Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Becoming a Mom of Two

Jude is almost 4 weeks old, I just can't believe it! Time needs to slow down!

I was asked today by another mom who's expecting her second baby: "What has been the most difficult part of becoming a mother of two?" This is my response:

One thing that was surprisingly difficult in the first week or so was watching my "baby" (Eli) grow up before my eyes and become a big boy. I cried over that more than once. I know that bringing Jude home was the greatest gift we could ever give Eli and becoming a big brother has come so naturally to him. Seeing Eli take on this role has been an amazing experience as a mom. He has adapted more gracefully than I, without a doubt! 

I would say the hardest thing for me has been trying to establish a new normal. I've been recovering from my c-section (with some minor complications) and nursing a bad cold, which has probably made it a little bit harder on me.
It is a difficult thing to feel like you are being s
tretched thin; Between Eli and Jude both needing me in different ways (and sometimes at the same time), keeping up the house (not really a negotiable thing for me since a clean house brings me peace), trying to be an attentive/kind/loving wife, and still holding on to my identity outside of mom and wife I have felt in high demand from every angle.
I think this is normal? To have this crazy period of adjustment. Feel free to chime in, other moms of two!?
Thankfully I have a patient and understanding husband who is active in his role as father, Eli adores his little brother, and Jude is a very easy-going baby... all of those things make my job a little easier.

The easiest part, of course, is enjoying my family. Watching Eli take his brother under his wing, sweet baby snuggles, almost getting my first real smile today from Jude, seeing Daniel interact with his sons... nothing beats watching your family grow in size and love. There are growing pains, of course, but it is more than worth it!

I am so thankful for my family! I have been blessed beyond measure and I pray that I can continue to see the beauty in the chaos, at least until we find our new normal.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Update on Jude (3 weeks)

I wanted to have a record of some of Jude's stats, so here we go!

Birth: 7 lbs 7 oz
2 days: 6 lbs 15 oz
4 days: 6 lbs 8 oz
5 days: 6 lbs 14 oz
12 days: 7 lbs 9 oz

Birth: 21 inches
12 Days: 21.5 inches

One Week
Stopped having to wake him up to eat
Wakes every 3 hours throughout the day/night
Loves his hands by his face when sleeping

Two Weeks
Finally awake more often - awake period from 9pm - 12:30am
Sleeps 3-4 hour stretches at night
Cord stump fell off at 15 days
Loved his first bath, not one fuss or tear

Three Weeks
Growth spurt! Eating all the time, fussing more often!
Even more periods of wakefulness - one in the morning and one in the evening
Still sleeping 3-4 hours at night
Tried out his swing and loves it
Gave a little half smile while looking at mommy

You are so patient with your big brother who wants to constantly touch, hold, and kiss you! You are such a peaceful little boy and seem to have it all figured out. We love you, little man!

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Thanksgiving and Santa's Tea

This long weekend was a pretty big one for the littlest White: his first big roadtrip, his first holiday, his first time meeting his cousins (and lots of other family members), and his first time meeting Santa!

Thankfully we were all feeling well enough to be able to drive out to McMinnville to be with family on Thanksgiving. Jude was a mere 12 days old, beating out his big brother by a few days for earliest road trip! Jude did great on the drive out and back, slept the whole way! Meanwhile, big brother Eli sang songs almost the whole way there and back, serenading us with his recent favorites: ABCs, Twinkle Twinkle, Five Little Monkeys, and Sally the Camel, plus trying to sing along with whatever came on the radio (and he catches on pretty quickly to repetitive songs, i.e. Katy Perry's "Wide Awake" and Rihanna's "Diamonds").

At Thanksgiving Jude was able to meet his cousin Daniel, who was born just 6 days before him! It was pretty cool to see them side by side; we must have good genes in this family! Those are two CUTE kids!

