Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Brennan: 18 & 19 Months

May 2, 2016

Sweet Brennan, I cannot tell you how many times I have wanted to sit down and write a monthly update for you. Actually, I have quickly-written notes from several months ago that never made it into blog-form that I will try to decipher in order to recall the details I was trying to capture...but I know I won't be able to remember all of them. It bums me out already that I have not written more specific details of these early months of your life. There is no shortage of photos, though, and I hope the pictures tell the story. The happy, happy story of this life we are getting to enjoy with you. (This age of social media, I tell you! A girl has to pick her medium! There are only so many hours of the day!) Truly, though, I am sorry for not making more of an effort to document these things for you, and for myself. But, grace is greater than guilt, and that is a lesson that your mommy is learning and clinging to.

  • You are currently wearing 18 and 24 month clothing. You would probably fit into some 2T styles, but I just cannot allow it. Not yet.... At your last doctor's appointment, you were in the 85th percentile, I believe, for height and weight. You're just right.
  • At one point, Emerson was regularly asking for pieces of gum, which she received and you did not. You have associated "gum" with a treat of any kind, and you will frequently reach in the kitchen cabinet and try to pull out "gum-ma" for yourself. You (and your sister...and your mom) really love treats!
  • You are still waking up at least once in the middle of the night, and for a couple of months upon awakening, you would call to me in a short, disgruntled, and determined tone of voice. "Mommy! Mommy!" As if mad at me for having the audacity to not be in your room when you awoke. The moment I walk through the door, however, you immediately change your tone and greet me with a "hiiiiii! ... hiiiiii!" Cheerful, high-pitched, and pleasant. How can I possibly be frustrated to have been awakened with such a perky greeting?!
  • You continue to be Emerson's shadow, repeating her movements and following her lead. I am so thankful that she is the example you have to follow. I don't want you to become her, and I don't get the impression that you want to be her, either. It's as if you are determined to be your own person, and you are using all of the resources you have available to you to figure out this thing called "life". You do so love your big sister, though! And, she loves you more than you yet know.
  • You call Emerson "Eye-yah", and it has become increasingly easy to tell when you are calling her by name, or trying to get her attention. I love that.
  • You love your books, and consistently choose your "Elmo" search-and-find book, "Bob the Builder" opposites board book ("Baaa, Da Bah-Da!" you sing as you pick it up), "Bobo", and "Duck and Goose". You are so proud to know those books well.
  • You enjoy television, and are able to ask for "Sophia the First" ("Iii-aww!"), "Zoboo" ("Ah-bo!"), and dear old "Daniel Tiger" ("Die-yah").
  • Your hair is really starting to grow, and has become increasingly blonde. So beautiful.
  • You have a "look" and a pout that is quite serious. You furrow your brow and really put on a show. More than anything, I think you're proud to know how to make your face look that way.
  • When you swing in the backyard, you lean your head back, close your eyes, and make the most delighted face. I can only imagine what you're thinking, but you just radiate joy in that moment, and I love the delight you take in it.
  • Fighting the car seat has really taken hold in the past month. You have consistently enjoyed riding in the car seat, and even now (once we hold you down and force the seat upon you) you seem to enjoy car rides, but goodness...it's been a willful struggle lately!
  • "App-uh!" (apple) 
  • "Guy-de? Guy-de?" ("Outside?" OR, a request to nurse on the other side...depending on context.)
  • You recover quite quickly from frustration or hurt or disappointment.
  • "Yeah-yeah." ("Thank you!") You are so very polite, and love saying thanks. Actually, until you are acknowledged, you continue to express your gratitude in an increasingly loud manner until you know you have been heard.
  • "Ah-you." ("Love you.")
  • "Ah dooo!" ("I do!")
  • "I knowwww!"
  • "Doo-se?!" ("Juice?!")
  • "Ah-bah!" ("Amen!") You love to pray and bow your head at the dinner table, reach for my hand and Emerson's, and wait patiently for the "Amen". Often, you'll clap and cheer once we've concluded. You know it's something special that we're doing, and you are so proud to participate. How much the Lord must smile to see your joy in talking to Him!
  • You love your yellow blanket! It was on the back of the recliner in your room in the early days of your life, and as we sat there to nurse, it must have unknowingly become a comfort. You now find it at nap time and bedtime and love to cuddle with it as you nurse and when you wake. Adorable.
  • At bedtime, you generously offer hugs and kisses to Daddy and Emerson, and sometimes Royal, and those genuine end-of-day shows of affection melt my heart.

I love you so dearly, Precious. We are making so many treasured memories together, and I am loving every moment of watching you grow. Each season with you has been a blessed one! 
You are full of life and personality, confidence and energy. 
You have such a special place in this family of ours, and you fit in so perfectly. I hope you always know what a gift you are to me, Brennan Elizabeth, and what a gift you are to this world. I love you.

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Worth Repeating / 06

September 2015


Mommy: "We're on the highway!"
Emerson: "Actually, this is the low-way."


Emerson: "Where is the giraffe?"
Mommy: "What about your treasure box...?"
Emerson: "It's right there. That's not hard to find."


"You're mine."

Emerson: "What's wrong with Brennan?"
Mommy: "She doesn't want to go to bed...."
Emerson: "Yeah. But I do!"


