Sunday, November 2, 2014

Diagnosis, Prognosis, Tragedy, or Instead...

     LIVE today and don't wait for tomorrow.  We aren't guaranteed another day!  Are you harboring resentment or anger towards someone, forgive them and move on.  Mend broken relationships so they don't distract you.  Spend your energy on helping someone else, focus on bettering someone's day instead of filling yours with negative thoughts.  Do not wait for someone to be diagnosed with a serious condition, a car accident, or something that puts life in perspective as a result of a bad prognosis.  God did not intend for us to live this way!  He often shakes things up and gets us to realize things by using a specific event, but we can make the change today without a tragedy!
     Literally, over the past week I have encouraged my sister through her friend's loss of her mother to breast cancer, set up a prayer page for my dear friend diagnosed with breast cancer, prayed for another friend's son who was diagnosed with cancer this weekend, and today received a call about a precious little boy that has the same type of cancer as my nephew.  Now, I don't know about you and what is going on in your life but talk about a slap in my face, the other cheek, and practically upside my head from every angle.  God is clearly opening my eyes to hurting people.  When life gets comfortable, God gets a movin and a shaken!  I am obviously too comfortable, and I am ready and willing for God to use me in new ways.  This cancer thing is insane, and EVERYWHERE!  It does not discriminate, it attacks anyone at any age and at any stage in life!
     As a Mommy of 2 young children and being physically separated from all these friends by quite a few miles it sure would be easy to throw my hands up and say there is nothing I can do.  I wouldn't be able to live with myself if I did that.  Instead, I am making a prayer board in my kitchen.  Somewhere I can visually see all these HUGE needs as I spend my days doing dishes and changing diapers.  I can most definitely PRAY!  I plan on talking the Big Guy Upstairs' ear off! He is going to hear from me daily about each of these families.  I have no excuse! I will do my part in helping these hurting families.  Please join me in praying too!  I know each of these families will appreciate it!


     If you are pregnant for the first time after overcoming infertility or are pregnant with your precious rainbow baby, you can gain something from this too!  There is no need to focus negative energy on something that hasn't happened.  Focus your energy on the living child inside of you!  Spend each waking moment praising God for this blessing, instead of fearing what may or may not happen.  Love this child every day you are blessed to carry him or her.  It is MUCH easier said than done, but it is possible.  Pray God gives you the strength to get through each day, and for hope that tomorrow your child is still healthy and living in you!  Ask friends to pray LIFE into your unborn child.  This may sound completely crazy depending on your background, but trust me it helps!  It will bring you SO much peace having family and friends pray on your behalf.  Don't be afraid to ask for prayer!  It is the easiest and most helpful thing someone can do for you during a pregnancy! God is listening, and He most definitely cares so pour your heart out to Him.  I promise the days may feel long, but like parenting living children outside the womb, the years are short.  Trust me, that pregnancy is going to fly by and you will begin to long for those amazing flutters inside you again.  If you aren't familiar with how to pray, I encourage you just to chat with Him.  He is our Father, but he is also our Friend.  You certainly know how to call or text a friend when you need something; so try that out with Him.

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!


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