Saturday, October 31, 2009

Halloween 2009

Wal-mart has come through for me the second year in a row! Last year I had a preemie size jack-o-lantern onesie for Magdalena, and this year Walt got his Halloween costume from there! It was a great buy for $8!! He was the perfect little monkey! I think the trick is to look for deals before I absolutely need to have them and before everyone else is looking for them, so I get the treat of having something cute for cheap (a little joke). I think that we found both at some point in August both years.
Walt wasn't quite sure what to think about himself being a monkey, but he was very laid back, especially when he realized that there was candy involved. We began the night by trick-or-treating at Mimi and Papa's house. Then, we went to our church's festival. Although Walt was too young to play any of the games, it was fun to walk to each of the sections to see how creative people in the church got to be and how hard they worked to make this special for the kids. Noah and I just walked around, talked, and looked, and once the temperature became really cold we decided to take Walt to a warmer place. We all went back to Mimi and Papa's house where we ate our yearly fall chili.

Mommy's little man giving a big smile for the camera at the beginning of the night

Noah and I placed Walt and his bat basket in front of the door and stepped back after ringing the door bell. Walt sat outside the door and patiently waited for his candy, but when Mimi saw him she almost picked him up. Thankfully, I was there to point out that he had his basket in front of him. Here is Mimi putting some candy in it for them.

Our festive looking family

My precious nieces striking a pose for the camera. Can you guess who they are?

Of course, Boo has to be in the picture when the famous people too!

I love my sweet Laura.

All of the grandkids at Mimi and Papa's house before going to the festivals.
We are all so happy that Landon is really smiling for the picture!

My parents' neighbors are so sweet to all of us. Here are the kids trick-or-treating. Jennifer has a picture of Laura pulling out multiple pieces of candy. It is so hard to remember to share with such a big bucket of candy!!

Whew! It was a long, tiring night for this sweet, little man!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

More than One Child

The day before I was going into the hospital to have Walter, Loli and Uncle Stephen came over to give Walt his congratulations-for-being-born outfit, which I will show in another post. It was a little onesie that said "baby brother". Lori is always very thoughtful with her gifts, and she gives me things that I didn't even know that I wanted!
This little onesie was so special to me because I wanted to include Magdalena in the celebration just as other parents include their children in the festivities. The problem that I faced was that I didn't want Walt to be living in Magdalena's shadow and to take the attention away from him. Even as I make his scrapbook, I don't write all of the feelings that I had while pregnant with him because I never want him to feel like I didn't love him as much. Before having Walt, Noah and I discussed a lot about what we would say on Walt's announcement because we were torn with how to word a lot of what had to be said. Neither of us was ready to just write our (Noah and Julie) as though Magdalena was not included, but we didn't want her name to distract from celebrating Walt. This sounds so simple in words, but emotionally it was so tough. When I asked Lori (because big sisters are supposed to know everything) she told me not to worry with those details until after he was born, and the reason she said this was because she had the phenomenal idea that by dressing him in the onesie for his picture it included everyone. Not everyone will approach this difficult situation the same way, but this was good for us.

Most of the things that I do for her are really done to help Noah and me deal with our loss of her. She is not in heaven worrying over having a "big sis" shirt on the day Walt was born. I know this in my mind, even though my heart says that I don't want her to feel left out. Noah and I want to include her in all that is happening in our lives to help us deal with how much our hearts long for her to be with us. Before going into the hospital, I looked everywhere for a big sis balloon for her, but I had zero luck finding the perfect one. Noah and I talked it over, and I ended up making a sign to have solid color balloons to attach to it, and he agreed that he would put it on her grave the day Walt was born. Noah wanted to be sure that it was perfect, so he took my sweet friend, Kim, and her husband with him. No one else knew we did this or where Noah was going when he left the hospital. It was done to help us to remember her on this special occasion.

Friday, October 16, 2009

My Little Man

Yesterday Walt took his first field trip, and we went to one of my favorite places, Barnes and Noble. Of course, he really missed the trip because he was asleep the entire time! Magdalena would have been so proud to see that her stroller was shared with him.
I think that he enjoyed riding around in the stroller while Noah and I enjoyed a cup of coffee and browsed the store.

It is always so sweet to see Noah and Walter having some good bonding time. Here they are having a deep discussion about something important.

This outfit is what makes me call Walt my little man. He wore this to go to the doctor's office on Tuesday. He wanted to make a good impression! This is one of my favorite things that he wears!

Here Walter is getting ready to go to Barnes and Noble. He was so pumped about getting to go somewhere, but while in the car he fell asleep.

Here he is while playing with Mommy. Dr. B confirmed that these are true smiles and not gas smiles that he is giving us!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Walter's First Doctor Visit

Last night Noah and I try to come up with a game plan to tackle this morning. The first time getting ready with a baby always takes longer, and Walt did wonderful. He gave me time to eat breakfast before he wanted his breakfast, and then, he took a little nap while I got myself ready. We were actually five minutes early for our appointment! Walt weighs a dab more than 8 pounds and 4 ounces but not yet 8 pounds 5 ounces. Dr. B said that his weight gain was good, especially since he is a breastfeeding baby! Yay, Walt! He was so sweet as the doctor looked him over, and he even gave her a few of his sweet smiles, which impressed Dr. Brooks!

