Creating A Welcoming Space & Welcoming The New Baby

It was the beginning of March this year when I found that my life would change drastically.  We were expecting Baby # 5!  I was surprised, scared, overwhelmed, and excited — all at the same time!  I kept hoping we were going to have a girl.  A sister would be nice for our only girl.  I had grown up with three sisters and loved the friendship we shared.  I wanted that for my daughter to experience.  Plus, I thought it might be good for her to not be the only “princess” in our home.  She gets a lot of attention being the only girl, and I didn’t want it going to her head.

In June, we would discover that we were expecting a BOY!  Our fourth son.  I remember the surprise.  My pregnancy had felt so much like it was a girl.  I tried to imagine another son.

As July drew to a close, I had made a decision.  We live in a house with barely a total of 2,000 sq. feet.  Not bad — especially downstairs.  The upstairs though is tight.  We have three bedrooms total and the one is very small.  The other is smallish.  The third is decent.  We had to decide how to fit our five kids into two rooms.

My decision was to brain-storm ways to fit a fifth child into our already crowded rooms.  At the time, we had our daughter sharing a room with a brother — a temporary arrangement at best.  The other two brothers shared the small room.  There was no room for another child in that room.  Our closets are small since we have an older home.  We already used larger dressers that were shared by two kids.  We were maxed out in closet, furniture space, and bed space.  This bothered me.  I wanted to have a “welcoming” space for our little guy when he arrived.  I didn’t have that so I began to brain-storm for ways to create a space that was “welcoming” to our little guy.  I prayed, researched, spent two weeks pricing items in various stores, spent a day on Pinterest getting ideas, and finally presented my plan to my husband with a proposed budget, based on real-life items.  My husband approved my budget and plan.  I began the process of shopping, painting, and preparing the rooms for new sleeping arrangements.

 IMG_9359 IMG_9342  IMG_9378   IMG_9367 IMG_9368 IMG_9369 IMG_9371 IMG_9388 IMG_9380 IMG_9381 IMG_9383 IMG_9385 IMG_9386 IMG_0179 (Large)   IMG_0178 (Large)Here are all the before pictures.

I spent August painting like crazy.  I repainted a bunch of our furniture, repainted both kids’ rooms, replaced carpet in the one room, cleaned, organized, and shopped.  The final outcome was pleasing to the entire family.  It was especially rewarding to hear my oldest sons praise their room and express their delight.  I had involved my sons by taking them on shopping trips to help pick stuff for their room.  Even though they didn’t have their own rooms, all three sons seemed genuinely happy with the final outcome.

Our daughter’s room would also serve as the nursery so I picked a color scheme that would be gender neutral and would be easy to decorate for both.

Our daughter moved into her new room and made the transition to a toddler bed.  She also seemed delighted with her new room.  I, for one, loved the new colors in both rooms and how relaxing they had become.  It was delightful for me to keep them clean and organized and to motivate the kids to do the same with their rooms.

After seeing the outcome of the nursery, I decided that I wanted a crib to match the nursery colors.  I also couldn’t justify the extravagance of buying a second crib just so it matched.  I spoke with my husband about it, and he said that if I could sell our old crib for enough to buy another one (would cover the cost) then I could buy a different one.  So, I began the process of trying to sell our crib on online sites and then to find one in our price-range off Craigslist.  It took a few weeks and patience because twice I had buyers “fall through” on us.  Finally, I was able to sell our crib.  My mom also decided to surprise us by purchasing the new one I found off Craigslist.  I was thrilled!  The new crib matches the nursery beautifully and will be perfect for when our son outgrows the bassinet we are borrowing from a friend.

My husband set up the crib.  I washed the baby clothes.  I organized, cleaned, and got rid of stuff so we had closet space for our baby.  I also found a dresser off Craigslist that was paid for by a generous relative on my husband’s side.  I finally felt that we had created a “welcoming” space for Baby. I finally felt ready to welcome Baby and eagerly anticipated his arrival.

IMG_0227 IMG_0227IMG_0202 (Large)IMG_0204 (Large)IMG_0176 (Large)IMG_0174 (Large)IMG_9814   IMG_9811 IMG_9812 Here are the after pictures of both kids’ rooms.  I love the colors and themes!

By the time I was finished renovating the kids’ room, I couldn’t wait to meet our little guy.  I couldn’t imagine having anything other than another boy.

