Friday, December 1, 2017

The Two R's of Motherhood

Let’s start with the uncomfortable and save the best for last!  

Motherhood is REFINING…

I remember a little bit before Owen was born saying to David, “People always talk about marriage being refining, but I wonder just how refining having children will be.” 

I knew it would be, but I couldn’t know just how much without experiencing the everyday life of a mom with a baby.  

In just the first few weeks I was so humbled and convicted of my judgmental attitude. I knew I struggled with pointing out other people’s wrongs and how I would do things differently (and in my mind better), but I didn’t realize how many times I was wrong. Not just wrong to be focusing on negatives, but just plain wrong that they were negatives. There are so many things that aren’t cut and dry.




Beyond that, motherhood is a constant sacrifice. With marriage you can choose to sacrifice for the other person (and you should!), but in my case it hasn’t often been thrust upon me. Having a baby has forced me to sacrifice every day all day. You can’t turn the baby off for a few hours while you get much needed sleep. They don’t care if you’re running on no sleep, if you have the stomach flu or a raging infection. They need you, they need you now, and they won’t survive if you don’t take care of them.  

I struggled for the first several months. This wasn’t what I had imagined. I had a trying pregnancy. I was labeled high risk from the start and had to give myself daily shots. I was in the hospital twice, once for almost a week. There was the scary realization that my baby could come early; that my baby could die. I just wanted to be done with it all and enjoy my baby! I knew it would be exhausting, but I had no idea I would go the first three months barely staying well for a week before some other sickness or issue would hit. God has brought us through two hospital visits with a 5 day old and a 2 month old. I was so frightened that he would get sick, but God protected him. I will not get into all the things that happened to me and to Owen one right after the other, but God has been faithful to carry us through. He has given enough strength for each new day. Sometimes that strength has been in the form of others helping me (which is also very difficult because I don’t like asking for help), but He has provided a way for me to get through each day.

 

Motherhood is REWARDING… 

“It’s so worth it.” How many times do you hear mothers say that phrase? Well it’s true. The joy is unexplainable when I watch my little boy pick up on new things or delight in something I am showing him. We stare at each other; both marveling at one another.
 
 
 
Motherhood is a most noble cause. It is an opportunity to teach another human being about the God who made him/her and who wants to have an eternal relationship with him/her. An overwhelming, but beautiful calling.
I don’t have as many words to describe this part. I think you just have to experience it for yourself. I’m beyond grateful that the Lord has chosen me to have these experiences!
To God alone be the glory!
 
 
 
 

Monday, November 27, 2017

Owen's Birth Story

WARNING: Live birth described below. lol I tried to make it as appropriate as possible. Enjoy!

Owen’s story started when, around Thanksgiving 2016, the Lord chose to bless us with our fourth baby. It was so soon after losing Sage that we meshed his first prenatal appointment with Sage’s post-delivery one. We started hormone supplements immediately and took blood samples to test for blood clotting disorders. Part of me was convinced it was no use and we would lose this baby too. I was not ready emotionally or physically to lose another baby. Sage had been my most difficult miscarriage so far and I was drained. The other part of me was sure God would let us keep this one because of the circumstances in which He gave it to us.
 
 

I had an ultrasound a week later and they confirmed that the pregnancy was not ectopic. (Because I’ve had multiple miscarriages this is just something they check for.) Two weeks later I had another ultrasound to check for a heartbeat. I was so nervous about this one! I had never seen a heartbeat on any of my ultrasounds before, so if there was one this time, it would indicate that things were going differently with this baby. My dream came true when I saw the tiny heart beating wildly on the screen. I had a live baby inside of me!! What an amazing feeling! The next step was passing ten weeks (the point that we found out Addison, my longest pregnancy to this point, was not growing). We made it and were overjoyed to see baby’s heart still beating and the baby moving its arms around.



The blood work taken several weeks earlier tested positive and the doctor was sure that’s what had caused the other miscarriages. I’m not convinced, but only God knows. Whatever the case, I started daily shots around 12 weeks to prevent my blood from coagulating unnecessarily. The same day I started the shots I found out (through blood work) that I was having a boy!! We began picking out names and decided on Owen David.
 


All things considered the pregnancy progressed pretty normally. I had a few weeks of mild morning sickness, was pretty comfortable throughout my second trimester and into my third, started getting mildly uncomfortable around 30 weeks, and towards the end had trouble sleeping due to discomfort in my joints. Sometimes my pelvis hurt so bad I could hardly walk, but that was probably the worst symptom I had.
 
