01 July 2015

Glory to God

In my last post, I talked about the challenging pregnancy we were having. Our 6th pregnancy was not going as expected, and we had been told that it would not end well. The official diagnosis was a blighted ovum, which means that the baby was conceived but passed away only a week or two after conception. We were praying for a miracle and just hoping that God would create life where the doctors said there was none.

A few weeks ago, I went to church for our believers' service on a Wednesday night. God was doing some really big things that night, but I just wanted Him to heal my baby. I went to the front of the church and asked a woman that I didn't know, but to whom I felt drawn, to pray for me and for my baby. As she prayed, she began to prophesy that this baby would show the Glory of God.

I heard that, and I began to believe and accept that our baby would survive and that we would have our fourth child here on earth in our arms in just a few months. I believed that God would perform a miracle, and I knew that He could show Himself to be the "good, good Father" that I sang about that night with tears streaming down my cheeks.

Unfortunately, we did not get our miracle in the way we had hoped.

Only a few days later, I had another ultrasound that again showed no growth of the gestational sac, no embryo, no yolk sac. That was the day that I really began to understand that our baby was already in heaven with Jesus and his/her two siblings, Angel and Gabriel.

And my heart broke into a million pieces. 

We had a terrible storm that afternoon... as if God were crying with me. There was lots of rain and thunder and lightning.

My husband had plans to go out that night with some men from our church. And so he helped me get the kids to bed early so I could have some time to myself that night. And when I got alone, I prayed and cried out to God: "How could any glory possibly come from this?!?"

I was kind of stuck. I just kept crying and asking God the same thing over and over. He had promised that He would show his glory with this baby, but how could He since the baby was gone?

As I was crying and praying, I noticed that there was a bright yellow light showing through the windows, and I walked outside to see what was making that beautiful light.

What I saw was the most beautiful sunset. It was yellow and brown with the grey storm clouds breaking up and making the most gorgeous colors. And as I stood outside still asking God how he could bring glory out of the death of my child, I realized... God was showing me how he could show His glory through the aftermath of a terrible storm.

And he can bring glory from the loss of this life that He had created in my body, and whom God chose not to heal.

So I grabbed my phone and snapped some photos for my hubby:

And as I was pulling the pictures up to text to him, I saw it.

I saw the cross in the clouds, and I knew that this was no coincident, and God was really communicating with me through the beauty in the sky.

And then I felt peace ......I still also felt hurt and disappointment and anger, but that moment, I was overwhelmed by peace that God will somehow show His Glory.  I have no idea how or when, but that is up to God after all.

And in the meantime, I am mourning, and I am sad, and I don't understand God's plan.


A few days after the beautiful sunset, I started spotting. And 8 days of spotting later, I developed a low-grade fever. After another ultrasound I decided with my doctor to have a D&C to prevent an infection.

So on June 30, 2015, I said a final goodbye to our baby, even though I know he/she was already in heaven.

We decided to name our baby Glory. And so Glory went to be with our Lord in heaven, and we will see him/her again when we meet there at the end of our lives on earth.

"Glory to God in the highest, and peace on earth to people who enjoy his favor!"  - Luke 2:14 (ISV)

21 June 2015

Joy and Mourning

Tuesday morning, May 19, I woke up and remembered that I had bought some pregnancy tests a few days before. Why? Because I just felt like my body was changing shape ...and quite honestly, I take a lot of pregnancy tests. The only time I don't keep Dollar Tree tests on hand is when I am pregnant. I know, it's silly, but I believe God has healed me, and so I believe it is always possible.

But on that Tuesday, I felt like it was possible because I had only stopped nursing Maggie about 6 weeks before, and I was just ready for another baby. Did I really think I was pregnant? No ...not really. But I still remembered to grab a test before I went to the bathroom at 0- dark-30 while hubby was getting ready for work. And I took the test.... But ...I was just. so. tired! So without a word, I plopped the test on the counter without a word in front of hubby as if to say, "Check this when you get out of the shower because I will be sleeping..." and I went back to sleep.

So when I woke up to Maggie talking to me instead of Stan waking me to show me a pregnancy test, I just assumed it must have been negative. I got Maggie dressed and went back into the bathroom to get myself ready for the day. And much to my surprise, there was a "+" on the pregnancy test.

A "+" ...what?

So my rational side thought, "Surely it's a drying line. I took that thing more that 45 minutes ago. And that is SUCH a faint line." So I called Stan, who confirmed that he saw it too, within a few minutes of me taking it! Still, I didn't let myself get excited.

I went about my day, got my kids dressed, took Naomi to gymnastics, lunch together in the car, and grabbed a couple of extra pregnancy tests along the way. I bought a digital and a name brand just to keep it all legit and trustworthy. We landed that afternoon at Abigail's OT appointment, where I took the two tests as soon as Abi went back for her appointment.

Turns out, that first test was actually correct!

And so began pregnancy 6. Joyfully and with life!


Because I have had an ectopic (tubal) pregnancy, my doctors are always careful to check my HCG and progesterone levels early in pregnancy. My first two labs were good, but indicated I was very early in my pregnancy. So we did one more test, a week later. There was no reason to be concerned, and I almost forgot go have that last lab done. I was just not worried. So when they didn't call me with results, I just assumed all was well.

