A Day In The Life.

The other day was a typical day. Chaotic. FULL of ENERGY!!!… My two oldest went outside to play. I had just laid my youngest down for a nap. This is a RARE moment in our house. Peaceful. Quiet. I just wanted to sit down to a nice quiet (late) lunch. I sighed as I looked at the table, but where will I sit?? I just want the “clutter” and mess to go away. This made me pause and think. But do I REALLY want this to go away? This mess is a blessing. Sure, I am working on teaching my kids to clean up after themselves. Yes, it obviously didn’t happen this day (and most days, if I’m honest). Yet, here they are, full of imagination, creativity and ENERGY!!!

I’m blessed. These blessed children. Why, LORD? Why me? Why have you blessed me with these 3? Why have some not been blessed with children of their own, yet they so badly want children of their own. It still hurts. No, I cannot understand, and I never will be able to. But I do know the hurt of losses. Of trying for years to conceive. Being honest: “It’s not fair, Lord, that others seem to be able to conceive so easily.” Yuck, that ugly feeling of jealousy. That’s me. I’ve been there, though I don’t care to admit that.

These days are filled with joy, laughter, and lots of snuggles.

I won’t stop there. These days are also filled with fighting, LOTS of fighting. Ugh… Oh Lord, give me strength and wisdom and perseverance and PATIENCE as I help teach them how to work through “life’s difficulties”. I am NOTHING apart from you!

P.S. Arielle’s test results came back and everything is NORMAL!!! All thanks be to GOD!! We still need to get her hearing tested. Regardless, we praise God for this precious life!

Testing.

I had a bit more testing this pregnancy due to just having two losses. In my head – once baby is born – all this testing stress and appointments can finally be done. However, now baby gets to go through multiple tests.

Arielle failed the hearing test in her left ear (after testing 3 times), so we have to follow up with that and get more testing done in a few weeks. She also had jaundice – so once we were discharged from the hospital, we had to return to check her bilirubin levels to make sure they are going down as they should. We were relieved when she was in the clear with this.

Additionally, Arielle developed thrush – we had to go to the Doctor and start her on antibiotics for this. It was so good to see this clear up as well.

Meanwhile, the nurse practitioner was wishing Arielle would be gaining more weight, more quickly. I was in tears at the Doctors office, I wanted so badly to be able to continue nursing. And I wondered why – as I had been able to nurse my two oldest children. The nurse practitioner was supper supportive of my desire. She recommended I consult with the lactation nurses at the hospital and supplement with some formula in the meantime. The lactation nurses were fantastic! I felt so supported. They said Arielle just seems laid back/sleepy, thus she doesn’t take in as much as she should. I started pumping and feeding her the breast milk in the bottle – in less than a week she was back to her birth weight. At our next appointment with Arielle’s Doctor, her doctor( as she looked back through her weight record) was not as concerned with her weight as the nurse practitioner was – once again, was I stressing over nothing? Can anyone else relate? Now, back at her birth weight, her doctor said that the rate she gained weight could be classified as “an over achiever”. She encouraged me to continue to breastfeed. I felt so thankful!

Later we received a phone call from her doctor saying that her newborn screen came back “abnormal”. Specifically, with her fatty acids and organic acids, which would both fall under the category of a genetic metabolic disorder. When I asked the nurse what this meant/what could this be, she was vague and said it could be several different things. I felt so alone, I had never heard of any of these disorders before. She said that we needed to go back to the hospital to have this test redone. This sent my worry brain into high gear.

A few days later we returned to the hospital to get the test redone. I was a nervous wreck, unsure exactly what they were even testing for. I felt in the dark. I felt alone.

The days carried on, finally the doctors office called with results — or so we thought. The doctors office said that they did not receive enough blood, which meant that we had to go back to the hospital to get the test redone…

As I was walking into the hospital to get the test redone, several thoughts came to mind: It felt almost like the “Groundhogs Day”movie – here we go again. With God at work, I prayed: Lord, Arielle is yours, she always was, she always will be. I know that whatever the results will be, you will help us through. I was so much more at peace going in this time, with a more truthful perspective instead of feeling captive by fear.

She’s Here!

With Great Joy and All Glory to God we are excited to share the birth of our daughter Arielle (“Ah – ree – el”) Hannah! She was born on November 21st. She weighed 8lbs and was 20 inches long.

Her name in Hebrew means “lioness of God”. After 3 years (and 2 losses) of waiting, hoping and praying, strong and beautiful she has joined our family! Her middle name reminds us of Hannah in the Bible, just like Hannah, “For this child I prayed and the Lord has answered my prayer.”

