Monday, February 8, 2016

Monday Mumblings...

I used to mumble on Mondays. It was a thing. People were used to it.


  • I blogged on Friday and today. Someone needs to write this down or take a picture. 
  • We are all still assimilating to our new normal. Pais and Sugar are starting to accept that they are now just dogs and not our babies/dogs. 
  • I haven't had my hair done since November. I have NEVER gone this long without getting my hair done. 
  • When I start a new bible study, I love to take it to Office Max and have it bound so it will lay flat. Anyone else?
  • This is the first time in forever that I've not seen any of the Oscar nominated films and I'm totally okay with it. I'll still be watching because duh.
  • People have been asking and while I think it's kind of personal, I've been pumping, nursing and supplementing with the girls. It works for us and I get some sleep.
  • I made a chart with a daily to-do list for my fridge. It's an obnoxious neon pink color, but I don't constantly have that list running through my head all day. 
  • I'm sad that Downton Abbey, Good Wife and another show that I can't remember are ending.
  • Speaking of TV, I've been working my way through Friends for the first time. 
  • My current favorite snack is a cold coke and an oatmeal creme pie. Breaking up with those two when I stop pumping will be a sad day. 
  • I'm making it to bed before 10pm tonight. Boom shaka laka.
Happy Monday! 

Friday, February 5, 2016

On Becoming Mommy and Daddy Again: Kylene and Eleanor's Birth Story

The last time we "saw" the girls was Thursday. We could see their lungs literally breathing in and out. The nursery was full, all we needed are the two that live there. We spent the weekend waiting to see our girls.

I spent the weekend waiting to hold them and hear them.

Before December 21, 2015, I didn't know what a loud delivery room sounded like.

It had been 502 days since I held their big sister. I'd held Jessika's little girl, Piper, and my niece Lorelai. But each time I had to psych myself up. To hold a healthy alive baby always conjured up a lot of emotions for me. So while everyone treated us like celebrities because we were the ones having the twins, all I thought about that morning was hearing them, seeing them, and holding them.

We walked into the pre-op area and waited to be taken back so I could be prepped. It felt like we sat there FOR.EV.ER. ( said in my very best Squintz Paladores voice) and we finally were taken to Pre-Op Area #3. I got undressed and into my gown and the games began.

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The thing about having a baby or babies in my case, is that I have to give a history about how many times I've been pregnant. Every person that came in to see me had routine questions. But when I answered this was my second pregnancy and that my first baby was a Trisomy 13 baby, they knew who I was almost immediately. (There are about 4 Trisomy 18 babies a year born at this hospital. Trisomy 13 is more rare and so when it happens, it's usually 1 or 2.) I was the one person in 2014 at this hospital. So for them to see me with a second pregnancy and two babies at that, I am almost certain that every person we saw that asked me this question, teared up.
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One Last Belly Shot! 


Me looking not so glamorous.

My parents and siblings showed up at 8am. By then, I'd had my IV placed. My dad had bought new jeans and a sweater the day before for the occasion. It was funny and cute all at the same time. He wore green and my mom wore red. They were incredibly festive. We talked for a little bit. I don't remember what about, but soon my siblings came in the back.

This was particularly hard for me because the last time the five of us were together at this hospital, it was for Lily. If Jessi, Loren, or Will were thinking about it, they never let on. They were "right jolly old el[ves]."Right before they came in the back, I'd been given some pepcid which thank goodness because my acid reflux was STRONG that morning and another medicine I don't remember the name of, but it made me SUPER SLEEPY. And I repeated myself a lot. When I say SUPER SLEEPY, I mean, I was ready to take a nap right then. And if that doesn't let you know how sleepy I was, I wanted to take the nap and once I woke up, then I'd have the girls. I told anyone that would listen too. Jessi, Loren, and Will laughed at me. Brandon said this is what I'm like when I've been drinking. I repeat myself over. And over. And over. It's an endearing quality, I tell you. The nurse continued to prep me and soon it was time to go back for surgery. My little sisters and brother told me they loved me. We took one last picture, of course, flattering of them and not of me, but it's the name of the game at 9 months pregnant.

Now I have to pause and say that we'd been told Friday that Brandon would come in when I was fully prepped. He'd be in there for the duration of the surgery and then I'd go to recovery with the girls and he'd have to go back out front during that time. This was incredibly upsetting for both of us. For Brandon, this was as much his opportunity to be with his girls that weren't going anywhere and were healthy as much as it was mine. For me, it was hard because of his feelings, but also because he's my rock.

I was brave and hadn't cried until we got to the point where Brandon had to stay behind for a bit. The nurse was pretty funny. She said, "Now if you want to kiss her or anything, this is your time. If you cry, Samantha, I promise not to tell. But Brandon, I will tell on you." Of course, tears pricked my eyes, but we moved swiftly down the hall and into the OR. It was cold and I could tell this was going to be a somewhat swift process. So I didn't have time for a full on ugly cry, mercifully.

