Boys and Girls, Girls and Boys!

A lovely woman by the name of Katrina, and who writes THIS BLOG, is hosting a linkup to share experiences with girl pregnancies vs. boy pregnancies. What a great idea and since I heard about the linkup through Rosie, I’ll just link to her contribution HERE!!

I had to laugh just a little bit when I read Rosie’s entry because I had heard the exact OPPOSITE about boy sperm and girl sperm than she had. Here’s my version, on this About com page about Shettles Method and page down to “X-bearing” and “Y-bearing” and that is the version I had heard about which sperm “swim slower and live longer” ūüôā

Okay, about my pregnancies! First of all, I’m an “older” mommy-blogger so I don’t have handy pictures of most of my pregnancies (didn’t start this whole blogging thing until Dominic was almost a year old!)

Sarah’s pregnancy was one of those deals where Craig and I decided to “try” and we “tried” early and often that cycle. I knew NOTHING about charting at that point, and couldn’t care less about whether anything we did would have impacted which gender of baby we received.

When pregnant with Sarah, I didn’t know what I didn’t know. And over time, I’ve figured out what works for me. One thing I do remember was that morning sickness was terrible with Sarah. But thankfully, it didn’t last too long. I had a weekend around 10 weeks that was horrendous, I don’t think I got off the couch for either day of the weekend.

One thing I always remember about each pregnancy is the heart rate of my babies in utero. This has been, by far, the most accurate indicator for me of the gender of my babies. My girls never dropped below 160 and the boys never rose above 140. While I was pregnant with her, Sarah’s heart rate never dropped below 165 bpm and she was usually around 170 bpm.

Sarah Rebecca was born 10 days overdue, weighed 9.5 pounds and was 21 inches long. And her eyes were brown from the moment of her birth. I remember being so shocked at that, but she looked at me quietly from my tummy with her big brown eyes.

Sarah Rebecca
*****

Dani’s pregnancy was again, one of those deals where we went for it early and often. Looking at my chart, probably the same type of deal as with Sarah.

And NO Morning Sickness! Not even a little queasiness this time. Again, Dani’s first heart rate was measured at 170 bpm and she was also in the high 160’s after that. I had a fairly uneventful pregnancy until we discovered a low amount of fluid with about 12 days until my due date. My doctor said I could keep coming in every day for stress tests, or it looked like baby was okay with induction if I wanted to.

So, we did (induce) and she was my fastest labor and easiest labor (after I got that darn epidural!) Doctor told me to push starting at 10:05 (or something…birth story is here) and I only had 2 pushes and she was out! She had bruises from “rapid pushing.” Danielle Christine was 8 lb, 10 oz at birth, born 10 days early.¬†

Danielle Christine
*****

When we got pregnant with Helen, I had done a little more research on whether we could actually impact the gender of the babies we conceived. One thing I had hoped to try was limiting our, ahem, opportunities for conception to every other day. But…we failed miserably at this and therefore, our attempts to conceive Helen looked very much like our attempts to conceive the other two we’d had.

Sure enough, the first time we measured a heartbeat it was 168 bpm. Helen’s pregnancy was my first one where I needed to treat my progesterone deficiency. 300 mg Prometrium, orally, at bedtime…through 15 weeks. Another non-morning sickness-y, fairly uneventful pregnancy this time around and I grew my biggest baby yet. I knew Helen was bigger than the other two at about 8 months…I could just feel how big she was.

My dear Helen Olivia was the one closest to her due date, so far, as she was born 3 days before. I was induced, but I think she was coming anyway as I was already 4.5 cm dilated when I arrived at the hospital and they had to send me home to come back next morning! She was 9 pounds 9 ounces and 20 inches long with a “one-month old’s thighs” and the sweetest cheeks you ever did see.

Helen Olivia
*****

When it came time to try for Dominic, I am just going to be brutally honest here, but I was really gonna try this “every other day” thing. Additionally…I was gonna try really hard to time our opportunity/opportunities as close to ovulation as I thought without jumping the gun on it. And…I stuck to it. Is that why we conceived a boy this time? Only God knows, of course. But…we were really disciplined and seriously, our best opportunity for success, my doctor pointed out, was what we had “tried” for.

