Wednesday, October 15, 2014

We have come so far...

So far from the birth and death of Arie and Hadilyn, so far from the depths of the deepest grief a Mommy can know, and so far from the start of Owl Love You Forever!
Photo from Dusty Perez at www.lilyphotographydp.com

     Every time someone close to me experiences the loss of a baby, it brings me right back to May 24, 2010.  Not in a bad way, just in a way that keeps the feelings and emotions alive in me.  It doesn't upset me, or hurt me when something is brought up.  Losing my twins was what hurts, not bringing up their memory.  
     Today being National Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Day, the memory of my twins is vivid and at the fore front of my mind.  We were blessed on their birthday to have lots of pictures taken.  Sure, not every picture is great- ok most are good at best but I CAN NOT fathom even deleting a single one from that day.  So, there are a few hundred to go through :) But, every so often I open the folder and flip through the images.  And most times tears roll down my cheeks as I focus on their miniature features and their micro-preemie sized clothes.  However, today I was awestruck at all the other people in the photos.  As I flipped through, there are dozens of friends, family, and even extended family at our bedside.  We ARE so blessed to have had that much support on THE hardest day of our lives.  We are beyond blessed that there are hundreds of others that have lifted us up since that day!  We have an entire church behind us, praying us through the tough times and rejoicing with us and celebrating our 2 living children.  Can you imaging going through such an enormous loss without the Lord and without a good support system?  But there ARE women doing this alone!  I can literally feel my heart break for them.  Who will dry their tears and surround them with the peace that passes understanding?  
     Today is filled with lots of emotions.  Anger, bitterness, guilt, sadness, emptiness but also joy.  Joy that I got to finally hold two of my children in my arms on that day in May.  Joy that today we have come SO much farther than where we were on October 15, 2010.  It is still a bit taboo to talk about a child that has died, but with social media and SO many women banding together to stand up and say their child's name and to break the silence; we are on the right path!  We aren't done yet, and there is still lots of work to be done.  If you have lost a child, consider doing something tangible in their honor.  Not only today, but all throughout the year!  I can't explain how much healing I have received from starting Owl Love You Forever.  Being able to tell their story and share about their lives no matter how short they were!  Focusing on other families grieving the loss of a child, truly fulfills me and brings purpose to my babies' lives.  I can "mother" them on this side of heaven, by supporting others in their honor.  No family should ever have to go through this, and I don't have the power to stop it from happening again.  BUT, I do have the power to stand up for these families.  I can vow to do my part to help them not feel alone.  To be there for them in their greatest time of need.  To be a voice in the darkness when they feel abandoned by their friends or family.  I can direct them to the Lord, because He is truly who carried me through those dark days.  What can you do?  What can you do in honor of your child, niece, nephew, grandchild, or sibling?  
     Owl Love You Forever is focused on providing care boxes to every family that loses a baby in the state of Arizona.  That is hundreds of boxes being donated a year.  That means, hundreds of supplies needed.  OLYF is extremely low on supplies, so please consider making a donation in an angel baby's honor!  Also, check out their WISH LIST as of today! 
  

Friday, May 30, 2014

He's Here!

Enzo James, our perfect son, has arrived!  


     We couldn't feel more blessed, excited, nervous, and all those emotions that come with bringing home a baby.  God is SO good!  It has been a rough journey getting here, but I wouldn't change a minute of it for anything.  My faith has been stretched, my relationship with God has grown, and I have learned SO much about depending on Him and His plan.
     Enzo made his arrival at 37 weeks and 4 days on May 21st.  He decided he wanted to be born sunny side up so I could see his precious face first ;)  This complicated things a bit, and as a result we have been recovering at home and taking things slow.  In those first moments after seeing him, I could hardly contain myself.  I mean the tears were so intense I had to ask for oxygen because I couldn't catch my breath.  The anxiety melted away as I heard that first strong cry, my heart exploded with love and astonishment as I studied the little boy that had been growing inside me.  An inexpressible amount of joy as I realized my body didn't fail me this time.  He was here, healthy, and PERFECT in every way.  Enzo weighed 7lbs 5 oz and I immediately thanked God for having him arrive slightly early, considering his size :) and that he didn't share a birthday with his twin siblings.  Enzo would get his own day, and my heart couldn't be happier about that!
     Even though I wasn't supposed to be out and about, we did make one special trip to visit Arie and Hadilyn on their birthday.  Having Enzo with us this year to visit the twins was a moment I will treasure forever.


     Sorry the post is brief, but I am having an overwhelming feeling to go swoop my SON up out of his swing and snuggle him... blaming the hormones! Thank you all for encouraging, supporting, and praying us through these past 10 months or so.  Your kind words and prayers will never go over looked, each and every one was appreciated more than you may never know.  

