He Knows Our Frame
Pslam 103:14-16

Thursday, October 20, 2011

My Excellent Wife

Proverbs 31:10 "An excellent wife who can find?  She is far more precious than jewels."

I wanted to write about the love of my life, Joli.  She recently made me the father of my tenth child and she has to be the most incredible wife and mom alive!  I am here day after day and have seen the trials and the sickness that she goes through to have children and to think that she has done it 10 times now is phenomenal!  She started to get Intrahepatic Cholestasis of Pregnancy (ICP)  at 31 weeks of pregnancy.  What is ICP?  It is a condition where the bile in her body starts to back into the blood stream as opposed to being handled and discarded by the liver.  The bile builds and starts to cause intense itching, first on the hands and feet and then just about everywhere the further it goes.  After a while, it starts to make you feel as though you have the flu.  Basically, for the last 2 weeks of her pregnancy, Joli slept maybe an hour or two every night.  She was miserable.   Our poor dogs have suffered from fleas terribly this year and she cried out at around 3 in the morning a few weeks ago and said, "When this is all over I am taking our poor dogs to the vet to get rid of those fleas!"  She definitely could relate. 

So after 4 weeks of itching, Micah came and thankfully the ICP has started to go away as giving birth resolves the sickness.  Now she is staying up at night for a different, much better reason.  She is so amazing!  She gets probably 3 broken up hours of sleep a night in between nursing and changing diapers, but she does not complain.  I'm not saying that she can't get a little grumpy because of lack of sleep but who doesn't.  She presses on and loves every minute of it.  She tells me frequently that she absolutely loves this age, the smell, the cuddly little baby. 

I am staying home from work for two weeks to take over school and manage the home while she nurtures the baby and heals herself.  One thing that I can declare is that I have the easier job.  Hers is unpaid, at least monetarily, but what she does, day in and day out, is priceless and could not be afforded by the wealthiest of individuals.  I get to come home from work every day and leave it where it is while Joli stays where she "works" 24-7.  Thankfully, she has never considered it a job, but a calling and one in which she is very good at it. 

I am so very thankful for you Joli.  God has blessed me with a jewel and a crown on my head.  You are the love of my life and an inspiration to me!  You're my "sweet pea." 


Monday, October 17, 2011

Micah's Birth Story

 I want to remember this day forever. When I am a grandma to his little ones. I want to retell the story to them so they can imagine their daddy being born on October 12, 2011. This day has changed our world forever because God has been merciful to us and blessed us with another healthy, beautiful blessing.
  His name Micah means "who is like God'. His middle name Shepherd is a family name from Sean's side but we also want him to know that Jesus is his true shepherd in whom he can always trust. We are so in love with this little guy already.
  Wednesday the 12th, I had a doctor's appointment. I was hooked up to the NST machine to monitor the baby, to check for movement and contractions.  When the contractions started showing up regularly on the machine, along with a very crampy feeling, I knew labor was beginning.  My doctor checked me and at that point I was 3cm.  She was reluctant to send me home but Anna Grace was with me and Sean was at home with the kids, so I really couldn't go straight to the hospital (not to mention that our older kids were in the weekly classes that day).  She made me promise to return by 4 that afternoon to be checked again.  I picked Hunter and Peyton up on the way home while having contractions about every 5 minutes.  Hunter offered to drive me home at which I had to laugh that my oldest son was going to drive me home while I'm in labor with our youngest son. 
Sean and I got the kids squared away and I headed back to the doctor with my contractions now running about every 3 minutes.   She checked me and I was at 4cm and the baby's head had dropped some since that morning.  SO, off to the hospital we went.  Yay, I made it to 36 weeks and 3 days, an almost record and miracle since my last two were born at 35 weeks.
We made it to the hospital and checked into Room 5 by 5:45 pm.  We had the sweetest nurse, Becky, who actually helped me in the hospital with Eden 19 months ago.  She again was a great help which is always good when a woman is in labor.  Dr. Devine was the doctor on call in the practice I go to and she was super sweet as well.
She broke my water around 6:30 and then it was on!  I got a few meds and started to relax for a little bit  (really the first time in a few weeks).  I had cholestasis of pregnancy again which had kept me up itching for the last four weeks with little relief.  I entered this labor completely worn out already, so the Nubain that they gave me helped me rest for a little while and my body relax.  When that wore off, the Doctor wanted to start a tiny bit of Pitocin, at which point I started to panic and for the first birth since my first son, I got an epidural.  Yay for an epidural during labor, but as for after labor it stinks.  It wasn't 45 minutes after I had the epidural that I started feeling the pressure of his coming down the birth canal.  I had never really felt this because with natural labor, you feel so much of the pain that you don't really feel the head moving down.  So that part of the epidural was really a blessing that I was able to feel him come out and enjoy the moment.  Just before he was born, Sean called home and put the phone by the bed so that Hunter and Peyton could hear the birth of their baby brother.  Afterward, Peyton was surprised that I made very little noise during labor, to which she said that "Mom makes more noise when she stubbs her toe."

