Friday, February 12, 2016

An Introduction & A Final Farewell

 I am beyond thrilled and grateful to have the opportunity to introduce you to my daughter, Peyton Nicole.

Her name means Royal.

She entered the world on Saturday, November 14, 2015 at 11:13 am.
11 days early!

 She is the happiest, most laid back baby.  She has slept 4-6 hr stretches since the beginning.  And, is currently sleeping 10-12 hrs at night!

Her big brother has adored her since the beginning.  He wasn't so fond of his parents at first, but has since come around and back to his old self.

Her delivery was my first non-induced, medicated one.  I wasn't even sure if I was in labor at the time.  I went in, and was at a 3.  15 minutes later, I reached a 4.  I settled in upstairs, got the epidural, and she was born 9 hrs later, without any pain!  In fact, I was dozing off at 8-9cm.  I don't know WHAT I was thinking to not get an epidural before now.  

Her umbilical cord was wrapped around her neck twice, and also around her body.  We are so incredibly thankful for a smooth delivery, and her perfect health!  Thank You, Lord.

Being a mom of 2 hasn't really changed much for me.  She is an easy baby, and I am living my dream come true.

Truth be told, I had shut this blog down for awhile.  This past December was 7 years since the birth & death of my firstborn son.  It was a unique year in the grief department for me.  There were several hours heavy-laden in grief.  But, my heart is at peace now.  

I look back at all that God has carried me through these past 7-8 yrs, and I am overwhelmed with gladness.  He is faithful.  Through it all, He never left me, or abandoned me, especially while I was in the darkest of valleys.  

This blog has a very special place in my heart.  It kept family and friends up to date with Dylan's condition, and situation.  It served as an outlet to express my grief, and reach out to those who had already walked the path before me, and to reach out to ones who were a few short steps behind me in the grief journey.

 However, I feel God is closing this chapter of my life.  I will never forget Dylan, or the lessons learned from his short time with me.  But, I no longer feel led to write posts on this blog after today. 

I don't want to end it without expressing my deep, deep gratitude to all of you first.  Thank you for all of your support, love, and encouragement these last almost 8 years.  From the very depths of my heart, thank you.

Life will never be perfect this side of Heaven, but with God joy is still possible.  Even after the worse tragedies that may occur.  My hope for all of you is that you will trust God with your circumstances, past, present, and future.  That He will carry you through them, just as He has done for me, and will continue to do.

Farewell, my friends.  May peace & love abound in your lives, now & always.


Monday, July 20, 2015

“Now to Him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to Him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen”.

Just when we didn't think any year could be better than our year last year, God goes and wows us again!  Here's the scoop:

We had been praying for a certain amount of money to cover our insurance costs for a second baby. God answered. He gave us the EXACT amount we had asked for through our tax returns this year. We called right away to set up an appointment to begin taking fertility medications again for Baby #2. Little did we know, God had already started the process of knitting together our next baby. No fertility meds were needed!  Surprise!

We want you to know that God is NOT dead. He is very much alive, and active, even in our world today! We are living proof of this. He has redeemed our lives from the pits. He has turned our mourning into gladness. What was once only a prayer, has been brought forth into a very real dream come true. We give all of the glory to God!  What He's done for us, He can and will do for you, too. Whatever your struggle, He wants to help. Please let Him.

Without further ado, we are beyond thrilled to introduce you to: Our DAUGHTER!!! Both my husband and I teared up at the words “It's a girl” at our 12 week appointment. She has perfect chromosomes, and received another clean bill of health at the 20 week baseline ultrasound.  Oh, she also happens to be due on my birthday(November)!  God definitely gives more than we could ever dream of asking for on our own.

For some reason, my husband and I have never had a girl's name chosen, not even with our first baby.  So, she doesn't have a name yet which is so unusual for my type A personality, I know.  I am thinking we will just wait to meet her to decide, and hope it's decided on before we leave the hospital.

I would totally appreciate your prayers for an uneventful pregnancy, and another safe delivery over these next 18 weeks.

Praying for God's blessings over your lives, too.  ♡

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Happy Holidays & (Belated) 6th Birthday, Dylan!

 I apologize for the delay.  I've been battling the seasonal cold, and my youngest has been fighting a mild case of pneumonia.  Thankfully, I think we're on the up and up now.

This Christmas was a dream come true!  It was everything I have ever hoped it would be... 

