the day i met you, my tiny love

i've done this before, this baby thing. i've grown babies in my body and in my heart. i've met them for the first time and it took my breath away, each and every time.

but this time? this one last time? it was breathtaking in a whole new way. a way that gave me perspective on life in an entirely new way.

as i write, she lays beside me.  i gaze at her and feel the overwhelming sense that time is going by too fast. i want to soak up every ounce of her lovely smallness. her wonderful littleness that i won't experience again. and i love every, single, tiny moment.


38 weeks pregnant and miserable.
that was me on july 10th, 2014.
i decided i was going to walk this baby out. this unnamed, squirmy, sweet baby, that made my protruding belly protrude more every, single day.

so, i ate spicy mexican food for dinner, and promptly went outside and walked around the block.
i put the kids to bed, and went outside and walked around the block some more.
contractions. 8 min apart.
my sweet sister in love met up with me and we walked around the block.
contractions. 7 min apart.
it started to storm, so we headed home and i walked around inside the house, pacing back and forth in our family room (while clint laughed at my failed attempts to do lunges).
more contractions. 6 min apart.
i walked up and down the stairs.
even more contractions. 5 min spar.
two hours went by.
the contractions stopped.
totally exhausted and unable to take another step, i collapsed into bed at 11pm. disheartened that another day would go by and i wouldn't meet my girl.

at 1am on july 11, i woke up to contractions. real ones. 5 min apart.
an hour later, i woke clint up.
an hour after that, i couldn't take it anymore. i felt like a baby was coming out any second.
my sister in love came over at 3am and we headed to the hospital.

after arriving at labor and delivery, nearly unable to put on foot in front of the other due to my  walking escapade the night before and very little sleep...they told me to walk, so we walked. slowly. painfully. for HOURS.

i was only 3-4 cm, and contractions were 5 min apart, but that's it. baby girl was way up high in my belly and in no mood to work her way into place.

so we walked. for more hours. i could barely force myself into each step. the nurses varried as to wether or not i would be admitted. around 9 am a nurse came in and told me to pack my bags and come back if the contractions got worse. 5 min later, she came back in and said a doctor had taken pity and admitted me for an induction. i nearly attacked her with hugs and kisses. this baby was happening.

the day was long, involving more walking, inconsistent contractions, an epidural and then pitocin (who knew they do the epidural FIRST these days?? it was a surprisingly pain free experience. amazing!!)

my mom came to join us and witness her 4th grandchild's birth and it was a miraculous experience to have her present for such a momentous day. i wish she had been with me for the first moments of all my kids.
we also had a photographer friend, Cait Jensen, document the birth and i am so very thankful for her time and amazing images. she is an incredible talent and a joy to be.

at 7/8pm my doctor broke my water (while literally pushing penny down into place...i was in a panic as there was a chance of a chord abruption because of the baby's high position, but it doesn't matter now. it worked). and by 10:30pm it was go time. i had my usual moment of complete terror, knowing it was time to bring a baby into the world....and then within a few moments, she arrived.

and i never wanted to let her go. ever.
she was so perfect and so beautiful and so much of my heart, right there in front of me.

our nurses were amazing. they didn't weigh her or grab her or rush us. they gave her to me and i kept her for the first hour, hogging her all to myself. i wanted to memorize every detail and follow every single first moment with ever fiber of my being.

welcome our sweet and wonderful 
Penelope Faith
7lbs. 8oz

It's go time {baby enroute}

this is my 3am, "I think I'm in labor but I'm not sure" selfie...

it turns out that today is the last day this baby will be on the inside! Praise God!! 
we are in the hospital now... please join me in praying things will progress fast and we will get to hold this little love soon!!


the 8 year old boy phenomenon

there is this thing known as an 8 year old boy.
he is silly and sweet and yet helpful and manly.
he still loves stuffed animals but he can unload the dishwasher, read an entire real, grown up book, make breakfast and figure out how to fix just about anything requiring a screw driver, batteries or duct tape.
his pits have started to smell and he loves to take showers.
his knock-knock jokes makes sense all of the sudden, although they are usually tempered with some sort of reference to toots, burps or butts.

he's a marvel of tall engineering.
his pants are all too short, his shoes are constantly too small no matter how recently they were purchased and he can't seem to eat enough to fill up the deep caverns of his appetite.

i'm not sure when this all happened. it seems like only a few short years ago that he loved his Thomas train set above all else on earth. he drove trains around in a circle for hours upon hours each day. he said silly phrases and thought rocks and sticks were amazing.

