and there you have it…



happy birthday Grant

Dear Grant Neil V,

I had intentions of making this a sentimental slop fest. You are my first-born, the day you entered your new life in the outside world was the same day I enter my new life of motherhood. You were the one who made me a mother, in all its rosy glow. However, as I listened to you throw your umpteenth screaming fit tonight you have reminded me that motherhood is more than rosy glow. It’s also temper tantrums and nervous breakdowns, half of them mine.

I remember when you were born and the midwife laid you on my chest, I couldn’t believe you were finally here! I had deluded myself into thinking you would be early, like I was. You, however, gave me first lesson in the patience of motherhood before you were ever born, showing up 12 days past my due date. I expected everything to come so naturally with you, but the first time I held you I remember thinking how do I do this? this feels so weird? am I holding him right? Great first time mother emotions! It’s a wonder to me some days that you survived your first year. We really didn’t know what we were doing with you. Every time you cried someone would hand you to me and tell me you were hungry, it didn’t matter if you’d just ate 30 mins ago. I didn’t know any better and I nursed you around the clock, it’s a wonder you weren’t 100 lbs.

You were the happiest most active little baby and toddler we’d ever seen, until your sister and brother were born. You rolled over at 2 months to the day and proceed to do it again and again and again every day after. You crawled at 5 1/2 months, walked at 10 months and generally ran us into the ground every day. You were so darn happy about it though we certainly didn’t fault you for it. Most nights I just fell asleep with you at 8:30. 

I try to keep the other children out of these letters and focus on the one I’m writing too. But with you it’s harder, so much of who you are in wrapped up in your big brotherness. When you were about 8-9 months I remember rocking you to sleep at night praying to God to let me have another baby. I wanted so badly to give you a brother or a sister, for you to have a play mate and friend, someone to stick by you your whole life. Most days I think you’re happy about those prayers. You are an amazing big brother. Sure you push, bite and generally bully your sister at times. But you also spontaneously give her hugs and tell her she’s beautiful and you love her. But what amazes me is how you look out for her, always making sure she’s safe. Now with Jacob we’ve seen another side of you blossom. You’re older and more aware this time, and you’ve been so careful and sweet to your brother. I remember when we came home and told you your going to have a brother. You were so excited we were having a ‘boy like you’ and you’ve so patiently waited for him to get ‘bigger and bigger to play with you.’ 

It’s hard to sum up four years in one letter. There is so much more about your birth and your life I want to say, but there will be many more birthdays to tell your story.

Tonight all I need you to know is even when you’re screaming your head off, and getting out of your bed over and over again, I still love you. We’ve grown together, you and I. Before you were born I didn’t know I was capable of this kind of love, my heart has grown 100 times over to fit it all. 

I love you bunches.


circle of life

What a whirlwind 48 hours. I don’t really know what to say about it all yet.

Tuesday morning I heard from my best friend that her labor had started, the plan was for me to be an attendant at the birth so I spent the whole day on alert waiting for the call to come. As often is the case with first labors it was stop and go for a while and when I talked to her that night the midwife was having her do some exercises to shift the baby into a better position to either stop things or speed them up.

As soon as I got off the phone with her my phone rang again. I thought she had just forgotten something, but it was my parents. My grandpa had fallen and they weren’t expecting him to make it. They didn’t have all the details and we were trying to figure out how that fall equals probable death. They said they’d call one of the other siblings and call me back. A little while later I’m on Skype with my parents and my sister and they’ve found out he’s brain-dead. One of my aunt’s is going to have to decide when to take him off life support.

At this point I know a baby is probably coming in the wee hours of the morning, I’m already tired and now I’m also in shock. I just went to bed and told them to call Neil if there was anymore news.

Back to the baby, it turns out the exercises speed things up. I got multiple texts, perfectly timed to my nighttime feedings so I was never woken up, saying things were progressing. Around 4 something I got the one I was waiting for.

I quickly got ready and as I was getting ready to go I asked Neil if there had been anymore updates and that’s when I found out he’d passed away on his own around 11 o’clock the night before. So with a heavy heart I headed off to witness and support a most amazing home birth. I’d like to tell more about that later, but I don’t know what to say yet, and I want to clear with the mommy first anyway.

How does that song go…a baby’s born an old man dies…I feel like my emotions have been through a blender, and I’m so in awe of God and this circle of life he’s created.

The Birth of a boy – Part 1

So life’s been a bit crazy over here the last week or so. It was all calm, peaceful and happy when Jacob was born, and it actually stayed that way…for about a week…then all hell broke loose. Jacob still proves to be a peaceful content baby, but the other children, particularly the oldest have this thing for routine and structure and knowing what’s going on. All things that have been thrown out the window, thrown in the window to replace them has been screaming, fits, and other fun stuff. But you will hear more about that than you want later, that’s not why you’re here now, I told you I was going to tell you about the birth.