The first heartbeat measurement for Dominic was 135 bpm. Immediately, I had my “hunch” it was a boy this time, but I refused to let myself believe it. Most of Dominic’s heart rate measurements were 120. I remember thinking it was so low…but the doctor never seemed worried. Also, the morning sickness!! I had been spared since Sarah and now…it was back with a vengeance! (I decided that FOR ME, my body needed adjusting to growing each gender — so I was sick with Sarah, but not sick with the other two girls. Then I was sick with Dom, but not so much with the boys after him.)

At the ultrasound where we found out that Dominic was, indeed, a boy, I asked the nurse to double-check! And she pointed precisely to the baby in the right spot and said, “THAT, right there, means this baby is a boy.” My progesterone problems worsened this go round, but I was still able to address it with nighttime administration of Prometrium. Dominic was the first time I failed the 1-hr glucose test, too! I really worried about going in for that 3-hour test, but I passed that one fine.

Dominic was born about 3 days after his due date. My doctor was going to make me wait it out a full week, but I couldn’t stop crying when I realized he wouldn’t schedule an induction for me yet and somehow, he was able to pull some strings to get me in a couple days earlier than he thought. I loved that Dominic Richard was born on 1/16 at 1:16 p.m. I’ll always love telling him that. He was 9 pounds 2 oz and 22 inches long. And he was laid back from the minute he was laying on the warming bin at the hospital, with his leg hanging over the side.

Dominic Richard
*****

Once we had a boy, and because the way we “tried” for Dominic had worked, I was all about trying that way again. Once again, we think we probably hit the prime opportunity as it was probably the day ovulation took place, by my chart. My progesterone issues were even worse. Every time we checked, they kept dropping. I just kept crying every time I heard from the nurse after my blood draws. Finally, we went to progesterone injections (in the bum). Around the same time, I called and asked our priest to administer the Sacrament, Annointing of the Sick. I remember feeling a lot of peace when he laid his hands on my head. With that and the injections, we made it to 18 weeks and then were able to stop the injections.

The first time we got Vincent’s heart beat it was right at 140 (not OVER). Most of Vincent’s heart rate measurements were 133 or 135 bpm. At the ultrasound for Vincent, it was I who told the tech, “I do believe this is another little boy” as I saw the image up on the screen. With Vincent, again, I failed the 1-hr glucose test and had to complete the 3-hr test. These boys were proving a bit more troublesome!

Vincent was born about a week early due to induction. He was my longest labor at 27 hours. He just seemed to enjoy hanging out in my uterus, but when he decided to join us — he did it whole-hog! Birth story here… Vincent weighed 8 pounds 10 oz and was 20 inches long and was born so late at night, I was sooooo tired!! He also screamed and screamed UNTIL, they put him in my arms and then, he was quiet. I loved that about my sweet Vincent Gerard.

Vincent Gerard


*****

With baby #6, we knew we were taking a chance of conceiving, but we were a little surprised to be blessed with him. We figured we HAD to have hit a perfect timing thing because there was only one opportunity that could indicate his presence anyway, based on the chart. The progesterone problems persisted and so we were back on the injections. I asked Father again for the Annointing of the Sick. We made it to 15 weeks and were able to stop the injections. This baby’s heart beat measured low, too. The first time I heard his heart beating was at 13 weeks and it was 130 bpm. I then had my hunch that we had been blessed with another little boy.¬† Then at 17 weeks, it was 115 bpm, and I remember being worried, but the doc said anything over 110 was “normal” range. Well, HERE IS THE REST. My baby boy, Gregory, born into Heaven on March 1, 2013 weighed 12 ounces and was a perfect, tiny little Saint. We miss him very much.

So, yeah, my pregnancies for each gender were different. And even pregnancies of the same gender differed in some ways. But for me, the heart rate thing was a give-away of gender.

Five Munchkins

 

When My Mind Wanders…

This random post brought to you by preggo-brain.  Sometimes when I am suffering my anxiety of an unsure world, I need to take solace in the happy things my mind can dwell on.

