Wednesday, March 30, 2011

They Grow So Fast

I can't believe Squirt is 16 days old.  I can't believe that's 2 weeks.  I can't believe I only have 50 more weeks with her as a "baby".  I can't tear myself away from her - I hold her when I don't have to and I stare at her when I should be watching a movie.  I ignore my blog and my laundry so I can try to stuff as much of this into my memory as possible.

It's like I'm re-living each older kiddo's infancy through her... I look down at her nursing and see Jack and Addie.  When she smiles, I see Jordan.  (And yes, I'm considering it a smile - even if it's caused by gas, it's still a smile.)  When Jack was 16 days old, I had no idea what I was doing.  Nursing was challenging and I didn't know how to burp him properly and we were facing a deployment and each day, though wonderful, was also riddled with mini-crises and a sprinkling of panic.  With the twins, at this point, Jordan had only been home from the NICU for a short while and we were just realizing that she had problems with reflux.  I spent far less time than I wanted to snuggling each girl and relishing her presence because I was juggling a much younger, much less independent Jack plus the demands of caring for two newborns and coping with Justin's high-demand job.  I felt guilty when I lingered too long with one twin or the other and I rarely wore them because wearing two was such a task and I felt like I was robbing one of them of time if I wore her sister.  From the outset with them, they were more content to snuggle with one another than with me and in general, I bonded with them in brief spurts over a longer period of time and as a result, much of their early days is a complete blur.

But Peyton?  Peyton is all of them.  She is at once just like Jack and like her sisters.  I am an experienced mom who fluently speaks "crying" and interprets her needs with ease and confidence.  I can sling her in as much time as I can ask, "can you pick her up?" and I can cook a 3-course meal 1-handed while singing "Old MacDonald" to the older kids and playing a game of kick-and-catch with our mini soccer ball.  I can function on 2.5 hours of sleep a night for a week, as long as I get a few 4-hour chunks every now and then.  I am busy but not overwhelmed (thanks, truthfully, in large part to amazing friends who have helped with meals... I can't take ALL the credit!) and I realize more than with the other 3 kids that these days are fleeting.  Laundry will always pile up, but she won't always fit in Justin's hand like a handful of candy.  The counters will always have mysterious sticky stuff on them, but she won't always murmur contentedly at my breast when she's full of milk.  I can always shower and do my hair, but she won't always smell that that ubiquitous combination of powder, rubbing alcohol and love. 

I love that I can lift her to my face and put a kiss on her rosebud lips and watch her purse them and then realize it's me and turn her cheek into my hand with her mouth open ready to nurse.  I love that we can offer her a finger and she grasps it automatically and unquestioningly the way we love her automatically and unquestioningly.  I love that her eyes study us with the innocent fascination of an infant, but there is also a sense of familiarity in her gaze as if she's know us for far longer than 16 days.  I love that she's here and I cannot fathom how I'll get through the bittersweet thrill of each milestone over the next 50 weeks.  (And, to be sure, every year after that as well...)  I love that she makes me love my other 3 even more deeply.  And I love that I feel like God placed her within me because He knew that Peyton would bring me closer to Him and intensify my love for our family as well as for Him and make me a better mother, daughter, sister, wife and friend. 

I love.

And while she will grow quickly, I hope that I do too.  I hope I don't miss anything.  I hope I can remember to remember.

Because they grow so fast...

Black and White Wednesday hosted by Lisa!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Sweet Peyton

Want more of Peyton?  So do I.  I have more photos, but apparently I'm out of space on Blogger... so... suggestions...? 

Want more black and whites?  Check out Lisa's blog.

Seriously, I cannot get enough of this sweet face.  The cheeks, the sweet fuzzy head, the angelic smell, the perfection of her...

I'm on cloud nine...


Monday, March 21, 2011

More Photos!

These are all straight from the camera... I haven't (okay, let's be serious... I probably won't have oodles of free time right now) had a chance to edit anything, so let's not critique any photographic skill (or lack there-of) hm?  Thanks!  Enjoy!

Big Sister Addie loves her...

St. Patty's Day duck feeding... also, the day I realized my "baby" girls are so big... Sigh.

In which I marvel at the perfection of a 3 day old baby...

Sunday, March 20, 2011


...Peyton Bailey, newest exhibit in our zoo!

She was welcomed into our arms at 6:54 pm on Monday the 13th of March.

It was amazing.  She amazes me.  God amazes me.  It's good.

My doctor decided that, since I was dilated to 4 cm and not contracting that we should have me go in and break my water so we wouldn't have the gamble of it happening spontaneously and me not being able to get my husband home and me to the hospital in time.  So on Monday morning we went in and got the ball rolling.

