Saturday, August 25, 2012

Lucy's Arrival

As I got ready for this post and collected the photos it felt like a distant dream- too long ago to write about now. Lucy is 5 weeks old and it was a lifetime ago that we were in the hospital. However, I still want to share a few images for our family and close friends who are so far away- just a little taste so you can all be part of Lucy's birth experience.

Lucy Ella Middlebrook
July 20th
7 lbs 2 oz, 19 in

Having 9 months to look forward to surgery honestly did a number on me. It's fair to say that about a month out I let nerves get the better of me. God is gracious and answered my pleas for peace by sending a lot of reassuring professionals and mamas my way from all different viewpoints on c-section with honest and kind wisdom. Knowing the exact date and time of the birth seemed strange, but when the day came it was wonderful. We were prepared, the hospital was quiet and calm, our friend and pastor drove us there, and Thomas' brother Ryan was able to join us.

The fancy pants hospital (FPH) is conveniently 1 mile away from our house. I was already very familiar with it- my doctors' office is there and we took a few classes/tours prior to our stay.
We arrived at 5 am to prepare for a 7 am surgery.  Eden stayed at home with our friend/pastor's wife who happens to be Eden's favorite person ever- so she was in good hands :).
As you can see below FPH has HUGE rooms. They are an LDRP ward- so you never switch rooms during your stay (unless you go to the operating room!), so we were able to settle in before surgery.

When I was admitted I was actually having low grade contractions- another answer to prayer because I really wanted my body to start the process on its own. Surgery was so quick. We entered the OR, I got anesthesia, they quickly brought in Thomas and in under 10 minutes we had our baby! I was awake for the whole experience, had none of the bad reaction I had to the anesthesia with Eden, and got to snuggle with Lucy while the doctors (that I knew!) closed. As she came out she cried a loud lamby cry briefly and then settled into a calm alert state. She got a 9/9 on the APGAR. My first thoughts seeing her were that she looked like Eden, only fairer, and she was incredibly sweet. 

After surgery I had a BRIEF time alone in recovery while Thomas and Lucy went to the nursery to clean up and get measured. Thomas brought Lucy into the recovery room and we got to try nursing right away- so much nicer than the hours long stretch from surgery to seeing Eden. According to the nurse Lucy will be of above average intelligence because she latched in under 10 seconds! Intelligence aside- it was beautiful and relaxing and so much warmer than I thought a surgical birth could possibly be.

Recovery was a short lived experience and I was brought back to my room where Thomas was waiting and Lucy was brought in quickly. That morning is a daze- I was pretty sleepy. Lucy was sleepy and snuggly. That afternoon brought a sweet meeting of sisters and some extra time with Ryan.

We roomed in as much as possible, only sending Lucy to the nursery from 11pm - 3am each night during her fussy time in between feedings so I could make sure to get some sleep. The hospital was half healthcare/half hotel. The nurses were seriously nice and very customer satisfaction oriented. Lucy was a calm, sugary sweet bundle and we spent our days cuddling, ordering room service, napping, visiting with sweet friends, and watching movies. The food was great! Seriously missed someone else making me a hot omelet every morning when I came home :). There was a break room on our floor stocked with pudding for our pleasure which Thomas appreciated greatly.

We kept a little box of new toys and books for Eden to use when she visited and let her come up one evening for dinner and a movie (Cinderella with Brandy and Whitney!).

The FPH provides a "celebration dinner" on the night of your choice. They wheel in a large table with a tablecloth and give you a special selection of courses. VERY CHEESY but kinda cute.


My recovery was really smooth aside from a few harder days when I first came home, I really missed that hospital bed! Thomas' mom stayed with us the first week we were home and helped tremendously giving Eden special attention, doing laundry and dishes, and answering every goofy medical question I had.

I'll try to post again soon about how Lucy has grown in the past 5 weeks, but it's 10:30 PM which is 2 hours past my bedtime so I'll wrap things up with a final picture of Lucy's best facial expression:

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Father's Day 2012

It's a bit ridiculous to start blogging again at this point! Our second daughter is due in one week and blogging will be (and obviously has been) very low on our to do list, but hopefully this is a nod at an effort to post a bit more regularly- especially since we'll have twice the cute around here to show off.

We're preparing well (we think, which probably means we're not ;) ) and are feeling excited and mostly calm as the due date approaches for our newest little one. Eden is very excited to be a big sister, wonderful friends are lined up to jump in as soon as we need them, baby clothes are washed, my hospital bag is packed, the freezer has enough food for an army. We've had THREE DATES this week- dinner alone, dinner with friends, AND a movie.We've stolen away a lot of moments as a family of three. Eden has been so well behaved the last few weeks.

