Tuesday, June 1, 2021

My Fourth Born...Your Birth Story

     As I type this, you are a few days past 4 months old, laying in my lap, sucking on your fingers.  I'm not sure how 4 months have passed but you are chubby and happy and full of grins and joy.  When you are older, I am going to have to apologize for the amount of time it took me to get your birth story typed out but know that it has nothing to do with my love being any less for you than for your brothers.  You are the last of my little boys, the last pregnancy, the last csection, the last swaddled burrito, and every one of your firsts will be the last we get to experience.  You are so precious, my sweet Clive, you are so loved, and we are doing our best to soak up every moment of you.  So without further adeu, here is your birth story.

    First of all, I need to reiterate again, just how special you are. On your brother Ames' first birthday, we decided we were ready for one more little love, if the Lord was willing, and He was because about 4 weeks later, I presented a positive pregnancy test to your daddy and we were both overjoyed.  Amidst a pandemic, you were conceived, and during such dark, uncertain, and frightening times, the Lord continued to proclaim hope to my soul with every flutter, kick, and hiccup.  

    We spent all of Christmas up until your birth isolated and away from anyone but family.  Each Doctors appointment, I arrived masked up and carrying hand sanitizer.  And after 8 months, we scheduled your arrival, January 25th, 2021.  Your Daddy and I were to arrive at the hospital before the sun, at 5:30 AM.  The night before was an emotional one.  I rocked Ames to sleep, tears streaming down my cheeks, struggling to get the words to his favorite hymn out.  I couldn't wait to hold your precious frame in my hands.  I wasn't sad, but for 8 months and 2 weeks I had rocked the two of you to bed each night, Ames snuggled close, hugging you in my womb.  Once I laid him down, I came downstairs and helped Ezra and Myles finish getting together some legos.  We laughed. We cried. We prayed...for you, for me, for each of them, that the Lord had and would continue to prepare all of our hearts to grow in love for you and your arrival.  That there would be changes but these changes were good and would bring all kinds of new experiences and excitement.  I, of course, cried as I sang them to bed, as we prayed, as they placed their hands on my tummy for the last time while you were in my womb. And then I went to bed, too.

    We were up around 4:30 AM on your birthday.  We had packed up the night before and brought all of our clothes and needed items downstairs so as not to wake anyone.  As I was walking downstairs, Myles woke up and hugged me before laying back down.  Your daddy and I got ready, stood in the kitchen and read from Every Moment Holy, the Liturgy for the Morning of a Medical Procedure, prayed, and got in the car to drive the short 2 minutes to the hospital.  Once, we arrived, things moved quickly.  They took us to our room, hooked me and you up to monitors and we began paperwork, getting an IV started, and meeting with the nurses and doctors. Your heartbeat was strong and I was so ready to meet you.

    Around 7:20 AM, the OR staff came into the room, had your daddy suit up, and wheeled us back to the operating room.  After your oldest two brothers were born, after the hours of pushing and then having to have caesareans, and after Ames scheduled csection, I knew well how this whole procedure worked.  I knew that in the operating room, there would be a shortish time that I would be alone without your daddy.  While I would sit on the edge of the cold bed, and listen to the anesthesiologist discuss where and how to place the needle for my spinal block, how my mind might race and wonder, that I would then lay down and be moved to another bed, waiting for everything below my arms to become numb. I knew your daddy would be called in after I was numbed and the doctor made the first incision, that this would take about 30 minutes or so, and I would just hope it would move quickly so that he would be there to hold my hand in the several minutes that followed as we waited for her to cut through scar tissue and move back organs, waiting to hear your scream, to see your sweet little face, and then feel like we were the only three people in the room.  I knew then to expect them to send you and your daddy back to our room, where yall would be waiting for me.  But that I would be laying on the operating table, alone again, longing to hold you in my arms and to have your daddy beside me, rubbing my head or singing you songs. 

    All the fears and anxieties and concerns I had from the previous experiences were all handled by our loving Heavenly Father.  Every. Single. One. On the ride over, I told your daddy how I wish I could have ear buds to listen to scripture or hymns or worship music play as I sat on the table during the anesthesia.  And as I sat on that table, the Lord sent the sweetest nurse, Summer, to stand by my side, hold me up, and hum Holy Water in my ear.  She didn't know that she was being used as an instrument to calm my anxious heart but oh how the Lord used her.  Another nurse then came in and she was familiar with Gloriously Restored and the three of us began chatting about the Gospel, some of our favorite worship songs, and the craziness of of raising babies amidst such trying times.  But God.  He would strengthen and equip us to raise up a generation that worshipped and proclaimed Him.

