Thursday, June 20

Roman - One Month

I really like having Brock's monthly posts to go back and look at, so I want to try to do the same for Roman over the course of his first year. I'm a week behind already, but Brock's first monthly post was late too so I'm just being consistent.

We went for Roman's one month checkup last Thursday, and he now weighs 9 pounds, 10 ounces! He was 6 lbs, 13 oz at birth, dropped down to 6 lbs, 7 oz before we left the hospital with him, and then gained back up to 7 lbs by his one week checkup. But in three weeks, he has gained almost three pounds, the little fatty. I think this is mostly due to my overactive milk supply (it's ridiculous really and slightly unfortunate for me because I think I'd have to feed an entire continent of babies in order to actually burn any calories from breastfeeding). But he's clearly a good eater, and I'm thankful to have had two babies who did well with this whole nursing thing. He also measured 21.5 inches now, so he has gained an inch and a half since birth. I'm not looking up the whole percentile rank thing this time around because I really just don't care as much anymore about comparing my children to the averages (I also haven't googled any milestone checks this first month either or worried that Roman might be autistic because he won't look me in the eyes yet. I'm a completely different mom this second time.)

Here is some of what Roman has done this first month:
  • He eats every 2.5-3 hours for about 20 minutes at a time. The pediatrician told us to feed him every 2.5 hours during the day and don't let him sleep more than 2 hours at a time so that he'll get his days and nights straightened out. That worked pretty well because he had several nights where he would go 5 or 6 hours between feedings. I've moved him more to a 3 hour schedule during the day now though because I felt like all I was doing all day long was nursing him.
  • I wake him for the last feeding at about 10:00 at night and then I let him wake himself. He usually wakes up sometime around 2:30 and then again around 6:15, so he goes about 4 hours between feedings at night.
  • He had a growth spurt around 3 weeks so he was waking up more frequently to eat. Since I knew to watch for it this time around and knew not to fight against it, I just fed him more often, and it was over after about a day or so.
  • We moved him out of the bassinet in our room and into the crib in his room at about 3 weeks. Here's a distinct difference between the first-born and the second-born. Brock stayed in our room until he was 5 weeks old. If I hadn't had a c-section and had been more mobile, Roman probably would've been in his room the first week. He'll be better off for it though. I can't wait to see how his little personality will be, but I already think he'll be more resilient and confident than Brock just because it has become clear to me how much we coddle and worry over our first babies.
  • He spits up, a lot, just like his brother did. I'm going through 4 or 5 burp cloths a day. This is another symptom of my hyperlactation, and it's annoying, but I guess it's a good problem to have.
  • He usually poops after every feeding, so we've almost gone through 250 diapers in one month. Literally. I have a 106-count box of diapers that we've just about finished off, and we used up about 5 packs with at least 25 diapers in each of them. It's a lot. I'm sorry to the future generations and to the landfill. But I'm not cleaning 8-10 poopy cloth diapers a day in my sleep-deprived, exhausted state. I'm just not doing it.
  • His umbilical stump (yuck) fell off after about 2 weeks, so he had his first real bath after that. (I'm only recording this because I didn't write down when Brock's fell off, and I kept wondering with Roman how much longer it would take.) I felt guilty because I kind of kept forgetting to give him his sponge bath those first two weeks. Three days would go by, and I'd be like, "Oh, crap, Roman needs a bath!" But made me feel better when I read that newborns really only need to be bathed every other day. We've gotten into a routine now, so he should smell baby fresh to anyone who holds him in the future (or he might smell like spit up because he particularly likes to do that after I've washed him).
  • The newborn size clothes started fitting him at about 2 weeks. Before that, they were just enormous on him, which is crazy because they looked so tiny before he was born. He outgrew the newborn size diapers (they started leaking) around 2.5 weeks so he's using size 1 now.
  • He does NOT like for me to pick his nose, which is a shame because I really enjoy it for some reason. But he will scream if I don't get the booger out on the first try. I went back and read one of Brock's monthly posts and saw that I loved picking his nose too. So... I'm a weirdo.
  • He might be an even easier baby than Brock was, and I felt like Brock was a pretty easy baby. He is really content and only cries if he has gas or if he's hungry (or if I'm picking his nose). He sleeps great and is just really easy-going so far. And I am counting my blessings because I thought for sure I used up my good-baby card on my first one. But he's great!
I don't want to always compare them to each other, but I did want to put their one month pictures side-by-side. Roman is a lot more alert than Brock was at this age, but Brock was born three weeks early, so I think he had a little catching up to do. My two little guys...