now he's into the worlds most complex lego creations. the kind that grown adults find mind boggling.
he loves telescopes and microscopes and scouts the cloud formations to determine the upcoming weather for the day.
he knows where we are when we drive around town and reads traffic signs so he is sure to tell me if i'm going a bit too fast or makes me double check if i turn right on red.
he is tender and kind. he loves books and swords. he is rambunctious and yet still loves to snuggle quietly with me. he is all the things i love about life because he loves so fully.

he gets frustrated when he can't do something on the first try and is self motivated to learn everything.
failure crushes him and triumph elates him.
he doesn't know it yet, but 8 year olds need both failure and triumph. the crush of defeat isn't as bad as he thinks it is because it gives the opportunity to face challenge. giving him opportunities to fail is difficult but necessary because many things come easily for him.

he cares for his sister in the most endearing ways. she will literally do anything he asks her to do, because he never asks anything unreasonable to rude. he gently corrects her if she has wronged him and can make a silly comment to make her smile when she is frustrated. he carries her and dotes on her and plays dolls and kitchen and doctor. she hangs on his every word. their relationship has always been one of the most fantastic things i've ever witnessed.

he asks me deep questions about her past. about china mom and dad. he thinks deeply about her story and the emotions she might one day feel. he understands what 99% of adults do not about adoption. he loves her and adores her and yet understands adoption is not without a great deal of grief and tragedy and loss.

he and his younger brother are very nearly like twins. 18 months apart in age but only a year apart in school, they play and fight and compete and wrestle all day long. i can often find them in their own world of imagination, lost in make believe lands they imagine together. it's truly one of my dreams come true to see my kids adore each other. one without the other just doesn't feel right.

this 8 year old creature is one of my most favorite creations of all time.
i'm seeing more and more of who he will always be.
faithful. trustworthy. honest. honorable. whitty and fun. in love with learning about everything.
he stands up for what is right and is wrecked by injustice.
he is sensitive to what others think about him and must muster courage to speak up for himself in social situations.
he often asks deep questions about life and death and the meaning of everything.
he sees God in the tiny details and in the vastness of creation.
we tell stories of my childhood and he remembers each one.
history and family are vitally important to him.

he asks me about his future wife. about college. about the age when we will allow him to have a cell phone.
he asks me how our baby is growing in my belly and if dinosaurs were real. he asks why our neighbors smoke even though it gives them cancer. he asks why some kids are forced to drink dirty water. he asks why farts smell and how engines work. he asks how long until he can become an astronaut and if he can take a GoPro camera with him so he can show me all the amazing things he sees.

he was reading in his bible the other day, and saw the word Faith and suggested it for baby #4's name. he also suggested Liberty and Freedom. Faith, Liberty and Freedom. these words define him oh so well.

i could write on and on.
this 8 year old boy thing is just pain awesome.


the Target on my belly.

i walk around with a giant target on my belly.
my enlarged, torpedo-esque baby carrier seems to attract an onslaught of attention.
perhaps it was the same in my previous pregnancies and i've just forgotten, but none-the-less, i've experienced the commentary gamut from men and women alike.

to be fair, i don't carry babies lightly. for an average sized woman of slim 5'9" stature, pregnancy brings on a solid 50 lbs of food therapy and exhaustion induced lack of activity. i don't deny it. pregnant angie loves to eat. my backside is large and in charge and my protruding baby belly is nothing short of a basketball tucked neatly under my shirt. my babies ride way out in front, defying any maternity shirt to cover them. 
i don't glow when i'm pregnant. i don't glisten. i eat. 
and i look very pregnant. (duh, that's what i'm supposed to look like.)

(33 weeks and currently 38 weeks)

starting somewhere around week 25, the horrific display of human inability to refrain from making inappropriate and absurd pregnancy comments was unleashed everywhere i went. has anyone else experienced this? 

for a while i just smiled or made a little joke back. but how many times can you see someone grimace in horror and franky state, "i hope you don't have much longer! you look like you were due yesterday!!" (when in reality i still have 10 weeks left).

when did it become appropriate to comment on a strangers body shape and size, anyway?  pregnancy somehow makes people feel that since i'm obviously wearing a child that i obviously also welcome their comments about my size, the child's sex and clear opinions about how many more children i should (or should NOT) have.

