To Juliet on Her First Birthday

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Our Juliet Hope,

Today we celebrate you. You have completed your first journey around the sun. You are one year old! We have been blessed to know you for 365 wonderful days. You have brought beams of sunshine and joy into our lives. God gave us exactly who our family needed at this time.

On this day last year, my water broke in the wee hours of the night. I left your big sister asleep in her bed, knowing that I would be giving her a precious gift the next time I saw her. I thought that I would struggle to accept you as the new addition to our home. That I would wish for more time with my firstborn. But the moment I saw you, I was enamored.

My labor with you was steady and calm. I repeated the Lord’s promises and envisioned you as the best reward for my hard work. I was strong and determined to meet you quickly. You were just as eager to meet us. 

You arrived around 9 am on Sunday, with our church praying for you and me. I felt that wonderful instantaneous bond to you and you immediately knew who I was. You belong with me. With us. You are a gift from God.

Watching you grow this year has brought me to tears and made me laugh with joy. You have reached milestones just a tad quicker than your big sister, I think in order to catch up to her. You adore her and she adores you. I see your bond getting stronger every day. Soon, you will be sharing secrets with her and teaming up with her. I can tell already that we will need all of God’s help in raising you two.

You have constantly surprised us this year. You arrived earthside as dark as your sister, then your hair fell out and came back with a red tint, but then it lightened up and now you are as blonde as your aunt! We anticipated a calm, demure, and sensitive personality from your infancy, but you have developed into an emotional and loud risk taker. I can’t wait to watch you keep growing.

You currently love: music, cheese, climbing, Mama, making faces, sleeping without a sleep sack, playing in water, baby dolls, taking every single toy out of its container, making noises with your mouth, pulling hair, waving, and feeding the dogs.

You have been to two oceans, on seven plane rides, the tops of mountains, and to the Caribbean. You have seen wild monkeys and whales. You have had countless playdates and zero sleepovers with anyone but mom. You have finally slept through the night twice this week and are officially night weaned. You practiced walking for a month, but I am now pleasantly surprised to see you walking around the house confidently. You say “mama, dada, Mah (Maggie), Lay (Leia)”, your favorite song is “Old MacDonald” and you sing the “eeieeio” part. You are now in size 4 shoes and I think you’re going to have big feet like your sister.

I may not have been able to give you as much attention as your sister received as a baby, but I certainly feel like I get to love on you and cherish your babyhood more because I appreciate it so much more than I did the first time. Your sweetness and attachment to me has been nourishment to my soul. You are so loved by everyone around you. We are blessed to be called your family and to see you grow into the person God is shaping you to be.

 

Happy birthday, Jules!

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Six Months of Juliet Hope

There’s nothing like realizing your baby is days away from being seven months old to inspire writing her six month update!

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Jules was just shy of 16 lbs and about 23 inches long at her last appointment. She still has just two teeth on the bottom. She’s not a huge fan of most solid food yet; she prefers the milk! We are trying to sleep train her in her crib, but she still prefers snuggles near mama. She is SO close to crawling and can do an awesome looking plank. She is really proving to be a mama’s girl with a sweet and sensitive personality. She rocked her first international vacation and is definitely a beach bum babe! Maggie loves to love on her baby sister and Jules cannot stop smiling and laughing at everything Maggie does (even squishing her!) She is such a wonderful part of our family. God knew we needed her.

 

We love you, sweet Juliet! ❤

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Juliet’s Newborn Pictures

There’s something so fun about taking dressing up babies and taking pictures of them. Even more so when it’s your own! Thankfully, I get all the time I want to take an extended photo shoot of my baby daughter.

Here’s what we’ve worked on so far. Juliet was about a week old when we took these. Hard to believe its been two weeks now since she joined our family!

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Our Juliet Hope

The probability of giving birth on your due date is just under 4%. Of the current moms my age at my church, I know of three births in the last two years that landed on due dates. My last child is one of those punctual children.

I never announce the name I picked for my child until they arrive in the world. Partly to make sure they are the right gender (we didn’t find out for my first) and partly to make sure they fit their name.

My husband actually chose our newest daughter’s first name…Juliet, or Jules. Even in the womb, she seemed to be feminine and dainty compared to Maggie. The name just fit her, even before I officially met her. I even decorated her room with pinks and flowers, basically the opposite of what I did with Maggie’s nursery.

Hope. We (I) knew we wanted to continue with the theme we had set with Maggie’s middle name of Grace – reminding us of God’s grace. I struggled a lot with choosing the right middle name. But as we drew closer to meeting her, I got a peace about the word “hope”. Especially in the time in our world where there’s so much suffering and fear, we could use the reminder of the hope of Jesus’ return and completion of His beautiful kingdom.

Now, her birth story…

Her birth day arrived with much anticipation. Funnily enough, the day before she came, I was exhausted from trying whatever I could to start labor the whole week. I fell asleep around 10:30 Saturday night without even thinking about my due date the next day.

At 1:30 am,  I woke up to my water breaking and jumping out of bed because I had forgotten that I had put on a waterproof mattress cover. I woke Bear up and told him my water had broken. We sprang into action and I took a shower to clean up before heading  to the hospital. We chatted excitedly about finally meeting our new baby girl.

I woke my mom to tell her the news and fought the urge to snuggle with Maggie for one last time before her new sister arrived. I didn’t dare wake her up when we were trying to get out of the house quickly.

We got to the hospital around 2:30 and got checked in pretty soon afterwards. Apparently the week prior had been very popular for having babies because there  were no recovery rooms available until late Sunday afternoon! We arrived just in time to get the largest room with a jacuzzi tub in it. An answer to prayer since I chose to not use pitocin this time around. The doctors and nurses I had were awesome and were great advocates for my rights and desires in my delivery.

Since my water broke, I had more of a deadline than a normal delivery. I was granted six hours to progress from 4.5 cm. I was desperate to not need pitocin, so I did everything I could to get labor moving quickly. I walked the halls, bounced on the birthing ball, and relaxed in the tub for hours. Thankfully, my contractions began to come stronger and more consistent. By 7:30 (the end of my 6 hours), I had gotten to a six! My body was doing exactly what God designed it to do.

The next couple hours were filled with intense contractions and not even the tub would help. I honestly felt like giving up. I only labored for roughly 7 hours, but once they came, my contractions progressed quickly. At 9:15, I must have been getting really loud in an effort to manage the pain because all of a sudden, two nurses and two doctors were in the room asking to check my dilation.

I fully expected to only be at an 8. I was ready to ask for an epidural if that was the case. I was losing focus and having a hard time mentally staying on top of my contractions. Of course, I was having such a hard time because I was fully dilated and ready to push.

The doctor told me to hold on while he gets everything ready “just in case”. It was a good thing he did, because two pushes later, our Juliet came into the world with a healthy set of lungs.

We loved her before we knew her, but knowing her is so much sweeter. She has blessed our family and we never knew how much she would add to our dynamic. It’s difficult to remember life before her and we can’t get over how our love has been multiplied.

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Juliet Hope

Born on Sunday, August 27th 2017 at 9:29 am

7.8 lbs and 20.5 inches long