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)

*********************************************

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.

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Earth has no sorrow, that heaven can't heal.

"So he told them this parable: “What man of you, having a hundred sheep, if he has lost one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the open country, and go after the one that is lost, until he finds it? And when he has found it, he lays it on his shoulders, rejoicing. And when he comes home, he calls together his friends and his neighbors, saying to them, ‘Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep that was lost.’ Just so, I tell you, there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who need no repentance." - Luke 15:3-7






The ground began to shake
The stone was rolled away
His perfect love could not be overcome
Now, death where is your sting
Our resurrected King 
Has rendered you defeated. 


Easter was incredibly special this year. I am truly so happy to serve a RISEN savior!! 

Happy Easter everyone! 

Thursday, March 12, 2015

No rainbows yet, but I've got the baby bangs part nailed.

Sometimes I can trick myself into forgetting that I had a baby who isn't here with me. I don't even realize I'm trying to do it at times.

Last week I was getting ready for church. I had showered, shaved even, and was about to take the towel off my head when I noticed them....baby bangs.

I'd seen them before on all the moms who had babies on twitter. It's part of the having a baby process. It seems like they come along after a baby has been born. The mom gripes about how they're a pain for quite some time. The reason they gripe is because nothing can be done with baby bangs except wait for them to grow.

Well guess what? Those of us who go home without a baby. We still get those baby bangs. They're still a pain in the butt. They're still not glamorous. In my case, they are flat out ridiculous.

Mine were growing on one side. So now, not only do I have a physical reminder of what I don't have, I don't even get a solid row of them. I get janky ones. It's one of those times when I just want to say thanks to the powers that be for this call, except when I say thanks, I'm super sarcastic and probably not all that thankful.

I went to my hair stylist yesterday and was griping about my woes as she foiled my hair. She examined them and then made the determination that I actually had a solid row of them. I was thankful truly then because I like things to match or be even. What can I say? My type-A self reaches all corners of the earth.

Today I was driving home and thinking about my stupid baby bangs and I noticed that it was cloudy outside. Often times when I get consumed with what I don't have I get so wrapped up in it that I don't take the time to look at the world around me. I then remembered that I still haven't seen a rainbow. Oh people have seen pictures of them and sent them to us. But since April 24th of last year, I've not seen one for myself with my own two eyeballs.

I guess I've viewed the rainbow as a sign of progression and healing. Also, a two part promise that this won't happen to me again and that a baby is on the way soon for us. In a nutshell, I view it as a reminder that God hasn't forgotten about me.

Well I don't have a rainbow. I know that is a lot of responsibility to put on a rainbow, but it's where I am.

I have to admit that I'm slightly annoyed that what I'm left with is baby bangs. I think they're kind of a sign that a woman's body is pretty much returned to working for just one person rather than two.

As I pulled into my driveway just a few minutes ago, it hit me that just because I haven't seen a rainbow yet, doesn't mean that there hasn't been healing or progression yet. It just doesn't look the way I want it to look at this point. I know that God hasn't forgotten about me. He has been faithful to prove that to me over and over again this year.

Today I don't have my rainbow, but I'm grateful for these blasted baby bangs. They are a reminder that while it's not my time yet, hope is on the way...and somewhere a rainbow is too.

Happy Thursday y'all.

Friday, March 6, 2015

Seven Months.

"Simon, Simon, Satan has asked to sift all of you as wheat. But I have prayed for you Simon, that your faith may NOT fail. And when you have turned back, strengthen your brothers." - Luke 22:31-32, NIV (emphasis mine)

I've been thinking a lot recently about how I shouldn't feel bad to mark the time that has passed since I handed my first born to a nurse for the last time. I have a friend that wrote a book about the loss of her son.

It really has me thinking about writing my own.

I've read Angie Smith's book and now I've read my friend's, but I want to tell my own story. The biggest thing that I worry about is that people will forget about Lily. I have family now that don't like to ask me about Lily because I still cry when I talk about her. What my family doesn't understand is that I will probably always cry when I talk about her because I miss her. But I NEED people to ask me about her.

Lily was a real person and her story deserves to be told.

Unfortunately, this won't be the last time that someone has a little girl with Trisomy 13 and as terrible as it is to be in this club, people need to know that it can be survived. I need the world to know that a baby that was not wired for this world helped me to come to Jesus. Other mommas need to know that it doesn't sound weird that they know their kids loved a certain band or certain foods even if they never took a breath outside our tummies.