The nurses got me on the table and I got my spinal block.

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Side note: I prefer a vaginal birth to a c-section all day. There are some women that claim that a c-section is better than a vaginal birth. I disagree. I'd much rather push my babies out.
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The numbing shot hurt worse than the pressure from the spinal block as it usually does. Then they laid me down and stretched my arms out. Dr. P came into the room. I had seen her a couple of times throughout my pregnancy. She was the on-call surgeon that day. When she came to see me before the c-section, she was so excited about the day. Told me she couldn't wait to see how big my girls were. The lead surgical nurse gave my case notes and it was game on. I couldn't see anything over the top, but all I kept thinking about was seeing my girls. Before I knew it, Dr. P. said, "Hey dad, we want you to come sit right here." Even now, thinking about Brandon grabbing my hand, brings tears to my eyes.

I knew we were incredibly close to hearing either a loud delivery room or a not loud delivery room. I know how pessimistic this might sound to some, but being in a situation where things are eerily quiet and it being the only thing I knew, I struggled with trusting that things were going to be okay until the very end. That's how serious satan is about stealing, killing, and destroying everything we have in this world. He had worked hard to steal my joy and wouldn't let go of the fight until the end. The NICU teams were standing by and we were just waiting for Dr. P. to pull Baby A out.

I want to add that my bible study teacher and mentor, Kathy, had told me she had been praying that God would bring the girls when it was time for them to be here. Not when anyone else wanted them here, but when He wanted them here.

Dr. P. said, "Okay, guys, here we go!"

And it was the most beautiful cry I'd ever heard. It was loud and strong. They showed me Baby A and I knew she was my Kylene. Tears just streamed down my face and I was smiling so hard at the same time. Dr. P. said she had some meconium in her sac, but it wasn't in her at all. I immediately thought of what Kathy had told me. She was there right on time just like Kathy had prayed.

Kylene Iris born at 9:27 am weighing 6 lbs. 13 oz and 20 inches long. 

Then Dr. P. said, "Okay now Baby B, you gotta come down here. We're ready to see you." True to form, my little Eleanor was feisty to the end of her time in the womb. She came out screaming as well, but it was much louder. The room sounded like the busiest street in Manhattan; the place was rocking.

Eleanor Kay born at 9:28 am, weighing 6lbs and 19 3/4 inches long

I kept asking if they were okay and everyone said yes over their cries.

It was loud and chaotic and wonderful.

I asked again and the lead on the NICU said, "They are wonderful and there isn't even a need for us to be here." 

They were busy cleaning up the girls to bring to me. (Yay for baby friendly hospitals and skin to skin during c-sections!) Unfortunately, that's when things went a little crazy. I could suddenly feel things. They gave me meds, but I still felt things. It hurt so bad and I just kept saying out loud, "I hurt," while inside, I prayed, "Lord help me." I could feel myself trying to have a panic attack because I was so frightened. They gave the girls to Brandon while they tried to get my pain managed.
If you look closely, you can see tears rolling down his face.
He told me that he couldn't believe it was for real and that they were okay until this moment. 

Finally, I went into running mode. When I run, sometimes, a run is hard. So I tell myself, you've done this many miles. You only have this much to go. A mental check list if you will. So I told the CRNA, tell me what I have left to do. Talk me through it like we're finishing a race/to-do list.

It helped, but it still hurt.

Thankfully, they placed the best distraction of my life on my chest at that moment, my girls. They were still crying, but they also seemed to relax when they heard me talk. They were so warm and bright pink. They were as healthy as could be. 


Me and my girls. 


Finally, they got me closed up and we took our first photo as a family of four.

They wrapped up the girls while they moved me to a different bed. I saw the placenta before they moved me. I know that might sound weird, but we had to monitor for TTS the entire pregnancy and I wanted to see the magnificent life source that God built to sustain my girls until it was time to come to us. It was massive. I actually told it, goodbye. The nurses laughed at me. What can I say, I like to keep things funny and yet inappropriate at times.

Once placed in my new bed, they handed me my girls. All three of us were snuggled in tight and we were out of there. I still hadn't seen their faces straight on, but I didn't care. I could hear them breathe and move and they cried and were calmed when I talked to them. They needed me and I was happy to be their momma.

We made it back to the recovery area and I spent some time just telling them how much I loved them. The nurses continued to check on me. We got warm blankets, more questions and the pushing of my tummy. It hurt so bad. It's one of the worst parts in my opinion.

And yes, I still was answering questions about my first pregnancy. Finally, one of the nurses said to me, "I'm so sorry you have to answer these questions like this. What was her name?" I told her Lily. From then on, they referred to my first pregnancy not as a pregnancy, but my child. Bed side manner counts nurses and doctors. It counts. To be validated not only as Kylene and Eleanor's momma, but Lily's momma on that day was something that I will have with me for the rest of my life and it was because one brunette nurse stopped and took less than 30 seconds to ask me her name.

