Happy Birthday, Sweet Girls!

Our friends, Jess and Nate, were surprised with not one...not two...but three bundles of joy on February 13, 2009, and this past weekend, I had the honor of helping them celebrate their special day. When Addison, Kendall, and Kate (named in birth order) were born, they were just a wee 2 lbs., 1 oz. to 3 lbs., 3 oz. Now, just a year later, you would probably never know they were preemies! They spent the first 6-10 weeks of their lives in the NICU and then joined their big brother, Homer - the dog, at home.

Before I jump into the birthday festivities, I just want you to know how special my friend, Jessica, is to all who know her. I met Jess my freshman year at Hanover, and she had been dating her now husband, Nathan, since she was 14. They compliment one another so well and are totally committed to their marriage and family. Jess and I became roommates at Phi Mu our sophomore year, and we were both majoring in psychology and getting a minor in sociology. In a lot of ways, Jess and I got together like peanut butter and...well...peanut butter. I wanted to say peanut butter and jelly, but actually, we are too much alike to be PB&J. Sometimes I think we were cut from the same mold.

When I think back to college, I remember Jess always being such a loyal friend. She was encouraging. She was strong. Her family was number one in her life. I loved these things about her! Jess and I made a lot of great memories at Hanover, and I have the pictures to prove it. I'm still debating about how old my children will have to be before they see those pictures. :)

Anyway, after graduating from Hanover, Jess went to Eastern Kentucky for Clinical Psychology, and I went to Indiana University for School Psychology. We found ourselves continuing the peanut butter and peanut butter lifestyle, taking many of the same classes once again. I got married in January 2005, and she was in our wedding. Almost one year later, Jess got married, and I was in her wedding. We were peanut butter and peanut butter.

When Noah was just a couple months old, I got the phone call. You know - the call you never expect to get. It's the one where your friend says, "I'm pregnant," but there is not gaga giddy excitement. The flat, "I'm pregnant" was quickly followed by "...and they think there are three babies."


Surely there was a mistake. Surely she's not pregnant with triplets. They had just started trying to start a family! There must be some mistake. Some time went by, and Jess had another ultrasound to see what was happening in her pregnancy. My mind was racing all day! I was taking care of Noah and his itty bitty self, wondering how someone takes care of 3 babies at once.

The phone rang.

Jessica's voice was on the other end, "Amy, are you sitting down?" No. "Well, I just had an ultrasound and saw my THREE little babies and their THREE little heartbeats." My heart melted, remembering seeing Noah's heartbeat for the first time when he was just 11 weeks old. It was moment a mom never forgets. Then, I fell to the ground and started laughing! I mean, three babies - in my little tiny friend's body??

From that moment on, Jess started organizing her life and doing everything she could to prepare for those three little lives. She was determined to carry them to 30 weeks and did just that without ever going on bedrest. I remember leaving work one afternoon to go pick up Noah, and I had a voicemail on my phone. The voice on the other end sounded tired - and to be honest, intoxicated. I heard, "Hey buddy, it's me. I'm in the hospital right now." At this point I'm thinking, what drunk person left this strange message on my phone? "I just wanted to call you to let you know that the babies are fine..." Babies? Oh my gosh! That was Jess on the other line! Turns out, she had quickly gone into labor, and the babies would probably arrive soon. Addison, Kendall, and Kate were born into this world with two of the greatest parents God could have ever picked.

I went to visit Jess, Nate, and the girls about 4 weeks after they were born. I expected to be completely overwhelmed by their teeny tiny selves, but instead, I could just feel God all around them. When those girls were born, they proved that God still performs miracles every single day, and if you pay attention in those still moments, you can see those miracles and feel His presence. My visit was one of the most special times I've ever shared with Jess, and I will hold it close to my heart for as long as I live. I watched her love each precious girl, giving them baths, changing their doll-sized diapers. I saw her encourage the girls as she tried to teach them how to eat. I saw Nathan hold Kendall's little two pound self against his bare chest, which was the only way they could hold her, taking turns every other day. I saw two people who had been my friends for more than 8 years turn into parents. It was beautiful.

Over the past year, Jess and Nate have worked triple time to go on this journey we call life. They've had a lot of support from family to help watch the girls. I am pretty sure they always have two people on duty to make sure each girl is well-cared for each day and night. I can't imagine the planning, organization, and persistence one would need to care for three babies in their first year, but if anyone in this world could do it and still smile at the end of the day, it would be Jess and Nate.

Saturday was the big day - the day the girls turned ONE year old! I always thought that birthdays were special days for kids, but after becoming a mom, I honestly believe it is more special to parents than even the kids themselves. The one year mark signifies so much, and it's such a special time to reflect on not on the birth of your child, but the events that took place the previous year. For Jess and Nate, I'm sure seeing their daughters turn one year old felt like a HUGE accomplishment to say the least.

The cutest birthday cake ever!

Each girl got to eat one of the peas - how creative!

Kate, Addison, and Kendall in front of their proud parents

After the girls finished their cake, I really enjoyed my cuddle time with Kendall while giving her a bottle. I hadn't seen her since her heart surgery last summer, and she has grown SO much! She is such a precious little girl, and I love that she looks just like her mommy! Jess and Nate had asked me to be Kendall's Godmother, and I am loving having this role in her life! I am so excited to see how our relationship grows over the years, and I am really looking forward to sharing God's word and His love with her!

Kendall and me - Feb. 13, 2010

I wanted to pick out something special for Kendall's birthday but was just not finding the "right" gift. After talking to my friend, Beckie, I had the perfect idea - a charm bracelet. I could add a new charm to it each year. I found this perfect bracelet at Zales and a cute torquoise and pink cupcake charm at Von Maur to signify her first birthday. I am so excited to find out what her interests are over the years so that I can add beautiful charms to her bracelet each year on her birthday. Noah also got all three girls some of his favorite gifts to share. Happy first birthday, sweet girls, and congratulations to Jess and Nate! You did it!


The Cantlons said...

Amy, this is such a beautiful post. What a beautiful tribute to Jess and Nate and their lives as parents. You're such a special lady, Amy. We are all truly blessed to know you. :)

Congrats to Jess & Nate. Those girls are lovely. I cannot imagine the patience and love that it takes to raise THREE babies at one time. Hats off to you guys!

Anonymous said...

Oh Amy...your way with words...you made me cry! Thank you so much for your kind words. Your family has been an inspiration to us and your support has been unwavering. We love you guys more than you will ever know! I REALLY hope Noah marries one of our girls one day!

Mandy said...

Happy Birthday to the girls!! I remember you telling me at Lindsay's wedding that she was expecting triplets (when my own water broke the very next day hahahaha!) That cake is sooo cute!

Leah said...

Sweet post!! Joey was just telling me about them the other day, and I said, "I've actually seen picturs of them." Small world. The pics are too cute. What a fun and busy time.

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