Friday, June 26, 2015

{Here We Are}

It's been a long time since I've done a family update.  Anyone remember why I blog in the first place?  Because ain't nobody got time for scissors and stickers and tape and markers and glitter strewn all over the kitchen table (aka - scrapbooking).

So this is it, Gibson kids.  This blog is your scrapbook.  You're welcome.

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It was discovered at her six week checkup that Macy has some loosey-goosey hips.  Otherwise known as hip displasia.  Which basically means that her leg bones (obviously we're using very medically accurate terminology) weren't in the right place for her hips to properly form.

Enter: the Pavlik Harness.


You can tell she is terribly upset by the whole ordeal.

For six weeks, Macy wore this little contraption to hold her leg bones in place.  We made multiple trips to Delafield (about 1.5 hours away) to get x-rayed and ultrasounded :)

During those six weeks, we were allowed to take it off for an hour each day.  I think she had it off a total of 3 hours for the entire six weeks.  I knew that if we ended up having to wear the harness another six weeks, it would be easy for me to blame myself for not using it enough.  So we just used it all the stinkin' time.

When I brought her back in for her last ultrasound, her harness was filthy.  Like, really, really gross - because while it IS washable, it has to air dry.  So how do you wash it, and let it air dry...and then get it back on baby within an hour?  You don't.

The doctor was pleased to see a dirty harness...it means it got used.  And guess what?  It worked.  Her hips look perfect, and she is now harness free :)

Hanging at the pool with friends to celebrate our 'harness free' baby!
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Macy was dedicated to the Lord sometime in late May.

HA.

First kid - I would have documented this the day after it happened, and I would have noted the date.

Second kid - 'sometime in late May'.


But I'd say it really doesn't matter when.  The fact is that a bunch of people that love our Macy came together and declared that they would do everything in their power to point Macyn to Jesus.


And our Pastor (known affectionately as 'Poppy' around these parts!) cried as he prayed for our sweet baby girl, asking God to walk with her all the days of her life.

That's what really matters.

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We've been enjoying the extra tiny feet running around this place.  And I don't mean Macy :)


Mable, Madison, Carter, and Macy.  Four peas in a pod.  Sort of.

Even though Carter says "Nooo Bable! Nooo Badison", he secretly loves them.  He talks about them when he eats his ice cream and takes walks to the lake.

It has been so good to spend time with these families.  Know what I love?  Seeing our friends love our kids.  Know what else I love?  Loving our friends' kids.

It's pretty awesome.



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We've got something else pretty awesome happening around here.

Love.  The seeds we planted when Macy first came home are finally starting to grow and bloom.

We would tell Carter "Give Macy a kiss" or "You love Macy!" or "You are so gentle!".  He didn't know how to act, so we had to tell him.  He didn't know how to show love to this tiny little bundle of sweetness, so we had to literally show him how - hand-over-hand.

It felt awkward at first.  Like a baby taking its first steps, we were all a bit wobbly at this sibling thing.

But now.


Carter regularly chooses to lay by Macy on the floor.  He chooses to tickle her feet when I'm changing her.  He chooses to bring her a paci when she's crying.  He chooses to see her - smile at her - love her.

Love is a choice.  And Carter loves Macy well.


This little story reminds me of this little story, when Carter was learning how to be held.
Here's a secret: At 7 years old, Carter still loves to be held by his Mama.
I know that soon, he'll reach an age that he won't want to, or won't be able to.
So, for now, when he says "Mom, Carry!"...I carry. 
 
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Carter started his second season of baseball 'sometime in June'.

:)


He has the same teammates, but a new team.  He thoroughly enjoys running the bases, sitting in the outfield, running his hands along the fence, and hitting the ball.

But mostly, he loves the ice cream afterwards :)

This means Macy attended her first game, and did a great job charming everyone in the stands :)


You can read about Carter's 'First Ever' baseball game here :)

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That brings us to today.


Our little boat landing at the end of our road never disappoints, and we spend many afternoons there with a baby sleeping away in the stroller while a big boy plays with his trucks and boats.