To my utter surprise, I suddenly heard the nurses talking about going to get Brandon. The CRNA brought him back and said, "I am so happy for you guys. Your story makes today even more special." I was doing skin to skin at that point. The brunette nurse told him that he could do it as well. So he did. The nurses thought it was awesome that Brandon was so hands on, no questions asked. He was in it as a daddy.

It was then that we officially nailed down who was who. We'd known names, but we wanted to see the girls first before we decided.

Baby A was Kylene Iris - Brandon's middle name is Kyle. I wanted to name a child after him because just about everyone in my family is named after someone. He loves that everyone is connected to someone, but still their own person. I do too. But this became a more pressing desire for me after Lily was born because he was one of the first peple that God used after Lily was born to show God's perfect love never gives up (see 1 Corinthians 13:8). Brandon's paternal grannie's name is Lorene. She's one of the sweetest ladies. Some of Brandon's fondest memories growing up include times at his PawPaw and Grannie's. So to keep her name feminine and very lady-like just like his Grannie, we added the second syllable from her name.

Iris is the Greek word. These girls are ​our double rainbow after the storm. ​When Kylene and Eleanor ask us about their names, I always want to tell them that God was faithful even when times were hard and He never forgot about us and on the day we found out God was blessing us again, He sent us a double rainbow that day. ​

Since you know we love nicknames - her possibilities are Kyleigh​/Kyle/Kit (her initials)​.

Baby B was Eleanor Kay - My paternal great mammaw was Nora Ella. She had a stillborn baby and the doctors told her that she shouldn't have any more. She ​didn't agree and told them as such but in 1920s words. She had one more​ baby​ and that was my pappaw. Without him, ​I​ wouldn't exist. I want my girls to be brave and my great mammaw is a good example of how you can come back from a bad situation and do it well. But we chose Eleanor because ​Disney's live action of Cinderella this year​ came out around the time we were discussing when we should have kids again and had a conversation as we were walking into the theater to see the film. ​At the beginning is a ​short film for Frozen and Anna had on a sunflower dress and there were sunflowers everywhere​ because it was her birthday and they are her favorite flower​. Then ​Cinderella ​began​ and butterflies were present. Butterflies were a big deal to ​B​randon like sunflowers were to me​ after we found out Lily's diagnosis and her subsequent death​. We both liked Ella and kind of knew that if we had a girl, she'd be an Ella​ in some form​. ​Lily James also happened to play Ella in the movie and when I pointed that out to Brandon​, it was almost too perfect for us.

 Kay is my middle name. It's also my mom's.​ So it's another family name. Plus both of us have K middle names and we wanted our girls to have a K aspect in their name as well.​ ​Kay means fire. I love that. I want our girls to burn bright in all they do. ​

Possible nicknames are Ella and Ellie. I also love the name Scout for her. (Think To Kill a Mockingbird.)

Lily, Kylene, and Eleanor's momma and daddy. 
We were eventually wheeled into our room. Soon after, our families came in and we introduced our girls to them. The girls had many visitors their first day on Earth and throughout their hospital stay.

It was the best day ever. The next day we celebrated our 8th wedding anniversary. We had hospital food and baby snuggles, the perfect anniversary dinner.




We took our girls home the 23rd, ahead of schedule because they were the healthiest in the nursery and celebrated Christmas and New Years shortly after.

My favorite Christmas presents ever. (Kylene in red. Eleanor in white.)

Life since then has been loud, wonderful, sleep-deprived, and just the best.

I now know what a loud delivery room sounds like. Doubly so, and my cup, it runneth over. 

Happy Friday friends!!

(Sorry this took so long. I've been busy with two very beautiful little girls.) 

Thursday, December 31, 2015

On Becoming Mommy and Daddy again: Kylene and Eleanor's Birth Story

At our last appointment with the specialist, both girls were head down. Eleanor had switched back and forth multiple times, but she looked pretty in place. The specialist was very pleased and told us that our girls were his "A +" twins because they'd done so well.

As an aside, I have to admit that every time we went to the specialist, I still got nervous something was going to be wrong. Every time it wasn't. God continually was faithful and I'm sure at times annoyed with me, because I was so afraid something was wrong and not trusting Him that it would be. I know I certainly get annoyed when someone questions my word or integrity. But you know, God was so loving and encouraging every time I worried with His assurance through others and His word that my girls were healthy and okay.

I went to my OB later that week and got checked for the first time. Actually, I saw one of his partners that day. I was dilated half a centimeter. My radar picked up a little bit because like my mom and sister, I'll sit at that for a week, but then usually, it's Game Time shortly thereafter. In fact, that night I had some contractions. I had enough that Brandon and I went to Target to finish getting toiletries for our hospital bags. My feet really started to swell every day in the last week and a half too so I rode one of the mobile wheelchairs. They were swollen that day, plus the contractions. So I didn't feel too bad about this new low.

The next week I tried to rest as much as I could, but towards the end with twins, I slept in about 45 minutes to 1 hour and a half stretches at most. I was incredibly tired, but also ready to meet my girls.

