Saturday, July 26, 2008

Continued Prayers Please

How we wish in the day's following Madison Elise's joyful arrival, we could have been sharing pictures and stories. After laboring hard for 12ish hours, a succesful VBAC, and the birth we hoped and prayed for that even made our head nurse tear up and thank us for letting her witness Christ in a delivery room in such a special way (even our awesome doula and OB were amazed)... this is what we will choose to remember about Maddie's birthday. But in reality we were hardly expecting what actually happened next.

We don't have the time or energy now to go into all the details, but since we've hardly been able to get back to anyone in the last week we are writing to ask for your prayers. Less than two hours after delivery an incident, due to the fault of the hospital, started a chain of events that has made this time so very hard. We are in and out of seeing medical specialists and now Katrina is on mandated rest, only getting up to go to the bathroom and to nurse, to try to cure her body of the infections she's fighting. The good news is that overall Maddie is very healthy. As proud and excited parents we try not to brag (too much anyway:) about our kids, but in this situation we can tell you that Maddie is an angel baby with a sweet spirit. This, especially now, is a tremendous gift from the Lord.

Yesterday was a real low point as we sat in an oral surgeon's office contemplating another surgery and procedure; then found out about another infection right afterwards. So, friends, again we are asking for your prayers (for us as well as for Nana Britt, who is working tirelessly around the clock though she is not feeling especially well herself!) For once we feel completely overwhelmed emotionally, mentally, and even physically; we just want to get better and spend this time with our precious girls. Thank you with all our hearts!

Friday, July 18, 2008


Ok, it's started. Katrina began having some mild contractions at around 7:15 am. I went to work briefly to wrap some things up, and by the time I returned home at around 9:00 am, her contractions were around every 4-7 minutes apart, and lasting from 30 seconds to a minute. That is sort of where we have been for the past couple of hours. We are thinking of heading to the hospital shortly. Please pray for Katrina and the new baby, for a safe and healthy delivery. Please also pray for God's peace to rest on Hope (and for the Hightowers as they help with it all) and for our family to make it here safely. Thanks so much everyone!

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

The Nursery Question

We Martins love a good story. This even holds true when it comes to what we put in our home. We're often drawn to handmade things, things with history, things with character. For the most part that's what you'll find around our place... handmade gifts, thrift or salvage or bargain finds, give-a-ways or hand-me-downs that we somehow make our own. And the more of a story behind them, the better.

So we (okay, especially me) have considered it a great privilege to piece together nurseries, little spaces, for our children. We've gotten several questions about what Baby M's looks like and this is about all we can give you for now...

As you can maybe tell it's a multi-purpose room at the moment. Plus it's really a shell which will later be filled in depending on whether, "It's a ???" We can tell you the walls are sage green and most of the shelves and such are accented in black. We moved the crib PopPop made by hand in there a few weeks ago (yes, I cried when it left Hope's room) and everything else will have that vintage-like feel that I've come to adore over the years. So, here's a peek at the crib with a few possibilities inside.

Since I can't really give you much of a tour in that room, how about I show you around Hope's instead? May you enjoy the stories of her space as much as I do anytime I go in there. It took us quite some time to decide on Hope's name, so once we did I celebrated by making this small sign to hang on her door. Beside her door hangs the print Grandpa and Grandma Martins sent on her dedication day since they were so sad they couldn't be there. For our treasured Tidewater friends, especially those who came to help paint, her walls are once again two shades of pink... sweet rose and salmon. Never thought I'd go all girly pink, but somehow the two contrasting shades speak femininity with a touch of spunk to me (sorry the lighting wasn't so great, so the pics are a little dark).

