Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Liam's Newborn Pictures

Last Friday, when Liam was just six days new, we had the privilege of having him photographed by Cayla of C. Noelle Photography!

She came to our house and spent an hour taking pictures of him and of our little family of four!

To say that I'm in love with every single shot would be an understatement. From the very first sneak peek, I was blown away!

So without further adieu, here are a few, okay several, of my favorites! Minus my absolute favorite which we chose to use for his birth announcement which will be headed out to family and friends this week!

 sweet little fingers and toes!

our precious boy

I scored this huge basket at Goodwill back in June for two dollars!

Then we used his crib quilt to add a pop of color to few shots!

I love these in his nursery!

After she finished with him, she took family pictures for us.

Londyn Grace was being so sweet with her little brother!

And then this happened...

Be still my heart!

I still can't believe these two precious babies are mine!!

She also got a few of Daddy with his baby boy!

There's just something about a father with his son!

Love this one of me with my two favorite guys!!

I am so glad we will always have these reminders of Liam in his first week and of our family as we adjusted to life with the four of us!

We are blessed beyond measure!

Lo, children are an heritage of the Lordand the fruit of the womb is his reward.
Psalm 127:3

Friday, August 15, 2014

Strength {Liam's Birth Story}

A busy week of Vacation Bible School each evening. Nesting like crazy and chasing a busy almost two year old each day.

I began my 37th week of pregnancy wondering if sweet Liam would make his entrance the same week that his big sister did, but as the days passed I felt like he would probably be a little later despite the pressure that mounted in my lower abdomen.

Throughout the night on Thursday pain came and went and it was really the first time I had pain that I could specifically note as actual contractions. (My water broke first with Londyn Grace so this was a new experience.)

On Friday, I had my typical pancake breakfast with my favorite girl and got some orders ready for the post office. The pain was sporadic, but definitely intensifying. By the time I got to VBS that evening, I was having trouble walking, but tried my best to be a help.

As the activities concluded and Daniel got ready to drive the kids back home on the church van, I told him that I thought I should call the midwife. He agreed and said he would hurry home as fast as he could.

I gathered enough strength to get LG to the van and into her carseat pausing to find the moon and listen the sounds of the night with my moon-loving babe. I dialed the midwife on speaker phone as I drove and explained how I was feeling. She said she'd be over to check as soon as I got home.

Londyn Grace found the moon again as we gathered her diaper bag and headed up the stairs. Unlocking the door, I let Linda know we were home and helped LG pick up the toys she had been playing with before we left.

She was definitely concerned as she watched the midwife check things, but was so excited so hear her brother's heartbeat. Linda reported that Liam was head down as he had been for weeks and that I was only a fingertip dilated but very effaced. She told me to start tracking contractions and keep her updated through the night.

It was bedtime so we got into our pajamas and I settled into the rocking chair to snuggle with and nurse my girl as she drifted off to sleep. It crossed my mind that this may be the final time I rocked her as an only child. My eyes filled with tears as I told her how much mama loved her, and she melted my heart even farther as she put her hand to my cheek and drew me in for a kiss, "I love you. MORE and MORE and MORE." she responded. I thanked the Lord for twenty-two months with my first baby, imagined how she would be with her baby brother and truthfully worried about how she would do with the changes.

In the meantime, Daniel got home and started preparing our bed in case labor started in the night. I tidied up a bit though the house was cleaner and more organized than it had been in months thanks to the help of our parents and my grandmother in the weeks prior and to my obsession with keeping it that way each day just in case I went into labor.

I tried to rest but the contractions were coming every ten minutes like clockwork. Squeezing Daniel's hand as we laid there, I closed my eyes and worked through them. I apologized for keeping him up since he was beyond exhausted from the week at church, but he held me and reminded me that we were going to get through this together.

As the night waned on, I got up to go to the bathroom more times than I can count. Since I couldn't get comfortable in bed and felt like I kept disturbing Daniel, I thought I would try the exercise ball.

Bouncing through contractions and resting my head on the bed between each one, I searched for strength to get me through. Opening the Bible app on my phone, 2 Corinthians chapter 12 verse 9, gave me the truth I needed:

"And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my 
strength is made perfect in weakness."

Strength. I didn't have enough on my own and I knew I'd need His to deliver this baby boy. 

By 5:30 Saturday morning, I finally climbed into bed and fell asleep before hearing Londyn Grace call "Mama!" when she awoke at 7:00. She toddled into our room and snuggled between us, wanting to nurse and cuddle. 

Then they came. Four contractions. One right after the other. It was definitely time to call the midwife. 

I text my Daddy and told him it was time to come. I'd gone back and forth all night with when to call them since they are 3.5 hours from us. I worried about calling them too early and then the contractions only being Braxton Hicks or calling them too late and them missing the birth. 

Linda arrived, and I was anxious to know if the painful contractions had been doing their job or if they really were just practice after all!

Five to six centimeters! 

We really were going to meet our baby boy soon! I thought about the to-do's left on the list that were supposed to be done before Liam arrived and waited as she checked his position.

The look on her face told me something wasn't right and I knew that Daniel sensed it as well.

"I'm not sure what I'm feeling, but it's not his head." Her words held confusion mixed with concern.

I really thought she would just say that we had time for him to reposition and that we would wait and see what he would do as labor progressed and I wasn't prepared for her next statement.

"I think we need to head to the hospital." she spoke still puzzled over what exactly was going on with his positioning.

A million things ran through my mind and the tears came. 