36 weeks came and I went to see my doctor again. The plan had always been to induce on the 20th provided they were in position to do so. The last time we saw the girls, things were in order, but that week I had hurt like I did the time Eleanor switched to head down position. I also was having contractions so I wasn't sure if she was moving positions or if her movements were just that full since they were so big at this point. Since I wasn't sleeping well, it was harder to tell.

We got in there and sure enough she was breech. Not just breech, but straight up and down. My doctor said we could go ahead with the plan, but if they couldn't flip her, we could do breech delivery but that came with potential complications. We were both OUT on that. We'd already had the complicated birth. Plus at that point, she was measuring bigger than Kylene, so we opted for the C-Section. Friday we went through pre-op and it started to sink in that it was real. We told our families so they knew when to be at the hospital and tried to settle in for our last quiet weekend. We also found out that the partner we'd seen the week before would be performing the C-Section.

On Saturday, my parents came over and went shopping. I got out and about as much as I could. Brandon had hurt his back on earlier that day, so the both of us were a pair by Saturday night. But we wanted to enjoy being together just the two of us as much as we could.

After church, we went for Chinese food and then saw Star Wars VII: The Force Awakens. I was very pleased with this film and love there is a new girl super hero! My husband was on cloud nine because he had his favorite meal and saw his favorite franchise's new movie. After the film, we headed home and made sure we had everything we needed and that the house was in order. Surprisingly, I slept for about 5-6 hours. Brandon couldn't get comfortable and also he was nervous. This is the exact opposite for how it normally is for us. Normally, I'm the one who tosses and turns.

Six o'clock came and I popped out of bed. I threw on a pair of clean pjs and checked my bag one last time. I also touched up my hair. I wasn't allowed to wear make-up, but I was definitely not going into the OR without my hair done. We listened to Christmas music on the way to the hospital. I swear it might have been the worst selection of Christmas music, I've ever heard in my life. And listen, I love Celine Dion, but she does not need to be singing Feliz Navidad. We finally made it to the hospital and sat there for about ten minutes before we headed inside. We were early. So we prayed over the day and our girls again. Then we headed inside....

Thursday, November 19, 2015

On texts at 3:30 in the morning...

Last night I got up to pee at 3:30 and noticed I had some texts from my Bubba. Some were sent to our family group text, but one was sent directly to me. It said simply, "Love you sis." I responded and told him I loved him too. To my surprise, the stinker was awake. Chalk that up to #collegelifeproblems that I remember all too well. But also, our family policy has pretty much been just to text when we need to and one of us will respond as soon as we can. When I was in law school, they used to laugh at how they wouldn't hear from me for hours at a time and then all of a sudden, they'd have 10 texts in response to various things said throughout the day.

But I digress. Come to find out, he'd been reading my blog. Said he hadn't read it in a long time and couldn't sleep. He'd text me originally around 1:50 or so. At that point, he was reading about Lily and the twins. Tears pricked my eyes when I read it because he and Loren have both recently talked about Lily. They both are so tender-hearted in their own ways. Loren told me that she thought about how even though it was a really hard time, that the five of us became closer as a result. Brandon and I also mentioned to her recently that her chin and mouth are the shape that Lily's were. She said that she hadn't thought about what Lily looked like in awhile, but when we said something instantly, she knew it was true. I sometimes forget how much her life and loss of her life affected our families. Or maybe I want to forget because if I remember, it just hurts really bad.

I haven't talked about her in awhile, not like I used to. I think about her every day at some point, but my mind is on the girls a lot. But it's intertwined with things being okay since things with her weren't okay.

This pregnancy has been hard for me. One of the women in my bible study asked me if I have been able to enjoy it. Truthfully, I have to go with the happy times because I know I'll be back to worrying soon. But it's also been hard because Brandon's grief has been delayed. He's just now dealing with some things and it's been incredibly heartbreaking.

I say all of this to say that I told Will I haven't written in awhile because I don't really have the time, but also I've had writer's block. I think that I do have writer's block, but it's almost like the block is related to me not wanting to talk about the same thing over and over again. My worries. My anxieties. My fears.

Because that's where I am. But I suppose that I need to keep writing because there will be other mothers who need to know that they aren't alone when they have a silent freak-out because people want to tell you about the twins they were pregnant with, but lost. This after I've told them that I lost a child. Which I could go on a rant about the stupid things people say. Really I could. And it would be long because people's diarrhea of the mouth seems to know no bounds these days. I have to remind myself that people want to make me feel better the best way they know how. But really, they'd be better off just saying, "I'm sorry to hear that."

Again, I digress. I miss my oldest. I'm incredibly excited and terrified about next month. I so look forward to holding babies that I don't have to let go of or the fact that we won't walk out of the hospital empty-handed. But mostly, I'm afraid it's going to open up some things we haven't thought about in awhile because Lily's not here physically with us.

This is a ramble post, but it's a start.