 
 
Because of complications with my placenta I had a couple of hospital stays and was put on moderate bedrest. Most of the things I was planning to do to help get ready for labor were not okay anymore. I had enough people comment on my size and ask if I was going to have a C-section (just because I look small) that I was beginning to doubt I’d be strong enough to get this baby out. Without being able to exercise and give myself the best chance, I was even more doubtful. 
 
As Owen’s due date approached, the doctors informed me that they would not let me go past 39 weeks (no, not because I’m too small). Apparently the condition I had could cause issues the longer the pregnancy went. I tried and tried to go into labor naturally (even risking walking), but it felt like he would never come out on his own. In some ways it was taking forever (because I wanted to meet him!) and in others (because I couldn’t get labor going naturally and induction was looming) it was coming at break neck speed. I went to a regular checkup at 37 weeks 4 days and my doctor informed me that she really didn’t want me going past 38 weeks. She suspected placental abruption and didn’t want complications. “Um…that’s in three days!” I had been wanting to meet him so bad, but now I was super scared! I had mentally prepared myself for being induced on the following Friday…not in three days! But then my doctor remembered something: “Oh wait. I’m going out of town this weekend and I really want to deliver this baby.” Phew! She scheduled me for the following Wednesday. Still sooner than I had planned, but that was okay with me. I had a little time to prepare myself, but I still got to meet my son sooner than expected!


We arrived at the hospital on the designated day at 4:45 am. It was not quite how I had pictured arriving: somewhat calm and in no pain at all. We sat in the room for quite a while because no one told the nurse we were there. She finally came in and had me change into the hospital gown. We went over my birth plan and over the next few minutes I got hooked up to monitors and IV’s. I was only 1 cm dilated so the induction was started with something to help begin the softening/dilating process. The night nurse took care of it right before the shift change and left with the encouraging words, “Inductions can take a long time. Typically up to two days. Hopefully you’re lucky and it doesn’t take three.” Swell!

 
Within 30 minutes of the induction I was having uncomfortable contractions coming less than 2 minutes apart. They got worse so gradually that I hardly noticed it happening. I guess I expected it to take some time for them to get bad so it kept surprising me. I’d be like, “Babe! This really hurts! These are really strong!” After about 5 ½ hours of that, the nurse came in and said the doctor wanted to start Pitocin. My eyes got big. “You’re going to make this worse??” They told me it wasn’t much. Just one drip an hour. Ha! I was only dilated to a “tight two” and knew this could take a while. I was so uncomfortable by now. I didn’t want to lie down. That created bad back labor. I had to go to the bathroom constantly, but it hurt to walk (something I thought I’d do a lot of). I didn’t really do anything I thought I’d do. I just sat on a birthing ball, moaning and silently repeating, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” I had read that you can experience shakes and nausea during transition, but I got the shakes really early on and had them off and on (mostly on) until a few days after getting home from the hospital. I felt nauseous several hours into labor, and listening to the lady screaming across the hall, decided I didn’t want to experience anything worse than what I already was.



There went my deep resolve. “Babe, I want an epidural.” I didn’t have to tell him twice. Bless my husband’s heart, but I wouldn’t let him do anything but pace. He felt pretty helpless and I think he was glad I wanted relief so he could relax knowing I wasn’t in any discomfort. The birth class had told me it could take a long time to administer the epidural and a long time for it to take effect. With this knowledge I asked for it before I was beyond desperate. As soon as I asked they said the anesthesiologist would be right in (and he was!) and it took less than five minutes upon administering the drug for me to experience relief! What a nice surprise! I felt slightly nauseous after the epidural, but thankfully closing my eyes and sucking on a peppermint were all it took to help me feel better. Right after the epidural they decided to see how dilated I was. Only 3 cm. They started cranking up the Pitocin about every hour. 3 ½ hours after the epidural the contractions started coming pretty strongly through the meds. I told the nurse and she decided to check and see how things were progressing. As far as she could tell I was fully dilated. She was so sure that after just 3 ½ hours I shouldn’t have gone from 3 to 10 so she asked the other gal to check. As soon as she did, she was confident. “Oh yeah. She’s a ten. You can push whenever you feel like it.” What?? This was crazy. So calm. So quick. It was time to meet my baby. I asked if I could labor down. I wasn’t in much pain and this was my original plan anyway. The nurse agreed and they called my doctor (who was at home, but on call). Within half an hour the contractions were coming really strongly through the epidural and I was feeling a lot of uncomfortable pressure. I asked if I could push and the nurse was fine with it. She instructed me how to push and we proceeded pushing through a few contractions. The doctor was not there yet, however, and the baby was coming fast. She instructed me to hold off pushing until the doctor got there if I could stand it. My uterus was doing a fine job by itself though because she kept thinking I was pushing when I wasn’t. The doctor finally arrived, suited up, and two pushes later delivered my baby. He came out crying (which I had prayed would happen so I would immediately know he was alive) and they suctioned tons of mucus out of his mouth. Then the moment came. They handed him to me. All purple and wet and squishy eyed. But I thought he was beautiful! I couldn’t believe it was happening. The moment refused to sink in. I think I was kind of stunned. Because of my previous miscarriages, I had ruled out ever having this happen to me. I had to in order to stay sane. If I didn’t think of it as a possibility it was slightly easier to handle. Then here it was. This moment I had waited for since I was a little girl had just happened. My baby was lying on my chest. I wasn’t holding someone else’s baby. I wasn’t dreaming. I was holding my very own son. It wasn’t at all what I expected. I didn’t cry. Not through labor and not when he was born. There was one nurse for most of the pushing period quietly telling me what to do as the evening light streamed in through the window. I had expected it to be much more emotional and intense. Not calm and peaceful and beautiful.