when i have the 3 big kids in tow in conjunction with my belly target, i get the standard, "you've got your hands full!" comments and "wow, you must be exhausted" or "they aren't all yours, are they?" or "how many more are you going to have??!". no matter how well (or wild) the kids are behaving at that moment, i always respond with something along the lines of, "i love spending time with my kids. i'm so glad my hands are full!". i want my kids to know that i enjoy them, even though they clearly hear that world doesn't perceive having young children as being enjoyable.
it's very surprising to me that i get the "hands full" comments even when all three kids are walking nicely beside me in the grocery store, being helpful or playing sweetly together. it's shocking to me that even kids who aren't (at that moment) acting like wild hooligans can still be considered "too much" for a mom to handle.

what ever happened to "you look beautiful!", "congratulations!" or the old standby, "is it a boy or girl?"


the epitome of my targeted status came last week while i was actually at Target. it was by far the most offensive string of comments (and strange enough, ended up being the most profitable :)
it perfectly shows just how inappropriate people can be and how pregnant woman are subjected to verbal harassment on a daily basis. i know, i know, verbal harassment may seem a little much. but take a gander. i felt quite harassed. 

picture me. 37 weeks pregnant and alone in Target (while my kids were at a morning VBS program). i was ironically purchasing two Spanx abdominal shapers in preparation for my post-baby body transformation. i was exhausted and honestly, not having a great day.
i approached checkout lane #5 and no sooner gathered my things on the convener belt when i was met with the following statement from the female Target checkout clerk:

Her: "I've seen a lot of pregnant women, but you are by far the biggest I've ever seen!!!" she stated with odd enthusiasm.

(i look up from my cart, surprised by her criticism, and said nothing, hoping not to engage her commentary.)

Her: "Seriously! you are huge!" she continued. "Are you having twins????"

Me: "No, i'm not having twins. It's my fourth child and I know my belly is sticking out." 
i answer with irritation. i'm no mood to be cute and make light of her obvious lack of pregnancy couth.

Her: "Well, you should have that double checked, because otherwise you are just having one big giant baby!! I would have it checked two or three more times! I mean, really. My cousin wasn't as big as you and she was having twins!"

(flames dart from my eyes. i literally scowl as i scan my debit card with utter disgust, trying hard to keep my mouth shut and not say something rude in return.)

Her:"You've got to be having twins! I had six babies and I was never as huge as you! I mean it, you're huge!!"

i really wish i was making it up. i wish i was exaggerating. but she was totally serious and i was totally infuriated. all of this coming from a fellow mom who did this pregnancy thing SIX TIMES and still has the nerve to comment on my apparent humongousness? has she forgotten the fragile state of pregnancy induced hormonal imbalance or the obvious fact that you just don't comment on another woman's body size in an unflattering way? ever. under and circumstances. lie if you need to. say i look beautiful. say i look great. but don't, under any circumstances, say just how huge and horrendous you think i look.   

i left Target and sat in the parking lot and did what any rational person would do. i wrote an email to every Target customer service email address i could find on their website, telling them of my horrendous customer service experience and the verbal onslaught i was subjected to. and i felt better. or at least a little bit. 

i thought about calling Action News. the Inquirer. a lawyer. my next door neighbor's aunt's husband's sister in law's cousin...anyone who would listen and hear my pain. but i didn't. 

the next day, i got a call from a very apologetic Target store manager, offering me a $50 gift card. 
at last, vindication. or at least a little. 
$50 worth of retribution and diaper money.

hopefully in 1-2 more weeks i won't be subjected to any more pregnancy related comments about my protruding belly because all will be distracted by the loveliness of my newborn baby girl :)


the uncharted land of speech {& our progress)

i wrote this post during this past winter (and since i have forgotten all about my blog for the past year, i never posted it :). knowing how far emery has come since then, i decided to post it so i remember just how amazing her recent speech therapy breakthrough has been. (update below)

Dec 2013:
speech and clefts.
it's very unpredictable land. uncharted for each kid. no one can tell you in advance what challenges your CL/CP sweetie will have. some kids pickup sounds and put them together with just a little help from speech therapy. some have holes that continue to break open in their palate. some have no holes, but still can't make sounds because of lip scarring or slow tongue movement. still others struggle and no one knows why. in my experience, it's the biggest challenge a CL/CP child faces...the land of speech. 

the past few years have been filled with years of repeating every single sound and phrase. long days of back and forth, deciphering each little word. years of emery's hard work sitting in countless speech therapy sessions talking and talking and talking. trying the same, frustrating sounds over and over and over. years seeing her extreme frustration when we just don't understand, no matter how hard we try.

i never thought much about how amazing it is when a young child speaks. a native speaker naturally learns the sounds he or she will need during the first year of life. they hear them. practice them. and get lots of time to make mistakes before anyone expects anything of them. 

