March 29, 2011

Reality Check.

Yesterday was such an overwhelming day (the first day of me completely by myself with the kids) that at one point, around 3:30 in the afternoon, I found myself driving around in circles with all three kids in the car listening to a CHRISTMAS ALBUM because it was the closest thing to worship music that I had in my car.


And then, today.

Oh, today.

Myer woke up at 4:30AM as usual, climbed into my bed and started hitting me with his jingle block until I finally told him to "go find daddy." Chris gets up around 4:30 or 5:00 in the mornings so he can have some quiet time before he goes to work, but I was unaware that this morning he actually left the house at 4:50 to go read and study up at the church for a bit.

When I told Myer to "go find daddy", I had no idea daddy wasn't in the house.

Normally, Myer would just come right back to my bed and proceed to pull me out from under the covers until I got up. But he never came back into the room, and I fell back into a deep sleep. Truman had been fussing all night and I had only gotten a couple hours of sleep.

At 7:00, Ezra came into my room and told me that Myer was on the couch and he was all wet.

I figured his diaper had leaked, and came out into the living room after I got Truman all situated in his bassinet.

Myer was on the couch, and he was covered in vomit. Chris was gone. And I smelled... peanut butter.

My head started spinning. Chris had made Ezra's lunch before he left, with a peanut butter sandwich inside. Myer had come out into the living room BY HIMSELF at 5:00 in the morning and found the lunch on the counter, opened it up, and eaten some of it while I was fast asleep in my room.

Myer is allergic to peanuts.

He had a rash on one side of his face and his eye was all red. He was crying because he had just thrown up. I ran and got him some Benadryl and tried to calm him back down as I cleaned him up and the mess up.

I kept a close eye on Myer for any wheezing/breathing issues, and within an hour, he was acting like he felt better and the rash disappeared.

He is fine now. But it could have been so so so much worse. What if he'd had serious breathing issues and no one was around to react? I'm trying not to play the 'what-if' tape too obsessively in my head and just be thankful that God was watching over my baby when no one else was, but I can't shake this feeling that we just narrowly escaped some out-of-control freight train. I feel... lingering dread. A mixture of fear and relief.

Now we know that we, as a family, need to keep better tabs on each other in the wee hours of the morning. And I am re-impressed with the heavy reality of this job of mine. I am responsible for watching over the physical, emotional, spiritual, and social well-being of these children. All three of them! At once! ALL THE TIME! Even when I am sleeping, apparently! And I'm reminded that this weighty task would be completely impossible for me if I didn't have a God who is bigger than me to lean on. A God who never sleeps nor slumbers.

I am also reminded that no matter how much I plan and strategize and convince myself that I am in control of things, I really am absolutely... NOT.

But mostly, I am reminded of the wise words of St. Therese of Lisieux that my friend Susanna ends all of her letters and emails with:

"EVERYTHING is grace."

I can only take my next breath because of grace. I can only change yet another poopy diaper because of grace. And I can only survive the madness of this season of life because of grace.

When I remember that powerful truth, suddenly every breath, every diaper, and every DAY (no matter how hard!) becomes a gift for which I am eternally grateful, and an opportunity to express my gratitude in humility and with gut-wrenching thanks upon my lips.

Reality check, indeed.

Thank you, God, even for todays like today.

March 24, 2011

Truman's Birth Story.

Wednesday AM, I woke up and felt pretty normal. Except for the fact that I seemed to be... um... PEEING MYSELF every few minutes. haha. How interesting! It wasn't a whole lot, but every once in a while there would be "a small outpouring", if you will.

I went back and forth in my head about whether to mention this oddity to my husband. I envisioned the conversation going something like this:

Me: "Hi honey! Um, not much to report today, except that I maybe might be peeing my pants!"


So, I decided to wait it out and see if the situation would remedy itself on its own.

I went to Barnes & Noble with Myer and chatted with some moms who were there with their kids and had a great time. I continued to debate whether I should mention my possible peeing plight to Chris, and finally called him on my way home and filled him in.

He told me to call my midwife, like a smart human being would.

Around noon, I called the office (and ended up talking to my friend Christi, who is a nurse there!) and she told me to come in due to the fact that I tested positive for Group B Strep. They wanted to check if it was amniotic fluid.

Chris left work to come be with Myer at the house so I could drive myself down to the midwive's office and get checked out. I kept telling him it was assuredly NOTHING and that I would be right back.