Eli loved having some cousin time over the weekend! Here is the proof:

Over the long weekend we were also able to go to "Santa's Tea" at Aunt Becky's Bed and Breakfast, The Bonnie Blue! This is the annual event where Daniel's Dad plays a pretty believable Santa! The kids loved it! Here are some pictures:

It was a great weekend FILLED with family, food, fun and lots of firsts for sweet Jude!

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Bringing Brother Home

Jude is six days old today! Six days! Six days of newborn snuggles, hiccups, milk comas, and sleep deprivation. Let me tell you, I am one happy mama! Tired, but oh so happy!

Jude has a very sweet and easy-going temperament. He is peaceful and patient. Especially when big brother wants to "play". I can not tell you how many people told me to prepare for a screamer; that there was no way possible to have another "easy" baby. The warnings, highly unsolicited warnings, came from left and right. From strangers and from family. It was bizarre to me, but I guess all with good intent. As a result, I was definitely not prepared this quiet and inquisitive little guy! I am counting my blessings, daily!

Over the past few days several people have told me now that Jude seems like an "old soul" and I would have to agree. It's like he knows something that none of us do... maybe his sister is filling him in, talking in his ear, hanging out above his bassinet. He is the most alert little newborn that I have ever seen and when he looks at you his eyes are piercing. If I could, I'd hold him and stare at him all day long.

Big brother Eli is taking everything in stride. He was elated to find out that Jude was coming home with us. It's almost as if Jude was never NOT a part of our little family.

Eli takes his role as big brother very seriously. He checks on Jude whenever he makes a peep. He gives him a pacifier when he starts to cry. He shares his animals and his dinosaurs without being asked. He says, "It's okay Jude!" at the smallest whimper (although it sounds more like "Dude"). He affectionately began to refer to him as "Judey" without prompting. When we took Jude to the pediatrician and he started to cry, Eli was adamant about telling the doctor to "STOP!! Stop it now!!" Kisses are never ending, "huggys" are often requested, and "I'll hold it" comes almost daily!

It's amazing how our BABY has become this big boy almost over night. His world has been turned around, but through Eli's eyes in the best way possible. I think giving him a brother was the best gift he could ever ask for. I hope and pray that they always remain close; best friends.

I can't believe that I can now say I am a mom to TWO boys! Two beautiful, smart, lovely little boys!
What did I do to deserve this?!


Now for some stats, so I have a record of them:

Birth: 7 lbs 7 oz
2 days: 6 lbs 15 oz
4 days: 6 lbs 8 oz
5 days: 6 lbs 14 oz

21 inches

We had the same issues of Jaundice that we had with Eli. His bilirubin levels (or as daddy called them: "billy ribbon levels") got up to 16, but we got the call today that they are on the downward trend!

Overall, a perfect baby boy!

Monday, November 12, 2012

Welcome to the World, Jude!

Jude Lawrence White
7 lbs 7.2 oz
21 inches
November 9th, 2012

About three weeks before Jude was born Daniel and I met with my OB to select a date for his arrival. Its a very strange thing to pick your child's birthday. However, after the chaos and uncertainty surrounding Finley's pregnancy and birth I was glad to have some "control" over Jude's entrance into the world.

When we met with Dr. Saunders (my practicing OB at Fort Sanders - how's that for confusing!?) we were given some parameters: the c-section had to be performed on a Tuesday or Friday. Given my due date of 11/17 the original options were the 13th or the 16th of November. I was sitting on the exam table and looking at my calendar, without really thinking I said "Okay, the 13th is fine." My only thoughts were the sooner the better. As soon as Dr. Saunders left the room I was immediately regretting my decision. First of all it was a Tuesday, how was that going to work when all of our family would be coming from out of town? Second of all, I dislike the number 13, irrational but true.
Daniel could tell I was uneasy with the decision right away and kept asking if I was sure that day was THE DAY. It wasn't. But I also knew I didn't want to wait til the 16th to meet him; the longer he was in there the more anxious I would become.
As we walked out of the office we ran into Dr. Saunders charting in the hallway. Uncharacteristically of me and with much prompting from a concerned Daniel I stopped and asked her about changing the date. I asked her if the 9th was even a possibility. It was the Friday before I would turn 39 weeks pregnant. With a smile on her face and a quick flip through my chart Dr. Saunders made the date official and put my heart at ease.

