Friday, August 21, 2009

Our first five days!

Thomas Alexander home from the hospital wearing his daddy's tie for the special occasion.

What a whirlwind!! It seems like yesterday that Becky and I were pulling up to the hospital while it was still pitch black outside and getting settled for the big day! There is so much to tell, but as most of you know, my time and energy is limited right now. I'll do my best to fill in all the details as time allows.Right after deliver: Notice how Thomas loves his green frog that Caroline picked out for him!

Monday was so wonderful, fun and touched with bittersweetness. Becky and our amazing friend, Nellie, made t-shirts for some of the people who were in it for the long haul that day. Nellie spent the night and watched Caroline for me until we knew the time was getting close for Thomas to arrive.

We started pitocin at about 7:00am, I was already having contractions eight minutes apart, dilated to a three and 70% effaced (for those who want to know all the details!) which made me feel even more comfortable about inducing eleven days early. Epidural at about 8:30am. Dr Birch broke my water at 12:30pm and was fully dilated ready to push at 1:30pm!! Unfortunately, she was in surgery and they told me I had to wait--ha!! Contractions were really painful and I could move my feet so I knew the epidural, for some reason, had worn off quite a bit. Finally at about 1:50 or so she came in. I pushed through three contractions and he was born at 2:00pm!! (I told Caroline she was right about the two minutes, she just meant 2 o'clock instead! So now she tells everyone how she was right!)
He is perfect!! The same weight as Caroline when she was born (only she was 5 days overdue!) and an inch longer than her.It's amazing how in love I am with him!! He is so sweet and good. He is letting me sleep at about two hour increments, since feeding and changing takes us about an hour! So I get about a broken up four hour sleep time at night--that is WAY better than with Caroline who seemed to wake up every 30 minutes.

Caroline has been a doll. She loved the attention family and friends gave her in the hospital and at home. When we walked in the door Tuesday evening (We got home about 7pm the day after delivery) she saw me and hugged me so tight and said, "mommy, mommy, mommy" over and over at least 20 times-not exaggerating. If I wasn't so happy to be home, I would have cried.
She loves her brother and really wants to help. She shows him toys and pats his head every so gingerly. I love that little girl.Thomas and Caroline in his nursery

That's the super fast version of how our last 5 days has gone! I couldn't stand not posting a few pictures and letting you know how we are. All of you have sent such sweet prayers and thoughts our way. I had such a sense of peace all day Monday and any time I started to get nervous I could literally feel God telling me "it will all be okay" and he was right. I'm not prepared to write about all of the emotions right now, but in time I will. It's important for me to document it all, but I'm just too tired right now. I can say that it has been overwhelmingly more sweet than bittersweet, but deep down there is a profound sadness that Thomas and I aren't sharing this all together. I do feel that he is able to know how we are and in someway watch or see us. That is comforting.Praise: His first doctor's appt went great! Here he is ready to go!

Thank you all so much for your continued support! It helps me in so many ways.Cousin Jett meeting Thomas for the first time! They will be the best of friends!

Prayer Requests: Nursing to stop hurting during the latch on (makes my toes curl!, my energy back quickly so I can figure out how to give Caroline more time, and that I can make it through the hormonal baby blues that may make an appearance soon.

Please don't forget to tell God a huge THANK YOU for answering our prayers with an easy, safe delivery and a healthy, beautiful baby boy.

Monday, August 17, 2009

He's Here!

Thomas Alexander is here! He was 7 lbs. 15 oz. and 20 3/4" long! He is absolutely beautiful and looks identical to Caroline when she was born! Bonnie did so great and was amazing! Thank you all for praying all the time for her and her family! Prayers are what are getting her through each day and please continue praying! I'll let her give you all the amazing details! What a special day!

Wednesday, August 12, 2009


Due to my pregnancy brain and a lack of time, I haven't written about sweet Caroline and her dance class! She is a natural! She watches Miss Dara so closely (see below.) Aly and Caroline had a great summer of ballet and tap. It's like a dream come true for Robyn and I to have our sweet girls in dance together!!
Picture above is through the one-way mirror. She will stick her tongue out when concentrating really hard-her daddy would do this too.

The "downs" I've endured over the last month have been amazingly hard. I get so much encouragement from my family, friends and blogger friends telling me how well I am doing under the circumstances, but in the back of my mind I always think "if they only knew" or what if I really acted as if I felt at all times, would they still call me strong? A lot of why I am able to put on a good front is because I want to show that God is working in my life and I do still find joy from day to day thanks to Him! I have SO much to be thankful for.
I just still can't shake the feeling that this is still a dream/nightmare! It's been over 7 months! Will this feeling ever go away?
I have always been fascinated about dreams. I have had some very comforting ones over the last 7 months, but like last night, I've also had dreams where I completely break down. I know this is one of the ways I am dealing with my grief. I wake up remembering it and feeling like I had cried uncontrollably all night. Wednesday night's was just like that, I also remember collapsing under the weight of the grief-I couldn't get myself up and didn't even really want to. At the very end, I dreamed all my friends were there helping me up. I know this is representative of how it has been. They always seem to be there right when I need them and I know they will continue to do so. That is comforting.
About a month ago, I wrote about how "down" I was and how it has been the longest down time since the beginning of all of this. I am beginning to feel better now and very excited about meeting baby Thomas! So I want to thank everyone for their prayers.
I have been working through these new feelings lately and God has told me He is taking care of everything, so I have a peace about Monday. I have told friends lately that it is a strange feeling that I will now have a new identity to get used to (again!) I won't be the pregnant widow anymore and I will be the single mommy of two beautiful children. It's just another change--I guess I am getting better at change, so maybe it won't be too shocking to my system, it's just hard not knowing how it's going to be. Caroline and I have gotten into a good routine with each other this summer and she and I both are about to be changed again!

