Monday, May 04, 2015

1,242 Days + 1

Carter was an orphan for 1,242 days.  Three years, four months, and twenty-four days of not knowing the love of a family.


That's 1,242 bedtimes.  All done without mama's kisses.
That's 3 birthdays. All gone un-celebrated.
That's countless milestones. All met without being cheered on.


But today.
Today, Carter has been a son for 1,243 days.


He's been a son longer than he's been an orphan. 
He's been loved longer than he's been neglected. 


This life of Carter's is pretty perfect. He's growing and changing in new ways each day.


He has an amazing team of professionals at school who celebrate his many abilities.

As I type this, I'm watching him work with our team of at-home therapists who are so patient with our busy boy.

He has grandparents and aunts and uncles and cousins who love him for who God created him to be.

He has parents who think he is the most amazing, incredible, beautiful kid.


We see you, Carter. One thousand, two hundred and forty two days of being seen.


No longer an invisible orphan, but a cherished son.

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We will always be in awe of how God put together the pieces of your life, Carter.  

Treasured baby photo, given to us at our SDA appointment
The first time we met
Your first goofy smiles during our first orphanage visit
We'll never forget the look on your face the first time we met, or the way you smiled so cautiously on our first visit.  Once you learned that laughing was encouraged, we couldn't keep you quiet.  



You've been our sweet sunshine-y boy ever since.

++++++++

1,243 days of being kissed up by your mama.  Wrestled up by your daddy.  Hugged and squeezed and loved like crazy.  

(60 days of being tolerated by your sister.  It's okay, she'll come around.)

It will only get better from here, sweet boy.  

I'm reminded of the lyrics to one of your favorite songs.  Let's sing them, shall we?

"If what I am is what's in me
Then I'll stay strong, that's who I'll be!
I will always be the best me that I can be!
There's only one me - I am it
I have a dream, I'll follow it
It's up to me to try
I'm gonna keep my head up high
Keep on reaching high
Never gonna quit!
I'll keep getting stronger!"

So much good stuff ahead, little boy.


One Thing I Know For Sure: We see you, Carter.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Macy's Story.

Macyn Joy Gibson came into this world on Monday, March 9th - her due date.  At 11:05pm, she took her very first breath.  This is her birth story.

I suppose her story starts many months ago.  I finally made an appointment to see a midwife.  We decided that two years was too long - we were ready to get serious about having a baby.  I met with Brenna.  I instantly fell in love with her.  She filled me with so much hope, and at the end of our visit (which felt more like a heart-to-heart with a friend), she said "Girl, we are going to get you pregnant!".  It was the first time I felt like this could really happen.

Fast forward a few weeks, and I was pregnant.  That's really where Macy's story begins.  But for the sake of time, we'll start here:

Sunday was like most other Sunday's.  Church in the morning, Carter snuggling up to me all through the service, asking to be held during worship - with his big, long body dangling from my arms and over my round belly.  We came home, and I felt different.  I knew in my gut that my body was preparing for something big.

Regardless, we had friends over for dinner that night.  We laughed, and joked about how tomorrow was our due date - and nobody has their first baby on their due date! After they left, we tried timing contractions.  Ten minutes.  Five minutes.  Twelve minutes.  Seventeen minutes.  Four minutes.  This must be false labor.  I jumped in the shower to slow things down, and we both went to sleep for the night.

At 6:15am, I woke up to start getting myself and Carter ready for school.  While laying in bed, Jake asked, as he did almost every morning for weeks, if this would be the day.  I said maybe - but lets get Carter to school first.  Before I could even get out of bed, my water broke.  Yes, dear.  Today is the day.

Because I tested GBS+, it was important to get to the hospital within an hour or so of my water breaking so I could start an antibiotic (and then receive it every 4 hours while in labor).  Which meant there was no time to get Carter to school!  We called my mom and she was here within 15 minutes.  We called the midwife - and guess who was on call?  My girl, Brenna.  I could not have been more thrilled. Jake loaded the car and off we went.  We made excited phone calls on the way to the hospital, and prayed in between.  

This was the day we would meet our baby girl.  


When I arrived, I was 4cm and 100%.  Not what I wanted to hear - considering I had been 3cm and 90% for weeks.  Throughout the day, my contractions continued to mess with me.  Five minutes apart.  Then two.  Then seven.  Then five.  I walked the halls, I sat on the birthing ball, I tried to rest, I paced our room, I took a bath...it didn't matter.  Things were moving slowly. 

