Made to be sick.

I have struggled trying to understand what I am meant to do with my life. What can I do to be useful to God and my family? My health limits what I am physically able to accomplish and where I can go. I have desired to be well, prayed that God would heal me, guide me to the right doctors, find me a cure, fix me.

I wanted to serve him by being able to serve my family, my church, even my community in the way I thought would be best. Acts that would require strength, stamina, and energy. I have fought to have my will be the map my future would follow. 

This latest struggle with my health from an increase in seizure episodes and the hard side effects from the anticonvulsant medication has really brought me low. I have been angry at my body, despaired and felt so lost. 

The constant petulant mental cry of “Why Lord? Please just take this from me. I have had enough. Don’t make me have to go through more.” 

This shadow has clung to me these last few weeks until yesterday. I had another seizure, my eyes rolled back, my muscles felt like hardened stone and my own tongue was suffocating me. I felt too tired to breathe and unable to communicate with my husband. So much pain. It was a rough one. These new episodes are painful and frightening for us both.

I laid in bed afterwards and slowly God showed me a new perspective. This may be a new trial but it is one he has been preparing me for my whole life. He has not left me alone without the necessary tools to help me see the light again. 

When I was five I was diagnosed with asthma, struggling for air is nothing new, in fact I think it was my first chronic illness I was diagnosed with. At the beginning of our marriage I was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes. There were new hurdles to overcome: shots, diet change, fears of going low in the night, anxiety of going to sleep and not waking up again. The struggle of learning to rely on others for help when my body couldn’t fend for itself. With our son I hemorrhaged badly and felt the pain of my body shutting down, it was something I began to understand. When we lost our third child God showed me his love for me, his compassion, his empathy in knowing exactly how I felt in the pain of losing a child. We had to continue to go back and do blood tests to make sure I did not develop cancer. He prepared me for the waiting in between the unknown. He showed me how to focus and go one step at a time. Find joy in each small victory of a decrease in my levels. My heart conditions brought new challenges, fainting, losing more energy, physical mountains that I could no longer climb. More freedoms lost. Again he gave me blessings, tools, testimonies. With our daughter’s NICU stay he gave me the knowledge of giving him total control and surrendering my fears to his hands. All the procedures, surgeries, scans, tests, shots, implants, hospital stays, er trips and ambulance rides have led me to this thought. This understanding.

Perhaps it is not his will to heal me. Perhaps I wasn’t given this life to be healthy or strong. He might not want a cure for me. 

Maybe his gift isn’t the miracle I have been asking for. Maybe my purpose isn’t to be the wife, mother, daughter, friend who can do all the plans, activities, chores, events that I think could make an important difference. Perhaps my worth isn’t meant to be measured that way. Perhaps that is not how he wants to use me for his purpose. 

Maybe God’s purpose for me is to be sick. 

Job came into my mind. When I think of the word trial or suffering or unfair Job is always right there. My life is richly blessed, I have privilege, I have support, I have many temporal comforts. But I must admit I feel the weight of my trials. I push against my struggles. I feel a kinship to Job and his suffering. 

I can’t claim to have jumped with joy at the thought that God’s plan might not be for me to ever be well again. That perhaps it is for his purpose to have designed my body to be broken intentionally.

So I chewed on the idea for a while before voicing it out loud. I had fought to get my life back, my body back, my strength back for so many years. I didn’t want to throw in the towel and say fine I quit. I didn’t want to think I was giving up. I am a stubborn woman. I am competitive and boy do I love to win. The thought of not being healthy might mean that I lost.

But… what if it doesn’t mean that?

What if by accepting that I won’t be healed means that I could still win? That I could have an even greater purpose for the Lord. Could I glorify him if I could not do physical acts of service?

Job never stopped trusting God. He endured so much hardship. He didn’t know if his temporal life would get easier. He didn’t  know if God would rub his hands together and give back all that was taken from him and yet Job still loved God. 

Perhaps if I stop trying to be who I was and accept what I have instead, then maybe I could honor God just as much, perhaps even more so.

Like a switch flicking on, I made a decision. I decided it didn’t matter if I don’t get better. I decided that I would be the very best sick person the world has ever seen. He did design me to be competitive. I have always liked being the best even as a young girl. If I was going to do something then by george, I was going to do it with determination, with intention, and with a bit of flare. 

Anyways back to what I was saying. I will be the best sick person in the world. I decided to be the most faithful, most humble, most accepting sick child of God ever. If I was meant to be sick then I will be sick with a smile, with kindness, without anger, I will be sick but I will have peace. I won’t fight my trials, I won’t whine or lash out. I will push onward with grace. 

This isn’t what I would have chosen for my life but God sees the good for me. I know that. I trust that.. He prepared me step by step for this my whole life. Each new hardship teaching me, leading me, showing me how to trust him, how to lean on him, how to have peace in the storm.

If I am meant to be sick then I want to be the best at it. I want to leave people scratching their heads when they meet me. I want them to question how is she ok with this? How can she see the joy? I want their curiosity to lead them to the Father, The Comforter, The Prince of Peace. To shed the spotlight on his goodness, his love, his truth. I may not be well, I may not be strong, I will still cry, but I will serve him in the way he created me. Weak, broken, and a bit dysfunctional but steadfast in his peace and sure of his goodness. I will spread his peace to everyone I meet all while being broken because that is what he has given me. ❤ 

Let her collect dust..

Today in the car the hubs and I were going over the schedule for the upcoming week and I listed off my three doctor’s appointments, pretty average week for me. From the back seat my son asked me, “Mom, why do you have to have so many doctor’s appointments?” Such a simple question but it hit me hard. He is old enough now that he is starting to see the differences between me and other adults, other moms. When he was younger we would pass the hospital and he would say, “Mommy lives there sometimes.” Like it was the most normal thing in the world just as casually as if he were commenting on the weather. Now that he is growing up he is noticing that not everyone is like his mommy. He is asking so many more questions like, “Why would they cut you? Why did they have to put that thing in your chest? Why doesn’t it work right? Why do you need so much medicine? If they give it to you why aren’t you better? Why do you have to go all the time? Why can’t you play? Why are you so tired? Ok but when will you feel better? Why can’t you take us (insert place) alone? ……”

It is hard to measure up when you try to compare yourself to six billion other people in the world. We only truly intimately know a handful of people, everyone else we just get glimpses into their life, just the highlight reel. His question stumped me a bit. I thought of a million reasons why I had so many appointments and yet none of them satisfied me. I thought of all my conditions and illnesses but I didn’t want to bring attention to those. I joke about my body being a lemon, faulty, high maintenance, broken, wired wrong, ect.. But I didn’t want to put focus on the things wrong with my body, the body that God had gifted me, at that moment in front of my son. I didn’t want to go into the long depressing list of things that don’t work right. Don’t be misled, he has heard me make light of my conditions and crack jokes about my illnesses and hospital trips before. He has witnessed me tell hilarious stories about my body malfunctioning at inconvenient places. We rely heavily on humor to just make it through the day, week, years. However at that moment it just didn’t feel like the right time. (Don’t get me wrong I LOVE a twisted sense of humor, I would rather laugh than cry any day. )

I can’t remember exactly what I said but it was something along the lines of, “ Mommy has so many appointments because she needs help and medicine so she can play with you guys more and spend more time with you.” We all need help in some way or another. At this season in my life I feel like I need help more than most. Unfortunately my body and it’s glitches, defects, snags, issues, etc. take up a lot of my time. Time that I would rather be spending in a million other ways, my children would rather I spend that time taking them to the park (ALWAYS a park.) 

