Monday, April 14, 2014

Noelle Eve Hamilton

Preparing for Noelle to come was interesting for me. Physically, I'm sure I was ready to be done with this pregnancy two months ago, but preparing for her emotionally took quite a bit longer. I actually started therapy about 6 weeks before she was born. I wanted to work through some anxieties & fears I had about her coming before she got here. It was a lot of hard work. And having it all around the time of Link's angelversary added to the emotional drain, but as we neared Noelle's birth day, I felt more peace and excitement and less fear and doubt.

All my girls were overdue - Link was a week early because my water broke - so I was surprised that I was actually dilated to a 2+ at 38 weeks and a 3 at 39 weeks, so we were able to set an induction date. In our family we have birthdays on the 5th, 6th, 7th, and 9th, so I thought it would be neat to see if we could have her on the 8th if she didn't come by then. Well, she didn't come by then :) I had pretty strong and painful contractions, but they were never regular, so the 8th it was!

4 am was the induction time. Honestly, it could have been anytime in the night because I didn't get more than an hour of sleep. I was emotional, excited, grateful. Jason gave me a beautiful blessing and I was truly looking forward to meeting our new baby girl. We got up about 3:15, prayed, ate, gathered our few last-minute things, took some pics and off we went to the hospital. I made sure to bring my pictures of Link & the girls, as well as wear my Link bracelet & earrings. Thanks to mom who stayed with the girls in the morning & got them off to school! 

Once we got there & situated, they checked me (I was a 4) and started the pitocin about 5am. My deal with this pregnancy was that if I went into labor completely on my own, I would try & go natural, but if my water was broken or I had to get pitocin, bring on the epidural. I had the same anesthesiologist as I had with Link for my epidural & it was, once again, fabulous. I could move my legs, but had no pain. Which was, again, a very good thing for all they had to do at the end. At about 8:30 or so, my midwife came in and broke my water & stripped my membranes. After that the contractions were coming faster. Her heartrate decelerated when the contractions came, so I turned on my side for a while & my other side for another while. At about 10am  the nurse checked me and I was at an 8. Yay! But the heartrate was decelerating even more with every contraction - into the 60s & 70s. I really got worried when I'd hear her regular little galloping heartbeat & then the contractions would come and it would really slow down to sound like an adult heartbeat. My midwife came & decided that I needed to have that baby right away. Also - they had seen some meconium leaking & wanted to get her here. Well, apparently (like Link) she was posterior and took some convincing to turn. So I pushed on my back, then on my side, while Jason was trying to push my tummy to one side as I pushed her out. Everything was just kind of crazy for a bit. They called Dr. Polson - our peditrician - and he came running. The heartrate still seemed way too slow. And in between pushes, I looked up at the ceiling, the bright lights, and I prayed. I pleaded that Link would be there to get his baby sister here safely. I pleaded she would be okay and these medical professionals would know what to do. After she had turned, I was able to push her out (10:50 am), and I watched as my midwife untangled her from her cord. It was around her neck, under her arm, and around her leg. Scary. But she was finally, finally  here. And she was okay. And I was SO grateful. 

They placed her little purple body on my chest and I cried as I held her. I knew Link had been there, and somehow I felt his pure joy that his sister was here. He had done his job - he had watched over her and brought her safely into mortality. She must not have been that happy about it, though, because she screamed & screamed! For a good half hour to an hour, that baby girl let us know that she wasn't so happy about being here :-) It didn't bother me, though, because just hearing her cries was such a blessing. They let me hold her for quite a while & didn't take her from me until I wanted to see how much she weighed. 7 lbs 13 oz. 20 inches long. And the hair! Both Jason & I had had dreams of this little one and in both of them, she had a lot of dark hair, so it made me smile to see her exactly as we had pictured her. She was definitely the spirit we had been waiting for.

