Friday, July 29, 2011

Our Story - Part 6

Well here is the final chapter of Our Story up to date. Tomorrow, we embark on a whole new chapter and one that I am very excited about as we continue to dream together!

This one is picture heavy, amazing how many more pictures you take when you have babies :) Also, I realized just how much fresher all these thoughts are in my mind, than trying to think back five years ago. I think having children really did kill most of my brain cells!

This last year was filled with the very best of the best days! It also had the hardest days we have faced together. It also was filled with frustration and exhaustion as we waded through parenthood, not just once but twice :)

So, 1 year ago today - THIS is what our house looked like:

We were just one week away from leaving to pick up our sweet little boy and we were in the throws of packing. I say we, but really Peter was the only one doing any packing around here. I had picked out all of the stuff that Malachi needed but I was leaving the packing to the expert - Peter is incredible at packing! I was also trying to avoid the inevitable for as long as possible. You see, I was terrified TERRIFIED to get on those airplanes. Part of it was that I am not a big fan of flying (anything over 2 hours feels like boring torture to me). But the bigger part was that I was feeling awful around this time. On our anniversary last year I was 9 weeks pregnant and pretty much felt like I was going to puke 24/7! I had no idea how I was going to make it through those flights. I remember nights in tears and wishing that somehow I would not have to go, but I knew I had to do it. Fortunately I had lots of people praying for me (even though they didn't know my real reason of concern for the trip!)

1 week later, at 10 weeks pregnant, I boarded the planes and we were on our way. The incredible thing is that I didn't get sick ONCE. I felt sick (a lot) and I still get sick to my stomach to think of the smell of the airplane food! But we were there - in Ethiopia and just a mile away from our son!

We settled in and tried to rest up! We had a full day of rest before we were allowed to pick Malachi up.

10 weeks pregnant in Ethiopia:

And it was finally time for the moment I had waited soooo long for! I could hardly believe it as we sat in the lobby of The Riviera and watched the infamous Almaz walk in! After doing paperwork and such, we boarded the van and were off the short distance. It was unreal to me as we approached the famous black gates and there we were - to our son!

We waited a couple minutes and photographed another family as they met their daughters for the first time, and before we knew it Almaz was asking for Segni's parents - oh my! That was us!!! So into the baby building we went, following a special mother. Up the stairs and into a pink room. I recognized his hair right away and his back was turned to us! I hurried over to him and was finally introduced to my little boy!

After hogging him for awhile, I let Peter have a turn. It was incredible watching Peter become a daddy! He was nervous leading up to the trip about all the things he needed to learn to do, but he caught on to everything very fast and I fell in love with him in a totally new way as I watched him love our son!
Before long it was time to come home! I learned a whole new level of exhaustion. First trimester exhaustion, teamed with jet lag, teamed with a baby who was used to being fed every 2 hours. It was a difficult adjustment but fortunately Peter was home for the first 6 weeks to help. By the time Peter went back to work Malachi was only waking once a night to eat!

First family outing to the beach!
And before long I was out of the first trimester (but still feeling awful!)
15 weeks:
and we were adjusting to life as parents!

The pregnancy was progressing way too fast. Before we knew it we were at the halfway point and the reality that we would be juggling two babies was setting in! Malachi was doing great adjusting to us and he was sleeping 14 hours a night, but that was still not enough for me. I was still very tired, but fortunately the nausea started to subside by 20 weeks!

20 weeks:
20 week ultrasound!

As fall set in, we were off to Disneyland! It was very fun to get to share Disneyland with Malachi!

The scenery (and our family!) very different at the proposal spot!

It was so fun for us to learn all about Malachi! We quickly discovered just how big and fun his personality really was! He quickly became a total ham and had us cracking up at him all the time. He was such a happy chunk of love baby :)

Malachi 6 Months:

First Halloween!

And right around Christmas, I hit the 30 week mark in pregnancy and was also diagnosed with the lovely gestational diabetes. That one came totally out of left field and my doctor was even surprised that I had it! Go figure, one of the risks was underdeveloped lungs for the baby.
Peter gave me the best Christmas present and in mid-December he let me get a 3D ultrasound of our baby! The ultrasound tech at our 20 week ultrasound didn't put the monitor in a place where I could see it and so I totally felt robbed. But the 3D ultrasound more than made up for it even though the baby was being very stubborn and trying to hide his face!

And then we were quickly at Christmas! Our first Christmas with a baby! It was very perfect and so new and exciting to celebrate with Malachi, even though he was pretty clueless about the whole thing :)

January passed by in a blink of an eye, and by the end of January I was in full on nesting mode! I am so glad now that I pushed to get everything ready for the baby!

35 weeks pregnant:

And that was near the end of that! I was SHOCKED when my water broke at home at 35 weeks 6 days! Seriously, I remember looking at Peter and saying my water broke and we just kind of stood there staring at each other. On the drive to the hospital I abruptly realized that we really WERE going to have 2 kids - I felt so not ready.

It was no surprise that my heart beat was high at the hospital :) I was still in total shock that I would be delivering that day! Labor was awesome - really, I loved it! Sure, it was painful (until they gave me the most perfect epidural) and the contractions were stacked on top of each other for my entire labor but it was so awesome and I was so happy to get to ezperience it! (Did I mention I have always had a slight obsession/fascination with the whole pregnancy/birth process). Seriously, I think the whole thing was so fun and perfect even though it was painful and the recovery was pretty rough!