This is my view 724 times a day.  And I love it.


Little Baby sleeping or pacifying or bottling or snuggling while Big Boy looks on, waiting for his turn to have my undivided attention.

Before Macy came, I spent many busy days wondering how I'd possibly make time for two needy kids.  Now I know.  It doesn't just happen, like some told me it would.  

It takes intentional work to say "That can wait" or "I can finish this up tomorrow".  At first, it felt a little like losing control of my well-manicured, tidy life.  

Now, it feels like freedom.  I don't have to be all things to all people all the time.

I just have to be mama to these little people, and wife to my favorite guy.  

Everything else can wait.  


Freedom.

One Thing I Know For Sure: This post brought to you mostly by iPhone pictures.  Another area where I'm learning to let go & say "It's okay" :)

Tuesday, June 02, 2015

Seven.

So this is 7.  

Seven is birthday-morning giddiness over donuts with candles.

Seven is having the control to have a donut and candle in front of you without grabbing the donut and candle.



Seven is yelling "Cha-cha-cha!" while your adoring classmates sing 'Happy Birthday'.


Seven is understanding the concept of opening gifts, and being able to do it all by yourself.
{The concept of cards and money are still lost on you, seven-year-old.  Maybe next year!}


Seven says "No bath. Shower!".
{This makes your mommy cry a little.  The bath-season of your life is over.}



Seven is filthy feet, because seven-year-old feet don't stay on patios or in kiddie pools.  They run in fresh grass and search hard for mud.
{This makes your mommy so happy.  You run, little boy.  It's what you're meant to do.}


Seven is big, brave, and independent.


Seven says "Hi, sister! Nice baby! Baby cars? Yes!".
Translation: Can I drive my matchbox cars on your belly? Yes!
Translation: Love.  It's happening, right before our eyes.


Seven is new and different, as we leave 'cuteness' behind and head toward boyhood.  The looks in the grocery store might change from adoring and curious to pity and annoyance.
{This scares your mommy a little bit, because she wants everyone to love you as much as she does}


Seven says "I vuv-oo Daaaad!".
Translation: I love you, dad.  And the best part?  We think you really mean it.


We are so excited to see where seven takes you, Carter.  There are so many good things ahead.

One Thing I Know For Sure: We vuv-oo, Carter.

Read about Carter's 6th birthday here :)

Monday, May 04, 2015

1,242 Days + 1

Carter was an orphan for 1,242 days.  Three years, four months, and twenty-four days of not knowing the love of a family.


That's 1,242 bedtimes.  All done without mama's kisses.
That's 3 birthdays. All gone un-celebrated.
That's countless milestones. All met without being cheered on.


But today.
Today, Carter has been a son for 1,243 days.


He's been a son longer than he's been an orphan. 
He's been loved longer than he's been neglected. 


This life of Carter's is pretty perfect. He's growing and changing in new ways each day.


He has an amazing team of professionals at school who celebrate his many abilities.

As I type this, I'm watching him work with our team of at-home therapists who are so patient with our busy boy.

He has grandparents and aunts and uncles and cousins who love him for who God created him to be.

He has parents who think he is the most amazing, incredible, beautiful kid.


We see you, Carter. One thousand, two hundred and forty two days of being seen.


No longer an invisible orphan, but a cherished son.

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We will always be in awe of how God put together the pieces of your life, Carter.  

Treasured baby photo, given to us at our SDA appointment
The first time we met
Your first goofy smiles during our first orphanage visit
We'll never forget the look on your face the first time we met, or the way you smiled so cautiously on our first visit.  Once you learned that laughing was encouraged, we couldn't keep you quiet.  



You've been our sweet sunshine-y boy ever since.

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1,243 days of being kissed up by your mama.  Wrestled up by your daddy.  Hugged and squeezed and loved like crazy.  

(60 days of being tolerated by your sister.  It's okay, she'll come around.)

It will only get better from here, sweet boy.  