When my mind wanders these days…

…I’m done with pregnancy and pulling this old body back together
…I get pool time and can swim any time I want
…I can walk for miles and climb stairs for days

…I can run 13.1 in sub-2 hours
…and not only survive but KILL IT for 45 minutes of Boot Camp
When my mind wanders to places long ago forgotten…
…I’m recording “kills” and “aces” on the volleyball court

…and shooting the game winning baseline jumper

…and winning my one and only individual swimming event, 11-12 100 Yd Individual Medley

When my mind wanders into the future…

…I’m taking Sarah shopping for a Homecoming gown

…I’m attending a solo performance by my kick-ass guitar-vocalist, Dani

…I’m crying happy tears while my baby girl, Helen, receives her first Holy Communion

…watching Dominic win the State spelling bee

…peeking through my fingers to watch as Vincent takes a jump/fall on a bungee cord

…holding an asyetunknowntome child in my arms



When my mind dreams big dreams…

…one of my children enters a convent or a seminary and devotes his or her life to God

…there are graduations, and ambitions, and weddings, and grand-babies

…Craig and I come to a place so filled with love and memories,¬†
that even though it’s “empty”…it’s not

 

7 Quick Takes – 38 (Pregnancy Update Edition)



— 1 —
I told my boss Monday about the impending arrival of Baby Hughes #6.¬† It went well.¬† She seemed genuinely happy (it wasn’t a canned “Congratulations” with the look on her face like she was racking her brain trying to be sure she had an appropriate response — yay!)¬† My boss is one of six children herself (and a twin, to boot!) so she seems to “get” a large family, even though she didn’t opt for one herself.¬†
— 2 —
Following Monday…and Tuesday…I finally said to myself:¬† “Self, it’s time to bust out the maternity wear.”¬† So Wednesday, I started wearing maternity clothes and I’m oh-so-happy I’m not stuffing myself into my regular clothes anymore.¬† yay!¬† I do have a rather larger-than-I-remember-for-12-weeks bump, but I’m sure that’s just my fatty showing through.¬† That’s okay…it won’t be long and I’ll start feeling this little baby move around and I can just not worry about my inner fatty for a few more months.
—¬†3 —
Oh!¬† I missed my scheduled first OB appointment last Friday.¬† Brilliant, right?¬† Well, to be honest, I hadn’t a clue it was actually scheduled!¬† They called me an hour after it was scheduled to tell me I’d missed it and to reschedule.¬† I had just been wondering that morning, “hmm, I guess I should call and make my first OB appointment…”¬† Anyway, it is now scheduled for Monday morning.
—¬†4 —
My children keep asking when we will find out the gender of the baby.¬† Last night, on the way to swim practice, Dani asked me and I said, “Oh…probably March or April sometime.”¬† She was very disappointed and told me, “Mom I just want to know whether I’m praying for a baby brother or a baby sister.”¬†

—¬†5 —
Some good news is that I was able to lower my dosage of Progesterone from 200 mg twice a week to 100 mg twice a week.¬† They didn’t actually give me the number from my last bloodwork, though, so I am not sure whether it climbed or my doctor just figured I was getting to the end of the 1st trimester, so it was time to coerce my body into trying to let the placenta take over.¬† Chances are my number did go up, but I really wish I had pushed the issue and asked.

—¬†6 —

Once I started wearing maternity clothes at work, other folks got in the know about my pregnancy.¬† It’s interesting reading people’s facial expressions and listening to what they say.¬† One woman at work, (actually the same woman from this conversation) looked at me in disbelief and then she said, “You know, as a person who is childless by choice, it’s just hard for me to fathom.”¬† I get that.¬† I did tell her all about how Craig and I entered marriage thinking (again, not unlike many young couples, I would guess) kids weren’t a huge priority.¬† Yeah, she didn’t get that either.
 

—¬†7—

Pregnancy fatigue…is…well, it’s just exhausting.¬† It is interesting to me that I basically felt very rested and caught up on sleep when I went to work Monday, but this week has so drained me that I fell asleep at Dani’s swim practice last night.¬† And this morning, I literally dragged myself into the shower and around the house as I got ready for work, praising God it was Friday.¬† Of course, tomorrow will be a tiring day as it’s Sarah’s first volleyball tournament (these things are all day things).¬† Also, the older I get, the less energy I get in the 2nd trimester.¬† I almost worry that this time around, it will be non-existent.¬† Give me a few weeks and I’ll let you know.