Now, a few things about me I want to record in case there is a next time (the verdict is still out on whether we can have any more babies and keep our sanity):
  • I could lay on my side about 3 days after coming home so about one week after surgery. What is ridiculous is that I had to lay on my side for like the previous 8 months and really just wanted to be able to sleep on my back or my stomach again. Then I have the baby and can only lay on my back but just want to be able to sleep on my side again. The grass is always greener...
  • I started being able to move at normal speeds by about 1 week after surgery but still had to take it easy. If I moved or walked around too much, I would be more sore.
  • I stopped needing the prescription strength ibuprofen (I didn't fill my prescription for the heavier pain-killers) around 2 weeks post-op, and the majority of my pain was mostly gone by 3 weeks.
  • My incision healed up by the 2 week checkup, and you can't even see anything there now other than a faint little line.
  • Nursing pain was starting to ease up by the end of the month, and I wasn't having to use the Lanolin as frequently, but it did hurt a lot in the beginning like it did with Brock. Most of my engorgement issues resolved themselves after a couple of weeks too, but I didn't pump at all this time around because I wanted my supply to base itself solely off of Roman's demands.

The Little Foxes (A Lesson in Marriage)

Marriage is hard.
Marriage with one kid is really hard.
Marriage with two kids is really, really hard.
Marriage with more than two kids... I can't say from experience, but in my opinion, these are the real superheroes who should be having blockbuster movies made about them.

Having my husband home with me on summer break the past month has been a huge blessing. I'm so grateful that he has a job that has allowed him to be here while we have a newborn, so that we all can adjust with a little more ease, and I don't feel like I'm having to handle it all on my own. As much as he is my best friend and I adore him though, we can drive each other a little crazy and really get under each other's skin. Being together pretty much all day, every day for the past month has provided more opportunities for us to get irritated with one another and more chances for us to vent that frustration to each other. Now, those of you who are reading this because you think I'm about to air all of the Vandegriffs' dirty laundry, you'll be disappointed to find out that that is not, in fact, what this blog post is about (and then I want you to examine yourself to try to figure out why you were so excited that you thought that's what was about to happen). Unlike that one special Facebook friend we all have who loves to post the ridiculous dramatic happenings in their relationships every ten minutes, I actually have a working filter, and I know that it would not benefit anyone to talk specifically about the negative things in my personal life. Suffice it to say, there are negatives. And I think it's okay to say that because I am a human. Blaine is a human. I'm assuming you are a human too if you're reading this (unless maybe this is 40 years into the future and our artificially intelligent computers have finally gained sentience). So as humans, we all know we are imperfect, and as imperfect humans, we are all going to make mistakes. And when there are mistakes, there are negative outcomes. So, yes, shocking as it may be, I don't have the perfect life. I am not the perfect woman. My husband is not the perfect man. And our kids are not the perfect kids. (Although if you've ever read any other blog posts I've written, you would have no reason to have thought any of us were perfect in the first place).

So if I'm not about to tell you all the ways Blaine and I have gotten on each other's nerves this past month, and I'm not about to publicly vent any specific negative details about my husband, you may be asking (if you're actually still reading and weren't just here for the drama), "What is the point of this post?" Well, this post is the result of a thought process that started when my husband and I got really frustrated with each other today, and I stormed off to take a shower and stew on my angry thoughts but while in the shower came to some conclusions about myself and my marriage that I wanted to write down to remember in the future.

