Sunday, July 27, 2014

Welcome to the World Emma!

The night before Emma was born, Andy took some pictures of me with the kids.  Having a new baby is always bittersweet for me...its the most exciting, wonderful thing...and on the flip side, it makes me realize how quickly my little 'babies' grow up and how they aren't babies anymore.

After all the other kids went off to bed, I stayed up and held my little Addy for a while.  This is the hardest part of welcoming in a new baby...a few seconds after Andy took this picture I burst into tears because my little Addy wasn't going to be my little baby anymore and it broke my heart.  I knew I'd bring a tiny baby home from the hospital, and Addy's cute chubby toddler hands and fingers with toddler dimples in them wouldn't look tiny to me anymore.  She could tell something was going on, because she was my little shadow all day, and just wanted me to hold her.

And here I am, 39 weeks and 32 pounds bigger than I was when I started! 

This is a picture of my "trophy blood" as we called it.  Usually, I don't bleed much because my blood hyperclots, which is why I've had to do two injections of heparin each day during pregnancy...well the heparin was doing it's job because when the nurse tried to do my IV, I had blood everywhere.  This was after she'd tried to clean me up...she even had to change the bed linens.  So of course, Andy had to take a picture of it!  All joking aside, this is the part that always makes me a little nervous...being on blood thinners makes everything a little more tricky...and when I see them wheeling in the extra blood and hemorrhage kit...well, I just try not to think of what could go wrong.

But for the seventh time, everything went smooth in delivery...and we were so excited to finally hold our little one!

They gave her right to me.  Words just cannot express the feelings.

Welcome to the world, Emma Elyse Thuernagle!  She was born at 8:13 am on July 10th,
she weighed 8 pounds, and was 21 1/2 inches long...she was as long as big brother Taylor!  So they tied for our longest babies!  She also has a "birthday twin!"  She was born on Uncle Kyle's we foresee some great birthday celebrations in the future!

Here we are, excited and thankful parents!  Our Doctor was such a he was delivering her, he looks up at me and says, "Oh!!!  It's a BOY!"  Andy and I both said "WHAT!?!"  and then Doctor Lowder just laughed.  What a stink.

Truly, what a little miracle.

And someday she'll kill me for posting this picture of her...just minutes after birth and all swollen up...but the kids and I just love it too much, had to post it!  I love all of her hair, and her chubby cheeks, and I love both of her chins!

Quiet moments with Dad...Andy got to hold her for a good long time...I lost a good amount of blood and was just too exhausted to stay awake.  Andy worried over me for a few days because I didn't have any color in my cheeks and was really weak.  Two weeks later, I am still trying to find my energy...but the color is back so all is well.

I just love baby toes and tiny baby feet!

Here she is just after she first opened her little eyes to peek at us!  She was so calm, and loved to listen to me talk to her.

Later that day, Andy brought in the kids to come meet baby sister.  They all loved her of course!  I was so proud of Lainah.  Hospitals scare her to death, she still remembers her hospital stay when she was 3 with pneumonia...and she was so worried about me.  She didn't want me to have to stay, and didn't like the tubes in my arm, but she LOVED little Emma!

Lainah holding Emma for the first time.

Matthew taking his turn with Emma.

I don't even need to explain this one...Brooklynn loved her at first sight!

And Rachey couldn't stop grinning and laughing.  She was so excited!

I loved Taylor's reaction when he first got to hold her.  I just love the look on his face!

Our poor outnumbered boys.  They'll have to really stick together after this!

And this picture makes me cry.  My oldest "baby" holding my youngest baby. 

Little Addy had been sleeping in the stroller...when she woke up, I had her climb into bed with me for a while, then we introduced her to Emma.  She really didn't know what to think of her!  I was worried, but the next day when we took Emma home, Addy was so excited to see her and walked right up to her and said in her little 2 year old voice, "Emma?  Do you remember?"  We're all still wondering what these two little girlies must have promised each other before they came. 

Emma was having troubles with amniotic fluid in her throat and she'd spit a lot, and choke on it.  I was going to have her stay with me in the room all night, but the nurses wanted to watch her more closely in the nursery.  When they brought her to me in the morning, I laughed at the little sign they had put in her crib... "Spitty." At first, I thought they had nicknamed her "spitty!"

Here Emma is, after her first bath in the hospital.  Her hair curls when it's wet, just like Addy's does...too cute.

And here she is with Dad all dressed in her going home outfit! 

And here we are, so excited to be going home with our little Emma Elyse!

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Life's Little Miracles

Fourteen years ago, Andy and I became parents for the first time when our little Taylor was born.  I remember so clearly the trepidation I felt and how inadequate I felt as I held him for the first time.  He was so perfect, and so beautiful, and I wondered how in the world I could possibly do a good enough job at mothering him and raising him the way he deserved. 
 I graduated from ISU at 36 weeks along, and I remember how hard the English Department head tried to pressure me into continuing on to grad school.  I remember sitting across from her in her office, listening to her offer me the chance to teach an entry level English class, while continuing on with my Master's degree...and promising me that I could see my baby boy anytime I wanted because ISU had a daycare right on site.  Anyone who knows me, knows how much I enjoy teaching...and teaching on a university level was truly offering me a beautiful package on a silver platter...but I had already decided years ago that given the chance to stay at home and be a full time mother to my children...that I would take it and sacrifice anything in order to do it.  So I thanked her for the opportunity, but told her I was done for now, that I was going to stay home with my baby boy.  She said she'd leave her office door open.  I never went back.
 Although I have repeatedly had to endure criticism from peers, and had to at times endure being treated in social circles as a 2nd class person because I am not currently on payroll with a career, I have never regretted my decision.  And I'm so thankful to Andy, who has always supported me 100% in my decision, and never made me to feel as though I'm not contributing enough to our family.  I know that there are some women who because of circumstances outside of their control have no other choice but to work outside the home and away from their children, and so I do feel so thankful that with both of us willing to sacrifice, that we've been able to make this choice possible for me.