    When your daddy was able to come in, he never had to leave my side.  The Lord orchestrated a new change in the procedure where daddy and baby stayed in the operating room and then went back to the room with me.  I also got to see you as soon as you came out, covered in all the goodness and provision from your 9 month stay in my womb.  You cried! We cried! My last little boy.  At 8:05 AM, you entered the world screaming, all 7 lbs 8ounces and 20 inches of you, proclaiming life and your arrival.  I kept my eyes on you the whole time we were in the operating room.  I watched as your daddy held you, rocked you, and hummed to soothe you.  I watched as your little lip would curl and you'd begin to cry and he would comfort you and calm you.  I watched as all the nurses stood in amazement of him, proclaiming, "Look at him! This isn't his first rodeo!  This daddy knows how to take care of his babies." I stood in awe of him, too.  How the Lord saw fit to raise up this man, teach him to love me and his boys so well. Oh, that will never be lost on me.  And you just gazed up at your daddy, tucking that little bottom lip back in, closing your eyes and resting, knowing that you were in the arms of someone who loved you more than you could ever fathom. And I saw such a picture of God, how He was holding me, rocking and humming to me, telling me to tuck my trembling lip back in because He had me and loved me more than I could ever fathom.  We spent over an hour in the operating room as they had to finish the procedure and stitch me back up.  We were then wheeled back to our room where I was immediately able to hold you.  Skin to skin, they placed you against my chest and once again, all fear or anxiety was gone.  You were here.  You were safe and perfect.  

    We knew that this delivery would be so different from the others.  There would be masks worn by us and the nursing staff and there would be no visitors.  Where my heart broke at the thought of you not being met for the first time in the hospital by your brothers and our closest family and friends, I was also looking forward to the 3 days of just us.  Holding you and peering into your eyes, smelling your newborn scent, snuggling you close and not having to share you for the first few days of your life.  It was the sweetest time.  You nursed right away, like a pro, nestled into my chest and the wave of emotions from the months that led up to that moment washed over me.  Your birth was the easiest.  Everything went smoothly, I was in little pain, and the time spent alone allowed for much needed rest before returning home. 

    It took us a while to name you, several hours.  We looked at you and looked at you.  When we walked in, we were pretty sure you'd be Clive Declan but I just had to see you first.  And around lunchtime, we were certain.  We sent messages to family and friends of your arrival and facetimed Myles, Ezra, Ames, and MawMaw.  The screenshot of their first seeing you was priceless.  Myles had his hand over his mouth in awe, Ezra cried, and Ames just had the cheesiest grin.  You were loved more the most people could ever dream of being loved by those three little boys before you were even an hour old.  And their love for you has only grown.

    Clive (by the bank of the river) Declan (man of prayer), it is my greatest desire that you will be like a tree planted along the river bank, bearing fruit each season, that your leaves never wither, and that you prosper in all you do (Psalm 1:3) and that you grow into a mighty man of prayer, that you recognize it's power and the intimacy that prayer brings between you and your Father.  Banks is a name that I have always loved, but it just didn't seem to fit.  Your daddy had been rooting for Clive the whole time, after CS Lewis.  Needtobreathe came out with a new album, you know how much we love them, and one of their songs was titled "Banks."  I just felt something within me when I heard the lyrics for the first time "I wanna hold you close but never hold you back, like the banks of a river."  I cried and I knew that your name had to have something to do with a riverbank.  And then one night, when I finally conceded and looked up the meaning of Clive, I knew it was meant for you, "by the bank of a river."  There are so many biblical references to water, how it is life giving and how life flows from it, and so many times in my past, with pregnancies and a desire to have more children , during our miscarriage and the waiting to become pregnant again, that the Lord continued to point me to verses about water and the rivers edge, hymns about rivers and living water.  And then He gave us you, our grand finale, our Clive Declan, and I just know He has so many wonderful, amazing, God-sized plans for you.  And what a joy to get a front row seat to the work He will do in your life, my littlest love.