You would think with the date written in ink that would be that, but over the next three weeks of waiting I wasn't sure if I would even make it to our c-section. Jude was hanging out really low in my pelvis, fully engaged, and I was having contractions every single day. When we finally made it to November 9th Jude showed us the first glimpse of his personality; he was just fine with waiting.

We woke up on Friday morning totally sleep deprived. I mean, how can one possibly fall asleep knowing that the next day they'd meet the child they've been praying for? Impossible. My stomach was in knots, my mind was racing, but my heart was ready for the healing and ready for the peace.
We loaded up the car at 9:00, said a prayer, put Eli in Nana and Grandpa's car, and hit the road.
At around 10:00 I began to be prepped for my surgery in room 7. God was definitely at work with who he put in my life on that day. My prep nurse was a talker, gentle and kind; someone I very much needed to keep anxiety at bay. My anesthesiologist was the jokester, a big personality and an entertainer. When she talked me through the procedure, she made it seem like a breeze. My surgical nurse had the personality of an overprotective mama bear; she made me feel safe. And Dr. Saunders. She was exactly the OB I needed; confident, endearing, easy to talk to. She felt like an old friend after only weeks of getting to know each other. God's hand was at work that day, there is no doubt about that.
My scheduled time, noon, came and went. It turned out that another mom had started to push right after Dr. Saunders left my room to prep. So we waited. I was able to give Eli a kiss before surgery (although he was more interested in going back to the waiting room to play with Nana) and spend some more time preparing mentally and praying for a surgery that I was terrified of. Sometime during that wait Daniel and I made predictions for Jude's arrival; my guess was 1:57.

At 1:13 my surgical nurse and anesthesiologist came back to get me. It was time! I was wheeled back into the OR where it was freezing cold! The student nurses in there were even wearing their winter coats. It was the first thing I noticed. I sat on the surgical table and received my spinal block, which was a piece of cake compared to the epidural. It took all of 5 seconds for my toes to get numb, then my calves...I was later told that I am extremely sensitive to anesthesia, probably because I am a red head (not even joking). I was numb in about 5 minutes. Daniel can attest to the fact that I do not like being numb. I was a nervous wreck. After about 10 minutes I finally was able to relax, then Dr. Saunders came in.

I can't even express the feelings that you go through when you are minutes away from meeting a miracle. Really; there are no words. All I knew was that I was ready to see his face and hear him cry. I looked at Daniel the whole time they were performing the surgery, waiting and waiting to hear that he was here. After what seemed like forever and after a huge feeling of pressure I heard Dr. Saunders say, "Oh wow, he's a cutie!" It was exactly 1:57. Then came the tears. Daniel stood up to look at him, he told me that he came out just like Eli! His eyes were wide open and looking around, he didn't make a sound until the nurses started to assess him. Hearing his cry was one of the best moments of the day. The moment I was longing for. It was more than I could have hoped for. When the nurses were finished with Jude, Daniel was able to hold him right away and we stared at our perfect baby boy. Thank you Lord! At 1:57, from room 7, came our 7lb 7 oz beautiful baby boy! He arrived to the song "Home" by Phillip Phillips!

It turned out that right after Jude was born Eli fell asleep, not quite a surprise after spending the morning running his grandparents ragged. It wasn't until after dinner that Eli was able to meet Jude. It was perfect. I was holding Jude in my arms, sitting in the hospital bed, and Eli came in with his "Hi, mom!". Daniel asked him if he was ready to meet his baby brother and he responded with "Okay, yeah!". Daniel sat him on the bed next to me and Eli's first words were "I'll hold it!" He loved his brother from the moment he saw him. With every noise Jude made Eli would smile and say something like, "Ohhhh did you hear it mom? It's baby brudder!! So cute!" By the time we had left the hospital Jude was serenaded a dozen times and given a thousand sweet kisses from his brother.

