Friday, September 19, 2014

Evening Walk

 Look at this little buddy:
I mean, come on! Cutest thing we've ever seen? Let's just agree about that, shall we?
He started to really smile a few days ago, twice for me and then once for Livi that first day. Still hard work, but they are there! Then this morning at my Primary presidency meeting (Note: the Primary is smarter then I ever will be. Honestly. Just when you stop one leak in the boat another starts. It's like we're constantly bailing water. Sure do love my new councilors, Jada and Laurie, though. They are such great, great ladies!) I was sharing a scripture that really means a lot to me from the Doctrine and Covenants, Section 4, when I happened to glance down at Bens in my lap. As soon as he saw he had my attention, his whole entire little face lit up. Wild, happy smiles and goos. Just thrilled that I am his Mommy, apparently! It was filled with such love and made me feel so good! The whole scriptural thought went out the window so I could go ga-ga over him. Loved it!
While folding laundry when we got home, he needed a little break, and I got these beauties, too.
So fun.
Tonight the kids and I went on a walk together while Daddy slept. They had such a great, great time taking turns pushing their baby brother in his stroller. Pretty nice situation for me, I guess! They were very cautious, and even Kate the Great was a pretty successful pusher -- even pushing him up a little hill by herself! She kind of looked like a little ant, capable of carrying a big load.
While watching a jet overhead, Olivia said to me "Jets have always fascinated me. When I grow up, I want to be a birdwatcher. And a Mom. And also a home art teacher... I'm going to have a lot of responsibilities!"
About two-thirds of the way through our adventure Katelyn and I had fallen a little behind. She took my hand and said "Mommy, KJ and Livi are creeps. They never want to wait for us!"
I honestly don't know where she gets some of this stuff. Sure makes me laugh, though.
As we headed down the cul-de-sac to our house, Liv had skipped quite a ways in front of us, when suddenly a little animal jumped out of the grass at her feet! She jumped about ten feet in the air and squealed, her feet dancing around. It was a fairly good sized toad, just hanging out there at her feet. We all had such a good laugh. Would have scared me to death, too! Naturally, after finishing laughing, she ran the rest of the way home screaming her lungs out, Katelyn following, while KJ pushed Benson along.
Pretty great..