I had spent so much time preparing for our new little guy and working so hard to get ready that two weeks before my due-date I had run out of ideas to keep me busy.  I had never previously experienced the anxious feeling of awaiting a baby’s arrival.  With this guy, I did.  I was so prepared that I had nothing to distract me any more.  Plus, my body had started preparing at least 5 weeks before, and I had two false starts to labor.  Not to mention, I had daily contractions that would last for hours and would come regularly every few minutes.  As the time drew closer to our baby’s arrival, the contractions continued to build in intensity.  I was starting to tire of interrupted sleep, the pain, and the questions of whether today would be the day that the contractions would finally send me into the “real deal.”

Finally, I got to four days before my due-date.  Once again, I lost a night’s sleep and we trekked to the hospital.  We were there 1 1/2 hours before going home because once again my body decided to stop labor.  My husband and I were able to laugh about it, but I was definitely feeling discouragement.   A few hours later, the prayers of friends and family began to be felt.  My contractions were starting to return.

In fact, within 1/2 an hour of timing them, I was clinging to my husband, broke down crying, and told him that we had to leave for the hospital immediately!  My contractions were still just four minutes apart, but I knew that their intensity meant that at any minute I was going to start pushing a baby.  That scared me.  We rushed past my napping dad, told him we were leaving for the hospital, and didn’t even get to say good bye to our children.  I was pushing to get to the hospital as fast as possible.  The hospital was eight minutes away.  Half-way there, another contraction hit.  Not fun when there isn’t anything you can do to work with the pain, strapped by a seat-belt in the front seat of a sedan.  My poor husband was trying to rub my back, but I begged him to not worry about rubbing my back but to just get us there as fast and safe as possible.

While on the way to the hospital, I called the answering machine service of my OBGYN practice to tell them we were on the way.  I was put on hold for minutes, finally heard a human voice but then was asked lots of inane questions repeatedly ’til we arrived at the hospital.  The woman never did listen to my message to please tell Labor & Delivery we were on the way and to have someone meet us with a wheelchair at the front door.

We pulled up to the front of the hospital. My husband dashed inside to grab a wheelchair.  Another powerful contraction hit.  Once again, I cried out, pleading with God to help me so that I didn’t deliver the baby by myself right then and there.  I was relieved to see my husband appear again with the wheelchair.  I stood and walked to him.  I think I could have run to Labor & Delivery if I had to; I was feeling so strongly the need to get to a room to have the baby.  The wheelchair wouldn’t open.  Finally, my husband got it open.  I sat down, and the race began.  My husband took off running and crying out for people to excuse us as we careened down the hallways, almost knocking into the receptionist desk and barely avoiding collisions with a few people.  Finally, we made it to the elevator and right outside Labor & Delivery, right in time for another contraction that held me in its vise-like grip.  With pleading eyes, I begged the front desk people to please get me a room.   As they rushed me to a room, the nurses began to gather with comments of, “We have a baby on the way!”  Nurses began to quickly prepare for the delivery and then six of them stood around waiting for the midwife to appear.  Surprisingly, I still hadn’t felt the urge to push — very unusual for me.  I would realize later the cause of this.

My midwife appeared, and the real work began.  Ten minutes into pushing, I was feeling discouraged as my midwife kept telling me I wasn’t pushing effectively.  I was surprised at this because I had never had trouble with delivering my babies.  Finally my midwife checked me again and said, “Oh, your water didn’t break.”  Um, yes.  I wish they had asked me about this earlier.  No wonder I was having trouble pushing the baby!  I was trying to push the baby and a full sack of fluid too.

As soon as the midwife broke my water, baby was out within minutes, if that.  With relief and immense joy, I beheld my son for the first time.  It was love at first sight!  I just sat there, holding my son and admiring him and showering him with kisses and words of admiration.  What an amazing moment!

I felt great too!  It was definitely my easiest delivery and recovery as well.


Our son is almost two weeks old now and is starting to plump up nicely.  He is such a sweet baby — very pleasant and rarely cries, except when hungry or has a dirty diaper.

What a joy he is!  It is so relaxing to hold him in the rocking chair in our “new” nursery.  So worth all the work and the wait!

I am also so thankful for a wonderfully supportive and encouraging husband!  I couldn’t ask for a better one.

Welcome, Baby W2!  We love you!