Tuesday, May 28, 2013

So let me introduce to you...

Micah Philip Dawson, ladies and gentlemen!

The play-by-play:
5am : woke up to some light contractions, which was typical of each day from week 38 to 40. I couldn't fall back asleep, so I woke up, had some prayer time, and went for a walk. Contractions were 7 minutes apart

8am: conceded to the fact that I was actually in labor, so we fed and dressed the kids and called my parents. Showered, vacuumed the house, did some dishes, packed the kids, breathed, timed, prayed.

10am: kids were packed up and went to Granny and Grandpa's for the day. This part is NEVER easy for me. I've cried each time, and wonder if we're making the right decision to have a baby(yes, I realize this last part is irrational. I mean, we're pretty much committed at this point). Contractions were 5 minutes apart or less.
11:30: headed out to the hospital by way of stopping at David's office to grab the laptop and drop off a Blockbuster movie. We also had the beautiful and moving privilege of stopping in front of the church while the hurst of a friend pulled into Queen of Heaven. Daniel Crochet was being commended to God's mercy at the same hour the God's mercy would bring new life to us.

Noon: Admitted to the hospital, needed antibiotics for group b strep otherwise they would have sent me home... because after 6 hours of labor I was 1 cm (this is child #4 people after weeks of false labor- so humbling)

Somewhere between then about 2pm- dilated to almost 4, but after trying to labor naturally while totally stopped up and lighted headed from breathing so hard I received an epidural. We had been doing prayer intentions for each contraction, when I received the epidural the prayer intention for the entire process just happened to be for Daniel's soul (and the soul of his brother). God is good to let us participate in prayer and suffering for others.

4ish- 7cm lying on one side. The nurse flipped me, and less than 5 minutes later I was complete!

5:09pm... and 3 pushes, he was on my chest, crying with his little lip out like someone had hurt his feelings. That was an incredible moment. Praise God!

 The traditional gel-in-the-eyes freshly born pic... and he's still so cute! P.S. That's my mother-in-law's hand on my leg, which I remember looking over and seeing that her hand was there... and that I couldn't feel a thing in that leg.
 Lots of time in a quiet hospital room, so we took pictures!
 Our first family-of-6 photo! I love that Jacob is on John Paul's lap- what a great big brother!
 These two are so great with Micah. They love him and ask to see his toes and kiss his head all the time... except they all have super nasty coughs/colds, so we don't let them do too much with him yet.
 Think 4 is overwhelming? Could be, but I have captured one of many moments when they were all three playing well together with the same toy. They were play "buy the pig/buy the turtle" and John Paul would say, "Have a nice day! Thanks for buying the turtle!"
 Granny helping John Paul hold Micah for the first time (I hadn't informed her that they weren't allowed to touch him with their snotty little hands)! Look how proud he is. My sweet sweet man! My loving mama!

Therese is a fantastic sister already, and she loves babies. She's been waiting for Micah since we told her we were going to have a baby and she said, "I want a pink baby." A pink baby's what she got. She tells me that he's so cute every time she looks at him, and she loves trying to take care of him; she'll say, "I got Micah, Mom." (In other words: you go do your thing, and I'll just be here insistently trying to stick a pass in his mouth)
 Jacob Joseph is doing as expected. He is very loving and compassionate baby, so he is NOTHING but sweet to Micah (so far), but is also a mama's boy, so he wants to be held a lot, thus forcing me to break the rules and hold him a lot! And occasionally, he hides in the corner behind our recliner with his pass (which is a no-no... except for this week. He can have it all he wants.) He is showing lots of behaviors that say, "Um, guys, my whole life just got turned upside down."
As my mom titled this picture: "How do you entertain three young children? Have a baby to entertain them!" This morning John Paul asked me, "Mom, may I please have some chocolate milk, so that I can drink it and sit in my red chair and watch Micah?" And that's exactly what he did... and the others followed suit.  A good note to end this post. See you soon (whatever "soon" is redefined to mean).

Another note: Micah looks almost identical to John Paul at birth until he opens his mouth to cry/scream, then he looks/sounds like Jacob. Craziest thing...

John Paul's birth
 Week 4 or 5 I think.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

While we wait...

39 weeks today... nothing to report. Though, I will say that I am indebted to Britney, my sweet friend who invited us to Galaxy Bounce House today for all our little olive plants to jump around. No, I didn't purposefully jump (I bet my mother-in-law is just ready to faint reading this), but I did HAVE to help Jacob inside some of the bigger jumpy things... and up some of the blow-up slides. Yes, there were indications on these monstrosities that pregnant women should not partake... I signed a waiver. Don't worry.

Anyway, David and I decided to take a family day to trip to Baton Rouge (again, I know some of you think I am just insane. I'm ok with this) to meet David newest godchild Cecilia Jane Dawson.


 The day she was born
 This is Mimi and Grandaddy with all their 6 grandchildren... 
couldn't figure out how to stick my belly in this one to make it seven.
(Therese- 3, Jacob- 18 months, Luke- 16 months, Liam- 3 1/2, John Paul- 4, Cecilia- 1 week)
David fell instantly in love. She's so beautiful, y'all.
And while we wait... we like to paint...ish

And I had to mention another important event in the life of a sweet friend. Adrienne will travel to Houston tomorrow (3/16) to begin tests and have surgery for breast cancer. She is a trooper, she is strong, she is peaceful, and we are praying for a swift recovery for her. Must mention that she happens to be the kids pediatrician, so we tried (believe me) to have Micah before she took her sick leave. Sigh. Please keep our precious friend in your prayers.