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Back To The Future

It's been an adventurous two months -- two of the best ever! And I realized that if I try to go back in history to cover every event, I will never, never, no never be able to get caught up, will become discouraged, will give up on the blog I have loved and nurtured for almost six years, and this family history -- the most valuable I feel I have submitted so far -- will not go forward. And that would just be sad! So we'll cover what we can, and what we can't, Benson will have to look through in his baby book. That's right, cute boy -- I'm talking about you! 
Oh my, how we love this little boy. He's been everything we could have hoped for and more!! He is really a good little guy, sweet tempered and getting to that point where you can tell when he's happy and is starting to give little smiles and it just melts your pea-pickin' heart. He is growing like WILD. We grow nothing but big kids -- that's the kind of crop we produce. Such cute little chub, and he is super tall. He is even developing little relationships with each of his siblings -- with KJ, he watches every move he makes in a serious study. With Olivia, he looks into her eyes with deep trust and adoration -- he knows she's got his back. With Kate the Great, it seems to be a mixture of excitement and wariness... which is well advised. Daddy and I are crazy about him and he fills my heart with joy and the feeling of "good things to come." And also -- only seven and a half weeks later -- the pregnancy and delivery doesn't even seem like it was so bad anymore. Ha ha.... it is truly amazing what the Lord does with our Mother Hearts! It was worth every single second, of course.
The Double B had FIVE WHOLE WEEKS OFF after tiny Benson B was born. The world's best paternity leave, offered to Costco managers. My gosh. It was so awesome. We both loved every single second, and darned if it really didn't create a bond between big Double B and little Double B. Those two are buds. Plus, look at Bens' chin. Squaring off, and see that little dimple forming in the middle? He even has his Dad's chin. Bazinga.
P.S. Sleep deprivation is awesome.
Katelyn is LOVING preschool. It's like a serious, passionate relationship. She LOVES it. And I LOVE that she loves it so much! She is growing with leaps and bounds, too. She surprises me so much every day with the grown-up things she is saying and the more mature way she is acting. So fun to see her blossom. She is a social creature and just needed the opportunity to spread her wings and be independent. I think that will be part of her M.O., though. She is the third child with a bang. I love to see that about her -- I guess because I can relate. She is carving her own path... vibrantly! Today I had to run to the bank after dropping off the kids at school, and she and Wandrew patiently waited in the back seat. She was pretty excited because I was going to the window and that meant she could get a sucker. Wandrew didn't want his, so she ended up with two -- an embarrassment of riches, really. She was concerned he would change his mind, so kept checking to make sure he was okay. "You want a lick, Wandrew?" When he said no, she patted him and goes "Suit yourself! Just let me know if you change your mind!"
Cracked. Me. Up.
Olivia continues to be the sweetest, most tender person on planet Earth. She is going through a very emotional phase right now. The first few weeks of school were hard for her to adjust to, and she found something to weep about every day. At least once, but usually twice! This was getting a little hard for me to be empathetic with until the Spirit spoke clearly to me late one night as I was checking on her that what she really NEEDS from me is to hold her, embrace her, love her, look into her eyes often, reassure her. I was thankful for that little teaching moment, because it has seemed to help her. The other night she came into me after being in bed for awhile, her eyes great big and filled with tears. I asked her what was wrong, and she said something along the lines of "I'm just feeling really discouraged, because I'm afraid that no matter how hard I try, my handwriting just keeps getting worse and worse!" Handwriting is a real struggle. Chin trembling. Tears spilling. It was so.... Olivia. I took both her hands in mine and told her how very proud and impressed I am, because I can't believe how much her handwriting has improved just since the start of second grade! (That's true, too.) I encouraged her to keep trying, and reminded her that improving in anything can be a slow, slow process (something I need to remember, too). Then I told her that by the fifth grade, if she keeps working, she will have such beautiful handwriting that people will say "Who in the world made those beautiful letters!?" She loved that. Sniff, sniff, kiss, kiss, off to bed. Not an unusual conversation in our house. 
KJ is growing up. Sigh. Besides basically becoming a giant (Seriously, watch out, Uncle Matt), he is going through all the growing pains of fifth grade. He has to try REALLY HARD not to complain about -- well, pretty everything -- and deals with reoccurring "phobias" as he calls them. That can really be a challenge, but he is working hard on them (most of the time), and we are working hard on patience with the growing process! He can be a huge help to Mom when he wants to be. One thing I am so proud of right now is that he is not giving up on himself in math -- his hardest thing. He keeps plucking and has done his homework every day! I know he can do it. He is also love, love, loving orchestra and is so excited to play the viola. I hope he will keep that enthusiasm, because I would really love to see him take off in something that is uniquely his. He is such a bright spot in my life. My little (big) buddy.
It's been hard for the Double B to get back into the grindstone of 55-60 hour weeks, but he is doing it like the champion he is. I love and appreciate him so much, and his great sacrifices for our family! That can't be easy. Last night we were talking about our fifteenth anniversary -- only two and a half years away -- wild! We want to go on a cruise, and we were talking about which side of the continent we should cruise from. And he actually said "Well, it'll be half way either way -- Florida or California." As in, acknowledging that you know what? We might still be here then. And it wouldn't be the end of the world. I felt so proud of him! Funny as it sounds, it was kind of a big step. I played it on the DL, though, because I'm super smooth like that.
My little dance and musical theater classes started again last week. It's fun to be back. It takes a lot of energy, and I DO NOT KNOW how elementary school teachers do it -- you are an amazing people, all of you -- but it's nice to be able to make a small contribution while using my slightly obscure talent! It's just enough to keep us swimming. I'm so thankful for the Lord for giving me that opportunity. I feel like I'm really improving over my first year already. I'm excited for the finished product and to see how we've improved. My kids love it, too, which is a huge blessing that they get to take the kinds of classes they want to take -- and I can provide them. And they don't sacrifice time with Mom, because I'm right there. Katelyn is even wanting to participate this year. But she doesn't think she needs to be in the class with her own age -- she thinks she's big enough to be in the big class. It's cute, because she honestly is trying. She keeps trying to get her feet into the different positions and saying "I can't quite get it! Can you help me, Mom!" She is also the Musical Theater mascot. The kids are having fun with her and she is right up there trying with them. When we sing the chorus to "The Wells Fargo Wagon" she holds out the last note of each line kind of like a hound dog. The kids love it, and I love it, because she has her arms thrown open wide and such a look of joy on her face. Love, love, love my kids. And I have felt a change occurring in me towards Kansas City. It is really, finally starting to feel like home. I drive out and about and it feels normal. I even am starting to feel a love for it... like a "home" love. That is such a relief. And honestly, a necessary thing. I still don't think we'll be here forever, but I want to LOVE it, either way. And if we ever do get to be closer to home, I want to be filled with fond memories of the place and the people whenever the day might come that we live somewhere else. It really is a great place.
A great place with rapidly changing leaves!
It became fall very quickly, and I am darned determined to enjoy this season and not just quiver in fear of the coming winter. Cold = Bad. But for now, here is autumn. So I'll live in autumn!
It is pretty beautiful!  