*** Name disclaimer, Enzo is not named after the Ferrari car or my husband.  My husband's name is not Ferrari.  His name is actually Arie, but so is our son's name, so I use my hubby's nickname on the blog just to help differentiate the two.  There have been a lot of questions about that, so I thought I would try and clear that up :) I heard the name, Enzo, a few years ago, and LOVED it.  I had mentioned it to my hubby and he was the one that actually informed me it was a car, but I loved it too much to not use because of that! His name is unique like each of his sibling's names :) 

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Spirit Lead Me

     As I sit here and watch my tummy roll with activity from my sons strong kicks, I can't help but reflect on before I was pregnant.  I slept differently, dressed differently, ate differently, and looked quite differently.  Lately, I have been trying to imagine what it will feel like once he is in my arms and not my stomach anymore.  How many hours will pass before I long to feel him kick inside of me again?  As much as his strong kicks can cause discomfort, with each kick and movement I am reassured he is alive and God is not done with his life.
     It was exactly one year ago that Ferrari and I started discussing how we were going to go about adding to our family.  We had such a great experience adopting Audie, that it was honestly what we figured we would do again.  Our agency makes you wait for the youngest child in your home to be one before being listed back in the matchbook.  So naturally, we started getting questions about if/when we would decide to go back in the book.  It was surprising to us that when the one year mark came around, we weren't really on board with being in the matchbook.  We didn't quite know if it was because we weren't ready to add to our family, or if it just wasn't quite the path we wanted to take.  We let nearly 3 months go by without bringing the topic up to each other.  I kept making a list in my head of things I wanted to accomplish or complete before I would feel comfortable being put back in the book, all the while "knowing" I was just adding to the list out of convenience to buy me more time.
   When the topic of trying again for a biological child came up, it was one that I didn't quite know how to respond to.  I had pretty much sworn off trying to get pregnant with clomid again, it had brought us so much loss and heartache.  For those of you that may not know, we have only ever been able to conceive while using clomid.  However, each of the 4 pregnancies ended in some type of loss and we were cautioned that this might not be our best option.  Excessive rounds of this drug are known to cause cancer and we have a high probability of miscarrying based on our track record.  When going this route, we don't have the opportunity to "biopsy" the embryo like when we did IVF to see if it is deemed "healthy;" therefore we would be blindly moving forward.
     However, the idea of clomid kept creeping into my mind.  I decided to bring it up to Ferrari and see his thoughts.  Surprisingly, he was on board to entertain the idea as long as our doctor agreed.  So, I gave the office a call and waited.  The topic consumed my thoughts, and I just couldn't quite decide if this was what I wanted or not.  I spent a lot of time in prayer, pleading with God to show us which path to take and it wasn't until I received my call back that it became clear.  When talking to the doctor, I sensed in her voice not good news.  I got the feeling from her tone that after they discussed it, my team of doctors had decided it wouldn't be a good idea.  My heart sank low, and I wasn't expecting that.  I almost started to block out what she said next, to protect my heart from hearing the door was closed.  But, she wasn't in fact delivering this news, she was calling to inform me that they had discussed it and all decided it would be in our best interest to try clomid once more.  When I "thought" they were removing the option of clomid from us, it was in that moment that I realized I was so upset because that is what I was really wanting.  God was giving me PEACE with trying clomid again, and I could hardly believe it.
     Obviously, we went ahead and tried clomid one more time and I think you can tell that we are SO incredibly happy we did.  We could have gone forward with adopting again, or even tried IVF again to better our chance of transferring a "healthy/biopsied" embryo.  But, we didn't.  We moved forward with the single most terrifying path.  Clomid was the route that could involve the most heartache, with the longest road, most hiccups, and biggest let downs.  This path would require the most amount of faith we could muster.  The "safest" route would have been adopting again, but God was not leading us down that path.  Our agency always told us, adopting is a sure thing.  You don't know how long it will take, but one day you will take home a forever baby.  No one could promise us that with clomid.
    I've shared before just how much lyrics of songs can speak to me.  This song is one that can take me right back to the day we made the clomid decision.  This song has the power to remind me of the peace God gave me in making that decision.  It encourages me to continue through this pregnancy, and to turn to God on those hard days.  It challenges me to go deeper, to allow God more room to utilize me.  He is the one that has brought me through this pregnancy, and He will be there when this baby boy is delivered.  It is according to His plan when our little miracle will make his debut, and his life will always be in God's hands.  My son will forever remind me of just how strong my faith can be.  He will be a constant encouragement to me, to allow God to take me deeper.  I don't want to live a "safe" life, I want to live one that is scary and messy and allows me to rely fully on Him.  Had we not taken the risk of trying for another biological child, I would never know what 37 weeks pregnant feels like.  God is good, and we are SO incredibly blessed by Him!


