pips didn't enjoy her first bath very much. and i have a feeling this picture is going to be a representation of my life for the next while. multitasking. beebs is showing me a bug while i am bathing penelope. both of them needing my attention. i find this has been the biggest adjustment. beatrix, thankfully isn't taking her anger out on the baby, but on me. she misses me, i get that. i remember micah feeling the same way. it is a tough spot to be in as a mama. beatrix and i had a good thing going and it has gotten interrupted. i cried about it last night. i miss her too. but that is what having a new little one is all about, adjusting. i know in my heart that in a couple of months it will be ok, but right now in the moment i cry about it because it is a big change for me too.
how does one capture how small newborn infants really are?
i want to remember all of her tiny parts. i find myself trying to memorize each and every detail. knowing she is my last infant makes me want to enjoy every single moment even if i do feel like a zombie for the majority of those moments.
her tiny bottom fits in the palm of my hand.
her toes are smaller then my pinky fingernail.
her peely skin and fuzzy hair will quickly be replaced by sunburns and braids.
micah has lost two teeth now. i say lost when what i mean is matt cornered him and pulled them out. you see my son is like me. when i was little my mom used to have to corner me somewhere, usually while i was taking a bath so she could pull my snaggle teeth out. they were usually only hanging by a thread. micah is the same way. he was glad once they were out though.
Penelope came into our lives at 2:53 on Friday, December 2nd, 2011. the picture above was taken 20 minutes after she was born and that is how she entered the world, wide eyed.
last wednesday i had a doctor's appointment and the decision was made to have me induced on Friday. we called friends to figure out who would watch beatrix and micah and matt made arrangements with his school to have a substitute. everything was in order. except for my nerves. i barely slept thursday night. i got up early, before everyone else, took a shower and just stood there looking at my belly, watching her roll around under my skin, knowing that in a matter of hours she was going to be out. outcome unknown, but she would be out.
matt was a ball of nerves and excitement. it radiated off of him. i was beyond thankful for his quiet optimism, evident by a squeeze of my hand, or a knowing smile. he gets me, i remember thinking to myself, he really and truly gets me. we woke up the kids and got them dressed, bags had been packed the night before. they were excited to go to friend's house to play all day. i knew micah was aware of what was going on that day. i was thankful they had each other. we dropped them off and drove to the hospital. we parked. i wished again i could run away. the fact that running would trigger labor anyway is what kept me walking into the hospital. we showed our IDs and took the elevator up to labor and delivery. it was so very familiar even though it had been three years that we had made the same trip for our little beatrix.
forms to fill out at the front desk and once i was in the room, clothed in an ugly hospital gown. (who designs those gowns anyway? surely not a pregnant woman! otherwise they would be prettier to look at, knowing that they would be in your baby's very first pictures!) we arrived in the room at 7:30 and the pitocin was finally administered at 9:00. my doctor made an appearance soon after that. he not only checked me but also broke my water right away. i asked him just how fast he wanted this birth to go, since it was my fourth and i was on pitocin. he responded with, i was thinking by lunch time. i looked at the clock and said that's in 3 hours. he grinned and said, i take my lunch at 1:00.
my contractions started very quickly after that. matt and i played phase ten for an hour or so and then by 11:30 they were every 2-3 minutes and i was having to breath through them. the nurse came in to check me and i was dilated to 3 1/2. she told me that she was going to call anesthesia to see if i could get the epidural early. she popped back into our room a few minutes later and said that it was a go and they would be in our room by 12:15. i looked at matt and said, "this really is happening fast!"
matt excused himself from the room while two wonderful ladies came in and gave me sweet relief via a huge needle in my back. i was sitting on the bed with my face in a pillow feeling very nervous since the epidural with beatrix hadn't gone very smoothly, my nurse daisy was standing across from me watching the baby's and my pulse on the monitor. i raised my head up from the pillow and said in a scared and shaky voice, "daisy? would you hold my hand please?" her beautiful brown eyes softened and she grabbed my hand and whispered, "of course baby. you are doing great!" the epidural went without a hitch! in fact it was pretty much painless. the ladies who did it were so sensitive and tender.
