Saturday, June 27, 2009

Brimming with Love

Miles is sleeping on my shoulder right now. His little head resting comfortably in the soft muscle just below my collarbone; his beautiful face turned toward my cheek - close enough to kiss the softness...close enough to smell the sweetness...close enough to hear the miracle as tiny puffs of air escape his lungs. Occasionally he'll stretch - occasionally he'll squeak - occasionally he'll lick his lips - and I am cherishing this moment.

Has it really already been five whole days?

I kind of fibbed my way into the hospital.
Two days! Two and a half full days of steady contractions...coming every 10-15 minutes apart. Contractions that never ceased...that only hinted of pain...that never increased in intensity or frequency...that whispered promises of impending labor but failed, time and time again, to deliver...that kept me awake for 2 full nights watching the clock, recording their spacings in my mind... I was going batty, my friends! Brian's work schedule was becoming complicated, and so - I did it. I let Brian talk me into calling the on-call doctor Sunday night to say whatever it took to get into the hospital - hoping that once we were there, the doctors would keep me and 'help' my labor along. It was actually surprisingly easy.

Me: I think I'm in labor. (the fib)
Dr: Is this your first child?
Me: No, it's my third full-term delivery.
Dr: Oh! Well, then...if you think you're in labor, come on down and join the party! I'll let the nurses know you're coming.

So, instead of flying to the hospital in a frenzy of painful contractions praying to make it in time, Brian took the kids over to a friends house while I moseyed about in my own home packing a hospital bag, and trying to create a mentally positive 'zen' that might induce labor.

After getting to the hospital, the doctor let me labor for 5 hours before coming to the conclusion that I was not progressing. (Really? Oh, gee...I thought I was in labor, Doc...) at this point he gave me three options:
1) "You could go home." To this option, I mustered up the saddest puppy-dog eyes I could and tried to send a clear message to him: 'please don't send me home...'
2) "I could rupture your membranes and see if that gets something started." Yes, yes...I liked the sound of that one.
3) "I could start you on pitocin to really get things started." Umm....well, I've heard a lot of horror stories about pitocin, so..... I choose number 2!!!

So, at 1:00 in the morning, the doctor broke my water, sealing Miles's fate of being born within the next several hours. After he left, I looked at Brian and loved him more than ever - - - he had convinced me to end my own misery by fibbing. What a guy. :)

I learned that I am, unashamedly, an 'epidural-girl'. This had been a point of confusion for me for many months. After a half-way failed attempt at an epidural last time with Carson, I was scared to do it again. But after 4 hours of painful contractions (boy did they start coming after my water was broken!) and discovering that I still hadn't progressed much, I decided I was too mentally exhausted to continue 'handling' it. It was 5:00 in the morning on the third night of little to no sleep, after all, and all I wanted was to relax. So, in came the anesthesiologist and, after a few minor complications, the medicine started flowing. "WHAT was I thinking!?!?!" I thought as I drifted into the land of painlessness. "I should have done this hours ago. This is so. much. better!" I even got 2 hours of sleep after that. :)

When Miles was born, they put him up on my all-the-sudden flabby tummy and I felt as if millions of tiny threads were shooting out of my heart and wrapping themselves around his...forming a bond that was almost tangible. I stroked his furrowed little eyebrow and stared into his open eyes - - - my son.

Brian scooted closer and rubbed my arm. I looked up at him and he beamed at me. "I can't believe how much he looks like Carson," he said as he looked back into Miles's face. "Here, why don't you hold him," I said. He stood up and gently gathered the little bundle into his arms... what is it about seeing him as a brand new daddy? So excited, so proud, so unreserved - those mental pictures are some of the most treasured that I have.

Minutes after Miles was born

The next day


He's so tiny - so beautiful - so perfect.

Five days? ... Really? ... How do I slow the time... ?

Monday, June 22, 2009


Sunday Afternoon:

Sunday Night:

Monday Morning:
Oh, is it wrong to admit how much more I love this little guy now that he's out!?!?! I love, love, LOVE this feeling! The feeling of not being pregnant, that is. Not so much the feeling of I-just-barely-barely-finished-being-pregnant. That feeling is not so great, the details of which I will leave to the memories of those who have experienced it, and to the imaginations of those who have not.

