Remembering 10-10-10

This is what I looked like, one year ago at the dawn of this day.  I woke up in labor and before long, I knew Carter was ready to make his entrance into this world.  Thankfully my sister was visiting us that weekend and she took over with Ava while Travis and I got ready to go to the hospital.  In some ways, that morning feels like an eternity ago, look at Ava!  What a tiny little peanut she was :) But in other ways, I remember that morning like it was yesterday.
At this point in the day, I was all smiles and things were going well.  It wasn't much longer after this picture was taken that it all went downhill.  Carter was not too thrilled about leaving his home of 9 months and he apparently did all he could to wedge himself in there :) I had back labor with him that was so awful and resulted in two different epidurals, and in the process he flipped over so that he was sunny side up and coming down the birth canal at an angle.  After pushing for 3 hours and trying several things to get him "un-stuck", his heart rate began dropping and I was running out of steam. 
I will never forget my OB telling me that it was time for plan B, a c-section that was unavoidable.  I was so exhausted but definitely not ready to give up.  It became apparent that it wasn't about me any more but about Carter and his safety.  I knew it was the right thing, but I can't explain the guilt that washed over me at that moment.  I immediately shed some tears and told Travis I felt like such a failure.  Like I didn't do a good enough job to get him out.  Thankfully the nurses and my OB overheard me and gently reassured me that I did everything I could and sometimes this just happens.  We were both scared and I just kept thinking this wasn't what I planned for Carter.  Typical, right?  The planner thrown by the unplanned :)
What I came to realize months later, was that this was exactly the Lord had planned for Carter.  The way his birth unfolded was the way He intended his story to begin.  It wasn't what I would have chosen, but it taught me many things I probably wouldn't have learned otherwise.  After a pretty horrible experience in the operating room, the Lord chose that moment to bring my sweet son into this world.  I hardly remember much about it, but I do remember hearing him cry and Travis telling me he was perfect.  I think they showed him to me, but it wasn't long before I was having a full on panic attack from the pain and begging them to put me under.  I had a great doctor and he did a wonderful job, it was just simply a perfect storm that day and my body was spent.
Two hours after he was born, I woke up in recovery, very confused and out of it.  After I started to feel better, they wheeled me up to my room so I could officially meet my baby.  I've never felt so tired and sore in my life, but holding my precious Carter was more than worth it.  I remember taking this picture and then asking Travis to take him.  It broke my heart, but I hurt from head to toe and I just didn't have the strength to hold him. 
Travis was my rock that day, squeezing my hand and talking me through everything.  I can remember being anxious about the c-section beginning and wondering where he was and why he wasn't in the room yet.  I started to cry and then they brought him in and he leaned down to pray over me while they began.  I learned later that he was just as anxious as I was, but he never let me know. 
When they brought me to my room late at night, he was standing there to greet me in his scrubs, holding our little guy in his arms.  Later I realized what a sweet time that was for the two of them.  Again a detail I wouldn't have chosen, but something the Lord ordained for Carter and his Daddy.
We couldn't get over how cute our new son was, all bundled up and brand new.  We just kept saying, "He's here, we have a son!"  His full head of dark hair was the talk of all the nurses and the doctors.  It's funny to think that all that black hair is now white hair! 
As the night unfolded, I regretably missed seeing this big "first meeting" occur, but my sister captured it perfectly and I do love that my parents got to witness the fun.  I look at this picture and I realize now, just what a baby Ava was herself.  No wonder people looked at me with sympathy those first few months! 
The first grandson on my side of the family...What a special treasure to have my Dad there, holding my baby when I couldn't yet.  I'm sure he relived the birth of all three of us girls, with the birth of Ava and Carter. 

The same goes for my Mom!  Thankfully, she got to enjoy a new baby without the labor this time around :) It took me awhile to not be sad that I missed those first few hours with Carter and that it wasn't my voice that he heard or my face that he looked at.  Most of that was the result of raging hormones and not enough sleep, but it's also special to me that my parents were there and that they got that time to take care of both of my babies. 
Jennie was a life saver that day!  She was planning to drive back to Iowa that afternoon, but when I told her I was in labor that morning, both of our days changed.  I don't know what I would have done without her.  It was so convenient to leave Ava with her and I was so distracted by the pain that I didn't think twice about Ava after we got in the car!  Plus I love that she was there to meet both of my kids when they were only minutes old.  I knew Stacie was coming in just a couple of weeks and after going through a c-section, I was so thrilled to have some more hands to help me.  I can't wait to return the favor someday and be the only getting my picture taken with my nieces or nephews :) 
Our little family grew that day, from 3 to 4.  Tiny Ava became a big sister and precious Carter gained the title of little brother.  Realizing that we had KIDS (plural) was such a trip!  Two blessings, two gifts from the Lord.  Looking at them then and thinking about all the fun they've shared a year later...Wow. 
 I'm so glad God gave them each other to grow up with.
On that Sunday evening, an infusion of blue entered our world and we've never been the same since.  Having a son to love and raise is incredible.  I LOVE being a Mommy to a little boy AND a little girl.  That bundle of blue melted my heart for a second time.  I cherish the days we spent together in the hospital that week.  I remember watching the story of the recued miners unfolding, all the while cuddling with Carter and enjoying being taken care of all day. 
On this day, life couldn't have gotten any better!
We felt so blessed and so complete. 
One year later, I'd say the same thing.  Life is good.  Our sweet Carter is growing like a weed and we are just holding on trying to take it all in!  Ava's world has never been the same since Carter entered it, but I don't think she'd trade the alone time for life without her brother.  They are becoming such buddies and it still thrills our souls to see them light up in the presence of the other. 

It's been an incredible year. 
It hasn't always been easy and I've never been so tired! 
 But as our arms are full, so are our hearts.
Happy Birthday Carter!  This day changed my life forever because you God gave us YOU on this special day.  We love you so much.  
You are as lovable and sweet and handsome as the first day we laid eyes on you.  We can't imagine our family without you, buddy.  What fun we have ahead, celebrating many birthdays to come... 


Jill said...

What a wonderful testimony of your faith through your precious son's birth, Stephanie. Thank you for sharing.

LisaM said...

So much dark hair!!! I never would've guessed from his towhead pictures now. :-)

I too had a similar birth experience last November... But, it's the baby that we care about most - however they arrived.