At 2:00 in the afternoon, I saw a midwife. I told her I was pretty sure my bladder had just kicked the bucket after all this baby-growing business. She checked me and swabbed me and immediately told me that it was amniotic fluid and I needed to go ahead and check in to the hospital next door and get ready to have my baby.

I was in COMPLETE shock. I think I said something eloquent like, "Wait, you said whaaaaa?!?"

Then things got hectic.

I had to go check-in at the hospital, but I had accidentally brought the keys to the car with me to the office (I had driven Chris' truck) so now Chris had no way to drive down to meet me. I would have to drive back home, even in my shaky, leaky state.

I envisioned what I would say if I got pulled over. Something along the lines of "Hi, officer! You may not believe me when I tell you this, but I'm apparently in labor!" Maybe he'd escort me, like in the movies, with his sirens blaring, and we could show up to the hospital in style.

No such luck.

Chris called his mom and asked her to pick up Ezra from school and then he ran Myer over to our neighbor's house until his mom could get back to our house and pick Myer up too. I got back home and Chris and I threw some last minute things in the car and drove back down to the hospital.

No contractions yet. Just waves of disbelief. With both of my previous labors, I had showed up to the hospital in pain and it was all a blur. This time, I was laughing and chatting with nurses and filling out paperwork and feeling silly for sitting in a hospital bed while I wasn't even in LABOR. It was such a different experience!!

By the time I got all checked in, it was probably 3:30 in the afternoon. I needed to get my antibiotic drip started (for the Group B Strep) and that took a good 5 hours when all was said and done, because they give you two rounds of it 4 hours apart.

This was a bit stressful because if my body didn't kick into gear before 9:00pm, they would have to start a pitocin drip. Once your water breaks (or starts leaking, apparently), they don't like to go more than 12 hours before they step in to get things going because of the risk of Group B Strep infection for your baby. I was trying not to be too anxious about all of this, and just kept praying that God would keep my mind focused on Him and His perfect timing.

During that time, my dear friend and neighbor and previous Bradley Instructor, Nikki, came to the hospital to be with us to help out during the delivery. Contractions were slight and irregular at this point. I was only 2cm dilated. I was trying everything I could to get my contractions going.

My water finally "broke" while I was getting my first round of antibiotics, but the contractions were still weak and far apart. I continued to pray that I could avoid the pitocin. I only had until 9:00pm before they were going to intervene.

The last antibiotic drip was done just before 9:00pm.

My midwife, Leanna, showed up then too to check me and see if my body had been progressing on its own at all.

She checked me and told me I was 4cm dilated.

I was disappointed in the lack of progress, but she said it was enough and that she was going to just let my body keep doing what it was doing- no pitocin necessary.


Right after that, my contractions started coming much stronger and much more regularly. They were still all very manageable though, and I was able to keep talking to Chris and Nikki and we were laughing and eating Snickers bars and snapping lots of iPhone pictures in true nerd fashion.

I walked around and sat on a birthing ball and squatted through the pain of the contractions.

Around 11:00pm, I had 3 or 4 suddenly INTENSE contractions, to where I was moaning and having trouble breathing calmly, and the contractions were lasting for 2 minutes at a time. Yikes. Leanna decided she needed to check me again.

She took one look and asked if I was ready to have my baby. It was all happening so rapidly, so quickly... I could barely move or breathe or grasp what was going on.

After another incredibly intense contraction, I felt a burning sensation, and suddenly the nurses and Leanna and Chris were all telling me that THE BABY'S HEAD WAS OUT.

I hadn't even pushed, and my baby's head was out?!?! My body had done all the work for me... had ejected this baby without so much as a conscious effort on my part.

I didn't believe them at first, but after one more contraction, my new baby was laying on my belly, hardly making a sound and looking right up into my eyes. He was so... peaceful! He didn't even cry. He was the perfect pink color and he was gazing up at me like he'd known me all his life. :)

We all exploded with joy and I was filled with such relief that the hard part was OVER. It took me a few seconds to realize that I didn't know if this baby was a girl or a boy, and after a moment I remembered to ask Chris what it was.

"It's another boy!", he beamed.

And just like I thought it would be, in that moment of elation and new life and release, that bit of information was like music to my ears. It felt right and good and awesome, and my heart was completely filled with love for my new SON. He was finally in my arms, and he was the most beautiful little newborn I had ever seen.

