Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Thank you God for answered prayers

Her grip was tight. It's as if she were saying "Don't worry, Mommy. I'm going to be OK."
This picture was taken about a week ago---when I didn't know what was going to happen to my little girl. I can't begin to describe how painful it is to see your newborn baby girl with breathing tubes in her nose, IVs sticking out of her tiny hands and cords all over her body.
Twelve hours after I gave birth to our Josephine Janice, I finally got to hold our sweet baby girl. I was emotional the first time I saw our other children--Julie and Johnny. But, with Josie, I was completely overwhelmed. To me, she was the most beautiful baby, and I could just feel her sweet and innocent soul. She was perfect.
Josie came home with us yesterday--one week after she was born.
This past week has been the most difficult time--probably in my entire life. I don't think I've ever felt quite so helpless or sad. There's nothing that can compare to leaving your newborn baby at the hospital--not knowing when she might get better.
When we finally brought her home, I felt more thankful and grateful than ever before. Our prayers had been answered. The most amazing Christmas gift.
Life doesn't get much better than this.

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Leaving is the Hardest Part...

Our little Josephine "Josie" Janice was born Tuesday at 12:47 p.m.
6 pounds, 7 ounces and 19 inches.

She's absolutely perfect.

Today I leave the hospital without her and I just don't know how I'm going to do it.

Josie was born three weeks early so her lungs are immature and she's just not ready to come home yet. But, I'm so not ready to leave her.

Scott and I have spent the last four days in the special care nursery staring at our beautiful little girl, sometimes holding her but always praying for her to get better.

 In my last post I worried about how I would handle life with three kids. Now, I just can't imagine life without our youngest little girl. And I just don't know how I'm going to leave her here today.

Yesterday, she laid in my lap and gazed at me for what seemed like forever. She held my hand and I never wanted to let go. Please get better sweet baby.

Friday, December 5, 2014

Ready or Not

Tuesday at 12:30 p.m. our baby girl will arrive.

No rushing to the hospital in the middle of the night or wondering whether that pain is a "real" contraction." No water breaking while Christmas shopping or measuring how many centimeters dilated.

It's Dec. 9 at 12:30 p.m. That's it.

(Planned C-section because of placenta preevia.)

Maybe I'm a glutton for punishment, but I'm kind of sad it's all planned. Is it possible to actually miss contractions? And I've never been a great "pusher", but I'm oddly disappointed about that not happening either.

When I was in labor with both kids, I distinctly remember wishing for it all to be over so I could just hold my baby. I just wanted to get on with it and fast forward.

Here we are 4 days from my C-section and I'm not feeling it's too I want to wait for the baby to tell me she's ready to come into this world.

Even though I've been nesting like crazy and I like I'm about to burst, there are still three more weeks until my due date. To me, that seems like a long time when it comes to pregnancy. I'm not sleeping, I waddle and I have all kinds of aches and pains, but I just don't feel quite ready yet. Anyone who looks at me these days can't resist saying "You must be ready!!" A cashier at CVS even said "I just want to poke you with a pin and pop you."

I know I'm the size of a pot bellied pig right now, but I really don't mind it, and I completely don't feel mentally ready. I struggle to walk, I can barely bend over, and crossing my legs is out of the question. Still...I wouldn't mind a few more weeks.

Mostly I just want our baby girl to be completely developed and healthy, but I also think I need more than four days to wrap my head around the idea of a third child---a baby---joining our family. We haven't had babies in the house for 5 1/2 years. We sleep past 7 a.m. on the weekends, the kids don't need our constant attention and they're like real people now with independent thoughts and feelings.

What will it be like with our new baby? How will our family change?

I would like to think that we'll go with the flow since we've done this all before.  Maybe the lack of sleep won't get to us too much and there will be plenty of love and attention to go around.

But, let's face it. I'm scared.

I don't want the all-encompassing duties of taking care of a newborn to affect the two kids we have. I want to be there for them in all their special programs and activities and I want to notice when they're sad or need help. I want to  still be able to snuggle with them in the mornings or help them with homework without feeling like I'm falling apart. 

The thing is--I remember feeling like this before Johnny was born. Julie was 3 1/2 and I couldn't imagine how we would be able to manage or how we could love another child as much. We did it and we'll do it again.

The little girl is coming whether we're ready or not.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

The Perfect Tree

There she is. Our Christmas tree. Slightly leaning. Half the ornaments are homemade and the rest are from the 1980s.

She was decorated (almost) entirely by the kids. And she even fell over once (which of course prompted grumbling from Scott.)

She's not wrapped with burlap garland or fancy vintage bulbs. But, it's our perfect tree. The big old-fashioned colored lights bring back memories of Christmases growing up and every ornament has a story.

There's the penguin made from popsicle sticks by Julie in first grade, and the ornament with
Johnny's preschool picture. There are a half dozen "baby" ornaments and a few other MacKaben family ornaments. There's the snowman I painted in 1986 and the Santa crocheted by my grandma.

Watching Julie and Johnny play with and talk about their ornaments reminded me so much of Christmases long ago.

Growing up we had two Christmas trees. The fancy, snow-flocked tree with blue lights and mirrored ornaments sat upstairs. That was the one we didn't touch.

Then, there was our special live tree downstairs. When Mom brought down the boxes of ornaments Kelly and I got so excited. We loved playing with the ornaments so much, we almost didn't want to put them on the tree. That was the tree we gathered around on Christmas Eve to read "Twas the Night Before Christmas" and on Christmas morning to open presents.

That's the tree I want for our kids. One that's full of love and memories. Even if it doesn't look quite Facebook-worthy, it's the best.