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