Thursday, May 28, 2015

Barrett's Birth Story (Part One)

On Friday, May 15, 2015, at 12:37 in the afternoon, we met him.
James Barrett Bell.
The one who had already snuck into our hearts
was finally able to snuggle in our arms.  

We didn't know our family needed a second.
At least not yet.
Brian and I knew we wanted a house full of children.
Little Bells running amuck,
sneaking cookies before dinnertime,
hiding car keys and remotes,
displacing toys from their homes and scattering them all about every inch of ours,
bowing their heads for bedtime prayers,
sneaking into our room for late night and early morning snuggles,
high fiving and fist bumping and finger pulling in delight,
occupying our hearts and invading our home.
But we thought Baker was enough, for now.
He needed us.
We rationalized waiting for a second until Baker was more independent.
We were cautious,
hesitant that another would deter us from meeting Baker's different abilities.
But oh how we dreamed of another.
We prayed God's plan to prevail, trusting in His plans over our own.
Our arms craving the warmth of a newborn,
yearning to smell their yummy, scrumptious goodness.
We whispered baby names aloud,
schemed house plans and nursery decor and a big boy room for Baker,
dreaming of one day,
not realizing how differently God's timing and our timing were for that one day.
We learned, on a late afternoon in September,
that sometimes the greatest blessings in our lives are also the biggest surprises.
The following nine months would consist of unspeakable joy,
faith in a plan bigger and higher and greater than our own,
a little nausea and a lot of growing,
Sour Patch Kids and snuggles from my first baby boy.
I started with monthly doctor appointments, then moved to biweekly,
and finally, the time came for us to see each other once a week.
I approached each appointment with an unhindered excitement,
my list of aches and worry-filled thoughts silenced in the thunderous booms emanating from the handheld Doppler, monitoring each rhythmic heartbeat.
Each visit was memorable,
the first ultrasound to see our little butterbean sized miracle,
and the one proclaiming news of hues of blue,
but the one that sticks out the most vividly came more recently.
The plans for Barrett's delivery started the previous Thursday, May 7,
with a midafternoon doctor visit.
I visited my doctor for my 38 week appointment.
 Her angel nurse took care of all of the lab stuff,
I got to hear Little Brother's heartbeat -
a strong 137 beats per minute.
I made small talk, and we chit chatted away.
I was measured and progress was noted.
And then the words from my doctor,
"Let's have this baby next Friday."
A plan.
This girl loves a plan.
I could sleep in my own bed on Thursday night,
shower and fix my hair and apply my makeup just so on Friday morning.
Drive, unhurriedly, to the hospital.
And proceed from there until my arms were cradling my baby boy.
A plan.
We had a plan, and it sounded pretty great to me.
I visited her the next Thursday as well,
at one day shy of 39 weeks.
My appointment was preceded by Baker's first IEP meeting, an appointment to get my nails manicured, a trip to Edgar's bakery to grab some of my favorite sweet treats for my doctor and nurses, a thorough house tidying, and revisiting of packed bags.
Everything was a go for Friday.
I had progressed slightly more, and my doctor anticipated our boy's arrival before one o'clock the next afternoon.
In fewer than 24 hours, I would meet him.
My heart could hardly contain my delight!
I squealed in excitement all the way to pick up Baker from school.
Brian and I had a fun night planned for our Baker Boy.
We spent the evening culminating the ever-long process of saying goodbye to our only child in his first love language - toy stores, playgrounds, and ice cream.
Baker would spend the night with my parents. 
I have never had such a hard time leaving that precious firstborn of mine.
We snapped a few last pictures as a family of three,
and excitedly anticipated seeing him for the first time as a big brother!
The next morning, Brian and I drove the familiar route to our hospital.
The only events that get me on the road before the sun comes up are Black Friday and birthing a baby.
We got checked in around five in the morning.
I loved the busyness of the room from the start.
Nurses bustling about,
family checking in with whispered prayers and lemon drops and kisses on the cheek,
friends calling and texting, eager for updates,
the sound of LB's heartbeat - a calming, rhythmic pur from the machine beside me.
The next few hours were filled with an anxious excitement as we grew closer to meeting our boy.
 I cherished each contraction, eager to welcome and then will it away as quickly as it began.
Brian was vigilant, standing guard, his eyes somehow both glued to the monitor, while never breaking our gaze.
He was the perfect calm through each stormy contraction.
Even through the epidural, I could feel them intensifying.
I knew the time was drawing near.

I asked for my purse.
Everyone laughed as I carefully applied lipstick, and then liner, and then gloss.
Minutes later, my obstetrician visited.
As I anticipated, it was time.
Our lives were fixing to be forever changed.
Our hearts were fixing to experience a love like never before.
At 12:25, we said our see you laters to the family.
I held tightly to Brian's hand through the first contraction.
And then rested in preparation for the second.
Barrett was on his way.
I pushed and I pushed and at 12:37, he was here. 
First his head, with a full head of dark brown hair like his daddy,
then the rest of him, so fearfully and wonderfully made.
I heard utterings of a big baby,
a healthy boy.
Brian cut the cord, and the day continued as magical as it began.
My boy was placed on my chest, and for the first time,
I held the child in my arms I had held for so many months in my heart.  
My first words, through quivering lips and joy-filled eyes,
"Thank you Jesus for this precious gift that is too wonderful for words."
I couldn't break my gaze.
My eyes couldn't be diverted from this little blessing of ours.
I fell all over in love again with my husband.
What incredible moments to share with the man I love.
After several moments, the nurse took him to be weighed and measured.
All of our predictions fell far short.
At birth, he weighed 9 pounds and measured 21 inches long.
Our big old sack of sugar,
who would soon be affectionately named Little Bear,
had stolen our hearts and changed our lives,
and made us a family of four.


"Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights."
James 1:17

Stay tuned!
Parts two and three coming soon.

Part Two - Barrett meets Baker
(this is probably the most incredible thing I'll see this side of Heaven)

Part Three - Bringing Home Barrett

Read Baker's birth story here.

Monday, May 25, 2015

Introducing James Barrett Bell!

Our boy is here!

James Barrett Bell
He was born on May 15, 2015 at 12:37 in the afternoon,
weighing 9 pounds and measuring 21 inches long.

He is here and he is positively scrumptious.
Our hearts are so full.
Praise Him from whom all blessings flow!

Friday, May 15, 2015

39 Weeks and Delivery Day!

It's here.
My last bumpdate.
This has been the perfect pre-baby week.
My water did not break as I was loading a second grader into his car at dismissal as I had feared,
nor did I lose my marbles halfway through the bread aisle at Publix.
I think Baker just knew life would be changing this week.
We snuggled a little extra, read Love You Forever with a little more oomph.
He and Brian had some manly boy time digging up dirt and laying sod and doing all of the other things boys like to do.
I wrapped up my school year at work.
And then took care of some fun pampering to get me looking beautiful for my baby boy.
Our bags have been packed and packed and packed again,
Baker's big brother presents have been tied with a bow,
a homemade blue wreath boasting the glorious news of a baby boy has been hung on our door,
lists have been checked and double checked,
freezer meals have been made,
monograms have been stitched,
cameras have been charged.
We are ready to meet our baby boy.
Oh how ready we are to smooch his little face and squeeze his little stuffing.
Today, at 39 weeks, I will be induced and will finally meet the little man I have been carrying below my heart.
And all up in every corner of my heart.
He has already permeated every morsel of my being.
I haven't seen his face, or kissed his lips, or snuggled his neck, or held his hand,
 and I already love him with a love so intense it can only be described as a momma's love.
Little Brother, you are loved.
You are adored.
You are celebrated.
You are our wish, our answered prayer.
Welcome to this world, my sweet angel.
Your mommy, daddy, and big brother are ready to meet you.
Happy Birthday, James Barrett.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Meeska Mouska Moo - Baker's Third Birthday Celebration!

We had the best time celebrating Baker's third birthday!
With James Barrett being due the week after Baker's special day,
we decided to celebrate a few weeks early.

Our goal was to make the day a perfect celebration of our boy and for our boy.
Meeska, Mouska, Moo - ission accomplished.
I called on my dear friend Toodles (aka Pinterest),
and had a blast throwing together a special party for my favorite Mousketeer.

After finding a similar invitation I loved on Etsy that I'd have to sacrifice one of my boy's college educations to fund, I decided to make the invitations myself.
They were one of my very favorite parts of the party planning.
I used a black sheet of poster paper, a Mickey Mouse stencil, red felt, white buttons, and party deets printed on white cardstock.
I just love how cute they turned out!

My friend Leslie, who blogs over at Lamberts Lately,
had a similar-themed party for Emma Ramey last year.
She had several printables that made creating the menu, printables, and party d├ęcor
easy peasy!

We served Hot Diggity Dogs, Plutato Chips, Daisy's Garden Veggies, Donald's Cheese and Quackers, and Clubhouse Cupcakes.



Friends and family make all celebrations more special.
We are so thankful for the ones who make our lives a little sweeter.





May all of your wishes forever come true!

After each gift he opened, Baker acknowledged the giver and signed thank you.
Oh my heart, be still.

We continued the celebration with family, friends, and Baker's buddies at school.
He loved the almost-month-long birthday hoorah!


And I loved seeing his joy each time Happy Birthday was sung,
each candle was extinguished,
and each wish was whispered.
Happy Birthday, Baker Boy!

Monday, May 11, 2015

Happy Birthday Baker!

You were my first.

My first midnight lullaby.

My first feeling of my heart beat outside of my body.

My first breath of a scent so sweet.

My first slobbery baby kiss.

My first sweet pea sneeze.

My first drowning gaze into the most captivating almond eyes.

My first translation of a perfectly understandable jibberish jargon.

My first celebration of wobbly steps.

And then my first "Oh my God, he can walk. Our lives will never be the same."

My first time to be called the name I want to be called for a lifetime of forevers.

My first one, two, three, jump! And my second, third, and four hundred thirty-seventh.

My first "lub oooo."

My first experience of loving someone so much my heart threatened to burst.

Our second will be arriving soon.
We will love him. We will celebrate him.
He will be the perfect addition to our little family.
Oh how our hearts have grown to make room for two little boys.
But you, my three year old Baker Boy, will always be our first.
And today, we celebrate the overwhelming joy that is all of you.

Happy Third Birthday!

From the top of your head,
to the tips of your toes,
and all of your sweet spots in between,
your mommy loves you.