after that matt came back in and we watched the rest of mission impossible, i dozed off and on for an hour or so. around 2 i noticed that the baby's heart beat had dropped down into the 100's. i called daisy just to talk to her about it. she came into the room and told me that would start happening because as the baby got lower her heart beat would slow down. she told me i was going to have a baby soon! she asked me if i was feeling any pressure yet and i told her i wasn't feeling anything. she smiled and said to let her know when i was. i apologized for calling her in and she told me that i could call her every two minutes if it made me feel better. i think matt and i fell in love with that woman! i sat back and tried to relax and not let my mind wonder to all that could still go wrong, when two minutes after daisy left i said, WHOA! matt asked me what was wrong and i told him that i knew what she meant by pressure. i called her in again and said i am feeling crazy pressure now. she checked me right away and told me i was at a 9 1/2. she left the room quickly to call the doctor. then she came back to our room and asked me to lie on my side with my legs together. i guess when it is your 4th time delivering a baby the chances are a little higher that the doctor won't make it in time.
several things happened very quickly. the baby's nurse came in and started prepping the area for the baby. they wheeled in the instruments for our doctor. matt stood up and moved the large chair he had been sitting in out into the hallway and the reality hit me hard that in a few minutes time we were going to have a baby. i don't know why after being pregnant for 9 months i still hadn't grasped the fact that we were in fact adding to our family. the pressure was getting so intense that i had to concentrate on not pushing. and just in time Dr. Andarsio walked in. they put my legs up and matt said, "oh my gosh lydia" he covered his mouth and laughed, "her head is right there!" i looked at the doctor's face and sure enough he said, "yep, it isn't going to take much to get her out." daisy was on my left and matt was on my right side and just like that i was pushing. the time had come to push. i looked at the clock it was 2:50. i was going to have a baby in a matter of minutes. i pushed once and daisy said, "no no honey! push down! push down!" i took a deep breath and pushed again, down this time. i could feel her coming. i took another deep breath and pushed with all my might. she slid out and the doctor put her right on to my chest. i just laid there crying and looking at her. she was here. penelope was here. the cord was wrapped up and around her neck but it wasn't wrapped totally around which we were thankful for. i looked at matt, he was crying too and looking very relieved. in fact he kind of went against the wall and slid down onto the floor. i asked him if he was alright, the nurse did too. he nodded his head yes and just took some deep breaths.
after they cleaned penelope up the doctor looked me over and said well done mama and then he headed back to his practice. the nurses finished cleaning up the room and matt and i and penelope were left alone. it felt so surreal. i looked at matt sitting across from me with her in his arms and we just kind of laughed. then i started to cry because this was the first time in 4 births that we were able to just sit in the room holding our baby after delivery. every other time our babies had been rushed out of the room to intensive care. it felt good and healing. we both knew that God was allowing us to experience the very best this time around. it was a gift and we were thankful, so very thankful.
our friend kate brought micah and beatrix up to see us later that night. the kids were excited to see us and micah requested to hold her right away. our friends nicole, ashlea and quinn were there too and the room felt Holy. before micah and beatrix got there ashlea started to sing....nervously at first and then we all joined her. we sang God is good...it was a precious time. little pips...a little package with a large name. here is the story of her name.
penelope is a character in one of matt's favorite stories, the Odyssey. Penelope was the faithful wife of Odysseus, who kept her suitors at bay in his long absence and was eventually reunited with him. the name has come to be associated with a loyal, capable and clever woman. we thought these were admirable traits.
Noel is because we wanted something christmasy since her birthday was in december. matt also liked that noel is french.
