Thursday, July 12, 2012

Cooper's Blessing Day

 We blessed Cooper Memorial Day weekend.  We were blessed to have both sets of grandparents here to join in this special day!  I managed to finish his blessing outfit the night before.  It didn't turn out quite like I hoped it would.  Before Clayton was born, I made him a nice little outfit.  He arrived weighing 9 lbs. 9 oz. and barely fit into it when we brought him home, so I had to make him a new one before we blessed him 6 weeks later.  Connor was smaller and because of family scheduling, we blessed him when he was 2 weeks old, so he got to wear the Clayton original. Since they each have their own, I thought Cooper needed his very own too.

 After church, I had to put Cooper's tie on him that I made to match the other boys' Easter ties.  He wasn't thrilled.  But they all looked so cute!

 Jacob Robert Butler holding Cooper Robert Butler; Karl Douglas Butler Jr. holding Connor Douglas Butler; Lemuel Hardison Redd IV holding Clayton Hardison Butler

I come from a family of seven girls, no brothers.  When I was expecting Caroline, we didn't find out the gender and I was CONVINCED that we were having a boy.  I desperately wanted a boy for my Dad.  I called my belly Clayton for the last 2 weeks of my pregnancy, even though we also had the name Caroline picked out for a girl.  I was seriously surprised when she arrived, but tickled to have a little girl.  We still loved the name Clayton.  Jake was a big fan of Clayton Moore, the actor who played "The Lone Ranger".  He was brave, noble and true and stood for good and right. So when we found out the gender of Baby Butler #2, we knew exactly what to name him.  And in honor of him being my dad's first grandson, we gave him his Papa's middle name (and also the name Papa goes by):  Hardison.  It is a name that has been passed down for many generations.  The men who have borne this name are noble, brave, courageous men who stood for what was right and who had strong testimonies of Jesus Christ and His restored gospel. We wanted our son to have that name. Hence, Clayton Hardison.

Shortly after we found out we were expecting Butler Baby #3, we watched a movie that had a little boy named Connor in it.  The boy wasn't a main character, but somehow it made an impression on Jake.  It took a little while for me to warm up to it, but the closer we got to delivering what we knew would be another little boy, the more it grew on me.  Connor means "wise" - a characteristic we hope he develops!  "Douglas", his Grandpa Butler's middle name (and also the name he goes by) seemed a natural fit with Connor.  Both Grandpa Butler and his father who had the same name are men of wisdom who have been strong in the gospel and have taught their children well.  We knew these qualities were ones we wanted our 2nd son to develop, and so we named him accordingly:  Connor Douglas.

When I was a little girl, the Stake President (a church leader with stewardship over a group of church members that might be compared to a Catholic diocese) I grew up listening to was a dear man named          F. Cooper Jones.  I don't remember much about the speakers at the semi-annual Stake Conferences that were held, and I don't remember what President Jones talked about each time.  But I do remember that any time he talked about his lovely wife, he never called her his wife.  In the most tender tone, that I still vividly remember, he referred to her as his "Sweetheart."  Even as a small child, I was profoundly impacted by the way he showed so much reverence and respect for his "Sweetheart", and I knew that someday, I wanted a man who spoke of me and treated me that same way.  15ish years later, when I met my "Sweetheart" and he asked me to be his forever, we got to choose which man would seal us for all eternity in the Holy Temple.  (In The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, we believe that we can be married not just for our time on this earth, but for all eternity by the proper authority in the temple.  A temple had been built in my hometown of Monticello, Utah just a couple of years before we met and became engaged!)  There were two "sealers" at the Monticello Temple at that time - both men who had influenced my life growing up.  It was a tough choice, but ultimately an easy one at the same time, because the sealer named F. Cooper Jones had helped me to know that I would not settle for just anyone, and because of his example, I found the man who would (and does EVERYDAY) treat me with that same reverence and respect that I admired in President Jones.  We were married for time and all eternity on December 28, 2002.  For that reason, the name Cooper has great meaning to us.  And obviously, because of that great meaning, we gave our sweet Butler Baby #4 his Daddy's middle name:  Robert.  So Cooper Robert was named for the great love his parents have for one another and that we hope he will one day have and demonstrate for his own eternal "Sweetheart."