The song that kept playing through my mind after Jude's birth was "Be Still My Soul":
Be still, my soul: the Lord is on thy side.
Bear patiently the cross of grief or pain.
Leave to thy God to order and provide;
In every change, He faithful will remain.
Be still, my soul: thy best, thy heavenly Friend
Through thorny ways leads to a joyful end.

And what a joyful end to a chapter it is. Thank you, faithful Lord, for Jude.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Boo at the Zoo and Trunk or Treat

So far we've had two opportunities for Eli to experience trick-or-treating and let me tell you.... it didn't take very long for him to catch on!

Last weekend we were able to go to "Boo at the Zoo" here in Knoxville. The whole White clan came out and we spent the whole day out at the zoo. After a morning and afternoon full of walking around the grounds and seeing every animal (for the 5th? 6th? time... it never gets old for this little boy!), Eli was exhausted!

We ended up leaving the Zoo to grab dinner and Eli got his second wind, then we returned to the Zoo for some evening fun! We ended up forgetting both our camera and his costume, but that didn't stop us from having a great time!
There were booths set up all throughout the grounds with volunteers handing out candy! Eli would get so excited when he'd see the next booth, yelling out "MORE TREATS!!!" and taking off running! It was such a fun time!

We finished out the evening with a carousel ride - I never get tired of seeing this boy soaking up and loving life.

This weekend we were able to participate in Trunk or Treat at Laurel Church of Christ. This time Eli actually got to wear his costume! What could be more fitting for our boy?? He was the cutest zookeeper I've ever seen!

This time around Eli knew exactly what to do to get his treats! Except often after he was already given candy he'd stand there like a "little begger" (as Daniel put it) holding his pumpkin out for more! It was too funny! Although it was cold and wet we still had a fun time! Here are some pictures of our zookeeper getting his treats:

Happy Halloween from Eli the Zookeeper!

Friday, October 19, 2012

Meet baby Jude

Well... we have a name! Oh, and in case you didn't know I am pregnant once again and due next month.

I have been very hesitant to post much about this pregnancy on my blog.... fear, cold feet, not getting my "hopes" up.... call it what you want. Although I have kept quiet on the subject, this pregnancy has been very special to me and I've held it close to my heart. Even Daniel has had to fight to get me to open up about it, often getting one word responses or deflections.

This pregnancy has been a huge silent challenge for me. Wrestling with the demons of Finley's pregnancy, hitting milestones that I was never able to reach with her, entering into ultrasounds with a pit in my stomach.

When I reached the "safe zone", I still didn't feel safe. I was given no relief.
Most new moms are giddy about finding out the gender of their little one and seeing their babies via ultrasound, but I was terrified of seeing something wrong. I plastered a smile on my face and let my heart race as the wand was placed on my pregnant belly. I even skipped out on a couple... fearful.

At each appointment we have been given great, positive news. He is perfect; but I can't help but think in the back of my mind "He gives and He takes away". I have been praying that our newest miracle will be born into this world screaming his lungs out, making up for the silence of his sister's birth.

Now here we are less than a month away from our son's arrival and I am starting to become hopeful and excited, anxious to hold him and kiss his cheeks. Anxious to hear him cry! Anxious to see big brother Eli in action.

Lord willing, Jude Lawrence will be here on November 9th!
Until then, I am praying for peace and longing for the day that I can set my eyes on him! I love you sweet baby Jude!

  jude: "praise; thanks"

Monday, October 15, 2012

Remembering Our Children

“The sun shall no longer be your light by day,
Nor for brightness shall the moon give light to you;
But the Lord will be to you an everlasting light,
And your God your glory.
Your sun shall no longer go down,
Nor shall your moon withdraw itself;
For the Lord will be your everlasting light,
And the days of your mourning shall be ended."
[Isaiah 60:19-20]

Many people don't know it, but October is National Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month. A full month to recognize a loss that so many grieve silently.