Sometimes I see my inner monologue as a carton miniature version of me, just like an early 2000’s version of Lizzie McGuire’s cartoon self. I blame it on Disney Channel. As much as the tiny little version of myself would love to wail and moan and throw tantrums about how it is not fair or I don’t want to, life is hard, blah, blah, blah. I have to keep that little version placed high up on a dusty shelf forgotten at the back of my mind with no audience to view her. A place where she can sulk about how she deserves an award for best dramatic performance in a frightening version of woe is me. 

This is it. This is who I am right now. I can get mad and complain about it and point out all the negatives in a grumpy, unhappy, attitude and just be a miserable excuse for company. Or I can accept it, recognizes that yes sometimes this stink (figuratively and literally) but it won’t last forever. Or at the very least my feelings and attitude about it won’t last forever. Very little in life is permanent, we can always change our out look even if we can’t always change the situation we find ourselves in.

So rather than give Cartoon Chey the microphone and let her whine her heart out I decided she could stay on her dusty shelf where no one would miss her. Not everyone has a “lemon” body.  (A lemon is a vehicle (often new) that turns out to have several manufacturing defects affecting its safety, value or utility.) But I am sure we all could find something to complain about if we decided to let our inner miniature academy award winner take the stage and put on a show stopping dramatic performance to out shine even the most severe Karen. However I think it could be a better world if we left them unused, forgotten on a shelf to collect dust. Yes my hubs still gets to see “Mattie” (a.k.a me when I am being dramatic) because she keeps him on his toes and honestly he fell in love with her too. 😉 variety is the spice of life or something..

Tonight after being escorted up the stairs by my elderly parents to make sure I didn’t fall again and cause more damage, yes I see the irony. I got my kids all tucked in bed and praised the Lord that they were finally asleep! I had an itch to fire up the blog. It had been so long that I can’t say why but God just led me to get my thoughts written out in front of me. Seeing things in writing just helps my brain be able to sort them out. Perhaps this post is only meant to help me but I know that I had to write it down. Reading through this it’s like an itch I can finally scratch, I feel at peace. ← ( Did you catch the pun about my most recent round of hives. The little devil bumps.. see Mattie is still here. )

Spread Smiles Like A Virus

I am not fearless but I want to be.

Things are scary right now. The whole world is holding its breath waiting for the ax to fall. I have struggled with health scares. I have watched my child struggle to breath. I have seen my baby hooked up to more tubes and wires and countless machines. I have been stuck alone in a hospital miles from my family due to illness which caused me to have one of my worst panic attacks as my sons health spiraled at the same time. I felt so much love and compassion from my nurse I had only known for a few short hours. She offered me her sweater from her car, she talked with me, took my by wheelchair outside to get fresh air, and she advocated and argued with the doctor about what was best for my health and my children who were so far away. She was such a blessing in such a hard time, it was beautiful to witness. I have had to say goodbye to my babies too soon as Jesus called them home. I have missed countless events and moments in my children’s lives due to my health causing me to be in the hospital or stuck in my bed. I know fear. I know stress. I know anxiety. I know anger.

More importantly I know my God. I know he has held my hand through all of my trials. He has freed me from the bonds of uncertainty. He has healed my children, he has healed me. I have felt the hands of Jesus upon my head. I know he is faithful. I know he is good and true. He has not taken all of my struggles. He has not shielded me from all my pain. He has however held me tight in comfort. He has lifted me with hope. He has showered me with his love and the love of others. I trust him. 

Sometimes I still fail. I think why me, I feel the defeat that Satan tries to drown me with. The endless questions of when will it end? The anxiety over what might happen next.

It took me years to accept the old me, the healthy, vibrant, young me, died. I will never be who I was before I got sick, before I miscarried, before my trials. And you know what…

IT’S OKAY.

I don’t want to be that girl anymore. I like the new me. Sure it would be nice to have endless supplies of energy and eat and do whatever I want without consequences. But I know myself, I know I would not be the mother that I am to my two kids if I had never said goodbye to our other children. It changed my perspective on what is important.  I would not slow down and spend as much time just being home and being present with my family if I was healthy. My health has forced me to stop, to rest, to really choose when and how I spend my energy. It has given me the ability to say “no, I truly can’t do that,” and not feel as guilty.  My health has shown me how gentle, caring, loving, and faithful my husband really is. Our trials have brought us so close and strengthened our marriage. We have truly bonded in hospital rooms in a way we never would have if we were 100% healthy. We have had some of the biggest laughs from my emergency stories, some tales so embarrassing that only close family will get to hear the tales that make us cry from laughter. There is always a bright side if you look hard enough. Sometimes it is not until it is over can you look back and laugh. 

I don’t love my disease. I wish it wasn’t necessary. But I am grateful for it.  God has given me the chance to witness so many beautiful moments and have such love filled relationships because of it. It has taken years and more hard trips to the ER than I can count to teach me to smile and stay positive, sometimes I think God must shake his head at me because I am slow to learn. But he has been patient with me as I have learned to smile in a trial because he is with me. Things may seem big or scary in the moment, but everything has an end. Your situation in life is not permanent. Things are constantly changing. Don’t feel stuck, just like in good moments you can’t freeze time, it is the same with hard times, nothing lasts forever. 

I know the world is filled with fear. But these hard times are such a wonderful opportunity to extend love. To reach out to God and really get to know him and feel his endless love for you. No one will have a life without struggles, none of us can escape pain or loss. But if we ask him God will hold you through it all. It is our individual choice though if we let him help us through it or not. He will not force us to come to him. Don’t just pray for a struggle free life, instead pray to live a fearless one because you can put your trust in him. Even if you end up isolated and sick from this current virus just know you won’t be truly alone. God is always there, he has always been and he always will be.

This moment in the world, where fear is raging like a blaze in a drought, let us reach out to each other in kindness, spread positivity, and prayer faster than any virus. Be wise. Be kind. Be faithful. Be loving. Be trusting. God sees you. He hears you. He loves you.  

I love you too. He keeps me smiling through trials!

Value in being Imperfectly You.

Hi Kids,

It has been awhile since Mommy wrote to you. Holidays, birthdays, illness, and errands just make life seem to fly by to quickly. We are all sick with the flu right now. My days seem to be filled with tiny booger noses and the sounds of tired coughs in the night. It feels a bit hard to just make it to the next bedtime.  

I am sitting here in a moment of peace sipping my cup of decaf, while Sissy naps and Bubbie cuddles next to me, just thinking about my role in all of this. There are going to be times in your life where you question your value. You will wonder if what you bring to the table can compare with those around you. You will doubt your self. But I am writing to remind you that the God of All Things made you the way you are with your self perceived flaws and strengths for a purpose. He has a reason for designing and molding you into the Christian he needs you to be.

I struggle with my own doubts in myself. Why can’t I be healthier? Why can’t I do more without getting tired? If only I was strong or healthy or brave like this person we would have more funds for x, y, and z. And on and on the Devil spins my web of self doubt. It is his greatest weapon against me. The devil knows how to worm his way into to our hearts and mind. It is his goal to make us feel isolated and worthless. To tarnish the image of beauty that God made us.

When I first discovered I was pregnant with Bubbie I instantly started praying for his future, specifically for his future spouse. I did the same for you Sissy when I found out about you. I prayed God would give you both partners that would help you down your spiritual walk. A partner that would lift you high during the hard battles you will face in your life. Someone to encourage you, pray with you, cry with you and love you fiercely. I knew how important a caring partner would be for you because of how important your Dad is to me.