 

I’m so grateful for my little Owen boy. I feel like I’ve stepped into a whole new world and I can never get back into the old one. But I’m okay with that. It has and will take adjusting. I’ve never been good at change. But some change is good; very good! My little sweetie has captured my heart completely. I can’t wait to watch him grow in wisdom and stature! 
 

 

Friday, July 7, 2017

Update (with pictures!)

 
 
 The Lord continues to be extremely gracious in allowing us to keep our precious child here on this earth. Here's a little update for those who don't follow me on Instagram and may not know what's going on. Or know what's going on, but don't get to see the pictures. ;)

Due to complications regarding partial placenta previa earlier in my pregnancy mixed with the being on an anti-coagulant for my blood clotting disorder, I spent most of my 24th week of pregnancy in the hospital. I'm so grateful for the access to monitoring and an NICU in case something more had happened and they'd needed to deliver the baby early. Most of all, I'm thankful nothing worse happened and I was able to go home after just 6 days! The placenta previa is now gone and my pregnancy has continued in good health! Also, the baby never showed signs of distress which is the most comforting thing to me.


My mission before and upon getting pregnant has been to create a healthier environment for my baby by gaining a little more weight. Lots of yummy, healthy, fat building food is on my agenda!! Unfortunately, now that I'm in my 3rd trimester I can't fit very much in there at any one time. I have gained about 25 pounds so far so I'm super happy!

 
Because of the anti-phospholipid syndrome I have
to have weekly non-stress tests.

Just for cuteness!
 
 Isn't he cute?? Such an acrobat. ;)



In late June my sister and sister-in-law threw a shower with a You Are My Sunshine theme. It was super cute!!

 
lots of cute camo clothes!!


my mother-in-law gave me some of David's baby/toddler clothes


And here we are! 34 weeks and counting. I'm so grateful for the time I've had with my little man! Praying for the glorious chance to meet him face to face.

Friday, May 26, 2017

With a Thankful Heart

Oh my...where do I start?

With the fact that today marks the beginning of my third trimester?? YAY!

Or the fact that tomorrow marks two years since I delivered the lifeless baby that made me a mommy? Finalizing the fact that my child was gone forever.

I'm so happy. The Lord is so faithful to give me this healthy baby boy. His kicks grow stronger every day. He makes his mommy laugh and cry for joy often. I have been given a salve for my wounds.

But I didn't make any mother's-day-social-media-posts this year... I just couldn't. What do you do when your heart is torn? What do you write about? I was happy on Mother's Day! But you better believe I thought about my other three babies. The one that made me a mom. The one that renewed my hope in my desire to have children. The one that I still consider the "little one". They're all so special. If they weren't I know God wouldn't have bothered to create them at all.

Today I'm so thankful for my baby boy. As I write this he is contorting my belly into all sorts of shapes as he stretches and kicks. I'm thankful we've made it to the third trimester. I never believed it would happen. I can't believe it has happened. Yet, I've dreamed about it happening so much that it feels completely normal and right. God has been more than gracious to me in giving me a living child.

Tomorrow is a day I will never forget. I will never stop grieving when May 27th rolls around. Though I'm guessing I won't post every year I will silently remember my precious "first born". Addison, you mean so much to me. There's a bond between a mother and her firstborn that is unmatched. There is no excitement like finding out you're parents for the first time. The love runs just as deep with subsequent children, but those "first time" emotions never happen again. I love you so much and still cry when I think about how deeply I miss you. How I wish I could have felt you moving like I feel your brother. I wish I could have bonded and watched you grow up. Wish I could have taught you things and given you snuggles when you got sad. But you know what? I can't be too sad. Cause you're with your Maker. And He's the best Teacher and Comforter there is.