I'm reminded of the lyrics to one of your favorite songs.  Let's sing them, shall we?

"If what I am is what's in me
Then I'll stay strong, that's who I'll be!
I will always be the best me that I can be!
There's only one me - I am it
I have a dream, I'll follow it
It's up to me to try
I'm gonna keep my head up high
Keep on reaching high
Never gonna quit!
I'll keep getting stronger!"

So much good stuff ahead, little boy.


One Thing I Know For Sure: We see you, Carter.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Macy's Story.

Macyn Joy Gibson came into this world on Monday, March 9th - her due date.  At 11:05pm, she took her very first breath.  This is her birth story.

I suppose her story starts many months ago.  I finally made an appointment to see a midwife.  We decided that two years was too long - we were ready to get serious about having a baby.  I met with Brenna.  I instantly fell in love with her.  She filled me with so much hope, and at the end of our visit (which felt more like a heart-to-heart with a friend), she said "Girl, we are going to get you pregnant!".  It was the first time I felt like this could really happen.

Fast forward a few weeks, and I was pregnant.  That's really where Macy's story begins.  But for the sake of time, we'll start here:

Sunday was like most other Sunday's.  Church in the morning, Carter snuggling up to me all through the service, asking to be held during worship - with his big, long body dangling from my arms and over my round belly.  We came home, and I felt different.  I knew in my gut that my body was preparing for something big.

Regardless, we had friends over for dinner that night.  We laughed, and joked about how tomorrow was our due date - and nobody has their first baby on their due date! After they left, we tried timing contractions.  Ten minutes.  Five minutes.  Twelve minutes.  Seventeen minutes.  Four minutes.  This must be false labor.  I jumped in the shower to slow things down, and we both went to sleep for the night.

At 6:15am, I woke up to start getting myself and Carter ready for school.  While laying in bed, Jake asked, as he did almost every morning for weeks, if this would be the day.  I said maybe - but lets get Carter to school first.  Before I could even get out of bed, my water broke.  Yes, dear.  Today is the day.

Because I tested GBS+, it was important to get to the hospital within an hour or so of my water breaking so I could start an antibiotic (and then receive it every 4 hours while in labor).  Which meant there was no time to get Carter to school!  We called my mom and she was here within 15 minutes.  We called the midwife - and guess who was on call?  My girl, Brenna.  I could not have been more thrilled. Jake loaded the car and off we went.  We made excited phone calls on the way to the hospital, and prayed in between.  

This was the day we would meet our baby girl.  


When I arrived, I was 4cm and 100%.  Not what I wanted to hear - considering I had been 3cm and 90% for weeks.  Throughout the day, my contractions continued to mess with me.  Five minutes apart.  Then two.  Then seven.  Then five.  I walked the halls, I sat on the birthing ball, I tried to rest, I paced our room, I took a bath...it didn't matter.  Things were moving slowly. 

I was already missing Carter, and was so sad to know that I wouldn't be at home with him for several days.  His awesome teachers sent me photos of his morning at school - telling me he was having a wonderful day, and not to worry about him.  This helped to put me at ease, and really allowed me to just focus on what I was supposed to be doing.


Sometime while it was still light out, I remember sitting with Brenna and Jake, telling them I was getting scared.  What am I doing wrong?  Why am I not progressing?  Can I really do this?  Am I really as capable as I've been telling myself?  Brenna told me all my emotions were normal, and Jake grabbed my birth cards that I made exactly for this moment.

"You are stronger than you think you are"
"Your contractions can't be stronger than you, because they are you"
"Your body was created for this"
"Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you.  I will uphold you with my righteous right hand."
"Your only job is to relax and allow birth to happen"



It was also around this time that Brenna and I had 'the talk'.  I knew it was coming.  I had been dreading it since the moment my water broke.  Labor had been long, and hard.  I was clearly exhausted.  But she wouldn't judge me if I wanted an epidural.  I didn't.  I don't know why - but I have had this strong desire to experience all that I could.  I wanted to feel everything.  I didn't want to miss out on any part of Macyn's birth - even if it was painful. 

