When I started scrolling through these images from my photographer, my heart melted and I was just completely overwhelmed. Looking into the faces of my TWO sweet little boys made me cry tears of joy. These pictures mean so much to me. I love my boys and I love being a family of four! Here are some of my favorite images from Alder's newborn session...
On January 29th, 2017 at 2:47 PM our sweet Alder entered the world kicking and screaming. It was a perfect day and as I sit here thinking back on it, I am brought to tears. Giving birth is a beautiful thing. It's messy and painful, but it is a privilege, an honor and one of the most spiritual things I have ever experienced. Here is the story of the day my second son was born.
Let's rewind to my 38 week appointment. I was 4 cm dilated and 80% effaced and the doctor brought up induction. Since I was two weeks late with my first, she mentioned considering going ahead and scheduling an induction at my next appointment just to have it in the books. Honestly, at that point I really didn't want to be induced. I wanted the "real" experience this time. I wanted to make that call to my husband in panic mode saying "Hunny, get home now, my water just broke!" Don't ask me why, but I wanted all the crazy that comes with the contractions at home and scrambling around. It seemed exciting and I wanted it to happen naturally this time. Well my 39 week appointment came and I was progressing quickly. 5 cm and 85% effaced. The doctor brought up induction once again and was worried that if I didn't schedule an induction within the next few days, that I could end up giving birth in the car on the way to the hospital because she said when it happened, it would be quick. It was the doctor who delivered Aiden so she said nonchalantly, "I'm at the hospital on Sunday (it was Thursday) why don't you come in then, I'll break your water and we can have this baby." Those words sold me and I called to schedule my induction for Sunday at 10 am.
I still fully expected to go into labor on my own, but it never happened. So Saturday night I got to rock my sweet son and sing to him one last time before he would become a big brother. I got to cry some tears I'd been holding in and pray for his heart. I got to take my time packing the car Sunday morning, shower, eat breakfast and relax on our car ride to the hospital as snowflakes fell around us. It was serene and peaceful and wonderful.
We got admitted at the hospital, I got into my robe and got hooked up to Pitocin. We listened to Alder's heartbeat on the monitor and waited. At 11:40 the doctor came in and broke my water and then the contractions started.
With Aiden I got an epidural shortly after my water broke, but this time I just wanted to feel more and while it was painful, I kind of enjoyed it. Drew read the monitor and told me when I was at the peak of a contraction and helped me breathe through the pain. I had Hillsong on in the background and focused my energy on what was to come. I had no plans to do a natural birth so when I couldn't bare it anymore I asked for the epidural, then bliss. 45 minutes later, and 3 sets of pushes later, he was here. I was a Mama again.
Those first few moments after your baby is born, when the doctors hand them over to you and you look them in the eyes, is the closest thing to heaven on Earth that I've ever experienced. Meeting the life you've been growing inside of you for 9 months, the little human that prodded you in the middle of the night, that you felt hiccuping at all hours, that you sang to and prayed over...the moment you've dreamt of, prayed about and longed for is here. This thing that has been part of you, but is now separate from you is now breathing on his own and staring you in the face. It truly is a miracle.
After he spent the first hour of his little life laying on his Mama's chest, he was whisked away to be weighed and measured. 7 pounds 9 ounces of love. 52.5 cm. The entire time, just like his brother, Alder was looking around and taking in this big old world.
Then it was Daddy's turn to hold Alder and we simply stared in awe at the newest addition to our family. We were officially a family of 4 and we couldn't wait for Aiden to arrive to meet his little brother! Those photos are coming soon and they are absolutely adorable. My heart has never felt so full.
Our first week as a family of 4 has been messy, sweet, challenging, amazing, terrifying, heart warming and everything in between. Drew and I have had to learn how to be parents to two kids with two sets of completely different needs. Having to divide ourselves and the love we have to give in two different directions. We are learning how to teach our toddler about sharing us when that concept is completely foreign to him. We are learning how to be parents of a newborn again. We are learning how to balance our marriage again. We are learning about the joys tied with parenthood in a new way as we watch our firstborn kiss and show off his little brother.
To say the least, it has been a very FULL week.
Full diaper genies
Full of tears (including some of my own)
Full of baby snuggles
Full of sweet visitors with arms open to welcome Alder and comfort Aiden
Full of goodies and homemade meals
Full of Googling weird questions only parents of a newborn would ask
Full of parenting victories and parenting fails
Full of smiles and laughing at ourselves
Full of sweet Big Brother kisses and "pat pats"
Full of spit up spotted burp cloths
Full of late night feedings and nursery worship sessions
Full of exhaustion
Full of questioning and wondering how in the world are we going to do this?
Full of kissing the softest cheeks ever
Full breasts (sorry I had to)
Full of donuts and movies for a great Big Brother who deserves to be spoiled
Full loads in the washing machine
Full of exchanging glances with my husband that say, how did we get so lucky?
Full of the evolution of newborn poop
Full of forgetting to eat and not opening my make-up bag
Full of moments I never want to forget like the way Aiden gives Alder "pat pats" or the way he wants to help both Alder and I by bringing us burp cloths and pacifiers or by helping me clean up spit up.
Full of God's grace and being reminded that I am by no means Superwoman and I can't do this whole Mom thing in my own strength.
This will be a season of growing, of patience, of trusting, of learning of leaning on others and of remembering to smile and thanking God through it all.