Today, Jennifer is feeling well enough host 7 Quick Takes.  We are keeping Jennifer in your prayers, and we are encouraged by her recovery thus far.  Be sure to check out Conversion Diary for more Quick Takes!

Surprise?

So…is baby #6 a surprise?

Yes…and no.

If there is one thing Craig and I have understood since learning Natural Family Planning, especially if we weren’t 100% sure before — it is what causes pregnancy.¬† Truly understanding that to engage in intimacy during fertile days is to basically “ask” God for a baby is something we’ve been keenly aware of over the past 11 years.¬† Over the years, we have also learned that to simply “ask” God for a baby in this manner does not necessarily mean God will grant the request.

So, no…I’m not surprised in the “Oh. My. Goodness.¬† I can NOT believe I am pregnant!” way at all.¬†

We “asked.”¬†¬†

This time, God granted.

Over the past 4-5 years, I can think of numerous times we “asked” and God did not grant the request.¬† It’s a fact that God doesn’t grant the request for a baby for everyone every time they “ask.”¬† As painful as it was at those times that God did not answer our request with a baby, I have often thought that it was a good thing that there were multiple months of openness before conceiving each of our sons — it provided a window into what it is like to wait.¬† A small window, I will grant, and no — I don’t equate our waiting period to anything like infertility — but it was a good lesson for me just the same.

I recognize a level of pride I held earlier in our childbearing years — that simply engaging intimately during fertile days guaranteed a baby; believing I was pregnant before even half of the two-week-wait was over.¬† This is not healthy.¬† I was humbled by months of waiting only to find out I was not pregnant as we waited for Vincent. ¬†

Over the years, I’ve often heard people call a surprise baby an “oops” baby.¬† As if a human being coming into existence was a mistake.¬† As children, we got two different takes from our parents about the children who came along after me.¬† My mother would often say that she never planned to have #3, #4 or #5 but that she couldn’t imagine life without them.¬† My father simply stated to my sister when she asked him if she was planned that, “you kids were neither planned for or prevented.”¬† Over the years, I have found comfort in my father’s statement because it provides a level of honesty and responsibility without sounding like he wished he’d done something different.¬† At least the way it hits me it seems that way.¬† And as an adult, I come into contact with people who proclaim they knew they were not “planned” by their parents — it was a mistake, or an “oops”.¬† Maybe I take it too seriously or have just grown too sensitive to the matter, but it really breaks my heart to hear anyone refer to a person in this manner.¬† No matter what was planned by humans, each soul was planned by God — for that time and that place — with a purpose that only He can reveal.

I think I could safely say, though, that an element of awe, wonder and … yes, surprise seem to accompany the revelation of a positive pregnancy test.¬† It is more a testament to the miracle of life than anything else.¬† In the instant that I see a positive pregnancy test, a flood of varying emotions hit me — joy, excitement, trepidation, worry, disbelief, anxiety — I could go on.¬†

This miracle changes everything from the minute we know about it.¬† My family dynamic has completely changed; Craig and I are the parents of six children; Sarah as a preteen and Dani as a “tween” are big sisters to another little one; Helen is no longer THE middle child, simply one in the middle.¬† Dominic is a big brother to more than just Vincent.¬† Vincent is now a big brother.¬† It changes the way I see each member of my family… instantaneously.

I think most people we know are over the surprise that we’d be open to another baby.¬† I feel some sort of exasperation from certain people.¬† I feel the worry from others.¬† I worry how my children really feel.¬† (For the record, I asked Sarah recently, and she said – in typical preteen fashion – “Well, I kinda thought we had enough kids…”¬† I simply responded to her, “Yeah, me, too, Sarah.¬† But I guess God planned at least one more for our family.”)

I haven’t said anything at work yet.¬† I plan to next month as the first trimester comes to an end.¬† WE have another very stressful busy year planned in my department, but I am sure we’ll be able to get things in place so it will all run smoothly, even if it means I work from home during half of my maternity leave.¬† The best part is that I’m not really nervous about my boss (she’s one of six and she is a twin!¬† She seems to be really down to earth about this sort of thing) and I think my work group will be excited.¬† And as I type that I think, “Yeah, who ISN’T excited about babies???”¬† But, I’ve experienced that side of it, so I know those people who don’t really appreciate it are out there.