Dear Santa
I love you.
I want a princess dress just like the big sister on Frozen.
Love, Emerson


Asking Emerson to leave Brennan's room:
"But there was llama drama in there. There's llama dramas everywhere.... Only one room has no llama drama so that's why I came in here."


Mommy: "That isn't a choice."
Emerson: "Yes it is. It's what I chose. So, it's a choice."


Daddy, singing: "You can't always get what you want, but you get what you need!"
Emerson: "And you don't complain!"


"I have a LOT of energy. Like, I have a really full tummy of energy. So I have to get it out by gymnast-icing! And then, I'll never play again."

"Grandma, now I want to be a bride... walking down the path... with a baby in my tummy."

Emerson: "Say, 'Emerson will come home in a little while. I will be be back in a little while. I'm going to be back in just a little while, Brennan.'"


"Look, Mom, I'm a flower starting to bloom!"

"The squirrel is gathering up food to store in the winter. And we need to store...in our heart. That's what the Bible tells us. To store in our heart!"

"I try what I can!"

"Is God a little God or a big God?"


"Does God have a wand?"


"You're tougher than that."

October 2015


"Mom, I'm glad you're putting makeup on, but you're here and Brennan is on the bathroom stool."


Mommy: "I haven't been able to find a ballet class for you yet."
Emerson: "Yeah, so I'll wait till I'm four.... Or maybe I could just buy you a new computer so you can find a three year old class."


"Dad, do you wanna go watch football while we eat our cereal? Cause, you really like football, and I do, too, so maybe we should!"


Mommy, regarding Daddy's search for a Halloween costume: "They don't have the wig he needs."
Emerson: "Well, he can go to Pinterest."

"God laughs at our jokes."


Emerson: "Mom, you know what you are?"
Mommy: "What?"
Emerson: "You're a sweet, loving mom."

November 2015


Mommy: "You won't always be a little girl. You'll grow into a woman."
Emerson: "Yeah! My brain will say 'I've had enough of this!'"

Mommy: "You know what sounds good? A nap."
Emerson: "Okay. Dad, can you handle us?"

Mommy: "Is your banana good?"
Emerson: "Yeah. Compliments to the chef."

Dear Santa,
I want an Elsa doll and an Anna doll and a pink dress, that is all I want.
Dear, Emerson


Mommy: "You're really working hard on that!"
Emerson: "It's what I do.... I'm master piecing."


"Everywhere I go, there is God. All around."


"It's snowing!!!!!!"

"You give me a lot to do. So, next time, you do my job for me."

Mommy: "Mommies get tired, too."
Emerson: "Sometimes. Not a lot of times."


"I was in my room, worshipping Jesus."

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Worth Repeating / 05

June 2015


"Mom, you're a good mom, Mom."

Emerson: "Mom, you're a good mom, to figure out what babies like to eat."
Mommy: "You know what I think? I think you'll be a good mommy someday."
Emerson: (smile) "And you'll be a good grandma."


"I don't really like girls very much but I like boys SO much."

Mommy: "You're doing a good job walking Royal."
Emerson: "Thank you. I just love to walk dogs."


Emerson: "Why aren't you feeding her?"
Mommy: "Well, I'm cutting the chicken and raw chicken has lots of germs, so I don't want to touch her food."
Emerson: "Well, you're not using your uh-ver hand."


Discussing dress shoes:
"I put them on to be faaaaaannncy enough, to be fancy for the day."

Emerson: "I didn't know I would be mommy."
Mommy: "Someday!"
Emerson: "And I didn't know you would be grandma."
Mommy: "Someday!"
Emerson: "But...who will be Emeh-teh?"


Mommy: "You did not eat much. Do you want some turkey?"
Emerson: "Or black beans?"
Mommy: "Yeah, that's a great choice! Do you want some black beans?"
Emerson: "Nope!"


"Can I have just a little bit of sprinkles now?"

"You're ruining my cake!"

"Thank you for your hard work for my party."

"And I love you for making my party so special."


"Mom, come look at the llama drama. Royal is with the llama drama. He's brave."

"It's fun that we have these stickers. Do you know what's more funner? You."


"Am I still three?"

July 2015


Mommy: "It's Mommy and Daddy's job to help you learn to be obedient."
Emerson: "Okayyyyy. I forgive you."


"No, don't eat the popcorn. It's only for Daddy and me."


"Let's do it my way."


"And we have to write a thank-you note for Daddy! Because he is so special to me. Not because he gave me a present, but because he loves me."


Mommy: (regarding Brennan playing nearby) "She's safe, Emerson."
Emerson: "I just don't want her to embarrass herself."

Mommy: (regarding cherry tomatoes from the garden) "Don't they taste like candy? It's so neat that God does that!"
Emerson: "Thank you, God, for the candy!"


Mommy: "Tomorrow is zoo class day!"
Emerson: "With you?!"
Mommy: "Yep!"
Emerson: "Oh, that just warms my heart."


Emerson: "Will you share your pancakes with me?"
Mommy: "Yes, babe."
Emerson: "Okay. Because, we share with our friends."

"She was so cute sleeping in her bed!" (talking about Brennan)


"Um, Mommy, one more thing. Can you give me a kiss and a hug, because we didn't do that."