my 3 year old is thrown into a preschool classroom of 11 kids who chatter about like 4th graders. they can talk up and down, sideways and backwards. words are the easy part. they struggle with sitting still and obeying the rules and running out of line. my daughter has no trouble with rules. she uses scissors like a 4th grader and loves the predictability and exactness a classroom holds. but when my child says "i yent to yak and yaw a net of baba bads" ("i went to the park and saw a nest of baby birds")  they have no idea what she's talking about. and good gracious, if i hadn't been at the park with her and saw the baby birds with my own eyes, i wouldn't have known what she was talking about either. 
she withdraws from talking to people outside our family. i can honestly say she has no friends her own age. it burdens me. 
i could pull her out of preschool and out of situations that challenge her, but i know she needs the opportunity to struggle, so, in turn, she has the opportunity to succeed. if a classroom of 11 preschoolers is a challenge, then by golly, i know she will conquer it. 

it takes a vast amount of context. time spent together, deciphering piece by piece, and enough repetition to make my brain swirl. the slightest moment of distraction on my part leaves me unsure of what she means when she says "i yunt a pupo york not a yeen yun!!" ("i want a purple fork not a green one!!"). and let me tell you, if i don't guess correctly during the first few tries, we have meltdowns of insane proportion. the kind that make the neighbors wonder what on earth is going on in our house. 

the funniest thing is, i like her language. we talk in her code sometimes without even realizing it. my brain forgets it isn't typical little kid talk. a friend was over with her little kids a few weeks ago, and i said to her 3 year old, "do you want to yit on my yap?" she looked strangely at me, until i realized she had no idea "yit" meant "sit" and "yap" meant "lap." i chuckled as emery (from across the room) piped up with "mama, i yit on your yap!!"  and ran right over and hopped up.

and here we are today. 
July 8th, 2014, 4 years old and approaching 3 years home. 
sometime during the spring, things clicked. sparks flew and her words became legible. i don't really remember when exactly it happened, but she came home from school sometime this spring, hopped in the car and said:
"mama, my friend Noah asked me why i had a bandaid on my finger. and i told him i had a boo-boo. and we laughed and laughed! it was sooo funny!" she said, throwing her head back in laughter.
i nearly fell over. she had never remembered a friend's name, had never told me an entire sequence of events when i had no context to guess from. it was her first story and i understood every word. it was a beautiful triumph.

she can express feelings, thoughts, dreams, complicated phrases that she was never taught...because she makes up on her own. she runs into preschool and tells her teacher, "i went camping with my family for by birthday! and i ate cheese balls!!" and her teacher understands. kids standing close by understand and pipe in about the time they went camping or express their own love of cheeze coated goodies. its nearly enough to make my cry each day when i watch her interact with people outside of our family.

i'm not saying every sound is perfectly clear. heck, nearly every word still contains some sort of omission or slightly skewed sound, but the improvement...the ability to understand exactly what she means...that's the triumph. people who don't know her vernacular know what she is saying. it's amazing and freeing for all of us.

her hard work has also given her confidence level a giant leap. she no longer cries when i drop her off at school or in the preschool class at church. she chats with neighborhood kids and trades pokemon cards and invites them in to play in her room. she can also tattle on her brothers and tell them exactly just how frustrated she is with them :)  it's a whole new world for her, and knowing where we started it's nearly unbelievable.


my 38 weeks with you.

i've spent the past 38 weeks with you.
the smallest of the weldons, you feel very big to me.
the width of your growth has very nearly outgrown the real estate i have available :)

i've carried you and hugged you and felt you growing each and every day.
and i love you. i adore you, actually.
i long to know your features and to finally know you face to face.
to hold you with my arms and watch your siblings marvel at the wonder of you.

you have a lot of love waiting for you. i have a feeling, i'll be fending off little arms who want to hold you and take care of you, just so i can spend treasured time with you.

i dream great dreams for you. i pray over your sweet soul and the life God has given you. the life He has entrusted us with. and i ever-so joyfully await who you are and all of the personality and wonderful you bring to our family.

at the moment, week 38 is bringing lots of anticipation. your siblings have packed hospital bags full of toys and drawing materials and silly gadgets to show you. they want to be the first to hold you after you are born and ask every day how much longer. if only...if only i knew.
how about today? today is a great day to be born, little one!

thank you for being my child. for making me a mom again.
i love you and cherish you, my little darling one.


Blog Widget by LinkWithin