The girls came to see their baby sister at the hospital after school and were so very excited to finally meet Noelle. The first thing McKinley said was "I get to hold her without all the wires?"  I smiled a sad smile when she said that. Their experience with their brother was so different. I was thankful that they were able to hold her without the wires. She had to stay an extra day to be under the lights for jaundice, and Ireland really wasn't happy about that. Even though we assured her that jaundice is common & she would be able to come home the next day, she said "how do you know? How do you know you'll be able to come home?" Oh - the lingering fears. She's known another reality and surely hasn't forgotten it. Thankfully we were able to come home the next day (April 10th). I carried her carseat out and the nurse commented on how fast I was walking for someone who just gave birth. I smiled, but in my mind I was thinking of a year and a half ago, when it took almost 2 months to be able to do what I was doing - walk out of the hospital with my baby in their carseat - and I was going to get out of there as fast as I could before someone could stop me! :)

Noelle is 6 days old now. She is so so precious. I am cherishing this time with her - nursing her, watching her sleepy smiles, loving how she already seems so intent to focus on you or the fan or the light coming in through the windows. Since she came so fast, she had a lot of fluid still in her that took a good 3 days for her to cough up. We're glad she's done with that & seems to be eating, sleeping and pooping well :)

As for my anxieties, they are there. I still check on her a lot in the night and during the day - even more than I did with McKinley - and even though I have the Snuza monitor on her. I am intent to make sure she is breathing. Watching her chest rise and fall is what soothes my heart. 

A day or two ago, I took Noelle to her brother's grave. I told her about her wonderful, beautiful, brave brother. And I cried. I talked to Link, too. Thanked him for watching over his baby sister - and asking him to continue to do so. I cried as I told him how thankful I am for her - and how much I still love and miss him. I told him that he will never, ever be forgotten. And of how I am going to close my eyes when I kiss Noelle's sweet cheek and pretend I'm kissing both of them. I truly hope they will share a bond in this life and that she will teach me even more about him and his mission here. 

Overall, I am surprised at just how much joy she has brought me & our family. And, like I said, I have felt very strongly that Link is overjoyed she is here as well. I know it's strange, but I swear every picture I see him in lately, he seems to be smiling bigger & brighter. No - her entrance does not take away the pain and the dark night of grief - but having a baby to hold, to nurse, to kiss, to smell, to memorize... it helps. It heals.  The name "Noelle" (Noel) means "birthday of our Lord." We believe that Jesus was actually born in the spring - in April - so this fit perfectly (and starts with an "N," so now we have names that start with H, I, J, K, L, M & N) :) and just as the Savior's birth brought so much healing and hope, Noelle's birth has also brought that for our family. She is most undoubtedly my sunrise baby. Heard this song (can you tell that songs are one way the Spirit speaks directly to my soul?) the other day & it is PERFECT. My favorite line is "You alone can resurrect this heart of mine." Of course that line & this song is about the Savior - and He above all can heal me - and His gift of this sweet new soul is also part of that hope. That promise of love and light. With Easter this week, I am finding more hope, healing, and love than I have in quite a while. 

Monday, April 7, 2014

March Newsletter & Slideshow

FAMILY:  March was a difficult month to face as we remembered our baby boy’s death. It was still full of tender mercies and wonderful family times, though. Aunt Cindy sent us a Flat Stanley at the beginning of the month & the girls had fun introducing him to the bunny, going on the slide with him, riding their scooters, etc. The 6th was Heidi’s birthday & Jason & the girls were so sweet– read her section for more details. We headed to St. George on the 8th to go to the temple. It was neat and the girls had fun playing with their cousins, along with Jason’s cousin’s girls, Sloan and Piper. Our sweet neighbor, Lori Blackner, is moving this month and she has been so great to give us toys she no longer needs – LOTS of barbies, paper dolls, a pretend fridge and sink, and lots of baby stuff. It’s been like Christmas around here with all the new toys! They are also very special because they were her daughter’s toys & she died 17 years ago from cancer.  Ireland & McKinley worked with their dad this month on science fair projects – see their sections for all the fun things they did. On the 16th after church we headed to the park & brought Sydney & Rainbow Truck. It was such a nice day & they all had fun running around and playing.  The 17th was St. Patrick’s Day & the girls had fun trying to go around pinching everyone. They made sure they wore their green – and even dressed Sydney in green so she wouldn’t get pinched – and we had Lucky Charms for breakfast, green sandwiches for lunch, and green eggs and ham for dinner! The 18th was Ireland’s 1st grade Little Engine that Could play & we all came to support her. It was so cute. The 19th was the McKinley & Ireland’s last day of dance club on Wednesday afternoons after school. They have had fun! Grandma Potts came on the 25th and stayed until the 30th. She was so great to help with the girls, the house, and getting ready for Noelle. She & the girls had fun going to North Elementary to see their science fair projects,  playing guitar, doing the Easy Bake Oven, having a tea party, making cards and name links for Link’s angelversary, having lunch with Heidi, going to the park, having a chocolate treasure hunt, helping McKinley sew a hotpad, and going with McKinley & Heidi to Women’s Conference. We all loved having her here & looking forward to her return when Noelle comes. She also brought with her our nativity set from Jerusalem (YAY!!!), and 2 beautiful hand-made blankets for Noelle – one from GG Tew & one from Aunt Cindy. Mom also bought the movie Frozen this month and it has been watched at least a half-dozen times. The girls LOVE it!