    So, even though its been 4 months and 7 days, I remember your birth like it was yesterday, and I will always remember it.  But now you can someday read about it, too.

Saturday, June 8, 2019

The Third Son of a Third Son...Your Birth Story

It's hard to believe you've been here for a little over 4 weeks... tomorrow you will be one month old.  You have been pure joy, my child, pure joy.  Watching your big brothers love on you and care for you has grown my heart in ways that I didn't know were possible.  Oh how we prayed for you.  And you will never understand what a gift you are to your daddy and me.  I always knew I wanted a house full of youngins.  Being an only child, the chaos and wrestling and volume and mess and full table were always a draw for me.  After your brother turned 18 months, we knew we were ready to try again.  We didn't know it would take a year and heartache to conceive you.  But there we were, September 2018, dancing on the table with 3 positive pregnancy tests, choosing joy and hope over fear.  Every moment in anticipation of your arrival was a song of thanksgiving to our good God, because that is what He is, always, no matter the circumstances-- GOOD!

I knew your birth story would look dramatically different than your brothers.  You would be a scheduled c-section.  There would be no labor pains, hours of pushing, and hours of waiting for you to make your appearance.  Although, knowing the exact time and date of our going to the hospital felt a little strange to me, and I can honestly say, I felt a bit more anxious.  The evening of May 8, as I laid your brothers down for bed for the last time with you inside my womb and you know I cried.  Change.  It was coming.  And I knew you would be just fine, and after months of prayer, I knew the rest of us would be, too.  I laid your brothers down as babies that night, and when I came home with you from the hospital, I was greeted by two young men, little boys still, but grown and different, ready to take on their new role but struggling with this new identity and how they would fit in to it.  How they have blossomed!

We were scheduled to be at the hospital at 10 am May 9.  That morning, we woke up with our family of four, all in the bed, and just spent time snuggling and talking and giggling, anticipating what you might look like, if you would look more like mommy or daddy or one of your brothers.  We ate breakfast, I got ready and finished packing my bags for the hospital and did my best to hold back the tears as I took one last look in the mirror with you in my belly and your brothers kissing you, telling you that they would see you soon. We hugged and kissed right up to time to leave, gave MawMaw hugs and kisses, too, and were off to the hospital.  It was too short of a ride... only 3 or 4 blocks.  Your daddy prayed for you and me, for the doctors and nurses, and the tears came flooding.  18 months of praying for you and in a few short hours, you would be in our arms.  I worked to compose myself as your daddy dropped me off at the door and went to park the car.  We walked to the door of the maternity ward, pushed the button and to the nurses question of "can I help you?" we responded with, "We're here to have a baby!"

Everything moved pretty quickly after arrival.  We went straight in to a nice big room, I put on a hospital gown, and the nurses began asking questions, drawing blood, hooking me up to an IV,  and prepping me for surgery.  Around 12 PM, the time surgery was scheduled to begin, we were still in the room, waiting for the surgeons to come in and roll us back to the operating room.  I had an awful pain in the left side of my belly and the monitor lost your heart rate.  The nurse came in to move the belt around to find where you had moved to and I told her of the awful pain I was experiencing.  A contraction! I was secretly thrilled.  I know that sounds absurd but I had been praying for some normalcy to your birth.  And for me, this was it.  We found your heart beat again, you were fine, and the surgeons came in to take us back.  I kissed your daddy as we left him waiting for them to prep me.  In no time, they had numbed me, had me on the table and were calling your daddy back in.  As I laid there looking into your daddy's eyes and we talked and waited, at 12:40 PM on May 9, 2019, hearing your first cry was one of the most beautiful sounds to ever grace my ears.  You were here.  And you were perfect. 8 lbs and 21 inches of pure perfection.  In our arms we held an answered prayer, a gift from the Lord, our beloved Ames Mosley.  

Another prayer was answered as we were the first c-section to be allowed to recover in our room.  You and your daddy were waiting on me and I was able to hold and nurse you immediately.  Not 2-3 hours after I was able to move my legs again.  But right then.  And it was the greatest gift.  You were the quietest, sweetest little thing.  I don't believe you made a peep then entire hospital stay.  You nursed well.  You slept well.  Like, I said, you were perfect and we were in awe of you.  And 4 weeks later, we are still in awe of you.

