Almost 6 weeks ago, on my birthday (!), our sweet baby girl was born! Kate was 9 lbs, 10 oz and 22 inches long. And once she decided to come, she came fast! Phew! Here is her birth story, and since I have limited time while she and Henry nap- this will not be as well-written or prosaically pleasing as I would like. Here goes.

I was nearly 4 days overdue and 3 cm dilated…just walking and waiting…I forgot how long those last few weeks last, especially when the doctor said for several weeks, “I doubt you’ll make it to your next appointment.” How I loved and loathed those words…

On Wednesday morning, I woke up and started having regular, kind of uncomfortable contractions. Then they started getting regular-like every 3-4 minutes regular! Our hopes started growing, and we even made a trip to Wal-Mart to buy a dvd player so that Henry could watch Baby Einstein with his grandparents while we were in the hospital. Our hopes were dashed after lunch when my contractions subsided. But “just in case,” I took a nap to reserve some strength (and because I was hugely pregnant and tired from lugging around my 30 lb 18 month old!). I took Henry for an afternoon walk, and I started having contractions again, this time more around 10-15 minutes apart (again- disappointing). The contractions died down completely by the time we went to bed at 10:45, but I still thought “maybe tomorrow morning.”

I woke up with a start at 11:45, went to the bathroom, and BOOM, my contractions got crazy painful, crazy fast. Faris called his parents to put them on alert that we would probably be calling them to come over within the hour, and we started getting our things together. Faris heated my rice heating pad (an amazing gift from my doula in Birmingham), and I fled to the edge of the bed for some serious contractions. After about 5 minutes and several contractions, I told him to call his parents and get them here SOON! We thought we would be able to take our time at home, work through a lot of contractions before the hospital, but I didn’t think I’d be able to handle a car ride (even though we are literally blocks from the hospital) for much longer.

Thankfully, his parents had been ready to go for weeks, so they arrived very quickly, and we were checked into the hospital by 12:45. I think I was about 5 cm dilated (maybe close to 6) by the time they checked me, and in retrospect I must have been really close to transition by the time I got there. All I know is that I was in crazy amounts of pain and the light was too bright in the room. I think Faris maybe adjusted it or tried to, but I really needed him next to me, putting pressure on my back (he was a champ!), so the ambiance wasn’t perfect in the room, but oh well!

I decided to get in the jacuzzi to perhaps allay some of the pain, but my water broke right before I was going to get off the bed. So I decided to take a hot shower instead. When the nurse said for us to pull the call rope if I felt the urge to push while in the shower, I gained new hope that I must be kind of close to giving birth (I had no idea how close…). Oh my goodness- after a few minutes of a super hot shower and not a ton of relief, I really felt the urge to push. It was so strong,  I couldn’t really even get the words out to Faris. Finally I managed to say something to him, and I got out of the shower, flung the hospital gown back on, and literally flew onto the bed sideways (that’s how it felt- I’m sure it was more of a 40-plus weeks lumbering movement). By that time, my doctor had arrived. I told them that I needed to push, and they told me they weren’t ready. Um excuse me, this giant baby is literally about to pop out of me, and you want me to stop her?! It was the hardest thing in the world to pant through a couple more contractions and not push…but somehow I managed.

When I could take it no longer, I told them that she was going to come, and I think they gave me the go ahead to push (or perhaps saw that I was going to push no matter what). After just about 3 or so hard contractions, our darling Kate barreled her way out! I took one look at that precious, chubby little girl and I didn’t care how many stitches I was going to need (a lot). She was born at 2:04 am, just an hour and 20 minutes after we arrived at the hospital, a little over 2 hours since the hard contractions started. We prayed for a quick delivery, and wow!

She has been nothing but a joy and delight to us since that day, and her older brother is finally getting a little intrigued by her (both good and bad, I guess). More on that transition later…

Dear Henry,

I meant to write this on your first birthday, but we were  too busy taking you to McDonald’s, feeding you cake, bringing you to your grandparents’, and otherwise celebrating the very special boy that you are. We also took you on a fun stroller ride through Target to look at all the toys. You love being on the go, so it didn’t matter that we didn’t buy any of the toys we passed.

