Thee Best Anniversary Gift Ever!

August 14, 2008

 Wedding bands  Wedding bouquet  Champagne bottle

August 3, 2008– our anniversary of twelve years of marriage! Has it really been that long? Oh, but how to celebrate, what gift to give? These were the questions I had in my mind the weeks before our big day. I was not coming up with many ideas, so I was thrilled when my hubby lined up a babysitter, and planned to take me out to dinner- hey, it is not easy to find someone willing to sit with six children, and the last time we went out on a date was two years ago!

John’s gift to me was a beautiful Willow Tree Anniversary Statue, and a really cool 3-D card:

Anniversary Statue and Card

Anniversary Statue and Card


I always wanted something from the Willow Tree collection, as I think that they are so pretty. And the card was quite unique- I never saw one like that before. Everyone that saw his gift just adored it, and thought that John was so sweet!

I absolutely loved his gift, but did you think that this was Thee Best Anniversary Gift Ever?!

Well, as beautiful and thoughtful as it was, here is what was truly the best anniversary gift:

John-Paul William McClatchy

John-Paul William McClatchy

Yes, our baby was born on our anniversary!!! What a gift from God- it sure was not a coincidence that John-Paul was born on our special day! His stats were: 7lbs 8ozs, 19 3/4inches long- our tiniest baby! (Andrew, our biggest, was a whopping 10lbs, 11ozs, and was 23 inches long!)

Let me tell you the story of John-Paul’s birth…

On Saturday night, at about 2:45 am, I awoke in desperate need of a Tums. So, I went down to the kitchen to get some, and then I had an urge for a cookie or two (more like 10). I sat down at the computer to read some emails while I enjoyed the cookies.

As I was reading, I felt a little something that might have been my water breaking- nah, I thought, I still have over two weeks before my due date, and my babies like to wait until the last minute to be born. So, I read on, until it happened again. I figured I better sit there a little longer to be sure, before I went back to bed. As I got up to get some more water, there was no doubt that my water did break!

Oh my gosh! My brain started whirling as I realized that my plans for the week had been drastically changed in this one moment! Just hours before, during the day on Saturday, I had taken the baby’s car seat cover, all of the baby clothes, and the kitchen curtains down to the basement to be freshly washed- not to mention that I was about two days behind in laundry- yikes! Also on Saturday, I had taken all of my paper clutter out and was sorting it on the dining room table and floor.

So, I did what any other crazy pregnant mother would do at 3:30 am, after her water broke- I started doing laundry, and finished going through all of my papers! I figured I would keep going until I had my first contraction- after all, baby cannot be born without contractions. I had hoped that I could get everything done, including eating breakfast and taking a quick shower, which I did. I just wanted to wait until a sane hour of the morning before I woke hubby, and my sister-in-law, who was going to sit with the kids while we went to the hospital.

After I finished with all of the papers, and knowing that it could be the next day before I ate again, I turned on the stove to whip up some scrambled eggs. That is when I heard a cry- it was our two year old! I turned off the burner, and ran upstairs (OK, waddled quickly) before he woke anyone. I put him in bed with John, and told him what was going on. I said that I wanted to grab a quick bite to eat, take a shower, and finish the laundry. I let him know that everything was alright, not to worry, and I would wake him after I finished up. Needless to say, he looked at me like I was nuts, and jumped out of bed!

We came downstairs together, and I reassured him that I knew what I was doing, and everything was just fine. So, he did go back to sleep, but not before he mentioned that he did not want to be the one to deliver the baby, and he did not want me to wait too long before we left for the hospital!

I had my scrambled eggs and toast, took my shower, got the last load of laundry in, and told the kids what was happening, as each one came downstairs- they were so excited! I called the doctor, and he told me to get to the hospital asap, so I called my SIL, and woke John.

I had Brian help me hang the kitchen curtains as I was, literally, walking out the door- if John or Marykate had seen me, I know they would have yelled at me, so I was quiet about it. You know, if I left the wet curtains in the washer, they would have been so wrinkled, right?!

We were on our way at about 8:30am, I was in the hospital bed around 9am, and had my first contraction around 9:30am. I could not have planned the timing better! Things were moving along nicely- John gave my his anniversary gift, I was 5 centimeters dilated, and had my epidural by 1pm. The nurse checked me soon thereafter, to see how far I had progressed, when to her surprise, she blurted out, “I feel a hand!” I responded with, “Oh, that is funny.”

She ran out of the room to get the doctor, and then I realized that a hand coming first was most certainly not funny! I told John that I was going to have a cesarean section- he looked at me blankly, as the information was not registering in his mind just yet. The doctor came in, and tried to get the baby to pull his hand back in, but the baby did not cooperate. So, he announced that we were going in for an emergency c-section- yikes!! John had the most concerned look on his face, that I have ever seen- I felt so loved at that moment!