Here she is on the day we made the switch to a second hand crib find (thanks again, Rachel, for the lead and, Martins' family, for providing since we couldn't get up for a shower!) The transition was seamless, which I was glad about since we really want all our children to have their time inside PopPop's labor of love. Below that the crib is decked back out in the steal of a bedding set I found with two favorites, Bobo and Norton (doll given to me when my brother was born; he's 24 and looking good for his age, eh?), tucked inside waiting for the next night-night. We opted not for a big girl bed at this point... We can see it now; Hope climbing over the stairway gate in the middle of the night, scooting down the stairs as she loves to do, and cooking us all breakfast (or burning down the house) on the "HOT!" stove. And you only think we jest! :)

A few other spots in the room include, speaking of night night, her basket of bears next to the CD player which faithfully plays certain "Praise Baby" music as she sleeps... Old shelves I distressed in college which now hold a collection of "specials" from you loving friends and family...The Britt family artwork effort; Nana found an old book of nursery rhymes for like two bucks- waffly textured pages and all, Uncle Billy cut the mattes, and I found a deal on some frames... The wicker dresser Ms. Carol gave us before moving from Va. Beach with a place above it for memories...

The old curtains in a sweet floral pattern Nana found on a good thrift store day... Hope's Christmas shabby chic-like rocker restored by her grandparents... Another wicker shelf gifted from Ms. Carol and painted black... And where we begin and end many days-- in the rocker that used to sit on my front porch as a little girl next to another college distressed table. If you look closely on the table you'll see a few of my favorite items including a mold of her tiny hand and footprint, a keepsake silver brush/comb set from Great Auntie Susan, along with blessings written over her before she was born. Oh and on the chair hangs an afghan made by my Great Aunt Dee- not only does each child have one, but we have one in extra long ("Since Joe is so tall," she said) made for our wedding.

You know, I really don't think it's about the things at all. It is about the stories, the memories, the people, the time. These are the real things we want our children to know and appreciate. Now that I'm done nesting without actually doing anything to the nest, I believe Joe is finally almost home from work-- so it's off through the neighborhood we go... hoping my spicy Mexican lunch (his office celebrated a WHOLE YEAR he's been there... A year? Already?!) and a good solid walk will encourage you-know-who!


Yes, waiting. This little one on her birds as she does almost every morning...

And the rest of us on this little one to come out and meet us all!

Warning: Object in above picture may appear calmer than actually is! LOL! Today marks 40 weeks as most of you already know from your sweet e-mails and phone calls. Because we haven't been the best at getting back to everyone (please forgive us!) here are a few answers to the most frequently asked questions:

1. My last OB appointment was Monday. Everything still looks healthy. Baby is measuring on a normal scale... his/her heartrate is strong (fluctuating from the 130's to 160 over the last several weeks-- just to keep the old wive's tales at bay, we think :) and is in the head first position. Still moving around like CRAZY! Thankfully, all still looks healthy with me also.
2. I am a whole 1 cm. dialated... sigh. As my mom says, "God's not through yet," though.
3. We postponed the surgery we originally had scheduled for today after lots of prayer and research. How long we will wait is soley dependant upon our most important outcomes, a healthy baby and mama. Your prayers about this are most special and appreciated!
4. Have we chosen two names? Yes and no... yes, we have some contenders and no, we have no idea for sure which ones we will actually choose. We feel certain-- just as with Hope-- that once we can finally see that little face, it will be clear. The suspense is happily killing me too!
5. What about the nursery? This is a fun question that I'll try to get back to with some pics later on!

Until then, looks like we'll carry on as a normal day. So normal, in fact, here Hope will say "bye, bye"-- a little leftover breakfast down her dress, bed head, and all!

Ps... Happy Days

Baby M's due date falls directly in between two very special birthdays... we already missed Auntie Becki's yesterday:

So if not today, then how about your's tomorrow, Auntie 'Omi?

XOXO to you both and happy, happy birthdays!

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Daddy's Turn

So today Daddy got to spend the day with Hope while Mommy rested. Katrina needs lots of rest now as her due date for Martins Baby #2 is just around the corner. She is an amazing trooper. I just don't know how she cares for a lightning fast toddler and carries a baby in her womb at the same time. God sure knew what he was doing when he made Katrina the woman and me the man. I would have run out of gas during week two of pregnancy if I were carrying this child.