Emerson: "I wish we had doughnuts."
Mommy: "Well, maybe in Florida we could have doughnuts."
Emerson: "Well, in Florida, we're going to have fish. So, probably not doughnuts because we're going to have fish."

August 2015


"I'm hungry. I'm thirsty. I'm sleepy."


Emerson: "Isn't this fun, Rachel?"
Aunt Rachel: "Yeah, it is!"
Emerson: "This is what it's all about. Having fun at the beach. This is what it's all about. ... Burying people in sand. This is what it's all about."


Mommy: "What music do you want to listen to?"
Emerson: "I don't know. Just some of my favorite jams."


Mommy: "There's no place like home, is there? I think home is the best, do you?"
Emerson: "Yeah. But the beach is the really, really best."


"De-ah God, thank you for this day and help Daddy to be safe in Car-o-li-na and help me wear my orange and white striped dress and help Daddy come tomorrow, and bless our hearts, Amen."

"I just wanted to be snuggle as a bug in there."


Emerson: "Don't sing that song. I'm tired of it and it's getting in my head."
(Mom chuckles)
Emerson: "What's so funny?"
Mommy: "You. You're cute as a button."
Emerson: "No I'm not."
Mommy: "You're not?"
Emerson: "No!"

Mommy: "I love being your mommy."
Emerson: "I love being your Emerson."


Emerson: "It's a beautiful day!"
Mommy: "It's rainy and dreary."
Emerson: "Yeah, but it's still beautiful."

Emerson: "When I'm bigger, I'll have a baby in my tummy."
Mommy: "You have to be much older, and be married to a husband who loves you very, very much."
Emerson: "Maybe Grandpa can marry me."


"Dear Lord, help Isaac to feel better with medicine so he can feel better and play with me and so he can go anywhere, and help Grandma and Grandpa stay safe in Bolivar, and help his mother and father be brave at the hospital, and bless our hearts, Amen."

Mommy: "God gives you strength to do all things!"
Emerson: "Like to run?"
Mommy: "Yep!"
Emerson: "And to jump...for joy!"


"When Daddy gets home, I'm not going to let him go, cause I missed him so much!"

Friday, January 1, 2016

Three. (And a half.)

On this, Emerson's three-and-a-half-year-old birthday, it seems like as good a time as any to post the blog that I drafted, yet failed to post, on her actual third birthday. ('As good a time as any', except for when I actually meant for it to be posted, that is. Oh, well.)

Emerson Blair,

Tomorrow you will be three. THREE. It seems to suit you well. You've been so excited for your birthday, practicing holding up three fingers by pushing two of them down, so proud of yourself for figuring out how to make it happen.

I don't feel like I documented your time as a two year old very well...not as well as I would've liked, anyway. The truth is, you grew and changed so quickly, it was hard to keep up with everything you did and said. Emerson, "two-year-old you" was a delight. You have blossomed in the past year, and your personality is so beautiful.

You are growing in your affection, giving hugs and kisses and "I love you mama."
You ask thoughtful, intentional questions.
You are cautious and a study-er, taking time to familiarize yourself with situations and people before jumping in.
You are tender-hearted.
You are so very perceptive to situations and conversations.
Your vocabulary amazes me.
You are a natural big sister. You were from the first moment you met Brennan.

Right now, you love to pretend.
You love rhyming words and jokes and songs.
You love making up words and being silly.
You love to make your sister laugh (and you make her laugh more than anyone).
You love to dance in your room with your ballet slippers and lullaby CD.
You love to dig for worms in the front flower bed.
You want most of your drinks to have a "lid and a straw", that you want to bend yourself.
You want me to carry you to bed, after you've turned on your music by yourself, and we pray, have a drink of milk and water, and then a lullaby, and then I have to turn on your fan. You are a creature of habit. And, order.
You have your own dance, with your wrist waving by your head, eyes closed, and a little grin.
You love Friday movie night and "Veggie Tales". Our family dance parties have been a lot of fun to the Veggie Tales soundtrack.

I'm happy that you're growing up. Every year has just been more and more fun, and I cannot wait to get to know three-year-old you.


As it so happens, three-year-old Emerson is incredible. What a happy six months this has been been. The fun continues...!

Monday, October 26, 2015

Worth Repeating / 04



"I smell something.... Maybe Royal tooted.... Or maybe it's your breath." 

"Daddy is a good friend."


Mommy: "Were you supposed to do that? No. But you chose to do it, anyway."
Emerson: "I don't think you should let the sun go down on your anger."


"I wish I had a ring to marry you, Mommy."


Emerson, to Mommy: 

"Daddy is my beeeessttt friend. You are my greatest friend in the whole world!"

Emerson: "Mommy do you like when I sing?"
Mommy: "I love when you sing!"
Emerson: "Okay. Lalalalala ABC..."

"Good thing I ducked down...I only have one head!"

Mommy: "And in the morning when the sun rises comes up, we call it sunrise."
Emerson: "But, I call it the morning time."

On a family walk:
"Let's run this town!"

Emerson: "Daddy will come outside and you go in-gide (inside) okay?" 