Everyone, I would like you to meet our newest little addition:

Miles Conrad Alder
8 lbs. 12 oz.
21.7 inches long

(the appropriateness of inserting a picture
of him alone here is extreme -
however, in my haze of very
little sleep over the last 3 nights,
I seem to have neglected to take one,
and hence, only have a million
pictures of him with other people.
Do not fear, though...
...this fact will soon be changed.)

I would really like to delve into the whole story, but my eyes are finding it difficult to stay open (almost impossible). So, I'll leave you with some of my favorite pictures instead.

Big Sister

Big Brother

McKenzie is saying, "Why is he making those grunting noises?" I love Brian's face in this one - does he just adore her, or what?

My Boys

One happy lady surrounded by the meaning of life, and who absolutely loves being a mom

Family of Five - it's getting harder and harder to get us all looking decent in the same photo...we tried about 7 times - and this is as good as we could get.

Yes, yes, you may have noticed. My hair and my makeup are two days old now - but there are some times where the moment that is captured doesn't necessarily depend on the beauty of the subjects involved.

Welcome to our family, little Miles.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

I LOVE Water!

I'm hot. And, it's humid today - which doesn't help. So, I'm going to blog about water. Nice, cool, refreshing water. It's actually not that hot of a day...but for whatever reason, I'd love to go jump in a nice, cool pool. :)

It's been raining quite a bit here over the past few days (so much so that I'm concerned about the status of my clay-soil garden that has a hard time draining itself. I fear all of my plants are drowning to death...) and I couldn't resist taking the camera out underneath the safety of an umbrella to capture a little cuteness from my kiddies. They LOVE playing in the rain! I would let them do it more often but for the fact that as soon as they've decided they're done we have about 1.8 seconds before major meltdown occurs and shrieks of "I'm freezing!!" and "My undough-weaw is ticky! (my underwear is sticky)" fill my impatient ears and make me want to call off the rain playing forever. Ah, but they have such fun for the 10 minutes or so before that, on especially brave days when I'm not super-tired, I let them go out. (I sure hope my tired-level returns to normal after this baby is born and doesn't stay depleted with the addition of a third child!)

If you can't tell, Carson is trying to copy McKenzie's stance...and I think it's hilarious that he's wearing my flip-flops! McKenzie just came in, saw this picture and with a huge smile said, "Hey, that's me! I'm stickin' my booty out."

I know this isn't a fantastic picture, but I just love it because of that perfect little round cheek. That little backwards 'C' that stays for such a short while before time takes it away - - - why do they have to grow up?!?


On the days it's not raining, we find our own rain. One of our favorite spots is at the mall, where they have big fountains that the kids (and adults!) can run through and play in.
We also love that we have a hose. :) Simple, I know, but it's pretty fun to see how magical it can be to hook up a little sprinkler to the end of it and watch the children play. I definitely need to get pictures of that!

Anyway - my goal this season is to not let the hot summer sun keep us indoors the whole time!

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Life, Life, and Life

I know the whole world doesn't believe in life after death.

But, I'm sure glad I do.

This past week has been filled with a myriad of conflicting emotions as I've pondered life - life before birth; life here on Earth; life when we're separated from loved ones; life when we're surrounded by them; life when we're communicating well; life when we're not; life after we've breathed our last breath...

Life. It's a beautiful word when you believe it as I do because - - - it never stops. It changes, oh how it changes, but it continues and seems to become more and more enriched.

My Grandma passed away on Tuesday. She passed away after a long, beautiful life that was filled and overflowing with love and family. With 8 children, 30+ grandchildren, and too many great-grandchildren to count, she was the matriarch of a thriving family - and we will all miss her dearly. I learned Monday that she was dying, and much of that day was spent in tears as I went from feeling sorrow for myself and my Grandpa, to feeling gratitude for my Grandma's 93 years of a healthy life...and for the blessing that, though relatively unexpected, her passing was happening quickly.

Thursday, I woke up to an unwelcome and familiar weight of pain in my heart. Before opening my eyes, I sent a little nontraditional prayer to heaven, "I love you Grandma. If you see Jess, tell him I love him too. It's his birthday." I can't explain why I felt like I could communicate with Grandma just then...or why I felt I couldn't communicate with my stillborn son...but it made me feel better - even though when I opened my eyes I felt the painful prick of tears threatening to overtake my day.