If the video doesn't work for you, try clicking this link

 

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Reality is...

     Reality is, it's getting harder to write.  It's getting harder to breathe, literally, his feet are in my ribs ;)  I am now over 35 weeks pregnant, and the doubt and fear that takes over at times is just too much.  I literally poked and prodded at my poor sleeping son the other night, I couldn't get him to kick me back and within 2 seconds my mind had raced through every possibility of what could have occurred.  I shook Ferrari awake, my calm hubby kindly reminded me that he was probably in a dead sleep and would take a minute to wake up.  Which he did, and when I felt those jabs, painful as they were, a huge smile radiated across my face and I dried my tears.  He was ok, he was alive, and his heart must be beating because he sure had started to beat up on my insides :) Do you know how many of these moments I experience daily?  I'm sure its a normal fear even for pregnant women that haven't lost a child, but there is something about when these experiences happen that take me back to those moments before the twins were born.  When I couldn't hear, couldn't focus, couldn't believe what was about to happen.  The reality becomes too close to my heart, what I thought was once healed and possibly forgotten, is quickly remembered all too well.
     Truth is, in most moments, I want him born.  I want him out of my flawed human body because for some crazy reason I feel that he will be safer outside of me, as if Satan can't get to him then.  How could I have gone the past 8 months begging God to keep him inside, and now suddenly want him out.  Am I a bad mother for thinking this way? I don't think so, even though some people's comments make me second guess myself.  Can this anxiety really be healthy for him?  The roller coaster of emotions is getting tough, and it doesn't help when everyone takes one look at me and assumes it will only be a few more days by my size.  I correct them with well about 7, 6, and now 5 more weeks actually.  Then I start to concentrate on just how long 5 more weeks really could be and can I physically and emotionally even handle that?
     One HUGE fear of mine is having him decide to come on May 24th, my twins' birthday.  That possibly couldn't happen right?!?  I mean what are the odds?!?  Well, to be quite honest, I have a handful of stories about a sibling being born on an angelversary.  One was even twins, being born a year later on their twin sibling's 1st Birthday in Heaven!  See, crazier things have happened.  I want my son to have his own day, his own special celebrated time that he doesn't have to share with his siblings he never got to meet.  It doesn't seem fair to him, or them.  I can just picture him resenting me some day, during his teenage years, as if I could have controlled it in some way.
     This post is definitely not one of my prouder moments, it's not beautifully written or heavily edited.  But what it is, is real.  Trust me, with pregnancy brain and hormones raging through my body this is just about all I could put together.  I think about blogging, writing, some how capturing these feelings so I can come back later and read them.  But, would I even want to remember them?  I definitely want to remember my pregnancy, I am trying to focus on soaking in every moment I can with this sweet boy growing (very largely) inside of me.  But, will I want to reflect back on the anxiety I felt?  Will I ever dare to put myself through this again?  I have no idea, but if what I am experiencing can help one other women when she experiences it, then this post will be worth it.  These random raw feelings, will bring me back to the hard days and allow me to connect with another mom fearing the life of her unborn baby.  I just love what my friend, Kathe Wunnenberg, always says.  "We go through what we go through, to help others go through what we went through." And if that quote right there, doesn't sum up my entire blog then what I am doing is pointless.  I could keep a private journal so I don't forget anything dear to me, but I choose to put it here.  Where others experiencing something similar can get support, or friends and family can get ideas about what their loved ones are going through and how they can help.
     I can't imagine going through infertility, pregnancy loss, adopting, or infant loss without God.  I rely on Him more than anyone else, after all sometimes He is the only one there to listen as 3:00 in the morning ;)  He can calm my heart and provide me with a peace that truly passes human understanding.  I know God has this little boy's birth all planned out, and I know it is a perfect one for a perfect day.  If only I could remember that 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.  Today, I am asking God for strength to forge ahead, its only a few more weeks!  I can do it, with Him.  I can do it, with all the support from my family and friends.  I can do it, for my son.  And later this week, or later today when I need a reminder of that I can reread this post!
     When I first found out I was pregnant, a group of very dear friends of mine prayed over this baby.  We prayed specifically for a son.  A son, that would be born alive and healthy.  They continue to pray LIFE over this baby boy!  Their belief that God will deliver on this prayer, is such an encouragement to me.  I can't wait to meet my Mr. Miracle.