Saturday, July 23, 2011

1 month of Being a Mom

I sit here on the computer trying to type quietly because I think Harper is finally going to sleep without me.  She is in her swing, not crying, for the first time.  This past month has been amazing and eye opening.  It has also been hard.  But I realize that God never said things would be easy.  He just said that He would be there to help along the way.  I read a blog this morning by Katie.  She's a missionary in Africa.  Here is an excerpt from her latest blog:

I sat in the heaviness. And I weighed the risks of sharing our entire life, all of it, the joy and the sad, the beautiful and the ugly, with the whole crazy world. And I know. That if on the other side of that risk is the possibility that someone may see Jesus in our brokenness and know that there is grace and purpose in theirs too, then the whole crazy world is welcome. For a glimpse of a Savior who uses even us, the messy ones. “Come and listen to what He’s done for us. For you.”
We look up. We are thankful for the mess. We are thankful for the much. We are thankful for a story to share, the story of His death and His story in our lives.
That as eyes turn to us, they would see only Him. That however, whatever, wherever He would be glorified. He will.

I read this and realize that my journey of motherhood is about more than just raising a baby.  It's about Jesus.  He gave her to me for a reason.  He has entrusted me with her life, her journey.  And here is what I've found.

Poor baby Harper has pretty serious acid reflux and thus, is a colicky baby.  We struggled for about a week of constant fussiness, 3 hour bouts of crying, and...  (Sorry, had to pick up Harper.  The swing didn't work.  Had to rock her to sleep but now she's in her crib for, hopefully, a long nap.)  Anyways, we have learned that colic is a bad word in the baby world.  Thankfully, we've learned about 17 tricks that will soothe her at any given time.  The real power is when you find the right combination of those 17 things and can get her to sleep when she isn't feeling good.  But with these tricks and some medications (Colic Calm - we love you!), she has definitely gotten better.  We went from 3 hours of crying each night to 1 hour a night.  It does seem to be letting up, and for that we are thankful.  The worst part is seeing her in pain and knowing that there really isn't anything you can do about it.  There isn't really any way to truly make her feel better other than waiting it out.  What a helpless feeling!

The difference between day and night is what I find astounding.  It seems that crying in the daylight is so much easier to handle than her crying in the middle of the night.  Most nights, while I'm rocking her to sleep, I find myself praying.  Begging might be a better word.  I ask God for strength, peace, patience, and for a quieter baby.  I will admit, I have even tried bargaining with God.  One night of sleep is what's on the table right now.  I'm not even asking for much!  But I know that God isn't always about snapping fingers and making our lives easier.  He has a plan, a purpose, a path.  This has also shown me what life is truly like with light vs. dark.  Everything seems more hopeless, more difficult, more miserable in the dark.  We don't have a light to guide us.  When we are far from Christ, life doesn't seem to have much joy.  But when we turn to the Light, when we seek Christ and His Glory, our world changes.  Suddenly, there is hope.  Joy.  Peace.  A reason.  Jesus is the only One who can make our misery better.  We can try to fill it, erase it, or put it to sleep, but it's there.  There's never light in the dark.  But thankfully, there's also no dark in the light.  With Christ, we have an eternal hope and joy that overcomes all things.  We have a Light in a darkened world.

Through loving Harper, I have also learned that God is going to teach me patience if it's the last thing He accomplishes in me.  I find myself trying to reason with my baby.  Trying to teach her cause and effect.  "When you spit out your paci - you start crying.  When you keep it in - you are much happier."  It hasn't worked yet.  But even at Harper's worst, she is still my child.  My baby.  Someone who is utterly dependent on me.  Someone who needs me to love her, unconditionally, while she is in pain and confused about what is going on in the world.  I used to be in that spot.  I used to be confused in this world until Christ came and loved me unconditionally.  That's what we have in our Savior.  Someone who knows all our baggage, but loves us anyways.  He waited patiently for me, and thus I wait patiently for my daughter.  Because my number one purpose, my reason for being a mother, is to point my daughter toward the Light.  To show her Christ's unconditional love.  To show her how to worship the King.  The show her that one day, I will fail her, but Christ never will.  And that is worth learning patience for.

So at 1 month of being a mom, I have a long way to go, but I have a path, a LIGHT, to follow.  

Psalm 27:1
The LORD is my light and my salvation— whom shall I fear? The LORD is the stronghold of my life— of whom shall I be afraid?

Matthew 5:14-16
"You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.

John 8:12
When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, "I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life."

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Never say never...