Mommy: "You just want some time with Daddy?"
Emerson: "Yeah, because Daddy is my friend. So, you go hide in-gide."


Mommy: "You're such a sweet big sister."
Emerson: "Thanks, Mom! I call you mom cause you're the best mom in da world."


"We love Brice and Rachel and Joey and Bethany...and we love Malachi! Even when he goed away...."


After telling Emerson about plans to go to the zoo with her Sunday School teacher:
"We're going with the TEA-cher?! ... That gon be fuuunnnn!" 


Talking about rules for the church service:
Mommy: "We do not talk."

(pause)Emerson: "Do we breathe?:


"I listened and callllllmed my body down."

Emerson: "I'm sorry, for ruining the fun we were having."
Mommy: "How did you ruin it?"
Emerson: "With my energy...."

To Brennan:
"Things are more fun when I'm around."

Emerson, in her car in the driveway, playing Sonic:

"My darlin' would like a strawberry movie (smoothie)". (To Mommy) "You be the roller gater."

"Daddy, we're going to solve this plob-lem. Mommy knows eh-zatly (exactly) where things are!"


"Oh yeah, oh yeah! I'm fancy in this house now!"



Listening to the Curious George song:
"Don't sing it with me. And don't smile. And don't say good job."

"Why did he borrow a car? Everybody getting new cars!"

"I'm going to be repectbubble (respectful) when Daddy gets home."


"Oh, blubbers."

"Tick-tess." (Success.)


Mommy: "Emerson, do you want to go play at Grandma and Grandpa's house today?"
Emerson: "Oh! Yeah! Wiffout youuu?"
Mommy: "Right."
Emerson: "Oh, good."


Emerson: "I'm not growing."
Mommy: "Yes you are."
Emerson: "No, I am...am'nt."


"Are you wiff me?"


"Bubb-os" (bubbles)


Emerson: "I wish Daddy was here."
Mommy: "Me, too. He's such a special part of our family, and we miss people in our family when they're not there."
Emerson: "Right now we miss Daddy...."



Talking about the workers building the deck:

"Ohhhhh! That is going to be a lot of work por dem (for them). I think they need another smoovie...slushy."

"Mary had a little lamb...if he hollers let him go...little ones to him belong...yes, Jesus loves me."


Mommy: "Since the butter is in there, be careful not to spill it.
Emerson: "I'm always careful, Mom."


Mommy: "Are you sure you want the whole pear? How about half?"
Emerson: "No! Whole!"
Mommy: "I don't think it's very good for you to have the whole thing, how about..."
Emerson: "No, whole!"
Mommy: "Fine."

(minutes later)
Emerson: "You know? Say, 'what?'"
Mommy: "What?"
Emerson: "I don't like pears. So, you can have it."

Discussing potty accidents:

Mommy: "I don't know what to do about this. It keeps happening."
Emerson: "Maybe put some tape on my bum?"


Going to McDonald's after disappointing change of plans visiting the science museum:
Emerson, tearfully: "Where is Mr. Donald's house?"

"Dear Lord, thank you for our food. Amen."


"I'll take care of Brennan and Mommy when you're gone, Daddy."

"How does it thunder? ... I'm sure it has pipes. It must have pipes."


"I can pray.... Thank you, God, for the weather and for the am-uh-muls, to come out of their houses. A-men."


Mommy: "Grandpa knows how to whistle."
Emerson: "And Daddy knows how to whistle!"
Mommy: "That's right! But Grandpa is the BEST at whistling."
Emerson:"...But Daddy is the really best."


Emerson: "Mom...you're a good mom."
Mommy: "Aww, thanks, babe. What made you say that?"
Emerson: "You take good care of me!"

Mommy: "Someday Brennan will help with the weeds, too!"
Emerson: "Mom, she's already a gardener!"
Mommy: "Why do you say that?"
Emerson: "She's wearing a hat!"

Emerson: "Mommy, you're my friend."
Mommy: "You're my friend! Will you always be my friend?"
Emerson: "Yes."
(30 min later)
Emerson: "You're not my friend anymore."


To Mom, in the bathroom:

Emerson: "Mom, do you need some privacy?"
Mommy: "No...."
Emerson: "Okay. I'll keep you company then."

"I'm cleaning up our house. Brennan's not helping me. I'll do it my-delf. I'm trying my hardest, bestest to clean."


"Can I feed her? Then I would feel like a mommy, too."

Friday, October 2, 2015

Brennan's Birth Story

Wednesday, October 1, 2014
(7 days until due date)

Months had passed since I had updated my pregnancy journal. I didn't make nearly as many entries during this pregnancy, and I knew that if I didn't make at least one more entry before the baby arrived, I would regret it. There were no signs of impending labor, no reason to believe that I couldn't make journaling happen the next day...and the later it got in the evening, the more I just wanted to crawl into bed. Still, at 39 weeks pregnant, writing an entry seemed like the right thing to do, so I sat on the floor of the living room, pen in hand.

"October is here...we are one week (or less!) away from meeting our daughter....and we are all so very excited. It seems entirely surreal, and so very hard to believe that her arrival is so near, and our time as a family of three so short."

Thursday, October 2, 2014
(6 days until due date)

I woke up at 6:45 a.m. feeling very definite cramping. I got out of bed and walked up and down the hallway.