Things were a whirlwind for the next half hour as Daniel rushed to gather a few things to take with us and called our Pastor's wife to come and take Londyn Grace. Linda called the ambulance and then worked to get a team in place at the hospital so they would be ready for our arrival. She called her a midwife friend who is on staff at the hospital and summoned a doctor who is known for his expertise in the natural delivery of breech babies knowing that if anyone could help us it would be him. 

In all of this I laid on the bed, the same bed in which I delivered LG and intended to deliver my baby boy, and prayed for strength. I knew I needed it hours earlier when I was bouncing on the ball in the darkness, but I didn't know exactly how much until now.

Two town policemen arrived first and stood awkwardly in the hallway appearing unsure as to what they should do. The paramedics arrived and began their questioning, hooking up a bunch of wires and filling out forms. They wanted to transport me to different hospital and weren't really thrilled when my midwife insisted that she had arranged everything and they were ready for us at the hospital she thought was best. 

Daniel made phone calls updating our family who were already headed towards Jersey and asked if I wanted to talk to my Daddy.

Sobbing, I asked him to pray that a c-section wouldn't be necessary and that Liam would be okay. He promised he would and that they'd get there as soon as they could.

Finally the medics were ready and they loaded me into a transport chair and then onto a stretcher at the bottom of our driveway (it's really steep and would've been difficult to get the stretcher into the house).

Daniel told me later that once he was in the ambulance, he felt the Lord gave him a sense of peace about the situation, a calmness, assuring him that everything would be fine.

When we arrived at the hospital, they were ready for us.

Rachel, the attending midwife, introduced herself.

I remember taking in the surroundings that were nothing like my bedroom where I had envisioned giving birth.

The coldness of the sterile room.

The beeping monitors.

They quickly began an ultrasound to identify exactly what was going inside of me and with our little boy.

The doctor Linda called entered the room, dressed in street clothes, since he wasn't supposed to working the weekend.

He watched the screen along with us, waiting to see a breech babe, but instead we found that our prayers had been answered.

We thanked him for his willingness to rush to our aid on his Saturday morning off, he shook our hands and wished us well.

Nurses continued trying to draw blood and do other tasks related to admission to the hospital while I sat, closing my eyes and trying to get through each contraction.

Rachel told me I could decide where I felt most comfortable since a natural delivery was indeed possible.

Daniel helped me out of bed. I asked if they would happen to have a birthing ball because I was really finding that helpful at home.

I took my place near the edge of bed, bouncing and swaying through contractions. Linda put pressure on my lower back as each pain came and Daniel stood by my side talking me through it.

The midwife suggested that she could break my water and speed things along, but I really wanted to wait for my family to arrive. I told her that for now I would wait for it to break naturally.

During the lull in contractions, I was comfortable and just filled with such gratefulness that though I wasn't at home as we had planned, the Lord was still giving me the birth I wanted so badly.

Then it came.

My water had broken.

I'm pretty sure the clock read 9:36 AM.

After getting cleaned up and using the restroom, she had me get onto the birthing stool to check my progress.

Eight centimeters.

There was no waiting now.

I was so sad that my mama and sister who had been there for LG's birth wouldn't get to see Liam's but the pain and pressure was really really bad at that point so I was just thrilled that he would make his entrance sooner rather than later.

Contractions longer and harder than anything I had ever felt before came. With Londyn Grace, I labored quietly and didn't want to be touched, but this was much different.

I screamed through it and wanted, rather needed someone near.

"I can't do it."

"It hurts. It really really hurts."

Then I apologized for screaming.

Daniel held me, telling me I could.

He truly was my rock.

He remained so calm through all the craziness and when I questioned my strength, he was there literally holding me up.

My midwife was also such a blessing. She was able to stay with me and though not deliver Liam, assist with his birth and take these pictures, capturing moments I wouldn't otherwise have on film.

At this point, I really felt like I needed to push, but I was so scared to.

I tore so badly the first time and desperately wanted to avoid that this time. 

I kept telling them, "I want to push!"

And Rachel encouraged me to do what my body was telling me to do and reminding me to focus the energy I was using to scream to push my baby out.

Four pushes later,

Liam Daniel was born
at 10:15 am

in just over 3 hours of active labor,

stealing his mama's heart,

and making his Daddy smile.

I kept asking if he was okay, wanting reassured, since his birth was so different than his big sister's and because they had to suction his mouth before he started crying.

He was indeed okay.

He was more than okay.

He was perfect.

Our precious boy.

A son.

His Daddy's namesake.

His mama's sweet little man.

We had skin to skin time and he nursed before they weighed him and did his footprints.

A little later, big sister joined us and we marveled at the Lord's goodness in making us a family of four.

I told several people all along that I felt like his birth would be different than Londyn Grace's and that I had an anxiousness about it that I couldn't really put my finger on.

Both births were so beautiful, but I definitely felt my need for His strength so much more this time around.

I was so much more aware of every contraction, of every stage of labor.

I needed Him to get me through it,

and He did.

His strength was made perfect in my weakness.

And at the end of the day, I snuggled my baby boy, 
praising Him for doing all He promised He would do.

**You can read Londyn Grace's birth story here!

I'm linking up with The Life of Faith for this week's Mommy Moments link-up!

The Life Of Faith

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Sweet Liam Baby

Our precious son

Liam Daniel 

6 pounds 14 ounces
20.5 inches long

at 10:15 am 

August 9th 2014

We are so in love and so so thankful for this precious gift! 

Birth Story to Follow!