Here are some things that I was totally wrong about when it came to having a baby...


1. All those promises about working out and eating healthy...don't feel bad when they don't happen.  That happens to most people.

2. Never tell everyone about how great your baby will be, or how easy life will be with a baby.  You are just asking for it.


1. Even as HUGELY modest as I was, there's nothing you can do about it when it comes to delivering your baby.  You just have to grin and bear it.
          *But one good suggestion: when you get the epidural, you can't feel your legs at all anymore.  So you can almost convince yourself that you are wearing pants and you just can't feel them.

2. Never say you won't induce.  You never know what will happen.  By the end, you don't care how they come out, as long as they come out.

3. Right when your baby comes, try to cry.  Because afterwards, everyone will ask you if you did and you'll feel stupid telling everyone that you did not cry.  Even if it was just because you were too tired to do anything besides breathe, they'll still expect it.

4. Never say that you will never send your baby to the hospital nursery at night.  We all know it's best to keep the baby in the room, but after the 3rd night of only 30 minutes of sleep, you will do whatever it takes.

After the baby is born:

1. Even if you have babysat your whole life, it doesn't mean that you will know what you are doing.

2. Never brag about how easy some phase with your baby was.  That's just asking for a kick later on when you go through a really hard stage.  Which you will.  Trust me.

3. Never just tell people that it doesn't matter when or how often or how long they come visit.  It does matter.  Be honest or you'll go crazy with visitors.  For hours on end.  Really.  Hours.

4. Never say that you won't ever sleep with your baby in your room or on the couch at night.  When your baby is screaming at 4 am, it doesn't matter where she sleeps as long as she sleeps.

5. Never say that you are never going back to work.  As much as you love your little bundle of joy, sometimes you just miss having a life outside the house, being a mom, and changing diapers.


Sunday, July 10, 2011

Oh, how 1 week changes things!

I was told from the beginning, "Just survive the first two weeks.  Do that, and you'll be set."  Funny.  Very funny.  This is just 1 week.  And surviving two weeks will definitely be a feat!  We were at the hospital for three days and had lots of friends and family come visit.

Jessica teaching Harper her numbers.



My principal, Pam Flores, came by to visit since she had seen me grow 
everyday of the school year.  



Katharine and Avinley - These two will be BFF's.

Papa Bob and Marilyn came by Saturday morning

We were able to go home Saturday evening.  It was scary to leave, but we were so ready to be in our own home.  We got home and introduced Harper and Maggie.  Maggie is very protective of her already. She is usually by my side or Harper's.  She does not like it when Harper cries; it makes her very nervous.  But she licks Harper's feet to try and make her feel better when she's upset.  And thankfully, Harper got used to the barking while she was in the womb, because it doesn't bother her at all!

She looks so tiny in her carseat 
(especially compared to seeing nephew Grayson in it at 9 months)

We are getting used to the little amount of sleep that you get with a newborn.  Thankfully there are two of us and we are taking shifts.  This first week, she slept SO good.  I think I got a little over excited thinking that she would always sleep this way.  Now, I know that it won't.  We got to go to her 3 day doctor visit and Dr. Conger said that she was one of the most perfect newborns she had seen in years.  Um, yes, she is!

Our first trip out - to the doctors

What a cutie!

Harper in a nutshell:

She does not like bathtime.  I guess she's a little cold.  She loves to sleep on her dad's chest - it's her favorite place.  And, she's already got a pretty good belch going on.  She is freakishly strong.  I promise I'm not just bragging.  She can hold her head up and turn it from side to side.  Plus she can kick you.  Hard.  She has extremely strong limbs and is very squirmy.  It makes us a little nervous!  She does not like having a dirty or wet diaper, so we have to change it anytime there is a drop in it.  On average, the number of diapers newborns use is about 10 per day.  We definitely have that covered plus about 15 extra.  She doesn't like her pacifier.  She screams horribly when we try to force it on her.  And she's back and forth on the swaddle.  She likes it as long as she's asleep when we put her in it.  She wants nothing to do with it if she's awake.  I guess she knows it means sleep time.

She was swaddled but busted out.  She definitely likes to be free.

Her favorite person and her favorite place.  On her dad's chest.
Sleeping is our favorite new family hobby.

Right now, we sleep the majority of the day.  Most other activities happen
while we are sleeping.  No need to wake up.

We are getting better at feeding time.  If she's awake, she wants to eat every 2 hours.  But when she's asleep she could go 4 hours or more.  This means every day is a mystery as to how it will go.  She also can't seem to stay awake long enough to eat.  We have tried everything: tickling, nakedness, wet washcloths, poking, yelling, etc.  But when she's out, she's OUT.

