with Hailey's pregnancy and after math...it was too much for my heart to handle. And there was no way I could ever ask Cody to give me another child, not after what he dealt with before. That wasn't fair. And to be honest, I didn't know if I would survive another pregnancy and birth. My sanity sure wouldn't.

I prayed and I prayed. I prayed that the Lord would heal my heart and help me feel content with our two beautiful children and current situation. I prayed that the feeling of that lingering spirit would leave me. But it never did. So I then started changing the tone of my prayers. I told the Lord that if we were to have another baby, HE would have to make it happen in His own way. I could not make that conscious decision to become pregnant again.

Well, despite all modern methods of birth control, the Lord saw fit to bless us with another child. I recall those first few weeks as Cody and I walked on egg shells, always wondering and waiting for the bottom to fall out again. We were scared, to say the least. But to make a long story short, that pregnancy, birth, and everything surrounding it was a wonderful blessing. I had absolutely none of the complications that I did before. Things could not have gone more smoothly.

Lauren was in fact meant to join our family when she did. I can not and do not want to imagine our lives with out this sweet girl. She is an amazing person and we love her more than words can say. I am so thankful that the Lord allowed us another chance to have a baby. She is such a joy to us. Sweet Lauren girl, words can not express how much we love you.

A Sad Ballerina

Hailey is a girly girl. We have always known that about her. She is all about accessorizing and looking good. Ever since she was two and a half years old she has loved to dance. She loves to twirl and leap and float around on her toes.

One of her favorite things to do is sit in my lap at the computer and watch ballet videos on YouTube. Not too long ago I searched for a "Nutcracker" scene. The scene started out with a female soloist fluttering around. Hailey was hypnotized. That is, until a man came on the scene. A scowl spread across her face and she said "What is a boy doing in the ballet class?" From then on, each time she saw a man dancing she got mad. "Boys are not allowed to do ballet!!"

She has been dying to start ballet classes and I made her wait until she turned four. Well upon her fourth birthday she reminded me of my promise. She began digging through her drawers to find some of her ballet clothes. Today I called about signing her up, but I was discouraged to do so in the middle of a term because they are getting ready for their huge recital in March. I instantly knew I would have a very sad girl on my hands. The next term starts in June and you can bet she will be the first one on the list.

The woman at the academy invited us to the recital next month, hoping maybe it would soothe Hailey's feelings. When I told her we could have a Mommy and Hailey date to see the show, she was mad because SHE would not be dancing in it. Oh boy. We already have quite the diva on our hands!

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Happy Birthday Hailey Jane

Hailey turned four on January 19th at 2:05 p.m. I can not believe four years have passed already! Hailey's birth in itself is not anything dramatic, but it was by far the most dramatic pregnancy and recovery. I supposed the good Lord spared me an eventful birth for that reason.

She was due to be born on January 30, 2006. But we had elected to do a repeat c-section so it was scheduled for January 19. My doctor, Mike Draper, had a policy that if he electively took a baby a day before 39 weeks we wanted to do an amnio to make sure that baby's lungs were developed enough. I guess he had seen his share of 38 weekers born with premature lungs. Even though I wasn't as big as I was with Ethan, I was by far more uncomfortable. The days leading up to her birth were agony and I told Cody on many occasions that I would flip out if the amnio came back badly, because that would mean I would have to wait even longer to expell her from my body.

Cody's Aunt Lyn volunteered to come over and stay with Ethan the day of the birth, so she showed up early that morning and we left for the hospital. They got us in for the procedure as scheduled and to my surprise it wasn't bad at all. I felt a little prick when the needle went in, but it wasn't painful at all. The technician said she could see the baby's hair on the ultrasound! I was beaming with excitement. The amnio was over and the real fun began. We had to wait almost three hours for the results and I wasn't aloud to eat anything, despite how ravenously hungry I was. I had been instructed not to eat anything after mindnight the night before. Cody headed downt o the cafeteria to get breakfast with out me.

I decided to walk around a little to kill time and that's when the pain started. I had been warned that sometimes teh trauma from an amnio can trigger labor...and it had for sure! I began having regular contractions as I walked the halls. I sat out in the waiting room and timed them. Five minutes part. They weren't too uncomfortable at this point, but I really began praying that we would get good news about the amnio because no matter what, this baby was not going to stay put.

