Monday, September 26, 2011

Welcome Margaret Alice!

We're so excited to share the wonderful news of Meredith and Stephen's new baby girl's arrival. Margaret Alice arrived on September 13, 2011 at 4:01am. She was a whopping 9 pounds 8 ounces! She is healthy in every way. What a wonderful gift from God.
We assumed Margaret would arrive before her due date of September 10th since Meredith's midwife appointments in the final three weeks revealed she was 4 - 5cm dilated.

Wanting to be available to help with the birth, should Stephen be in the field training, I (Joy), along with Sullivan, Harrison, and Sheridan all arrived in Georgia in late August.

While we waited for Maggie's arrival, we spent our days swimming, shopping, reading, and even canning. (I brought ingredients from the garden so we could make salsa for both families.)

I was enjoying the unexpected treat of visiting with a long-time, dear friend in nearby Alabama on Monday evening, September 12th, when I received a phone call from Meredith. She told me her water had broken. It was a bit after 11pm. I quickly hurried to meet Meredith and Stephen at the hospital. We all arrived around midnight.

After an initial assessment, the nurses sent Meredith to walk the halls. At first her contractions were quite manageable. But by 1:15am they were getting much more difficult. What an incredible job Meredith did as she managed each contraction. She had been so well prepared prior to the birth by making a real effort to be well educated on natural childbirth. She handled herself like a mom who had been through natural childbirth a dozen times.

Amazingly, she had dilated to 8 cm in that short time and by 2:30am she was ready to begin pushing. In what seemed like a short time to me, (I'm sure Meredith wouldn't agree) little Margaret Alice was born.

All three of the midwives had told Meredith the baby would be in the 7 pound range so we were so surprised when the delivery nurse reported Margaret's weight at 9 pounds, 8 ounces. "Where did you hide all that baby?!" they kept saying.

We were so very thankful that the Lord worked out all the details so Stephen could be there for everything. He didn't have to miss one single part of this most memorable event of their new lives together.
What fun for the new aunt and uncles to get to be among the first to hold this precious treasure.
Harrison says he'll be Maggie's "Uncle Harry" though none of us ever refers to him as "Harry" except when he needs a haircut badly.

Margaret is blessed to have many grandparents, great grandparents, and even 3 great, great grandparents. With so many grandparent names still in circulation, I thought I'd be "Nana Joy."

Meredith brought Maggie home in the dress I made for Meredith's homecoming almost 24 years earlier.

I remember, like it was yesterday, arriving at the hospital for a scheduled induction for Meredith's birth all those years ago and carrying that long, white dress into the hospital. At the time, I didn't even know if she was a girl or boy. I remember the staff commenting on the dress, assuming it meant we were having a girl. But I told them, "I don't know if it's a girl or boy but whoever it is, they're wearing this dress home!" Timmy was thankful it turned out to be a girl!
Little Margaret Alice already adores her daddy!

Tim was able to come to Georgia after Margaret arrived. He loved holding that new, sweet granddaughter. He's going to be "Farmerdaddy."

Since Meredith returned from the hospital, she's been flooded with an outpouring of kindness from their new church family, ladies Bible study friends, and military wives. Meals have been coming in along with much encouragement from new and veteran mothers.

We are so filled with joy to observe God's extraordinary goodness to Meredith, Stephen, and Maggie. What an absolute blessing to watch God's wonderful plan for this new family unfold.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Summer Fun

What a great summer this has been.

After we returned from the trip to California, we got busy preparing to help Meredith move to their new home in Georgia.

What a blessing to go through all of the sweet dresses Meredith wore as a newborn and prepare them for her own daughter to wear. As I handed each one to Meredith, I told her the stories of the people who made or purchased the dresses for her over 20 years ago. I felt so very blessed to be able to hand down the dresses that I had loved so much when Meredith was a baby.
Some of our dear friends in Richmond gave Meredith a beautiful baby shower.
Meredith received so many wonderful things for little Margaret Alice.

The Lord blessed the garden this year and Meredith and I were able to put up enough corn, okra, tomatoes, peppers, and salsa for both of our families.

Our long time family friends in Suffolk and Chesapeake greatly encouraged Meredith with a "Blessing Shower" where the most beautiful songs, prayers, and notes were given in honor of Meredith, Maggie, and Stephen. It was so meaningful.
Between both showers, Meredith received just about everything she needed to prepare for Maggie's arrival.
After a week of canning, freezing, and baby showers, we headed to Georgia to help Meredith move into their new place.

Meredith quickly began decorating with her beautiful country-living style and in no time the entire house was transformed into a welcoming, gorgeous home.
While we waited for Stephen to arrive, we enjoyed visiting with Meredith for a week.
We went to our very favorite pastor's church in Atlanta - Dr. Charles Stanley.
Dr. Stanley's messages have given such sound spiritual teaching to our family through the years. We love listening to him as we're getting ready to go to church. His famous line, "If you're listening, say 'Amen!' keeps the Alexander family hollering out "Amen's" as we're scurrying around on Sunday mornings.
The church's bookstore displays Dr. Stanley's beautiful photography. This incredible picture of an old, rustic boat, taken at Martha's Vineyard, was stunning.
Never intimidated by a long drive, Tim drove us 4 hours to Panama Beach, Florida one day so we could play in the water, sand, and sun.
Meredith's new neighborhood has a "Cheddar's," our favorite family restaurant.
Knowing Meredith would be arriving in Georgia just 4 weeks before her due date, she was eager to meet her midwives. As it turned out, we made it in plenty of time. Meredith has seen all the midwives enough to feel comfortable about Maggie's September 10th due date.
About the time Stephen arrived in Georgia, we headed back home to Virginia. But not for long. Hoping to be available to help with Margaret Alice's delivery, the younger 3 kids and I (Joy) returned when Meredith was about 38 weeks.
Stephen showed us around the National Infantry Museum. The kids really learned a lot. Below is one of the beams from the twin towers in New York. It was gifted to the Army because of their rescue efforts surrounding the 9/11 tragedy.The happily expecting couple.
Mere at 39 weeks.
Next post.....introducing baby Margaret Alice! Thank you for your prayers for her safe arrival.