When Taylor was born, I fell in love with him instantly.  There was never a more beautiful baby boy than him.  Nine months later, when we found out that we were now expecting our 2nd baby...I worried and wondered how I could possibly love another baby as much.  But the minute Rachel was born, 18 months after Taylor, I again fell in love and discovered that a mother's love doesn't have has an endless capacity to love and nurture, and it just continues to grow and expand.

Next came our beautiful and tiny little Brooklynn, who was born premature and a mere 4 pounds.  She truly was a miracle, and it was her birth that revealed to us that I have a blood clotting condition which if left untreated is not only dangerous to me, but lethal to my babies.  After this discovery, I realized how truly miraculous the healthy delivery of my first three babies really was...and knew a depth of thankfulness and gratitude toward my Heavenly Father, that I had never known before.

After Brooklynn, I quietly wondered if I would be able to have any more children.  I didn't speak about this heartache to anyone, not even to Andy...but this inner turmoil weighed heavily on my heart.  My Heavenly Father was aware of my worries, and through a priesthood blessing given to me by Andy, He made it clear to me that there were more children waiting to come to our home.  When our next little boy was born a few years later, we named him Matthew because the Hebrew meaning is "Gift from God," and we both felt that we had truly been given a gift from God. 
At this point I felt so content and busy and happy!  I had four beautiful children, and I couldn't imagine our home being any more fun or exciting than it already was!

However...when our little Lainah was born, I wondered how I could have ever felt our home was complete without her!  Her nurses in the hospital kept telling me what a "strong spirit" she had, that there was just "something about her," and that she had a "strong presence."  They kept going on and on about our little Lainah who came very quickly in the middle of the night rather than waiting for her appointment to be induced the following morning!  She has been such a blessing in our home, and I don't know what I'd do without her!

Then came our Addyson.  In so many ways, Addy felt like our first baby all over again!  I thought that being the sixth baby, that I would have seen everything and know how to handle anything...but once again, I was proved wrong!  We have often joked that Grandpa Thuernagle must have been up there coaching her on different things she needed to throw our way just to keep us on our toes...and she certainly listened to him.

After Addyson, we had the "perfect" family size...we had sold our mini-van and bought our Yukon, which perfectly seated everyone...our house was very full...our calendar was bursting with all of our activities...and for a long time both Andy and I felt like our family was complete.  We even started talking about what it was going to be like to not have anyone in diapers and to finally be moving on to the next stage of parenthood.  In fact, after having Addyson, I had to have an unplanned surgery, and my doctor told me she didn't think I should have any more children.

About a year ago, both Andy and I started having experiences where we would all be gathered as a family, but we both would have the feeling that we were missing someone.  These experiences and feelings never went away, they only became stronger until we both knew without a doubt that there was yet one more child who needed to come to us. 

I dreaded the thought of being pregnant again, and worried how I could possibly take care of the six children I already have while dealing with all of the pain that I go through with my pregnancies.  But even though I have been in pain since week 20, I have felt strengthened and have felt a closeness to this little one that has helped to carry me through.  Even hobbling around on crutches on the really bad days hasn't been able to keep my spirits down, and I attribute this to the many prayers that I know have been offered in my behalf.

And now here we are, if this baby girl cooperates and is patient, I will be having her in two more days.  The nine months have gone by slowly and quickly at the same time, and I'm so anxious to meet her!  I can hardly wait to hold her, snuggle her, and smell her soft baby skin. 

I'm so thankful for my husband and children, I have been so blessed.  A few weeks ago, Andy and I had a maternity shoot done.  I wanted some pictures to document this amazing time of my life and beautiful part of our marriage.  I'm so glad we did.  I feel like these pictures represent the love and anticipation that we have felt for each one of our seven children.
Some people will say that having children only tears a couple apart because they no longer spend time together and they become too busy...the children limit what activities can be done, etc...

and this can be partially true...a lot of sacrifice is required.  Many hobbies or interests have to be put on the sidelines sometimes for years...and some indefinitely.

but with each addition child, our love for them and for each other has simply grown...and those once all important hobbies or ambitions?  They don't seem so important anymore.

I'm writing this post so that each of my children will know that I chose this path knowing that I would be sacrificing other experiences and opportunities that I would never get back.  Sometimes, just as in Robert Frost's poem, we choose to go down a road "less traveled" and you never make it back to the fork in the road not because the fork isn't there...but because you have changed.  The road you chose has truly made "all the difference."  I turned my back on an amazing career opportunity, one that I know I would have thoroughly enjoyed and excelled at.

And I've never regretted it for a single moment.

My life is complete and there is nothing greater that I could be doing.

And there's no other person that I would want to share it with...

than my sweetheart and best friend and forever love.

I'm so glad to be able to share life's little miracles with him.
Note:  all pictures were taken in June 2014 by Becky Klotther, Be Closer Photography.