Armstrong, Party of Five

He's here!!!  
We are so thrilled to introduce our precious son to you in the form of a million pictures!!
Yesterday, on June 30th at 11:31 am, our little Walker Cole Armstrong entered the world weighing 7 pounds and 15 ounces and he was 21.5 inches long.  
Healthy baby. 
Healthy mommy. 
Uncomplicated delivery. 
Blessing upon blessing and we are praising the Lord for all of it!!  

But first, here are a slew of pictures from the last 48 hours while we waited for Walker to get here and after we celebrated his arrival...Enjoy!!
 Sunday was my last day to be pregnant, which was equal parts amazing and emotional for me.  This has been a long road and a hard pregnancy and yet knowing that it was about to end, maybe even for the last time, had me a little teary-eyed.  I'm chalking most of that up to hormones, but there is something really special about feeling that baby inside you and wondering if you'll ever feel that again? 
 The kids were so excited that their countdown was almost over and they were about to meet their new little brother!  I was holding it all together pretty well until we had dinner and Ava spontaneously prayed for me, specifically that I would "be brave while the doctors helped get Walker out."  So, so sweet and suddenly I was a pool of tears.  I've been praying through my anxiety over this scheduled c-section for months and months, almost as soon as we knew we were expecting again.  The Lord has given me a tremendous peace for months and yet, the night before brought out lots of butterflies again as I prepared myself for the reality of surgery in the morning.  I asked for some prayer on Facebook and almost immediately I knew friends and family were covering me.  I went to bed that night with Proverbs 3:24 on my mind, "When you lie down, you will not be afraid. Yes, you will lie down, and your sleep will be sweet."  I was asking the Lord to calm any fears I had and to give me a sweet night of sleep and He did.  I slept so well and felt so rested when I woke up on Monday morning!  It seems like such a simple thing but it was just what I needed and another reminder for me that the Lord was in control and I could rest in Him.  
 Monday morning we got up and got ready to get to the hospital for Walker's scheduled c-section at 11:00am.  It felt so weird to know that he was only hours from being born and yet I wasn't in labor!  I loved it!  It was the last time I'd see that big bump so I had to get a picture (or 10!)  Ha ha!!
 The kids were up bright and early, which was actually kind of nice because we got some good time with them.  
 Ava helped me get ready and I painted her toes and fingernails for her and french braided her hair too. She was so beside herself with excitement, she could hardly stand it!  
 Carter woke up at like 6 am, which was crazy early, but thankfully he got back in bed with Trav and fell back asleep until almost 7:30.  I knew he would need some sleep for a long day and I was glad he got it!  It made for a much more pleasant Carter all day :) 
 So wild to say goodbye to this chapter of just the 4 of us!  But exciting too because we were all ready to meet little Walker.  
 It was such a treat to go to the hospital freshly showered and feeling good!  Can't believe we've been able to do this 3 times now, the Lord has been so good to us!!  It was 6 years ago that we were filling out infertility paperwork after trying unsuccessfully to get pregnant for almost 3 years.  I have been thinking so much about how the Lord's timing and His ways are so much better than ours.  He knew all along how He would fill our arms and when.  Without His plan in play we wouldn't have our three precious kids and we give Him all the glory for seeing us through the peaks and the valleys to get there.  
 Getting prepped and ready at the hospital! 
So happy to see Trav become a Daddy all over again.  We had some time to just relax and even to sit and chat before we prayed with my doctor.  I could feel the Lord's peace and presence all over our morning and that helped me walk into the operating room with such a calm over me.  
 Everything was going perfectly, which was the opposite of what happened with Carter's birth and his emergency c-section.  That delivery was so rough and traumatic, although it was totally necessary and obviously Carter was worth it!!  But that's where my anxiety stemmed from all these months.  His delivery started out so textbook and then quickly spiraled from there.  I had to leave that with the Lord and trust that He knew better and all of our kids' birth stories were just as He meant them to be! 
 I walked into the O.R. and had such a great team of nurses who helped me and who totally understood how hard my last delivery was.  Each one of them were a gift from the Lord, they were amazing and I look back now with such gratitude for how God went before me every step of the way and provided exactly what I needed.  Birth is no small thing and major abdominal surgery is not anything to dismiss.  My doctor was so great, he's delivered all three of our kids now and it was special to pray with him before we started.  He took such good care of Walker and me too!  
 Before I knew it, this handsome guy was here!  I was able to quickly get my eyes on him before they cleaned him off and got his APGAR score.  
 He was a little smaller than we expected, which was great, and he was super long!  He came out very chill and quiet until they started wiping him down and then we all heard his very healthy lungs while he screamed! 
 One of the sweetest parts of the delivery was when his nurse brought him to me and asked if I wanted to do some skin time with him right away?  Of course I wanted to and within seconds of them putting him on my chest, all nuzzled up in my neck, he immediately stopped screaming and the two of were able to just chat a little bit  :)  He calmed every anxious part of me and it was so incredible to see him respond to my voice and to look into my eyes.  I will never forget that moment!  
Trav was amazing throughout the whole morning as well.  He brings such a steady presence to our family and it was so fun to hear him talking to Walker and bonding with his newest son.  He is the best Daddy and it always begins the minute those babies are born!  In the recovery room I was able to hold him for the first time myself and nothing felt better. 
Proud Daddy!
 Proud Mommy too!
 We immediately thought Walker looked just like Carter to us!  Same dark hair, same little nose and mouth, same eyes.  It will be so fun to see how he changes over the months but so far he is the spitting image of his big brother.  
 Our recovery nurse was so sweet to give him a quick bath before we got up to our room because she knew our kids were coming to meet him.  He was not a fan of most of it but he sure looked darling when he was all done! 
 My parents were at home with the kids until they got the call from Trav to come up!  Ava and Carter ran into our room and quickly scanned the room for Walker!  It was so cute to see them each check him out and get close to him for a better look.  