This is feeding time.

This is after we have tried for some time to wake her.

We are now naked and still asleep.

This is not working.

Our life has completely changed.  We are seriously in love with this little girl.  And we are probably way more over protective than we ever thought we'd be.   And my husband, Cody, has definitely become the most amazing dad ever.  He changes diapers, gets up with her at night, and is the nighttime baby whisperer.  I see a daddy's girl in our future!  We are very thankful for our baby.  It's a little overwhelming right now, but we are just going 1 day at a time.  


Friday, July 1, 2011

Welcome to the world, Harper Elizabeth!

Harper Elizabeth Hempkins is finally here!

She was born Thursday, June 23, 2011 at 1:20 pm.  She weighed 8 pounds even and was 20 inches long.  

We went in to be induced on Thursday morning at 7:30.  I was 4 centimeters, so they gave me pitocin and said we'd wait until 5 or 6 centimeters for the epidural.  Right away, she asked if I'd been feeling contractions.  Even though I hadn't felt them, it turns out I'd been having contractions for quite a while.  I assumed it was just Harper moving into a very uncomfortable position.  Oh well.  Within an hour, I began to have much more severe contractions.  She went to turn the pitocin down and realized that I had jumped from 4 to 6 centimeters in 1 hour.  So I went ahead and got the epidural.  Now-let me just say-that epidural is sweet.  It doesn't hurt (they numb you first) and it makes the pain go away.  Why you would choose to suffer through labor with no pain relief is crazy to me.  But anyways, so by now the family is starting to arrive.  They wanted to come visit, go grab lunch and come back in the afternoon.  My sweet nurse, Jessica, thought I'd be delivering somewhere between 3 and 5.  But by 11:30 am, things changed very quickly.  A nurse came in saying that Harper's heart rate had dropped too low and they were going to try and move me around to figure out what was going on.  We sent the family to lunch while they were adjusting me.  Within 2 minutes, I suddenly had 5 nurses surrounding me trying to get Harper's heart rate back up.  They just couldn't figure out what it was.  So they checked, and suddenly I was 10 centimeters and 100% ready to go!  It had only taken 1 hour to get from 6 to 10, which is very quick.  This sudden change was what was stressing little baby Harper out.  So we sent word to the family that she was coming and started pushing.  I pushed for about 10 minutes and took a break.  Then the doctor said that if I couldn't push her out in the next set of contractions, they were going to have to use the vacuum (a cone head baby!) or take her by c-section.  So I started pushing again and within 10 minutes she was born!  What a relief!  Funny enough, I didn't even have to push her out.  The doctor told me to push and then said, "Nevermind, she came out on her own."  Such a big girl!  Then, NICU checked her and she was absolutely perfect.  She just didn't like all the sudden changes (she's way too much like her mama).  

Here are some pictures of her birth day.  

My labor and delivery nurse, Jessica 

Getting her first bath (not such a happy time!)

Well hello beautiful blue eyes...

Sleeping with Daddy - the first of hundreds 

 What a beautiful girl!

My sisters Carleigh and Taylor hanging out in the waiting room 

Her door sign made by Marcie Hatfield 
Our church has taken care of us SO well.  We love FBC Lewisville!

My sister Kristen got to meet her first.  She was only 1 hour old! 

Never knew how much you can fall in love in an instant.  My sweet baby.

So pretty.  Baby and Mama.

She has all ten fingers and all ten toes.

Our sweet little family.

The family all came to visit.

My parents and sisters 

Cody's parents

My sister and brother in law, Kristen and Brian

All the girls in the family (missing Michaela).  


Crazy uncles Eric and Dane 
They drove up from Austin to meet Harper and had to drive back 3 hours later 
for breakfast service of Short Bus.  Such great uncles! 

Grandpa Gary (or Padre or PeePaw or PopPop...we'll see)

My parents, Mark and Kathryn

My parents, Gary and Kristi

All the kids missing Michaela and Grayson.  We'll have to paste them in.

Kristen planted beautiful pink flowers in honor of Harper's birthday.  
I hear Brian even helped with his pink gardening spade. 
 The KU boys with Harper and her new KU beanie from KK.  
Sadly, this is as close as she'll get to KU since she's going to A&M.
Gig 'em Ags!

Next Blog will be Harper's 1st week - it was definitely entertaining and a learning experience.  It includes tons of love, poop, and burning the midnight oil!!!