Are these Braxton Hicks contractions? I don't think I've ever really felt those.... Baby isn't due for another week, and Emerson wasn't this early.... What are we dealing with here? What did this storm front bring about?!

I wasn't miserable, but the pain was growing increasingly uncomfortable...and closer and closer to being five minutes apart. I knew subsequent babies had a tendency to come more quickly, but what did that mean...really? Just how soon did I need to be thinking about going to the hospital? 

I had a doctor's appointment already scheduled for 10:15 a.m. My biggest question throughout the morning was whether or not I could hold out until then to see what was going on, or would I be heading to the hospital instead? Bobby and I exchanged texts as the morning continued, both of us wondering where the day was headed.

I texted my mom at 7:57 a.m. to fill her in on the morning's happenings. The plan had been for Emerson to come with me to my routine doctor's appointment. However, at some point in the morning, as my discomfort and confidence that this could, in fact, be the "real thing" grew, my mom (who had been on her way to babysit my nephew) turned the car around to take care of Emerson here. The contractions had decreased in frequency, but there had been a few that were intense enough that I realized I'd rather leave Emerson at home with Mom.

I drove myself to my doctor's appointment on the rainy fall morning, and as I neared the office, I began to cry. I was in pain. I was nervous, primarily due to continuing uncertainty for how the soon-to-be big sister would handle my absence during the upcoming hospital stay. I was hormonal and emotional, and the tears continued to fall. 

Sam Hunt's "Leave the Night On" was playing on the radio as I pulled into the parking lot. That was my jam, and it gave me a boost.

My contractions eased as my exam began (go figure) and had become less frequent. I was about 2.5 cm dilated...a half centimeter improvement from the previous week, and Dr. W said that "it feels like something has changed", that she thought I was in labor, but of course couldn't confirm before my water broke or things became more serious. 

Then, she broke the news that in order for her to deliver my baby, I had to "either deliver before 5:00 p.m. or wait until Monday" because she had to take a red-eye flight to Vegas for the weekend for some sort of technology demonstration. 


I didn't really care. I was more intrigued by the irony of the situation, given that she missed Emerson's birth, too. Honestly, as normal as the pregnancy had been and my previous delivery was, I didn't feel at all strongly that she be the one to deliver my baby. I'm perfectly happy with her as my doctor! But, I knew that life would go on if I delivered with another obstetrician. I'd done it before! She told me all about the two doctors that would be on-call over the weekend. I decided I'd be comfortable with either one.

"I'll be really surprised if you're still pregnant on Monday."

I drove home in a quiet van, trying to soak up the stillness...very aware that moments of solitude like that were about to become all the more rare.

I touched base with Bobby. I updated Mom, who assured me that she would be "on call" throughout the afternoon, and to let her know if I needed assistance. 

Emerson and I had a restful afternoon. She was precious...loving, understanding...sensitive beyond her two years.

"Mommy's tummy is hurting."
"I'll rub it for you. ... That feel better?"

For all of Emerson's tender moments over the past months, rubbing my belly and talking to her sister, I realized that I didn't have any of it recorded. So, we made a video. 

I bounced on the exercise ball as the afternoon progressed. Emerson napped for a while. I tried to sleep, too, without success. The contractions weren't all that frequent, but they were intense enough that I realized I didn't want to be alone. Around 2:50 p.m., I was ready for Bobby to come home. He did.

I began counting contractions using a contraction timer on the phone at 4:26 p.m. At that point, they were coming about 2:45 minutes apart.

I labored on the couch, changing positions as necessary, moaning with each contraction, trusting my body and the process and the Lord. Bobby and Emerson played in the playroom. She was happily distracted, and Bobby offered to help me, but there was little he could do. His time with Emerson was well-spent. 

The two of them went outside to watch the thunderstorm from the garage. I joined them for a bit, bracing myself against Bobby's truck as contractions were growing in intensity. After a few minutes watching the heavy rain, I realized that I needed to be back on the couch. I was writhing in pain as the contractions came...more frequently, and requiring more focus than before.

My parents offered to bring pizza by for our supper, recognizing that we were otherwise occupied. Bobby ordered the pizza online at 5:27 p.m., though eating was the furthest thing from my mind. Mom and Dad showed up shortly after; I didn't move from the couch. After dropping off the pizza, they left, and I had another big contraction. 

I threw up over the side of the couch, and I knew: it was time to go to the hospital. 

My parents had barely left before I texted them asking them to return. Of all the scenarios I'd imagined regarding the timing for leaving Emerson, this was exactly the situation I hadn't wanted. Leaving in the evening, before bedtime, late-enough that Bobby wasn't going to be able to make it back to help with the nighttime routine. We'd never been away from her at nighttime. She would be scared. I was, too.

But, Mom in her "grandmotherly wisdom" showed up with a treasure box-shaped cardboard box, full of old Happy Meal toys and similar trinkets, and dumped them on the living room floor. Emerson was captivated with the "treasure" and with Grandma & Grandpa, and Bobby and I were able to give hugs & kisses and disappear quietly. Leaving her was every bit as difficult as I'd imagined it would be, but things were growing intense enough that I had other things to think about. 