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Pregnancy Update

How far along: 23 weeks 4 days

Size of babies: Papayas

Total Weight Gain/Loss: 17 pounds

Babies are: GIRLS!!

Maternity clothing: Yes, especially at work and church. Otherwise, I can get away with comfy shorts and a big t-shirt! Sleep: Well, it wasn't too bad, but here recently, I've had some bouts of insomnia. I'll sleep until about 3 in the morning and then just wake up ready for the world so to speak. I have to be very quiet not to wake up Brandon. I usually watch an episode of West Wing and then head back to sleep.

Movement: Yes! I feel them in the mornings and throughout the day, but at nighttime is when they like to play it seems. My entire side of the family are night owls except my mom and me. Brandon is an early riser too. So this could be interesting if it does bode for the future.

Symptoms: I have acid reflux, but it's completely manageable because I take my meds for it. I puke once every morning, but I don't mind it because once I do, then I can brush my teeth. Otherwise, I have to wait until the middle of the day before I brush them so I won't gag. So I feel like it's a decent trade-off, plus it only lasts for five minutes or so. I talked about the insomnia, but I've also had some leg cramps at night too. I've upped my water intake to see if that will help.

Food cravings/aversions: I have a lot of aversions, but the biggest one is chicken. I don't know what it is about chicken, but it makes me want to hurl. So me and Chick-Fil-A will have a date in the hospital I imagine. I also have to be careful of anything with tomatoes. It makes my acid reflux go into overdrive and also they just taste off right now. I can't explain it, but I promise they will taste normal again at some point.

How is this pregnancy the same/different than with Lily? I am a lot more hormonal this pregnancy. I know that seems to make sense with having two, but there are things I experience that I never did with her. I'm incredibly sentimental. I think I mentioned this on Facebook, but when Abel Frake's pig wins the Grand Prize at the State Fair, I pretty much ugly cry. I can also cry at a commercial. Mind you, they can last less than 15 seconds some times, but apparently, I like to set records. I also am really hot. Like all the time.

Looking forward to: We move into our house this weekend! I have another doctor's appointment next week so I always look forward to seeing my girls. My sister's baby is due in two weeks, so I'm excited about that as well. I also have a baby shower in about a month! I'm incredibly pumped to see all of our friends and family. Of course, I'm also looking forward to meeting my girls and just loving on them.

Happy Wednesday! 

Friday, September 11, 2015

On the realities of a rainbow pregnancy...

"How are you feeling?"

People ask me this all the time. Most of the time, people let me get away with answering the obvious.

The obvious is I puke every morning. It's acid and it only lasts five minutes or so. I usually turn on The West Wing to distract me. The positive is that once I puke, I can brush my teeth without gagging provided that I thoroughly rinse my mouth out once I am finished. For a girl that loves to brush her teeth first thing in the morning, this is a gift. I also have acid reflux, but I take my meds regularly and stay away from things that make it worse for me. This pregnancy is only for a little while. I've recently had some cramping in my legs at night and I also have some slight insomnia, but other than that I feel pretty good.

But then there are others who ask the not obvious.

"How are you doing mentally?"

Honestly, I'm struggling. The roller coaster of a rainbow pregnancy is quite frankly the highest of highs, but it also has some sudden, jerky, hard, frightening lows. There is so much good going on in our life right now. We are moving to a new place. Brandon is doing well at work. I'm enjoying my job. I have an opportunity to be at home with the girls for the majority of the week once they are born.

The girls are healthy. I saw them on Wednesday at the doctor and saw four little chambers in each heart. I cannot tell you what a blessing that was to see when I saw how bad Lily's heart was in comparison last year.

I am growing in my faith like I never have before in my life. God continues to use us and our daughter's story all the time.

BUT.

I am so afraid the bottom will drop out at some point. The fear I have is so intense that sometimes it makes me afraid to walk outside. I refuse to lose this battle, but y'all the enemy doesn't give up so quickly.

I worry so much and it really bothers me because that's me saying to God, I don't trust you. I want nothing more than to trust Him and obey Him.

My mentor recently explained how as Christians we are called to meditate on God's word. (See Psalm 1:2-3) She said that the easiest way she learned how to do it was by thinking about how we worry. I don't have to do anything to worry. I just sit and do it.

For example, I mentioned that I saw the girls on Tuesday, but what I didn't say is that Baby A is a little bigger than Baby B. Because the girls share a placenta, they have a chance for Twin to Twin Transfusion Syndrome. I don't know the percentages of how it works, quite frankly, I don't want to know because it would make things worse for me. But the way TTS works is that one baby can get bigger by getting more blood and nutrients than the other. There are five stages of it. Some don't get it all. Others do and twins pass away from it. Others can sit in level one the entire pregnancy. The specialist that we see is the doctor that we saw for Lily. He's brilliant and I know we are in more than capable hands. When he came in and saw that Baby A weighed more than Baby B, he said "Let's check the other things out that can show early signs. It could be something. It could mean nothing." He checked their amniotic fluid levels, bladders and blood flows from the heart and brains. He was happy with their levels. Said for now that things were fine but if something changed we still had time to have the placenta split and also he wanted to keep me at two weeks. If I went to one week appointments then I should know that something is going on.