My general thoughts when I got in the shower were along the lines of: "How dare he?" "Look at all the stuff that I do and take care of," "I would never say such and such," "I would never do such and such," "I am such a selfless, good, thoughtful, [insert any other positive adjective] wife and mother," "What a jerk," "I'm going to stay in this shower for an hour and let him deal with our offspring himself," "I am giving him the silent treatment the rest of the day" (big punishment, I know).

Then in the midst of that self-affirming, husband-accusing stream of consciousness, this thought quietly inserted itself: Catch the little foxes. But I kept going with that other flow of thought for a few more minutes because it made me feel good. Once again the phrase interrupted me: Catch the little foxes. I still resisted, but the thought was getting louder, and the husband-bashing was making me feel guilty now. CATCH THE LITTLE FOXES. Ok, Ok, I've got it!

Now, before you think I'm clinically insane and have multiple personalities or hear voices, let me explain. There's a book called Song of Songs (sometimes Song of Solomon) in the Bible that is about a couple and their love story, their courtship, their marriage, their intimacy, and even some of their struggles. In chapter 2 of that book, there is a verse (vs 15) that says, "Catch for us the foxes, the little foxes that ruin the vineyards, our vineyards that are in bloom." There are, of course, different interpretations about what this means and what exactly the foxes are, but several years ago I listened to a sermon series on the Song of Songs, and one of the messages was about this particular section in the book. (Here is a link to the specific message I'm talking about, and you can also access the other messages on the entire book from that website. It's really a great series worth listening to, married or unmarried). In that message, the pastor refers to the little foxes as, "those seemingly small sins that sneak into a marriage and create disunity." My little foxes were running amok while I stood there in the shower mentally proclaiming my innocence and my husband's awfulness. My little foxes, upon closer examination, were feelings of pride and arrogance, unrealistic expectations, selfishness, a dishonest or unrealistic view of my own self and the role I play in our disagreements or differences, and the forgotten realization that I and my husband are imperfect humans with a nature of sinfulness that has to be overcome on a regular basis. Those little foxes were having a field day in my head, and I was just opening the gate wide and welcoming them into our vineyard (our marriage). Once the realization sank in and I knew what I was doing was wrong and harmful to my relationship with my husband, I prayed to God right there to help me catch those stupid foxes.

So I set out to catch them one by one. I calmed down, I stepped outside of the focus on ME, and I gained a new perspective. Was I justified in my frustration? Maybe. Did I handle the situation appropriately? Not really. Did I contribute to the problem? Definitely. Was I some innocent victim? Nope. Was I trying to play the part of an innocent victim? Yep. Would staying angry about this benefit anyone? Absolutely not. Then I went into the specific details (which I will not go into here) and examined why I reacted the way I did, what was I really upset about, and how could I have handled it all differently and more productively?

Clearly the shower ended up going a little long, but it really wasn't out of spite. It was a cleansing process (Ha Ha).

I would like to go ahead and insert a little disclaimer here that our argument wasn't about some earth-shattering, marriage-ending problem. It may or may not have had something to do with nap time and a turkey sandwich. But that's how tricky those little foxes are. We know not to cheat on each other or lie to each other. The marriage-ending potential for those actions is pretty clear. But fighting about a turkey sandwich and our 2 year old's nap time, well that's a little more sneaky but can have just as devastating effects.

So I caught the foxes and was then reminded of the passage in the Bible I had read only 3 days ago during my devotional time. I'm going through the book of 1 Corinthians and read chapter 13 just this past Monday. When I stood there (yes, still in the shower) thinking about how I was acting toward Blaine, it wasn't measuring up very well to the standard of love laid out in the Bible (vs 4-6):

  • Was I being patient? (No)
  • Was I being kind? (No)
  • Was I being jealous or boastful or proud? (Definitely proud, and I definitely boasted in my mind about how great I was)
  • Was I rude? (Yeah)
  • Was I demanding my own way? (Ha! That was the start of the whole problem!)
  • Was I being irritable? (Yep)
  • Was I keeping a record of wrong? (Yeah, if I'm honest, I think I had actually been mentally tallying up every time he had done this specific thing over the past few days)
  • Was I rejoicing over injustice or rejoicing when the truth wins out? (I didn't want the truth to win because then I would have to admit I was a little wrong)
But the passage concludes: "Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance." (vs 7) 

So here's what I concluded... I wasn't acting lovingly toward Blaine, but I do love Blaine, and I needed to change my actions to truly show it. 

