>The title of this blog, Three Big Brothers, was originally intended to reflect the life that our adopted daughter would lead. Imagine being a little girl entering an entirely new family pre-set with three protective brothers. We had envisioned adopting a child quite young who would grow up with a full memory of this family and would see her former life only in pictures and stories. My, how things change! God knows each of us by name, and even beyond that, He knows each of our desires and deepest longings. For Matt and me, one of the desires we have felt is to be parents of a daughter. After being so blessed with three amazing sons, it is natural to want to experience what the fairer sex has to offer to a family. So when it came time for us to find out the gender of Baby Hamrick #4, we were not-so-secretly hoping to hear, “It’s a GIRL!”
However, the day of our ultrasound began quite differently than we would have liked. Matt had come down with a 24 hour bug, thankfully not the “pig flu” that has wreaked havoc on our country this fall. I had a regular check-up scheduled at 8:00 to be followed by my ultrasound at 9:30. Matt had planned on keeping the boys at home during the first appointment and then meeting me at the hospital for the big show. There was no way he was going to be able, much less allowed, to go to the hospital, so I got the boys up and ready myself. I packed wisely, with three snack baggies with cereal, pieces of bagel, and a few M&M’s hidden in there. This bag was to be used only during the ultrasound, since I was told it was a lengthy procedure. I had also packed 3 iPods with headphones. Both of these came in handy! They got their wiggles out during the first appointment, during which I threatened them within an inch of their lives, so that by the time we got down to radiology they were being very good.
I ended up downstairs an hour before my appointment but went ahead and checked in. I let them know that I was there and ready in case they could take me early. Sure enough, just a couple of minutes later the technician came to get me. That’s when she saw them. The boys. The tone in her voice was less than sympathetic, “Ma’am, children are not allowed back there… there’s a sign.” I looked all around me for this elusive sign and found it hidden in an alcove totally separate from where we were sitting. I stammered something about calling my husband, because that’s what wives do when they need help… at least the ones whose husbands are (thankfully) in the same geographical location! I glanced down at my phone, realizing three disturbing facts: 1. I have NO reception in the hospital; 2. Matt’s puking at home; 3. We are down to one car and I HAVE IT. At this time it was only 8:35 so I say, “I’ll just run them home,” though as anyone who has tried to park at Evan’s hospital knows, it’s more than just driving them the 1 mile home…the parking is atrocious. (Think of trying to fit 10,000 people into a building that has only 100 parking spaces, it’s sort of like that.) The annoyed technician says, “Well, you’d better hurry, we have a full day.” To which I politely, but assertively comment, “My appointment’s not until 9:30. I can easily be back by that time.” So I start putting iPods back into their bags and get them headed toward the door when she totally takes me by surprise. “Just bring them in, but if they start to get fussy, we’re done.” I’ll take it! I pray really, really hard, that they’ll behave. I had already given them the warning and the detailed description of how long we’d be in there and what the technician was going to do… as well as what I expected from them. If there were ever a time I needed them to be great, this was it.
We get to the room and the tech points to the corner where they were allowed to be and orders me onto the table. And for the next 30 minutes my children eat their snacks, listen to their iPods, and occasionally ask relevant questions about what they are watching on the screen. The lady holding the goo and wand actually apologized to me twice for being rude. She said she could not believe how well behaved they were. Made me proud to have three amazing sons!
So, to go back to the reason I’m on the uncomfortable table to begin with, she measures some things while I have a full bladder and then she lets me go relieve myself. I don’t usually use that phrase when referring to the experience of going to the bathroom, but during pregnancy, very little gives me more true relief that peeing! Especially here, at this altitude, where I’ve been instructed to drink no less than 94 oz of water every day! Let’s say there are times I have complained about how often I am in the bathroom. However, after my bout with the 24 hour bug that got worse as I dehydrated, landing me in Labor and Delivery getting 2 IV bags of fluids pumped into my system, I decided I’d try to complain less about peeing so much and just be thankful I was not puking up every sip of water I consumed. I have N-E-V-E-R been so thirsty in my life… I was crying sans tears in the hospital because I was so thirsty, and a bit incoherent, I bet. Miserable feeling! After the first bag was in I felt about 95% better and continued to get better from that point on. I digress…
When I returned to the table she checked all the other things she needed to check on the baby and very soon I knew that “he” was no Anna! “He” was not shy about his gender as his oldest brother had been (we didn’t know what Hayden was until he was born) and I was able to spot what I needed to see before the tech pointed it out. She, of course, confirmed that our next addition is a boy and I just smiled! 4 boys. 4 of a kind! We only had a 12% chance of having another boy. (Yes, I know that each pregnancy is 50/50, but after 3 boys, the chances of having a 4th are only 12%, according to this scientific, 100% accurate website. Note: I know websites are not the end-all in statistics, but it’s too late/early for me to do much more research.) That makes having four boys a pretty special thing, if you ask me! I’ve always said I love being a mom to boys. And I prayed earnestly that more than anything, I would have another healthy baby. All the fun, pink colored stuff aside, for which I’m sure Parker will be thankful, we’re excited to welcome Parker into our family!
So what about Matt? He was at home during all of this, totally unaware that we were gone. We needed to find a way to tell Daddy that we’re having another BOY! So, we drove to the PX and headed for the baby section. (For those of you who don’t know what the PX is, it’s the “Post Exchange,” sort of like a mini-Wal-mart on post.)