This past year has been a roller coaster health wise. It seems like we have said that every year since we got married ha! I have struggled seeing my value in my role in this family. I have doubted that what I provide and offer as a mother and wife can hold up to what I cost this family. All the money and endless time and stress spent on doctor’s appointments, endless testing, ER trips, ambulance rides, prescription expenses, medical supplies, and medical procedures that we have done and have scheduled to do seem to weigh down on my heart. How can what I do for you all compare to what I perceive my health costs and denies you all from doing. It is a black hole of self doubt  and a major pity party. It is a BIG FAT WHOPPER of a LIE the Devil hits me with.

Now what does this have to do with your future spouse? Well your Daddy is the type of partner I hope you will marry one day. He goes with me to every single specialist appointment. He has spent countless hours sitting in a hard chair next to me in the ER praying and waiting for me to get better. He has advocated and spoken up for me about my health when doctors won’t take me seriously or incorrectly read my chart. He picks up my medicine, and every week he inserts my CGM into my arm and does all the taping and prep work for it. He has watched me be taken away by ambulance and rushed to follow. He takes care of you kids when I am unable to. He wakes in the night to get me sugar when I drop low. He has gone to multiple training classes for my diabetes and asks questions when I forget. He works endless hours to provide insurance and funds for all of us.

He gives so much of himself to be by my side through all of this. When I cry because I am scared or feeling unworthy he reminds me we are a team and that there is no where else he would rather be. He is always supporting me in whatever new health plan the doctors come up for me to try. I recently had to give up caffeine for my heart. When I was really missing a good cup of coffee. He took me to multiple grocery stores to try to find my favorite brand in decaf but there were none so he had me buy multiple types to try. When I didn’t like any of them he surprised me by ordering my favorite coffee brand in decaf online. Small little gestures that mean the world to me because it says, “Hey I see what you are going through. I see you trying. I notice. I care. I love you.”

Recently he helped plan an extravagant family vacation for us. Of course my first reaction was one of worry and anger. How on Earth could we afford to do this trip with all these medical expenses? Then my guilty took over full force, if not for me, you all could go on so many family vacations I thought. The Devil was working me over again. Your Dad wanted to make us feel cherished. He wanted to do something nice for us. He wanted to give us a beautiful family experience and chance to make memories that aren’t all about sickness and healthcare and insurance. He wanted me to remember there is more to our love story than just doctors. He wanted me to feel special and happy. He knows I LOVE the beach and had been begging for a chance to take you kids to the ocean for years. He wanted me to remember there is more.

The Bible says:

“7 But the Lord said unto Samuel, Look not on his countenance, or on the height of his stature; because I have refused him: for the Lord seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the Lord looketh on the heart.” (1 Samuel 16:7 KJV)

God doesn’t see my imperfect body, he sees the value in my heart and in my deeds. Now I am not going to write you a list singing my praises of what I can do and bring to the table but I want you to remember not to compare yourself to what other people can do or are doing. You are not going to ever be like someone else. God didn’t make you to be like someone else, he called you to be like Jesus, to follow his Son down the path. Pray for and encourage your family, your spouse, to stay on the path. Pray to see God’s hand in the plan of your life. God put me and your Dad together because he knew he was exactly the man I would need to encourage me and hold my hand when life gets tough and to remind me to cherish what God has given us.

I am not sure why I have the health struggles I do but I know it has brought me so close to your dad. It has made me feel so much compassion and empathy for others that when I was healthy I just could not fully understand. I am grateful that I have the ability for my heart to truly break for other mothers who have lost their children or other brothers and sisters with health issues that are hard. With out my trials I know that I personally couldn’t be able to feel the love and compassion I am able to now feel for others.  In my biggest health scares I have never felt closer to God than in those moments. I have been sick and felt his hands rest upon my head. I have felts his peace and comfort. Remember when you are in a trial God is molding your heart to seek him and know him.

Be close to your God, he is always there for you. He made you beautifully you, incomparable.

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Lily Autumn

My girl I have tried to write to you so many times. Even just thinking about starting to tell you of your birth is so incredibly hard for me. I don’t know where to begin. First I love you. And know that I would endure the fear, the pain, the uncertainty all over again for you. You are my shining light. You have brought me so much happiness and joy!

You will come to know as you grow that Mommy’s body doesn’t work the best. Before I got pregnant with you my heart stopped working right. I got very sick, started blacking out and getting dizzy a lot. I had to stop driving and couldn’t work for awhile. I felt pretty exhausted and useless all the time. I lost a lot of weight and looked like a skeleton. I couldn’t even make it through the grocery store without passing out or getting dizzy. My diabetes had cause my autonomic nervous system to stop functioning properly. It made me develop something called SVT. My heart beat too fast to keep up with my body. I was constantly tired. Anyway right before we got pregnant with you I was diagnosed and put on heart medication to slow my heart beat down. I started feeling better.

Mommy’s body has never been very good at baking babies. I truly pray at you won’t have these struggles from my gene pool. I want pregnancy to be a beautiful effortless passage for you baby girl. My heart wasn’t working as well due to the SVT. My blood sugars were much harder to control. My asthma kept flaring up causing me to need steroids and steroid shots. These made my blood sugars sky rocket. High blood sugars caused more amniotic fluid which makes for bigger babies among other issues.  Now while physically it was more difficult…

Emotionally, which is what truly matter in these months, I was so relieved and overjoyed every morning I woke up to find I was still pregnant with you. You were ok. Those three words meant that the whole world to me was right and good and true. Everytime we went in for a sonogram I was so nervous and each time I saw you moving, every time the sounds of your strong heart beating would fill the room, my own heart would fill with hope and overwhelming love for you and for God. You my darling girl became my internal focus. Every quiet moment I had to myself you filled my thoughts. This pregnancy I got to watch your brother also fall in love with “his baby”. He would snuggle my bump and pat my tummy. During his cartoons he would turn his head to kiss my belly. It was so beautiful.

We knew from the talks with our doctor that you were our last chance at a child. The doctor told us with my past miscarriages and the molar pregnancy and my new health issues that either I or the next baby would not be healthy or just simply would not survive. She recommended having my tubes removed to help reduce the risk of cancer. After long discussions with your dad and much prayer we agreed with her. In my heart I knew I could not risk another loss, it would break me. Your father didn’t want to see his son grow up without a mother. It was the hardest decision we have ever made. You were our last chance at a little girl. I begged God for you. I poured my heart out in prayer for the chance to bond with a daughter. He gifted me with a son, a love I had no experience with before and it was a beautiful glorious gift. But in my heart I wanted it all, I wanted the chance to have the best of both worlds. A son and a daughter.

The day of our gender reveal scan I was so excited I felt nauseous with anticipation. I woke that morning to your brother running in gifting me with a bouquet of daisies from him and your dad. I believe your dad knew that the outcome of today would either strengthen my resolve in our decision to complete our family or to selfishly risk it all for one more chance at the relationship and memories I prayed for the chance to create with you. To fill full in my life or to have a place in my heart that wanted to give and create more love. We waited to find out what we were having until we could do it at dinner with all your grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins. Your Aunt Nidney went with us to the scan and the doctor gave her the results in a sealed envelope. She went and ordered a balloon with blue or pink glitter inside that we would get to pop in front of everyone.

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When your dad popped that balloon and pink metallic confetti rained down on me I am certain there wasn’t a happier person on Earth than I. God granted me my prayer again! Praise to God he is so good! I screamed and jumped and laughed and felt so full of joy all because of you my darling girl. My last wonderful puzzle piece to complete our family. In this moment I knew that the pain of saying goodbye to soon to my angels helped prepare me to understand and savior the gift of all that you are. My little girl. Ironically everyone else was a few seconds behind my elation as the sun and shade of pink made the confetti appear purple with flecks of blue. After your Aunt confirmed it was in fact pink your dad picked me up laughing as he hugged me tight. We could not wait to meet you Buggie. It was your Dad who came up with your name by the way. He suggested Lily Autumn and I fell in love with it the moment he called you his little LilyBug. We had tried hard to come up with a name with biblical reference. I couldn’t pick a woman’s name from the bible that felt like it fit you. But Lily was perfect, Lily of the Valley popped into my mind. I told him it wasn’t tradition to name a child after the mom, however we have always made our own traditions and I liked the idea of maybe my future grandbaby sharing it one day too.