Here's what I concluded... I can't control Blaine; I can only control myself and how I react. I tell him this all the time when he's driving and he gets mad at another driver, but I wasn't listening to my own obnoxious advice as I tried to control how Blaine should've acted and how he should've handled our argument instead of focusing on myself and my contribution to the problem. 

Here's what I concluded... It's really hard to love the right way. It's easy when things are going the way I want them to, but when circumstances don't go the way I expect, when I haven't had more than 3 hours of consecutive sleep for over a month, when I have a demanding toddler and a demanding newborn, when I just want to sit down and eat a whole cake but I don't have the excuse of being pregnant anymore so I have to practice self-control... well, those are the times when it's a little bit harder to love the right way. But it's no less important in those times if I want my marriage to "endure every circumstance".

Here's what I concluded... I'm a sinful person. Even though I have been saved from those sins by Jesus' redeeming work on the cross, and I am no longer a slave to sin, and even though my heart has been made new and has forgiveness, I still have a human nature that seeks its own comforts and its own demands and its own happiness. I have to ask God every day to help me keep my sinful inclinations in check, to help me promote and desire the happiness of others over my own selfish desires, to show love to others like He showed love to me by allowing His Son to die for me.

Here's what I concluded... my marriage is worth that effort. I made a covenant with Blaine to love him and be committed to him and to our marriage for the rest of our lives, and it takes work. It takes more work with two kids than it did when it was just us. But the reward is worth the effort, and I refuse to let the foxes win.

Wednesday, June 19

Son of a Biscuit Eater (Roman's birth story)

I've been meaning to write out the birth experience we had with Roman like I did for Brock (found here) but just haven't taken the time to do it yet (mostly because any free time I get to myself I'd rather spend watching Netflix reruns of The Office or taking a nap). Then I keep having these visions of the future where Roman throws in my face that I didn't care enough about him to record his birth, or Brock constantly antagonizes him by saying, "Mom loves me more. She wrote about my birth story but didn't care about when you were born." As a first-born, I know that is prime mocking material right there. So I'm going to write down some of the details (even though it's a month late), and I'm going to go ahead and give a disclaimer to Roman that he will probably not have as many stories or blog posts written about him as his brother did, but his brother was the practice round for my mothering abilities. He gets the 2.0 version of Mom, which is much improved from the version Brock had ;)

Anyway, since I had to have a c-section with Brock, I decided to schedule another one for Roman. My doctor gave me the option to try to deliver the "normal" way (normal might be an offensive word for women who have had c-sections, but I just don't want to use the "v" word here, as immature as that may sound), and part of me hoped I would just go into labor and it would progress so quickly that I wouldn't be able to have a c-section. The other part of me, however (the swollen, miserable, 35 weeks pregnant part), just wanted a specific end date and a clear-cut plan to work with. The date was set for May 14th at 7:30 in the morning. The planner in me really liked knowing exactly when and how everything was going to happen. I could make arrangements for Brock, have my house cleaned (a serious source of anxiety when I went into labor with Brock), and just have a peace of mind about the whole process because I knew the plan. Of course, plans don't always go according to plan... You'd think I would've figured that out from the first birth experience, especially since that was the title of the post I made about it.

May 13th, about 2:30 pm: My friend Kerri texts me and asks if I've had my emotional meltdown yet. I've been in serious nesting mode and have been cleaning out Brock's closet and sorting clothes and straightening the house for the past hour, and I tell her (probably a little smugly) that no, I'm not really that anxious, and I feel a little more prepared for this baby because I've experienced it before and also because we have it all scheduled and planned out. I give the disclaimer that I might just be in denial though :)  She replies and says that hopefully my meltdown will come before I get to the hospital parking lot (which is when she had hers). I laugh it off and don't think much else about it.