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

First Day(s) Of School!

I'm always sad when it's time for school to start again. In many ways, I wish I could just keep my little chickens in my nest. They think that is the greatest idea! They wish they could be homeschooled like some of their friends, but I know myself -- and they would never learn how to divide and their principle teacher would be Walt Disney -- sounds like a recipe for disaster (though not to them)! I am thankful they go to a great school with teachers who care. That makes a big difference in this life.
KJ -- Fifth Grade. What the heck.
Olivia -- Second Grade. Stop, time!
Daddy took them to school for their first day, as Mommy was at home with Benson. It was his first time, and I think he enjoyed it.
Dear KJ,
I don't know how you got to this late great age, but here you are.
I want you to know how much I value your tender heart and your confidence in who you are. I love that you don't feel like you have to be like everyone else -- I hope you always keep that!
Often I wish I could stop time. I wish I could hold on to that precious little boy. But I would not stop you from becoming the great man you are destined to be.
So I guess I have to let you go to fifth grade.
Although I wish you would have just decided to go back to third, like I asked!
I love you so much,
Dear Olivia,
There is a good chance that you are one of the most darling spirits ever brought into this world. Your Dad and I have it on good authority that you are pretty magical!
I wish for you that you will always be able to hold on to your sense of wonder and imagination.
I wish for you that you will hold on to your heart that is three sizes too tall!
And I hope you reach your penmanship goals this year.
Second grade is very active in my memory. May it be that active in yours.
I love you so much,
Kate the Great started preschool this year! She gets to ride the bus and everything, four days a week. I was selfishly nervous about this, as she is the pea to my pod, but she is SO READY that I can be nothing but happy for her.
Dear Katee Jill,
I want to thank you for being my BFF the last four years. 
It's been great.
Thanks for being such a good hang-out buddy and always keeping things interesting!
I will miss you while you're off adventuring, and I know this is only the beginning of things to come. But right now I will take comfort knowing how much you love your Minnie backpack and riding the bunny bus.
You're the best.
I love you so much,
Kate and her best good friend, Wandrew. They love riding the bus together. 
Honestly, thank heavens for Benson. He came at just the right time. I'm not ready to be a school empty-nester yet!
I love, love, love my kids.

Blessing Day

Benson received his baby blessing on the Double B's 34th birthday. What a special day, added to by being able to be surrounded by family when we least expected it!
Benson was given a beautiful blessing by his Dad. In the circle were the bishopric, led by Bishop Barnes, and Daddy, Grandpa, Uncle Tony, our dear friend Matt (who had to go way out of his way to arrange it, since he is in the bishopric in their new ward), and our home teacher and friend Evan. We pretty much felt like rock stars to have that support. 
Katelyn was happy to volunteer to be in every picture -- love it.  
We're so thankful to be part of a forever family. 
One of my favorite pictures of all time! I got this one on the sly, too. So I think I must have missed my calling as a professional photographer. Either way, such a sweet moment with my two Double B's. 
Becoming a Mom for the fourth time has changed my life forever, and I'm so thankful for that! I love being a Mom more then I've ever loved anything else, ever. Such a great joy to me. 
We love you, tiny Benson B! 

Monday, September 8, 2014

And Surprise! It's Grandma B!!!

