Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Two Years of Ingrid

Last Sunday we celebrated two years of having Ingrid MaryDell in our family! 

She is such a delight of a little being. Sometimes I get to thinking, maybe we should have one more... and then I worry about what kind of baby we might get. Anything less than perfect would be a total shock to the system after having Ingrid. She was a great newborn, a great baby, and is a perfect toddler. She's silly and sweet and talks so well! Life with Ingrid is fun, fun, fun. Except when we play Bird Bingo... then it's a little more difficult. But generally speaking, Ingrid is an asset to our family life.

When I think of Ingrid being born, I remember the horrible months that we named The Long Winter. It was terrible. It really was very much like Laura Ingalls Wilder's The Long Winter, and in fact, Martin and I read that book during those months. We got pummeled with snowstorm after snowstorm and arctic blasts and polar vortexes made regular appearances in the forecasts. It was a wild and sometimes miserable ride that lasted well into the spring. During that winter, we had gotten Brynja, who was still a relatively small puppy (small for a Newfoundland) and about mid-winter, Martin decided it was time for an escape plan. He organized for us a trip to Nags Head, North Carolina. We had never been on vacation as a family and we'd be traveling with three kids and a puppy, staying at a rented cottage and visiting the sites and coast of North Carolina, a place I had never been. I was really nervous. We'd be leaving our homestead in the care of my father-in-law while we made the 20+ hour trip there and back over the course of our week away.

I think of that trip often. I was so nervous going into it, sure that it was not a good thing. Our kids were too little to make the trip, we could stick out the winter, it was too expensive, blah blah blah. All excuses. Martin had planned it so we got in right in the last weeks of the off-season and would take advantage of the cheap prices, while a lot of the seasonal spots would be open for early spring breakers. The cottage we were staying in, while we didn't quite know what to expect going in, was amazing. It was bigger than our house, the girls had their own bedroom! It was located near a shopping center with a grocery store so we were able to shop normally and store and fix our food in the full kitchen that was there, which was also stocked with all the kitchen necessities you could imagine. (And it had a dishwasher! We've never had a dishwasher!) There was a little deck that looked out over a pond and we could walk around that, or go down looking for turtles. We didn't spend a whole lot of time at the cottage during the daytime though because there was so much to see and do in Nags Head and the surrounding areas. We visited the beach a few times, and I'll never forget how much Elka loved the sand, and how awe struck Anja and Greta were by the size and power of the ocean. Watching them see the ocean for the first time was a marvelous experience.

We visited the Elizabethan Gardens while we were there, and I often think that if I could be anywhere at any given time, that's where I would want to be. The day was one of the warmest we had while we were there (it was still March, even if we were playing beach bums,) and we were about the only visitors at the gardens. The girls were able to run around and we saw so much beauty there. I bought a rosemary plant at the little patio shop near the main building, and Brynja jumped right into one of the fountains! The whole time was just so relaxing. We had nowhere to be at any given time. I always packed snacks in the van for the kids, so we wouldn't be caught hungry. Elka, for being only 19 months old, was a real trooper. It was just such a nice time.

One big thing about that trip, though (and probably a contributing factor to my anxiety level about the whole thing going in) was that I was only two weeks away from my scheduled c-section for Ingrid. I knew it was maybe not the least foolish thing to do, traveling across the country to a place where the nearest family was hours away, when I was so close to my due date, but I went anyway.  And I remember thinking so much about the baby about to join our family, whether it was a boy or a girl, who she would look like, what we would call her. Ingrid got to be named by Martin. I had given him full naming rights after putting my foot down for Elka's name somewhat against his will. The boy name, up to the day Ingrid was born, was "Ulf." Previously, we had considered Berrin or Francis for boys names, and Ulf was not at all what I had ever expected him to name a child. In fact, Ingrid was an unexpected name too, and admittedly, one I wasn't especially fond of at the beginning, but I have sure grown to love it! I remember driving into Nags Head and seeing the hospital right there, just a few minutes from our rental cottage and heaving a huge sigh of relief. At least if I went into labor, I'd know where to go! As always when a new member is birthed into a family, I felt a little sad that it wouldn't just be the five of us anymore. I feel that way every time we have a baby... the change of the family dynamic makes me a little bit sad. I mean, for about five minutes, until the older sisters meet their new sibling and then everything is great. But going in, I'm always a little apprehensive.

We talk a lot as a family about returning to North Carolina, but part of me doesn't want to go back. Part of me wants to keep it as a really, really good memory of a very unique time of our lives. When we left our driveway and started East, it was snowing. When we came back to Indiana, it was snowing again. But we had experienced a delightful week away, in which we truly were able to forget about the long winter that was dragging us down. It gave us just the jolt of happy that we needed to make it through the next weeks until the birth of Ingrid, and shortly after, the arrival of spring.

Those are my memories surrounding Ingrid's impending birth. The birth itself was pretty uneventful (a very good quality for a c-section) and the recovery was fine. She was just such a good, easy baby right from the beginning. With her funny blue eyes and tiny little button nose, she really stole our hearts. And now she's two! It's pretty unbelievable. Happy Birthday, Ingie! We love you!

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