Hope slept in a little this morning so I was grateful for that. Never in my life did I fathom that I would ever consider 8:00 a.m. to be "sleeping in." So life changes when you have a child . . .

I fed her waffles, raisins, bananas and peaches. Then I made some oatmeal pancakes for Mommy and of course, Hope couldn't resist. "Hancake, hancake," she says over and over. Hope will eat anything that is on someone else's plate. I am starting to think we should just put recycled cardboard on her plate and extra portions of food on our plates so that when she starts flapping her arms and saying "peas, peas" we can just give her the extra food from our plate. Oh the deceptive things us parents will do to feed our children!

So Hope and I read books, played blocks and held baby dolls for most of the morning. (Did I just admit that thing about the dolls out loud?) Katrina came down for some breakfast at around 10:30 a.m., and of course, Hope wanted some of Mommy's pancakes. Hope used to let us know when she was finished with her food by saying, "ah dun, ah dun," repeatedly until you take the food from her hand. However, she has recently started to play a game where she will tell us she is done, and then when we reach for the food she pulls it back and laughs. I guess this is her equivalent of "down low, too slow!"

So after her afternoon nap, Hope and I went to play in our bonus room. For those of you who don't know what a bonus room is, it is basically a room that is a bonus. Ha ha. Seriously, apparently they don't do basements here in Tennessee so it is usually an extra room that is over the garage. Gary and Karen Phillips, the wonderful parents of my best man Mark E. Mark Phillips, call them "FROGs": Front Room Over Garage. I like that.

So Hope and I picked up the bonus room (not literally) and went to the park. Hope LOVES the park. Every time we go there she says "pit nic, pit nic" because we all had a picnic there once. She loves the swings more than anything and gets so excited it looks like she is going to pop. Now that really makes my day. It really feels great to provide for my family so that my daughter can have fun memories. When I feel like this, I almost immediately feel very grateful to my Heavenly Father for providing for me so that I can provide for my family. If He did not give to us daily from His hands, we would have nothing.

After playing at the park for a little while, Hope and I went to another park that is right near a Civil War battlefield. I strapped Hope into the jogging stroller and ran three times around the park. Ok, now I'm not in the best of shape, but I don't care who you are, running with a stroller is tough. It was so much fun to hear Hope say "weee, weee" every time I popped a wheelie on the stroller.

When we were done we came back home where Hope burst into her "mommy, mommy, mommy" chant as soon as she saw the house. We ate a delicious meal prepared by the Hightowers (thank you Hightowers!) and then I brought Hope up to bed. Before I even picked her up she began saying "bye-bye" and "night-night" to everyone. I gave her a bath, dried her off with her favorite duck blanket, and read her a book. Mommy came up to finish putting her to sleep.

What a full day. I pray that Hope can have many more such fun days throughout her childhood and that I can be there to share them with her. Well, it's getting late, (never in all my life did I fathom that I would ever call 10:00 p.m. "late") and so I've got to go. "Night-night."

Friday, July 11, 2008

More Ordinary Miracles...

I was cleaning out our camera today to make room for a little someone else's birthday and ran across some pictures that made me smile. Thinking they might do the same for you as you head into what we pray is a wonderful weekend, here are few of the faves (with specific shout-outs to those who made them possible, though hopefully enjoyable to all! :). Today I am extra thankful for two ordinary miracles-- God's peace which passes all understanding and unexpected generosity. Both of these have surrounded me this day, this minute even... what a Father to send you just what you need at a point when you really need it the most!

For Auntie Marcie... you can see she didn't like going out in this her beautiful birthday outfit AT ALL!

For Andrea... a little Sunday morning stroll in that precious, creative pillowcase dress.

For Auntie Brooke... your care package ducky slippers- a hit! Cadan is coming close, perhaps, to fitting in the crocodiles soon.

