The prospect of having more children after the difficulties with Tyler and Abby's births was a difficult one to face. When Tyler was 2 and Abby was 5 it seemed to be the right time to start thinking about having more. Abby started Kindergarten in the fall of 2008. She had developed well and really enjoyed school. There were little things that concerned us. Her class only met for half the day so her school day wasn't long. Her teacher didn't always inform us when she would disrupt the class and unfortunately it seemed to be more often than not that she would interrupt. Not in a destructive or mean way but she had a difficult time staying on task and focusing on the work at hand. I wasn't greatly concerned because she was young and learning more all the time. We made it all the way through Kindergarten with glowing reports of her progress in school. She loves to learn and we were happy with her progress. She started reading and very quickly excelled in her class. It was great to see her succeed and to have the chance to get to learn with her. She loved her teacher and her classmates. As a full-time mom, I looked forward to first grade when she could be in school for a whole six hours a day! :)
This time was very good for us. Tyler was growing and doing very well. Abby loved school and her activities. I was busy with working as a Primary President in my ward and loving that calling. It took up time but was also really rewarding, giving me the opportunity to work with the children at church and wonderful teachers and counselors.
I had been feeling that the time was right to have another baby. Aaron and I have always been in sync when that decision has been made but because of my other experiences with my pregnancies I was worried that there would be problems. Feeling that we needed to add to our family and feeling the help of our Heavenly Father in that decision made all the difference for me. I was reminded that he was with us and that there would be something wonderful at the end.
I made it through the first three or four months with no problem. I was careful with what I ate and went about daily life busily driving Abby back and forth to school and keeping up with the household chores. Even with all of the problems that we have had being pregnant is a great time for me. I don't get really sick mostly just tired. After a few months my blood pressure began to rise to the point that Dr. Fine had me take blood pressure medication and put me on partial bed rest. He encouraged me not to put any strain on myself and to bring my schedule to only necessary activities. I knew that it meant that I would have a difficult time keeping up with my calling. I had amazing counselors and I'm sure that they could have taken up the reigns with no problem but I felt better knowing that someone else would have the responsibility while I went through that time. It was hard not to get to continue with a calling that I enjoyed so much.
On February 13th, Aaron's dad passed away suddenly. It was a difficult time for all of us. Abby and I had seen him two days before at the store and hadn't known that anything was wrong. It was hard to explain to the kids that he was gone and that he wouldn't be back. We decided during that time that if our baby was a boy we would name him after Mel. Mel didn't really like his first name Melvin much so we decided instead to use his middle name Richard as a remembrance.
In April or May Aaron came to me with the idea that we should move into a house of our own. We had been renting for a while. I was hesitant to move while on partial bed rest but Aaron assured me that it would take just a little time to get everything in place and then we would be able to move a few months before the baby was born and have everything ready by the time he got home. So we went in search of houses in our area to buy in our price range. We found the one we liked and bid on it and started the paperwork at the first of May. Being first time homebuyers we didn't realize the amount of time it would take for everything done and it took until the middle of July to have everything go through.
My blood pressure threatened to turn into preeclampsia and Dr. Fine ordered strict bed rest at my regular doctors visit. I was at 35 weeks like I had been with Tyler so I knew that he was not in great danger but I hoped beyond hope that I could make it all the way to 38 weeks. That was the day that we found out the closing date of our house! I was on strict bed rest and I had almost my whole house to pack! Yikes!
Fortunately, my very good friends were there for me. Many in the ward (particularly my friend Heather Paris) had been on watch asking me all the time when I needed help from the ward. It was great to have so many people concerned with my well being. When the time came they were ready with a coalition of friends and ward members to come to my house. Not only did they come with boxes they were ready to pack and clean and they made me lay down on the couch the whole time and just direct them to what needed to be done. My mom and sister-in-law helped with the kids so we could get everything prepared. In just two days they had the new house cleaned and my house packed up to move to the new house. Then other family members and friends helped Aaron move everything into the new house for our first night there. That night I remember laying down in my bed with all of my things around me and thanking God for the blessing of people that were willing to help us. I don't know what we would have done without their love and support.
Every week that went by was a blessing once again but there were no problems. I was able to stay down most of the time so my blood pressure stayed down and I was in all other ways healthy. I was always cautiously optimistic that I would be able to carry full term but I waited for the other shoe to drop. I just expected for there to be problems. But thankfully no problems came our way.
On August 11, 2009 I delivered Nathan Richard Martin a full-term 7 pound 10 ounce fully grown baby boy! The mood in that operating room was nothing like my two previous c-sections. Everyone was laughing and talking to each other, cracking jokes and having fun. Dr. Fine told them about my two previous pregnancies and one of the nurses piped up with, "This is what having a full-term non complicated delivery feels like!" That made me smile and then it made me cry. After Nathan was born they brought him to me, no need for oxygen. I got to see him and kiss his head before Aaron went with him to the nursery. When they left I laid there and silently cried for joy that we had made it so far with a healthy boy! One of the nurses noticed that I was crying and asked me if I was okay. I told her that I was and added, "I'm not used to this!" The surgical team all laughed and got me ready to go back to my room to recover.
It was the oddest, most peaceful feeling to have them bring Nathan into the room. I was almost overwhelmed with the simple joy of it. No need for doctors and nurses and constant care for him. He was ready for just me and his daddy. I was oblivious to pain or discomfort it was just Nathan and I, cuddling, nursing, just us together. No need for bottles or feeding tubes or IV's or ventilators. No need for care times when I could stay only a few minutes. It was beautiful just as every birth should be. A healthy baby, a mom and a dad. Who knew something so simple could bring such joy?
That night was magical for me. It might sound silly but I did not put him down all night. I held him in my arms and on my chest. I didn't sleep very soundly but I didn't care. It was just the two of us hanging out. I watched him while he slept counted all of his fingers and toes. Watched him make all kinds of faces while he slept. Beautiful baby boy. After all those nights and days in the hospital with Abby and Ty this experience was like heaven on earth. I finally had the chance to experience something "normal" and I savored every single minute. We stayed for a few days and had many come to rejoice with us, including my entire book club, friends, and family.
The day came when it was time to go home. And we did. Without discharge classes or apnea tests. We drove home slowly. Joyfully. Together.