I wanted to feel it, right along with her.


Around 8:30pm, we talked about ways to move labor along.  We were going to be approaching the 18 hour mark, and for safety's sake we needed to start making some serious progress.  Brenna mentioned pitocin, which progresses labor and regulates contractions.  She also mentioned nubain, which is a pain reliever that just takes the edge off the contractions and allows for rest in between.  We tried the nubain first, and I was blessed with about an hour of rest.  

I felt drunk, and was cracking jokes with Annette and Brenna.  "You guys, I want an epidural....just kidding!".  

I was cognizant enough to realize that it was about Carter's bedtime.  I told Jake that if he heard from my mom that she was having a hard time putting him to bed, I didn't want to know about it.  A few minutes later, he told me she had texted him to say Carter went to bed like a champ.  Again, relief.  Our big boy is going to be just fine...I can just focus on Macy.

After an hour of nubain, we made the decision to go ahead and start a low dose of pitocin.  And that's when the magic happened.  Suddenly, I couldn't avoid the urge to push.  By 9:30, I was trying different pushing positions - finally settling on my back, with Annette and my awesome partner, Jake, holding my legs.  They had tied a bed sheet around the birth bar so I had something to grab onto and pull during contractions.

The pushing was hard.  But my team and coach cheered me on the whole time.  At one point, I wondered if I was really doing that well or if they were just saying that I was to motivate me.  If I was doing so well, why was it taking so long?

After an hour and a half of pushing like I never thought possible, Brenna said "Look!".  I opened my eyes for the first time since I started pushing, and there she was.  One more push, and she was in my arms - barely crying, eyes wide open, looking right at us.  Jake and I looked at each other in total shock and awe and excitement and exhaustion.

This is the day we met our daughter.  She was here.

Macyn Joy Gibson - born at 11:05pm, weighing 6lbs 14oz. Nineteen beautiful inches of perfection.



We called family about an hour later.  Macy nursed like a champ for over an hour and a half.  Jake and I finally calmed down enough for sleep at 3:30am.

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As exciting as it was for us to meet this baby who I had carried for 9 months, we were just as thrilled to see her with her big brother.  I don't know why, but it was important to me that Carter meet her first, before anyone else. It only seemed right.

This was a big day.


We went to the family lounge, so Carter wouldn't be scared by all the doctor-y stuff in my hospital room. He walked right in and said "Mom!".

Melt my heart.

Next up: sister.  For the last 9 months, all we have heard from him is "Nooo baby sister".

Today: "Hiii Macy."



Holding her was something he wasn't too thrilled about, but was easily coerced when we said "Hold baby first, then presents!" :)




"Eenie, meenie, miney, moe - who ate all the cookie dough?!"
It seems as though this room was made for Carter B. Gibson:



Yes, there were elephants and giraffes outside the room.  Of course there were.


Once Big Brother came, we had an open invitation for family to come visit.

NaNa & Brad

Grampie

Grannie

MiMi & Poppy

Uncle Ben

Auntie Kristi

Cousin Katelyn

Uncle Greg

Auntie M & Uncle T
So much love in Room 310.  So much perfection.  So much life. 

Jake made sure to tell everyone that I was a champ and a rockstar and amazing and strong. But the truth is, I wouldn't have been strong without him. 

Jake, you were pretty amazing, too. 

You helped me stay calm when I wanted to panic. You encouraged me to keep going when I felt like I just couldn't do any more. You silently prayed for me when there was nothing else to do. 

And you cheered. You cheered me on the whole time. You are the best coach. 

We make the best team. 

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That is the very beginning of Macy Joy's story.

It will continue on from this point, each day weaving together with my story, and Jake's story, and Carter's story.  Someday, we'll add more kids, and more stories.



So.

To our new family of four: Whatever we do, may we do it together.



This is our life.  It's pretty perfect.


One Thing I Know For Sure: Welcome to this big, beautiful world.  We're so glad you're here.
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