Darling is the part of her name that we have gotten the most questions about. i was adamant that darling be included in her name. ...after finn passed away i read the book peter pan. matt had already read it and was planning on teaching it at his school. we were both struck with the fact that like peter pan we had a son that would never grow up. he would always be a baby in our minds. i wanted penelope to have darling because that is the last name of the children in peter pan that did grow up. they played with peter pan, even went to his never neverland but they came home, grew up and had adventures of their own. there was something redeeming to me about giving her that name.
penelope noel darling
a week out from her birth and i am happy.
i am so thankful and beyond ecstatic that she is here. we are enjoying the baby smells in our home and the baby sounds.
it is a blessed christmas season and one that we are rejoicing over.
it seems as if he came out with a love for christmas and holidays and good times.
matt turns 36 today. 36. what in the world? it's hard to believe we were only 22 when we met. i am proud of the man that i married. i am in love with the man that i married. and most of the time i even really like the man that i married. isn't that great?
i bought matt cologne for his birthday this year. i think the last time matt had a bottle of actual store bought cologne was the year after we got married. yes, as in 10 years ago. he always smells nice, but the other day he politely said, "i think i would like to smell good again. why don't you pick me out something that you like?" so i did just that. and i picked a good one! i wanted to sit and smell him all day. sigh, men who smell great are really something special, aren't they?
what else can i say about this man? he has been patient with me through many ups and downs, he is an amazing father to our 2 almost 3 children, he loves reading and never stops learning, and he does silly, adventurous and surprisingly meaningful things, like join the VFW. i love him. i really and truly thank God that we are together. there have been many times through out our marriage where if we would have split up i am sure the world would not have blamed us, but God helped us persevere and i am so thankful that we have.
this is how i will always remember matt's grandma, lawna scott harrison. enjoying christmas and with a little point and shoot or disposable camera in her hands. she loved christmas which is probably how matt comes by it so honestly.
the night before halloween matt got a call from his dad that grandma had gone into the hospital to check out some pain. while she was there she had major bleeding, then her heart stopped and they had to do CPR, which broke a couple of ribs, which then triggered her lung filling with fluid and she just went downhill from there. she had a couple of hope full days where everyone thought she might pull through. then on veteran's day matt got another call that she may not make it through the night. matt and i talked about it and he got in the car and drove right to orlando to say goodbye. it was a hard weekend for him. full of memories. full of wishes of more time spent with this lovely lady who laughed a lot and was ALWAYS witnessing to someone. seriously, she had a supply of tracts in her purse. it worked for her though. people responded to her kindness and sincerity.
last night around 8, we got that call. the one that we had been expecting since they moved her to hospice the day before, but still it was hard to get. i knew from matt's tone while he was talking to his dad that it had happened. it takes awhile for things like this to really hit me and this morning it did. i lay awake in bed thinking about being married to matt for over 60 years and what it would be like to wake up that first morning after knowing that i wouldn't see him again on earth. i wouldn't smell him or touch him or walk past him. i wouldn't kiss him or cook for him, remind him to take his pills, or get mad at him for being a nasty old man. those are the thoughts i had this morning. i thought of grandpa, alone and what that must feel like. grandma was finally at peace, but grandpa...i don't think that man has ever been alone.
and then my mind turned to heaven. what must grandma have woken up to this morning? did she wake up to her mother, her father, the sister she never met who passed before her? did my grandpa saunter over to her and ask how we all were and to make the connection that they did indeed have a connection? did finn...did finn run to her? did he ask her how we were? did he grab her by the hand and say, "i can't wait to show you around! grandpa and i have this place figured out." did she laugh and skip and take deep breaths of clean and crisp air. did she breathe deeply and fill her lungs? lungs that had been so heavy for a month with liquid. did she sing? did she join the chorus?
i don't know what i think about heaven totally. i don't know if it is a place, or a state of "mind" or something that we tell ourselves we go to before Jesus comes back and creates a new heaven and a new earth. i am not a scholar of heaven. what i do know is that God promises no more tears after we die, and that to be absent from this body, this body that decays and breaks, is to be present with Him. i don't know the rest.