May 13th, about 6:00 pm: Blaine wants to take Brock to get frozen yogurt as a last little outing before he becomes a big brother. I stay home with happy plans of taking a nice, long bath and getting a little rest and relaxation before the big day. I turn the water on only to find that it is barely lukewarm and isn't heating up. That's a huge bummer because I hadn't actually had a shower that day, and I really was looking forward to that me-time bath. Normal Shelby would be disappointed. Pregnant, hormonal, weirdo, irrational Shelby felt like sitting down on the bathroom floor and crying about it. But I collected myself and called Blaine and told him I thought the pilot light might have gone out on our gas water heater. After he got back home, he lit the pilot and I waited about an hour to let the water heat back up, but it still wasn't hot. He went back downstairs to check, and it had gone out again. I'm starting to think, Oh great, we have a problem with our water heater the night before I'm supposed to have a baby. And I'm starting to feel less and less in control of the emotions that are threatening to break through.

May 13th, 8:30 pm: We're doing our nighttime routine with Brock and putting him to bed, and as the three of us sit there together singing "The Wheels on the Bus," the thought pops into my head that this is probably the last night that our routine will be like this. In a few days, we'll be bringing home a new little baby, and I don't know how our bedtime routines will go then. This slightly rational concern then snowballs into pregnant madness as I start over-dramatizing the whole thing in my mind. Will I still be able to sit in there with Brock and Blaine and sing lullabies and read stories, or will I be stuck nursing Roman and isolated from everyone? Brock is totally unaware that his little life is about to change completely, and it is all my fault! We decided to have another baby and didn't even consult how he would feel about it or whether he wanted a sibling. We are going to change so much about his life, and he's just happily singing along to "The Wheels on the Bus" without any understanding of what's about to hit him. It's going to be awful! He's going to hate his life. What kind of parent has more than one child? We're so cruel! As I look at his little oblivious, innocent face, I just start crying. The lights were off fortunately, so he had no idea it was happening, but Blaine immediately clued in to the fact that my voice was quivering and I could barely get out the words, "The wipers on the bus go swish, swish, swish." It had to have been the most preposterous song ever for someone to be crying during. But there I was, beginning my meltdown.

May 13th, 8:45 pm: Blaine finishes up the bedtime routine, and I quietly slip into our bedroom and allow the tears to flow freely. I feel so guilty for having another baby, and I am apparently so afraid that it is going to scar Brock for life. I text my sister-in-law Erica who has three kids and ask her if it's normal to feel like this and if I need to be concerned about poor, little Brock. She reassures me and brings me back to a certain degree of sanity. I also text Kerri and tell her how much I appreciate her planting the meltdown idea in my head because it has started. Then I hear Blaine downstairs clicking the lighter again, and I realize the pilot light has once more gone out. I'm supposed to have a baby tomorrow morning, we're about to completely ruin our firstborn's life, and I haven't had a shower today! The water heater was the straw that broke the camel's back. I can't even hold back my sobs anymore. I'm just crying and crying and sniffling and snotting and gasping and totally freaking out. I was trying to avoid letting Blaine see me in freak-out mode, but I go downstairs to ask if we should call a plumber (at 9:00 at night, no less). He just stands up and hugs me and lets me wipe my snot all over his shirt. He's a good man.

May 13th, 9:15 pm: Blaine calls a 24-hour plumber but gets an answering machine. We discuss it, and he talks me back down out of my hysteria and says, "Look, the worst that will happen is that we have to take cold showers in the morning. We can call a plumber tomorrow if it's still not staying lit, and I'll take care of it." There really was no need to get all panicked and worked up, but my pregnant brain couldn't understand that for some reason. Blaine says a little prayer with me and specifically asks God to please just allow me to have a hot shower in the morning and just to calm my nerves and anxiety. Then we pack the rest of our bags and go to bed.

May 13th-14th: I don't get much sleep that night.

May 14th, 4:00 am: My doctor told me I needed to be at the hospital about an hour and a half before the surgery was scheduled, so I get up to get ready around 4:00 that morning. I have a hot shower! (See, you can't tell me there is no God). I feel like dancing (but since I am the size of a Smart Car, I refrain from doing so). We get ourselves ready and leave when my mom gets to our house.