Around 7:00 p.m., I got in the passenger seat of the van, thankful to be on our way. It was dark, and the drive to the hospital was different than the last time...seeing the city lights and evening traffic instead of the early morning calm. I had several contractions, and noted that I didn't remember driving through them when Emerson was born. 

"Leave the Night On" played on the radio again as the hospital came into view.

We pulled into the hospital, and when I stood up getting out of the van, the contractions intensified again. I was only able to walk a few feet at a time before needing to stop to focus through them. Bobby asked if I needed a wheelchair. Then I insisted that we needed a photo in front of the hospital for posterity.... He thought I was nuts.

The contractions continued as we walked into the hospital. I braced myself on the side of the elevator and on the hallway railing as we arrived on the 'Labor and Delivery' wing. We passed a family in the waiting area who seemed to have been there a while...they all had that impatient "look", and were flying paper airplanes back and forth to pass the time. 

I leaned against the counter in the Triage area while Bobby got the paperwork we needed. No one seemed to be moving as quickly as I thought they should be. 

"There aren't any rooms open right now", one of the nurses said to another coworker. 

You'd better find one, I thought. It was getting more serious, and I was having a hard time focusing on anything other than the task at hand...that being, working through each contraction...leaning against the wall...hips rocking.... Does this not look like a pressing situation to them?

I had to fill out paperwork of some kind. I scribbled something down, and would love to see what my handwriting on those documents looks like.

They found a room, I walked back to the Triage unit, and went directly to the bathroom for a urine sample. I realized then that I could probably stop using my contraction timer phone app; the professionals would probably take over the calculation then. At 7:24 p.m., I entered my last contraction into the app: :45 second duration, 1:38 minutes apart.

In the privacy of the bathroom, I realized that we didn't make it to the hospital at all too soon. I was ready to be taken care of.

I was examined. I was 7 centimeters. I said something to the tune of "I wasn't messing around." The nurse reported the (unsurprising) news that my doctor wasn't on-call, but that she'd check to see if she was around. I informed her that she was on her way to Vegas; she didn't really seem to care.

I was wheeled to a room, and instructed to put on a gown. Ready to be in a bed and getting the show on the road, I decided modesty was of little importance at that point and undressed and dressed myself quickly. A nurse gave me an IV and tried to make conversation. "Have you been here before? You look familiar." I answered her politely enough, I think...but I knew I wasn't as friendly as I would've otherwise been. I was very much in "the zone" and knew I had work to do.

Bobby turned on some Jim Brickman music on the computer, and the Royals first ALDS playoff game versus the Angels on the television. I didn't notice any of it.

"Has she done it naturally before?" I don't think there was time for an epidural at that point, even if I'd wanted one. (I most assuredly did not.) I got the impression that they were trying to see if I knew what I was in for.

Time seemed to pass very quickly. I remembered from my labor with Emerson that being on my hands and knees was both more comfortable (relatively-speaking...and I do emphasize the "relatively") and productive. I assumed that position pretty much straight away, and it did get "things" moving. 

I'll leave it at that. 

A new nurse came into the room, and I introduced myself in a most vulnerable state. She was so kind, sensitive, and compassionate, and it wasn't until after the birth that I even saw what she looked like. (I was picturing her as a much older woman than she actually was.) She was an encouraging presence. Bobby was, too, but I was so focused in those moments...I really don't even remember talking to him....

The nurse asked me about my previous delivery at some point. Yes, I did it naturally. ... No, I didn't push very long. ... It took seven minutes last time, can we beat that? She somewhat doubted it.

An especially-strong contraction came, and with it, a new pressure. I got the nurse's attention. Quickly. She checked me again.

"Nope, I don't feel anything left...."

She rushed to the door, and I heard her yell "I need an O.B. in here, NOW."

I wasn't worried. It wasn't an emergency in the "something is wrong" sense. But, I knew...our baby was coming.

Within moments, the room was abuzz. The warmer was readied (a stark contrast to Emerson's birth, where the warmer sat prepared...and empty...for hours), and nurses all took their places. It was fascinating, really. It was game time, and everyone had a job to do. 

I met Dr. L, a sweet, friendly woman who seemed to know what she was doing.... She broke my water, and I realized that I'd forgotten entirely about that piece of the process. 

I asked Bobby for my glasses. The tv was turned off. The mirror was positioned. 

I remembered from last time that the work was different now. This is where it got good....

A few (three, maybe? four?) pushes and five minutes later, we saw our daughter's head. Dark hair, just like her sister. I got a clear look at her tiny face; she was working hard, too! Entirely surreal.... That's her. This is me. This is happening.

And then, within a matter of moments, I felt the rush of her body leaving mine. Brennan Elizabeth was born at 8:37 p.m., and immediately placed on my chest. We had experienced another miracle, this time every bit as precious as the last. What a gift we were given. Thank you, Lord.

Bobby cut the umbilical cord.

I was quickly stitched, after a minor tear. I barely noticed. Brennan was still in my arms, nursing readily and resting, wide-eyed and peaceful. It was incredible to already know how to be "mom" this time.... She looked like her big sister, with "a beautiful round head because she came down so quick." In the busyness of her birth, the instruction to hold off on eye cream and the vitamin K shot was missed, and I was disappointed by that, but what was done was done.