Your brothers couldn't wait to get to the hospital to meet you.  And when they were able to come, only a few hours after your birth, they greeted you with hugs and kisses and you know Ezra couldn't keep his hands off of your face.  MawMaw was equally smitten.  The boys came to visit you every day we were in the hospital, before and after nap.  They ate almost all of my food, I certainly won't forget that, but they were just over the moon excited.  Your daddy changed almost every diaper and got up with you all throughout the night.  He walked with you, sang to you, and just talked to you.  And as I watched him fall in love with you, I was falling in love with him all over again.  

The pain from this c-section was the worst, but looking into your deep blue eyes,  and with your daddy's help and overwhelming love and grace, only days after, I was over it.   What a lesson that pain was, though.  I felt so weak.  But I was constantly reminded that when I am weak, the Lord is strong.  And He was- and is!  He was my and  your daddy's strength those long months we waited and prayed for you, He was our strength as we hoped for you, He was our strength in every tear and every joyous ultrasound and heartbeat heard.  And He is your strength, too, sweet boy.  In Ephesians we read, "Be strong in the Lord, and in His mighty power."  May you always find your strength in Him, and when you are weak- and you recognize it- only then will you be truly strong.  You are so loved. Always have been, always will be.  And oh how you have completed us.

Friday, July 15, 2016

A Bad Case of Identity Crisis

Y'all, it has been a rough week.  The days have seemed long, and the nights, late. Lots of piled up laundry and dirty dishes, toddler and adult tantrums (me...not the hubby).  Going to bed without cleaning the kitchen, which I despise, leaving a candle burning all night...I'm done with candles by the way, but praise God for His protection and never ending mercies.  

Just one of those weeks.  

It has been a productive one.  I completed a mural in the boys room and got several orders filled for Etsy and neighbors, but productivity comes at a cost with little ones sometimes.  And that cost this week was what could have been some precious moments with my boys and a bit of my sanity.  Looking back, I see that my focus was mostly on my failures.  I saw the mess as opposed to the blessing, I chose to see more ashes than beauty I guess you could say.  Feelings of inadequacies and frustrations, upset with myself for not reacting how I would have liked or for being more truth and less grace...Ticked off that I believed the lie.

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

A Story About a Prodigal Son and a Weepy Mother Continued

Hello friend!  Back to my story from yesterday... So we were reading the story of the Prodigal Son from Luke 15.  In the Storybook Bible, it's only a 4 page story, and by page 3, I was a blubbering mess y'all.  I could hardly get the words out. 

 Now, don't go thinking, "Wow I'm impressed..she gets an 18 month old and a 3 month old to listen to a 4 page story and I can't even get my kid to look at me for 2 seconds to wipe his face off?" Neither can I, of course neither of the boys are old enough to really understand what I am reading or really even pay attention.  Little bear was building block towers on Spiderman's lap and baby bear was kicking and cooing over the hanging mobile above him, but I was completely enthralled by the love of the Father, and overwhelmed by an immense amount of joy for a child returning home.  

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

A Story about the Prodigal Son and a Weepy Mother

Every morning, after coffee and breakfast have been fixed for the hubby and he's out the door and off to work, after diapers have been changed, after the babe has nursed and little bear has had his fill of cheerios, milk, and whatever was fixed for breakfast, we head to the playroom for an hour or so of early morning play time still in our jammies.  

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

I Finally Tried the Milk Paint

I know what you're thinking... "You did what?  You are just now trying milk paint, Nicole?  Have you been hiding under a rock or something?" Look people, this is probably one of the first projects I have gotten my hands on in 2 years. I have had two precious babes in 14 months, so sure, I've had projects. Most of which have consisted of brushing my teeth before bedtime, applying makeup, fixing my hair, and by fixing my hair I mean taking it out of the top knot from the day before and putting it back into a new, fresh top knot, and preparing PB&J's or Pimento Cheese sandwiches 3 out of 5 days of the week for lunches.  These count as projects, right?  

Friday, May 13, 2016

Man Cub Number 2's Birth Story

I should have started writing this long before you were 7 weeks old…truth is, I’ve been a little busy! You and your brother are keeping me busy and I have never been more joy-filled than I am right now. Even as I am writing this, Myles is down for a nap and you are napping on my chest…probably because you just spent the last 30 minutes filling your tummy!  Even though you are now 7 weeks old, the story of you coming into this world is just as fresh as if it had happened yesterday…so here goes!