We have been home for almost one week with our newest addition, baby Elijah. Mercy is a tender, doting big sister who likes to hold and kiss and cuddle her baby brother. Aaron is a mixture of proud and intrigued big brother with a healthy dose of “what about me?” and “what would happen if I do this…” thrown in for good measure. While Mercy loves to tuck Elijah’s blanket nicely around his little feet, Aaron would prefer to cover his head and face with it. And while Mercy loves to gently rock Elijah’s little bouncy seat, Aaron is very curious about how such a device could be used as a catapult. It is a good thing the seat has a little seaatbelt on it for sure!
As with most things Haub, this birth was far from uneventful and was not without some frightening complications. Elijah was a big baby. None of my OBs had felt like he was especially large, but there he was, a week early, weighing in at nine pounds, nine ounces. One of my favorite quotes of the day was from my OB who delivered him: “Doug, Erika, meet your one-year-old!”
As a result of the difficult delivery, my hospital stay was close to a week and once again required blood transfusions and the longer road to recovery that that implies. I am doing my best to get lots of iron (spinach at every meal–yum!), rest, fluids, and of course to spend good time with all of my little ones. Aaron and Mercy are doing an exceptional job in handling the ways I am still physically limited, and Aaron has actually taken to squeezing my mom’s nice Bath and Body Works lotion onto my feet and legs and giving me little massages, saying: “for you to feel better!” Truly priceless.
My mom and dad flew down for the birth, and while my dad had to return to Seattle last week, my mom remains here doing a super-human job at loving kids, cleaning and cooking, and caring for me. Doug is trying his best to balance work and good one on one time with Mercy and Aaron while bearing the brunt of the post-feeding night-time walking and shushing and changing of the baby. He’s a great dad. And he’s really, really tired.
Mercy turned three this past week, and in the midst of the chaos of new baby and my recovery, she had a very special day indeed. A birthday waffle breakfast courtesy of her auntie Anna, princess balloons from her Pop Pop, and lots of presents made for a great celebration. A dear friend had sent a box to us filled with gifts for Mercy (and a birthday card) for Doug and I to have to give to our daughter. This friend had wondered about the timing of Mercy’s birthday in relation to Elijah’s due date and felt like maybe the way she could bless us would be to shop for gifts in our stead and have them wrapped and ready to give to our little girl. When Mercy’s birthday morning came, I cannot describe how glad I was for this friend’s thoughtfulness and I had tears in my eyes as I watched my daughter twirl around the room in her new, perfect pink tutu and “crown” of flowers that “we” had given to her.
As Doug wrote in the last post, we named our son in a way that honors what we have learned to be true about our Father in heaven this past year: our God IS the Lord, and he IS a resolute protector and guardian. For Elijah, that has been true from his earliest days inside of me, and it remained true up until the very final moments of his delivery. Our beautiful baby is truly a testimony to God’s “resolute protection” in the midst of every dark shadow that threatens to cover us.
Doug always takes a photo of the view from the window of our room at Good Sam at some point when our children are born. There is a great shot that he took this time around of the cross that adorns the hospital building, and it mirrors photographs we have taken from this hospital before. Only this time, next to the cross, there was a bird that hovered and sat, watching us, throughout the day. A falcon or hawk of some sort, the bird was beautiful to watch and his presence felt to me a source of comfort: an expression of watchfulness, of guarding. It is the perfect photo to document Elijah’s birthday.