I cannot tell you how many times I have turned that conversation over and over in my mind. There are times when I am able to tell myself out loud, "STOP." Sometimes, I start praying, but other times I don't. When I don't I usually go back to worrying pretty quickly.

And it is so disobedient of me. Philippians 4:6-7 says, "Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension shall guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus." We are COMMANDED as believers not to be anxious. We are also promised that when we turn over requests to God that He will give a peace that surpasses all understanding. We won't know how to explain how we feel, other than to say we know it came from Him.

Y'all. That is one situation. I worry about EVERYONE being okay. Since Lily went to be with Jesus, I worry that I will be okay, that my husband will be okay, that our families will be okay. Hell, I even worry about the words that come out of my mouth. I'm afraid to talk about plans for next week much less next year. I learned that bad things can happen. I felt like I was coming out of that before I got pregnant. I could breathe again a little. Once, I was pregnant again and found out that it was high risk pregnancy again, things took off and some days I don't know how to get off the ride.

Some days are good. Some are not. Some I need to stop and pray almost half-hourly.

It should not be ​this way.

You know why????

The Lord heard my prayers. He granted me what I asked of Him. I should be bursting at the seems with joy and praises of His glorious name, and yet I'm struggling.

I say ALL OF THIS to say, that if you know a momma who is going through her rainbow pregnancy, pray for her. Pray that the Holy Spirit would convict her of her worrying, that she would seek His presence because that is where she will find true peace and joy, but also any concerns she might have over the pregnancy. Also, if you've survived a rainbow pregnancy, what are some of your tips?

 Happy Friday. ​

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

On looking for my oldest...

It seems like people just expect us to move forward now that I am pregnant with the twins. Don't get me wrong, I am ELATED that God has chosen to bless us this way. But it is as if people just expect us to be okay now that I am pregnant again.

Truthfully, I still look for my oldest every day, whether I say it out loud or not. I want to know that she has not been forgotten. Most moms that have dealt with ANY form of child loss will tell you that, I'd bet.

A couple of weeks ago, I received an email from my bible study class. A couple of women in the group were going to see a woman about coming to know Jesus. I read it and didn't really think much about it. The next Monday night, during the portion of bible study where we share praises, one of the ladies shared that when they went to share with this woman about Jesus, she shared my story about Lily and how I struggled with God about why he would take my daughter to be with Him. She had lost her husband. She was upset too. But she also shared that I turned to Jesus during my grieving period and gave my life to Him and how He had given me such a hope. Apparently, that was a turning point in the time they were with her.

 Of course, my eyes watered immediately. God sees us and hears us. I'm so glad that He used my Lily to bring another sheep to the fold. (See Luke 15:3-7)

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I know I've not written in awhile and believe me it's not because I don't want to write. I need to be in the habit of it. It helps me clear my mind. Plus we have some exciting times coming up!

So I'm going to do my best to write...again.

Happy Tuesday

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

The State of the Committee

A year ago today, I wrote this post. I think Katie Lacy asked me if I knew what was going to happen two days later. I told her I didn't. She pointed out to me that it was probably God softening my heart for what was to come.

So what's the current state of The Committee?

Well, outside of Lily, I'm happy to report that we have added a new honorary member. Jessika with a K safely delivered Piper earlier this summer. She's absolutely beautiful. We call her PR because that's what Jessika with a K's dad calls her. So we are going with it. I'm sure she will have other nicknames, but for now, sister is PR.

PR is the first newborn baby I've held since Lily.

A lot of grief has to deal with taking back territory. We are delivering in the same hospital we delivered with Lily. I went back there in April. It was hard for me, but since then I've been in regularly for appointments. It's almost like clearing out old cobwebs. It hurts a little more than what it looks like to clear them, but it's as if the cobwebs are the places and things and people I've not thought about in awhile. I don't want them all associated with bad feelings.

I say all of that to say this: I waited for PR. I've had opportunities to hold infant babies before her, but I knew I needed it to be with family. She was perfect for it.

Jessi is starting nursing school this fall and is close by. She told me the other day when the end of her semester is so that I'll know when she's ready for babies. Because you know I can just keep my legs closed and all.

In short, life has gone on for us. That's incredibly comforting.

Happy Tuesday y'all. 

Saturday, June 27, 2015

On double rainbows...

  1 Then God blessed Noah and his sons, saying to them, “Be fruitful and increase in number and fill the earth. 2 The fear and dread of you will fall on all the beasts of the earth, and on all the birds in the sky, on every creature that moves along the ground, and on all the fish in the sea; they are given into your hands. 3 Everything that lives and moves about will be food for you. Just as I gave you the green plants, I now give you everything. 
   4 “But you must not eat meat that has its lifeblood still in it. 5 And for your lifeblood I will surely demand an accounting. I will demand an accounting from every animal. And from each human being, too, I will demand an accounting for the life of another human being. 