JASON: Jason continues to be our handyman & save us lots of money – at the beginning of the month, he changed the brake pads on both vehicles. Jason enjoyed helping the girls come up with ideas for their science projects. He spent a lot of time on youtube looking up neat possibilities, buying things for their projects, and then experimenting and taking videos and pictures. He also enjoyed going to the science fair & seeing all the neat projects. He still likes to stay up late, learning about astrological happenings and economic and world changes. Jason had a business trip this month where he went to Ogden for a week. He said it went well & he enjoyed learning a lot and re-connecting with budget people in the region. He took the day off for Link’s angelversary and enjoyed doing temple work – especially sealings for our ancestors. He bought Link a shiny new matchbox car and placed it on the track at his grave. On the 30th, Jason was in charge of a caving expedition with his scouts. They went to Bloomington cave, near St. George, and had a great time. In other big news, he finally cut his hair!! J

 HEIDI:  March was Heidi’s last full month of pregnancy & she is VERY thankful for that. Fatigue, along with soreness and carpal tunnel have been making it harder & harder to get basic things done. She is SO excited to get this baby girl out of her tummy and into her arms! She has been trying to cherish Noelle’s movements, though, and her regular hiccup episodes J There have been so many kind gifts given for Noelle – homemade blankets and onesies and clothing. It’s been so sweet. The 6th was Heidi’s 35th birthday. The family was so sweet and spoiled her – she got breakfast in bed with her favorite cereal – Golden Grahams. Jason worked from home that day and was extra sweet. When the girls got home, McKinley proceeded to get out things for mom’s at-home spa (Jason had made a special shopping trip the day before). She turned on relaxing music, put a facial mask on mom, cucumbers on her eyes, massages for her hands and feet (Ireland & Kezia helped with the messages), a foot soak, a yogurt parfait, and painting mom’s hands and feet. She got the idea of the spa from a Fancy Nancy book and it was as wonderful as could be J That evening, we had a sitter over while Heidi & Jason got to go to a nice restaurant – The Depot Grill. She also had a couple friends stop by with sweets and gifts. It was a wonderful birthday, even with the heartbreak of wanting Link here, too. Link’s angelversary was hard and sweet at the same time. She enjoyed the time at the temple and was humbled by the outpouring of love & support from family and friends that day – including flowers from the Keate & Corrys and a book from the Ekker & Cospers. She was so thankful that her mom was here and the end of the month to help with the girls and especially be there on the hardest day – the day that we put Link’s clothes into storage (see the blog for more details). That day was VERY difficult & she was thankful for the help of her mom & McKinley. Heidi was touched when the primary called her into the room and all the activity day girls were standing in the front with a handmade quilt. It was presented to her and was so very thoughtful! Most of the rest of any spare time in March was spent doing video transfers. She’s transferred over 100 videos! She was also excited for finally get her blogs printed into books! Yay!