We found out that I had Placenta previa, or low-lying placenta, this is when the placenta covers part or all of the cervix during the last months of pregnancy. My placenta blocked the way for you to get out. After many scans it was clear it wasn’t moving out of the way. The scans also showed that you were positioned transversed. Talk about discomfort haha! Doctor ordered a scheduled C-section for 37 weeks as the risk of going into labor naturally was to great. Natural labor could cause the placenta to rupture and for severe hemorrhaging to occur. Neither the doc, your dad or I were willing to take that chance especially with my bleeding disorder and last hemorrhaging with your brother.

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In the words of our family I looked enormous at the end of the pregnancy. Your Aunt Nidney thought I had stuck a beach ball up my shirt haha! We got to have a few free 3D sonograms done of you and baby girl your cheeks looked HUGE on those scans! You were going to be my sweet butterball I thought. 🙂

The last week was absolutely miserable. The day before you were born I remember saying to your dad, “I am not making it to my C-Section date.” He rolled his eyes and said “It’s just a week away, you’ll be fine.” So I went about business as usually. I can’t say exactly what caused the leak or when it started but I think it was from carrying the vacuum downstairs earlier. Anyways I thought I was leaking fluid but didn’t want to be embarrassed if it was just me weeing myself and not realizing it so I waited to say anything. After awhile your Grandma and Aunt Bana convinced me to call the doctor. Doctor decided I need to come in for a check. ( I was told later she announced to her nurse that she was sure she was delivering you today and her nurse laughed and said no she is next week. Doc was right.) I called your Aunt and told her what the Doc said. She came and picked up me and your brother ( Dad had our one car at work), we took Bubba to Uncle Cody and Aunt Bana took me to the hospital. When we got out of the car it was apparent that I had leaked all over your Uncle Cody’s seat! HAHAHA! OPPS! (Sorry Cody!) Your Aunt and I got so many good laughs out of that.

When we got into the exam room the nurse did the swab and we all talked as we waited for the results to get done. We talked about how it was probably a false alarm and I told the nurse I thought I had started leaking sometime in the night before. She said she would bet I wasn’t leaking as I had way to much fluid and it was probably just a tinkle. Well after my fears had been calmed down. The test was done and she turned to me and very seriously said, “Well it looks like your going to have the baby now.” How did I respond… Like a straight up lunatic. I laughed like a psych ward patient right in her face all hysterical. I kept telling her no that she was joking. She reassured me she was very serious and that she would be calling Doc.

Now Lily it pains me to write this as now looking back I understand it sound delusional, laughable, straight up bonkers, but I am dead serious when I say this… I asked her if they could just put a “bandaid on it”. She looked extremely confused and I said “You know like just patch up the hole or tear or whatever if it is such a slow leak then we can wait a week.” She informed me that no, that was not an option and that there was a risk of you catching an infection from the leak.

 

She walked out and I lost it on your Aunt. You were not supposed to be born for another week. Your dad wasn’t with me, I had told him to stay at work because it was probably a false alarm. We hadn’t finished packing our hospital bags and I was not mentally ready for the idea of major surgery. The nurse stepped back in sometime before 3 p.m. and told me that surgery would take place at 4:30 p.m.

Well somebody go ahead and amp up the crazy pregnant woman hysteria because I could not get a hold of your father! In the plant he is not allowed to have his phone on him due to the very really risk of causing an explosion so I had no way of letting him know that you were coming. Well after a dozen failed phone calls I finally got a hold of one of the guards at the plant and started shrieking into the phone that we were having a baby NOW! That poor poor man.. He was so bewildered and confused. He finally got it straight out of me as to who I was looking for and where I was and what was going on and hung up. It felt like an eternity as your Aunt and I made the rounds calling and messaging everyone else to drop what they were doing because surprise you weren’t going to wait for us.

No baby girl from the beginning you have always taken charge and liked to do things your own way. I called your Grandma Pattie who kindly agreed to finish packing our bags and bring them for me. I can’t remember how long it took to finally hear from your Dad but it felt like eons. His voice was so soothing to me, he was on his way. I could breath a little easier, which isn’t saying much as you liked to sit your rear under my rib cage…

At the point I was being prepped for admittance and surgery. All the monitors and lists of questions blah blah blah, and the horrid IV. Well I mentioned that I was a bleeder and the nurse told me not to worry.  I genuinely like this woman, she was so nice and funny, always trying to keep things light and calm. Well I felt a little bad because instantly I started gushing. Like a huge pool of blood across the bed sheet, a puddle splashing onto my shoes (may they rest in peace) beside the bed and all over the floor. She exclaimed in surprise and kept apologizing, rushing around to get me cleaned off and a new sheet to cover the blood on the bed. Well this really spiked my fears about hemorrhaging again in surgery. I NEVER wanted to go through that experience again.

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Elders Marvin and Leslie Case, came and administered to me, they prayed such beautiful prayers over us baby. I hope you will remember them when you grow up. If not just know they are some of the finest servants for our God I have ever met. They later came and prayed over you many times in NICU. Family arrived I can’t really remember what order people showed up in, it doesn’t matter, all that matters is that they were there for us. As soon as your dad arrived they had him dress for surgery and not long after we walked side by side toward the operating room. The room where we would get to meet you. That walk was so meaningful for me, every step was one step closer to my destiny, my God gifted purpose.

You will never know what was said in my many and long talks with God about you and your brother and my angels. Just know that because of you kids my whole life changed. I’m not talking about my schedule or my job. I am talking about who I was as a person and who I was becoming. You would not have recognized me, I barely recognized the person I used to be before your brother was born. The old me, my old heart, had to die so that I could become the mom I was supposed to be for you both. At the time I couldn’t understand why I had to endure such a painful trial not once but twice. Now I can see. I can see just a glimpse of the love and sacrifice The Father made when he gave up his son for you and me. Losing your siblings so clearly paints the reality of the short time I have been granted to raise you and your brother. My angel babes are my drive to march firmly down the path to meet them at the gates with our savior. My purpose in life is to train you up to be able to make it down that same straight path so we can all be together as a family.

I was alone with the doctors and nurses in the O.R. when they gave me the spinal block. They took your dad away to be cleaned up before he was allowed in. It was so scary honestly. It hurt like I had been kicked hard in the back by a horse. Laying on the thinnest table, my arms spread wide like a cross, blue curtain blocking my view to the activity down the table, bright lights above me, it was so alien. So horridly detached. I remember hearing the nurses count the instruments, I remember seeing just their eyes behind the masks, wondering if I would every recognize them if we were to pass in a grocery aisle. I remember the kind nurse by my head offering to take pictures on my phone for me before they got started.

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Your dad came in and sat on a stool just behind my head. He cradled my head in his hands. He whispered to me that I was so brave, so strong, that he loved me so much. I felt so cherished by him, he never stopped pouring out his affection for me while they cut into me. It was unlike anything I had ever imagined. Perhaps because I expected not to be able to feel anything but that was so inaccurate. I felt no sharp pains of knives slicing, no stings from an open wound, but there was so much pressure. Unbelievable pressure. I could feel the tugs as they moved inside me, I could feel you get stuck. They started making small grunts and the chatter increased on the other side of the curtain. I remember saying many times I didn’t feel right. My mind was in a thick fog, I could not think clearly. I felt panic swell inside me but I couldn’t think enough to know why. I thought my blood sugars were dropping and kept asking them to check them. They assured me my sugars were fine.

