Dec 15, 2016

The boy I never thought I would have

Today we celebrate our Hudson. The child I thought would never exist. You see, when Jeremy and I were first married and talked about how many kids we would have, he would say two, and I would say three. (Haha, so funny to me now!). Not sure if it was because he was from a family of two and I was from a family of three or what, but that's what we kinda talked about. So when our Lincoln was born (#3), I definitely thought he completed our family.

When Lincoln was just a week old, I will never forget the moment Jeremy was holding him as we were sitting on our bed and he turned to me and said, "We should have another one." I think my jaw dropped. Who is this man? The man who said two babies. At the time it wasn't something I entertained because I forsure thought Jeremy would be done at 3. But when he said that to me, I immediately felt in my heart God probably had another child for us. It excited me, and 6 months later, we got pregnant with our Huddy.

I am a planner. I am always so eager to find out the gender of our babies. But I also LOVE surprises. So we had decided that we weren't going to find out the gender of this baby. It was SO hard for me but I just kept thinking about that ultimate surprise in the end and it got me excited. I really had no gut feeling on what we were having nor did it matter to me. Gracelyn at the time was 3 and she of course wanted a 'girl baby'. For some reason, she named the baby Sally my whole pregnancy and would refer to the baby as Sally all.the.time.

When we went for our 20 week ultrasound I told my Ultrasound tech I would like to see our baby, but that I didn't want to know the gender. I said if you're about to know, tell me to look away. She got started and said, "The baby's legs are crossed, I wouldn't be able to tell even if you wanted to know." Perfect, I thought to myself. She continued on and suddenly I gasped because I was pretty sure I just saw that little boy part. My heart sank. Not because it was a boy, but because I REALLY wanted the surprise this time around. I stayed quiet but looked at Jeremy with my eyes popped out of my head and am pretty sure he had no idea what the look was for. She kept going, and then I gasped again. I saw it again. I then said, "It's a boy. I'm pretty sure I just saw a boy part!" She looked at me and said, "No, that's the cord. You're seeing things."

We left a few minutes later and I was about to burst into tears. I was just so disappointed. I told Jeremy we've had two boy ultrasounds before and I KNOW what it looks like. I know it's a boy I just know. I just so badly wanted that surprise and I thought he was our last.

We will then fast forward to the day he entered this world. It was a birth I will never forget.

He was late, like most of my babies and so I was induced 4 days after his due date. I was sitting in the hospital on the 14th waiting for labor to get going and turned on the TV to see the Sandy Hook tragedy unfold. "A Shooter kills 26 people, most of them being kindergarteners." I.was.a.mess. I was crying and in disbelief. I wanted to go home and be with my babies. My mindset changed and it was all I could think about. Those poor babies. Those poor parents. How could this be real. I remember texting with my friend Brooke and telling her about it (which I think she had already heard, it made national headlines of course) and I told her I was pretty upset and just feeling a lot of anxiety and fear. I'm not one to get anxiety but it all made me super anxious. I remember her telling me, "Keri, you need to shut the TV off. You need to pray and focus on bringing this baby into the world." I knew she was right but I was having such a hard time mentally. But that's what I did. I shut it off and put some worship music on.

Night time came and I had my epidural and was exhausted. So I tried sleeping for a bit, which I think I did some. A bit later I was texting with my friend Rachel. She was such a Godsend to me that day. She stayed up with me pretty much the whole night praying over me via text, sending verses and just speaking life and casting away fear. I told her how I was so anxious and fearful. Of everything it seemed. My midwife was really busy that night with many of us women in labor. Lots of us, one of her. She may not make it to my birth one of the nurses said. So that was upsetting to me because Jeanne was such a calm for me. She had a calming voice and just a way about her that made me feel at ease. I wanted her there. And then I was fearing delivery. It's always the worst part for me. The only time I scream at the top of my lungs from pain, I couldn't stop if I wanted too. Pushing has just always been awful for me. I hear of women who have no pain during pushing or say it's actually a relief, and my mind just couldn't grasp that! It was by far the worst part for me always.