I am reminded of this verse from Jeremiah, "For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord... plans to give you a hope and a future." May that be an encouragement to us all this weekend and in all the days ahead!

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Gators, Elephants, & 39 Weeks... OH MY!

Today marks it... unseen territory for us-- all the way to 39 weeks! And what a week it's been. In a word, tiring, and in another word, precious. Such are my emotions lately, so that's no suprise. It seems Hope is a lot like her Mommy and would probably describe the week in almost exactly the same way if only she could.

After six+ months of peacefully napping at practically the same times every day, that has up and changed, which is affecting everything from sleeping to eating. After some final relief from all her teething, that has changed-- two sharp eye teeth have decided to pop through with the bottom ones to match. And in regards to change, she certainly has inherited my knack for just knowing when big ones are around the corner as she's been extra clingy to me often saying, "Baby!" and kissing my belly. She's also been clingy to many of her special things including Bobo her bear, her "pacis" (which was on its way out it seemed), baby dolls, snack crackers shaped like bunnies, raisins, crayons and chalk, lotions of any kind, and a few of her books. How's that for a list? Ha! Randomly when one of these objects disappears or is suddenly remembered she has a bit of a meltdown. To top it off, man, is she fast... those little legs almost always seem to be running and for some reason I'm just not as spry as I used to be. At least not this week, anyway... :)

Thankfully, though, that's only a part of the story. We've also been trying to savor the last of this time with Hope, which has made for some beautiful memories. One of our favorite times lately was taking a trip to the zoo, combining both Hope's love of the outdoors with her passion for animals. As you can see she spent most of the day grinning with her arm stuck straight out at all the new creatures just beyond her eyes and fingertips. From watching "all-gators" at feeding time in one of two favorite exhibits, to brushing farm animals (after first testing the brush on herself we reluctantly admit), to riding a big "ell-fant," to playtime just before closing... we ended the day joyfully tired. Note the break Baby M and I took near the end lest we gave birth right there in the Elephant Savannah!

The rest of this week has included trips to very nearby places like McDonalds Playland, the library, lunch with Daddy, Bruester's Ice-Cream (yum!) with more mechancial rides, the park, water works in the yard, and the like. I'm pretty much boycotting any real cleaning or other responsibilities that I can!

Should Baby M keep holding out, despite all we're doing to encourage a sooner than later arrival, we have a few more low key ideas up our sleeves to keep the week as fun as possible and moving by. After meeting with our labor doula tonight and our OB tomorrow, we'll keep you posted on the outcomes, especially if out comes this little face during it all!

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Fourth and Counting

No baby yet! After other healthy, praise God, appointments with all the support staff helping us along in this process we are trying a few "home remedies" and still waiting. The last appointment gave us a slight scare, but thankfully everything was just fine. Having already surpassed the early mark where we had Hope, these final weeks (days?) are flying and creeping by all at the same time. We are in constant prayer about the decisions before us; to those who are joining us in that, once again, there is no way to adequately say thank-you other than to just say it. So, thank-you and our love to you all!

Mid-June to mid-July seems to be prime time for occassions we are saddened to miss... a Martins' family beach trip to Rhode Island, the beautiful wedding of Mr. and Mrs. Benjamin Reed-a childhood friend- at the Biltmore Estate no less, a reunion with some of Joe's college buddies, the surgeries of two close aunts of mine, among other things. Worth every precaution not to travel during this time, but still a twinge of sadness as we miss seeing these special folks. However, to sweeten such blows, we've been BLESSED in the last week to have our dear friends and missionaries, the Gilmers, travel many hours during their brief visit to the States to see us! Great memories, especially since they were here in time for the Fourth of July. Just some of the cute faces and places from the celebration...

HOPE each of you had a safe and wonderful Fourth of July as well! After we prayed and sung the National Anthem just before dinner, then later watched fireworks light up a peaceful July sky, we were especially reminded of all the men and women to whom we owe our gratitude. Again words fail us, so here is a heartfelt thank-you to you ALL!