I was rapidly and repeatedly jerked farther down the table three times at least. It felt like they put hooks in my ribs and were yanking me by them, I thought I would slide off the end of the table. At the same time I was being pulled down, someone was pushing hard on my chest. It was so hard all the wind felt like it was being pushed out of me. It was the most unreal uncomfortable sensation I had ever experienced without any sharp or true pain. In my brain fog I thought of a kid jumping on a trampoline and landing on the seat of his pants before springing back up… only I was the trampoline. Crazy but later we learned you did in fact get very stuck and they had to use suction to help you come out. My OB said it happens about 3% of the time.

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At 5:37 p.m. you came out with the darkest most beautiful head of hair. My gorgeous daughter was finally here!!! I was so happy! You were lifted high up over the curtain for us to see then instantly whisked away to the corner of the room where they started working on you and talking low. I got so nervous my heart dropped. I just knew. I knew you were in distress. You weren’t crying, they seemed tense, then they started using the hand pumped breathing mask on you and all my fears started to suffocate me. I just wanted to run to you but I was stuck trapped on the table. I craned my neck as far back as I could to keep you in view.

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I held my arms out begging for you. I needed to see you, to hold you, to make it you all better. They brought you over mask still on, it blocked your whole face, your gorgeous hair hidden under a hat. I could barely remember what you looked like from my short glance at you as the held you high above me earlier with the curtain still between us. Now you were hidden and I still could not hold you. They placed you by my head and briefly lifted your mask away so I got to kiss your cheek. Far to soon they took you away again. You still were not breathing stable enough to be safe.

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The doctor told us you would have to go to NICU just for a short time and that after I had recovered enough I would be given a room and could go see you and have others into see me but I had to be under observation first to make sure I was alright after surgery. Your dad asked me where I wanted him to be, with me in recovery or with you in NICU. I begged him to not leave your side. I was so afraid for you and yet my brain was still so clouded from the medicine they had given me. I asked about you as I was alone in recovery. It felt like time moved to slow. I needed to be with you, I was so afraid of doing something wrong. I was afraid if I told them I didn’t feel good or moved to quickly I would cause a complication and then they wouldn’t release me as healed enough to see you.

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I passed all the requirements and was wheeled still laying in the bed down to NICU to be reunited with you again. I still didn’t understand that we would not be together. I know it sounds silly but I always thought that NICU was just another room where mom and baby stayed in together with higher care given and fancier equipment in the room. I mean they brought me into NICU in a giant bed. I didn’t realize we would be seperated. That I would have to stay in another room across the hospital floor and you would stay in NICU away from me.

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The first thing I noticed was all the wires. Oh baby girl there were so many cords and wires attached to you and hung from the walls. A giant mask covered your face and nose, a tube was in your mouth. There were flashing lights, the sound of forced air, and so much beeping. It was all so much for my weary, stressed, fogged brain to understand. I wanted to hold you so badly but I was told your skin was to sensitive, that holding you or rubbing your arm or leg to try and comfort you would only bring you pain. The nurse told me I could place my hand on you as long as I kept very still.

I felt like my heart was crushed into dust. I thought I had failed you. I wanted you so badly I prayed that God would give you to ME. I thought of myself as the most selfish person on the planet, loathing. I thought of how I knew I wasn’t healthy or very successful at pregnancies or giving birth but I went ahead and got pregnant anyway. That my failed body with all of its immune issues and illnesses did this to you because I only thought of having you for myself without thinking of what you having me as a mother might mean for you.

I thought that somehow I was in control of all of this, not God, and that I had made this happen. You see my shame, that how quickly in my distress I forget to see his will instead of my own, his power, his plan, his purpose for me and for you. That I thought I was the one in power. The devil tried so hard to convince me that I was not worth of my God gifted purpose. That I was unfit, unworthy, to call myself your mom. He is a liar. God gave you to me knowing I would feel and have the utmost compassion, concern and determination for your health after struggling with my own. That I would care for you and protect you so fiercely. That I would be so desirous of you that I would do whatever it takes keep you well.  I love you and your brother without restraint or conditions. I cherish every second he allows me to have with you both. I want all of them.

The locked doors and hallways that separated us during that time felt like oceans. I felt as if I was going mad. I was taken back across the hospital and put into a room. My parents came in while your dad went to be with you and take family in to meet you. I remember trying to sit up and my mom offered my a diet squirt. Everytime I turned my head I threw up. Horrible nausea from the spinal block. You see at the time you were born it was flu season. No one under twelve was allowed in and they were hyper vigilant about keeping you babies safe and for good reason. I was so scared that if I threw up in NICU they wouldn’t let me in. That I would be parted from you longer. It felt like ages before I could turn my head or sit up without wanting to hurl. Your dad video chatted me from NICU so I could see you. My nurse/cousin Emily checked on you multiple times in the night and sent me photos of you. I called the NICU nurses to find out how you were every two hours. It took the better part of the morning to get over the vomiting and out of bed. I was determined to make it back to you. I survived the pain from standing and every bump during the wheelchair ride over to NICU. (I thought my innards were going to fall out with every jolt.)

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We came in and I had to stand to wash my hands (ouch). Oh the hand washing regimen is the cleanest your hands will ever be. Then there you were before me and I could breathe again. They finally allowed me to hold you. Having you in my arms, skin to skin, was a balm to my soul. Nothing was more right or pure in the world than having you with me, we were meant to be together. Even under the mask I could tell you were stunning, so chunky and beautiful. You were the opposite of your brother in everyway, chunky, dark skin, dark hair, you even had dark ear hair and shoulder hair. Now however I think you to are so unbelievably similar looking. NICU gave us a little blanket doll for me to sleep with for one night and then you would have it and it would smell like me, they called it your snoodle. Honestly I think I got more comfort knowing you had your “snoodle” close so you would have a reminder of me when we were apart. You were administered to by Dan and David. I am so grateful to all the ministry who came to pray over you.

 

The next week was a blur of medical tests, false hope of your release from the hospital, medical jargon, and lack of sleep. You were very sensitive and cried alot from pain. You got your own private little room inside NICU for awhile as the nurses joked you were being a diva and wanted your own room. You had high levels of bilirubin and had to be in the light bed, you also showed signs of infection and they had to put in an IV into the umbilical cord which kept going in incorrectly causing them to redo it a few times but I believe after 48 hrs of antibiotics they decided it wasn’t worth the risk and removed it. You had common two holes in your heart and received a couple of echocardiograms from your cardiologist. (Don’t worry they both closed up eventually.)

Your biggest hurdle by far however was your lungs. You had persistent pulmonary hypertension (PPH). Your blood wasn’t flowing correctly to your lungs and was causing you to not be able to breathe on your own. This is terrifying as a parent. Just the knowledge that without the help from a machine your baby will suffocate and your world could collapse. Well that made me crazy. Your Cardiologist’s son also had PPH was a baby. Your doctor decided you weren’t healing on your own and with our permission wanted to give you a medicine called surfactant. We said yes of course. Anything that would help you, they could do. We heard so much medical talk and phrases I will never remember them all.