He gave me a kiss, they placed the cap on my head, and whisked me down the hallway to the operating room. Things moved quickly from there. It was amazing to see how the nurses and doctors moved together- it was like a dance that they had practiced many times. No one panicked, they all knew what they each had to do, and they did it quickly. Thankfully, I had had an operation to remove kidney stones back in December, 2007, which I was awake for as well. So, this recent experience sort of put me at ease a little, as I had an idea of what to expect in terms of the anesthesia (I never had a c-section before).

I was so grateful for the anesthesiologist staying with me throughout the operation. He held my hand most of the time, rubbed my forehead, and explained to me what was happening. I started to panic, as the anesthesia numbed me up to my chest- it felt as if I was not able to breathe!! He told me it was just a sensation from the medication, and assured me that I was breathing just fine. I remember feeling that way for my kidney stone operation, but not nearly as bad- I suppose the anesthesia did not travel as high up in my body.

I felt many strange sensations throughout the surgery, mostly the pressure from the doctors removing the baby. The anesthesia made me cry, and I felt a little out of it, too, however I was aware of what was going on. I even asked the doctor if they could remove some of the extra skin on my belly. Her response was that I looked great- OK, no I do not! I do not want to gross anyone out, but I have an excess amount of stretched out skin on my belly, and even though I have never been a fan of plastic surgery, I so plan to get a tummy tuck someday! I am disappointed that that was not the day, she had the scalpel in her hand- why couldn’t she just take a little away before she stitched me up? Girls, you know what I am saying?! Oh well, I guess it just was not meant to be…yet. Ha ha!

Anyway, the baby needed some TLC, as the birth was stressful for him. He was given an IV, antibiotics, and was closely monitored for the first 36 hours. I only saw him for about ten seconds before he was taken to the nursery, and I did not get to hold him until late Monday afternoon (right after I had a massage, compliments of the hospital- woo hoo!). Even though I was anxious to hold him, I was grateful for the time I had to just rest and be alone. But oh how wonderful it was to hold him for the first time!

The baby had to have formula on Sunday and Monday, as I was not able to get out of bed to nurse him, and he was unable to leave the nursery. My milk came in on Tuesday morning, and he took right away to nursing! So far, nursing is going quite smoothly, and I have not had any problems- no sore nipples or becoming engorged, and I hope not to anytime soon.



While in the hospital, I enjoyed visits from my family, my brother-in-law Bill Cart, my other brother-in-law Billy and his family. They brought cookies, flowers, balloons, baby outfits, and a photo album- my room was so well stocked and festive looking, I never wanted to leave!

My belly is feeling better each day. For the first week, I felt a burning sensation along where the stitches are- thankfully the burning is gone. The afterbirth pains have subsided, and getting in and out of a chair is not painful anymore. Right now, the muscles in my abdomen feel a little sore, much like they feel after doing a bunch of crunches. I wonder if that means that I am doing too much?

Anyway, John-Paul and I are doing well, the kids are being such wonderful helps around the house. The boys have been keeping on top of the laundry, the dishes, the trash, vacuuming, and general straightening, and they have been doing a fabulous job, I might add!

And my sister-in-laws, Sally and Marykate- what can I say about them?! We sure could not have gotten through the first two weeks without them! They have sent over dinners, had the kids over for dinner, brought them swimming, had sleepovers, helped with the back-to-school shopping, took them to the movies and laser tag- the fun never stops!

Other family members have helped, as well. Our niece, Michele, took the baby and I to the doctors to check his bilirubin level, and she has helped Sally with amusing the children quite a few times. My mother took the girls and Andrew for a sleepover one night. Billy and Liz had the boys for a sleepover twice. Elisa and Nan took the girls swimming. Steve and Lynn welcomed our kids over to swim in their pool a few times. John and I are so grateful to everyone who has gone out of their way to help our family, while I heal. (I hope that I did not leave anyone out!) 

I love our family so much, and words cannot express how grateful John and I are for each person in our lives- they are living examples of loving kindness, benevolence in action, and I hope to serve others just like my sister-in-laws! A huge THANK YOU to our family!!! God has blessed us abundantly with our large family of seven children, whom we love and cherish dearly, and with our extended family who are so good to us. We are so grateful to God for all of His blessings in our lives!!!!


4 Responses to “Thee Best Anniversary Gift Ever!”

  1. Wow! Congratulations on your new baby, you super mom, you!

    May your son grow up to be the spiritual giant his namesake was…



  2. Liz Sweeney said

    Hello Lisa!! Thank you for sharing all of those wonderful pictures- they were so great to see and brought back memories form the birth of my baby!! I am also so excited to be John-Paul’s godmother and can not wait to watch him grow.. I wish the best for you and the whole family and will be in touch very soon!!

  3. Hello Lisa, Congrats! I don’t think I could have done all the house work before delivering! You and John have beautiful children, I wish you all the best with them.. Keep smiling and never forget to take time for yourself.


  4. Heidi, Liz and Becky,
    Thank you all so much! We are all so happy to have John-Paul in our family, and it is a pleasure sharing his birth story with you! God has blessed us abundantly, and we are forever grateful!
    Blessings to you all,

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