Truman Arthur.

If he had been a girl, he would have been Dagny Jane.

It was 11:15pm. Two hours after my contractions had really kicked into gear. Truman & I stared at each other in wonder for a few minutes until I brought him up higher into my arms and he latched on and started nursing right away like a champ.


Truman is a dream- sleeping so well and hardly making a sound. He NEVER cries. He's one of those babies that you forget is even there, and I have to keep reminding myself not to forget him when I leave the house. haha.

Once again, this birth has made me feel stronger and more confident and more empowered than I could have ever imagined. I went into this labor with a lot of trepidation. I didn't feel as prepared or excited about natural childbirth as I had been before I had Myer. Part of me felt like I had done the "natural thing" twice already, and maybe this time around I should just get numbed up and drugged up and get it over with as painlessly as possible. I had NO motivation. I had tried to watch labor videos and read natural birthing stories to psych myself up again, but I mostly just felt... tired. Weary. Unexcited about the coming birth. And I felt horrible about that.

And yet, I did it!!

I had amazing support set up around me at the hospital, I had educated myself about the truth and benefits of natural birth, about my choices and my voice in the matter, and then I let my body do just what it was created to do. Looking back now, of course, I am SO glad that I allowed myself to feel the pain and intensity of the process of labor again. There is no other experience in life that has made me feel more alive, more certain of who I am and what I can do and accomplish in this life that I've been given. There has been no other experience that has propelled me as strongly to acknowledge God's holiness and sovereignty in this world and in my very own body. It is simply awe-inspiring, and I am grateful that I was able to have that adventure with Him again- grateful to be brought to a place of such pain and weakness only be carried safely through it, and be strengthened down to my core by it all over again.

What a fearfully wonderful thing!!

Thank you God for little Truman! He's as sweet as a lolipop. :)

March 18, 2011

Growing Pains.

It didn't take long for Myer to figure out that when mommy is feeding the baby, she can't stop him from doing naughty things. My patience has been tried and tested, and has, in a few million instances, FAILED MISERABLY.

I spent the first couple of days home from the hospital feeling weighed down because I was having so many negative thoughts towards my two year old. My head sounded like this:

"Myer is such a brat! I can't even LOOK at him right now!!"

Followed closely by:

"What kind of a mother would feel these things towards her child?! You're already dropping the ball, maybe you really can't do this."

These thoughts played on repeat in my brain until I was a fragile, crumbly mess.

But then, I remembered some advice I had heard a long time ago about bringing a new baby home and having an older child (or children) act out.



You put the baby down as soon as your older kid's behavior has reached a point where you need to act, and you take care of the situation. You discipline. With the same firmness and resolve you would have if you didn't have a newborn in your arms.

Your baby will probably cry.

Oh well!

It's really not the end of the world.

You show your older children that they can not walk all over you, and then you go pick the baby back up again and continue nursing/soothing/smooching the wee one.

After I remembered that advice, I felt like my world turned right side up again. I felt like I had a PLAN, and that was all that I needed to feel like I could manage and survive all these boys at once.

Of course, my mommy is here for now and is helping a TON with Myer & Ezra, but I still feel okay, because I know that when she leaves and it's just me and these boys, I'll know how to react! Phew!

Truman is still sleeping all day and night and hardly making a peep. I keep forgetting he's here! I have to wake him up to feed him every three or four hours, otherwise he would be sleeping right through his feeding times. Crazy babe. He weighed seven pounds at his doctor's visit on Thursday, so he's only down three ounces from his birth weight, so I'm not too worried.

The boys are sweetness together, and Myer is getting better and better with Truman every day:

And these boys are pretty sweet too:

Yep. It's sweetness central up in here. I'm a VERY blessed (and extremely outnumbered) woman. :)

March 14, 2011


he is the sweetest little peanut in the world- sleeping, eating, and pooping his way right into our hearts. :) he hardly makes a sound, and when he does, it sounds like far away pigeons. except when he hiccups... then it sounds like there's a giant bullfrog loose somewhere in the house.

i feel great. like... surprisingly normal. we've been out and about a couple of times- truman in the sling sleeping right through each outing. it's amazing how much they sleep at first!

i keep calling truman "myer".

how am i supposed to keep all these boy names straight??? hehe.

the transition back home has been a bit more difficult this time around due to a certain little two year old:

do you see that look in his eyes? yeah... lord help us all. haha.

yet the transition has still been sweet and manageable due to a certain powerhouse husband:

i love having his babies. it always reminds me how much he adores me. how much he adores US. he has been taking care of EVERYTHING while I try and get back into the swing of nursing and resting and eating/drinking like a mad woman.

i just can't believe there are five of us now. the thought takes my breath away at random moments throughout the day.

it's an incredible thing.

