Sunday, January 16, 2011

stretch marks

For about a month or so I have been thinking about stretch marks. To some it may be an off the wall topic to even contemplate, but in my world this subject just flows seamlessly into my everyday life. OK, so maybe I should say that they are staring me in the face daily-or staring back at me through the mirror to be more exact. Hopefully that is not too much info to throw out there, but let's be real.

I think my musing all started one day when my darling 3 yr. old saw me changing my clothes and asked me, "Mom why do you have zebra stripes on your belly?". Oh, how words from the mouths of babes can pierce one's heart. After I recovered from the shock and had picked up my hurt feelings off of the floor, I proceeded to tell her that yes, while they did look like zebra stripes they were called stretch marks from where my belly had grown as a result of having four babies. She seemed happy with the answer and went about her way. I, however decided to really think about what those little marks on my belly meant and represented to me.

I have heard it said that, 'Stretch marks are the badge of a real woman'. But I think that is crap. Does that mean that just because a woman does not have them (wouldn't that be nice) makes her less of a woman?! Of course not! And besides, women are not the only ones who have stretch marks. OK, so that's enough ranting, I'll move on before I am sucked into the abyss by an unforeseen tractor beam and completely given over to the dark side.

So I know that those little marks do not define me as a woman, but they did help to shape me into the woman I am today. I realized that each one of those little lines is just a little puzzle piece in the story of me. I can probably even tell you when or more specifically who I got each of those little lines from. To me those lines are a reminder of all four of my pregnancies. All of the prayers said for my Payton during a difficult and fearful time full of trips to the genetic counselor and endless testing, camping out on the couch because it made my back feel better, the thrill of feeling my baby move inside of me and the joy that each of their births has brought to my life.

It is because of these marks and becoming a mother that I have truly been able to understand and see in a new light the love that our Savior has for us. After all it was Jesus who made the greatest sacrifice for us on the cross. And I have only just realized that as he was up on that cross his arms were stretched wide and as his hands and feet were pierced he was receiving the ultimate stretch mark. He loved us so much that he was willing to die on a cross for our sins. And those little scars that were left on his body are merely a symbol of his love for me. So even though I am not too excited to have a zebra striped belly, I will try to remember that those little marks are a direct result and symbol of growth, sacrifice, dedication and most of all love.

Monday, January 3, 2011

my guy

4days 5months 11months

I realized these last few weeks that I have not posted anything about my favorite guy in his entire life! he has only been with me for just over a year now, but it is difficult to remember life before him. Allow me to introduce the special little guy in my life, the one and only Ace. Yes, I do admit he may not have the most conventional or widely accepted name by some standards, but that is all part of his charm. After all with 3 older sisters he really is one of a kind.
Ace made his way into this world Dec. 19, 2009 and instantly captured our hearts. From the get go my guy had a rough start. Less than 24 hours after he was born we discovered that he had a punctured lung and needed to be admitted to the NICU. Right away he was placed under what we referred to as the "Darth Vader helmet" to aid filling and pressurizing his lung. Although, it is with regret that I must say we do not have a photo of this infamous helmet. I blame it one the hysteria parents feel when learning that their newborn is less than healthy. It was very difficult to watch our guy being poked with IVs and not being able to hold him for long periods of time, but he was never alone. We had a steady stream of family who were constantly by his side and a FANTASTIC Nurse- Josh, for that I am truly grateful. When Ace was able to come home we were relieved to have the family together again, but it was short lived. He was readmitted to the hospital on Dec. 24 for jaundice and failure to gain weight. So his first Christmas was spent under the blue lights soaking in the rays. We were very thankful that his second stay was short and sweet and he was discharged on Christmas day.
Ace's saga does not quite end as of yet...When we took him in for his 4 month check-up I told the Dr. about our concerns regarding his low weight and the amount of spit-up Ace was producing on a daily basis. Let me tell you, it wasn't pretty. This discussion led to 3 ultra sounds, which Ace was NOT a fan of, an upper GI test with barium, blood tests and urine tests. I just have to say that getting a urine sample from a 4 month old may be easy in theory, but really it's not for amateurs! However, I am now an expert and available for consultation :) In the end we discovered that our guy had really bad acid reflux and was put on a couple of medications.

Whew....I kinda feel like I have been a downer in recanting this tale. Let me skip ahead a couple months and get to the good part. At a year old, Ace is no longer on any medication for his acid reflux and in fact has seemed to have out-grown it. He no longer struggles to breathe, but has two healthy lungs and now we are the ones who are struggling to keep up with his growing appetite. This experience has made it clear that God was and is with us. My son is gift and I love him more than words could ever express. So in the morning when he wakes up I will greet him just as I do every day when I say, 'Good morning handsome' and I will give him a big kiss and a hug and love on him like there is no tomorrow.

Things you should know about Ace:
  • 1 yr. old
  • can army crawl like he is being chased by a bear
  • gives big open mouth kisses
  • is big on organization and loves to put all of his cars and toys in boxes
  • looks fabulous in hunter orange