So that's the Dawson house... don't feel like you need to sing the jeopardy song or anything. We'll be around. You know soon enough.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

The "joyful" part of the anticipation is waning...

I'm beginning to feel like a little kid who asks for something he can't have. Grateful for the gift of life... and ready to be looking this life in the face... know what I mean?

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Joyful Anticipation...

So here's our family... and it's who defines me, who orders my days, who fulfills me, who challenges me, and who brings me greater joy than I could ask for or imagine. So what happens when we begin to add new people to this dynamic?

I remember when it was just John Paul...
... it was a hard, beautiful, transitional, life-altering, self-redefining time for David and I. It was not a hard decision (I say that now, but David would laugh at me for saying that) to decide to open ourselves to another child when John Paul was around 10 months old. It's no surprise to anyone that David and I want a large family, so in most cases, number 2 comes relatively soon after number 1. (As my sweet friend Britney is chuckling- she went from 1 to 3 with her twin boys).  Well, I remember that when I realized that I was definitely in labor for "the baby" (because we didn't find out Therese's gender) I began to cry of sadness: Our family definition was changing. We would no longer be David, Kate, and John Paul, and I was scared to journey into the unknown to welcome a new baby. And when I heard David say, "It's a girl," it changed everything! It seemed so perfect that God would give us a precious little girl- our Therese Marie.

The adjustment from 1 to 2 was not near as difficult for me as from 0 to 1. And as Therese grew in that first year, her little personality came out very quickly. She was/is curious, opportunistic, independent, self-assured. A fantastic and fun addition to our family. We quickly became pregnant with another baby, who's story I have shared before. We named him Andrew Thomas, and I quickly learned that fertility is a gift, and that life is precious - whether it is planned/expected/feared or not. This experience brought David and I close as no experience had done. God was so close to us through this loss, and we continued to remain open to life... which brought us a pregnancy 3 months later. Enter Jacob.
Jacob has been a huge gift to our family in so many ways. His first 6 months were extremely difficult for me, mostly because he enjoyed nursing every 2 hours 'round the clock, and sleeping was not his top priority. But is was such a joy to see how much/quickly John Paul and Therese loved him. And as I've described before, Jacob's compassion, affection, sense of humor, and love for people has brought us joy that we continue to be surprised by and grateful for.

We also experienced another loss of a child. This one was different because it happened so quickly. We knew that we were pregnant less than 48 hours before miscarrying. Agnes Karolina was gone almost as soon as she came. This pregnancy taught me to be grateful. As you can imagine, Jacob was 6 months old, and though we knew God was asking us to be open to His will, I was emotionally flustered because of Jacob's sleeping habits. So my telling David that we were pregnant was less than enthusiastic. I realized after her loss how much it must have CRUSHED him to hear his wife say that we had created life as if it were a burden. I will always carry regret for feeling/thinking/reacting this way. Another 3 months passed and we discovered (after about 120 pregnancy tests b/c I was so irritable and weepy all the time) that we were pregnant. Praise God for another chance to be grateful for life!

And so as of today I am full term for Micah Philip Dawson. I've had contractions, Braxton Hicks, pressure, heartburn, and digestive trouble since about 30 weeks. I am seeing a pattern that somewhere between 30 and 35 weeks I hit a place of despair because I just think I can't handle being pregnant any more. I start bargaining with God, saying things like, "Hmm, well God if we have a baby at 32 weeks, it won't be so bad. A 4 lb baby is ok, and a few weeks in the NICU won't be so bad." (Forgive me, Lord, and forgive me Mama's who have had to go through such a nightmare). It takes so much grace and dying to self to stay/get back on track in remember that what's best for the BABY is time and growth and weight even if it's not easy for ME (imagine that). I come out of this stupor at around 35 weeks, probably because I can see that light at the end of the tunnel... what's another 5 weeks?

The fear of redefining our family, as I experienced when moving from one to two, is pretty much gone, other than attempting to picture what life will look like (which is not productive because it cannot be pictured), and I also must admit that the thought of 4 children is more exciting than frightening (as I tended to feel when moving from 2 to 3). I kind of feel like I've already reached that, "Well what's one more?" kind of mentality. It's already a fantastic little circus over here... so the more the merrier seems to be the idea around here.

I am seeing signs that my body may be ready to get this party started... and though I have prayed for an early baby (like a little 5 year old who asks God for a new bike), David and I are facilitating a married couples retreat starting tomorrow and ending Sunday. So my more specific prayer is to have Micah soon... just after Sunday (thanks Fr Huckaby for telling that I can be specific in prayer). So the name of the game is waiting. But the gift of a  a handful of children already means that waiting isn't really what happens. We are NOT bored over here.

All this to say that joyful anticipation is the new name of the game. Praise God for a wonderful example: the Blessed Mother!

And so I wait... "my soul proclaims that greatness of the Lord... for He has looked with favor on His lowly servant."

See you soon, Micah, you precious gift from God!