(For the record, Lily was a fan of Queen. She loved mango magic smoothies and hated ranch and salsa. She also was a night owl like her Pappaw and AJ.)

We need friends that will hold our hand when we are still sad and people don't get it.When family members don't know what to say or what it is like to experience this terrible tragedy, I want the momma to be able to hand my book to them and say, this is what it is like for me.

I want her life to mean something. I want Lily to have a legacy. I've been thinking about it a lot as you can tell. This might be the way it happens.

Happy Seven Months Lily. Momma loves you.

Friday, February 20, 2015

On Who I was...

This used to be my about me page. I'm working on updating it currently, but it sure is interesting to look at and take our former life into consideration. I didn't want to delete it because I miss that girl, but also I think it's important to reflect on who we used to be and where we are now.

The more things change, the more things stay the same....

********************************************************

First, the obvious...

My name is Samantha, but I also go by Sam.

I am a sinner saved by grace who makes mistakes on the regular.

I love politics, rock and roll, and running.

I'm married.

And I'm a Sooner.



Currently, we live in Michigan because I'm a law student. It has been the best adventure of our lives together...so far.

Also, I am in the middle of a major weight loss journey.

And although, you can't tell it in the above picture, I have an unhealthy obsession with my hair.

These things aren't really related other than the fact that they are usually the first things you learn about me in real life.

We have two bulldogs. One is a Frenchie, full of sass, named Paisley. The other is a Boxer, who is a total ham, and her name is Sugar Ann.


Second, if you're curious...

I wrote out our love story in five parts. Well, at the least the part where we first fell in love. Our love story is still being written and you see part of that through this blog.



Endless Summer: Part OnePart TwoPart ThreePart Four, and Part Five.


Third, the blog title explanation...

I used to have this whole spiel about how I love the Wizard of Oz, the Kennedys and turtles and how those things are related to my blog title. And I do love those things and they are related to my blog title.

But, truthfully?

I started this blog so I could keep up with a biffle (Biffle=BFFL=Best Friend for Life) who lives in New York City. At the time we were obsessed with six-word novels. They're fun to write. From there, I just kept writing. In short, this blog is about the life and adventures of a Sooner who loves Jesus, politics, and rock-n-roll.

Finally, if you read the above hot mess and you STILL want to know more, we're gonna be friends.

Oh yeah, one more thing. I say y'all A LOT.

***********************************************

Happy Friday.

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Some things to share...

1. If you've not seen this sermon yet...WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR??? It is such a word.

http://live.passionconferences.com/p2015-hou-session-3-replay/

2. Harper Lee has a new book out. I don't know how I missed this, but I have. Based on this article and a few others I'm afraid to read it. What are your thoughts?

http://www.theatlantic.com/entertainment/archive/2015/02/the-tragedy-of-harper-lee/385132/

3. Buy BooMama's book! Also listen to her podcasts with Big Mama. They're too legit to quit. (Hey! Heeeeeey!) 

http://www.amazon.com/Home-Where-My-People-Are/dp/1414391730/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1423027281&sr=8-1&keywords=home+is+where+my+people+are

http://boomama.net/2015/01/27/the-big-boo-cast-episode-43/


That's it. Happy Tuesday. 



Tuesday, January 27, 2015

That time I asked Jesus into my heart...

I'm not even sure where to begin this post. If my words are jumbled, I am sorry. I'm just writing as fast as I can. So bear with me.

Since April 24, 2014, I've been in a wrestling match. If you don't know what April 24th is, it's not that big of a deal if you don't know, but that's pretty much when we found out that Lily was going to die.

I was very angry with God for the remainder of the pregnancy with her. When people asked what they could do for us, I just kept telling people, to pray for us. What I didn't tell them was why. I wanted other people to pray because I was mad at God. To be frank, I was madder than a hornet. I grew up in the church hearing that people will always fail you, but God won't. I can always count on him and trust him.

My entire pregnancy, I struggled with that. How could I trust Him when my daughter was given a death sentence.

Soon after her diagnosis, I knew that we needed our booties in church. I knew that God would get us through this situation. Even though, I just said a paragraph ago, that I was madder than a hornet and I felt betrayed by God, I knew we still needed to be near Him and near His people. Every sermon, I struggled during the altar call. Our pastor said we needed to know that we know that we know we are going to heaven. It caught me off guard the first time I heard it. It wouldn't be the last time it did either.