We called Emerson first. "Brennan Elizabeth is here!" It was precious to hear her voice...happy, but shaky and unsure...it was after her bedtime, and we weren't there. She'd waited up to hear the news. She was in good hands, but hanging up the phone was hard. We sent her a video, showing Brennan nursing and saying 'goodnight' "in person", and she and Grandma sent us a video of her singing "happy birthday" to her new "baby 'tis-ter". It melted my heart, and I was so excited to have our whole family together in the morning.

Bobby called his family to share the news. They were gathered to watch the baseball game, and as the entire process happened so fast (we'd only been at the hospital for just over an hour!), they didn't even know I'd been in labor. 

The surprise of her birth, being that it was a week earlier than expected, made the entire delivery feel that much more surreal. Of course we knew she was coming, but didn't imagine that it would be that day...so when she was in our arms, it was hard to believe, and seemed very much like an out of body experience. There we were! With our daughter! Another beautiful baby girl. Ours. 

Brennan didn't leave my arms until an hour later when Bobby held her for the first time and she was measured and weighed. (7 lbs. 8 oz., 20 3/4 inches.) She was never out of our sight, and having her with us constantly was a precious experience. 

The nurse filled out our admission paperwork. We hadn't had time to do that beforehand given the rush of the delivery. "Consent to treat?" "Oh, okay....  I suppose so." I was now in a much friendlier state of mind and body, and we had pleasant conversation.

The nurse brought me a soda. I felt incredible. Proud of what my body had once again naturally done with the Lord's strength. Enjoying the post-delivery adrenaline rush that is like no other.

I joked with our nurse about the hourly rate for the room and how much we'd saved by being so quick. I held Brennan in my lap as I was wheeled to a recovery room, passing the paper airplane-flying family in the waiting area. I felt proud, and a little guilty, for getting in and getting out with a brand-new baby while they were still waiting. Our nurse congratulated us again and helped us settle into our room.

Brennan was given her bath in our room. In the minutes we held her, we studied every inch of her face, noting lots of similarities between both of our daughters, & growing more in love with each passing moment.

Having missed cafeteria hours (and a pizza dinner at home...), Bobby left the hospital in the rain to bring back Burger King. (Tradition!) A burger and fries and more texts to loved ones later, we were all ready to rest. The three of us settled in to sleep, with anxious anticipation for our daughters to meet each other in the morning. It had been a most wondrous day, welcoming Brennan Elizabeth into our world. All was well. 

Thursday, September 10, 2015

I'm Here!

Somehow, it is already September, and the fact that I haven't written a blog post since May makes me sad. Particularly because I know that there have been so many blog-able stories and moments and happenings that I haven't documented the way that I would've liked to. But, life keeps happening, we're busy, and at the end of the day...well...I am freakin' exhausted. I don't usually use the word "freakin'"...at least not in my "formal" writing...but, the tired I've experienced lately with two little ones can only be described in such a way. (And, to be very clear, it is THE BEST sort of tired.... But, I'm tired all the same.) Really, though, at the end of the day when the girls are in bed, I just want to BE STILL, and sometimes the idea of trying to sound eloquent or put together any sort of string of intelligent thought amuses me. Ha! It is so often impossibly hard to switch out of jumbled "mommy mode"...to remember that I have a voice...that I AM CAPABLE of organized thought...and to have the energy to do something with it.

I don't know how some mommies do it, taking care of the children AND blogging thoughtful, focused, meaningful prose during the day. (Maybe their children take long naps? Or, nap at all?)

I do know there are moms who make it happen. I know this because I often find myself reading their beautiful words while I'm sitting in Brennan's bedroom in the wee hours of the night, desperately trying to stay awake while I nurse her back to sleep...again. I applaud them for it, because they have to be bone tired, too. Right? RIGHT?!?!

If I made it more of a priority, I could write more often, I'm sure. And, I SHOULD make it a priority, because these are such precious, precious days, and I want to be more intentional about recording this tender time.

So, I need some sort of game plan here.
I'll get back to you when I figure it out.
Fingers crossed.

In the meantime, I'm still here! Doing life. Editing the never-ending photos and posting way too many of them on Facebook, writing Sunday School curriculum for the church we found and love, planning a 1st birthday party for the little girl who can't possibly already be this close to being "one"....

I'm here. Sitting on the couch with Bobby, watching a football game, enjoying a beer, celebrating the end of a Thursday...another day of this beautiful thing called "parenthood" in the books.