The questions will come.¬† People will ask if I “meant” to (get pregnant).¬† People will stare at me as I walk into the store with my five kids in tow and a bulging belly and make some mention that I must idolize the Duggars.¬† People will stick their nose where it doesn’t belong and make value statements they have no business making.¬† It’s part of the life I lead that I will be subject to that stuff.¬† Interestingly enough, I laugh it off so much better now than I did when I was newly pregnant with #4.¬† Back then it really got my back up to know people thought it was “too much” to have 4 children.¬†¬†

No, I don’t have all the snappy comebacks.¬† Although, I do like it if we’re all out somewhere and someone asks me “Are they all yours?” and I am able to point to Craig and say, “Yup!¬† And all his, too!”

I guess I started rambling here…but in case you readers were wondering if baby #6 was a surprise — I just wanted to say…this baby is one glorious, loved and expected…surprise.

 

Monday Mumbles – 36

It’s another Monday. Mumble much? Yeah…me neither. ūüôā

1. Remember TOOJE? the friend that started Monday Mumbles? Yeah, she doesn’t blog anymore and I miss it, but I totally understand why. It’s a commitment that I don’t really have time for either sometimes! But…every so often, I think, “Man, I wish she’d post” and then I go check to make sure I didn’t miss something…and find out that I didn’t.

2.¬† So, I’ve been sitting on something for…like…12 days.¬† And I realize that I just can’t sit on it any longer.

I’m pregnant and due late July.¬† (I told you…it’s only been, like 12 days since I took the test!!)¬† I’m such a bad secret-keeper.¬† (more on that later)

3.¬† I’ll have a more in-detail post(s) on the impending arrival of Hughes baby #6 I am sure.¬† But for now, I have to tell you how crazy it feels to be so open about this so early.¬† It’s not really all the crazy, I mean, the baby exists whether I tell the world about him/her or not.¬† My last pregnancy was tumultuous through the first 12 weeks, trying to balance progesterone and maintain the pregnancy and all that jazz.¬† So far, I have had no issues with progesterone this time.¬† I count this a miracle, but I’m not out of the water yet.¬† I will have another round of blood work on December 3 that should give us a better idea if high levels of progesterone are here to stay with this little one.¬† I will gladly accept your prayers.

4.¬† Low progesterone and the accompanying fear of miscarriage was one reason I kept the news of Vincent’s impending arrival quiet for 13 weeks.¬† Another was that I was in a very unfriendly inhospitable work environment when the topic of openness to children surfaced.¬† And, my insecurities re: family size and my state in life as a work-outside-the-home mom were still fairly intact.

With this pregnancy, I had strong showing in progesterone in my initial blood work, my work environment is completely different and I have shed my skin of insecurity to don a far more confident outlook on God’s call to work-outside-the-home-motherhood.

5.¬† Furthermore, I wondered to myself, why do I want to wait until the first trimester is clear before announcing publicly that I am pregnant?¬† The baby is no less of a baby just because I am only 4 weeks from conception (6 weeks gestational age).¬† And if I were to miscarry, I would be very sad (I know that probably doesn’t even touch how I would feel about it, but words probably can’t describe, so “very sad” it is) to lose our little one, so I may end up explaining to people anyway about the pregnancy.¬† So, I decided that I just want to be happy about the baby and tell anyone about the baby and let them see and feel our joy.¬† Honestly, very few people are sad at the news of new life, I have found over the years.

6.¬† So…do the kids know?¬† Why, yes, I am so glad you asked!!¬† We took the fam out to get family portraits done Friday night and afterward, at dinner, informed the kids of their new sibling.¬† I could see the wheels spinning in Sarah’s head.¬† I couldn’t tell if she was calculating just how a new sibling impacted her personally, or if she was just trying to process the whole thing of being the oldest of six.¬† Dani and Helen immediately informed us that they hope they get a baby sister.¬† Dominic told me that he needed a baby brother.¬† Then he said, “I need a baby brother named Vincent.”¬† So I told him, “Well, Dominic, you already have a baby brother named Vincent.”¬† And he said, “Well…I need another one.”¬† haha

7.¬† Last night, though, Dominic said to Craig, “I hope we get a baby girl.¬† hmmm.¬† I think we should call her Rebecca.”¬† I thought that was so cute that I texted Rebecca to tell her all about it.¬† Then I thought about the fact that my Sarah is “Sarah Rebecca”.¬† ūüôā

8.¬† So…do my parents know?¬† Why, yes!¬† Yes, they do!¬† They were both thrilled to hear the news.¬† Here is how I told my dad when I called him to wish him happy birthday on Saturday.¬† As I was relaying all that was “up to date” in Kansas City, I said, “Well, we’re gonna have one coming off the bench next summer.”

