In August, when we found out that Ethan wasn't going to be with us long, we told our immediate families that if they wanted to meet Ethan they would need to be here when he was born. They rose to the occasion and every single one of my siblings and Jeff's siblings bought plane tickets to be here for Ethan's birth. It was amazing to have so much support. My four siblings (plus four grandchildren) planned to stay at my parents house, and Jeff's three siblings (plus two grandchildren, an aunt, and a sister-in-law) planned to stay with us. If you're counting that meant 10 people in my parents house and 11 people at our house. I have to be honest and say I was a little overwhelmed with the thought of delivering such a special baby, not knowing what the outcome would be, and entertaining so many guests. I will be forever grateful for my mom and my mother-in-law for taking on the rolls as hostesses and making sure everything was taken care of. My mom loaned us foam pads, sheets, pillows, and towels for everyone. My sister Jen came over the night before guests arrived to help clean and set up beds. And my mother-in-law took on my duties as housewife the entire 4.5 weeks she was here. It was a team effort!
|Cousins: Braxton and Miles|
|Braxton, Harrison, Evelyn, Maddie, Misha|
|Christy and Jack Sr.|
|Harrison and Miles|
|Talking about Ethan's birth plan and setting up the Google Hangout|
|Jeff, Cathy, Megan, Evelyn|
|Two Peas in a Pod: Jeff and Maddie|
|Tom, Christy, Evelyn, Cathy, Tierney|
|Aunt Nancy, Tierney, Jared|
|I don't know what I'm doing here.|
|Jeff and his siblings|
I can't even describe how thankful I was that everyone was here. Since we really didn't know what to expect when Ethan was born, I had so many different scenarios floating around in my head. I was trying to figure out what it might be like after he was born, but really had no idea. And the scenario that did end up playing out was not one that I had seen coming. We were so shocked that Ethan came out so healthy, but declined so quickly. I never imagined that we would be saying good-bye to our baby boy so soon. (Full birth story to come later.) Anyway, even though I was a bit worried about having so many people around at such a fragile time, I am SO glad that everyone was here to meet Ethan. It helped immensely to have such a big group of family around to love us and support us before, during, and after Ethan's birth. And the hospital was very accommodating for our huge group. On Monday (the 30th), I think we had claimed the three largest rooms in the labor and delivery unit of the hospital. I am so glad they understood the importance of having our family close on that day.
After coming home from the hospital and getting through the week of the funeral (another story to come later), we had three wonderful visitors come and spend time with us. It really helped me to have something to look forward to each day and a reason to get up out of bed in the morning.
Cathy - Jeff's Mom
Obviously Jeff's mom was here for Ethan's birth, but she stayed for four more weeks afterwards too. This had been planned from the beginning so she could be there for me when Jeff went back to work. At the time we didn't know if this meant sitting with Ethan and I at the hospital, helping me with a special new baby at home, keeping me company if Ethan passed away, or all of the above. I told my mom one day after Ethan passed that it was weird to start making plans again. For the longest time we couldn't make plans after September 30. We had no idea what we would be doing and what our life would be like. After the funeral Cathy and I were free to make plans for the next few weeks she was here. Jeff took off two weeks from work, so we spent that time with him. We relaxed at home, worked on a 1500 piece puzzle, played games, cross-stitched, watched movies, attempted to cook freezer meals (It's harder than it looks!), and ate out at all our favorite local restaurants. We had a blast. When Jeff went back to work, Cathy and I spent our days with my mom in her amazing basement sewing room. We had so much fun working on several different projects. We quilted on the long-arm machine, sewed quilt tops together, learned to applique, did a painted wall hanging, and found too many fun new projects to start. It was so fun that I think we are going to try and make "Quilt Camp" an annual tradition. I wish I would have taken pictures of all our projects we did! Other than Jeff, I have the best in-laws in the world! (And I'm not just saying that because I know they read this blog.)
Nichelle - My Best Friend
Nichelle gets the award for the most surprising visit. Sunday night, the night before Ethan's graveside service, she showed up on our doorstep. We had no idea she was coming. She had driven about 1200 miles to get here and made it just in time to meet sweet baby Ethan before we buried him Monday morning. I still can't believe she made such a long drive just to see us for a day before having to turn around and go back home. It meant the world to me.
But that is not all... Nichelle came back (on an airplane this time) three weeks later to spend a week with me after Cathy left. We had too much fun. We spent a lot of time shopping, relaxing, and sleeping in. We had such a great time. That's what I love about Nichelle...we can have fun together doing absolutely nothing. We also played games, cooked delicious meals, and talked and laughed a ton. I am so blessed to have such a wonderful best friend!
Jessi - My College/Teacher/New Zealand Friend
Jessi and I met in college at BYU. We lived in the same apartment complex, which meant we also went to church together. We had the same major, which meant we had classes together. We taught first grade together. We even did study abroad together and were roommates in New Zealand. Jessi is a great friend. Our personalities are so much alike. Since she is a teacher, she came for the long weekend over Veteran's Day. We spent Saturday running errands and attending a wedding reception. Sunday was spent playing games and having dinner at my parent's house. On Monday we had brunch, got pedicures, and did a little shopping. I am so glad she came to visit!
Now it's back to being just Jeff and I. It was wonderful to have so many visitors, and I think it really was good for me to have a reason to get out of bed everyday. But it's also kind of nice to get back to "normal."
I have been busy with visitors and projects. But I have also been looking at the future for me. As much fun as it is to stay home all day and do whatever I want, I feel like something is missing. I am pretty good at staying busy, and I have no doubt that I could keep myself busy all day, but there is something to be said about feeling "needed." I miss knowing that someone is relying on me for something. For that reason I have decided to s-l-o-w-l-y get back into teaching. Even though there are teaching jobs available mid-year, I've been there/done that and don't ever want to do it again. Instead I am going to try my hand at subbing. I started seriously thinking about it last week and as of today I can officially start working. Although I don't think I'm quite ready to take jobs yet. I didn't expect the process to go so fast. I am mentally preparing myself to start taking jobs after Thanksgiving. We'll see...