Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Family of Four

If all continues to go well we will be headed home from the hospital tomorrow. I got a little stir crazy this afternoon and walking the halls just wasn't going to cut it so I went down to the gift shop to browse a bit. It feels so good to actually feel good after surgery. I also feel pretty rested and I'm very ready to settle into our new normal at home.

My dad and Ann have been taking care of Olivia and have been such a tremendous help to us. Reid's parents were in town until this afternoon and Olivia got to spend some time with them yesterday. She's been very well taken care of by all her grandparents and I'm pretty sure she hasn't thought twice about us. Out of sight, out of mind.

She has had a cough for a few days so Reid took her to the doctor this morning. Sure enough the cough is just allergy related but sweet girl has her first ear infection. The good news is that she hasn't run a fever and was able to get antibiotics to treat it.

For all the change Olivia has experienced the past few days she's done really, really well. I worried so much the past few months that I wouldn't be able to enjoy my time in the hospital with Mary Brooke because I'd want to be home with Olivia. While I do miss her, it has not even been an issue. Reid and I were talking yesterday about how amazing it's been to know that Olivia is well taken care of and content. Thank you Pawpaw and Grandma for all the peace of mind you have provided us! And thank you to Nonni and Poppi for your help, as well!

Olivia loves her little sister. She was less interested in her tonight and much more interested in the sucker we had waiting for her. :) All in all I don't think we could have asked for their introduction to have gone any better. Olivia loved giving her sister hugs and pointing out her nose and mouth. I have a really cute video I'll try to get posted soon.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Welcome, Mary Brooke!

Our sweet daughter made her grand entrance into the world early Saturday morning, November 16. I went to bed around 11 pm and woke up just after 12:15 am when my water broke. We quickly packed bags and got Olivia ready to drop off at a friends house on our way to the hospital. It was so surreal! We made it to the hospital a little after 1 am and things moved pretty quickly from there. Mary Brooke was born at 2:34 am via c-section, weighed 7 pounds 2 ounces and was 19 1/4 inches long. She's a pretty good size baby for being born at 36w2d. She has done amazingly well and we are so grateful!

Two big things about her birth I want to share. Both point to the goodness of God and the fact that He is in control of all things. I had prayed from very early on in this pregnancy that my water would break in the weeks leading up to my scheduled c-section. Reid and I both talked often about how we would love to have that experience and it be exciting, not terrifying like last time. In the grand scheme of pregnancy that was really a small detail, but God can do anything. It was just one more way He has used Mary Brooke's arrival to bring beauty from ashes. The second thing is that when the doctor delivered Mary Brooke the cord was wrapped around her neck three times, basically forming a noose. He told us today how dangerous that could have been. I really was surprised she came as early as she did. But, now thinking about it, clearly God knew what we didn't, was in control once again, and allowed her early delivery to keep us from what could have been a very devastating situation. Today I am in awe of the many ways God has shown His character to us through Mary Brooke. She is such a treasure, our precious gift, and we love her dearly!

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

T-3 Weeks

I realize that I haven't blogged about this pregnancy at all other than the two big highlights: that there was a pregnancy and when we found out she was a girl!

Things have been pretty uneventful. We did have a little "scare" at 24 weeks. Really, it just came down to me not knowing what a normal pregnancy felt like. This baby is a mover and must have been doing flips or something that caused a super weird sensation. But, after a few hours and tests in L&D one Saturday afternoon we learned everything was perfectly fine.

To be honest, I think a lot of why I haven't blogged much this time around is because I still worry from time to time that everything has been too perfect. It's been hard to go from a worst case scenario to a normal one. I feel extremely grateful and my doctor reminds me with every visit that God has been so gracious to us. And He has, don't get me wrong. Worry crept in at the very beginning, literally the moment the "yes" showed up on that little stick. I prayed constantly those first few weeks as I tried to combat horrible anxiety. The Lord was definitely faithful to help me overcome so many of my fears. I finally came to the realization that I could literally worry about everything - would I miscarry, would she be healthy, would I go on bed rest, could preterm labor happen again, and on and on. Or, I could admit that there was really very little within my control and find comfort in knowing my worry couldn't and wouldn't change God's plan for Mary Brooke. The freedom that has come from that realization has been so redeeming for me. It definitely doesn't mean that all my worry just disappeared, but I know now I have to surrender those fears.

We feel as ready as we can be to meet our fifth daughter. I've tried to imagine what her birthday will be like, how different it will be from the days we delivered her sisters. I had to stop trying to imagine it because it makes me so emotional thinking about how that day will bring everything we've gone through full circle, Lord willing.

We had several 4D sonos between 28-34 weeks. At 34 weeks Mary Brooke's weight was estimated to be just over 6 pounds. From what we can tell she is going to be a good size baby with chubby cheeks and a head full of hair. We can already tell she has my nose and looks a lot like Olivia.