The birthday boy and the remains of a birthday cupcake

You are barely a baby anymore! You were walking by your first birthday, and now you are practically running everywhere! And those chubbalicious thighs are fast disappearing into strong toddler legs. You are an adventurous boy, and you love to explore: the backyard, kitchen cabinets, Papa’s desk (a big no!), and any new place we take you (Mamaw’s house is a wonderland of breakables!). You love dancing, playing the piano with Papa, going on multiple walks with me everyday, and swinging (your single greatest joy besides a McDonald’s cheeseburger).

Papa and the Birthday Boy (who was just awakened from his nap for the party!)

Some of your greater accomplishments of recent days include: saying “Puppy” or “Pup Pup,” which you say in a sweet, sing song voice and give Puppy great big hugs that make me envious! You have said “Papa” at least once, but you mostly jabber “da da” and “ma ma” whenever you want and not necessarily to get our attention. You used to say “All done!” when you were finished eating, but you decided to quit in favor of holding up your arms and yelling…hmmm.

Loving some birthday cupcake

If you could tell us, I think you would say that your single greatest accomplishment is patting your head when we ask you, “Henry, where is your baptism?” In fact, you are so proud of this accomplishment that you pat your head in Kroger, when you are in trouble, while swinging, or any other time you need a little affirmation. We remembered your baptism day on May 9th with a mini celebration that included a specially made prune cake- which you loved (and Papa didn’t touch).

Henry, you are a delight and a joy to us every single day. You are growing into a decisive, strong young boy. We pray with and for you every day, and we know that the Lord has good plans for you. I hope that you are able to look back as you grow older and never remember a time when you did not follow Jesus, even as you toddled around on your short chubby legs and fought the temptation to pull all the books off of  Papa’s bookshelves. We love you, our sweet firstborn son!

Love,

Mama

Crawling, pulling, pushing, standing, falling, reaching, grabbing…you name it, and he’s into it!

From the moment he’s awake, he is on the go. His favorite snack is Baby Mum Mums or Banana Puffs. His favorite book is a Peter Rabbit flap book, and it’s hilarious to watch him grab at pages in other books that don’t have flaps. His favorite toy is a talking dog that he got for Christmas. She sings and has a blinking red heart (sounds creepy in writing) and when she says “Hurray!” I am certain I have heard Henry copy the intonation on AT LEAST two separate occasions. He LOVES going on walks in the neighborhood, and he also enjoys a good car ride or trip to the store. He’s quite the people watcher, and once he’s caught someone’s attention, he is quite the flirt! He saves a special coy little smile just for girls.

He is learning how to sleep through the night (I know, we should have worked on this a long time ago), and he is making huge strides! He hates being still, so diaper changes and clothing changes need some attitude work and are among his least favorite activities. Basically, the boy likes freedom from all restraint! Ah…

We are loving all the “raw” potential we see in Henry’s very outspoken personality. It’s exciting and not a little scary to know that Faris and I are charged with training this little person up in the way he should go, so that when he is old he will not depart from it. We hope and pray that the Lord will use us to mold all of Henry’s raw potential into a courageous and godly man. But for now, we are working on not screaming in the high chair. Everyone has to start somewhere…

8 months and enjoying his 1st clementine (until i noticed that he had chomped through it...this kid's got some jaws!)

Christmas Tree shopping!

southern boy

southern boy

fresh nap face

Living Room (from the foyer looking where the entertainment center is now...)

After: Living Room (from foyer)

Before: Dining Room (from living room)

After: Dining Room (from living room)

After: d.r. into l.r.

After: more d.r.

here are some before and after pics…typing w 1 hand will make this short and sweet…hmmm, just like my reason for only 1 free hand…

main changes: pulled up carpet, had floors refinished, painted walls benjamin moore’s lenox tan w dove white trim (sadly, both before and after colors look horribly similar in my pics, but i promise it’s better now!). i have more plans for both rooms, but we are feeling very at home just the way they are!