Below is all my pieces I’ve compiled in the last few weeks when I’ve had a second to think. I’d add more, but the screaming is distracting me.

So I have a few minutes of quiet, the big kids have been parcelled out and the littlest man is sleeping away after our first little walk. I’m sitting here trying to figure out how to put the birth into words. Some things are so experiential, finding words to describe them seems grossly insufficient, this is one of those things for me. But I think it’s important, and I’ve already had more requests than I can keep track of, so I’m going to try.

I’m not even sure where to start, for those that follow me on twitter or facebook you know my water broke at 4 am. saturday. That is a starting point, but it seems like I need to back up a bit. So we’ll start the day before.

I had an appointment with the midwife on Friday, the day before our little unnamed boy was born. It was my normal Friday off and I decided to take both kids with me, by myself, all the way to Sanford. I was very tired, but also very determined to do it alone. I had offers of help on the table, but it was one of those things I had to know I could do. I only had two that day, I was about to have three, I needed to know I could handle it. So off we went, I even threw in a visit to ‘The Barn Store’ to pick up some much needed fruit before heading up there, ’cause I’m just crazy like that.

The appointment was standard, any headaches, blurry vision, blah blah blah? no. How are you feeling? tired. What was your weight? You actually thought I’d say didn’t you, ha ha ha. Do you want to be checked? And I actually said yes. For those of you that don’t know what that means, I’ll spare you the process, but the results were 3-4 cm, 70% effaced with the baby down to about a 7. Which means I left with a note that I was not to return to work, that was a big YIPPIE moment for me….and I gotta go.

And we’re back for another 15 min attempt to get this on ‘paper.’

With no further plans to go to work I started making plans for the weekend and next week. Final preparation stuff, you know like, buy diapers. After all the extra effort of taking the kids out during the day I was wiped by the time Grant was in bed at 8pm. I did a few more things, got ready for bed and was out cold by 9 o’clock.

The one thing I said about this delivery was that I wanted to be rested, and I’ve never been so happy I went to bed early in my life. At 4AM something akin to warm slime running down my leg woke me up. I made an attempt to quickly waken Neil to get a towel to save the bed, but for any of you who have ever seen my husband sleep, quickly awaken isn’t really something that happens, the sheets were a loss. He finally woke up, grabbed me a towel, I got to the bathroom and we threw the sheets and cover in wash. We searched the house for the rubber sheet (which I knew was dirty because it was on my weekend list to clean it) or the extra shower curtain (which I finally found a week after the birth) to remake the bed for the birth. After our unsuccessful attempts we finally had to use every water proof pad the kids had and lined my side of the bed so I could go back to sleep. Neil stayed up long enough to put the sheets in the dryer and then joined me for our last few hours of sleep before our family expanded yet again. Somewhere around 4:30 I felt the first contraction. Around 20 mins later the next one came and I was relived thinking I had hours yet to go. At this rate I should get plenty of sleep.

To be continued…

He’s here!

Introducing Jacob Russell Byce
Introducing Jacob Russell Byce

I promise I’ll write the birth story. It’s just not coming now. We’re busy around here enjoying our little family. I’m sure I’ll be posting all the cute little things that happen, but the birth story is going to take some time to find the right words for. All three babies are currently sleeping, actually it looks like everyone, but me is currently sleeping, it seems a bit surreal. The house is quiet and I feel great, it’s almost as if he isn’t here yet. But he most certainly is and we are very excited to see how his little personality develops and molds into our family. Enjoy the pics.

proud parents
proud parents
Meet your brother
Meet your brother
our happy little family
our happy little family

i’m in pre-labor

So it turns out i’m in pre-labor. I don’t remember this term from the last two kids. I’m beginning to think it didn’t exist. You know like how pre-teen and tween didn’t exist when I was a pre-teen or tween. I think they just called us brats.

But I read about pre-labor last night, in the book of info I got from the birth center on my first visit that I am just now getting around to finishing. Apparently for 3rd and successive children you have lots of this. Which would explain why for weeks now I have been having every single one of the things on the list. I swear I will not know when early labor starts and all of a sudden WHAM! I’ll be in active labor, without a shred of warning. Unless you consider the weeks of pre-labor I’ve already had as warning, which I do not.

Here’s the list:

contractions – check, all day everyday, particularly when walking

back pain – check, has increased to the point where I can no longer even stand still without it hurting

increased sweating – check, it’s been in the 90s, with 100% humidity, need I say more?

cervical pressure – check, feels like the kids going to drop out at any moment

Plus a few other interesting things I’ll spare you from knowing. You can thank me later.

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