Your dad was so good at keeping all the numbers on your monitors straight, and remembering what time the respiratory therapists were coming for you, and what time the doctors would make their rounds, and when the nurses did anything for you, he could remember all your schedules. It was amazing to see him take charge like that. Usually it was always my job to know schedules, and of medical history, and medication lists, and feeding times for Bubba. I was always the manager of the “house/family stuff.” However I was still a loopy, tired, stressed mess. I remember one morning after the doctor’s finished updating us on your condition they left and I turned to your dad and said “I don’t understand.” He asked me “What don’t you get?” I said, “Everything. Please I need you to explain it to me as if I were a five year old. I know the words they are saying but I can’t put the words together to make the sentence that makes sense in my head. I feel trapped in a fog.” I was so utterly sleep deprived and on pain medicine from the surgery I felt like an idiot. After 4 days from the c-section I was officially discharged from the hospitals care. I told your dad then I was done taking the pain medicine. I wanted to understand what the doctors were saying about your health more than I wanted to feel better. He agreed but only if I kept up on the over the counter stuff. After the heavy drugs were out of my system I felt like I had my mind back and could function again.

NICU had a program that the parents could rent a vacant room in the maternity ward if we agreed to a strict feeding, sleeping and caregiving schedule they had written out for us. We agreed to the terms and the payment, we could not leave you there. I still thought in a few more days you would get to go home with us. On I think the sixth day I was angry and defeated again after being told you had to stay longer, your dad insisted we get out of the hospital for awhile. I said no. Your sweet nurse and your dad knew I needed fresh air. Your nurse suggested a brand of wet wipes that would help your diaper rash go away faster and asked us to go get them from Wal-Mart as they didn’t carry them in the hospital. I slowly agreed to leave you to go down the block for wipes and your dad convinced me I earned some Chick-Fil-A. He knows I am a sucker for food. The second we stepped outside the cool breeze hit my face. I hadn’t felt the wind in the last 5 days. It was so therapeutic. I felt my love for your dad grow even more in that moment. He knew me and what I needed better than I knew myself.

There is no time table for healing PPH. Every few days the doctors would make their rounds and talk to your dad and I and tell us that possibly in a few days if you continue to improve you would get to be released and could be well enough to come home with us but that it was all up to you Lily and how fast your lungs decided to develop. A few days would pass and they would come back and tell us that you couldn’t leave and perhaps in two or three more days you would be strong enough and could come home… on and on we heard the same promise of hope only to be told not yet. This happened for 16 days.

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Now as upsetting and defeating as this was to hear you had the sweetest and best doctors and nurses. Oh Lily your nurses just loved you! Miss Laura adopted you as her official patient, if she was on call well then she was going to get to be your nurse, she nicknamed you Miss Bug. She was so sweet on you and your feisty attitude. The third night you were in NICU Miss Laura was your nurse again and knew that when we left you that night we were so heartbroken. This was the first time we were told you weren’t strong enough to leave the hospital. She hugged me so many times during your NICU stay and held me while I cried happy and sad tears more than once. That night she came over to our room on her lunch break and gave me a sign she made of your foot prints titled LILYBUG. It was so heartfelt and beautiful, I will always hold a special place for her in my heart for being so tender to you and I.

After nine long, hard, emotional days we did the hardest thing in our lives. We had to leave the hospital and go home to Bubba without you babygirl. We entrusted you to the Lord and nurses care as our hospitality nights were going to end soon and your Dad had to go back to work. Never once did I dream we would have to leave without you coming home with us. It was soul shaking earth shatteringly hard. I cried hard and loudly as we walked away from NICU. The hallways were filled with construction workers who had been working on the NICU floor. I shook and let my tears fall freely as we rode the crowded elevator down to our car. As we pulled away I knew I had left my heart behind me on the third floor inside a little plastic crib. I know I struggled with some postpartum depression from all these events. Mom guilty is a very real and terrible thing. With God and family I made it past all the darkness and doubt.

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On day 16 we got to go back to the hospital and stay the night with you in a private room. The NICU nurses would come check your vitals occasionally and we got to hold you for the first time without wires and monitors hooked to you. I was so nervous you would somehow backslide and the doctor would change his mind. This was our last step before you could come home with us. We had passed their CPR class and other various tests and checks for you to be released into our care. On the morning of your 17th day born into this world we got to go home! I didn’t breath until you were placed into our car and we started to pull away. It finally felt like you were actually mine. All mine and no one could take you from me or tell me I could not hold you. My baby girl! Coming home to meet her Bubba for the very first time after 17 long days. Watching him meet you was so wonderful. He held you and kissed you so tenderly. He kept forcing you to take your chupie and called you “his baby!” Our family was finally whole again. My heart was one piece again rather than torn in half.

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I hope you can see what is so clear, so obvious, to me baby girl. You are special. You are important. God did not deliver you from death and pain and struggle on a whim. He has a plan for your life. The fact that you are here is a miracle because all the scientific odds were stacked against your birth even from the start of my pregnancy. It is only by his will that you are here with me. You were put here to be an important instrument in his plan. I can not see it all but I vowed to raise you to have all the tools to help you succeed in your spiritual walk. I vowed to help water your faith and help you grow to be one of God’s most beautifully spirited Lily’s. I promised God that if he would let me keep you I would raise you up for him and I hope to always keep my promise Buggie. Your Mama loves you with all that I am, all that I was, and all that I will be forever and ever.

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Hope to the Hopeless

Pregnancy is hard, really hard even under the best conditions. I’ve lost two babies, 6 weeks and 11 weeks, it is devastating. I have type 1 diabetes which makes my pregnancy considered high risk: miscarriage, heart defects, and bigger babies are just some of risks often associated with diabetics. The farther along in your pregnancy the more insulin resistant your body becomes which means you’re constantly changing your dose of medicine. Vomiting is scarier because your sugars can drop to low and you risk losing consciousness, also your immune systems is lower so you and more prone it catching everything. I also have asthma, not breathing is a bad thing. However the medicine to help me breath, prednisone, causes your blood sugar to raise drastically, high blood sugar is bad for baby, again you are having to adjust the insulin dose. However high sugar is not as bad as not breathing, so again you must weigh the risks. I also have a heart condition, SVT, my heart beats too fast because of an unknown glitch in my nervous system. The medicine to slow my heart is considered risky in pregnancy. However rapid heart rate causes fainting, weight loss and dizziness, also bad for baby and mama. Again weighing the risks doctors decided heart and lungs and pancreas are too important so you have to take the medicine. I also have a bleeding disorder, my blood doesn’t clot well. Giving birth to my son I hemorrhaged twice. The medicine to stop the bleeding had horrible side effects, but they were worth it to get to stay and raise my son.

Pregnancy is hard but it is possible. Miscarriage is hard but it doesn’t mean you won’t be blessed with a healthy baby one day. Not all bodies are made healthy and without challenges but it is possible. God is a miracle worker, he answers prayers. So far he has granted me a beautiful son even though the journey was risky and hard. I have had loss and had I said it can not be done, I can not do this again after my last miscarriage I would not be pregnant with my daughter now. I pray fervently that God let’s me stay to raise her and that she is healthy and strong. I know with his power it can be done. I don’t know if you are struggling with infertility or loss or health issues but don’t lose hope. It is hard and sometimes it is absolutely ok to take the blessings God has granted you already and say,  “This is enough thank you Lord, I feel full.” But sometimes it is ok to step out in fear and just trust him because when we do beautiful doors open when we learn to trust. It is a very personal decision to make, I know I have had to make it in the past, and here in a few months I will have to decide if I am full or if I think God has more planned for me. I know what doctors say and honestly I tend to lean very heavily on doctor advice, modern medicine is amazing, but so is our God. He gives hope to the hopeless.

Luke 1:37 For with God nothing shall be impossible.

