Friday, November 11, 2011

My Story {Part 3}

{Part 1}

{Part 2}

Not long after Ryan went away to college and I started my new job, two momentous events occurred.  The first was that my mom found out she was pregnant and the second was that Brian proposed.  The following months were a whirlwind.  My mom was put on bedrest at the beginning of her pregnancy so I was working full-time, helping care for Kati, doing laundry, cleaning, and planning a wedding.  I was twenty. 

In April, my mom had a surprise baby shower and about a week later her water broke with two months left to go in her pregnancy.  They were able to hold off the birth for a few more days, but on Good Friday, April 13, 2001, my youngest sister, Rebekah, joined our family.  She was seven weeks premature, but still weighed close to six pounds. 

When Rebekah was four months old, I got married on August 11, 2001.  Ryan was one of our groomsmen and Kati was the flower girl.  We had a small and lovely wedding, took a week-long honeymoon and came home to settle into our cozy two-bedroom apartment on the second floor.   We had both been living at home with our parents, but we had collected a small amount of furniture and  necessities to set up house. 

I worked mostly days at the college library and Brian worked 12-hour noon to midnight shifts as a manager at the movie theater.  When we had been married only three months, we found out we were expecting, but at twelve weeks, I suffered a miscarriage, on Brian's twenty-third birthday.  We were both devastated. It was weeks before I wanted to do anything besides cry.  Nothing sounded interesting and I wondered how the world could go on around me. 

A few months later, though, I was pregnant again and in December our first little boy, Gavin, was born. I quit my job to stay home full-time and when Gavin was two months old, Brian was hired to work at a Christian lawn-care company which had daytime hours and long-term potential.  Nineteen months later, Madelyn joined our crew.  When she was just three weeks old, Brian's dad passed away after a long fight with cancer. 

Knowing our family was probably not complete, we began to look around for a house with more elbow room.  Not in a financial position to buy our own home, we put in an application at a townhouse complex and were told there was a six-month waiting list, but the office manager phoned us that very afternoon, offering us a three-bedroom townhouse.  It was a bit emotional to leave our apartment after almost four years of precious memories-- the place where we began life a married couple and brought two children home to live, but on the weekend after my brother's wedding, we took up residence in our new place. 

The townhouse quickly became home and Owen was our first child to join us there.  I had severe morning sickness when I was pregnant with Owen.  When I was nine weeks pregnant, I remember sitting in our upstairs hallway wondering how I would cope with another day, let alone weeks, of sickness, but I finally felt relief by the the midway point in my pregnancy. 

Life with three little ones was rewarding but so exhausting.  One day I laid down to nap with the two littlest ones.  Owen was around four months old. Maddie was two and was running a fever. While we were sleeping, Gavin (who was four years old) went upstairs and unwrapped all of the Christmas presents I had squirreled away in our spare bedroom. 

part 4: more babies and another move

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