I was already missing Carter, and was so sad to know that I wouldn't be at home with him for several days.  His awesome teachers sent me photos of his morning at school - telling me he was having a wonderful day, and not to worry about him.  This helped to put me at ease, and really allowed me to just focus on what I was supposed to be doing.


Sometime while it was still light out, I remember sitting with Brenna and Jake, telling them I was getting scared.  What am I doing wrong?  Why am I not progressing?  Can I really do this?  Am I really as capable as I've been telling myself?  Brenna told me all my emotions were normal, and Jake grabbed my birth cards that I made exactly for this moment.

"You are stronger than you think you are"
"Your contractions can't be stronger than you, because they are you"
"Your body was created for this"
"Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you.  I will uphold you with my righteous right hand."
"Your only job is to relax and allow birth to happen"



It was also around this time that Brenna and I had 'the talk'.  I knew it was coming.  I had been dreading it since the moment my water broke.  Labor had been long, and hard.  I was clearly exhausted.  But she wouldn't judge me if I wanted an epidural.  I didn't.  I don't know why - but I have had this strong desire to experience all that I could.  I wanted to feel everything.  I didn't want to miss out on any part of Macyn's birth - even if it was painful. 

I wanted to feel it, right along with her.


Around 8:30pm, we talked about ways to move labor along.  We were going to be approaching the 18 hour mark, and for safety's sake we needed to start making some serious progress.  Brenna mentioned pitocin, which progresses labor and regulates contractions.  She also mentioned nubain, which is a pain reliever that just takes the edge off the contractions and allows for rest in between.  We tried the nubain first, and I was blessed with about an hour of rest.  

I felt drunk, and was cracking jokes with Annette and Brenna.  "You guys, I want an epidural....just kidding!".  

I was cognizant enough to realize that it was about Carter's bedtime.  I told Jake that if he heard from my mom that she was having a hard time putting him to bed, I didn't want to know about it.  A few minutes later, he told me she had texted him to say Carter went to bed like a champ.  Again, relief.  Our big boy is going to be just fine...I can just focus on Macy.

After an hour of nubain, we made the decision to go ahead and start a low dose of pitocin.  And that's when the magic happened.  Suddenly, I couldn't avoid the urge to push.  By 9:30, I was trying different pushing positions - finally settling on my back, with Annette and my awesome partner, Jake, holding my legs.  They had tied a bed sheet around the birth bar so I had something to grab onto and pull during contractions.

The pushing was hard.  But my team and coach cheered me on the whole time.  At one point, I wondered if I was really doing that well or if they were just saying that I was to motivate me.  If I was doing so well, why was it taking so long?

After an hour and a half of pushing like I never thought possible, Brenna said "Look!".  I opened my eyes for the first time since I started pushing, and there she was.  One more push, and she was in my arms - barely crying, eyes wide open, looking right at us.  Jake and I looked at each other in total shock and awe and excitement and exhaustion.

This is the day we met our daughter.  She was here.

Macyn Joy Gibson - born at 11:05pm, weighing 6lbs 14oz. Nineteen beautiful inches of perfection.



We called family about an hour later.  Macy nursed like a champ for over an hour and a half.  Jake and I finally calmed down enough for sleep at 3:30am.

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As exciting as it was for us to meet this baby who I had carried for 9 months, we were just as thrilled to see her with her big brother.  I don't know why, but it was important to me that Carter meet her first, before anyone else. It only seemed right.

This was a big day.


We went to the family lounge, so Carter wouldn't be scared by all the doctor-y stuff in my hospital room. He walked right in and said "Mom!".

Melt my heart.

Next up: sister.  For the last 9 months, all we have heard from him is "Nooo baby sister".

Today: "Hiii Macy."



Holding her was something he wasn't too thrilled about, but was easily coerced when we said "Hold baby first, then presents!" :)




"Eenie, meenie, miney, moe - who ate all the cookie dough?!"
It seems as though this room was made for Carter B. Gibson:



Yes, there were elephants and giraffes outside the room.  Of course there were.


Once Big Brother came, we had an open invitation for family to come visit.

NaNa & Brad

Grampie

Grannie

MiMi & Poppy

Uncle Ben

Auntie Kristi

Cousin Katelyn

Uncle Greg

Auntie M & Uncle T
So much love in Room 310.  So much perfection.  So much life. 

Jake made sure to tell everyone that I was a champ and a rockstar and amazing and strong. But the truth is, I wouldn't have been strong without him. 

Jake, you were pretty amazing, too. 

You helped me stay calm when I wanted to panic. You encouraged me to keep going when I felt like I just couldn't do any more. You silently prayed for me when there was nothing else to do. 