May 14th, 5:30 am: We're a little early since we don't have to be at the hospital til 6:00 so we run by Hardee's to get Blaine some coffee and breakfast. I ask him to get me a biscuit and a Sprite. As we get our food, I jokingly say, "I hope it's okay for me to eat this." But in my head, I assume it's fine because if I was going to be having an emergency or unplanned c-section, I might have eaten something before the surgery and they wouldn't be able to control that, right?

May 14th, 5:45 am: After we get our food, I get a call from the hospital asking me if I am still scheduled to have my c-section today. I laughingly reply with a little confusion, "Yes. We're on our way right now." Then the nurse asks how far away I am, and I start to get nervous. I tell her we will be there by 6:00, the time my doctor told me to be there. She informs me that I am supposed to be there 2 hours before the surgery time, so I am already 15 minutes late. What?!?! Apparently, someone from the hospital was supposed to have called me yesterday to give me the details and to make sure I knew what time to be there. Well someone dropped the ball because no one called me. So now I'm starting to get anxious again.

May 14th, 6:00 am: We get to the hospital right on time except not on time and do all the check-in stuff.

May 14th, 6:20 am: I head back to the labor and delivery unit with Blaine and am immediately made aware of how much I have inconvenienced these nurses with my delayed arrival. They were slightly rude and started rushing me around and treating me a little like I was an inconsiderate child who had intentionally shown up late. I start to feel guilty and upset and then, of course, emotional. As I go to the bathroom to change and get a urine sample, I hear Blaine making it quite clear that the way they are talking to me and treating me is unacceptable. He tells them that he doesn't care how late we are, that I am pregnant and having a baby today, and I don't need to be made to feel guilty or ashamed of anything. I start to cry as I think how thankful I am for this guy who is standing up for me and saying these things I would never say myself.

May 14th, 6:30 am: The nurses (with a remarkably different attitude and much more compassion) start prepping me and getting my blood work and asking me all sorts of questions, like whether I've done any drugs in the past 24 hours (no), whether I've smoked or drank alcohol during the pregnancy (no), whether I have AIDS or STDs or any other serious diseases (no), and when was the last time I ate? I innocently answer that I had breakfast about an hour ago and immediately regret that decision. The nurse stops, looks at me, and says, "You ate before you came here? What did you have?" With much more hesitation and doubt I meekly answer, "Yes? I had a biscuit and some Sprite." Her reply, no kidding, is, "O. M. G." Now it becomes clear to me that I wasn't supposed to have eaten anything, and I'm pretty sure I have just become the worst patient ever. This tells you a little bit about my people-pleasing personality... my biggest worry here was that all the nurses were going to hate me and that my doctor was going to have to readjust his entire day around me. I felt terrible. Apparently that call I was supposed to get from the hospital yesterday would have given me details such as "Don't eat anything after midnight." I still felt guilty though because I probably should have known better and refrained from eating anything, just in case.

May 14th, 7:00 am: I have been crying for about 20 minutes, and the angry nurse at the beginning of the process has become like a mother hen hugging me and telling me not to worry about anything, that it's no big deal. A very sweet anesthesiologist comes in and gives me the good news and the bad news. The good news: I will be having baby Roman today, for sure. The bad news: It's going to be at least 6 hours later than what we thought because they can't risk giving me anesthesia with the food in my system. The day shift nurse comes in and introduces herself and must be able to tell what a fragile state I'm in because she is just oozing compassion and gentleness. She says I don't need to worry about anything and that I should be thankful that I got to eat because usually the women are starving when they come in to have surgery. Then she asks, "Well, was it a good biscuit?" I laugh and say, "Not that good!"