My dad:¬† then, “huh?¬† what?”

Me:¬† “Well, you know, we got the basketball team covered, and now they’ll have one coming off the bench sometime next summer.”

My dad:¬† “Ha!¬† Really!¬† Wow!¬† What a surprise!!”

So, then I agreed…what a surprise, indeed.¬† A blessed surprise.

Following that phone call, I called my mother and let her in.¬† She was excited as well, and she said…”Wow, you’re just going right on past 5 and having 6, huh?!?”¬† Yes, yes we are.

9.¬† So…does Craig’s mom know?¬† Why, yes!¬† Yes she does.¬† Craig shared the news by phone with her last week.¬† He tells me that he thinks she was very surprised and she said, “Congratulations!”¬† Which, by the way, is really the only proper response, IMO!

10.  Oh and about those family portraits, let me share a few with you:

Our First Family Portrait including Vincent
Love our Jayhawks!

Sweet pic of my boys
Me and my girls

My girls!
All of my children

My girls!
Sarah

Helen

Danielle

Dominic
Dominic and Vincent

First pic with Craig taken in probably 4 years
Vincent — the best photo of him ever!

My five children
KU-Sarah!
KU-Dani!
KU-Dominic!

I

KU-Helen!

 I hope you all have a fabulous Monday!!

 

Stress and Relief

When a baby is born, and your family starts adjusting to the new addition, it’s easy sometimes to forget what you had to do to get to that point.¬† I guess I should say that new stresses replace old stresses in a way.¬† You start worrying about diaper rashes, dietary considerations and sleep(less) nights.¬† You stop worrying about viability and progesterone and braxton hicks.
Yesterday, as I was thinking about the fact that it was a year since I found out I was pregnant with Vincent, I thought back to those first 15 weeks and I remembered the worry, the fear, the uncertainty.

For each of my last three pregnancies, I have had trouble having enough progesterone through the first trimester.  It started with Helen and I was able to supplement orally with progesterone tablets nightly through 13 weeks.  Then, with Dominic, I had to supplement again, just a little bit differently.  With Vincent, I had to move all the way to getting injections twice a week of progesterone directly into my bloodstream.  Stress.

The first few weeks of pregnancy are just periods of worry between blood draws, hoping I have enough progesterone to get to the next one without losing the baby.¬† With Vincent, every time my phone caller ID came up “Dr. H…….” I knew I was about to find out something about my progesterone.¬† With every call in those early weeks, it was always the nurse saying, “Well, your number is still dropping, so we need to do X, Y or Z”¬† More Stress.
I went to see our priest to get the Annointing of the Sick as we began the progesterone injections.¬† I remember the feeling of peace after the Sacrament had been administered and I knew it was in God’s hands at that point.¬† All I could do was take care of myself and pray for my little baby.¬†
Then came an impromptu visit to the doctor due to some cramping.¬† And in that moment, I forgot that everything was in God’s hands.¬† I was about 12 weeks along.¬† Dr. could not find the heartbeat.¬† I had heard my other babies’ heartbeats by 9 weeks.¬† The tears started to fall.¬† I couldn’t help them.¬† So, he asked if he could do a pelvic, and I agreed.¬† He had a med student following him that week and he came in and between the two of them, they jostled me around until we heard that little heart beating away.¬† Relief.¬† Though temporary.
It’s so funny, but once I was past the injections because my progesterone numbers jumped sufficiently around 15 weeks, I all but forgot those early weeks of worry and stress.¬† I spent the rest of my pregnancy relaxing and simply waiting.¬† I busied myself with all of my other children and their activities, my job, my activities.
It’s amazing to me now that I hold Vincent in the evenings and he’s this perfect little baby boy.¬† He coos.¬† He grins.¬† He laughs.¬† He eats.¬† He sleeps.¬†¬†
A year ago, he was tiny, helpless, vulnerable, and to the world…¬† invisible.
Today, he is still tiny and helpless and vulnerable…but to the world, he is no longer¬† invisible.
A year ago, my stresses centered on my own health and my body’s ability to carry a baby through the first trimester.
Today, my stress centers on giving Vincent enough to eat, making sure he gets enough sleep, working on developmental milestones.  Acclimating him to our family life.  Acclimating our family life to him.
I have to force myself somewhat to remember those early weeks because they are now a very distant memory.  

