Saturday, April 23, 2011

Welcome, baby giraffe!

Well, it's official.  I'm officially a mom of 3 by the age of 30 (ok, I'm 29...but *that* number is just around the corner!).  Raegan Harper Conley made her entrance into the world on April 18th at 8:33 pm.  Weighing just 6 lb. 2 oz., she is the tiniest of the three Conley kids.  And, oh, is she a Conley kid!  To quote one of my dear friends, 'don't you and Randy know how to make any other kind?'

mommy's favorite bib :)

Over the past few days, I have been rolling around a million and seven ideas in my brain for what my next blog entry should be.  Of course I knew it would center around Raegan, but it was beyond that where I couldn't seem to find my focus.  So, this might be random...might be scattered...might be arbitrary...but most will be from the heart.
My labor with Raegan began early Monday morning.  I was beyond ready to meet our newest little princess, and especially to let everyone in on what Randy and I had known for months--the gender of our little baby giraffe.  As I left the doctor's office to head over to the hospital, the girls at the front desk asked me what the verdict was, to which I responded, "I'm going to have a baby today!".  The words rolled off my tongue in excitement and joy, but the aftertaste was peppered with anxiety, fear, nervousness, and a sense of 'holy-crap-what-have-we-gotten-ourselves-into?'. 

When Raegan was born, they laid her on my chest and cleaned her tiny little body off, despite her squeaks and screams.  I had been thinking about 'that moment' for pretty much my whole pregnancy, because I remembered it so distinctly when Brynn was born.  I never had 'that moment' with Gavin because he had a little more traumatic birth, so they whisked him away before I had a chance to really see him.  So, with Raegan, I was waiting for 'that moment'.  I always knew there was a possibility that I wouldn't experience it. For a brief time during my labor, that possibility was close to being reality, as my doctor informed me there was a chance I'd need a C-section if things didn't progress and Raegan wasn't able to respond a little better to the contractions.  Thankfully, things progressed along and Raegan and I officially met for the first time the way I'd wanted to all along.  I was grateful God blessed me with that experience again, being as how Raegan is our last baby. 

'Last'.  That word I've found myself saying and thinking about in a whole different capacity since having Raegan.  Yes, Randy and I have discussed how three children is what suits our family best.  And I'm seriously content with that.  As much as I loved the miraculous parts of pregnancy (that didn't leave me nauseous, wearing elastic waistbands, or having to pee every 4 1/2 minutes), as much as I cherish the amazing experience of birth; our family is complete and my ideal of perfect.

But there's going to be that part of me that recognizes the 'last' of lots of things as Raegan grows and changes.  And despite the fact that I know we're done having children, there's going to be that part of me that mourns the those 'last' moments, 'last' milestones, 'last' memories.  I remember one night last summer when Randy and I were discussing having one more baby.  I remember letting him know I will have sadness with those 'lasts', but not to worry because the sadness won't last--that fleeting feeling won't overshadow the joy I feel when I look at our three kids.

Our three kids...three!  I remember a post I wrote a while back about the mix of emotions and feelings I had when Brynn was born and my uncertainties about my abilties to love her in the same way I did Gavin.  I learned in a very short time that I love her just as much as Gavin, but in a unique way that fit with Brynn's personality (and oh, what a personality!), and the relationship I have with her.  That experience gave me the ability to know that Raegan's birth will result in my heart multiplying, my love growing in ways that match best to her own personality, and our unique relationship. 

One of the coolest moments so far about having three kids was the moment Gavin and Brynn came into the hospital room to meet Raegan.  The look of awe on their faces as they processed this little person that they had only known as 'giraffe', or 'baby in mommy's belly' is one memory I hope to never forget.  Gavin was honest--he was a little sad that he didn't have a brother, but I'm fairly confident that he'll take on that role of 'big brother to two sisters' pretty well. 

do you think he's pretty excited?
 Now Brynn...well, it will be an interesting transition to watch as Brynn moves from 'baby girl', 'princess', and 'center of the world' (in her eyes) to having to share a little of that *pink* spotlight with her baby sister.  I'm pretty sure Brynn's personality is a strong enough one to still stay true to herself, and avoid becoming the middle child who can sometimes become a little 'lost' in the shuffle between the first born and the baby of the family.  For now, she is is love with her sister...'her' baby, as she's been telling us.

Brynn *adores* her baby sister!

The realization of having three kids is sinking in, one of the moments that sort of sealed that deal was when Raegan and I came home from the hospital.  Aside from the new seating assignments in the back of the car (it is bizarre seeing three car seats behind us!), when we got home and walked into the house, Randy set Raegan's carseat down (she was snoozing soundly), and I started to clean up some things around the kitchen.  I shuffled through mail, wiped down countertops, organized some of the mess, poured milk for the kids, and unloaded the dishwasher.  I did all of this, and at one point I looked up and saw Raegan sleeping peacefully in her carseat.  Raegan!  Oh my gosh, there was a brief moment when I questioned myself as to whether I had actually *forgotten* about her.  No, how could I possibly *forget* my baby girl, who I just brought into this world not even two days earlier?!  I felt terrible as I made my way to her, unbuckled her, and lifted her into my arms.  She stirred a little, but was otherwise unphased.  I know that of course, being a newborn, she'll be 'unphased' by a lot in the upcoming days and weeks, until she becomes a little more aware of the world in which she lives.  But I didn't like that I so easily let her 'fall by the wayside' within a few minutes of her being home.  When we brought Gavin home, it was with more ceremony (I even gave him a tour of the house--which seems silly as I look back on it).  Yet here I was with our 'last' baby, and she sat in her carseat for a while until I was ready for her.  Poor thing.  Not even 2 days old and she already was fulfilling a role where she had to wait her turn. 

As much guilt as I felt about this one little moment, it makes me smile because I know that it's a reflection of life.  Our life is three kids.  Our life is spreading our attention, our patience, ourselves in three different directions to three different kids with three different needs (or more).  Our life is busy, often times unyeilding, and our own version of a mini circus.  But it's our life.  A new frontier, a new schedule (or 4 or 8) to organize, a whole bunch of 'new' things that we'll meet with optimism.  While I might have some sadness about some of the 'lasts', there are so many 'new' things that will keep me looking forward.  If anything, my life will be such a whirlwind that I won't have much time to lament the 'lasts'.  I'll just have to keep my camera close by to document it all.

the 'last' time my kids will sit on a hospital bed, welcoming a new member of the family


  1. I seriously think you were reading my thoughts. Laura is almost 5 months old and I still have "Ack, I forgot I have 3 kids!" moments.
    Not to mention all the "lasts". Trying to think more about firsts. :)