-It was parent-teacher conferences this month & again McKinley’s teacher, Mrs. Hardin, had nothing but great things to say about McKinley – what a great student, friend, and leader she is. She has done so well on all her tests and is also a great helper. GREAT JOB McKINLEY!
-McKinley’s science fair project had to do with static electricity. With wool socks on, and dad’s wool boot liners, after she walked around on the carpet for a while, she was able to touch the wire of an LED lightbulb and make it light up! She had fun learning about protons, neutrons, electrons and atoms. Her project looked great and she was a finalist in her fair! AWESOME McKINLEY!
-McKinley has some math goals at school that she can work on in her spare time. She passed off addition earlier & this month she passed off subtraction and now she’s on to multiplication. YAY!
-McKinley has been wanting to come up with a dance routine, so she videotaped herself signing and doing actions to “Call Me Maybe.” It’s so cute. She also worked on memorizing “Beautiful for me” and has performed it for Grandma Potts and the Edwards.  
-Other McKinley creativity this month includes giving mom a full at-home spa treatment on her birthday, doing a VeggieTales puppet show, drawing different kinds of “girls” (butterfly girl, math girl, heart girl, etc) and writing sweet cards for her family.
-Grandma helped McKinley sew her first hotpad on her sewing machine! – thanks Grandma!
-We watched Link’s slideshow at the end of the day of his angelversary and at the end, McKinley had buried her face into her Link Bear and was crying. Mom held her close & they sobbed together. She really was missing her baby brother that day L We are so thankful that Link has McKinley for a sister – she is so sweet and loving and caring.
-Mom and dad had an interview with McKinley this month. Mom started out by asking her some questions & McKinley said “Mom – you’re being all parent-y”
-At the end of the month, McKinley got to do something really special! For the first time, they allowed all women and girls ages 8 and up to attend Women’s conference, so McKinley got to go with mom and grandma & it was a sweet experience. The talks, songs, and videos were so inspiring and we got to Hermie’s afterwards for fries and mozzarella sticks – yum!

-Ireland finished all the books on her book in a bag list & got a gift certificate for a smoothie, so mom took her and Ireland over to Tropical Smoothie one day and got a yummy smoothie – way to go Ireland!
-Ireland’s parent-teacher conference went well this month. Mrs. Comstock says she is very creative, kind, and smart! She is one of the best readers in her class. We just need to work a little more on math!
-Mom went to her school a few times this past month & she had some fun things on the wall. One was a poster that said who her hero was. She wrote “my cousins.” And the other paper said she was lucky because… “I know how to count to ten. I have my teacher. I am cool. I can read” J
-For FHE, we were talking about the different ordinances we obtain and how they help us (and our dead by proxy in the temple) be together with our Heavenly Father again. Mom said “First comes baptism. What comes next?” Ireland piped up “then comes marriage. Then comes the baby in the baby carriage!”
- Ireland had a sore throat at the beginning of the month & mom found out it was strep with an at-home test. At the doctor’s, she had the choice for a single shot or 10 days of antibiotics. She chose the antibiotics (which she complained about for the next 10 days). Glad we’re done with that! Poor Ireland had to miss a fun field trip L the doctor told us to keep track of her strep to make sure she won’t need her tonsils out.
-Ireland’s science project was fun – it was an experiment using a vase, balloons, baking soda, and vinegar. When the baking soda was poured into the vinegar, it would react and fill the balloon with carbon dioxide. It was fun to watch and use different amounts of ingredients to see how big the balloons would get. Her project turned out really great!
-Ireland made a sweet surprise for mom – she took 15 pieces of paper, folded each one in half, and made a heart. She gave all 15 hearts to mom!
-Ireland has had a hard time finding friend to play with lately L Her good friend Isabella moved away, and she doesn’t have the numbers of most of her school friends L
-Ireland was SO CUTE in her Little Engine that Could 1st grade play. She was part of the Little Blue Train – the hero train! And we loved to hear her little song “I think I can, I think I can… I try, try, try cuz I think I can!” It was so fun!
-Ireland had a very hard night one night when she made a bad choice with grandma’s ipad and couldn’t have ice cream with the rest of the family. She REALLY threw a fit and was screaming and hitting and kicking and yelling very mean things at mom & dad. It was a sad night to see her struggle, but thankfully by bedtime, she had calmed down and was okay.