 6          “Whoever sheds human blood, 
                   by humans shall their blood be shed; 
               for in the image of God 
                    has God made mankind. 

     7 As for you, be fruitful and increase in number; multiply on the earth and increase upon it.” 
     8 Then God said to Noah and to his sons with him: 9 “I now establish my covenant with you and with your descendants after you 10 and with every living creature that was with you—the birds, the livestock and all the wild animals, all those that came out of the ark with you—every living creature on earth. 11 I establish my covenant with you: Never again will all life be destroyed by the waters of a flood; never again will there be a flood to destroy the earth.” 
     12 And God said, “This is the sign of the covenant I am making between me and you and every living creature with you, a covenant for all generations to come: 13 I have set my rainbow in the clouds, and it will be the sign of the covenant between me and the earth. 14 Whenever I bring clouds over the earth and the rainbow appears in the clouds, 15 I will remember my covenant between me and you and all living creatures of every kind. Never again will the waters become a flood to destroy all life. 16 Whenever the rainbow appears in the clouds, I will see it and remember the everlasting covenant between God and all living creatures of every kind on the earth.” 
     17 So God said to Noah, “This is the sign of the covenant I have established between me and all life on the earth.”               
-Genesis 9:1-17


SO. WE ARE HAVING TWINS!!!!!!!

Brandon and I want to say thank you for all your kinds words, texts, likes, and comments. We have had a huge smile on since Monday when we found out there were in fact two babies in there, but yesterday was pretty great too! 

I thought I would answer the two most asked questions and then also let you know how you can be praying for us in the months to come. 

How did you find out you were expecting again?

I had been tired for about a week straight, but didn't take it seriously until I went to a film at the Bentonville Film Festival and struggled big time to stay awake. I went to buy the test on my way home. I was racing to beat Brandon because I wanted to surprise him if I was. I stopped at Dollar General and bought the test. I remember smiling when I left the store because we bought our test there when we found out we were pregnant with Lily. I also remember being incredibly nervous. This year, I've been heavily convicted about reading my way through the Bible. I've taken a chapter a day and it is incredibly manageable and I've learned so much. That day, my reading was Philippians 4. I hadn't read for that day yet. It wasn't a coincidence either. 

Therefore, my brothers and sisters, you whom I love and long for, my joy and crown, stand firm in the Lord in this way, dear friends!
I plead with Euodia and I plead with Syntyche to be of the same mind in the Lord. Yes, and I ask you, my true companion, help these women since they have contended at my side in the cause of the gospel, along with Clement and the rest of my co-workers, whose names are in the book of life.
Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding,will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.
10 I rejoiced greatly in the Lord that at last you renewed your concern for me.Indeed, you were concerned, but you had no opportunity to show it. 11 I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. 12 I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. 13 I can do all this through him who gives me strength.
14 Yet it was good of you to share in my troubles. 15 Moreover, as you Philippians know, in the early days of your acquaintance with the gospel, when I set out from Macedonia, not one church shared with me in the matter of giving and receiving, except you only; 16 for even when I was in Thessalonica,you sent me aid more than once when I was in need. 17 Not that I desire your gifts; what I desire is that more be credited to your account. 18 I have received full payment and have more than enough. I am amply supplied, now that I have received from Epaphroditus the gifts you sent. They are a fragrantoffering, an acceptable sacrifice, pleasing to God. 19 And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus.
20 To our God and Father be glory for ever and ever. Amen.
21 Greet all God’s people in Christ Jesus. The brothers and sisters who are with me send greetings. 22 All God’s people here send you greetings, especially those who belong to Caesar’s household.
23 The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit. Amen.

God met me exactly where I was. I prayed that if this was in His will that He would be all over it and show me that He was, but I also wanted to know that Lily was a part of this as well. I went home and took the test. It was a faint line, and so after some consultation from a close pal, I went for a digital. I needed to see the words, or rather word. Sure enough, the word popped up pretty quickly. I picked up two onesies from Target while I was picking up the digital test and raced home. Brandon asked where I was while I was gone and I can't remeber what fib I told him. We ate dinner and I was a Nervous Nelly the whole time, but it was also wonderful because I had some time of just me knowing. So I set it all out and waited for Brandon to find our little surprise. He eventually went into our room after what seemed like an eternity and came out and said, "NO. WAY." He was surprised, but he also had a crap eating grin on his face too. 

God showed us that He is always faithful with the day we found out and used our oldest to do it. It was May 6th. Lily would have been ten months. 

Did you know you were expecting twins?

Not until this past Monday officially, but I knew in my heart the day we found out I was pregnant, we were.

