Wondrously, we were able to conceive again in August of 1998, and were so reassured when we passed the twelve week mark that we would be able to keep this baby. I remember telling the students in my classroom that I was pregnant by giving them clues...a special treat of ice cream sandwiches and pickles and a recording of the baby's heartbeat. I also served a cake to my family while I waited for them to discover that I was instead eating ice cream and pickles. Such happy memories! In May of 1999, eight minutes past Mother's Day (12:08 AM on May 10, 1999), Henry James Nosek made me a mother for the first time. Dave and I felt so blessed.
When Henry was about 1 1/2 years old, we decided to try to have another baby. That decision was followed by months of disappointment as we anxiously waited for a positive pregnancy test. After trying for 6 months, we consulted a doctor who told us that if we didn't conceive within the year, we could do some testing to see what was happening. However, after the eighth month of trying, we finally received a positive pregnancy test! We were so happy to be able to have a second child, and to be able to give Henry a younger brother or sister. Two weeks after we found out that we were pregnant, Dave's brother and sister-in-law lost their baby when she was 8 1/2 months pregnant. It was so heartbreaking to watch this couple that we love experience such a devastating loss. I don't think that any of us have ever experienced such profound sadness as we did when we said good-bye to Serena. She would have been our God child.
For the rest of my pregnancy, I vacillated between wonder that babies can be born healthy when there are so many things that can go wrong, and a nagging worry that ours wouldn't. When we went to the hospital to deliver our baby, I can remember that the external monitor kept losing our baby's heartbeat. Dave called the nurse in because I couldn't stop crying. Bless her, she took pity on me and put the baby on an internal monitor, so that for the rest of my labor we were reassured by a steady, uninterrupted heartbeat. Seth Michael Nosek came into this world healthy and strong at 12:34 PM. Thank God! (We named him Seth not only because we loved the name, but traditionally, a baby is named Seth after a family has lost a baby.) One of my most treasured memories from Seth's birth was bringing him home to meet Henry for the first time. Aunt Debby and Great Grandma were watching Henry for us, and they had him outside when we were pulling into the driveway. I can still picture Henry running down the sidewalk yelling, "Where's my baby Seth?" When I brought Seth into the house (still in his car seat), Henry climbed into my lap and checked over every inch of his new baby brother. He looked in wonder at his little fingers and toes, was concerned that Seth had band aids on his feet where the nurses had drawn some blood, and pronounced, "I love my baby Seth!" I treasure those memories!
When we had experienced the challenges of having two children for a few months, Dave and I wondered if two children might be all we could handle. Despite the joys that come with parenthood, it is obviously one of the most challenging jobs ever created. However, after Seth was a year old, we decided we did want to have another baby, and we are both so glad we did. I remember getting a positive pregnancy test when Dave was outside taking our Christmas lights down. I asked him to come into the house to take something out of the oven for me, which was not out of the ordinary because I had recently gotten a bad burn from doing just that. He went to the oven and took out what I had placed in there moments before...a bun! Ha ha, get it? A bun in the oven? We were so happy, but also a little scared at what we were taking on. A third child...Wow!
Early on in this pregnancy, my progesterone levels were low. My doctor was concerned that I would lose the baby, so she placed me on a progesterone supplement. We were so relieved that they helped me. I was able to keep the pregnancy, but unfortunately they also caused my morning sickness and migraine headaches to worsen. However, that was a small price to pay for our first daughter! She was the first baby where we found out her sex at the ultrasound. Experiencing that big reveal :) with my husband and my mom in the room with me is something I will never forget. On the way home, we phoned my Aunt Shirley. We screamed together on the phone! It made me laugh that she was about as excited as we were!
Caroline Elizabeth Nosek joined our family at 6:04 PM on September 9, 2003. Two doctors delivered her, the doctor on duty in my OB practice as well as my favorite doctor, the one who had delivered Seth. She came in to the hospital to help with my delivery even though she didn't have to, and that touched my heart. When Caroline was born, Dr. Perlis gave both me and Caroline a kiss...another sweet memory. And then my sister Karen came in and got to hold her God daughter when she was only 5 minutes old! :)
When Henry (at 4 1/2) and Seth (at 2) came to the hospital to meet their sister, it was so fun to see how proud they were to hold her, and how sweet that they cried when they had to leave her!
After we had Caroline, we really felt that our family was complete with two boys and a girl. God apparently did not agree, and really much preferred our original plan to have four children. :) Our next pregnancy was a complete surprise. When I confirmed that I was pregnant, I felt immediately overwhelmed but incredibly joyous at the same time. I was so scared to tell Dave. I remember sitting down with him in the family room, shaking like a leaf, preparing to tell him. In retrospect, my anxiety was ridiculous because how else did I expect my loving husband and father to my children to react than with happiness? That's exactly what he did. He smiled, hugged me and immediately put my fears to rest.
Our last pregnancy was a busy one, what with three other children to take care of. I was exhausted most of the time, but still appreciating every doctor's appointment, every kick, every moment of our last pregnancy. When it was the big day, I remember getting changed into my hospital gown, looking at my pregnant body for the last time and feeling sad that it would be the last day I would experience the miracle of having a child within me. My mom was in the delivery room with us for each of our children's births, and I am so thankful that my mom was with me when I became a mom. My in-laws watched our other children, and then brought them to the hospital when Evan David Nosek was born at 4:24 PM on November 25, 2006. Evan was named for his Great Grandma, Evelyn, who is one of our very favorite people in this whole world.
From the moment I saw all four of them together for the first time in Evan's hospital room, I have known how richly blessed I am, and how I know I don't deserve it. Despite that, I am so thankful to be their mom, and try to always keep that in mind through all of the ups and downs of parenting.
All of these thoughts flow through my mind as I go to my children's Mother's Day programs, and of course the tears flow. I am so proud of them, of who they've turned out to be. Each of them are such a blessing from God.
Here's Caroline and me at her Tea for Two performance...
Caroline gave me some dear Mother's Day projects, including these. Click on them to see them bigger if you'd like!
After the performance, Caroline was all smiles to be with the friends she's had since kindergarten.
And new ones from this year!
After Caroline's performance, I got to go to Evan's Mother's Day program. My sweet boy made me a sweet flower in a hand-painted flower pot and gave me the BEST hug!
He's a little more at ease when performing, which you might be able to tell by watching the following clips. ;)
Couldn't you just die?!
Evan and his preschool class
Evan with his best preschool buddies (and a couple of siblings!)