Sunday, April 22, 2012

Baby Hensley's First Dresses!

Baby Hensley's first outfits...picked out by her big brothers.  
This is so fun!

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Baby # 4 is a...


{Baby Girl Gifford is waving at you}

We have never done this before but we scheduled a gender ultrasound this time.  It has always frustrated me how all my Florida friends find out several weeks before I do what they are having.  My sister had the idea that we should just pay and have an ultrasound done so we could find out that is what we did.  We were beginning to wonder if we were even going to get to find out today.  Baby girl is so ladylike that she didn't want to uncross her legs.  Finally after me turning side to side and walking around she decided to cooperate.
Eric and I have been so nervous.  It has been such mixed emotions because our hearts desire has always been to have a daughter at some point.  After being told we would never get pregnant again...we didn't know if that would happen.  I was so afraid of my reaction if this baby was a boy.  I feel so blessed to even be pregnant and the last thing I wanted was to seem ungrateful.  BUT I have 3 boys, who wouldn't want a little girl?  
My Dad's wife Elsie, told me when I first got pregnant that she knew this was going to be a girl.  She said that I had to have faith and speak it out loud.  I began to do that...but only by myself.  I began to speak it and believe it.  I had this feeling that this was our girl but I didn't know if it was because I wanted it so badly or because I had faith (it can be very confusing).
My Mom sent me an email last week that talked about Hannah (1 Samuel 1:10-11) and how she was barren and prayed and begged God to give her a son.  She promised Him that if He did, she would give him back to the Lord.  The title of my Mom's email was, "It's ok to ask God for a girl."  Honestly, that made me feel so much better because that is what I was already thinking/praying.
Last night, Gavin asked me if he could pray for the baby.  He put his little hands on my tummy and said, "Dear God, we aren't asking for much but could you please give us a little girl.  We love you.  Amen." So simple and yet so heartfelt.  He then told me that he hoped when I picked him up from school that I would still be crying because I was so happy.
When I picked Gavin up from school, of course the first thing he wanted to know was "what is it?" I told him that the baby in Mommy's tummy was a girl.  He was so excited, he was screaming.  He asked if we cried and I told him that we held back tears, he said he was holding back tears too.  I told him that Jesus had heard our prayers and he loves us so much that he gave us what we asked him for.  Our wise beyond his years 7 year old said, "yep, just like the Bible says, ask and it will be given to you."
The way that all of this has happened is just so...God.  This is the perfect ending to His story.

Growing up...I always wanted to be a Mom.  
I can remember as a little girl carrying my cabbage patch doll, Emma around church.  
She had green eyes and blonde hair just like me.  
I never had these big ambitions for a career...I always just wanted to be a Mom.  
Fast forward several years and after struggling with years of infertility and having 2 surgeries we were given the gift of 3 amazing sons.  
I was told that my baby having days are most likely over, that I will not ovulate anymore.  
Eric and I still had a desire to add a daughter to our family, a baby sister for all these big brothers to protect.
We start discussing going back to the fertility Doctor.  
Then without even trying we become pregnant, a surprise miracle pregnancy.
God loves us so much, He remembered that little girl carrying her baby doll around.  
He knew that we wanted a daughter and he blessed us with one.  
A perfect ending to His story and a perfect completion to our family.  

We are all so grateful for baby Hensley Faith Gifford.

Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. (Matthew 7:7)

Friday, April 13, 2012


We had a great Easter! 
Saturday night we made Resurrection Rolls.  The boys LOVED them.  It was a great way to remind them what Easter is truly about.  The past few years we have made something similar but they were cookies....lets just say the rolls taste MUCH better.  They were so excited to pull them out of the oven and I was so afraid someone was going to get burnt.  Someone!  I got a pretty good burn on the inside of my arm right at my elbow.  I will have a nice scar and will never forget what Easter is really about.  
The next morning the Easter bunny had delivered the baskets to their rooms...which they thought was pretty cool.  Mommy was a little upset with Mr. Bunny because I couldn't capture their reactions and since I was frantically trying to get myself dressed before they woke up I didn't even get a picture of them...ugh.  
We had an amazing service at OneLife (as usual) and then had lunch at PF Changs...YUM!  After that we came home and took a nap (3/5ths of us did anyway...the other 2 pigged out on candy and kept Mommy from sleeping).  
Sunday evening we went out to Mamaw and Papaw's house for pictures, dinner and an Easter egg hunt.
It was a great day and the kids had a blast.