And four months from now, when Vincent’s earthly age has doubled, today will feel like a very distant memory, too.

Open Letter to Baby #5 (again)

To my dear, sweet baby boy,
In just a matter of days, I will see your face and hear your voice for the first time.  The excitement builds with each passing moment.  For a three hour period yesterday, I thought perhaps it would be last night as I had some mild contractions every 15 minutes for about 3 hours.  But then things returned to their calm state.
It humbles me, this anticipation.¬† Even though you are my fifth child, this is the most relaxed I have faced an upcoming birth.¬† In the past, I’ve been worried and scared.¬† How much pain?¬† How long would I labor?¬† Would labor begin on its own, naturally?¬† Or would I have yet another induced labor?¬† Will we be able to adjust?¬† Will the kids adjust?¬† What if you’re sick?¬† What if I get sick?¬† So many questions that could never be answered and the worry is irrelevant anyway.
Today, I think of the contractions and the pushing and I know a certain peace.¬† My due date remains 2 weeks away and yet, I have a sense of calm understanding (as I feel my second cramp of the hour) that tonight may very well be the night.¬† I know how my body does this.¬† I know your dad will be there with me helping me through it all.¬† I trust the doctor completely to do his part in all of this (and because he’s so great a doc – he knows his part is fairly limited).¬†
Your siblings get more excited every day.¬† They continue to pray that you are healthy.¬† Helen asked me tonight if you could hear her voice.¬† Then she gave me that breath-taking smile and sighed in wonder and amazement as I informed her that, barring any hearing problems, yes, you would be able to identify her voice and you can hear her playing and singing and talking to you…even now.¬†
Daddy and I have decided on a name.¬† We’ve done this with each child.¬† We’ve known the name before we’ve seen the face of our precious baby.¬† And you know what?¬† The names have always been perfect.¬† I know your name is perfect, too.
Many ladies at church have approached me to tell me they are praying for us.¬† And they are praying that you decide to come early.¬† I simply smile.¬† I say, “that would be nice.”¬† And I know the likelihood of that (based on history) is small.¬† But I’m grateful for the prayers.
We went through boxes of baby clothes this past weekend and washed, dried, folded and put away your things.¬† I know you’re going to be a big boy, so we loaded up the outfits that said “NB (5-8 lbs) into¬† a box for another baby, perhaps your cousin who will be born in three months.¬† We set up your crib and hung curtains in the room you will share with your big brother.¬† I even bought a package of size 1 diapers.¬† And I packed my bag for the hospital.¬† I think we are ready, should you decide to be ready.
You are such a special boy.¬† Did you know that, like you, your daddy is the youngest of five children?¬† And his daddy was, too?¬† I think that gives you a special rank and privilege…somewhere.
When I think about the fact that God planned you from the beginning of time for this place, here in our family, my heart swells.¬† I almost feel like I’ve been waiting for you my whole life.¬† That sounds so silly, doesn’t it?¬† I mean, I have your older sisters and your older brother…but there’s just something different about the way I feel this time, the way I feel about you.¬†¬†
And I can’t wait to meet you, to hold you, to kiss your soft head and see your beautiful eyes and know what color your hair is.¬† I am overwhelmed with gratitude for the supreme honor of being your mother.¬†¬†
I am reminded of the song that Julie Andrews and Christopher Plummer sing in Rodgers & Hammerstein’s The Sound of Music that¬†
“…somewhere in my wicked, miserable past, there must have been a moment of truth”¬†
and 
“somewhere in my youth…or childhood, I must have done something good.”
So, little baby boy, maybe you’ll come tonight, maybe next week or maybe another week still.¬†¬†

Either way, I peacefully await your arrival.