I would rather have just let my body do its own thing, but to eliminate the frantic rush of trying to find someone to watch the kids on a whim and dealing with a minimum of an hour and 45 minutes of commuting if anything happened during the work day meant it was safer for the baby and for me and was a better option for the big 3.  So, Pitocin it was for me.

 In the hospital, I settled in and got started on my IV and donned my monitors and sent the anesthesiologist packing, despite his dubious looks of "are you sure?" and "do you know what you're getting yourself into?".  At noon, they ruptured my membranes and the contractions started to feel a little stronger, though they weren't registering on the TOCO at all, so they kept cranking the Pitocin and I kept pulling into myself to find strength and peace through the waves.  Eventually, they switched to an internal monitor and realized that I was, in fact, contracting quite well and things progressed steadily and normally. I was in pain, but it's a good, productive pain, so I was happy enough and content to keep breathing and centering myself.  Around 5:30, I started feeling more pressure and my doctor told me he had to run out, but that he would be back around 6:45.  I promised him I'd wait and he dashed out.

Shortly thereafter, I was finally having to moan through the contractions to bleed off some of the pressure and relieve my body's stress. Justin took up his post next to my head and offered his hand to bolster my strength.  Soon, I felt the urge to push clearly and nearly begged to do so.  With just enough time to spare, my doctor sprinted in the door and, after a good push or two, I felt the unmistakable relief of her head emerging, and then the satisfying, fulfilling release of her little body joining the world.

But when they placed her on my belly, her beautiful face was purple and she was silent.  Dimly, I remember Justin cutting the cord and some white towels rubbing her skin... but what I recall most was that she was silent.  And so, so purple.  Nearly gray.

My doctor and a couple of nurses begged my pardon and lifted her away to get a better look at the situation and I was flooded by words at random: "fluid", "breath", "lungs", "bag", "NICU".  I tried to see through the commotion and think through the rush of fear and adrenaline, and I don't think I allowed myself to exhale until I heard her first feeble cry.  She was alive.

Clutching Justin's hand in mine, I waited.  We waited.  Amidst the bustle, we were able to see her limbs taking on a healthier pink hue and between the wooshing sounds of the bag they had to use to help her breathe and the suctioning, she would occasionally cry out, each time bringing tears to my eyes and grounding me - reminding me that God is good and she would be alright.

They took her to the special care nursery (NICU) and reported back that her chest x-ray showed that her lungs were completely full of fluid and that she was stable but still needed care.  They assured me that as soon as they could get her breathing on her own, she'd join us.  Then, and only then, did Justin and I let go of one another.  Later, they reported back to me that they were anxious to get her out of the nursery because she was crying and flailing her fists at the nurses and agitating the more sensitive babies in the nursery.  She was hungry, they said with a smile, and she wanted her Mommy.  My heart grew heavy with love and I felt like I couldn't love any more than that, ever.  (But, of course, I do.)

At about 9 that night, I held my newest daughter in my arms and stared into her face and thanked God for all His gifts... Peyton looks like a perfect blend of all of the older kids and it was as if I was being given another chance at experiencing their births and I knew that watching Peyton grow is going to be like an opportunity to relish all of their childhoods again.  She is a gift.  She is a beautiful gift.  A reminder to live every moment for that moment and take each breath as if it were the most important of my life.

And be grateful for the next one.

And the one after that.

So, little Peyton Bailey, who was born at 6:54 pm on March 14th, weighed 8lbs 1oz and measured 20 inches in length.

It was an easy labor and delivery; I was up after 30 minutes using the restroom.  I needed no repairs and I felt refreshed and happy afterward.  I enjoyed my time with my husband (even if I didn't spend much time in conversation with him) and I enjoyed feeling my body work.  I savored each minute - even the painful ones - and I will forever hold in highest respect the ability of the human body to ferry life into this world.

Welcome, Squirt, to our family!

And thank you, Lord, for choosing us as her family.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Getting Settled

I've got all the boxes in the house unpacked (the garage has some work we need to do, but we'll get there) and things have a home.  I'm reluctant to start hanging pictures because I want everything to be perfect of course, but we're getting closer.  Blinds are all up and I've got the curtains in Jack's and in the Girls' room hung.  But we're settled in as much as I wanted to be before the baby gets here.  She's going to sleep in our room in the Pack 'n Play for a little while - we're going to buy the girls big girl beds soon and transition them in the next few months so littlest one can have the crib when her big sisters are done with it.  But I'm happy with the progress!

See?  No denying this is my house.  A giant pile of laundry - it's as essential as a toilet.

The cube-system's purpose is supposed to be to stem the flow of toys from the playroom into the living room... So far, I don't know how well it works.  I think it does okay but the toys still invade.  Always with the toys.
I LOVE the guest bathroom!
We're loving it so far!


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