It was probably 4:30am when my wonderful nurse told me she thought it was time for me to push. I laughed to myself and said, "No no, it's not time. I always know when it's time because I have a ton of pressure and pain and I feel fine." She was like well let's just try ok? I did it to satisfy her but knew it was not time. I didn't even have Jeremy by my side, I was that confident. He was across the room on his laptop I think. I pushed for a bit (not feeling a darn thing) and after awhile she was like, "Well honey, I think it's time to have this baby. I'm going to find Jeanne."

She left the room and I told Jeremy there's just no way it's time. I'm feeling good and having no pain. No way. Whyyyyyyy I didn't realize in the moment that God was perhaps up to doing a miracle for me I don't know, lol, but I just was like no way it's time. So Jeanne and my nurse come back in and they are telling me when my contractions are coming and when to push. I couldn't even feel a thing, couldn't feel myself pushing. Nothing. I thought, this is a waste of time. It's not doing a darn thing. I remember it was 5am, the hospital was quiet, my room was quiet with just dim lights on. Suddenly I hear my nurse say, "The head is out." I said, "WHAT?!?!?! NO WAY!!!" A minute later the baby was out. I HAD NO PAIN. You guys, it was incredible. I was in tears. I knew God did something special for me in that moment. It was a labor full of anxiety and fear for me, it wasn't normal for me to feel that way....and sweet Rachel was up with me all.night.long. Praying. Speaking life. A miracle. A smooth delivery. God answered and it was so evident. I still can't believe it until this day.

Right before Hudson was born Jeremy turned to me with his video on his phone on and was like, "Well, this is your final guess. Boy or girl?" With no hesitation I said boy. I just knew it.

So when that baby was born, pain free, I heard Jeremy say, "It's a boy!" Yup yup, I knowwww. Haha!

I was REALLY excited it was a boy. I wasn't in love with the girl name we had chosen but the boy name had special meaning to me. We named Hudson after my Grandpa. He is a very special man in my life. He's so much more than a Grandpa to me. He's been like another Father to me. He saved my life when I was three years old. Literally. And some of my best childhood memories are fishing with my Grandpa in Boyne on Deer Lake. Where my grandparents cottage is. I prayed I would marry a man like my Grandpa (and I did.) He was just super special to me and I wanted Hudson to be named after him. My grandparents had 4 girls so he never had a son (and he never showed an ounce of sadness about it either. He loved his 4 girls!)But he never had a chance to carry on his name, George Wallis. So we named him Hudson Wallis. So I was excited for this sweet boy, and to honor my Grandpa in this way. I just loved his name and loved that I got to use it.

I was in LOVE with Hudson's features. I couldn't stop talking about them. He looked different then our other kids (we still feel that way to this day). He had the biggest lips. And I LOVED them. I remember texting my mom saying, "Look at his lips!!!! I love them!" I still tell him constantly how much I love his lips, such kissable lips! I was just so totally in love with him. A mom of four. I could not believe it!

It couldn't have been more than an hour after he was born that I looked at Jeremy and said, "I want another one. I don't want this to be our last baby." HA! He probably thought I was crazy at the time, but it was my heart. I remember him saying, "We'll see baby, we'll see." One thing I have learned since we've started our family is that you really don't know what your future holds when it comes to the size of your family. Jeremy thought he wanted two and me three (If God gave us children) but then he wanted a fourth and I wanted a fifth. And I would totally have a sixth! I love being a mom and raising children. I love having a big family. It's my heart. My passion. So if you are newly married, just pray about your future, the size of your family! God will guide you and lead you, whether it's your own children, foster children or adoption. Don't let others comments stop you from what God has put in your heart!

Oh Huddy, you have truly been the biggest joy. He's my biggest snuggler and always been close to momma. All the kids loved him and Gracelyn quickly got over the fact he wasn't a 'girl baby'. He is almost always happy and is full of laughter. Any time he's upset you can get him laughing almost within seconds by just smiling at him and laughing. He's so carefree and laid back. Easy to please and make happy. He's a special kid. I just love him. And he has amazing lips! :)

Loved his birth announcement! See, those lips!! (Shout out to Kristina Lee Photography for the adorable photos!)