And you cheered. You cheered me on the whole time. You are the best coach. 

We make the best team. 

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That is the very beginning of Macy Joy's story.

It will continue on from this point, each day weaving together with my story, and Jake's story, and Carter's story.  Someday, we'll add more kids, and more stories.



So.

To our new family of four: Whatever we do, may we do it together.



This is our life.  It's pretty perfect.


One Thing I Know For Sure: Welcome to this big, beautiful world.  We're so glad you're here.

Monday, February 23, 2015

On 'Only-Child' Life.

Dear Carter,

Very soon, your life will change.  Soon, you will become a Big Brother.


You have been an only child for three and a half years.  Those years have been so special to us, pal.

We have absolutely loved every second of being parents to only you.


You are our first - you'll always be our first.

Being your parents happened over night, literally - and it was sort of like being thrown into the deepest part of the ocean without ever having seen the water.  But you have been patient with us.  We are slow to learn, and you are quick to forgive.


In a few short months, we'll look back and try so hard to remember what it was like to have only one little treasure in our life.

Changes are coming, but change is good.  We know you will be the best Big Brother, because you are so full of sweetness and kindness and gentleness and sassiness (which, in this family, is the best trait to have).  

Your little sister is bound to adore you.  Her life will be like a canvas painted with every color of the rainbow - because of you.  She doesn't know it yet, but having you for her brother will be the most perfect gift.


Life has been so good, Carter B.  And it's only going to get better.  We promise.

At first, she might be really annoying.  Like, completely obnoxious.  We might all wonder what happened to our quiet, simple life.

And that's okay.  It's only going to get better.  We promise.

Lately, our little family of three has enjoyed long, quiet cuddles in our bed before putting you to bed in your own room.  You quietly make eyes with us, as we talk about the day that you just had, and look ahead to what awaits you tomorrow.  You laugh, and say hilarious things...and we swoon over your cuteness.

And these last moments of our family of three are so sweet.


We are just going to rock this thing, together.  As a family.

A family of four.

And maybe sometimes, on hard days, we will tuck you into your bed at night and snuggle in close, and we'll remember how sweet it was to be parents to only you.


Life is going to be different, but oh-so-good.

And it's only going to get better.  We promise.

One Thing I Know For Sure: The best is yet to come, we promise.

Monday, February 09, 2015

Showered, Again :)

Shower Number Two is in the books.  I just took down the cute banner and ate the last adorable mitten cookie - so I suppose a blog post is in order.


All of my family came to my house for this 'Baby It's Cold Outside' themed morning.


No surprise that everything was perfect and sweet and precious...


...right down to a new 'Baby It's Cold Outside' mug for my pre-shower coffee fix!


We had a delicious brunch (my favorite meal of the day!) with lots of sweet treats :)


We all guessed Baby M's arrival date....


....see my guess?  Her due date is March 9.  We shall see!


Everyone decorated a block with scrapbook paper, stickers, and mod podge!  Such a fun, meaningful keepsake for Baby M!



This picture.  Cracks me right up.

I don't know what I'm saying, but I know what I'm feeling.

Love.  Lots and lots and lots of love.


Some ladies traveled quite a distance to get here.  How did we get so lucky?


After opening all these sweet gifts, I can say that we are SET.  There is nothing else we need.  There isn't even anything else we WANT.  We have more, more, more than we could have ever expected.


I even got a gift from Carter and Jake :)


After flipping through all these photos, I notice lots of things.
My round belly, full with a little lady who will soon enter this great big world.
Thoughtful, sweet, meaningful gifts - given with such love.
Weird, weird facial expressions from the mommy opening the gifts.

You guys.  I make the weirdest faces.


Do I make these faces all the time, or just when opening gifts?  What the what?

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M's clothes are washed and ready for her.  And they're, of course, organized by size and type :)


Blankets, bibs, burp cloths - all washed and ready.
Hospital bags are mostly packed.
Prenatal classes are finished.
Swing is set up, sleeper and carseats will be prepped this week.

What's left?

Waiting.  Lots of waiting.  About four weeks of waiting, actually.

As we get closer, it's fun to think about when it will happen.  Will I feel those first contractions in the middle of the night, or some morning as I'm making Carter's breakfast?  What will the weather be like that day?  Will it be a school day, or a weekend?

I bought shampoo and conditioner the other day, and I thought "This is probably the last time I will buy shampoo and conditioner before the baby comes!".  Silly, I know - but it made me realize that she's coming.

Soon.

One Thing I Know For Sure: Eeeek!
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