{Gavin looking so grown up}

{Nolen-I love his smile...his whole face smiles}


{Our 3 little men}

{Cohen is a little ball of energy these days}

{Our family of 5 plus a little bump}

{Nolen and his sweet cousin Elliott, so sweet}

{We could not get Cohen interested in finding eggs and putting them in his basket.  He found one egg that looked like a football, threw it and then ran and got it and did it again all while saying "baaalllll"!}

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Spring Break 2012

I'm back!  It has been a rough couple of months at the Gifford house.  I have had zero energy and Cohen is at that age where he is in to everything!  I am sure that my family is happy to have me back....they are sick of having nothing to eat in the house and a Mommy who can't get off the couch.
Baby #4 is doing well.  I am 14 weeks and we will be finding out soon what we are having.  We are all very excited about that!

For Spring Break this year we went to home to Florida.  We stayed in Blue Mountain Beach (thanks Holley!) which is our favorite beach ever.  We were down there for Spring Break and pretty much had the whole beach to ourselves.  It was so nice.

This was Cohen's first trip to the beach that he could walk and play in the sand.  Nolen was not fond of the beach at this age at all so I didn't know what Cohen would think.  There was about 30 seconds of reservation and then he was good.  He loved it!

Nolen loves the beach, he does not love the saltwater in his eyes.  I think I wiped his eyes every 5 minutes the whole time we were out there.  This is his face in almost every picture....if it wasn't saltwater it was the sun.  Is it just me or is 5 a whiny age?

Gavin had a broken foot (2 metacarpals) so he was in a cast up to his knee.  We had to order him this little cover thing that you pump all the air out of.  It worked great.  Having that cast on his foot did not slow him down one bit.  He was all over the beach and in the water....running everywhere.

Daddy and little man.

 Gavin is getting so big.

Cohen was dancing to our neighbor beach goers music and face planted in the sand.  As much as he liked the beach....he did not like getting the sand rinsed off his face with freezing cold saltwater.  I don't blame him.

Nolen dancing....with a Lego guy in his hand of course. 

 Eric, some friends of ours and the boys spent about 4 hours making this sand castle.  Unfortunately, Daddy was so sore from bending over for that long that he could hardly walk that night and the next day. Poor Daddy.

We had a great time.  We were not ready to come home.  

Monday, February 13, 2012

Miracles do happen!

Disclaimer:  This is a long post!  This is just too amazing of a story not to include every detail.  If you don't care about the details....then you can just skip to the bottom.