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4 Years – A Sturdy Reassurance

Miscarriage is still very taboo these days. I am not sure why it makes people so uncomfortable, perhaps they just don’t know what words would bring a grieving mother comfort. Statiscally it is a very common medical occurance and yet it is rarely spoken of. If a friend or relative were to die society would not expect us to never speak of them again or never shed a tear of heartache over missing them. And yet when a mother loses a child in pregnancy we are to dust ourselves off and act like it never happened. I can’t speak for all women but for me personally not a day goes by where I don’t think of my angel babes, of the hopes and dreams I had for them, of the desire to get to know them and watch them grow.

Four years ago September 6th, 2012 I lost my first child. I didn’t even know I was pregnant until I miscarried. My whole reality shattered into a thousand shards of grief, fear, and confusion. I was lost. I was hesistant to tell my fiance (now husband) of what just happened to me, to us, his birthday was the next day September 7th. I didn’t know how he would react, I didn’t want to be the person to pop our happy bubble we had been living in. I was afraid it was somehow my fault. There was that tiny voice of doubt saying I was being punished. I know now how foolish such thinking was, I did not fully understand God’s love for me or my baby at the time.

When I told my fiance his reaction was a balm to my soul. He held me in his arms, tears rolling down his cheeks as he repeated how sorry he was and how much he loved me. I believe it was the next day I told my mother. She knew something was wrong with me. I was afraid she would be angry or disappointed in me. Instead she instantly wept with me, hugging me she prayed over me. She confided in me again about her own loss and I felt a new type of bond forming with her in an understanding of each others pain. She took me to the doctor to make sure I was alright. (A mother doesn’t hesistant to care for her baby no matter how old they grow.)

As the days passed I struggled with accepting God’s will and his plan for my life. I didn’t want just any baby, I wanted THAT baby, the child I had slip away from me. I fell into a terrible depression and anger for weeks. It was a very dark time for me. Through it all my fiance stayed by my side reminding me I wasn’t alone, even when I tried to push him away. I know others were praying for me all the time.

Life is so fluided, we can’t make one moment last forever no matter how hard we try. I had seen death before. I was no stranger to losing people I loved. My parents made sure as kids that my sister and I understood what happens when a person leaves this mortal body. We attended every relatives funeral with them, and in our big family there are inevitably a lot of them. I knew that we are not promised a set number of days but it wasn’t until my baby died that it really sunk in. I might not get to spend the next decade, year, week or even day with my fiance. All the time that we have is now. How did I want to spend my last moments? How did he want to spend his? We both came up with the same answer, together.

We decided to get married then rather than a few months later like we had originally planned. A lot of people we loved were confused, they couldn’t understand why we needed this marriage right then because we had not shared our loss. We did not know how to talk about something so painful and honestly taboo in todays world. A mistake we will never make again. If anyone would have asked me months before how I thought my wedding would be I could not have dreamed up a shotgun wedding but it truly helped us heal more than anything else. It brought us together as one team, one heart, able to heal in love and prayer for all the rest of the days God is willing to give us.

My now husband was endlessly paitent with me in understanding my grief. He was willing to try anything to help me find closure. My mom even offered to plant a tree in the baby’s honor. As strange as it might sound to some we named our child even though we weren’t sure if it would have been a daughter or a son. Naming our angel helped make it more tangible for me to hold onto. A distinct fond memory pops into my head of sitting in my mother-in-laws car outside my old work sharing our child’s name with her. My husband said we should name our baby something no child would ever think was cool because we never had to worry about bullies or wanting to name any child we got keep after our lost baby. We named our baby Bartholomew, MewMew for short. My mother-in-law and I shared a few giggles over MewMew’s name.

Overtime I got better, it got easier to smile. I got closer to God in trying to heal, out of my loss I gained a new relationship with God. With my next pregnancy I did not wait to share the news, I needed prayers and support for me and my son as soon as possible. Knowing what I missed with my first child that I now get to expreince with Emmie doesn’t make me upset it only makes me that much more grateful for what I have now. He is my rainbow baby, my promise of hope after the storm. I do not like missing a single moment with him. Ask anyone who knows us well and they will probably lovingly roll their eyes and confirm that I pretty much will not go anywhere with out him, ever. I think I can count on both hands since he has been born that we have left him with someone other than me and hubby.

After Emmie we lost another baby, 11 weeks along this time. This one hurt my heart bad, my grief was a tangible weight in the doctor’s office as we recieved the words no heart beat. My sobs were loud and without restraint, my body shook uncontrollably. I thought we were in the clear, my belly was growing and we were farther along than my first miscarriage. I thought since Emmie was so healthy that my days of loss were behind us. I though I had understood God’s path for me.

Unlike with my first miscarriage I had no anger toward God in my heart this time. He did not “do” this to me, he was there for me to get me through this. This time I knew what I needed to be able to heal. Your prayers and encouraging kindness lifted me up. I will never try to go through a trial in silence again, I need you brothers and sisters.  The only way I would be whole again was throwing myself so fully into God’s love and mercy and accepting His will and ONLY HIS WILL would I be able to breath again. To be the mother for Emmie that HE wanted and appointed me to be. I only wanted to want God’s plan for my life. I thought I had been changed before with our first angel baby but this time I changed again, and only for the better.

I still get emotional over my children, my husband could tell you I am a big crier. I still have a longing in my heart to see them, hold them, and tell them I love you. Nine months of pregnancy seems like a long time when you are anxious to meet your baby, I will now have to wait a lifetime to meet mine. I take peace in knowing a lifetime is nothing compared to the enternity I hope to have with them. This gives me a goal to strive for in trying to live right by God, my angels help keep me focused not on the things of this world but on what is to come.

The storms in my life give me the oppurtunity to trust and rely wholly on the Lord. They give me the desire to seek and know my one true Comforter. Out of trials are so many beautiful blessings we can recieve if we allow God to be our captain of heart.  He is the Comforter. He is our father who wholly loves us and wants us to succeed at righteousness.  He does not abandon us no matter how far we fall. He provides strength in times of loss, sickness, financial burden, heart ache, confusion…

I will never forget September 6th, it means even more to me now than it did all those years ago. It is the start of my journey as a mother. I share this testimony hoping you feel comfort in knowing you are not alone. Don’t think you have to struggle in silence, whether you reach out to a friend or lift up your voice in prayer don’t try to fight alone. Your testimonies you have shared with me over the years give me hope, they are a sturdy reassurance in times of fear for me.  Share your trials and your blessings. The blessings God gives you can also be a blessing to others when shared. Please let others know how God has moved through your life.

Love,

Your Sister In Christ.

This is My Song

A mother’s heart is endless when it comes to loving her children. Our heavenly father’s love is even greater, it is hard for me to imagine God has more love for Emerson than even I am able. Many of you have heard my testimony of my children but I am going to share it with you again and in detail. In 2012 we lost our first child at just six weeks into the pregnancy. I was consumed by grief and confusion from the loss. I was afraid it meant I would be unable to have a healthy baby in the future.

In 2014 I became pregnant with our son, Emerson. We were joyfully surprised by the news that we might have the chance at being parents again. Since 2012 I discovered I have Type 1 diabetes. My pregnancy was difficult. Along with having “morning sickness” through the entire 38 weeks, my diabetes became harder to manage as well. The farther along I got into the pregnancy the more insulin resistant my body became. I felt like I was on the most dreadful roller coaster of highs and lows in my blood sugar. My pregnancy was considered high risk because of the diabetes. I felt like I was continuously praying for my son to be healthy.