But after 14 hours of labor and 30 minutes of pushing - our little peanut was born! All 5 lbs 5 ounces of him! It was so fun to find out that we now had two little boys.

Unfortunately that is where the fun/perfect story ends. He was quickly whisked away from me and they got busy working on him. He was struggling to breathe. Before long they took him out of the room and of course Peter followed him. And again, I fell more deeply in love with Peter as I watched how concerned and protective he was of our new little guy! He really took charge over that whole awful ordeal!

It took awhile for me to get all fixed up and for the epidural to wear off enough that I could get in the wheelchair to go see him. My nurses were awesome and did everything they could to get me down there as soon as possible. Peter and Eli's nurses did a great job of keeping me updated. Unfortunately the news was not great. Finally I got to go down and see him.

He was still struggling a lot to breathe and so they were making the decision to transport him. I honestly was just kind of in shock. The whole time I figured he would be fine once they got him going. This was certainly not the way I pictured this going.

They were preparing to do a procedure to him since they were struggling to get an IV in him and with my emotional state, they made me leave while they did it. So back to my room I went. The transport team arrived and went to work. At this point in time, he had a lung bleed out, which is very very rare (we found out later). Before they left with him, they brought him by my room and I pretty much lost it at this point. Peter said goodbye to me and then I was alone. That was the start of the most difficult week we had ever gone through.

I felt like my joy had been completely taken from me. We were supposed to be celebrating the arrival of our new little bundle. Friends and family were supposed to come in and see him and we were supposed to go home 2 days later healthy and happy. I know our situation could have been so much worse, and I am so grateful that we had the medical resources available to us and that our little guy did come home, but it was not easy by any means.

I did have some visitors as the evening wore on. Little Mr. Malachi cheered me up, and before long Peter was back with photos of Eli. It was so hard to have him so far away from me. To have only gotten to see him for 10 minutes total after birth and to only get to touch his hand. It felt so wrong that I wasn't able to comfort him or be there for him.

As the morning came, we got up early and packed up. I was in quite a bit of pain but I had to get up to my little guy! We hurried home and got cleaned up and were on our way to the hospital 45 minutes away.

I was so anxious to see him, but was not prepared to see him like this:

It was hard to see him in that condition, but I quickly became used to it. Finally, 25 hours after he was born, I had him in my arms! I remember how uncomfortable he was being held and how flinchy he was. His first 24 hours of life were associated with pain and discomfort so I can totally understand. He finally settled down and I hope got comfort from being in mommy's arms! I just wanted to hold him forever, but we also had another little guy at home that needed us to be there for him too.

Truly, this was the hardest thing I have ever done. It was incredibly difficult everyday to have to say goodbye to him. Having my helpless child sick was the worst feeling in the world and I hope I will never have to experience that again. It gave me such a new appreciation for families who have children in and out of the hospital all the time.

Peter continued to be the rock as I was pretty worthless that entire week. I was exhausted and in pain and emotionally drained. He truly carried our family through that ordeal. After what felt like an eternal week, we were on our way home. And that was a totally different terrifying experience!
We adjusted pretty well! Malachi did great for being only 9 months old. Eli slept pretty good from the beginning (4ish hours and all night by 2 months!) and it took me awhile before I let him out of my arms! He even slept curled right up against me for the first couple months.

In all of the hustle and bustle with Eli, we were still enjoying Malachi. He was learning so many new things. The week Eli was born, Malachi took off walking - a big milestone moment for sure!

And then we were celebrating his first birthday! Malachi had been such a blessing to us and parenthood was everything I ever hoped it would be. It was fun to get to celebrate him and all the joy he has brought into our lives - his first big birthday with him home and we were so lucky to get so many of the months in his first year to celebrate with him. Hard to believe our little Ham was 1 :)

Spring came around, and we were very settled into our life as a family of 4. Elias stayed healthy and grew bigger and I could relax! Before long we celebrated our first Easter!

The boys started to become buddies! At first Malachi was very afraid of Eli and then he became too curious with him but we started to see the beginnings of the great relationship these two are going to have. I would have never planned to have two babies this close together, but God did and His plan was perfect!

May: 3 Months and 13 Months

June: 4 Months and 14 Months

4th of July: 5 Months and 14 Months
And this past week: 5 Months and 15 Months!

We are having such a great time this first year as parents. As you can see, children consumed this year and it was perfect! We still have put a lot of effort into our marriage and staying connected to each other which has been huge in helping us stay balanced! We quickly discovered just how important our children are and how little some of the other things matter!

So there you have it! Our story, at least all the big parts! We are on an amazing journey and I truly could not imagine a better partner to walk through this life with. I can't believe he is on board for all of my craziness and puts up with me day in and day out :) Things have not always been easy, but we have been so blessed! We have lots of dreams and hopes and desires as we move in to the next year of our marriage and we look forward to what God has in store for us. The most important thing is that we keep our ears open to hearing what it is he wants from us! Our marriage can't go wrong as long as we keep our eyes focused on Him!