I'm not sure how much Olivia really understands when we talk about baby/sissy/Mary Brooke. If I ask her where the baby is she will usually lean down and hug and kiss my stomach. If we are out and she hears a baby crying or sees a baby she pats her own stomach. :) She loves to read the book "You're Getting a Baby Sister." And, go figure, she's very interested in all the baby gear we've gotten out.

Mary Brooke,
We are so excited to meet you! I can't wait to see exactly what you look like and get to learn how to really take care of a newborn. Your daddy talks almost everyday about how excited he is to snuggle you. We love you so much already, sweet girl.

Monday, August 26, 2013

Grandma Ann

Let me first start by saying this is one of the many posts that is long overdue. I'm hoping to get caught up in the next few weeks with all the happenings of this year!

In June 2012 my dad was set up on a blind "date" with a lady named Ann. They had never met which is extremely strange for two people who have lived in Little Rock, what I will always consider a small town, their entire adult lives. They both went into the meeting with the expectation that, at the very least, this person would be a fun friend to go to dinner, movies, etc. with. Well, they instantly hit it off that night and have been together ever since! My dad proposed just before Christmas and they were married at their church, in a simple ceremony with just the two of them and their pastor, on Valentine's Day of this year.

I could go on and on and on about how amazing Ann is and how lucky we ALL are that she's part of our family now. She is one of the most genuine, caring people I have ever met. From the beginning she accepted Reid, Olivia, George, Jenny, Eleanor and me and treated us as if we were her own. I'll give you the perfect example: After they were married my dad sold his house - the house my brother, sister and I had lived in our entire lives. The thought of clearing it out was a daunting prospect and thinking about memories of your childhood being packed away was really sad. But, Ann made it her mission to make their "new" house a blend of both families. My sister called me one day to tell me that our baby portraits, my wedding portrait, other snapshots of our family life, and familiar furniture were scattered throughout the house. It meant so much to all of us that she made the house feel like we'd always been there. Back in March Olivia and I went for a visit. I asked Ann one afternoon if it was OK if a friend stopped by and she looked at me with a smile and said, "Of course, but you don't need to ask me, this is your house, too!" It really is the little things that make a person feel welcome and Ann is always thinking three steps ahead to make sure that's exactly how we feel. 

Ann, we are all so thankful and blessed that Dad found you! Thank you for being such a wonderful person and for all the many ways you have enriched our lives! We love you!

Wednesday, August 21, 2013


Well, we made it! It's crazy to think we are now past the point at which Olivia, Madelyn and Mary Grace were born. It's crazy to know exactly what the baby inside me looks like. It's all just crazy. There are a lot of thoughts that have been swirling around my mind the past several weeks. I've felt sad for Olivia that her first months of life were so rough. I think back to those first few months of her life - all the poking and prodding, the machines and wires - and it breaks my heart that she didn't get to stay tucked away in my womb for longer. That's one of the things her doctors always told us in the NICU, no one has figured out how to recreate the womb. I had a lot of anxiety as we approached 22 weeks (the date my water broke with the girls). I've had nothing but great reports from my doctor, but it's really hard to try to reason or distract yourself from worry when you've lived through a worst case scenario. I have to make a conscious decision every single day to take things one day at a time. While I do have hard and fearful days I have to say that this pregnancy really has been bliss. I have felt such an overwhelming sense of thankfulness for a healthy pregnancy. Just the little things like going to the Arboretum on Saturday with my family and being able to comfortably walk around. Being able to chase Olivia around the house, play on the floor with her, or swim at the pool. Being able to ride to (and around) White Rock Lake on my new bike (thank you again to my sweet husband!). The list could go on and on, and I don't take a second of it for granted. So here's to three more months of pregnancy, Lord willing. Can't wait to see what making to full term is like!

Mary Brooke, we are already so beyond thankful for your little life! You are quite a feisty kicker like your big sister was and we can't wait to meet you in three months! Not too much longer, sweet girl!

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

"Why You Didn't Fail As A Mother"

When we found out we were pregnant in November 2011 we were given a due date. That date was July 30. We would find out a few weeks later that making it full term wasn't going to happen while carrying four babies. Still, everything we did revolved around that date, how early they would be born was measured from that date, and, even now, everything we work on developmentally with Olivia is measured by that date.

Last night a website called Still Standing Magazine reposted a month old blog entry on Facebook. I don't think it was by coincidence that it showed up in my news feed. I think, on the eve of what would have been my girls' first birthday, God knew I needed to read it. It addresses so many of the lies I still battle to overcome. If you've ever lost a child - whether miscarriage, stillbirth, or any age after birth - I hope this touches you as it did me.

by Angela Miller

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Baby #5 is a...

GIRL! Olivia is getting another sister! We are over the moon with excitement! Mary Brooke looks perfect and we can't wait to meet her later this year!