After she was born and when we were with her that day, I just couldn't get over how peaceful everything was. I can't explain it, but I knew that God was with us and that she was okay.

About a month afterwards, I had found out that I hadn't passed the bar again. I felt so lost and so confused. I had all these plans for my life and this was just one more thing that didn't go my way. A few days later, I started Beth Moore's, Children of the Day bible study. And it was no coincidence that I did that study first looking back now. I squirmed through I don't know how many lessons because she talked about the end times and the hope we should have for our loved ones that are asleep. Pastor Philip on Sunday mornings was talking about Revelations as well. During this time, God's word was so fresh to me in a way it had never been for me. I grew up in the church y'all.

When I say I grew up in the church, I mean, I walked forward when I was 9, thought I was saved then, went to Kiamichi, Falls Creek, Super Summer, (and if you haven't gone to church in the South, particularly, in a Southern Baptist church in Oklahoma, just know that I was basically doing all the things good little church goers do) was very active in my youth group, went to college and joined a Christian sorority, was an officer in that same sorority, and then thought I wasn't saved and went forward again when I was 21, I knew all the church words and things to say. I did things the way I was supposed to and kept up with appearances even though I struggled with various forms of sin throughout my life and still do.

And then, November 23rd happened. If you follow me on Instagram, you know that the church we joined, experienced a major revival that day. As in over 20 people went forward to ask Jesus in their heart and the sermon was a plane Jane sermon. It was not a scheduled revival time. That day, Pastor Philip asked again, if you don't know that you know that you know that Jesus died on the cross for your sins then come forward. It caught me off guard.

Now if you have read here any amount of time, you know that I am a very analytical person. I can get in my head like nobody's business. During that altar call and everyone since, I wrestled with God. I would say, but God, I grew up in your church, I did all these things. I have talked about you with Lily. I'm a deacon's daughter. I've done all the right things.

I could go on and on about the head fight I was having with myself, but I think you get the point. I would get in the car and talk about what a great service it was and then talk about how the altar call was hard for me because I felt like I was under spiritual attack  I would go back to my Bible study and feel comfort in it, but every Sunday when Pastor Philip would ask if I know that I know that I know that I'm saved, I would just about be ready to run from the sanctuary because I couldn't stand struggling through that wrestling match again.

At New Year's Eve, I saw the Committee and my second momma Karen, We had been talking about how we had felt like we were under spiritual attack. Jessika with a K then said, "Momma, have you ever told Sam how you came to know Jesus?" SHE THEN PROCEEDED TO TELL ME ABOUT HOW SHE CAME TO KNOW JESUS AS AN ADULT.  There was no way that she could have known that I was struggling with my salvation. I'm sure I had a look of panic on my face while she told me. I thought, how does she know this is what I'm struggling with? I never said a word, but my word, I tossed and turned that night.

And yet, I did nothing about it. 

If you didn't catch that the first time, let me say it again...AND YET, I DID NOTHING ABOUT IT.

A few weeks later, I was doing Beth Moore's Believing God and she spoke about God's word being alive and active in us. She shared Romans 10:9-10 which says, "If you declare with your mouth, "Jesus is Lord," and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you will believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved." She talked about how salvation was a simple matter. It was just like the verse said. I realized I could check off everything in the verses except the part when I admit it out loud. I was stuck on all that I had done.

You guessed it. I DID NOTHING ABOUT IT.

I couldn't wait for bible study at church to start back up again. I was craving the comfort of a Bible study. I sat for the last three weeks wrestling in the pew. Then this past Sunday, Brandon wanted to go forward to rededicate his life. I thought to myself, Greaaaaaat. Now I gotta go down front and deal with this up, close, and personal. I even asked Brandon if he needed me to go, that's how bad I didn't want to go down front.

While we were down there meeting with Pastor Randy, Pastor Philip asked again, "If you died, do you know that you know that you know that you're saved and that you would meet him today if you were to pass away tonight?" I was trying so hard to pay attention to what Pastor Randy was saying, but that question still jolted me like a lightening bolt. Pastor Randy asked why Brandon had come forward, and Brandon told him that he wanted to rededicate his life to Christ. Pastor Randy asked if I had come to support Brandon in that decision. I LIED and said yes...

