After the busiest 10 weeks of my life, I'm finally getting around to updating this blog. We've been just a little consumed with caring for a newborn, managing a transcontinental move and settling back in to life in the States. It's hard to imagine that the last time I posted was the day Conan was born. In some ways this major event seems like a lifetime ago thinking about all that's happened since his birthday. Our world's been flipped upside down, and we're loving it! Below are the chronicles of our first six weeks with Conan.
|Taken in our orchard exactly one week before Conan was born|
THE BIRTH: After a routine doctor's appointment on April 30th (5 days before his due date), I was asked to stay overnight for observation as Conan's heart rate was very low and needed monitoring. Later that night after another monitoring session, a decision was made to take him out via an emergency C-section, which was one of the scariest moments of my life. I went from feeling fine and watching the "Princess Bride" in the hospital room, to being prepped for surgery 30 minutes later. Unfortunately, Jon was not able to be in the room as there was no time for him to be prepped as well. I was put completely under and awoke in a very groggy state to Jon holding a bundle of blankets, later to be known as Conan. It all happened so fast and though it wasn't the idyllic birth experience I had been hoping for, the end result was perfect - a healthy and beautiful baby boy who stole my heart the moment I met him. Conan Ashely Clough was born on April 30th at 11:32 p.m. weighing 7.76 lbs. and 21 inches long.
|Taken in hospital at 2 days old|
Not imagining in a million years that I would need a C-section, I had no idea what to expect regarding the recovery. I was blessed to be in a hospital with wonderful nurses who gave great care. After a rough couple days, I immediately started feeling better and couldn't wait for my mom to arrive in a few days time and the possibility to go home. After 4 nights in the hospital, I was able to go home and was thrilled to be able to have 2.5 weeks to enjoy our house before the packers arrived. This time was spent adjusting to becoming a mom, enjoying visits from family and friends and snuggling with my baby as much as possible.
THE MOVE: The two weeks of my mom's visit flew by entirely too fast and before I knew it, she was on a plane back to the States. I was sad to see her go for multiple reasons - but mostly because I was scared to death to have to manage a newborn on my own while also prepping for our move. Jon was a huge help, but also had all the logistics of our move to take care of including numerous trips to the dump, Bis-Bis, Thrift Shop, final cleaning of the house, selling our car, shipping two cars, obtaining Conan's passport, etc. We were running on nothing but pure adrenaline until our house was completely cleared out on May 24th. (On a side note, don't ever try to move with a newborn baby..... just sayin').
|Taken in the orchard at 2.5 weeks|
|Our final Dutch souvenir - a bakfiets!|
THE FAREWELL: After our household goods were packed and we turned over the keys to our house, we could breathe a sigh of relief and relax a bit while enjoying our final two weeks in Europe. Luckily, we were able to enjoy our final days in an actual home, thanks to our generous friends, the Zinneckers. It was so wonderful to have the comfort and space of a house, rather than staying in a guest house. Also, we loved being able to stay in Sittard our final days as well. While friends were going on last minute trips around the continent, we were staying local taking part in many final farewells. I will have to add more pictures in this section as we were blessed to have numerous farewell gatherings at church, with neighbors and our favorite friends. We truly have met the most incredible people during our 3.5 years at GK and I am so grateful for the friendships made that have forever changed me for the better.
|4 weeks old|
In addition to saying good-bye to all the wonderful people we have known, we also had to say goodbye to one very special place..... Wiesbaden. Our first home as a married couple, this city will always hold a special place in our heart. We managed to spend an afternoon here an introduce Conan to our first apartment and familiar haunts. I became very emotional leaving this city as it hit me that after 6 years in Europe, we have no plans to return. Of course I know someday we will, but it's still a hard reality to face after having so many possibilities for travel for so long to no longer have these opportunities available at our fingertips. I have become so accustomed to traveling back and forth between the States and Europe for so long, experiencing the best of both worlds, and now that reality is about to change. We will be firmly planted in the States, making a new life that will be vastly different, but I have no doubt, still as wonderful and fulfilling. Here's to the next adventure....
THE HOMECOMING: On June 11th, we landed in Dallas and were greeted by my mom at the airport. Balloons in tow, we felt very welcomed home. Conan was a champ on the plane and slept pretty much the entire time except for the final 10 minutes. During the descent he screamed bloody murder, but at least it was only the bitter end that he was a toot. And let's face it, he was just vocalizing what we were all thinking after 11 hours - get me outa this thing now!
|5 weeks old in Wiesbaden|
|Arrival Day in Texas|
We stayed in Dallas at Mandy's for two nights, where my dad joined to take us all back to Bryan. Mandy, Laurel, Jason and the Blue boys all met us there that weekend for one fantastic family reunion over Father's Day. Braxton has been dying to "hold Tonan" for weeks now and was so precious when he first met him. I got on the floor with Conan in my lap and he rushed over screaming "baby Tonan, baby Tonan" and kissed and hugged him all over. Baby "Tonan" is indeed so lucky to have such a loving big cousin and though he doesn't know it yet, he's going to be best friends with his cousins Braxton and Boulan. When we all joined together that first night, I remember thinking that I wouldn't trade all the trips in Europe for that moment of togetherness and utter happiness. The best part about it was that there was no impending tearful goodbye hanging over my head after the weekend or two weeks or even a month. Because though we won't be able to see each other all the time, it will be so much more often than what we've been used to.
|The Three Cloughs at the Catlin house|
|The Catlin family all together again|