Eric and I have been so blessed.  We have 3 beautiful boys. It took a lot of heartache and prayers to get them here, each one is a miracle.
Gavin took the longest to conceive.  We went through about 2 full years of treatments and surgery--probably 12 rounds of treatments total.  His birth was easy and like a party.  It was also my only "natural birth" (natural meaning no c-section not no drugs....I'm not crazy!).
Nolen was the easiest as far as actually getting pregnant, considering it only took 2 rounds of treatments.  However, the way he came in to this world was by far the scariest time of my life.  Fortunately, everything turned out great but I thought I would never want to be pregnant again.
Cohen took another surgery and several more rounds of treatments as well but the pregnancy and delivery were great and it really put all my c-section fears to rest.
I had always said I wanted 3 kids and Eric had always said he wanted 2.  After we had Nolen, we knew that we weren't done.  Then I said 3--maybe 4 and Eric said 3 and for sure done.  When Cohen was born, I knew in my heart that I wasn't finished having babies.  My Mom has always told me that when she was pregnant with my sister (the baby of our family) she enjoyed every second of it but knew that she was finished being pregnant and was ready to move out of the baby phase of life.  I didn't feel that way.  At first, Eric said that we were done but as the months went by he began to feel that we were meant to add to our family again.
Shortly after Cohen turned one we started discussing what we were going to do.  We had been told by our fertility Doctor that I would probably not even ovulate anymore and since I was no longer responding to the fertility shots like I had with Gavin and Nolen she did not feel that another pregnancy was a possibility, even with fertility treatments.
I have been told over and over in the past 10 years that I have endometriosis, no progesterone, ovaries that are not conducive to ovulation, that I ovulate early.....that I cannot become pregnant on my own.  I did have a very early miscarriage in July of 2008 (when Nolen was 1) but my progesterone was a 3 and my HCG levels never increased like they were supposed to.
We have had an extremely busy winter, Eric has been gone more than ever and was gone about 3 weeks out of the month.  This is way too much information but with all of his traveling we only got to "make whoopee" (ha!) one time.  I did do an ovulation kit but never got a positive and so I just gave up since Eric was going to be out of town anyway.  I did not take progesterone.  I have taken progesterone for the first trimester with all the of our boys.
I had not been feeling well and even mentioned to Eric that "if I didn't know better, I would think I was pregnant".  I continued to have symptoms and finally decided to go get a pregnancy test.  I didn't tell anyone.  I came home and peed on the stick and waited....then I decided to move the test from the bathroom and when I did I messed it up. said I needed to retest.  I had to rush out and so when I came home I went upstairs and took another test.  I went and gathered some laundry and walked back by the test and glanced at it, knowing it would be negative.  IT SAID PREGNANT!  I could not believe it.  I text a picture of it to Eric, to which he responded "what is that?".  Ha!  We have never had the experience of not expecting to be pregnant and getting a positive test.
I immediately took progesterone and called my fertility Doctor.  They were closed for the weekend and I left a message telling her what had happened.  She just happened to check her messages and called me back.  She was quite surprised herself and sent me an order for bloodwork.  She told me that she wanted my HCG level to be above 50 and my progesterone above 15.  She ordered it stat and said that she would call me later that evening.  She never called that night and I hardly slept a wink.  She called me at 7:00 Saturday morning.  My HCG was around 850 and my progesterone was 25!  She wanted me to come back to retest on Monday morning to make sure the levels were increasing like they were supposed to but said that everything looked really good.
We spent most of Saturday and Sunday in complete shock.  Saturday morning as I was making breakfast Gavin came in the kitchen singing, "My Mommy has a baby in her tummy!" over and over.  Eric and I were surprised because we had not told him.  I asked him why he said that and his response was, "Because you do!  Because I prayed!"  I love that childlike faith!
I went back last Monday and had my HCG and progesterone checked again.  She called me with the results and said that my HCG was around 2800 and my progesterone was great!  She said congratulations and that it looks like a great pregnancy to her!
I called my OB to set up my appointment and they told me that they don't do your first appointment until 8-9 weeks.  I was really bummed because with all my other pregnancies I have had an ultrasound (by my fertility Doctor) at 6 weeks.  I scheduled my appointment for the end of February and realized that I would just have to wait like normal people.  The next morning, I got a call from my OB's nurse.  My fertility Doctor had sent over my bloodwork paperwork.  She wanted to know what was going on, I told her and she said "well, you shouldn't have to wait that long for an ultrasound!" and scheduled it for Monday (today).
Today Eric and I went for our first OB appointment.  We had an ultrasound and got to see the heartbeat.  Everything looks perfect and even my Doctors were shocked.  My due date is October 6, 2012.

I cannot tell you how humbled and loved I feel by God.  I have always known that God loved me.  He cares about even the smallest details of our lives.  He knew that even though we have 3 amazing boys that were conceived through fertility.....that ours hearts desire was to conceive a baby without fertility.  He loves me so much that he gave that to me....even though I don't deserve it.  God's grace is so good.
There is no explanation for why I got pregnant at the age of 32, when I should be "less fertile" than I was at the age of 24 when I was trying to get pregnant for the first time.  There is no explanation for why my progesterone was good this time when it hasn't been in the past.  The only explanation is that it is a miracle.....and we are so so humbled and honored that we get to experience this.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Cohen is 15 months old!

Time with this adorable little man is flying! Cohen started walking right around Christmas. It is amazing what a difference just a few weeks makes. He went from wobbling around to walking everywhere.

Cohen says several words at 15 months.....uh oh, mama, dada, bubba, sit down, all gone, yay!, 
night-night (which is what he is calling his elephant these days).  He shakes his head and says "no".  He points at everything and says what sounds like "what's that".  Mostly, he just jibber jabbers ALL the time.  
My favorite thing he does is pat my chest and say "Mama" over and over.  It's like he is letting me know that he knows I am his Mama....makes my heart happy.
Cohen just has the happiest personality...he always has.  Don't get me wrong, he can throw a serious temper tantrum when he doesn't get his way.  He does this growling sound to let you know what he wants or doesn't want and he will continue doing it until you get the picture...he is a persistent little guy.
He is in to everything!  If Gavin or Nolen forget to put the toilet lid down, he is in there in a heartbeat!  Today, I caught him with a marker writing all over himself....for the second time in a week.  He is obsessed with the stairs and if the gate is down for 5 seconds he notices and headed up laughing all the way.
Cohen is wearing 18-24 month clothes and size 5 diapers.  He has 10 teeth!  He had 6 for the longest time and then out of nowhere he got 4....grouchy does not even begin to describe those few days--thankfully it was just a few days. 
Cohen weighs 24 lbs and 13.5 oz. (77th percentile), he is 31 inches tall (40th percentile) and as usual his head comes in at  >97th percentile.  Ha!

Cohen's adorable shirt is compliments of our friend's, the Kennedy's.

Thursday, January 12, 2012