The Double B's Mom called me on a Thursday and shocked my socks off by announcing that she and BB's siblings would be flying in to Kansas City the next night to surprise him for his birthday and be there for Benson's blessing! Shocked. Me. I told her he was going to absolutely die of shock and happiness, and he pretty much did! She explained the plane wouldn't be in until late, so I'd need to keep him occupied and unsuspecting until they arrived.
My parents had known about the plan, but I don't know how they kept it a secret, because I just about let the cat out of the bag all day. Knowing I'd need to do his birthday lunch, etc., that day, we went down to the Cheesecake Factory on the Plaza and I told him the Tate's were going to come over for a "Hand and Foot Tournament." I also told him I was really in the mood to play, so we were just going to keep playing and playing and playing into the night! He thought that sounded like a great plan. I knew, of course, he could never suspect anything because it was so far out of his realm of possibility.
We had a fun night with the Tate's, and after they left we just kept playing, and playing, and playing... an hour past when they were supposed to arrive, I got a text from his sister Megan saying they were lost. So I told him it was Bev and she needed some info, I headed downstairs and tried to figure out how to get them here. They'd accidently typed in WEST instead of EAST, so had gone the wrong direction and had to backtrack. I felt bad for them, but it was all worth it when there was a knock on the door.
It was after eleven o'clock at night, and being in a big city, we never get visitors that late and definitely don't open the door if we're not expecting someone. We all looked at each other and I could see the Double B trying to decide what to do. I told him something like maybe Bev forgot something and could see we were still awake because of the lights. So he went down and looked through the peep hole and froze. When he opened the door, his whole body was frozen. You could actually just sense his shock and energy by looking at his back, it was cool.
Their surprise WORKED. It worked big time! I think it took a year off of his life, but it was worth their every effort. He was so happy!
Grandma meeting Benson: 
We were so happy she was getting the chance to meet him -- we thought she wouldn't until we go to Utah for Dad's 90th birthday party in November. So this was so, so awesome! 
Aunt Megan: 
Aunt Sabrina and a sleepy Benson: 
The next day they wanted to see the sights since they were flying out Sunday night, so we had a busy day going to Liberty Jail, Far West, and Adam-Ondi-Ahman. Here are the girls snuggled in a tree down near the valley look out. The kids had so much fun with their aunts and uncle and grandparents! It was fun to drive behind the rental car that had BB and his family. You could tell they were having a great time with the waving arms, etc.. I loved that. 
Things got pretty hilarious playing Phase 10 after dinner at Red Robin. It was awesome! 
They were there for Benson's blessing on Sunday and then flew out that late afternoon. It was a great blessing to have them here. So thankful for their effort to come! It made my husband feel so, so loved and supported. It was awesome. 

Grandma And Grandpa Meet Benson

So the long awaited moment arrived! Benson got to meet his grandparents. We were so, so happy to have them here! I'll admit it, I am totally a Momma's girl. Plus, I'm a Daddy's girl. Basically, we lived so close to both of our parents our whole married life because we LIKE them. So being so far away during the pregnancy and delivery was hard for me. I could barely keep it together driving to the airport to pick them up! There wasn't enough room for all of us and them, too, in the Durango, so it was just Benson and I that went to pick them up (Katelyn found this very disturbing, as she has always been my buddy going to the airport to pick up Grandma and Grandpa)! The timing was perfect, by the time I'd parked and gotten Benson out and situated, I walked into the airport and coming down the hallway were my Mom and Dad. Happy moment! We gave hugs and then unveiled the star of the hour. They liked him:
And apparently found him very cute:
Grandpa and my boys (wasn't really that long ago that KJ was my tiny baby, but now he's my tiny giant, and Benson is the tiny baby!): 
The girls starting a rousing performance of "Let It Go" for Grandma. Let me tell you, it was rousing. I'm pretty sure Grandma got several showings while she was here, but that is what Grandma's are for -- to convince you that you are wonderful, and uniquely talented: 
It was just so comforting to have them here. They stayed for about a week and a half, so it wasn't rushed at all. So appreciate their sacrifice to be willing to do that! We loved every second. We just mostly stayed around the house and enjoyed each others company. It was great. 
They were such a big help. My Mom worked like crazy, cleaning the house, cooking, basically giving a million acts of service. And my poor Dad got roped into an accidental painting. We'd asked him to help us patch a few small holes in the walls, which somehow merged into a major painting project, and even a "saw into the wall" incident. Poor man! But we so appreciated his expertise. Oh, boy. He and the Double B spent two days straight painting, and then half of another day a few days later! That is not a fun way to spend a vacation, but we so appreciated it. Plus, I finally said goodbye to a paint color I have truly disliked for almost two years, and hello to a nice bright cream that is my new best friend. 
My parents are pretty much the best.
Benson checking out his Grandma: 
And totally sprawled out with Grandpa. Look at those little arms tossed above his head: 
I am so thankful for our time together with this new little baby that has joined our family. And I know they were so happy to be here. We are lucky to have each other! 