March 10, 2011

A First Day of Life.









He is amazing and thrilling and sweetly calming all at once.

I can't believe my arms get to be so full of such wonderful little men!


truman arthur clark
"faithful and strong"

The most beautiful little newborn ever!!

Our little Truman was born at 11:15pm on Ash Wednesday, weighing 7lbs and 3oz!

My water started leaking Wednesday morning so I was admitted to the hospital that afternoon. At about 9pm, my contractions really kicked into gear and things went very quickly from there! We are all doing GREAT!

He is so very quiet and precious and we are doing a whole lot of swooning over little True!

Praise the Lord, He is GOOD!!! :)

More pictures to follow....

March 9, 2011

Boy or Girl, Boy or Girl, Boy or Girl.....

Hey Friends!

Chris here.

Just wanted to let you all know......


Em is in labor.
She is my hero!
Such a champ.

We shall see if this little one can make it's debut on Ash Wednesday.


March 7, 2011

38 Weeks Pregnant!

(Well, I guess I won't technically be 38 weeks until Wednesday, but who's counting?)

(---->ME. ME. ME. ME.<----)

I'm still here! No baby yet, and no signs that it is coming anytime soon. This is how my back feels about that:

har har.

But seriously, I do feel grateful for these last few days I have to get things together. There are still pictures to be hung on the walls! And giant old computers to move from the baby closet! And TOILETS to clean! You know... very important, life-altering events that MUST be seen to before this baby can possibly make its entrance into our home!

My mommy is flying out on the 15th of this month to be with me for a couple of weeks as I transition from being a mother of two to a mother of THREE, and I am so excited to see her I can hardly wait!! I just hope I have a baby for her to hold by then. She came out after Myer was born, too, and pretty much saved my life. I am so grateful for her willingness to put her life on hold so that she can come help me after I push out all these babies! haha.

Thank you to all of you who have entered our Baby Pool in the post below! It has been SO fun reading all the different responses and I find myself smiling as I read through your guesses... imagining what each scenario would be like... it has been so fun! I can't wait to see who wins!

I personally have been praying for the EXACT same stats as Mel guessed:

March 10th
6lbs 4oz (please please please)

Only time will tell! Squee! :)

March 3, 2011

37 Weeks Pregnant and a Baby Pool!

I am now officially considered "full term" and in my 37th week of this pregnancy. Both the boys were born in the 38th week, so if this babe is anything like its brothers, it could be any day! (Please, Lord let this babe be like its brothers! heh.)

I am feeling a bit restless, but I am also keenly aware that this baby will come in the precise moment that he or she is meant to enter this world.

One of the things that makes birth wonderful is that it forces us to WAIT and release control while still actively expecting and longing for something... and every birth has taught me more about how I should also be longing for and waiting on God (just as ferverently as I am waiting to meet my new little love) in every single circumstance of my life.

There's something so beautiful in the waiting and releasing... something we don't get much of a chance to experience in today's "quick fix" culture. Sometimes it is just good to be forced to slow down and breathe and expect.


I think what this all REALLY means is that it is time for the official BABY POOL to begin!!

The winner will receive... something. Yet to be determined.

But it will be cool! And maybe even awesome!


Here are the facts:

--Ezra was born 10 days early weighing 6lbs & 4 oz. He was 20" long.

--Myer was born 12 days early weighing 8lbs & 1 oz. He was 21" long.

--This baby's due date is March 23rd.


So, here is your mission, should you choose to accept it:

Leave me a comment with your best gut-guesstimate of what the DATE, WEIGHT, LENGTH, and GENDER of this baby will be. The person who gets the most of these things correct when all is said and done will be our winner! yay!

Gooooooood luck! And thanks for cheering me on in these last days and weeks... Your support has been so wonderful and it has helped me stay positive, so thank you thank you thank you all!!