You will always be the one who taught me how to give more of myself than I thought possible.
The one who pushed me to learn new things.
The one who first heard my heart from the inside and then completely stole it on the outside.
You are the one who renewed my sense of wonder in the every day moments.
Who showed me the miracle of growing a life.
Before you, I had never been happy changing a diaper or sucking boogers out of someone's nose.
Before you, I had never been so enamored with another human's toes.
Before you, I didn't know how it felt to be someone's everything.
You were the first one to call me Mama.
The first one to make me understand God's love for me, his child, in such a profound way.
And while there is another baby coming into my life very soon that will take up part of my heart,
You will always be my first baby.
Date night (aka Treat yo' self): My husband and I don't get out on enough date nights as it is and we only have one child. So we made sure that we planned ahead a date night before bringing home our second baby. We wanted to have time to talk so we chose to go out to eat, walk around our outdoor shopping center and then eat some more! It was fun to relax together and share our excitement and nerves about adding another child to our family.
Get out all the baby gear. With your second kid, you already know you have many of the items you need. You know the swing is in a box somewhere, and the bouncy seat is mostly put together, but make sure you leave time to wash and reassemble these items! I was also very glad to do this in advance because you can go ahead and put these items out so your other little one can become familiar with the new gear. My 2 year old has been very interested in the new gear we have set out. Each time we set out something new I have talked with him about what the baby will be using it for. ("This is the baby's swing. He can sit in it while we play cars." "This is the baby's carseat. He will get to sit with you in the back seat so you have a buddy now when we go to the store!" ETC.)
Pack your hospital bags. That means one for you and one for your husband who you will probably have to force to pack, but the last thing I would want to do while having contractions is tell my husband what he needs to bring. I would also recommend putting together a little comfort bag for your first baby. (Books about the new baby, a book with your voice recording, ultrasound pictures, Big Bro or Sis outfit, etc.)
Buy a Present from baby to big bro or sis. We plan on having Aiden meet his brother at the hospital and we want to make the transition as smooth as possible so we bought a gift that we can give him from his baby brother. He loves cars so we bought him a car carrying case with a built in racing ramp and we bought a few new cars for him to put in it. We are hoping that 1.) He will love it and 2.) He can play with it at the hospital as an added bonus.
Prep some freezer meals. Here are a few Tried and True freezer Meals I made the first time around. Or if you're just too tired to make your own, buy some. Trader Joe's freezer meals are pretty healthy, inexpensive and delicious so I stocked up on some of those to have on hand as well.
Clean. No one wants to bring a fresh newborn home to a dirty house so make sure the areas baby will be in (especially where they will be sleeping) are clean. Your pregnant self may be cursing as you are bending over scrubbing things, but you will be glad you did it when you come home to a clean space. And honestly, if you don't have the energy to clean, ask for help!
Make a Plan for childcare if you have to leave the house quickly. This seems obvious right? But when you have another person to care for, you have to plan ahead to help things go as smoothly as possible for them as their little world is about to be rocked. Things like planning ahead some meals they can eat, having the car seat already installed in the car of who is watching them, writing a note about their routines, etc. can make a BIG difference for your little one who will already be missing you.
What other things did you make sure to do before bringing home your babies?
So many words were swirling around in my head as I thought about what I wanted my word of 2017 to be. I have chosen a word on the crest of each new year for the past 4 years and each word has played a powerful part in shaping my year. Last year I chose courage and my year brought about many trials where I had to choose to be courageous. So I know the word I choose has the ability to shape my whole year.
I already know this year will bring changes as we welcome Alder in just a few weeks and become a family of 4. I know it will be a joy, but also a struggle as I learn to juggle everything while also being a Mama to two little people. I am also in a new position at work where there are things I just don't know yet. So while I contemplated my word this year simply being survive, that just didn't seem right because I want to do more than that.
So my word for 2017 is FIGHT.
Fight for joy in the everyday moments of motherhood Fight against my fear of inadequacy
Fight my desire to compare with others
Fight my urge to spend money on things I don't need (part time status=budget time people)
Fight to strengthen my marriage
Fight to put God first and make time in a crazy season to spend in His word
See this article for more reasons I felt this word was perfect for me this year.
The other day my two year old and I went to the library for what I thought was a quick outing. When we were walking out to the parking lot he spotted the park across the street and looked at me with those big brown eyes and said, "Park please, Mama." It was cold out and I had on gray suede flats with no socks. I also did not have gloves or a hat. When the words, "But I'm not wearing the right shoes for that..." came out of my mouth I realized that those words meant absolutely nothing to my toddler. To him he saw the park right across the street and probably thought to himself, Mom and I can walk over there and play right now. Easy peasy. So I chose to take him to the park despite that I was freezing and ended up getting mud all over my suede shoes. It was totally worth it to see him smiling and laughing as we played.
But this made me think of some other phrases I say to my toddler that mean absolutely nothing to him...
But you ate that yesterday and loved it.
I didn't have time to go the grocery and get more _________.
Your favorite shirt/toy is dirty and in the wash.
We already watched that movie 1,000 times.
I'm too tired to __________.
But you're not dressed to do that.
I'm 37 weeks pregnant, I can't sit like that.
But we don't have time to ___________.
You haven't taken a bath in 3 days, you need one now.
What phrases do you find yourself saying to the toddler in your life and then realizing, wait, this means absolutely nothing to them!