The Story Of Benson

It isn't too often you have the opportunity to tell an EPIC story. In fact, in my life, I have many experiences that are amazing to me... but EPIC? That's only happened exactly one handful of times. The Arrival of Mr. Benson Ray makes EPIC STORY #5.

It all started one Friday... July 25th. I'll take us back to the day before his birth, because it's interesting. I woke up that morning feeling sick. Legitimately sick. "Sick" kind of became my friend at the end of this pregnancy, I was frequently feeling yucky, but this was just a full on sick. I didn't really leave my bed much that day, and then about two o'clock I noticed I was having rather hard contractions somewhat consistently. I timed them for two hours, and they were 5-7 minutes apart. But then... they stopped. I was feeling a little better, so got up and puttered around. Talked to my Mom on the phone and she reminded me that the next day, July 26th, was my Grandpa KJ's birthday, so I should just go ahead and have Benson then. That has been kind of a running joke the whole pregnancy -- something we would love but not really realistic, since I had never gone into labor on my own. The Primary was in charge of the ward 24th of July celebration the next morning, and while I had divided up all the responsibilities for the event beforehand, I still knew I should go. Because... I was in charge. I told the Double B as we climbed into bed that even though I knew I should go, I just didn't know if I felt up to it. He convinced me that at 39 weeks pregnant, missing it would be just fine. And I went to sleep, happy not to worry about it.
At 1:30 in the morning on Saturday, July 26th, I woke up because as I'd turned over (a seismic event that occurred multiple times a night), I'd felt a small gush of water and thought maybe I'd peed my pants... crazy. Woke me right up. So I got up, and as I sat on the toilet there was a gush of fluid -- and then -- I went potty. Two separate things. This seemed unusual, so I sat there for several minutes thinking "Did my water just break? Nah... did it? Nah..." I stood up and sat down several times (which must have looked as funny as it sounds), hoping for the same effect, but nothing happened. So I climbed back in bed, determined to go back to sleep, but I just kept wondering. So a while later, I got back up to go to the bathroom again, and once again, a small gush of fluid when I sat down. By now I'm thinking "Either I am crazy, or..." I laid in bed for awhile, waiting for contractions, but they were very irregular and nothing to write home about. At 2:30 the Double B's alarm went off to get ready for work and I told him I thought my water might have broken, but I just really wasn't sure, as I'd never had my water break and had nothing to compare it to. He said "Well, don't you think you should call the doctor?" And I said I didn't want to wake her up, so he suggested I call the hospital and ask them. The nurse said she thought I should come in, which just really surprised me, because I've always been more the send home type! I called Dr. Morris and she said she thought we would be having a baby today! I was so shocked. So we got everything ready and wrote the kids a note (we'd gone over the plan with them beforehand), but KJ heard us rustling around and woke up, ready to take action -- to snuggle in our bed and send us off, large and in-charge. As I walked him downstairs with my arm around him, he looked at me with sleepy eyes and said he had been dreaming that Benson was being born that day. Interesting. While BB was upstairs and I was changing, sure enough, there was a great big gush of water down my legs, and even a puddle on the floor -- life-long dream come true! No doubt now, my water had broken, which I thought I would never get to experience and was totally awesome and weird, and we were on our way to the hospital!
I would like to say now that I recognize that in that last paragraph there was a lot of talk about water and bathrooms, and stuff. I can't help myself. The gory details are part of the experience, man.
We calmly drove to the emergency room where they had asked us to come, and while there, the nurses mentioned they could not believe how busy the night had been for the maternity ward, and sure enough, another pregnant lady came in with a broken water while we were standing there! They had four "spontaneous water ruptures" that night, which apparently is super-de-duper uncommon and they attributed to the unsettled atmosphere. Cool. I was just happy to be one of them, man. A WHOLE WEEK BEFORE MY DUE DATE! A modern day miracle. And I'm not joking about that, I was (and am) totally blown away that it actually happened,. Surreal.