This next part is me being brutally honest. As I got to the baby section I was smacked in the face with a fact that bothered me when I had all my other sons: The pink portion of baby departments is about 4 times the size of the blue portion. My dreams of dressing this baby in pink were washed away by the tears I shed right there in the Fort Carson AAFES Post Exchange. Looking for cute baby boy clothes is kind of hard only minutes after wondering if you were going to get to shop for cute baby girl clothes. It’s actually quite hard at anytime, a fact that has annoyed me many times. Fortunately, the boys don’t care at all and are quite satisfied with a pair of jeans and a Star Wars tee shirt, which means less for me to deal with as they grow older. But saying good-bye to the pink frilly dreams was not fun. It was impossible to explain this to the boys when they noticed my tears so I, well, I didn’t lie, I just told them a part of why I was crying… because daddy would have loved to have gone to the ultrasound.
I ran into a friend in the PX, and she saw me and of course, asked what was up. I explained to her while the boys picked out the tackiest clothes for Parker. The only way I could explain it then, and still to this moment, is that I’m not sad that Parker is a BOY, just sad that I don’t see a daughter in my future. I’m 100% happy that he is a boy! I love boys, I know boys, and I can do boys. But my tears were for the loss of the idea of having a girl. I’ve never been more split on a single emotion. Happy to be having another son, sad to not be having a daughter. I really am happy to be having a boy! So hard to communicate this concept!
So, as my friend said her good-byes and walked away, God sent a little joy my way: Hayden found the perfect shirt!
A tiny “Rock Idol” shirt that resembles the kinds of shirts H, C, & B wear all the time, and it has a guitar on it! Hayden knew it was a shirt Daddy would LOVE, so that was that! In my sadness over not being able to shop for adorable girly clothes, God placed the perfect little boy shirt in Hayden’s path and it made me happy! On the way out the door we stopped at the flower shop to get 4 blue balloons and some extra blue ribbon. A few days before our Ultrasound Hayden had an idea that we put a pink ribbon on the antenna of the car if we find out we’re having a girl, and blue for boy. I thought that was a great idea and precious of him to be so involved and excited about this baby. When we got home, Matt was still in the bed but was slowly coming back to the land of the living. He was excited about our news and really did love the shirt!
The boys played with (and ended up destroying) the balloons and we put the blue ribbon on the car for all the world to know about Parker.
It’s been a crazy couple of weeks since our ultrasound, and things are going so well here. Sunday’s talk at New Life was about living life through the valley. Aaron Stern preached on finding peace in the storms of life and Matt and I can tell you that we have found God there, and His peace is there. We know that, we’ve lived it. But we are both thrilled to finally be on the mountaintop for a breather. We have come out of the valley for a chance to rest and see His glory. To look around and see all that He has done, all that He has brought us through. The valleys look so much smaller from way up here, but we KNOW the valley and we can say we were not alone while there. We discussed on the way home from church the fact that it’s hard to enjoy the mountaintop without looking around for the big falcon waiting to knock us back into the valley. We know that life is not made to be lived 100% of the time in either of the two places, and that most of the time we’re either walking into a valley or climbing out of one. That’s a very reassuring thought while you’re IN the valley because you can tell yourself that it won’t last forever. But on the mountaintop that can easily become a foreboding thought. I told Matt that we really need to quit looking for that mean falcon whose voice sounds eerily like James Woods’ (referencing Stuart Little 2). It’s a time to reflect and be thankful. A time to breathe and remember what God has done for us. A time to remind ourselves that if/when we descend into the valley we know we will not go alone. That those are the times when we often feel closer to our God than even when on the mountaintop.
So, from my mountaintop perch here in the Rocky Mountains, let me share my view with you:
* I can feel Parker kicking around in there, reminding me to be thankful that I need to go “relieve” myself. 2 blessings there…his movement and my blessed hydration.
* I am about to embark on a new adventure that includes DISNEY WORLD and moving to Germany!
* I don’t have to pack and move all my stuff. (Oh, what a wonderful thing!)
* My husband is not at NTC preparing for an upcoming deployment. I write that with some hesitation because I feel very guilty about that. My 4-10 Cav friends’ husbands are all in California as I write preparing for the next deployment and we “got out of it.” Not by doing anything, not even by asking to. We were sure we were here for the next tour, but the Army had other plans. I’m not complaining, and wouldn’t trade this assignment to Germany, but I still feel like I’m leaving my Blackjack sisters. (This is a bittersweet thing that makes me cry. Funny…to cry because my husband is not deploying. The bond you develop with women in your unit is unlike any other bond on this earth. It cannot be described. It can only be experienced.)
* My children are healthy and amazing and God-loving. They constantly surprise me with their facts and knowledge about the Bible, and it’s in large part to the Adventures in Odyssey and Jonathan Park episodes they listen to on their iPods during naptime. Sometimes they ask questions about less-known characters and I have no answer for them. I need to look this stuff up sometimes! We are watching this knowledge and those facts sink into their Spirits and become wisdom even at such young ages.
* I am seeing my God save us from financial ruin that was headed our way! No, we’re not debt free and our snowball has had to be put on hold with this major move, but we have not used a credit card in a LONG time and have had a zero balance for months and months! The rest will be attacked with “Gazelle Intensity” once we’ve gotten settled into our new lives.
* I am watching Bailey fall in love with his baby brother in most unexpected ways. He hugs ME first and then my belly. He comes in the room and says “Hi” to ME and then to Parker. I lifted Bailey out of the buggy at Target a few days ago and he said, “I hope I didn’t hurt Parker.” He shows me how gentle he’s going to be when he hugs him. Bailey says, “You’re belly is going to get bigger every day, right?” as if he’s checking on Parker’s growth. The other two are interested in my pregnancy, but Bailey seems to already have a special connection with Parker.
So that’s my view from the mountaintop. If you’re not on your own mountain right now, find peace where you are because God wants to offer it to you. It makes for some spectacular views once you get here. My prayer is that when my time on the mountaintop is over that I can look back and think of the majesty I am viewing and it will carry me through the valley and increase my peace.
As for my physical view, here’s what I can see from where I sit!