March 9th, 2015 I was induced into labor. It was exhausting, the doctor started the pitocin at 6 a.m. and used a balloon to force me open. When it came time for the epidural the doctor’s were unable to find my lab results stating that my bleeding disorder was under control, the anesthesiologist refused to give me the medicine until he could confirm the results as well.  Of course at the thought of giving birth without anything to dull the pain sent me into a full blown panic attack. There are incredible women in the world who are able to endure such pain and triumphantly give birth without any relief from drugs, I however had zero intention of finding out if I could be like those strong ladies. After many sobbing prayers into my mothers arms the results were faxed through and the epidural was administered. Which was a huge blessing from God! I was only in hard labor for 16 minutes. Everything went off without a hitch. At 11:16 p.m. my son came screaming into the world. He was the most beautiful thing I had ever seen. I thought I would die of happiness when they laid him on my chest.  Family came in and got to meet our sweet boy. Everything was wonderful.

Bleeding disorders are very common in my family. My mother almost died from giving birth to both me and my sister. She hemorrhaged badly with me and the hospital accidently gave her a double dose of the medicine to stop the bleeding which resulted in a blood clot in her brain causing her to have a stroke. My father gave the doctor’s permission and they did exploratory surgery on her brain. They told my father she would most likely be a vegetable unable to walk, talk, or feed herself again. God healed my mother. It took time, for a while she couldn’t even remember my name. If you looked at her you probably would never know she had a stroke. My mom is a walking miracle.

Back to Emerson’s birth story: When it came time to move us from the labor and delivery unit and take us upstairs to our next room, I hemorrhaged as soon as they stood me up. Blood went everywhere: my legs, the floor, the nurses shoes, the wheelchair, and then the room went black. I could vaguely hear the nurses shouting instructions. I have memory of being sat into the wheelchair. I don’t remember how we got to the next floor or room. They tried to move me into a new bed but upon having me stand I hemorrhaged a second time. I was shaking, cold and drained of energy. I remember my husband grasping my hand as doctors and nurses filled the room in a flurry of activity. His hand was so cold and sweaty. We were scared. I remember asking about the baby, Dylan reassured me that the baby was fine. The doctor’s were quickly discussing my blood pressure and what medicine they could give me. Something was wrong with it, I couldn’t focus enough on anything to remember what exactly. Dylan quickly called my mom and told her she needed to come back to the hospital, that something was wrong with me.

They ended up giving me two shots in the dairy-air. And because of my terrible luck with all things medical it inflated me like a gigantic balloon. So there I was laying in a hospital bed weak from so much blood loss, swollen like a Macy’s Day Parade Balloon and unable to walk, sit up, I could not even roll over without a nurse doing it for me. Later I had doctor’s from other floors in the hospital come in the room just to get a look at me because “they had never seen such swelling!” I was larger leaving the hospital then when I went in, my maternity clothes didn’t even fit. And wouldn’t you know it the number one side effect of the medicine to stop the bleeding is… drum roll please… uncontrollable horrendously explosive diarrhea. So for the next most embarrassing, humbling, exhausting, and awful 12 hours in my entire life, I got to be stuck in bed pooing myself. My family and I have gotten a few good laughs out of this experience, we find pooh humor to be hilarious. I wish I could say this is my only hilariously embarrassing poop story but it isn’t. I was blessed with the sweetest nurses on the planet who will never know the depth of my gratitude for their kindness, humor and febreeze. Needless to say we were unable to have any visitors come see us or Emerson until the medicine was out of my system and our room was no longer a hazardous waste zone. I know this offended a few folks but I was not about to have an audience when I really needed rest and frankly privacy. Crazy thing is I would do it all over again. I was so grateful that our baby was 100% healthy! I would poo myself a thousand times if it meant I got to be around to raise a healthy beautiful sweet son. I never would have imagined writing those words before I became a mom. Emerson’s birth story might sound like a horror story (mixed with some comedic relief) but the bad moments were broken by sweet baby cuddles, and an outpouring of love and support from my husband who always has my back (no matter how bad it smells….)

Six months later we discovered we were pregnant again. My brain was kind of in shock as Dylan and Emerson danced around me in total excitement. It looked like I would be going through it all again a little sooner than I expected. Lord give me strength and courage I thought. We told family and friends who were all so excited and happy for us. My mother-in-law had a dream we would have twins and my mom and dad felt we were pregnant and bought a baby girl outfit before we even told anyone.They say you show faster with your second child so I never really thought about my advance weight gain or bump. At 11 weeks we had our first OB appointment. The nurse was unable to find the babies heart beat with the sound equipment. The doctor came in and examined me saying they wouldn’t be able to detect it with the little machine because of a tilt in my cervix and how early it still was. That plus my diabetes prompted her to go ahead and give us a sonogram that day. As soon as the sonogram tech pulled up the image she sent for the doctor. Looking at the screen I instantly knew something wasn’t right. I couldn’t see my baby or tell what I was looking at… it was a mess. The tech turned and apologized to me. I couldn’t stop crying.

Dylan and I held hands as the words Molar Pregnancy, Mass, and No Heartbeat rang through my mind over and over. The doctor took us back and explained that I had a rare thing called a Molar Pregnancy which occurs in only about 1000 pregnancies a year, it is classified as a benign tumor. Basically the baby had way too many chromosomes and never correctly formed, there was no heartbeat. It turns out my mother-in-law was sort of correct, had my baby been able to developed correctly we might have been blessed with twins, Grandma’s intuition. Molar pregnancy occurs when two sperm fertilize one egg and usually so many chromosomes it causes the baby to not develop and it turns molar, recently there was a pregnancy where this occurred but the babies lived it is called semi-identical twins (they are a miracle and incredibly rare). The doctor tried to comfort us in saying it was a blessing we caught it so early because if the mass had continued to grow the risk of me hemorrhaging was greater. The mass grows at a rate more rapidly than a healthy baby, it explained why I had a baby bump so early. She scheduled me for a D&C which went well. The doctor explained after the procedure that the mass had been very large. The doctor explained there is a 10% chance that it can become cancerous and informed us I will have to go back for testing every week until my HCG levels reached zero. If the levels rose or remained the same before hitting zero we would have to start chemotherapy immediately. It would mean the mass had turned cancerous. I was at 330,833 before the D&C and the first week after my levels dropped to 6,789 the second week my levels reached 582, the third week I am at 114.  The nurse reading me my results said she was astounded at how quickly my counts were dropping. The doctor thought it would take a minimum of 8 weeks before I hit zero, we will just have to wait and see. I can not get pregnant again for a year, I will have to go back once a month to continue to make sure there is no cancer. I ask for your prayers for comfort and strength for my family and I.

I am not sure why I have gone through these trials. I can’t see God’s full plan for my life. I pray he will allow me to have more children. Some might say 1 out of 3 isn’t great odds but God is bigger than you or I, and through him all things are possible. My babies are with Jesus, they will never know pain, anger, or sorrow. They will only know love, joy, and peace; their souls were too beautiful for this world and as much as I wish I could have hugged and kissed them and watched them grow I find comfort in that. God still works miracles, he wants to have a relationship with you if you allow him into your heart. Perhaps I have gone through this to help you see his love and power. I have had trials but I have had so many more testimonies of blessings from them. You can not know true joy until you know true sorrow. I have true joy when I praise God for my son Emerson. For getting the chance to raise him and watch him grow. For having the chance to witness miracles. This has brought me closer to my husband and closer to my heavenly father. We have a bond through love and loss, through sickness and in health. I could not have dreamed of a better partner for my life. I thank God for him. I know God heard my prayers and I have so many wonderful people were praying for me and my family. I love you prayer warriors! Your prayers and kindness have helped heal me physically and emotionally. You all have lifted my spirits and made my heart lighter. I have been able to focus on the blessings in my life instead of the loss.

This is my story, this is my song, praising my Savior all the day long!