Some other favorites.

Oct 11, 2016

A love note to my baby girl.

Wow. You guys, it's been 2.5 years since I blogged last. To say my personal blog has been put on the back burner would be an understatement. Life with the Fab Five and running my photography business is busy to say the least - but I miss writing for me and hope to blog again here and there. So, where do I begin with this post.

My baby girl is one today. One. Her newborn smell is long gone, her little clothes packed away and somehow a year has passed since she entered this world.

I am struggling. I have honestly dreaded this day all year to some degree, my baby turning one. Now, before you have the urge to say, "Keri, you have 5 kids!" or tell me I should appreciate that she is growing and healthy, perhaps I should be allowed to be ME, and share my feelings, seeing as this is my blog after all.

Of course I am beyond grateful for this little girl. Beyond grateful she's healthy and thriving. It's not about that.

Anyone that knows me knows that I am the biggest baby lover you will ever meet. I love everything about pregnancy. I love running out to the store to buy pregnancy tests. I love anxiously counting down the days before I can test and see if I get a positive. I love thinking about baby names. How I will tell my family, and announce to the rest of the world on facebook. I love seeing what fruit or vegetable my baby is the size of each week and how they are growing. I love deciding do I want to find out the gender or be surprised this time? I love buying baby clothes. I love watching my belly grow and taking pictures every two weeks. I love baby kicks. I love shopping for a coming home outfit and finding a cute baby announcement. Which newborn photographer I will book. I love nesting and packing my hospital bag. I love the last days before delivery dreaming about how I will soon be holding and snuggling my new little peanut. I do NOT love labor, seeing as it's never fun or easy for me and my babies like to hang out many days past my due date and take forever to be born. Perhaps they know how much I love pregnancy :) I love finding matching shirts for the kids when they meet their new sibling and capturing their sweet faces at the hospital. I love love love those first moments after my babies are born. It is such a high. This brand new little life you dreamed of for so many months, or in Brooklyn's case years.

You see, I dreamt of having another little girl for several years. And I wanted to name her Brooklyn Faith. It was in my heart for so long, and of course Gracelyn had been praying for a little sister for so many years too. So when we decided to have baby number five, and when we found out early it was indeed a little girl, the tears flowed. I was getting my Brooklyn Faith and Gracelyn was getting her baby sister. What a blessing.

As I reflect on this past year though, I can't help but feel incredibly sad. Sad a year has already passed and I'm a year closer to not having a baby. A year closer to not having a child in diapers. A year closer to having no use for onesies. A year closer to not needing a crib. Months closer to not having a nursing baby anymore. For some, they can't wait for those milestones. For me, I dread them. I love babies, I love having a big family and the thought of Brooklyn being our last baby is hard for me. I don't want this season of motherhood to end, I've enjoyed it so much. I do look forward to each season with my kids and I've absolutely loved watching my older two kids change and mature so much but this season with littles is my very favorite.

But I'm having a hard time and will for awhile. And that's ok. I'm me and I'm embracing my feelings because I know I can't be the only momma out there to have extreme sadness about her baby turning one.

Oh my sweet sweet Brooklyn, you have brought so much joy to my heart sweet girl. I am so grateful your daddy said yes to you. I can't imagine life without you. And I know your sister couldn't either. You are so loved and adored. You have such a sweet personality. You're just a little peanut on the growth charts (but totally healthy) and I kinda love that. God knows I need you to be little awhile longer. Thanks for not being chubby. :)

I didn't end up hiring the birth photographer I really wanted to capture her birth, but I gave my hubby some tips in the hospital and I would say he's a rockin' birth photographer! His shots, my edits. We make a good team :)

And can we all reflect for just a minute on the amazing memory of me having my dream of Rachel Vanoven photographing my baby girl coming true? So incredible.

And some of my favorite images on the planet of the Fab Five are thanks to my amazing friend Laurie with Simply Art Photography.

Happy 1st Birthday Brooklyn Faith. So incredibly in love with you sweet girl.