A very nice nurse got us all settled and we watched the sun slowly lighten into morning. Lovely farmland out the window. The Double B called our parents to let them know we were at the hospital and the fireworks show was about the commence. It was about 2:30 their time, so I felt bad about that, but as my Mom said, they would have been mad if we wouldn't have called! Interestingly enough, my Mom had woken up about 1:30 like she'd been startled awake. So much so that she got out of bed to check the house. Finally, she and my Dad wondered if maybe I was getting ready to have the baby. Don't you find that just absolutely fascinating, that both she and KJ would have been dreaming dreams? I know I do!
I had a sweet moment laying in that bed in the very early morning, realizing my little son would share a birthday with my Grandpa KJ, whose legend has loomed so large in my life. I not only felt pleased that Benson would have that reminder of heavenly help, like his big brother, but I felt so cared about. Maybe that's funny. But I could feel my grandparents in the room briefly, sharing their love and support and excitement. Like maybe they'd helped arrange things so I could have that little memento, and feel not quite so alone and not quite so far away from family. It was awesome. It brought tears of appreciation to my eyes.
When they checked me at 4 a.m., I was at a 4 and 50% effaced. Kind of disappointing. And so it continued until about nine -- still a 4, not really any magnificent contractions, so they started me on Pitocin. Still pretty slow going, though I could feel things starting to steadily pick up, for which I was thankful. Around 10:45, I was in some pretty serious pain and ready for my epidural. The doctor that put it in was super nice (his name was Michael, and I told him I would name my baby after him -- big lie. I tell it all the time. Every time I have an epidural, that is. But I was at least honest and told him I was probably lying.) and he was also super fast, which is good when someone is sticking a sword into your spinal column. The problem is, it hurt quite a lot when he thought I should only be feeling pressure. Finally I could feel the beginning tingles and they got me settled again, laying flat, while he cleaned up. But where normally I felt totally numb, I felt more a dullness -- the pleasant warmth, but I could still feel the contractions. Not super painful like before, but I could definitely feel them. I had no problem moving my legs. They thought it would pick up and I wasn't worried, because it was just enough to take the edge off. When my nurse checked me at 11:51, I was at a 6. We joked that if we were going to have that baby by noon, we were really going to have to pick things up! Just before 12:10, I suddenly felt almost like an explosion of pain -- incredible pressure like I've felt when the baby is ready to come, but also incredible pain. It built and built and built and I told the Double B (when I could talk again) that I needed the nurse. She came in right then and said we needed to get me on my side (she'd been watching the baby's heart beat in the hallway), but when I explained the pain I said "I know I'm probably crazy, but it feels just like the baby is ready to come" and she said "That's not crazy, especially when it's your fourth baby" as she got the gloves out. But when she moved the sheet she said "Oh boy, he is right there!" and obviously did not need to check me. She quickly went into the hall and told them to call Dr. Morris right now and tell her to hurry. Nurses came in to help get things set up, but here is where it gets a little fuzzy... while I am thankful for what help that the epidural gave me it really wasn't doing it's thing as far as pain management. By that point the baby was wanting to come and it was like nothing I have ever felt before -- the crazy desire to push and the overwhelming pain. Like going from zero to a million. I was shaking like an earthquake and making quite a lot of strange sounds (by the way, I always thought that was WAY overstated in movies. Not so much. I was the crazy lady.). The nurse kept telling me to breath and then a million years later Dr. Morris was there getting gloved up, etc. The nurse went to put my legs in the stirrups and said "Okay, well, we'd better not do that. You let me know when you're ready, Dr. Morris." Trying to hold the baby inside, essentially. So I had some feeling in the back of my mind (that was still with it) that Baby Benson was going to slip right out. Unfortunately, not so much.