May 14th, 7:30 am: Blaine notified all of our family who were in the waiting room expecting Roman to be there within the hour that it was going to be pushed back to later in the day. It would now either be 2:00, if the doctor could rearrange his office schedule, or 5:30, after his office hours were over. I felt awful for inconveniencing everyone who had gotten up so early to come and see Roman, and now they were all going to have to rearrange their day. Then the jokes start coming in about how I couldn't restrain myself and just had to have a biscuit. It actually made me feel a little better because they were trying to show me that it wasn't a big deal, but I did feel a little like the fat kid in the room then. Why couldn't it have been a salad or a cup of fruit that I ate?

May 14th, 8:00-1:00: Blaine and I just sat in the tiny little holding cell pre-op room waiting to find out when we were going to be able to have the surgery. At about 9:00, it suddenly hit me and I looked over at Blaine and said, "Roman is a son of a biscuit eater!" If that phrase means nothing to you, don't worry about it, but I thought it was pretty humorous. Around 1:00, I was tired of lying in the bed and being confined to the room, so I put on some clothes (instead of the open-back hospital gown) and asked Blaine to walk around with me. We left the room and looked for my nurse to let her know, and as we were turning to leave, she says, "Oh wait! They're about to start your pre-op stuff. He's doing your surgery at 2!" Well, that would've been nice to know before I went through all the effort of putting on my clothes (that sounds melodramatic, but believe me, it was a lot of effort; I was really huge). But I'm happy that we don't have to wait til the end of the day, so I get back in the room and get myself ready before any staff member can be upset at my delay. (Really, we were over all the drama from the morning... several staff came in and apologized for how things went down, and they told me I shouldn't feel bad because they were the ones who messed up in not calling me to give me all the instructions. I wasn't upset or angry; I just didn't want them to be upset or angry with me and think I was some jerk patient who just did whatever I wanted to do regardless of what the rules were. I think all the crying might have helped a little - either that, or it just made me look unstable and they wanted to be very careful with me).

May 14th, about 1:30 pm: They get me all ready, and my sister-in-law Lee gets there to take pictures. She and Blaine get suited up in their super attractive scrubs and face masks (Lee is really enthusiastic about her hair net too).

May 14th, about 2:00 pm: I've had my spinal block (which I liked much more than the epidural I had with Brock because I didn't feel ANY thing with it, and I had a lot less shaking), and they've got me laid out on the table ready to go. Blaine comes in and sits by my head, and they start the process.

May 14th, 2:26 pm: I hear a little baby start screaming, and I know my second child has now arrived. Roman Ellis Vandegriff was born, and we are now a family of four.

I never understood how parents could love all their children equally and feel the same kind of affection and pride over each baby. I still don't understand it because logically it seems like you would need time to develop an attachment with the new baby that is as strong as it is with the one you have had for two years, but somehow the love of a parent defies logic (I guess any kind of love defies logic really). I loved that little boy from the moment I knew he was being knit together in my womb, and finally I was able to put a face to that love when he came into the world that afternoon. Once again, I think God was trying to help me realize that even if I make my plans and have my expectations set on a certain path, I can't control everything around me, but He does. Proverbs 19:21 says, "Many are the plans in the mind of a man, but it is the purpose of the Lord that will stand." I think I needed that reminder again that I am not the one calling the shots here, and I am not the one who has all the wisdom and understanding and awareness of the world and the future. This next paragraph I'm putting in was the concluding paragraph for Brock's birth story, and I think it was what I needed to learn once more because of my slight arrogance that I knew what I was doing and that I had everything under control this second time around. Maybe eventually I'll have a birth experience that I don't need to learn a lesson from.

From Brock's birth story: Nothing about that day went according to my plans, but at some point God put an impression on my heart that made me realize I am not the one in control of my life. I told Blaine that this was my first lesson in parenthood: I am not in control. We will be this child's guardians, his disciplinarians, his protectors. We will love him, teach him, scold him, and direct him, but we will never be able to control him. He is his own individual, and he will make his own decisions, and we will guide him and pray that he makes wise ones and that he will seek to honor us as his parents and that he will one day recognize his need for a Savior, but we have to trust God to be in control and take care of this little person from now on for the rest of his life. So ultimately, all those things that I thought went wrong about that day served to show me my smallness and to magnify the greatness of our God. What a day!