It’s finally cool enough to put Henry in some of the fall clothes he is already outgrowing…sigh. Here are some of our front porch pics from today. He’s 5 days from being 7 months. Not quite crawling, but oh-so-close. Poor kid, I probably haven’t given him enough floor time, since we are still painting and renovating.

New favorite: he likes being tucked into bed (on a good night/naptime). He will lie down with his arms on his sides and watch with those big eyes while I tuck the blanket around him. So precious (at least for the first, second, and third time I have to do it). Also, he has found his lost love for the pacifier. So nice for us!

We love this boy, our little man!

How time flies when you are renovating a charming 100 year old home and watching your baby grow up before your eyes! On September 1st, Faris and I closed on a home built in 1907–our first house! We have spent the weeks painting, pulling up old carpet (Faris and his dad), and having our floors refinished. Great progress has already been made, but I am learning to accept the fact that this home will be a “work in progress” for some time to come. It has great bones, and I will hopefully be able to share some before and afters soon.

But I digress. Onto the more important news at hand: Henry is 6 months old!

6 Months old and very tired for the pic...

He is on the brink of crawling, and he (as of today) can sit up all by himself–which is a pretty big deal for a big guy like him. Other favorites: sticking out his tongue to the side of his mouth, the sound of rustling plastic (give that boy a pack of plastic wrapped wipes and watch him go crazy–thanks, Nanette and Grandmommy), flapping his arms (he learned to splash this month-watch out world!), increasingly smooth motor skills (ie, everything he reaches makes a beeline for his mouth), and a wide range of exotic sounds, from growling to squealing to “dadadada.” He also has 2 bottom teeth, courtesy of Month 4.

Starring the Big Sitter! Wardrobe by Nanette.

We have officially moved to Jonesboro, Arkansas, where Faris has agreed to serve a local church as pastor! It was sad to say goodbye to our church family and sweet neighbors in Birmingham, but we are excited about this new phase of life…and for me, it’s my second Delta adventure. We are supposed to close on a house at the end of the month (exciting and scary!), but in the meantime we are living with Faris’ parents, who have generously agreed to let us plop ourselves and lots of our stuff in their home for the time being. I will leave you with a common sight in our new location: Henry enjoying cartoons on Grandma and Grandpa’s bed…can we say spoiled?!

Here are some pics of Henry’s nursery, which was completed just weeks before we moved to Arkansas! (More news on the move forthcoming).

Everything in the room has received lots of love and all are hand me downs, consignment finds, or otherwise “used.” I love that we got to re-purpose Aunt Barbara’s dresser and vanity (after Faris dedicated a lot of time painting it), used my friend Annie’s hand me down crib whose linens were made by a good friend of Faris’ family, enjoyed friend friend Mara’s old changing table, bought a consignment glider that my mom re-covered (used to be denim with yellow stars…), and used the guest bed that I bought at a random estate sale I passed while living in Belhaven (the maid was selling the furniture and begged me to take the bed set when all I wanted was the mirror…ended up a very good deal!).

We had a lot of sweet moments in Henry’s first nursery…and a few long nights.  We are so thankful for this precious boy. He is a special gift from God.

Enjoying a quiet moment with his favorite dinosaur

"Oh, hi momma. Want to join us?"

The changing table view

Henry's bed-thanks to Annie for donating and Mrs. D for making the bedding!

Bumper pad and skirt up close

Having a chat with Ping and Dino

Our big boy is 3 months old today! His favorite things to do include eating (favorite by far), stretching out on his back and kick, kick, kicking away, clasping his hands together, smiling and *almost* laughing, singing loudly when there’s lots of background noise, cooing to everyone (this boy is friendly!), trying to stand up, always trying to sit up wherever he is, riding in the car, and the ultimate…his bath time!

He always has something to say

He does not like: getting his clothes changed, having hiccups, being left alone at any time, being hungry, being left on his tummy (he usually just flips right over, anyway), too much stimulation, or too little sleep (but he also hates going to sleep..but this is getting better).

He knows how to make his momma's day

Big accomplishments this month: rolling from tummy to back (10 weeks), first giggle (12 weeks), and sleeping *pretty* consistently through the night. He has come so very far from our wailing bundle of joy 3 months ago!

He knows how to break his momma's heart

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