We continued our day with a few more outings. I needed a few things for my little man at Target, so Noah and Walt sat at the Starbucks inside the store while I got what we needed. It was my first outing in the last two weeks, so it was fun to walk around a bit by myself but know that Walt is in walking distance from me at all times.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Walt's First Two Weeks

Every baby is different, but what I had been told did not prepare me for how Walt responded to us and this world. He came into this world as a laid back little baby ready to lift his head and eat! He only cries when he is hungry or naked. He does not like either of the two. Noah and I have been blessed with a sweet little baby. I know that this could end at some point, and Walt will become a little more "demanding", but we are really getting to enjoy him so much right now while we are learning how to care for a baby. Magdalena required a special, different kind of care, so having a newborn made me nervous, but Walt has been hanging in there with us.

The other day I just stared at him while I held him. It was hard to take my eyes off such a beautiful creature, and I knew that I had been given much more than I deserve. It is embarrassing to say that towards the end of my pregnancy I had begun to really regret being pregnant. I was miserable, uncomfortable, and full of so many mixed emotions that I thought maybe it would have been good to have just waited and taken more time to grieved over Magdalena. Because I was so ungrateful I know that I do not deserve Walt, but I am thankful that he has been given to me. He is a indescribable gift that has been a visible reminder of God, and just staring at him when he sleeps is my constant reminder. This little creature did not accidentally happen but was created with God's hands. No matter what decisions Noah and I could have made or not made, Walt is here because God has ordained him to be, and through his presence he will be used so that others may praise God's artwork.
Noah and I have had many different adventures since we have been married, each of which has allowed us to love one another more and know each other better, and this is another adventure. This one has caused my heart to increase to a large size that I never knew was possible. The physical pain of the surgery was nothing when I got to see what I received. I love him differently than I have loved anyone else, and I know that the love will only increase as time passes. Just as Magdalena changed who I am in this world so has Walt, both in their different kind of ways. He has lightened my heart against the anger I have felt in the past year, and when looking at his face I feel peaceful and happy. Walt does not heal the pain left behind by the daughter I so dearly loved, but he gives me the hope that I can make it through this stormy time. Even by saying that a little baby has changed may sound a little extreme, but it is true. God has used his creation to only point me to Him. And I do believe that I have so much to learn and so many things that I hold onto, which I shouldn't and need to let go, but God is giving me a lot of grace so that I can become closer to him and truly praise him.

Wren, one of Magdalena's NICU nurses and, now, Walt's nurse, changed her day to work to be in the delivery room with Walt. They are such special people to us!

Dianne, Magdalena's nurse, came to welcome Walt into this world shortly after he is born!

This was one of my most favorite sights after Walt was born, his hands. No clenched hands helped me to breathe easily. (Clenched hands is a possible visible sign of Trisomy 18.) Noah and I cherished so many of these little things. Praise God for open hands!

Walt about to leave the hospital, ride in the car for the first time, and going home.

For the first three nights Noah, Walt, and I slept downstairs, which made it easier for me to physically heal so that I would only go upstairs to shower. Then, on Sunday night Mimi helped Noah and me transition Walt to his bed. She slept in the room with him, which made me feel so much better than him being in the room alone, and when he needed to eat, she would come and get me. He slept wonderfully and woke up only when he was hungry. This was his first night in the big bed.

Walt's great-grandmother, Grandmom, enjoys coming to see Walt, and look at that face he is giving her! That silly little man!

I always feel nervous about bathing slippery little babies. Here is Mimi helping to give Walt's first bath. His umbilical cord had not completely fallen out, so it was more like a half bath. It really should fall out any day now! We can tell that it is getting close!

Please continue to pray for Noah, Walt, and me.

Monday, October 05, 2009

A Week With Walt

It has been an amazing week with little Walt! Julie and I are so excited to have him home with us and to see his sweet little personality come out in so many wonderful ways. He is very laid-back and doesn't cry all that much, but when he does he wants to be sure that you hear him. He has been keeping us entertained with his cute little faces and movements and we are having so much fun loving him and taking care of him. He has adjusted to life at home very well and we are so blessed to have him.
As many of you know, there are many emotions that are tied to Walt's arrival in our world. We are so overjoyed to finally be able to meet him and be so in love with him, but there is still the sadness of our loss of Magdalena. There have been a lot of reminders of her in all of this and we miss her terribly. At the same time, we want to be able to fully celebrate Walt and show him that he is loved immensely. He will one day know all about his big sister, but for now he is the star of the show. As you can imagine, this tug of seemingly conflicting emotions is sometimes very difficult, but we are so happy to have known both of them and to be able to call them ours.

I believe, at least for me, that one of the blessings of going through such a tremendous loss and dealing with the ensuing grief is that God uses it to, in a sense, expand our emotions. I had never known anything close to the grief of losing sweet Magdalena and the depths of my feelings of sadness and hurt were profound. I am so thankful that God kept both Julie and me strong and continuing to trust Him as our source of comfort and joy and satisfaction through it all. He is so gracious in His steadfast love for us! At the same time, I found my desire for and actual feelings of joy and happiness even greater than ever before. I have noticed that my desires to experience deep, true worship have multiplied and I often find myself in tears at a simple worship song that is playing in my head. These are not tears of sadness, but of profound delight in the God who loves us so extravagantly. We know that sweet Magdalena is with Jesus and is worshipping Him perfectly as we are here trying to do the same, although not so well. I find tremendous delight in this and I smile at the thought. In many ways, Walt simply reminds me of this and I am even more joyful and more thankful for our sweet little man. What a blessing!

Little Walt has brightened our lives in more ways than we could have imagined. We have had a great first week with him and we look forward to many more. Please keep us in your prayers!

More to come...