Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Blessing

Betsy was blessed in church on Sunday. She was radiant in her pearls and beautiful dress. Baby blessings are always such a sweet day for me. I feel such gratitude and relief when a baby is born safely. And it's so beautiful to listen to Mark welcome them into the church and into our family.

My handsome daddy came to help bless Betsy.

When Mark and I were newlyweds, I remember looking around and thinking, "This is it? Where is everybody?" We've been waiting all these years for our family to arrive, and now we think they all have. Each of our children has arrived in the time and manner that Heavenly Father has wanted. Including Betsy.

I'm grateful to my body for making these healthy babies. I'm grateful to Mark for being my partner and support in building this family. I'm grateful to each of the kids for who they are. I'm grateful for Betsy and the person she will unfold to be. I think she and I will be great friends.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Baby Days

I wake to the sound of Betsy grunting and squirming. I've learned that these are like a ticking time bomb. If she isn't fed soon, she'll explode into squawks, then red-faced screams.

I lift Betsy from her cradle in the corner and carry her back to bed with me. She's wrapped like a burrito, and we're both a bit milky and damp. Crawling back into bed is just exactly what I want each morning, and now a hungry baby gives me good reason. We snuggle down together, and I watch Betsy's sincere, intent face as she has her breakfast, her cheeks chugging away.

After breakfast, Betsy gets  a fresh diaper and outfit. Which she probably poops on immediately. I change her. If she's fussy, I hold her. If she's hungry again, I feed her. If she becomes calm and opens her eyes, I am distracted by her. Soon it's noon and I've barely gotten my teeth brushed.

By the time the kids come home from school, Betsy's becoming a bit grumpy. The world she now lives in is a big, overwhelming place. Actually, she and I both tend to frazzle by the end of the day. I hold and jiggle her as I supervise homework and play dates. The kids, some of whom have become skilled swaddlers and jigglers, take turns holding the baby. But a truly incensed baby is beyond their skill, and after a few minutes I have to step in. I soothe and bounce Betsy back to sleep. As soon as I set her down, another kid snatches her up and then she's fussing again. I'd love to close out the whole world and just hold my baby all afternoon. I'd also love to set her down for more than ten minutes at a time.

Until today, I've had the luxury of doing all this while Grandma makes dinner and gives the other kids attention. Mark's mom flew home this morning after a whole week of spoiling the kids with eclairs, ambrosia, and cheesecake--actually those were all in one day. The newborn visits from our moms always make for sweet memories. And they remind me how lucky Mark and I are. Our mothers each had six children and taught us to love, nurture,  and enjoy each new life in our family.


Today I decided to make rolls for dinner. I thought I was so smart by starting them in the early afternoon before the kids got home and while Betsy was relaxing in her swing. Moments after I began the rolls, she started to cry. I wrapped myself in the Sleepy Wrap I borrowed from a friend and inserted Betsy. In my haste, I had wrapped the whole thing a bit too high and tight. No matter, I thought. Until Betsy leaned back her head to scream and we ended up face to face. And that's how I made the rolls. With a tiny banshee screaming in my face.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Slices

Last week for Family Home Evening we had a lesson on how to soothe Betsy by swaddling her tight and jiggling her.  A few days later, I found Betsy thus. 
Roscoe had swaddled her, then bound her with masking tape. She actually seemed to like it quite well and had a long, peaceful nap.
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A neighbor dropped this by this morning.


Isn't it funny? It almost looks like it could belong here. But we're going to love eating it, and I appreciate the neighbors' concern. Poor Levi did get a pretty serious bite...from a golden doodle. So now he's scared of dogs. In the spirit of getting back on the horse that bucked you, I'm planning on making him go visit the offending dog (who the neighbors say is usually good with kids) this evening. What do you think?
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Jesse wanted to hold Betsy, who was napping. So I sat next to them to protect her. And fell asleep. And then Jesse fell asleep. And so we became a domino trail of nappers.
  Good times.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Playing Dress-up

After staying with us for ten whole days, my mother left. The nerve! But  first we spent a morning playing dress-up with our favorite baby. (Well, Mom's favorite baby in the intermountain west.)
This delicate yellow suit was a gift to Mom from her Grandma Wilson before I was born. "But Grandma," Mom says she protested. "What if it's not a girl?"