It didn't take long for the kisses and the smiles to come!  
Ava wanted to know how the doctor got Walker out of me and Carter wanted to know "did you break?"  We were able to get out of that conversation pretty quickly with a "Mommy had to have surgery" answer that satisfied them both, although Ava wanted to know if the doctor "put Mommy back together again?"  Ha ha!  Their little minds just tickle me! 
It was so nice to have my parents here.  My Mom was with us all week last week while Trav was at camp and her help to me was invaluable.  Her company was also a major perk too! 
 They have been at the hospital for each of our kids births and that is such a blessing.  There is nothing like having your Mom and Dad present for such major life events!  Plus, I'm still their baby and it's always sweet to have them around to care for me too :) You never really outgrow that need for your Mom and Dad!  It changes over the years for sure, but I love having their support and presence as often as they are able to be here.  
 They offered to give us a big gift by taking Ava and Carter home with them to Iowa this week so that we could spend some quiet time with Walker as we adjust to a newborn again.  
 As the kids grew restless in our room, we suddenly knew how precious that gift was!!  
Walker was a gracious host to his first visitors!  He never cried and just slept or looked at everyone holding him.  He was happy to be with his new peeps I think!

 The big sister!  I love this picture of us.  
She was just so excited about everything and couldn't wait to hold him.  
And she did a great job!  Look at those sweet faces! 
The big and the little  :) 
 My three kids!!!  I love this.  Can't believe I have three little ones who call me Mommy!  
 Grandpa's newest little grandson!  This Dad of all girls is quickly becoming a Grandpa of boys!  
So far Ava is the only princess in the group, a role which she relishes.  
 Carty wanted a turn to hold his brother too and he did such a great job!  He didn't want to me touch him at all, he was determined he was going to do it all by himself.  Uh oh!  I'm going to have to watch him closely! 
 Our first family pic, party of 5!  Love every one of those blessings in my life so much!!  
 Mostly thankful to be doing this whole parenthood ride with my best friend.  
Love, love, love him.  So happy he is our kids' Daddy! 
Just like I knew would happen, these two nuts look so very OLD now!
 We know they are having a great time at Grampy and Grammy's house while we get to enjoy some quiet days here to recover and rest. 
 I love being in the hospital after having a baby!  When I'm here I can't do anything but snuggle, sleep, eat and repeat!  No dishes to do, no cooking, no cleaning, and pain meds when I need them!  What could be better??
 Of course soaking up all that time with this guy and getting to know him better is a given...
 Walker, you are a precious gift from the hands of God to our family.  
 From the top of your head to the bottom of your toes, you are fearfully and wonderfully made by your Creator and we count it a blessing and a privilege to parent you and love you all your days!  
 We have big dreams for you, but nothing is more important to us than God's dreams and plans for you.  
 We are praying that from your earliest days you will grow to know and love Jesus and seek Him with all your heart.
 No matter what you do or don't do in life, you are dearly loved and cherished by your Mom and Dad!
"And so, from the day we heard, we have not ceased to pray for you, asking that you may be filled with the knowledge of his will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, so as to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to Him, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God."   Colossians 1:9-10 
Welcome to the world little Walker Cole Armstrong!  
We are SO glad you are here and we love you SO very much. 
You are the best addition to our family and a gift from God...
We are so thankful for YOU!!

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