Until a few weeks ago I didn't know about this designated month nor did I know about the annual mid-month candle lighting ceremony. Even the month designated for "awareness" seems so silent.

It makes sense though, at least to me. What can you say or do for a parent who loses a child? What kind of response should there be? How do you talk about it or recognize it or grieve out loud? It's uncomfortable and it's tremendously sad. It is incomprehensible for those who experience it, just as it is incomprehensible for those who are witness to it. 

No one is supposed to lose their child. Yet we live in a fallen world. Tragedies happen... just not to me, right? Wrong.

The days, weeks and months after Finley's birth were such a confusing time.  
I don't remember the full two weeks or so after we came home from the hospital. I remember being wheeled out down the back hallways of the hospital so that we didn't encounter unwanted stares or sad eyes, I remember pulling away from the hospital clinging to my stuffed animal, I remember getting home and collapsing onto the bed with Daniel and learning what it truly meant to "weep". Then... nothing. It sounds like an exaggerated literary scenario, but it's not.

The meals came, the cards came, flowers came, the emails, the letters for Finley. 
Friends, family, even strangers tried to comfort me and ease the endless waves of grief. The kindness, sympathy, and love was overwhelming and appreciated and NEEDED. Unfortunately, it didn't touch my mourning.

It took a while for me to finally quiet my spirit and lift my eyes to the only one who could provide relief. "For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us." [Romans 8:18]

You see, even as a mother who lost her child, I don't know the answers. I don't know what you can say or do for a parent who loses a child. I don't know what kind of response there should be. I don't know how we should begin to talk about it, or recognize it, or grieve out loud.

What I do know is that our children were here. They were with us. Their lives were of value. They need to be remembered. 
I ache for her to be remembered. She was my daughter; she is my daughter.

Please take this day to remember them. Remember our children. 

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Fall Festivities at Oakes Farm

What a fun day! We spent Saturday out at Oakes Farm - about a 30 minute drive from our home and located in the beautiful Knoxville countryside! We were so excited to take Eli pumpkin picking at this fun age, but there was so much more to do too than just finding our perfect pumpkins!

We told Eli in the car that there would be goats there, so of course the whole car ride he was asking about the goats! The boy loves his animals!

We arrived right when the farm opened so we were able to enjoy a lot of the activities before the crowds arrived! We brought a picnic lunch and took our time enjoying the beautiful fall weather out "on the farm". Needless to say, Eli had a blast!

Here are some pictures from our day:

 The bumpy slides! This was Eli's first time going down by himself, pretty funny!

 Daddy is a pretty good sport about doing all of the fun activities with Eli! I think he may enjoy it just as much as our toddler, which is so fun to watch from the sidelines! This was a fun little tractor course and Eli's legs were too short to ride on his own!

This was a little hay maze and play area. It took some coaxing to get Eli to finally go through the tunnel, but of course he loved it after he finally worked up the nerve to go through!

Then he kept saying "C'mon, Daddy! C'mon!!", so of course Daddy obliged! I still don't know how he fit through there! Eli was so thrilled though!

Then we finally made it over to the goats! To our surprise, they had a whole little mini-petting zoo! Perfect for our animal lover! We saw goats, miniature horses, chickens, bunnies, and sheep.

The bouncy house and the bouncing pillow were hands down Eli's favorite things!! He kept saying "More jumps, mom!!"! He did not want to leave or stop jumping. He could have stayed in the bouncy house all day if we let him!

These were two other fun activities - a rope pull to climb the "mountain" and people-sized hamster wheels!

Finally headed to go pick some pumpkins! Eli loved sitting right behind the tractor, he thought it was so cool!

Although I normally opt for the REAL pumpkin patches (you know, vines and all), this "fake" one was still huge and really great to explore!

After an exhausting (in a GREAT way!) day we tried to get a "nice" picture of Eli next to the pumpkin set up that they had going on, which resulted in this:

Didn't you know that Pumpkins are just big orange balls waiting to be thrown!! Luckily this one was in the mix...

Happy Fall from Eli!