Monday, June 15, 2009

Birth Announcement

Claire Genevieve Larson

has arrived

June 16, 2009 at 10:52pm
8 pounds, 2 ounces, and 19.5 inches

When our little Claire came out from the womb, she came out with a fist first, which seemed to sum up the feeling in the room. Yes! We did it! Team Larson did it! The entire labor was an incredible experience. I will cherish those hard but wonderful memories forever. Joel was amazing! He just kicked into gear and knew exactly what to do, how to help me through my entire progression of labor, and to just jump in and bond with Claire right away.

I had my moments of self doubt through labor, and I can not even begin to imagine giving birth without Joel and our Doula (and friend), Polly, there. I had so much love and support around me! They were my backbone of physical help and encouragment. They were God's angels to me. The hospital staff was absolutely phenomenal, and even though I didn't expect it, our entire natural birth plan happened so perfectly that I still feel in shock at how well everything went. There were so mnay answered prayers down to the tiny details, that I am just praising God with joy! Giving birth to Claire was the most beautiful, and wonderful accomplishment for me as a woman. I am so happy!

Claire is precious, making sweet little sounds, staring at Joel and I. We all feel so connected. I keep calling her my little champ because she just seems so strong, and patient with us as we are new to all this parenting. She is taking to everything so well!

We are tired, of course, and time.... oh my, where does the time keep going? There are so many I want to call and share with, but I'm sleeping (recovering), trying to eat, or with Claire. We have been home now for a day, and it's very restful at home, so we are all glad to be home recovering and resting as much as possible.

We'll post more photos soon, and give updates:-) Thank you to everyone for your love, and support. For those of you who prayed for us, I am forever, forever, forever grateful. I only wish I could have let you all know things sooner, but God answered prayers! Please continue to keep us in your prayers as we make these wonderful family transitions. God was completely, and is still with us. God's presence has been so sweet, and sustaining in our little family!

41 Weeks

Our little girl is now 41 weeks old and still baking in the oven. We personally think she will be here this week, but of course recognize that only the good Lord knows everything.

Carrying this baby has been incredible! I just love watching little limbs poke and move across my belly. Joel and I are always trying to guess, "was that a foot?, an elbow?, her little rump?". We never quite know, but it's fun to guess and talk to her when she is so active. She has certainly moved down. I can breathe easier, and at least eat without getting heart burn. Now I just can't hold much in the bladder :-)

All my checkups have been great and water levels and position are excellent. It's crazy that I've gained 35 pounds! But that is ok, I guess, because I haven't felt too large. I've been really blessed not to have much swelling in my feet or anything like that. I thought I was doing great on stretch marks, but of course just about three weeks ago, right at the end, they came. I hear that they do fade, and seriously having the joy of a child far outweighs anything like stretch marks! She is worth every single one of them!

Joel and I led worship together for an Alpha church event, and it was neat to be leading others in worship, with this little blessing in my womb, singing to the Lord. After worship some people prayed for our birth and little girl. They spoke blessing about the joy she would be to us and others, and I really believe that she will be a beacon of joy and life in our family, and to the world around her. She is certainly "ours" in a certainl sense, but I know there will be times as she gets older and older, that it will become more obvious that she belongs to God first, and is to be shared with others. I think she will have lots of her "dad's" qualities in giving and serving others.

We picked out a special "Life Hymn" for her. I had originally picked "It is Well with My Soul", but Joel pointed out "Fairest Lord Jesus" and that is just perfect. It's just right for the meaning of the name we have chosen for her. So "Fairest" it will be :-) I think it's special that her "daddy" thought of it. Worship is such a dear thing to our hearts, and we hope that will be part of our children's lives too, so we have picked out a meaningful hymn for her. We hope the words mean as much to her some day, as they mean to us, or even more.

The last month of pregnancy has been quite a bit harder on me than I was expecting. I have a certain reserve of energy each day to spend, and it does not seem to be a very big reserve. I've had a considerable amount of back pain, so I'm not as active as I was in my earlier months. I try to walk some every day, but no more four mile walks! I hope our girl will not be blaming me for any ice-cream addictions in the future. I have my mom to blame for mine ;-) She said she ate a-lot of ice cream when I was in the womb. I don't eat as much as I would like to eat, but I certainly eat it... and think about it all the time :-) Has anyone eaten the Double Rainbow brand at Trader Joe's? Yeah, that's what I like!

Two weeks ago, I was a bit frantic, pulling all the last little details together, but since she is "past due" Joel and I are both enjoying some down time, and rest. All the big stuff feels ready, and we are all studied up for this birth. Joel has had a crazy year, really. This past week he finished teaching third grade, and he has been going through adrenaline crash, and trying to shake a sniffly nose. I would say he is beating it, but it's still hanging on just a bit. He is still teaching guitar, and putting in 20 hours of work at the church each week, but finishing up third grade teaching was a big relief! June 30th, he goes full-time at the church, which is really exciting for us, but we are glad for a little more time before the 30th to focus on our family more!

We have been really blessed to meet a woman at church who offered us her Doula services for free during our birth. People usually pay $500-$1000 for this! We wanted a Doula, but had ruled it out for budget reasons. It's just one of the many ways God has been showing us his provision!

We have the cloth diapers all ready and the colorful little covers are all so cute. I put so much research into it all, it was fun to have it all come together, finally! The natural birth and baby care really fits me, since I have been moving in that direction for myself since my early twenties. I must admit I'm so happy Joel doesn't resist it all, or think I'm half crazy:-) But, I don't find anything more annoying than people who come across as "know-it-alls" with the "natural approach" and put guilt trips on people who make different choices. I'm so happy that our class instructor never came across like that, and our Doula doesn't act like that at all. I get a little nervous that the hospital staff will label us as "another snobby bradley method couple", but I'm trusting God about this, and maybe it will help that Joel and I realize that we have done tons of studying, but we are not experts. Just trying to make the best choices we know how to make for "our family". I think my conversations with my doctors have gone really well about our "birth plan" so far and there seems to be mutual respect. I feel that God will surround us with just the right staff, as we have been praying when we go into labor.

Well that is a long winded update, done just like a long winded "Darr" :-) We feel so excited to hold our girl soon. My parents are in Arizona visiting family, until I give them the call that I'm going into labor, and Joel's parents are standing by the phone back in Ohio. It will be special to have grandparents meet her so soon! We will make sure to share our news as soon as we can with all our family and freinds! I'm quite confident this will be the last pre-birth update. Love you all!