I've always been lucky with pushing -- I could always tell right where to push and it didn't take too long -- especially with my girls, so fast and focused. Not so with Benson. I was in so much pain that it was difficult to control my body to push, and then -- his head got stuck (and I say this with all the love in my heart, that kid does have a big noggin). He was stuck. When he wasn't coming after several tries, the pain kind of took over and I went far, far away. That's the only way to describe it. Things were kind of black around the edges and everything was just muffled noise and pain. I honestly could not focus my brain to tell it where to push. My body was so confused, that's the only way to describe it. During a short break, Dr. Morris very sternly got my focus back and told me I just had to pull my legs clear up into my chest and push with everything I have -- that I could not give up. But as the next wave came, I honestly remember thinking so forcefully that I COULD NOT DO IT. It was a very powerful thought, and again I say -- yes, cliché. The movies totally were not lying! I knew that I could NOT do it, I remember shaking my head and the Double B trying to talk to me and Dr. Morris talking, but I don't know what about. All blurry. The Double B said she had just called for more nurses when somewhere in my mind the thought came to pray for help, and I did that with what I had left. Not sure what I said in that prayer, but I know I asked for the strength that I did not have, and guess what -- Benson was born. (Not that I knew that. I was out of it.) Next thing I'm aware of, Dr. Morris was essentially yelling my name: "Marie! Marie!!! Look!" And there was a baby. I saw him and dropped my head back. I do remember hearing that his cord was short -- (like Katelyn's) -- because she couldn't reach him up onto my stomach. I remember she asked the Double B if he wanted to cut the cord, which I knew he didn't. And suddenly they set him right up on my chest, literally on my neck, so he was right up against my face. They took my hands and pressed them onto him, and he started to wail. This was the moment where my mind reentered the room. It became clear that this baby was MY baby, that he was born, that it was over, and he was mine, and he was here. It was real. I started to talk to him, and as I did that, my whole body started to calm down. His did, too, he responded to my voice and would just wail sporadically, otherwise being obviously comforted as Daddy and I talked to him. It was a very wild experience!
The Double B said Dr. Morris explained that everything looked good with the cord and placenta and stitched me back up. They talked about how big he was, and I could tell that he was a heavy boy. They made guesses -- wondering if he would be in the eight pound range like my other three -- I heard Dr. Morris said no way, he was bigger. He came in at 9 pounds, one ounce, and was 20 inches long, born at 1-2-3-4... 12:34 p.m. Easy to remember. And I like that he is an early rebel. Couldn't be like the other three, he had to be his own man. His head and chest had the same measurement -- 14 centimeters! He wasn't easy to get out, ladies and gentlemen. But that sweet, precious little boy is mine. I'm so thankful!
Dr. Morris exited the room, and when she came back, she had a cold cloth and wiped my face very gently for a few minutes. It was actually a very sweet act of service. She kindly and repeatedly told me what a good job I'd done (which was nice, because if it's possible to have a low self-esteem about giving birth, suddenly I had one and felt like I'd done just a terrible job! ha ha!). When I thanked her, still very weak and listless, she explained to me that my body was in shock and the adrenalin would kick in any moment and I would start to feel more alert and aware. She congratulated us, made sure all was well, checked Benson again, and rode off into the sunset.
Things got cleaned up very quickly after that, they set Benson and I up, told me desperately needed food was on the way, and just like that the room was empty and it was just the three of us. So surreal. I asked the Double B to come to the bed and take my hand, which he did. And then I told him "That was hard. Please kiss my forehead." He laughed, and did. Soon after that he got to hold his new little son for the first time. I loved to see them together!
The family was called and I vaguely heard what was said, exhausted but happy to have my little son. I started to feel more with it after I'd eaten and laid back for awhile.
Bringing Benson into the world was my hardest delivery -- by a long shot. It was very difficult and took some time to not feel a little traumatized! But I'm so glad I had the great privilege of bringing him into this world. An incredible blessing was my rate of recovery... by the time a couple of hours had passed and they came to transfer us to another room, I was perfectly able to get up and move around, walked down the hallway myself (even pushed Benson in his little cart!) and was already feeling quite a lot better. Even my hands felt better then they had in months. My body was just so relieved to be done with the ordeal of pregnancy and delivery! It was great. In fact, almost as a trade off, the difficulty of delivering him brought the easiest recovery I've ever had. I felt great. A little sore, maybe. But