Sunday, April 24, 2016

Introducing Emma Joy!

We are in newborn snuggle heaven over here.  I am just willing time to pause or at least slow down.  I wish we could live in these moments forever.  Our sweet new baby girl Emma Joy is everything we dreamed of and our little family of 5 is just so happy.  We are all so in love with the newest member of our family.  Emma is so sweet and precious and we cannot get enough of her.

Getting to this moment didn't come without its challenges though.  Michael and I planned on having our children about 2 years apart or so, but it took us over a year to get pregnant with baby number 3.  I know that's not much time compared to what some people go through trying to get pregnant, but it gave me a window into the struggle of infertility and it was hard.  And, that was after already having 2 beautiful children.  I can't imagine how much harder it would have been if I hadn't had them to keep me busy.  But thankfully on August 12th last year I found out I was pregnant.  I had plans to bring Clara, David, and Atika (my niece who had spent the night) to the zoo that morning to meet up with our preschool group, so on the way we stopped by Michael's work to tell him.  I made up some excuse for Michael to come out to the car and Clara told him, "Mama's having a baby!" :)

This was my roughest pregnancy for sure.  I was morning sick and had frequent headaches the first trimester.  I felt pretty good the second trimester, but the third trimester it often hurt just to move.  It really felt like I had just got done riding a horse all day most of the time.  But, I still really enjoyed being pregnant.  I have every time.  It is such a miracle and an honor.  I loved feeling those baby kicks and always having baby right there with me.

During the night/early in the morning on Sunday April 17th I woke up several times to contractions.  They varied some but were about 20 minutes apart for much of the morning.  Early afternoon they slowed down some, but by late afternoon/early evening they started picking up in frequency and intensity.  This continued and by the time it was bedtime for the kids we knew we'd be going into the hospital at some point that night.  Our sweet friends Abigail and Paul were on standby so Michael brought Clara and David over to their house and got them tucked in for the night.  While I was giving them goodbye hugs and kisses in the van and explaining what was happening and making sure they didn't have any questions or concerns, I said something about how the baby was getting ready to come out.  Davey responded, "Is she getting dressed?"  Oh melt my heart.  Well surely if she was getting ready that must mean she was getting dressed.  So sweet.

The contractions continued to increase in frequency and intensity late into the evening and by this time I was getting pretty tired and just wanted to lay down and rest.  I was a little afraid if I laid down to sleep though I'd wake up without enough time to get to the hospital.  When I was in labor with Clara, by the time I was feeling like this and needing to rest I kept falling asleep in between contractions and then woke up ready to push.  Then with Davey his labor was a lot quicker than Clara's, so I thought with the third baby it may go even quicker.  So Michael loaded our bags in the car and we headed to the hospital just after 11 pm.

My incredible friend Char (who is a doula and labor and delivery nurse) met us at the hospital.  I labored through the night and was so thankful to have her support and wisdom along with that of my sweet husband.  He was there with me every minute of the way.  The labor took longer than I anticipated and was intensified with back labor as my sweet girl was posterior going into labor.  I was also so tired throughout the night.  Looking back had I known I would be up all night in labor I would have made myself take a nap during the day.  I think I was just so excited knowing that labor was beginning and the nesting instinct was still in full force so I was busy making sure everything was perfect for baby's arrival.

Giving birth is such a sacred experience and I am so thankful to God for giving me the strength to get through labor and making our bodies so perfectly to participate in such a miracle.

At 6:23 am on Monday, April 18th, our beautiful daughter Emma Joy was born.  She looked like a little angel from the moment she was born.  She was just perfect.  There is no bigger relief than holding your sweet baby in your arms after just giving birth.  We got lots of precious immediate skin to skin time and she nursed so well.  She weighed 7 pounds 10 ounces and was 20 inches long.  Her head measured 13 3/4 inches.

We named her after my sweet grandma Margaret Emma.  Anyone who knows me knows how much my Grandma means to me.  She is truly the best person I know and inspires me in so many ways.  She is such a positive, grateful, loving person.  No one has ever made me feel as unconditionally loved as she does.  Recently my little family of 4 got to spend a lot of time with Grandma (who is 98-years-old) helping care for her.  It was such sweet time that I will always cherish.  I also loved seeing Michael's and my grandma's relationship.  They were so sweet to each other and Michael said she made him a more positive person just being around her.  Grandma also enjoyed having Clara and David there and would often say so.  They love her, too!  Anyway, probably since high school I knew one day I wanted to name my daughter Emma after her.  I even told her that one time when she was in the hospital years and years ago.  However, one day when I was in my early 20's my Grandma was talking about her aunt Clara and Michael and I both fell in love with that name and just had to use it when our Clara was born.  I'm so glad we were blessed with a second daughter and got to name her Emma.  It's just perfect.

My mom and photographer friend Kisha were also present for Emma's birth and it meant so much to have them there.  My mom video recorded and Kisha took the most beautiful pictures that I will cherish always.  Here are some pictures of Emma's first few hours...

last bump picture 39 5/7 weeks