The following Monday, 5/25, was a holiday, and I started having some pretty intense pains on the same side I had the ectopic on. When I called the on-call doctor, they directed me to the ER, where I learned that the 3rd lab was not good and indicated a drop in progesterone and a slow increase in my HCG, which usually indicates that the pregnancy may be in trouble.

They did an ultrasound, which showed a very small gestational sac, and ran labs, which actually showed a good increase in HCG. So the ER sent be back home to follow up with my OB. She scheduled another ultrasound and round of labs for the following Monday with my first appointment to follow on Tuesday. What followed was a series of weekly ultrasounds that ALL showed a sac that was about the right size for a 6 week pregnancy but with nothing inside the sac. Very little growth. No yolk sac. No embryo.

You know how you can tell that things are not going well during an ultrasound? When they finish without giving you any printed pictures. I guess they assume no one wants to remember a baby they may never give birth to.

Who would want to see a picture of emptiness, a picture of death?

I will tell you who ...me. I know there WAS life in my womb. I know there WAS a baby conceived.

And so now, as I am supposed to be 10 weeks pregnant, I am here, waiting. Waiting for God to work a miracle. Waiting for my womb to cleanse itself. Waiting for something. I don't know which to expect, and I don't know what to feel.

Did I mention that I already look 6 months pregnant? That is totally not helping. My body is just continuing on as if everything is fine with this pregnancy. It's like a cruel joke.

How do I answer the question: "How far along are you now?"
or: "When is your due date?"
then: "What do you mean you don't know? How do you not know when the baby is due?"
and: "You ARE pregnant right?"

My answers have been: "I just don't know." "We have no idea." "It's really complicated."

If I took a pregnancy test right now, it would be positive. So I guess I am still pregnant.

My OB offered a D&C if I felt like I needed it, but I declined. Part of me is still hoping they're wrong and the baby is fine. And the other part of me just wants to do this naturally if the baby is indeed already in heaven.

The story of Lazarus tells me it is ok to mourn even if there is going to be a miracle. Jesus himself wept, knowing he would perform a miracle and raise Lazarus from the dead. So I guess I am mourning, and at the same time hoping for a miracle.

07 April 2015

From 4 to 5 ...and Other Developments

2 Years

It's been 2 years since I have posted here.

A lot has happened.

First, let me explain why it has been so long...
In the last few posts, we made the announcement that we would be adopting from Africa. The same week that we got our approved home study, we also received the news that we were pregnant with our 5th pregnancy ...and we also started to notice some very challenging behavior from our then 3-year-old. We made the decision to slow down the adoption process while we were pregnant and trying to rule out any major issues with our oldest.

I can't believe that was 2 years ago ...and wow...it has been a very full 2 years.

First, let's talk about the joyful addition :) Maggie is a delight! I had a very smooth pregnancy with her, and she was born on December 20, 2013, just 2 days before her due date :) We had been praying for a full-term pregnancy and that I would go into labor on my own. I was a couple of centimeters dilated for the last two months of pregnancy, and well ... I was also HUGE!!!! #hugebellymessyhouse

On the day we welcomed Maggie to the world, my water broke at 12:19 AM. I rushed Stan out to the car because my contractions were only a couple of minutes apart and very intense. We checked into the hospital at 1:05AM, and she was out at 1:29AM, only seconds after the doctor walked in. It was incredible! And horribly painful ...and I am pretty sure I yelled at every human being in the maternity ward before she came out and then sweetly apologized after she came out. The doctor's first words about her were, "Wow! She's a chunky baby." 8lb 13 oz chunky! But she was perfect :) She was pretty intense, but a good baby.

She had some pretty significant growth issues from the start and lost about a pound before we left the hospital. She landed back in the hospital at 8 weeks for failure to thrive (like her sisters) at 8 weeks. She had some abnormal liver enzymes, but we only stayed in the hospital for a few days, and her issues self-resolved after a couple of months.

Maggie started walking at the ripe old age of 9 months (Lord help us!), and she was my heaviest 1 year old, weighing in at 20 lb at her 1 year check up.

Now, onto our other developments ...

Abigail, our now 5-year-old, has been in Occupational therapy and speech now for about 9 months for some developmental delays. While she is the smartest kid I have ever met, some of her physical and social development has not been ideal. Her behavior is also a pretty difficult challenge, as behavior tends to be with gifted kids. I have now been to 2 neurologists, a psychologist, and her pediatrician several times to determine what is going on with our sweet little girl. We have some answers, but we are seeking a 3rd opinion before declaring those answers accurate. That 3rd opinion will come from the best developmental pediatrician in our area ...who has a 12 month waiting list for an appointment.

Life has been filled with major adjustments over the past 2 years during this discovery process of the special needs we have in our family. We are quite honestly lost in a muddle of opinions and ideas about what should and shouldn't be done. And my husband and I are not sure what to do next. So those of you who pray, please remember us! :)

Another very bright spot has made it's way into our life this year! Last April, I started a Mary Kay business, and I have fallen in love with the company and what I do. I get to sit knee to knee with women and get to know them and teach them about skin care and also get to know them as real as real can be! It makes my heart happy to get a chance to make another woman feel special and to help enrich her life. And my business is going well! Very well! I am 1 month into the qualification process for my first free car!!! A Red Chevy Cruze! This has been such a positive, confidence-building experience in my life this year, and I can't believe I have the ability to do what I do.