I was not in any pain at all, all afternoon and evening. Some cramping, as is normal, but my body just felt GREAT. It was quite glorious, actually! Amazing. The Double B just kept saying how he could not believe how good I looked and how good I was doing -- like nothing he'd seen before in our past history! It was truly an enormous blessing. I took some medicine just before trying to get some sleep that night because night is always harder, but I took it more as a precaution and it was a very low dose. And I even did get a few hours of sleep! Miraculous! (Of course, I'd been awake since 1:30 that morning, too.) I told Heavenly Father during the night that I could see his miraculous hand in the ease of my recovery. An enormous, enormous blessing. I am so appreciative of that! That adrenaline really did kick in and I was pretty much high on life. It also made a difference that since he is my fourth I recognized the worth of a couple of hours of sleep, so I was perfectly happy to send him to the nursery in little bits and snatches, and perfectly happy when they brought him in to eat and snuggle again. What an absolute angel. He just had the very sweetest spirit about him and it was an absolute pleasure to be in his presence! We love, love, love him.
The kids were so, so excited to come and meet their new baby brother! We were incredibly blessed, because the Tate's were going to watch our kids but had run into some scheduling problems, and as it turned out we had to find some back-ups because the only day they could really do it now was Saturday -- the day he was born! Ha ha! So Bev was able to go pick up the kids about seven. KJ had been such a champion. I honestly think this experience of being responsible as Benson joined us and finally having a brother has been a maturing experience for him. He woke up his sisters at the appropriate time, fed them breakfast, got them dressed, helped them pack up backpacks to take to Bev's (an interesting assortment of items), and had them ready to go for Bev. She said they marched out like ducks, so excited to tell her that Baby Benson was being born that day!
The Double B went and picked them up a little after four to bring to the hospital. They were joyful. Happy to see Mom, and very happy to meet Benny. KJ was so elated -- it was so sweet to see.
Olivia was all thrilled.
And Katelyn was a little nervous.
It took her a week or so to decide she could really touch him. So sweet. Our little family isn't so little anymore. We've grown and grown, and had so much joy because of it.
Dr. Morris came in to check on us just as the family was leaving. She talked to all the kids and watched them walk out. Then she turned to me and cheerfully said "Do not tell me there is a pressing reason for you to be home tomorrow. That is a circus! You are staying for an extra day." And I did. And it was awesome! The Tate's kindly had the kids stay over that night so my honey could stay with Benson and I. He felt better being able to be there with us, and we so, so appreciate their kindness and friendship. Don't know where we'd be at this time in our lives without them.
We named him Benson Ray.
Benson for his Dad, a man I love so much, and such a GOOD man.
I was the naming Captain this time, but could honestly, for the life of me, never ever figure out a middle name! A real conundrum. The only reason he even has one to this day is because they didn't want us to leave the hospital without one, ha ha! So hard. I'd probably still be undecided. So many good men for him to look up to. It would have been perfect to name him after my Grandpa KJ, but -- we'd already taken that one! And even given KJ the middle name of John, which was his middle name. So... honored. Bam. So... Ray. Ray is the Double B's Grandpa's name. And just a few days before would have been his own hundredth birthday. And here was this sweet great-grandson, a hundred years later. He and the Double B loved each other very much, and he was a good man. He lived a good life! And we love stories about Grandpa (and his great love for black pepper). I knew Benson would be wise to follow his path and that made me happy. Ray is also his Uncle Tony's middle name. I knew it would make the Double B happy, and hopefully would feel like we were honoring my wonderful Mother-in-law, too.
The name "Ray" means "grace." It truly is through the grace of God that I hold this tiny baby in my arms -- a marvelous gift. I'd spent the few years before his birth pondering the will of God for our little family, learning to accept that His will would be accomplished and that I would be able to accept His will. So you can imagine that I am so grateful for this gift. I recognize that Benson is truly a gift from Him! Yay for Benson. Yay for tiny Benson B.
He makes us happy, and our hearts are full.
Welcome to the world, Bens!
We love you so, so, so, so much!!!!