She was born 3 days after her due date. I was in labor the entire night before. My contractions were 11-15 minutes apart and by morning they were 7-9 minutes apart. By noon they were about the same, sometimes 5 minutes apart. And the walk we took increased contractions – 3-5 minutes apart lasting 1-2 minutes, but contractions slowed again after the walk. The weather was raining, windy and cold – not super favorable for much walking. I had a lot of back pain. My doula would squeeze my hips each contraction while I would lean on my husband for support. Additionally, my doula pressed on a reflex point that really lengthened and strengthened each contraction. Later, I called my doctors office to cancel my appointment that afternoon since I was in labor. I said I would just continue laboring until I met their 4-1-1 rule (contractions are 4 minutes apart, lasting 1 minute, this going on for 1 hour). Instead, they encouraged me to come in and they would check me. At the appointment the nurse and my midwife asked how far apart contractions were and for how long this has been going on. Once I told them they felt like it would still be awhile until she was born. I did share that I was a bit tired, being that I didn’t have any sleep the night before. My midwife encouraged me to go home and get a good nights rest, maybe labor would pick up the next day. She asked if I wanted to be checked while I was in anyway. I said sure. As it turns out, I was 8 centimeters and completely thinned out! Evidently, the “4-1-1” rule is not for everyone! She advised us to head to the hospital instead. Arielle was born 3 hours later!

We Thank and Praise God for her life!!

This Journey Continues, With Humbled Gratitude and Honor.

I am now having 2 doctors appointments a week. One ultrasound and one Non- stress test. I didn’t have to have this much testing with my first two. Now, with the knowledge of the MTHFR mutation and knowing that there is a greater chance of something going wrong with the placenta – more testing is necessary. In a way, I am thankful for the testing and timely intervention, should this be needed. The sonographer asked how baby was moving – I am grateful for this very active baby, it is reassuring! She said a mom earlier mentioned she is tired of getting kicked. I will never grow weary of this — perhaps it’s as a result of my journey.

Thus far, baby has passed with flying colors! I am humbled and honored to be a vessel to carry this life that GOD had created.

Monday marks 39 weeks! I’m preparing for labor. Mentally – with prayer, with positive affirmations, with Scripture and by practicing relaxation techniques with my husband. We have also decided to hire a doula.

I do not know when or how my labor will go. I’ve noticed my feeling of wanting to be in control; to have everything go as I would like it to go. I am not in control , and there is no way I can be. My prayer : to trust God’s timing and ways, no matter what.

One day at a time, sweet Jesus.

Facing My Fears

After two miscarriages in a row, there was fear in my mind – rearing it’s ugly head – fear of the pain and heartache, again.

Yet, I thought, if I am not willing to try again, I will – FOR SURE – never experience pregnancy/being a vessel to bring another life into this world.

Here I am, celebrating 36 weeks and 4 days of life – of this precious child in my womb. That’s not to say that this road has been easy, quite the opposite.

This week, for the first time, I had an ultrasound in the same room that I found out about my first miscarriage. I will NEVER forget that day — seeing the very clear image of our sweet baby, up on the screen. Moments later, the sonographer, as kind and respectful as she could – informed me that she was not able to find a heartbeat. NO LIFE will replace the two lives we’ve lost. Since those experiences, I have heavily dreaded going back into that room.

As we neared the room, I slowed down; I reminded myself that I will be okay, no matter what. As a baptized child of God – my husband has reminded me that we do not want to live, held captive to fear – as we pray: “…that the evil foe may have NO power over me.”

I made it through that experience! This time with a better outcome, yet still, with some grief in my heart for the children we’ve lost.

What fears are you struggling with? I pray that you can find the support you need and ways to work through them in a healthy way.

HELP.

“I lift my eyes up to the hills. From where does my help come from? My help comes from the LORD who made heaven and earth. He will not let your foot be moved; he who keeps you will not slumber. Behold, he who keeps Israel will neither slumber nor sleep.

The LORD is your keeper; the LORD is your shade on your right hand. The sun shall not strike you by day, nor the moon by night. The LORD will keep your life.

The LORD will keep your going out and your coming in from this time forth and forever more.” Psalm 121

With whatever it is that you are going through today – cry out to HIM – as am I.

Know that you are not alone.

Perspective.

A few days ago I celebrated my birthday. For a while now, I have been struggling with the my age. I’ve decided to change my perspective and to be thankful for all that I have been blessed with, namely, life.

Our family has just moved back to Seminary, in order for my husband to complete his last year of academics. It is interesting being back on campus. One thing is the same: there seems to be pregnant mommy’s and babies everywhere. Before we moved, it was hard for me to be in this environment, because of our 2 recent loses and with trying for so long to conceive in between them. I constantly have to keep changing my perspective. I need to let their journey be their own and be happy for them, and I need to live fully in my own journey – trusting God’s ways and timing, though they are not my own. Additionally, though I see all of these babies and pregnant mommies, I do not know their full story. Maybe they’ve gone through struggles in trying to conceive or have had losses. Maybe they are going through other difficulties in life. Things are not always as they may seem, looking on from the outside.

Well, now I am one of those pregnant mommies. I’m intentional about being as real as I can and I want to be sensitive to others. In every appropriate way, as conversations may lead, I share my story – Our Journey. We’ve had losses and difficulty conceiving. It’s been a rocky road, to say the least. As a result of our journey, my faith has grown tremendously. I was just sharing with my husband, after a social gathering on campus: I want to be real and raw and vulnerable. I want to share the yuck and the difficult and the ugly. I don’t want to be the Happy Facebook Person, in person. I want to be a REAL PERSON. I want others to know that they are not alone.

Additionally, here I am, being real, sharing my journey with you.