If this baby were Eden, we would be waking up tomorrow and headed to the hospital (surprisingly so) to meet our daughter. But, of course she's not, so it's anyone's guess :) and thus begins the great journey of having TWO little girls and learning about all their similarities and uniqueness- I'm really excited to get to know this little girl!!

Physically we're both a bit more tired than we'd like. I'm obviously at the uncomfortable stage of 9 months pregnant and my poor sleeping habits are rubbing off on Thomas a bit. Prayer for good rest this week would be appreciated.

Thomas has really sacrificed getting ahead (or even being prepared) for starting his PhD in the Fall to be around an extra portion this summer to connect with us, offer huge support to me, and take a break.

Here's a peak of what we've been up to:

Within a week of being home from Texas we had a garage sale and Eden got to have her first lemonade stand (pink of course):

For my birthday, we got a family pass for the Botanical Gardens. Wednesday nights are Children's Music on the lawn. Fun for picnics and dancing :)

  We kept up the tradition of strawberry picking:

 We laughed a lot on mother's and father's day this year that Eden got to sleep in and eat breakfast in bed with the honored parent instead of helping out.

Sibling tour at the hopsital. Eden definitely feels special and part of the experience.

Eden got to fulfill a dream of ballet classes by attending a two day Storybook Ballet camp. She looked so grown up!! She now loves walking on her tippy toes with her hands on her hips and a looong neck.

I mentioned Thomas taking it a bit easier? He picked cherries from a neighbors tree and baked a pie one day. Delicious! 

I can't express how wonderful it's been to have this protected time with our family, and what a huge blessing it has been for Thomas to have such flexibility. He really has sacrificed a lot to give this time and rest to us and I'm so grateful for him and the ways in which he is following God's wisdom for our family and not the hectic demands of his approaching PhD. Here's this year's (and the previous for comparison) Daddy pics from Father's Day:

We'll try to keep the blog updated as our week progresses and definitely try to keep up with a few pics as our family grows :).

Friday, April 6, 2012


The Passover is one of the oldest rituals in history that has been continuously celebrated. The traditions have evolved but the best of them highlight the original significance and then show its meaning for our lives today. On the first Passover (see Exodus 12) Egypt suffered the death of the firstborn of each family, the tenth and final plague, while the blood of a sacrificial lamb signaled Israel's utter loyalty to God, whose Spirit passed over their homes.

The Passover Seder is a ritual meal that is accompanied by a set of prayers (HaAggadah). I believe it is a relatively recent trend among Christians to host "Messianic" Seders. The rationale is good. Namely, this is the very ritual meal that was depicted as Christ's Last Supper. The details of blessing the bread, wine, ritual washing, reclined seating, etc. mentioned in the Gospels all testify to the fact that Jesus was intentionally using this ancient tradition to communicate and commemorate his mission of the in-breaking Kingdom. As a symbol of our utter loyalty to God, Christians still eat bread and drink from the cup, since it is called the body and blood of our Passover Lamb, the Messiah Jesus (I Cor. 5:7). You may remember the "odd" detail that before the disciples followed Jesus into the Garden to pray, they all sang a hymn. According to some old traditions, the Hallel (Ps. 113-118) was sung at the Seder. IF you were to read Ps. 118, I know you would be blessed to note the many allusions to Christ and thereby catch just a little bit of the excitement (and bravado) that caused the disciples to talk big about standing by Jesus, even unto death.

It was nice that the Palm branches were incorporated into the table decorations. Surely the Triumphal Entry was fresh in the mind of those who knew Christ was (as that name means) the Messiah.

I rigged up a threshold and provided some paint and a hyssop branch for the families attending.

Inside, we were met with many strange symbols on the table. Mostly, they refer to the bitterness of slavery (pure horseradish, parsley dipped in salt water) and the sweetness of freedom and peace (a fruit and nut mixture, a complete egg). The unleavened bread is set in stacks of three. The middle layer is broken and hidden early in the meal. Many believe Jesus used this portion to speak to the disciples about his broken and enshrouded body that would be revealed athis Resurrection and Return.

This year we had 19 persons (3 kids) celebrate together! There was a festive atmosphere, but the guidebook was filled with scripture which kept things grounded (liturgically speaking).

The experience was a mixture of prayer, praises, and feasting. I could use more of each in my life, and I am glad that Jesus gave the command to his Church to remember him in this manner. However you are celebrating the Eucharist, Lord's Supper, or Communion tomorrow, may God's praises be heard for his great love for all people and this great hope he has given to his Church.

-writtten by Thomas, Easter-tide 2012.