After Lily passed away, I really hung onto any sighting of rainbows I could get. Truthfully, I'd been looking for them since we had her diagnosis. I knew we were in a storm, and I just wanted to know that God hadn't forgotten about us. The problem was that I never actually saw one in person. Friends and family would send us both pictures of rainbows regularly. They'd always say they were thinking of us and our girl, but I never saw one in person. It kind of became comical at times because it would rain and I would run outside and Brandon would ask me what I was doing. I'd tell him that I was looking for a rainbow. He didn't really know how much stock I'd put into rainbows. I remember napping during a storm and waking up mad because it was sunny. Brandon couldn't understand why and so I finally told him. He said he understood. 

The day we found out I was pregnant, my sister Jessi, (WHO DID NOT KNOW I WAS PREGNANT AGAIN) sent me another picture of a rainbow. She said it made her think of Lily. But this rainbow was special and very different from any of the other rainbows we'd seen.  It was a double rainbow. I immediately started crying and told Brandon I thought we were having twins. He said that was crazy, but he didn't say I was wrong. Something that I've been learning this year is that God is ALWAYS faithful, but we as humans aren't always faithful to Him. So in the weeks that followed, I tried to be as faithful as I could. For me being faithful looked like believing in that double rainbow, so that meant acting on it. I would buy two of outfits we liked. Brandon asked why I had two once and I told him. He again said it was crazy, but then he had VERY strong opinions about the outfits I would buy. He'd say baby and I'd say, "Well, babies." He'd look at me, but never correct me. 

Now let me pause quickly to say, acting on this was incredibly hard for me. Saying aloud the word, "babies" took way more courage than just about anything I'd ever said before in my life. But the more I said it, the easier it became and also the more I believed it. 

We had early appointments because of our medical history, but it put our minds at ease. This past Monday, we went for the first appointment where we'd actually see somebody inside. The first two appointments were to make sure that things were progressing as they should. 

My doctor used the doppler on my tummy first. He said, now don't worry if we don't find a heartbeat with this. I'll find one easily with the ultrasound. He listened for a bit and then used a different doppler. He said something about the heart rates duplicating. I DIDN'T ASK ANY QUESTIONS. I was too afraid. He started the ultrasound and showed us the first baby. He said, "We have a good strong heartbeat. Everything looks great so far." Then he shifted the ultrasound and said, "And here's the second one!" I started tearing up immediately. Brandon's response was, "SAY WHAT??" Our doctor checked the second baby out and said there was a good heart rate for that one as well. We then had a second ultrasound because our doctor said this was a game changer and he wanted to know as much as he could as soon as possible. 

We are incredibly excited!!! 

How You Can Pray:

  • Pray for a healthy pregnancy for me and for the babies. 
  • I had bloodwork done on Monday to check for the Trisomys. We won't have those results back until next Friday at the earliest. Pray for us and the waiting. Waiting for the unknown is one of the hardest things there is. Pray they are healthy. 
  • Pray for our hearts. Pregnancy after infant loss is HARD. What is supposed to be a wonderful time is now a hard fought battle. We are constantly praying that Satan won't steal, kill, or destroy our joy. Pray that God would bind Satan from that. We have good and bad days.
  • I am still studying for the bar. 
  • Pray for mommas suffering from infant loss. The ones who are in the beginning of their hurt, the ones waiting again, and the ones pregnant again. Also, pray for the ones even 23 years out from this experience. We all think about and miss our babies constantly.
Thank you again for sharing in our joy!

Happy Saturday!!  

Sunday, May 10, 2015

A Few Notes

Well, four notes to be exact:

1. I take the bar on July 28th and 29th. I've been working through the DVR and books I want to read before tomorrow so I can focus on studying for the bar, studying the Bible, and walking/running. That's it. Three things. Simple. Tomorrow it's game on!

2. We both started new jobs. Both were total God things. We love our work and have been so blessed by it. (I should clarify that I've been at my new job for two months now. So not super new, but I haven't blogged about it up to now. If you follow me on IG, you know what I do.)

3. The obvious. It's been a little over 9 months since Lily passed away. Today is Mother's Day. It didn't totally suck, but I will probably always not like this day to some extent. I know it won't always be like this, but there will be other mommas that lose babies and that makes me mad and sad for them. I know how this day will hurt for them initially.

(For the record, if you know a mom that has lost a child, tell them Happy Mother's Day anyway. It lets them know people are thinking about them and also that just because people can't see their baby, however old they would be, doesn't mean that they have lost their momma status.)

4. We found my favorite root beer from Michigan. Well, technically it's from Maine, but the first time I learned about it was in Michigan. It is small and simple, but it made me really happy. The little things add up. (See number three if you need a refresher.)

Happy Sunday and Happy Mother's Day.
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Hi y'all! The name's Samantha. You can call me Sam if you like. I am a lover to a boy I met at Falls Creek in the summer of 2005, that is a student of Jesus, a Sooner born and Sooner bred and when I die I'll be Sooner dead, Democrat by party, blonde to the core, and oldies but goodies kind of girl.
The Ruby Turtle Hippie Times
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