-It was Kezia’s lunch date this month and she got to go to IHOP with dad on a Saturday morning. How fun!
-Kezia is rocking her sight words! Her preschool teacher gave her a bunch of printed cards with sight words and she has about 80% memorized. Also – we use the MySightWords app to learn words and she’s up to about 50 words. Yay Kezia!
-Mom must have looked very tired because one morning, Kezia patted mom on the arm & said “mom, I think you should rest while I’m at preschool.”
-Noelle was moving around during sacrament meeting one day & mom put Kezia’s hand on her tummy. Kezia said in a rather loud voice “I think that’s probably her bum, mom!”
-Kezia asked mom one day “how many o’clocks is it?”
-One of the things Kezia has been saying a lot lately is “What the what!?”
-For some reason, Kezia is obsessed lately with making cards and putting them in envelopes to mail to people. She will make 3-5 a day for people – friends, church people, etc – and give them to mom to send in the mail. Tiarra and Aunt Keeley were both sick this past month & Kezia immediately went & drew them a get well picture. Thankfully, she let mom just take a picture & text it to them without having to mail it J Kezi is getting really good at sounding out words and writing them. Mom & dad can usually tell what she has written!
-In the store one day, Kezia made a sad choice and ate some lettuce from the produce department, so mom had to end up buying it. Mom said she was disappointed in Kezia, but Kezia was mad right back and said “if you keep saying that, I will take away your hearts” (she often says I love you infinity hearts)
-We were heading out the door one day & mom asked her to get her coat on, reminding her it was on the floor. Kezia said “Indeed it is.”
-one day as we were driving, Kezia said “We shouldn’t do this – huh, mom?” Mom looked back to see her sticking up her middle finger. She kept doing it and asking mom & mom kept saying “yes, that is not a nice thing to do.” Kezia said “yeah… it makes Jesus feel bad.”
-Kezia has been planning out her birthday for 2 months (or more). Her birthday isn’t till October, but she knows she wants a Frozen cake with Anna and Elsa rings on it, an Olaf piñata, an Elsa dress, pink and purple hats, balloons that say happy birthday with silly faces on them, and she already knows who she is inviting. Quite the planner!!
-Speaking of birthdays, Kezi LOVES birthday parties. She takes the church program to mom on Sunday in sacrament meeting, points at the list of birthdays and says “who’s birthday party can we go to?”
-In ward conference, we were sustaining church leaders and he said “D. Todd Christofferson.” Kezi, looked at mom with wide eyes and said excitedely “mom – he said Kristoff!” (from the movie Frozen)
-Kezi also likes to draw pictures of Super Mario or My Little Pony, and tape them above and around the beds.
-Mom realized just how much Kezi gets a hold of her phone at the end of the month and she is downloading pictures & videos and there are QUITE a few self pictures & videos of miss Kezia.


Link must have known how hard this month would be on us and he sent us so many beautiful sunrises, sunsets and rainbows. We even saw a little rainbow on the mortuary building where he had been – and Trisha caught a rainbow on his angelversary. Mom was also allowed to have a beautiful dream where she got to hold him and tell him how very much she loved him and he gazed back at her with so very much love. It was wonderful. Another sweet love note was Heidi’s SIDS mom friend had a dream the night before his angelversary about Link, her son Wilhelm, and another SIDS mom’s son, Charlie, all sitting on a rainbow quilt, playing, drooling, and baby talking together. It was SUCH a sweet, tender mercy to learn of her dream. This month, they finally published Link’s story in the Dixie Regional Medical Center’s newsletter. It got 335 “likes,” 63 “shares” & 43 sweet comments. It was great to feel like Link’s story touched others’ lives and made them want to also do something for someone else. For Link’s angelversary, Jason & Heidi went to the temple in the morning (after seeing a beautiful sunrise) & were able to do an endowment session and 11 sealings! It was a wonderful experience and we both felt like Link was close. That afternoon, amidst the snow, we brought homemade cards to his bench and let go of balloons. Afterwards we watched his funeral slideshow and held our Link Bears. Later, we brought almost THIRTY family names, linked together in a chain, to decorate his bench with, including names of friends who had done family names in Link’s honor. It was so neat to see all those sweet names on his bench and feel his spirit and know we are helping him in the work. Also, Jason’s cousin, Shannon Richardson, has a baby boy who’s birthday is on the same day as we buried Link and in leiu of gifts every year for Connor’s birthday, she is asking for donations for the Ronald McDonald House in Link’s name. She was able to raise $180 this year – THANKS SO MUCH Shannon! Going through Link’s clothes this month and boxing them up to make way for Noelle’s was a heart-wrenching experience. So many sweet memories with those clothes & it made us miss our baby boy SO much! We can’t believe it’s been a whole year – and at the same time, it’s a whole year closer to being with him again. We are praying for his help this next month in watching over and helping his new baby sister enter this world. WE LOVE YOU LINK!!!