Monday, April 28, 2014

Emilia María

Dear Emilia-

You are officially one week old today! Mommy and daddy have waited a long time for you. We found out in Arkansas that we were pregnant with you but you were born in Texas after 11 weeks of moving here. (I thought about making a run for the border so you could be an Okie!) The last few weeks of mom's pregnancy were rough and Dr. Jenkins agreed to induce mommy on Monday, 4/21/14. Your great grandma arrived on 4/20/14 from Honduras and your Meme and Punkie arrived that day as well. 

At 5:30 in the morning we arrived at Methodist West and the induction began. 

After a few hours of contractions, mommy got her epidural. It took a while and some adjusting to get it working like it should and after about an hour mommys blood pressure dropped and they had to get it back up. It was a little scary! Mommy's pulse was 42 at one point. Around 1:00 pm, the nurse said Mommy was at a 6 but just 40 minutes later mommy was at a 9.5. You were facing the wrong way so the nurse had mommy lay in a weird position and it worked! You turned to face the right way for birth. Dr. Jenkins arrived and after 5 minutes and 3 pushes you were here! 

Somehow in the process of giving birth mommys tailbone was broken. It is very Ouchy! 

We stayed in the hospital 2 nights before being released. Mommy was starting to get the hang of breast feeding, with the help of the lactation specialist, when the pediatrician said we had to supplement because you had lost too much weight and you were jaundice. The day after being released we headed to the pediatrician and we had to endure your screams for 20 mins after a heal stick to check your bellirubbion count. Mami was crying as much as you and daddy had to leave the room. The pediatrician also said to let you try to feed on each side before giving you as much as you wanted from a bottle. This is making you a lazy eater and you often cry until you get the bottle. So far, you are a great baby that loves her sleep and often has to be woken up to be fed. 

Your sisters are getting used to having you around and often take turns holding you. Your sisters both had some anticipation about you not looking like them but after looking at Chloe's baby pics and you and Allie's matching angel kisses you are definatly related. 

One of the best things about your birth is watching your daddy with you. He is so attentive and loving.

He reads everything the doctors give us. He loves to feed you and dress you and even doesn't mind changing your diapers.

 He takes his turn with you at night and often times you sleep in your cradle on his side of the bed. He loves when you are awake and all the funny expressions you make. 

I enjoy our time alone. 

Watching you sleep, eat, or the way you seem to follow my voice. I find myself a lot calmer and less anxious than I was with your sisters. I will say this breast feeding thing has been frustrating as I have waited and waited for my milk to come and I have shed a few tears over you wanting a bottle rather than me.  I am thankful that I am at least getting some milk now when I pump and about every other feeding you are drinking moms milk even if it is in a bottle. 

What a difference a week makes! Our lives have definatly been changed forever by your arrival! We are so thankful for you and the miracle you are in our lives! 


Friday, April 18, 2014

3 Become 4!

It really hit me last night that an era is coming to a close. For 11 years, as far as girls go, it has just been Chloe, Allie, & me. 

For 4 of those 11 years, it was just us 3. 

We have been through a journey of lots of peaks and pits. 

It also hit me that Emilia will not know the unique experience of growing up on a college campus. I hope our testimony of the blessing of OC is made clear to her. The birthday parties at the playground, the wonderment of the ping pong and pool tables in the Nowlin Center, the endless Icees at the caf, feeding the ducks in the OC pond, playing on the grand piano in the lobby of the Gaylord center, window shopping in the bookstore, and going to class with mom on school holidays and sitting at the feet of amazing professors while coloring! How many 11 year olds get to call Jim Baird their BFF! 

This last year has been tough to leave behind our OC home but it was time for our family to spread its wings and leave the nest. We have a lot of wonderful memories and OC is part of us. So, within the next few days jenchlonal will have a new member. It will be exciting to see how Emilia changes our "Girls Club"! 

Friday, April 11, 2014

Family Evolution

With the anticipation of our new family member arriving any day now, it's been a great time of reflection for me. Having been a mom for 14 years I can look back and see a lot of mistakes I have made, things I want to do different, & even some things I would like to stay the same. 

Honestly, I have shed a few tears over this because I can look back and see my time as a single mom was really about survival and there wasn't a lot of room for anything else. I am so thankful for the many times that grandparents, aunts, uncles, and friends stepped in to love on Chloe and Allie when I couldn't. I am very thankful for my recovery and that I am now able to be more of the mom I always have wanted to be. 

This last year has been very tough especially for Chloe. She is a teenager now and trying to learn to navigate feelings and hurt that  would be difficult for a 30 year old let alone a 14 year old. I pray everyday for her peace and healing and her journey to find that. In the mean time, it feels like I am just trying to keep her afloat and from making detrimental life altering mistakes. 

I am thankful that Emilia will grow up in a 2 parent home. One that I know where she will be surrounded by love and stability. She will have a father that already puts her first. Don't get me wrong, Misa is an amazing step-father who puts Chloe and Allie above himself. He has carefully navigated the murky waters that step parents face. He has gotten the short end of the stick several times when it comes to the girls. He does all the hard work and rarely sees any of the glory. I read a study recently that says it takes the average child 6 years to accept and trust a step-parent and we will be married 6 years in August.

I also recently heard an analogy on successful step families being like a crockpot:

"The key to crockpot stepfamilies is time and low heat. I've already stressed the importance of being patient with the integration process and not trying to force love, care, or togetherness. Often, in an attempt to quickly combine various ingredients such as people, rituals, and backgrounds, stepfamilies use the food processor, microwave, pressure cooker, and blender integration styles. Such an effort almost always backfires, bringing a backlash of anger and resentment.

Stepfamilies need time to adjust to new living conditions, new parenting styles, rules, and responsibilities. They needtime to experience one another and develop trust, commitment, and a shared history. They need time to find a sense of belonging and an identity as a family unit. None of these things can be rushed. Adults who are trying to prove to their parents, friends, church, minister, or themselves that their remarriage decision was right for everyone, push their family to "blend" quickly. But they are often greatly disappointed and feel like failures. A slow-cooking mentality invites you to relax in the moment and enjoy the small steps your stepfamily is making toward integration, rather than pressuring family members to move ahead.

Cooking with low heat refers to your gradual, intentional efforts to bring the parts together. It is working smarter, not harder. Let's contrast some crockpot approaches to the examples of what not to do.

As a crockpot stepfather, you don't worry excessively about why you're not immediately bonding with your teenage stepdaughter. Slow-cooking stepparents understand the cardinal rule of relationship development with stepchildren: Let the stepchild set the pace for the relationship. If the child is receiving of you, then openly return the child's affections. If she remains distant or standoffish, find ways of managing rules and getting through life. But don't insist a child automatically accept your authority or physical affection."

I guess the reason I am writing all of this is because I know life is about to change and a new dynamic is about to make her presence known. My perfectionistic/codepedent side wants to make this transition easy and the best case scenerio for everyone but I know that it isn't always going to be easy and at times it is going to be a hard adjustment, but once again I am brought back to my recovery lessons that even as a family we are to take it "One day at a time, one moment at time."