The festivities began on Christmas Eve.  In keeping with tradition, we celebrated with my parents.  We had them over for dinner, dessert, and gifts!  Hudson was spoiled, to put it mildly.

Hudson wore his Christmas p.j.'s for the occasion.

 He got the Vtech Smart Shots Sports Center from his grandma & grandpa.  If Hudson is anything like his daddy, he'll be an all-star athlete, succeeding at whatever he puts his hands to.

Christmas morning was a quiet one at home.  We had pancakes, bacon, and eggs for breakfast.  My husband read us the story of Jesus(the REAL reason for the season!!!), and then Hudson opened presents from us.

Hudson loves Elmo!  

December 28(Dylan's Birthday) was a quiet one...just how I like it.  We celebrated with blue colored cupcakes, sporting the letter "D".  I had picked out 6 white roses in honor of what would have been his 6th birthday.  I enjoy looking at them, thinking of my sweet firstborn.  We threw mini white roses on Dylan's grave as we said our final goodbyes.  Interestingly, when I purchased the roses this year, the total came to $7.00 exactly.  Dylan lived for exactly 7 perfect hours.  God still gives me gentle reminders that He has not forgotten Dylan.

His little life has changed mine forever.  I live more fearlessly than before.  I love like it's my last day on Earth.  I take bolder steps for Jesus.  I don't take a single moment with my loved ones for granted.  

For the first time in 6 years, this holiday season was all that it was supposed to be.  Jesus.  Family.  Babies.  Time together.

Happy birthday, my precious firstborn.  I can hardly wait for the day we're reunited.  I can't wait to introduce you to your stepdad and baby brother.  You are never forgotten, my sweet boy.


Thursday, October 30, 2014

Our Journey To Fertility

We overcome by the Blood of the Lamb and the word of our testimony, so here it is.  The path to parenting was not an easy one for us, but the tough road made the victory even sweeter!  Where to begin?

I've never been one to beat around the bush, so staying true to who God made me to be, I'll just say it.  I have PCOS.  I was diagnosed close to 12 years ago.  I have always had maybe 1 or 2 periods a year.  My doctors had chalked it up to being so active(I was a dancer and soccer player), and said to "enjoy it".  So I did.  Then, the dream of being a mom came into focus.

PCOS is a condition in which ovaries produce follicles that never grow to maturity, or being released.  They stay attached to the ovaries as "cysts".  Hence the name Poly Cystic Ovarian Syndrome.  There are all sorts of uncomfortable symptoms associated with it, including weight gain, lack of periods, infertility, and more.  Having this condition, and working in an OB-GYN office for 6 years, I was well versed in it.  And, I knew that it, unfortunately, can make pregnancy very difficult to achieve.  I didn't want to waste any time.

My doctor and I had a plan in place shortly after I married my husband in September of 2012.  We tried naturally for 3 months.  Nothing happened.  I went on a medication called Clomid in December of 2012.  I had a terrible, terrible experience with that drug.  There were days I found myself on the couch crying, devastated, and unable to cope.  But I trudged on.  Motherhood isn't easy, right?  I would bear any discomfort, endure any amount of sacrifice, if it meant a baby in my arms.  December came and went.  The medication did not even cause ovulation, which is what it was supposed to do.  My normally endearing husband kindly asked me to never go on that medication again.  I couldn't have agreed more.  We went back to the drawing board.

Meanwhile, friends and family all around me were becoming pregnant.  Well meaning friends and family were unknowingly pouring salt on our wounds, asking us when we were going to have kids.  Because that's a natural question to ask newlyweds, right?  Oh the heartbreak.  Oh the devastation.  Oh the strain and pressure that was put on our marriage.  I carried so much shame and guilt.  Why was God "punishing" me?  I felt so isolated and crushed.  It was an hour by hour struggle to be happy for my loved ones who were falling pregnant so easily.  It was a struggle to not speak my mind when they would complain of weight gain or morning sickness.  Jealousy constantly threatened to steal my peace.

Back to our strategy.  We tried the holistic route.  I went to a holistic doctor, and began quite an extensive herbal regimen.  I was praying, and pleading.  Still...nothing.