Thursday was filled with confusing, conflicting emotions. Still feeling the pain and gratitude from my Grandma's passing, I added to it the sorrow of losing my son four years ago, and the bitter loneliness of knowing no one close to me in this life could understand it. I felt shame as I realized I've let some of the lessons I learned from Jess go unheeded, and determination to fix them again. I then felt excitement as I heard my developing son's strong heartbeat at my doctor's appointment, and celebrated his impending arrival with some good friends that night.

So many different phases of life, all calling themselves to attention at the same time - one sweet baby on the brink of arrival, one cherished woman just departed, and one little spirit that somehow bridges that gap in my heart by having been on the brink of arrival and departure at the same time... All of my emotions got tangled up inside me and formed themselves into a lump that got stuck deep inside, causing discomfort and irritation throughout the whole day. That night, when all was still and dark inside my house, a magnificent thunderstorm rolled in. I stood at the sliding glass doors with one hand resting on the handle, and one propped up on the doorframe. And as I watched the thunderstorm crash and rage and pour down it's rain, I let the thunderstorm inside my soul do the same. The tears started to fall from my eyes - and then they started to pour. The storm eventually moved on - leaving only quiet stillness behind - and I felt strangely refreshed myself. After a long talk with Brian that night, I felt peaceful...and as I thought about the gospel of Jesus Christ, and the tools it has given me to learn for myself about the mysteries of life, I felt cleansed in my knowledge.

I know the whole world doesn't believe in life after death.

But, I'm sure glad I do.


And, just because I don't feel like ending on a really pensive, kind of sad note, I'll share with you this sweet little conversation my kids and I had in the car 10 minutes after I had gotten off the phone with my parents and received the news that my Grandma had just passed away (okay, so it's still a little sad... but kids somehow have a way of lightening things up a bit!):

McKenzie had picked up on my somber attitude and asked, "Are you happy or sad, Mom?"
I turned off the radio and said, "Well, I guess I'm kind of sad right now."
"Why?" she asked immediately.
"Because Great-Grandma Clara just died."
My kids' reactions were sweet - as McKenzie reverently said, "Oh" and Carson said, "Oh, dat sad." Carson then asked, "Why she died?"
"Well," I responded, "she was very old."
"Yeah," McKenzie helped explain to Carson in her sweetest, most reverent voice, "her arms were old, and her legs were old, and her toes were old, and her hands were old..."
In the same sweet voice, Carson interjected, "And hew head was ohd."
"No," Kenz said sharply. "Her head wasn't old."
"Oh," Carson said submissively.
I tried to stifle a laugh, but a little of it snuck out and caused McKenzie to ask me why I was laughing. "You're just cute," I responded. "Why wasn't her head old?"
"Mo-om," she said as a teenager would to her 'dumb' mother, "It still had hair on it." (Duh!)

Well, her head had hair, and her brain had sharpness, and her muscles had strength, and her lungs had laughter, and her heart was full of love up until the very end of her life. And, though her heart doesn't beat, she must have taken all that love with her - and has found a way to share it with those of us left behind.

We love you, Grandma.

Monday, June 1, 2009


Does this picture (along with the discussion about it below) disturb anyone else but me?

McKenzie: Mom! Look at the picture I just drew!
Me: Wow - cool Kenz. Creepy Sleepy, huh? What does that mean?
McKenzie: Well, that's a baby sleeping in his crib...and these (pointing to the lines grouped in threes at the top of the crib) are the fingers of mean things coming to get the baby.

Please tell me all children go through a phase like this..........

Sheets update

What a funny discussion about sheets! Thanks for all of your comments - - - I was completely floored that it was even possible for BOTH of us to be correct! Even so, I think I still give the trophy to Brian - he was the one who said that the lip was a decorative edge and meant to be seen. Even though I guess I technically put the sheet on the right way, my reasons were completely wrong. :)

Interesting fact that should have been observed 7 years ago: I have two different kinds of sheets. We got two sets of sheets for our bed from our wedding reception, and I have always thought they were exactly the same and have, consequently, mixed them hundreds of times. But, after reading all of your comments, I studied the sheets a little more carefully and found out that ONE set has a decorative edge meant to be seen (the one I pictured), and the OTHER set has a hem that is very obviously meant to be hidden. (Examining the pillowcases helped me come to these conclusions, as well.) How funny! I like the idea of sandwiching the two right sides together and folding the top sheet over the quilt...but, since my comforter is tan and chocolate, I'll have to save that technique for another time in my life when my sheets aren't baby blue. :)