i do know that matt's grandma passed away 8 years almost to the day that my grandpa passed away. 8 years he has been gone. i can still hear his voice and feel his hug with his rough facial hair as he asks, "how's my girl?" it is great and powerful and awesome to think that someday i will hear that again. i will see grandma smile, maybe offer me something delicious or tell me about all the beauty there is to see. someday, i have to believe that we will be reunited. i have to believe this because the missing, well the missing is just too much to take without hope. hope that we will indeed see each other again.
goodbye for now grandma harrison. you have left a legacy that has traveled down to your sons and through them to your grandchildren and even unto your great grandchildren. you lived a life of joy and blessing others with your life. you served and loved your husband faithfully for 67 years. you reveled in your family, enjoying every picture that was sent to you and peppering your house with their images. you decorated for christmas and made cookies every year. you loved and were loved and we will miss your presence here.
i don't know how long this phase of life is going to last, but it sure has been a fun one. i will be sad when its time is over. what phase? the shadow phase. the phase where beatrix likes everything and i mean everything about her big brother.
friday micah's class had a thanksgiving feast. it was supposed to be outside but due to rain we set up blankets in one of the first grade classrooms on the floor.
(yeah that was fun getting up and down :)
at the beginning the teachers had each one of the kids stand up and tell 4 things that they were thankful for. mister and his shadow waited patiently.
and as you can see when it was his turn she stood up with him. it was so precious i just sat there grinning and praying. i was praying that though this phase may not last for much longer that it will come again. i prayed that they will be close like this for their whole lives.
micah and his class gave us all a preview of the christmas concert. they sang one of the songs complete with marching and hand motions. [the performance is scheduled for 2 days after my due date. will i be huge or will we have a little one by then? hmmmm] and though beebs had never even heard the song before she jumped right up with him, stood there for a minute...
saturday we took pictures of you. your brother and sister were not excited at all, but i thought it was important. i wanted you to see what mommy looked like when i was carrying you around. micah and beatrix eventually warmed up to it, but it took them awhile. i do not feel the most beautiful in these pictures, but you know what? 60 year old lydia would tell me to get over it! and that is what i tried to do.
we are excited to meet you and have you join this craziness. we all wonder what your personality will be like, who you will resemble, and how you will change our family dynamic.
you will be loved that is for certain.
we are excited to meet you soon.
very very soon.
love to you,
and please...come out easy!
[these pictures were taken by my friend kate, she did a beautiful job! thank you kate]
there are 18 days until my official due date of december 5th.
that is nothing!
when i get down to these last few days, and this pregnancy is no exception, i find that i have to force myself to think in future tense. i force myself into getting baby clothes washed and ready. i force myself to wash sheets and set up the bed and buy diapers and wipes. i force myself to speak in future terms such as "when the baby and i come home from the hospital, or when the baby cries mommy will have to feed her to make her happy again." i force myself to buy an outfit for her to come home in.
but if i'm really being honest, what i want to do is wait. i would wait until we are home before i did any of it.
i went through beatrix's old clothes today to wash and sort for the new baby. i came across some of her special clothes and blankets that i set aside just for her to have someday. this purple blanket is one that my sister in law made for beatrix right after she was born. she made one for finn, for micah and for beatrix and i am sure that she will make one for pip....
when she is here.
i force myself to do future tense things.
like wash the clothes she will need for the first 3 months.
like make a sling that i will carry her in.
i force myself to think future tense thoughts...
like i WILL carry her in this sling.
i will open this package of clothes.
i will not save it to take back in case something happens.
i hate this!
i hate that this is the lot i have been dealt. i hate that i can't think future tense thoughts without having it somewhere in the back of my head that all of this preparation may be a waste of time. i hate that i don't expect it to go anything other then perfectly. i really resent that i have to think like this. it makes me so mad sometimes.
i just want to scream.
but i don't.
i don't scream.
i cry sometimes. especially in the dark.
i give God an ear full about it sometimes, especially in the dark.
and i take a deep breath and i rip right through the packaging.