Sunday, May 31, 2015

Brennan: Seven Months

May 2, 2015

  • You are still wearing 6-9 month clothing.
  • At your 6 month doctor's appointment, you weighed 18 lbs. and 5 ounces. This is only 8 ounces less than Emerson weighed at her 6 month appointment, which amazes me. The similarities between the development of you two is fascinating.
  • Your hair is getting blonder and blonder, and noticeably longer, too! 
  • You are finally sleeping in your own bed at nighttime! You're ready for bed between 7:30-8:00 p.m., and after nursing in the chair in your room, you fall asleep quite quickly in your bed. You wake up to eat late in the evening and then after that meal, you're back to sleep for a few hours. 
  • Napping in your crib in getting much easier, too. You never sleep for hours on end, but you're more willing to be placed in your crib for snoozes during the day. You still have to be asleep first, though. 
  • You've been taking baths with Emerson and you are both enjoying that time considerably! 
  • You are so strong! From lifting your chest to grabbing at sunglasses to holding onto hands...you've got some muscles!
  • Making forward motion is so close for you! You are scooting all over the place, and can usually get where you want to go, sooner or later. 
  • You are primarily self-feeding yourself, as you aren't particularly interested in taking food from a spoon. More fun to do it yourself, it seems! I'd forgotten how messy this stage is...and goodness, it really is. Avocados and bananas are by far your favorite foods...probably in large part due to your ability to eat them without help.
  • Your vocalizing has increased, too. Lots of shrieks and loud squeals to get in on the conversation, and it seems you have a new sound to master daily.
  • You "cluck" with your tongue often! It's hard to say if you like the way that it feels or sounds, or both, but you click and cluck often and are pleased when we notice!
  • We put your infant bathtub in the tub so you could share bath time with Emerson, which you both seem delighted in. She enjoys playing with you, and you're happy to have more water to splash. You love any chance to feel like a big girl!
  • You seem so very aware of everything going on around you. You are watchful and very "present", interacting and participating in your world! Now that you can move a bit more, you are truly content to sit and play and move in your space, and it's nice to have you enjoying your time just "being" with us.
  • You have two bottom teeth! They both surfaced simultaneously, with fairly little disturbance to your usual patterns. You drooled a bit more and seemed a bit fussy for a couple of days...but otherwise, you handled it like a champ. And, you look quite adorable with them there.
  • We are taking lots of afternoon walks through the neighborhood, and you and Emerson are both quite happy to be in the double-stroller together. You enjoy relaxing as we walk, and seem to enjoy being outside. We play on the blanket in the backyard, too, and it's fun to see you begin to move around and explore the yard around you.
  • You are really trying to get Royal's attention on a regular basis. I'm sorry to say that he usually doesn't give you much attention in return, but you are fascinated in him and so enjoy when he does let you pet him or tug on his fur.
  • You notice when Daddy comes home and greet him with a smile when he walks in the door at the end of the day. It's special welcome that makes us all smile right back.

Each day with you is a gift; YOU are a gift. 
I hope you always find such joy in learning about your world, delighting in the fun around you.
You certainly do make our lives full of wonder & happiness, 
and I'm overwhelmed by my ever-growing love for you.
You are so very treasured, precious Brennan.

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Brennan: Six Months

April 2, 2015

  • You are wearing 6-9 month clothing.
  • You seem to be quite ready for food! It's obvious that you're watching while we eat, curiously eyeing what's on our plates. The general consensus among the family is that you'll eat solid food readily! We shall see! Daddy is out of town this week, but when he gets home, we'll give you that first taste.
  • You are having more awake time during the day. Which could be due to your sleeping so well at nighttime...on account of our togetherness. You and Mommy have been sleeping together on the couch at nighttime for weeks.... It makes nursing when you awaken so very easy, and it lets Daddy get a solid night of sleep. We definitely have some sleep-training work ahead of us, but between Mommy's sleep needs and knowing that any hard crying will wake up your big sister, there's just not been a lot of motivation to make it happen. But, it's been a long pattern of overnighting on the couch together and it has to stop sometime. 
  • You are rolling over quite easily, and it's so much fun to see you move! You spin in circles on the ground, positioning yourself to see what's going on around you. There's no sitting still for you!
  • You are beginning to lift your chest off of the ground, and even starting to pull up a knee occasionally. You are bound and determined to keep up with the action around here, and seem to be so ready to be able to move!
  • You sit with confidence, and have begun to rock forward when you do...you're willing to do whatever it takes to have forward motion!
  • When you are unhappy (and it is becoming quite clear when you are!), you have a seriously high-pitched shriek. It certainly gets our attention...which is most definitely your intention. 
  • You have a rash all over your tummy and neck, likely eczema. It doesn't seem to bother you, though it does look so dry. Interestingly, it showed up at just the same time that Emerson's did when she was your age.
  • You are certainly recognizing (and not recognizing) people these days. You smile when Daddy comes home from work, and often greet Grandpa and Grandma with a knowing look, too. Likewise, you know when Mommy is close by or not, and typically show your displeasure when we're apart. (And if I'm being totally honest, I don't mind that a bit.)
  • You have been quite anti-church nursery, however, and that's been a bit of a challenge. We'll figure it out, though. Rocking you in the cry room and bouncing in the church hallways has been a joy; we're worshipping together.
  • You don't have any teeth yet, but I'm watching for them. Could be anytime!
  • Watching Royal around the house is one of your favorite activities. He makes you smile!
  • Your babbles have noticeably increased, and it feels more and more as though you're really trying to "talk" with us. You want to be heard! (And we are so happy to listen!)
  • You reach for toys that you're interested in, and easily pass them back and forth between your hands. You do love to play!
Brennan, I delight in you, and I'm in awe as I watch you discover & embrace your world. 
You are such a joy, and I'm thankful you're mine.
Six months have gone by so quickly.... 
Happy half-birthday, little one. 
I love you more than words can say.