So Micah Shepherd Hardwick made his official entrance into this world at:
                10:12 pm on 10/12/2011.

Wild that he is the 10th child born to our 12 member family.  He is one of our smallest babies at 6lbs 8 oz and 18 inches long.  He is red with smut black hair, and he is absolutely scrumptious.  Oh how I LOVE a newborn.  I feel like I have to fight with our children because I don't want to give him up for a minute, even in the middle of the night.   He is our first child without jaundice, who is nursing well and is already ROTTEN! :)
He is only four days old and I want time to slow down so I can cherish this new gift from God.  He is a treasure, a blessing and I look forward to seeing what God does with this new life.  May he love Jesus with all of his heart, soul, mind and strength!

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Baby's Room

Here I am sitting in my bed early Thursday morning alone. Sean had to leave at like 4 am to get to work. They are having their biggest tournament of the year today, tomorrow and Saturday. Surprisingly all the kids are still asleep. Rare moments like these allow me to jot my thoughts down for keeps. So much has been going on with my pregnancy and with our baby. We found out a few weeks ago that he has a small spleen cyst. They told us it was really nothing to worry about that it would probably resolve before birth or within his first year. Yesterday we had an ultrasound to recheck it at 34 weeks. It is the same but looks fine because it is fluid filled and not blood. We are praising God for this news.
As for me, I have cholestasis of pregnancy. Basically what that means is my bile salts are backing up into my liver and gallbladder and then spilling into my blood. This is poison for me and my baby. It makes me itch like crazy and feel sick. The normal plan is to deliver by 37 weeks if all is going well for mom and baby. The last two pregnancies I have had to deliver at 35 because mine was so severe and my platelet levels were dropping. Looks like we are doing the same thing now. Sean just walked in the room with a coffee and a "grawnola" bar (love these) for me. He has headed back out. I love him!! So, it looks like we will be holding our precious baby boy next week. I am excited but a little nervous at the same time. I know God has a plan in all of this and I pray that I can find peace in it. I have learned that not everything happens exactly like we would like for it to. I have definitely had my moments of breaking and just crying out loud. This has led me to Him and for that I am content with what I have gone through with this difficult pregnancy and will be going through in the next few days as it gets worse.
 My mom and sister came to stay last weekend with us to help me finish our nursery. This meant so much to me as I am in serious nesting this time around. I guess, for me, the more children I have, the more the need to organize EVERYTHING! I needed a place for all of his little things, so they would not be lost:) I am so in love with his little room, which is a reading area in our room. It works perfect for a nursery.
  It is actually Tuesday afternoon now, almost a week later. Wow, am I going to be be busy when this little guy joins our family. It has been a crazy few days of doctors appointments and shopping for the kids fall clothes. Sean and I did have a date night with some dear friends and a few quiet times together after doctor visits. I cherish  those times with him.  Even after almost 10 kids, he is my favorite person to be with. Sorry kids if you are reading this:) I took some pictures of the baby's little space today. Almost every picture looks crooked for some reason. I can promise you though that everything hanging on the wall is straight, even measured out perfectly by Sean:) I love his sign Sean made for me. I put the words on but he did the big job of making it from scratch. Hunter made the book self for me out of an old pallet from Sean's golf course. Isaac helped me white wash it and the little kids helped find some books to put in it:) Sean Peyton made the cross stitch of the sheep hanging by the M. Can't tell you what that stands for yet:) I love his simple crib. Clean and cozy looking.  I got our changing table  at a thrift store for a great price. So here is my little guy's space of his own. Hopefully we will be introducing him soon !