You can have grief and be thankful at the same time.

So today and tomorrow I am thankful. For my children who have gone on ahead. And for the vibrant, very much alive little boy inside of me right now. To God alone be the glory!

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Once Upon a Time...

...there was a little girl. This little girl had two dreams. One was to be a wife. The other was to be a mom. This little girl loved to play with dolls. She loved to play house with her little sister and cook food and do the wash for their pretend family. But the little girl was growing up. She was getting closer every day to the time when her dreams would be fulfilled. She decided it was time to stop playing games and begin preparing for the day when the dreams would come true. So she buckled down and focused on getting a basic education. She tried to come up with other dreams. People were always asking, as she continued to grow, what she wanted to do with her life; and they seemed to expect a different answer than the one her dreams caused her to give. But she couldn’t come up with anything else that she wanted to do. Her dreams were her ambition. They were what God has laid on her heart to pursue and nothing else could stand in the way. So, all of her teenage life her focus was to get skills that would help her to run a home. To work on attitudes that would benefit her future marriage. To observe parenting and try to store away tips in her head.

One day the time had come when this little girl was not considered a little girl any more. And she couldn’t believe it! A man interested in her already? God didn’t make her wait long before bringing the man of her dreams into her life. Her first dream had come true. She was amazed that God had granted her dream so quickly. What’s more, this man that she loved had the same dreams that she had. To be a husband and to be a dad. He had also not pursued any other path. He had purposefully pursued a career that he knew would support a family and had normal hours so he could spend as much time as possible with his family. As you can imagine, these two got married very soon after falling in love. They couldn’t wait to grow their family! 

But God had other plans. After months of enduring an agonizing trial this couple was nearing their one year anniversary. They were more in love than ever, but wondered if God would ever make their second dream come true. God heard their cries and just four days before their anniversary, revealed to them that they were parents for the very first time. They were elated! But the joy they were anticipating was not God’s plan. Yes, He made them parents, and that would never change. But they were not going to meet that child on this earth. Heartbreak, real heartbreak entered their lives. The waiting had begun. Waiting on God’s will. 

Six long months later God gave them hope again. Another baby. They were sure this one would be ok. That the first loss was just a fluke. Yes, God gave them hope…for two weeks. Another dream crushed. The world that was beginning to be rebuilt around them, smashed at their feet once again. The waiting began again.

Seven months this time. The couple was beginning to lose hope. These months flew by for those around them, but for them, it was like slogging through mud. A third baby. Hope gifted to their hearts again. Three weeks this time. Three blessed weeks with their little baby that they couldn’t see, touch, feel, or hear. They just knew it was there. And then…they knew it wasn’t. They’d been through it twice already. No one could convince them otherwise and the ultrasound was the final nail in the coffin of their hopes and dreams. They were done having children. Their emotions couldn’t handle the suffocating crushing that happened each time they were finally beginning to rebuild their life. The physical pain was bearable, but the emotional pain was more than they
could take. 

Throughout this story let me not forget to mention God’s faithfulness. Not only in giving the little girl her first dream so swiftly, but throughout the pain too. He did give her that second dream. She became a mommy of three. He was also faithful to carry her through the pain as He allowed those three to be taken from her. He was faithful to draw her closer to Himself. To comfort her heart as only He can. He’s the only one who could give her hope of an eternity with her children. 

Once again God had other plans for the couple. In the beginning they had wanted to start a family right away. And God had said, “Wait.” Now they had decided they were done trying to start a family, and God said, “I have other plans.” One month. One? Yes, only one month this time. God gave the couple a surprise miracle baby. They braced for the loss they were sure was coming in the weeks to follow, but it didn’t come. Instead the little girl with the dream who had only ever seen empty blackness on the ultrasound screen had the glorious experience of seeing her baby. She watched the heartbeat with awe. How could something so small capture her heart in such a way? She was still scared. Something could still happen. She waited on pins and needles for the next ultrasound. Three weeks later she saw her baby again. A baby who’s heart was still beating. Who was moving! The baby moved its arm up and down as if to wave at mommy and daddy. Their dream was unfolding, slowly, like a beautiful flower. There is still much ground to cover. The couple is like starving children who are finally taken to a place where there is plenty to eat. The children are still going to stuff food in their pockets for later because their minds can’t fathom that it will be there tomorrow. Their emotions have been through so much trauma that it makes it difficult for them to imagine this tiny life will really be there tomorrow.  

God has shown mercy and has given them many days with this fourth child. They thank Him for every single one. They are hoping desperately that they will finally get to meet one of their children face to face. 

But if not… God is still good.