Even though I knew that I needed to ask to be saved, I kept my mouth shut.
Even though I had never felt so lost in all my life the way I had this year.
Even though I knew that I Jesus' death on the cross had never been more real to me that it had been this year. I have cried I don't know how many times, about how God willingly let his son die on the cross for all of our sins. I know that I would have and still would do anything for my daughter to be healthy and whole and God's son was PERFECT and he gave up his Son willingly for me.

Even though I knew all of the above, I walked away.

After church, I ran into Pastor Randy and he said, "I have a book for Brandon. I think will be perfect for him. Make sure one of y'all come by to pick it up."

I went to Sunday School and didn't think twice about it.

After Bible study today, I went by to see if Pastor Randy was in so I could pick up the book for Brandon. He was and he came out and said, "We were just talking about y'all. I just grabbed that book for Brandon and you walked in and they buzzed in my office to tell me you were here. I started kind of sharing with him all that I had been thinking about and wrestling with in the past months. We talked again about Romans 10:9-10. He also brought his secretary with him because she lost a little girl named Shannon 42 years ago.

He then flat out asked me, "Are you saved?"

I started to answer, "Well when I was nine I went forward and then again when I was 21 because I wasn't sure." He said, "It's a simple yes or no." He went on to share some more scripture and then he said, "When you made a commitment to love Brandon however long ago, how do you know you made that commitment?" I said, "Well I was there, of course." He said, "That's how sure you need to be about your commitment with Christ, and..." Before he could finish, I said, "And I'm not."

He shared 1 John 5:14-15 with me, which says, ""This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. And if we know that he hears us - whatever we ask - we know that we have what we asked of him." He shared 1 Timothy 2:4 "[God our Savior ] ...who desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth." which is proof that it is God's will that he wants me to be saved, so 1 John 5:14-15 would be granted, I just had to ask.

God had been patient all this time with me. He allowed my little girl to be sick so that my attention might be awakened. Even when I struggled still time and time again, he was patient with me.

So as of today around 12:45 ish on January 27, 2015, I accepted Christ as my Savior. Pastor Randy offered to guide me through a prayer, but I told him that I needed to do it for myself, so that I would know that I know that I know I had been saved. I prayed that exact thing.

A few weeks ago, my former boss told me that he felt like Romans 8:28 "And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose." was still my verse for this time. He said that he was sure I was struggling with how God could make Lily's situation for the good and with how his ways could be better at a time like this. Today I got my answer.

I know that I know that I know when I die, I am going to heaven and I will see Jesus and I will see Lily. 

Friday, January 23, 2015

Inside the Box.

When we found out that Lily was officially diagnosed, I knew that one of the things I wanted for her was a chest made of wood. Little Women is my favorite book and I remembered that the March girls each had a chest with their name on it. I knew that what we would have of Lily's would fit in there.

About two months after she had passed away, Brandon and I placed the blankets we used for her in the hospital inside the box. They were the last items. I think at the time, I thought that if we get rid of all that was a part of her and put it away, that I can move forward.

Then Halloween happened.

And well, the box just exploded. I tried to move forward. I remember sitting at football games and thinking, "Why do these people act like everything is okay? Don't they know my baby died?"

I didn't say anything though because I felt like people were tired of talking about her. I also desperately wanted to feel normal. I wanted the nightmare to just end. I wanted my old life back before my bubble had been popped. So I just walked around the mess. I pretty much pretended it wasn't there.

I still feel that way. I will have interactions with some of my dearest people and in the time we are together, not a word will be spoken about her, unless I bring my girl up. Then when she is brought up, people want to talk about how she's an angel. At some point, that will bring me comfort, but for now it doesn't. Or people want to shut down the conversation as quickly as possible because it makes them uncomfortable. If it makes them uncomfortable, imagine what it does to me. Finally, there are the people who think that our solution is to just have another baby. I don't want to have a child just to fix my problems. That poor kid would know that there would always be a hole he/she is trying to fill. That's no way to live. I want Jesus to bless us in his time for us, not for anyone else. Then I feel extremely self-conscious about being that girl. I'm not the only person with real live issues. I know that and I get that.

And so I'm quiet.

The problem is that my box has exploded and what has been raging and shouting in my head for months can't just be quiet anymore. The mess will not be ignored any longer.
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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.
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