Around noon we received word that the baby's lungs were fully mature and the surgery was on. They got me into the pre-op room (which doubled as a recovery room) and I changed into my gown and got hooked up to an IV...after only a million pokes! They put me on a fetal monitor and sure enough, I wa s having regular contractions that would rise and fall on the screen. Around 1:00 Dr. Draper got there and in a little while we were in the operating room. I made the mistake of insisting on walking myself into the OR rather than being wheeled in. I walked in an imediately saw the tools and equipment that would be used to cut me open and I almost hit the floor.

After receiving the spinal and being catheterized, the surgery began and I was able to stay pretty calm. It was a much different experience from Ethan's birth. At 2:05 p.m. Hailey Jane made her apperance, fat and beautiful with a head full of black hair. 6 pounds, 5 ounces and 19 inches long. More than two pounds smaller than her brother had been! She was wrapped up and brought over for me to see and my finger softly stroked her face. Oh she was so beautiful and I thought my heart would explode from my chest! I couldn't believe that I had been so blessed as to now be the mother to TWO perfect children!

Now if they would just hurry up and put me back together so I could get back into the recovery room and hold my precious girl!

Daniel in the Lion's Den

I love Family Home Evening. In some ways it is the highlight of my week. I have always loved it, ever since I was a little kid. I would drive my family nuts as I walked around with my clipboard, planning the activities and making assignments. I really got into it and they thought I was so annoying!

I still love it, maybe even more since I have my own children. They are getting old enough now that it's not such a pointless battle to get them to sit still. They get excited when they know it is Monday. "What will we be having for a treat??" they ask. Tonight we talked about Daniel in the lion's den. Hailey learned about it in Sunbeams a few weeks ago and she was excited to help with the story telling. Afterward we drew pictures of what we learned. The pictures they draw crack me up.

Hailey drew a picture of the kittens and puppies that surrounded Daniel in the lion's den. She said he stayed down there and pet them and they all slept together on the same bed. She said the kittens purred a lot.

Ethan drew King Darius hanging a rope down to Daniel for him to be hoisted out. Notice there is a pulley at the top of the rope. Ethan said it would make it easier to pull Daniel out. He said the other people in the Den are other people who prayed to God. Hmmm, don't know about that one but great improvisation! I love these kids.

A New Baby

Congrats to Matthew and Kamishia! They are expecting a baby sometime in September. Matt says it explains a lot of otherwise unexplainable hormonal outbursts from Kam. He said he was about to throw her through the window at times, until he realized she was pregnant! Yup, that can sure make a woman feel crazy and out of control. The poor guy. He's got several more months of that to deal with, but at least there is a good reason for it! We are very happy for these two. This baby is going to forever change them in ways they can not imagine! It's so exciting. Here's to a happy and healthy nine months!

Devin's Blessing Day

I have so much catching up to do on this blog, so please excuse me when you see posts out of order. I'm posting as I have time and motivation!

Devin was blessed on December 27th. I wish I could say that it was a wonderful day, but it was a really stressful one for me. We had originally planned on only inviting immediate family members. My parents, Cody's parents, and then our siblings and their families. But it didn't happen like that. Before I knew it we were inviting the traditional 45 people over!

Preparing for a baby blessing is always stressful for the mom. The house has to be clean, food prepared, everyone needs to be looking nice and you have to somehow keep the baby from puking on or pooping out of the white outfit. To make a long story short, twenty minutes before we had to leave for church, yes TWENTY MINUTES, right in the midst of getting a bunch of people ready and out the door, putting last minute touches on food, and trying to keep it all together in general, my phone starts ringing off the hook. Primary teacher after teacher started calling me to tell me they would not be at church. Why they see fit to wait until the LAST MINUTE to call me, and why they can not find their own sub, is beyond me. As if I don't have enough going on!!!! Argh. Okay, I've already vented and cried enough about it in the last month.

We ended up missing over half of our Primary and Nursery teachers that day. It was insane. Absolutely chaotic. And why of all days did it have to happen on Devin's blessing day?? That family shot is of us about two seconds away from walking out the door. I was fighting back tears big time. I ended up having to stay for the whole block to man the fort. I didn't get a chance to be in on my own baby's blessing get together. I finally got home right as everyone started leaving.

It was hard that day not to feel resentful toward my calling. But oh well. Cody gave a beautiful blessing and that is all that really matters. Devin has a wonderful family and the Lord has a lot of good things in store for him. He is an incredible blessing to us!