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

I'm Only 10 Weeks Late With This Post...

...But here it is, finally! 

Early in the morning on Wednesday, May 2nd, Jake & I made our trip to Chadron Community Hospital for our scheduled C-section.  Our doctor let me attempt to vbac after our emergency Cesarean with Connor.  However, because he was going out of town and I was already a week overdue, we opted for the C-section because we worried that if I did go into labor by myself and there were complications and our doctor wasn't here, we might be in trouble.  He's one of the few in our area that will perform a vbac. 

I really struggled with the idea that I would have another C-section.  I very much wanted to be able to give birth naturally again.  Each morning as I went on my walk, I pled with Heavenly Father that He would let me give birth naturally.  I would always tack on a "But Thy will be done" at the end of my prayers, but I wasn't really feeling it.  As I neared and passed my due date, one sweet friend who has had to have 3 C-sections reminded me that not going into labor by myself might be Heavenly Father's way of protecting the baby and me from unseen problems.  It was a very comforting and helpful thought.  A church leader spoke one Sunday about the birth of his son and the decision they made, guided by prayer, to have a C-section because of complications.  I felt that those remarks were directed at me from Heaven as well.  Through a very touching, sweet priesthood blessing from Jake the night before the surgery, I felt an overwhelming peace and comfort from Heavenly Father.  I knew it would be okay.  You KNOW you're at peace with a decision when you both set your alarms and you BOTH sleep through them.  Which is what happened the morning of the C-section.  We woke up about 10 minutes before we needed to leave the house.  What a blessing that we could have a good night's sleep!

Cooper Robert Butler came into the world at 8:29 a.m. on May 2nd!!!
He weighed in at 8 lbs. 13 oz. and measured 22 inches long!

There were SO MANY tender mercies from Heavenly Father that we experienced at his birth.
I was very concerned about him having a hard time breathing.  Heavenly Father knew that, and from the second they pulled Cooper out, he screamed.  It was the most beautiful sound I've ever heard.  I lay behind the drape, unable to see my sweet new boy yet, but praying silent thank-you's to Heavenly Father while tears streamed down my face.
Sadly, the camera batteries, which I was SURE were charged up, died shortly after Jake snapped just 2 pictures of our brand new baby.  So we don't have any photos of just the three of us immediately after delivery.
Shortly following the surgery, after I was all stitched up, they wheeled me into the recovery room and brought me our new little bundle.  I have always wanted to nurse my babies as soon as they were born.  For one reason or another, I was never given that opportunity.  But with Cooper, it was another tender mercy that I felt that the Lord blessed me with to help soothe the frustration and disappointment over not being able to labor and deliver the way I wanted to.  Having that sweet time to nurse my new baby and bond with him in the quiet of the recovery room, just the two of us, so soon after his arrival is a memory I will always treasure.
Considering the fact that the entire bottom 3/4 of my body had been pretty much asleep for most of the day, when they got me up to walk that evening after feeling had returned, I felt pretty darn good!  I paced the room for a couple of minutes with the CNA's following me with my IV and remarked that I really felt like I could walk the halls, I felt so good.  They said they'd never, EVER heard a C-section patient say anything like that.  But we did it.  And it felt great!  Another little blessing from a loving Father who knew his daughter couldn't stand to be laid up (which was actually another of my many concerns following major abdominal surgery - how on earth would I care for my little ones as I recovered?)

(A photo of Cooper and his siblings.  They really were excited to meet their baby brother, even if they don't look like it.  Unfortunately, they were all sick with colds and we didn't let them get too close, which they were quite sad about.  It was really hard for them to not kiss his sweet cheeks!  And please don't look at the lovely cuffs on my legs - I suffered a blood clot shortly after Connor's birth and they put those on me as a precaution this time.)

I truly felt Heavenly Father's hand throughout the birth of our sweet new addition and my recovery.  I was able to return home earlier than I thought I would, and I felt that my recovery was in many ways, much smoother than it was the first time I experienced a C-section.  I know that my Heavenly Father loves me and knew the desires of my heart.  But I also know that He sees the big picture and knows me better than I know myself.  I am so grateful for His loving care and for the trust he has in Jake and I to send these amazing little spirits into our home.  We are so blessed with each one of them!