"Don't worry," Josie replied. "It will be."

And I was. So this outfit is from Betsy's great-great-grandmother.
This is the gorgeous dress Mom made for Betsy's blessing. (So stay tuned for more pics.) The necklace and bracelet are made from tiny pearls from my Grandma's jewelry.
And this is the frou-frou dress I bought for Betsy because it was so girlie I couldn't resist. I took her to church in it on Sunday for her public debut. She was like a cloud of tulle confection. I think I will one day outgrow this current all-pink all-the-time obsession. But not today.
Betsy in a red rage cracks me up every time. It's just so unladylike! Pretty is as pretty does, honey.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Elizabeth Gold

Today is Betsy's one-week birthday. After today her age can no longer be described only in days; she'll have to up her unit of measurement to weeks.

I love the first week. When each day is a whole new adventure in feeding, waking, opening eyes. When each day the baby seems to more fully engage with this new world. I always try to savor each fleeting moment, but it never works. When the week is over it feels like I've squandered it somehow.

On a happier note, I now have this:

After the long and tortured road of this pregnancy, Betsy gave me the best labor and delivery EVER! I still can't get over it. My mom arrived last Thursday night, so on the afternoon of Betsy's birthday we were out shopping. Later in the afternoon, Mom said, "Why don't you start timing those contractions?"
Betsy and her namesake, Grandma Elizabeth

"Why should I?" I thought. They'd been going on for so long they were just part of the (painful) background noise of my pregnant life. But I took her suggestion and found that they were consistently every five minutes. From that point on, things quickly turned from "maybe this is the night but I'm not counting on it" to "I think I'll go to the hospital in a few hours" to "We're going now!"
Haley is a pro holding Betsy from the first moments.

When I got to the hospital I told the nurses at the desk that I thought this labor would progress quickly and thank heavens they believed me. They hopped to, and the stars aligned so that anesthesiologist, doctor, and everyone else arrived in my room at the moment they were needed. One hour after we walked in the hospital doors, Betsy had arrived.
Actually, she only weighed 8 pounds and 15.4 ounces

The first time I held Betsy.

(I've done three labors without epidurals and one with an epidural that I now know didn't take. This one was divine. This fast labor would have been horrific without it.)
Jesse adores Betsy.


Levi and Logan meet Betsy.

I told Betsy a few weeks ago that it was time for her to come out. She didn't listen. And instead grew to nine pounds. Silly girl! Her double chin is unbelievable and she's got rubber bands all the way up her arms.
Rolls and rolls

Despite her naughtiness, we are in love. Betsy is much more serene than I would have anticipated given her in-belly highjinks. She has made the wise choice to peacefully endure her siblings' enthusiastic doting. Every day her rosy complexion becomes more beautiful, and I have to admit to having way too much fun keeping her swathed in pink, pink, pink. 

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Still here

Nine months. 39 weeks. 274 days. I never thought I'd make it this long in this pregnancy.

But here I still sit. Even after the other night when I sat in bed clocking strong contractions every 7 minutes for more than an hour. In a normal world, that would be what we in the business call going into labor. But not for me. I was stunned when I woke up the next morning, still pregnant after a sound night's sleep.

I've had 9- and 10-pound babies and it's not something I'd like to repeat. This girl is plenty big and it's time for her to come out.

Fortunately, I now have an escape plan. Tonight, my mother arrives. When I told Mark she had bought her plane tickets, he literally jumped with joy. He made bugling noises and cried "The cavalry's coming!" I think he's worn out from doing double duty around here. So no more contingency plans for which kids will do what and go where if we go to the hospital when.

We've been discussing contingency plans for so long that now the kids look at me in the morning and say, "You're still pregnant?" When I say, "See you after school!" they say, "If you're still here." They make it sound like there's an imminent coup against a dictatorial leader. I guess compared to my haphazard performance of late, putting the household in my mother's capable and loving hands will feel to them like the fresh breeze of democracy.

If I don't go into labor over the weekend, I'm scheduled to be induced on Monday. I don't really want to be induced. I don't believe in inducing and I know inducing leads to more painful labors and a greater chance of a c-section. But my doctor has three related concerns that an induction would address, and she seems to have a relatively low-intervention plan in mind. And, if I haven't already mentioned, this baby needs to be born!