Our Story: Baby Girl


Photo taken by my talented friend, Renae at http://renfran.com/

She decided to arrive on her own timeline.  She's a beauty, a charmer, a cutie, a bright eyed wonderer.  Katharine Ray arrived the morning of July 11.  She was due July 20 and was scheduled to be delivered on July 15.  I had everything ready, so even though she made her debut early, everything went flawlessly thanks in part to the village that's taken care of all five of us.

Last Wednesday the boys and I spent a perfect summer day at my friend's pool.  The boys wore their new puddle jumper floaties, bravely swam with their friends, and Cherie and I actually finished more than one conversation as we joined in on the fun and even sat in lounge chairs.  Our evening was typical and bedtime was smooth.  Around 2:30am I woke up and made my usual visit to the bathroom, except before my head hit the pillow again my water broke.  I went downstairs thinking who to call first, went back upstairs completely flustered, and finally woke Joe.  Other than not being able to think straight, we were surprisingly calm, called the doctor, and then called our neighbors.  We called again and again.  Finally I phoned my parents and Joe his and we all agreed that they'd just meet us at the hospital.  While I showered Joe took then took matters into his own hands, walked across the street, and threw rocks at our neighbors' bedroom window since we couldn't reach them by phone.  Within minutes the contractions had started,  Sarah was in our den, bags were by the door, and we were on our way.  Joe pointed our that her birthday would be easy to remember: 7-11.  I pointed out that Thursday was the one day that my regular doctor didn't work.
Last belly pic on our way out the door!




By 4:30 I was settled in Labor and Delivery.  By 7:30 I was lying on a table in the same room where I'd delivered the boys, still feeling like all of this was surreal.  Not sure what gets more real than that, though!  I was numb all over but could still feel her wiggling inside.  By 8:05 she was here.  

Her little cry was strong and she came out ready to eat.  Joe cradled her while I was tended to and within minutes I was back in the recovery room with a baby at my chest.  The happy grandparents excitedly took pictures, marveled at her features, sent messages to family, and then went their separate ways to let us rest, get settled, nap, and share with the boys that their baby sister had arrived!  Later that afternoon the boys visited, my brother and his family arrived, and our postpartum room felt more like Christmas morning than a sterile hospital.  Katharine was held, I felt happy, the chatter was loud.
Party of 5!
In the days that followed I had a huge number of generous visitors that filled our days: friends with gifts, friends with food, friends with big hearts.  Most special to watch was when Pettie held Katharine.  Pettie, who is like a grandmother to Joe, recently lost her husband of 67 years and is adjusting to life in their home on her own.  She's enamored with the boys, but has always said we needed a beautiful girl.  On the heels of one life leaving our family, another one joined us.  The beat goes on.   

By Saturday afternoon I hit the' I've-been-hit-by-a-truck' wall.  Baby Girl and I enjoyed early morning and late night snuggles and appreciated any take-out brought in by friends instead of enduring anymore hospital food.

Sunday was homecoming day and back to reality.  In the week ahead the boys were off to Vacation Bible School each morning and 'the troops' (thank God for grandparents!!!) were in charge of taking care of them each day so I could take care of myself and Katharine.
Proud daddy-o!
It's now Wednesday and we're just shy of the one week mark.  Our two day honeymoon of everything going smoothly officially ended this morning with the onset of postpartum hormones and the madness of two 3 year olds clashing heads.  But I got this.  I know I do.  Monday wasn't quite the peaceful first day home I'd planned with trips to two different doctors offices and learning to nurse in public on the fly, but we survived without issues thanks to Joe being home from work and extra help from his mom to taxi me around town.  Tuesday was just what I needed with help from Mom, a little quality time with the boys, and a newborn photo shoot with a friend.  Dinners have literally appeared at our door and extra hands have stopped by to play with the boys and/or get their fill of newborn snuggles. Garrett and Gavin haven't taken much interest in their newest sibling just yet and mainly explain to me that "she looks like a boy because she doesn't have much hair" or that "her feet are little and so are her muscles."  But by Tuesday there were love pats delivered gently on her head along with sweet kisses as they left for church camp.  With their entire world having been flipped upside down in the last 6 days, it's safe to say they're taking baby steps adjusting to their new normal. 

So maybe our morning started at 5:30am today with all five of us in bed, Garrett having peed in his, Gavin wanting to go downstairs before sunrise, and Katharine fussing because she can't get a good latch on my engorged and sore chest.  Maybe I've cried for no reason at all and even though the boys can drive me mad, I actually miss spending so much time with them each day since they're all I've known for the past 3 years.  Maybe all heck broke loose last night when Joe returned from work because the boys can't contain their excitement to have him back each day...I'm just hoping he comes home tonight.  Maybe I'm moving a little faster than I should be around the house, but we're all hanging in.  Thankfully, Joe and I can smile at each other through the madness and only one of us loses it at a time.  The craziness won't last for long, I'm determined to remember these early days, and this sweet pea is sure to keep us grounded:






















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