I wanted to post pictures of Thomas's nursery before he arrives and this may be my last chance! We went with the sailing theme since that made up so much of Daddy Thomas's life. My father-in-law delivered this hand made wooden sailboat shelf/shadowbox last weekend! I LOVE IT! It is modeled after their family's sailboat they grew up with "Esprit." So far I have Thomas's first shell he found (thanks to Grandma Tracy!) a picture of him with it (yes, he was white-blond!) and a carved fish from our honeymoon in Jamaica. The picture will be mounted eventually into the boat and I'm not sure what the other little shelf will have on it, but you get the idea!Above the changer, my sweet friend, Lindsey, painted this canvas for him and on the shelf above it-which is out of this picture for some reason- is daddy Thomas's life jacket from when he was little. Another talented friend, Amber Moore, came to me a few months ago and told me that she could make onesies for Thomas using my husband's ties. He wore a tie every day of his life! I can still hardly type about it without crying, they turned out AMAZING! She made so many that he has shirts until he is two with his daddy's ties on them! She even used the rest to make this beautiful blanket (soft and yellow on the back) and I have a bracelet to match as well! You will see baby Thomas wearing the onesie coming home from the hospital. You can see the puppy on the book shelf below wearing one. (Amber's daughter made the puppy for Caroline. His home is on Thomas's shelf, though! The diaper cake on top is from my UofA students surprise shower they threw for me in May-it's way too cute to take apart!)Lastly, here is one shot I have of a section of Caroline's room. Lindsey also made a canvas for Caroline. Thank you, Lindsey!! I love them both!!

Gift for Thomas:
Speaking of Caroline, she is the most amazing, thoughtful little girl. I could hardly wait to share what she did on Wednesday. Early this week we went to pick out a gift that Caroline could give Thomas at the hospital. She told me she wanted a bear and a little blanket. The first store we tried was Penney's and I immediately spotted a blue "lovey" bear/blanket! I thought she'd be thrilled. She wasn't-she saw the green "froggy" lovey and that was what she had to have for him! That was fine with me. I offhandedly mentioned that we could wrap it and give it to him. Two days later one of my amazing Taras (Arkansas Tara) volunteered to clean my entire garage-she is so awesome. Caroline and Canaan were running back and forth inside and out and eventually I noticed Caroline had a bag of Christmas bows. I was trying to talk to Jacob and wasn't paying much attention, but she finally got me to open it for her. I saw her pick out a purple bow. Then a few minutes later she came from the garage with Sesame Street Christmas paper. I saw her open it up and start unrolling it. In the back of my mind I thought, I should stop her-she's going to waste it all and make a gigantic mess, but I held my tongue for a minute. I asked her if I could help her rip a piece off. She said yes. I ripped a portion off for her and thought she would probably put it on her head or something silly, but insteady she gently flattened it out on the ground and ran away. A second later she was back with that green frog blanket she had picked out! I FINALLY realized she was taking matters into her own little hands and wrapping it herself!! She carefully folded the paper over to cover it and I asked her if she needed tape. She said, "yes, sticky tape!" So I gave her some cut pieces of tape and after several of those I directed her how to make the edges stay together. She then got that purple bow and put it on top. I can't describe in words how proud she looked when she was finished. It makes me want to cry. She then said "Baby Thomas will be so happy at the hospital." I could hardly take it. She then said, "I will sing-Happy Birthday to you!" Which is so phenomenoly appropriate for that present--I hadn't told her it was his "birthday" but she knew a specially wrapped present must mean a birthday!
She has carried that present around for three days now, showing anyone who steps foot in the house. Here she is with it:I love her so much, I can hardly stand it!!

I can't thank you all enough for your prayers that have helped sustain me through these trying pregnancy months! Please pray for mine and baby Thomas's emotional and physical health Monday! I also want to pray specifically that I won't have to have a c-section-because of the extra recovery time and I am planning on having my mom, sister and mother-in-law all with me for delivery. I think I can only have one person if it is a c-section.
I really feel like having him on the 17th is such a gift and message that Thomas and God conspired for us! What a if I can just make it two more days until then!! (I cannot believe my next post will be pictures of our sweet baby boy!!!)

Friday, August 7, 2009

Thomas's Birthday!

(Ultrasound picture would not scan well at all!
You'll have to use your imagination to see his profile!)

Amazing! I went into my routine weekly appointment yesterday and I measured 35 weeks instead of 37, so just to be safe we decided to do an ultrasound today. NO small baby problem! By his measurements we are 39 weeks and 2 days! Probably around 8 lbs (although the weight is hard to determine.) My doctor is going out of town all next week and so she called me and said that she would like to induce the following Monday-I said, No way, you mean the 17th? And she said, yes...and I told her that would be my husband's 30th birthday! I am still in disbelief at how this is working out (as long as I don't go into labor early--which would be okay too, I know God is in control of when our baby should arrive!)
I go in at 6:00am on the 17th to celebrate my husband's birthday with the birth of our son!! I think this will be wonderful. It's something our son Thomas can share with his dad. I know without a doubt that God will let Thomas in heaven have a window seat to see the day unfold and be "with" us. I am so excited and anxious! I'm about to be the mommy of two! Caroline keeps insisting that Thomas is coming in "Two minutes!" I told her today it will be 9 days and 2 minutes.
I want to send a quick thank you out to all of my awesome friends and family who helped me this week get baby Thomas's nursery ready and my car seat in and checked by a professional (thanks Leigh and Wes!!) Now we just await the soon arrival of Thomas Alexander Culp!