I scoured online research, blogs, and web forums.  I came across an herb called "Vitex" AKA Chastetreeberry.  I took the maximum recommended amount.  It worked!  I got a period within 30 days!  Never was a period so welcomed in all the world!  I continued that herb and also started tracking my basal body temperature.  A very strong, clearly noted ovulation was being displayed.  Hooray!  My doctor was impressed with the results, but still no conception.  I was also taking Metformin, a drug to treat diabetes.  Symptoms of diabetes can also show up in patients with PCOS.  Metformin helps to regulate blood sugars, which can also help to level out hormones.  So, I took Metformin and the Vitex for 3 months.

I was struggling internally.  I would have loved for God to just show up, and part the Red Sea before my eyes.  To grant me a miracle pregnancy with no drugs involved.  I totally think He is capable of that.  However, that's not the direction I felt pulled in or called to.  Walking through the Christian aisle of the local library, a book entitled She Did What She Could caught my attention.  It centered around Mark 14:18, referencing the woman who poured a very expensive perfume on Jesus' feet.  Just short of hearing an audible voice, I strongly felt the urging to also take a relatively new drug to the fertility world called Femara.  I had done the research.  It is actually a treatment for breast cancer, but one of the side effects is increased fertility.  I felt God telling me to do what I could, and trust Him for the rest.

Upon discussion and agreement with my husband and physician, I took it.  Ovulation was indeed confirmed by an ultrasound, and conception followed!  Praise God!  It worked the very first month!

I was out to lunch with my co-workers in Chicago when I suddenly felt very ill.  I had to excuse myself to the bathroom.  My body was showing all the signs that indeed I was pregnant, but my mind was cautious to accept it.  A pee stick confirmed it.  My prayers, my pleading, my lifelong dream had come true!

Of course I had to take more tests,  you know, just to be sure.  The very same day I had prepared to share the news with my husband, he had news of his own to share.  He had made the final payment on a loan, making us debt free!  The same day we discovered we were parents, God enabled us to repay all of our debts!  He is so amazing!

Around 9 weeks, I had slight spotting.  My joy came crashing down.  It was one of the most fearful moments of my life.  I will never forget my husband's response.  He said, "It was God's baby first.  We have to trust Him no matter what happens".  Man, I love him.  He is so grounded and steady.  Another ultrasound confirmed all was well with the baby.  We had genetic testing done at 10 weeks, and the rest is history.

God is good, and promises children to His children.  Be encouraged.  He is faithful and true.

I hope this story encourages you, especially if  you are on a similar path.  Stand firm, your baby is on its way!

A little picture update on our miracle baby:


Monday, June 9, 2014

Two Months!

 At 2 months old, Hudson weighs 13.2 lbs!  He loves to smile & adores ceiling fans.  He will stare at one until some kind soul will turn it on for him.  He's not quite laughing yet, but is getting close.  He holds his head great & even stands on his own-so long as someone is holding his hands.  Not much bothers him, unless of course he is strapped in his car seat & you're not going fast.  Apparently boys are born with a need for speed... He is sleeping an average of 7 hours at night.  Hudson is such a joy!  We're often told how "lucky" we are.  We consider ourselves blessed.  God has truly given us double for our trouble in Hudson.

Hudson was not a huge fan of having to get shots at his 2 month checkup.  If the truth be told, his mom was near break down, too.  So hard to see him upset!

Thankfully, he quickly got over it.

We thank God for a healthy, happy, & growing boy!

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Mother's Day 2014

This Mother's Day has been unlike any other.  Honestly, the last five have been awful.  They were painful reminders of what I once had(but lost too soon), what I yearned for in the present, and what I was beginning to doubt I would ever have in the future.  But this Mother's Day?  This year was much, much different.  It represented answered prayers, unspeakable joy, renewed hope, tears of longing for my son in heaven, and tears of gratitude for the son in my arms.

One day, I will share the story of our fertility struggles.  I've gone to write the post many times, but haven't had the courage to hit "publish".  But, for anyone reading this that is currently battling (and it is a every sense of the word) infertility, know that you are not alone.  Know that God will grant you your heart's desire.  Know that what is impossible with man, IS possible with God!  And don't let anyone tell you any different.

This Mother's Day, my dreams came true.  I held my own flesh and blood in my arms.  He is alive.  He is healthy.  And, he's completely adored.  All of that I owe to Jesus.  Thank You, Lord for this perfect gift!

Hudson is not a morning person.  He comes by that naturally.

I am so grateful to have had the last 7 weeks home with my boy: