news | adding to our flock

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We are so, so, so excited to announce that we have another little one on the way! We are calling this little life, baby chickie. We are still early, but we choose to share early, because we will share no matter whether we have just a few short weeks with this baby or a whole lifetime ahead. Each life is precious and warrants celebration from the very beginning.

The kids are thrilled, Jarvis had actually been asking for a while when we were going to have another baby! So far, the consensus among the kids is that it’s a girl, but mama thinks it’s a boy. Mama is also pretty sure it’s only one, although we will have that confirmed at our first ultrasound. Doesn’t feel like twins to me!

We due early July 2015, and can’t wait to see how this little one might fit into our family!

And since I know we will get a gamut of reactions, and already have, the biggest question I get is “why have more kids when you are already exhausted and somewhat overwhelmed?”

For us, it comes down to how we view children. This is our greatest work. People sacrifice in unbelievable ways for jobs that they personally value, why isn’t parenthood the same? My exhaustion is nothing compared to the daily blessings. But, this woman says it better than I ever could: Why Have More Kids?

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Monkey | Grief and Hope

I’ve had this post written for a while. I debated on it and prayed on it and thought about it non-stop. 

And then a friend in a similar situation told me, “If I can help even one person, then sharing was worth it.” I had been feeling that in my heart, but sometimes it’s hard to find the words.

On Christmas Day 2010, we found out we were expecting again. 

The emotions I experienced in that moment were overwhelming and conflicting. When you’ve lost a baby before, all the innocence of pregnancy is torn away. You know that that little stick doesn’t guarantee that you will hold a living, breathing, crying, beautiful baby in 9 months. 

We were completely and unequivocally thrilled. We can only imagine the blessings more children would bring and want that desperately. But I was also completely and utterly terrified. My hubby is so very positive, so trusting. So we decided early on to try be excited, to try and not let the fear be overwhelming. Our little Monkey was very loved and desperately wanted. 

Three weeks later, I went for my first ultrasound and things did not look normal. However, I was sent home with a glimmer of hope and told to come back. 

A week later, some progress made a definitive diagnosis still uncertain. 

Two more long weeks, waiting, hoping, grieving. Clinging onto the tiniest spark of hope. Just waiting. 

The final ultrasound confirmed what we suspected, so we decided to wait it out and miscarry naturally. I needed to know for sure, I needed my body to tell me definitely.

At almost 12 weeks, we lost our Monkey.

I am sure some people will wonder why I am sharing this. Why I have decided to let people know now, after the fact. And to be honest, my feelings on keeping pregnancies secret at all is very complicated. Sharing while in the midst of pain isn’t helpful for me, I need to process and deal on my own.

But sharing now… well it means I might be able to help someone. To give just one person some hope and some understanding. To connect with so many other women who face infertility or loss. I’m not sharing for attention, or to make people feel sorry for me. I’m sharing because there were amazing women who stepped up to help me, and I want to pass that on to other women in need.

I have been in a situation twice this month to talk to mother’s who have recently lost their babies. I feel so passionately that we, as women, should support one another. Encourage, lift up, cry with, just be women together.

So here I am sharing my story. I’m here. To talk. To scream. To pray. To rant. To agree with all the feelings that you aren’t willing to admit to others, but that I promise you I have felt and still do feel.

In case you don’t know, we experienced 2 years of infertility before fertility drugs helped conceive our first son, Jarvis. We lost our second son, Job, at 20 weeks, for unknown reasons. We lost Monkey at 12 weeks to a blighted ovum.

I’ve experienced so much more than I would ever wish on someone, but also so much less than so many others face.

Ultimately, it just makes me so very grateful for Jarvis. For the miracle and blessing that is him. He is amazing and I strive to cherish every single day we have with him. No matter what, I have him, and I am so blessed to be his mother, and if that’s all I ever get… it’s enough. He’s more than enough.

So with you: Now is your time of grief, but I will see you again and you will rejoice, and no one will take away your joy. John 16:22

Jarvis’ birth | A reflection

As I sit here (in tears) on the eve of my firstborn’s birthday, I can not help but be astounded by the depth of love I have learned in the past year. Through my precious son, my Lord has taught me just a small measure of the love He feels for me. To have been blessed with this amazing child who makes me want to be a better person every day.
I’m not going to include every detail, just the basics of how his birth progressed, just to remember, to celebrate him.

We were overdue by nearly a week, but I honestly wasn’t that uncomfortable. However very anxious, excited, and ready to meet him? YES. Daddy was simply mourning the loss of the tax-deduction in 2009, haha!

We went in for an induction at 7am on the morning of January 5th. Soon-to-be Daddy and I got up, showered, and got all ready to go. I even did my hair and make-up; ha! As if it was that easy J.  I was blessed to have my hubby and parents there throughout the entire labor and birth. Since the limit was 2 guests in the room, the three of them rotated throughout the 30 hours, keeping me entertained and well-taken care of. When we arrived, I was hooked up the machines which showed I was having small contractions relatively close together; close enough they wouldn’t start inducing me. A couple of hours of walking the tiny halls of the maternity ward, the contractions had slowed. So they started me on pitocin. Shortly later they broke my water. Due to the nature of this hospital, since I had an IV for fluids and pitocin, I was not allowed to walk the halls, but had to stay hooked to the fetal monitor. Babies under induction must be monitored constantly. It was mid-day when they started the pitocin… skip to the evening and I had finally begun to feel the contractions. The only way I found to manage the pain was standing. Keep in mind that I had been walking or standing since 7am at this point in time. 

Every time I was checked (around every 4 hours) I had progressed some, but slowly. Sometime around midnight, I received a small dose of narcotics, which only served to make me very, very sleepy, but did not help the pain at all. Around 2am, at 7cm, I decided to go ahead with the epidural. By this point in time I was in the last stage of labor, however my chances of a c-section had increased dramatically. In this particular hospital, there was only one ER for emergency c-sections (un-scheduled ones) and it was very small, husbands were not even allowed in for the birth. But biggest of all, if I had to have an emergency c-section (which it looked like I might be headed for), and had not already received an epidural, there would not be time for an epidural and they would put me under general anesthesia, meaning I would be asleep for the entire c-section. So much goes through your mind at this moment. The pros, the cons, your goals, your hopes, the pain, the baby’s safety, the payoff. The fact that at the rate I was going, I was looking at close to 6+ more hours of labor. So much. I made the decision, against my original goal, to go ahead with the epidural. Ultimately, I wanted to remember his birth, to at least experience it some, even if not completely. Will I do it that way again, probably not. Do I know now what to prepare for, what to expect, yes, will this help me? I’m not sure. We will see.
Immediately, the pain faded, amazing, but shortly after the epidural, Jarvis started experiencing some stress. I spent the next several hours on my side, with oxygen after they shut off the pitocin. Suddenly, my chance of c-section grew even larger. The doctor wanted to go ahead with a c-section, but the amazing nurses fought for me, and were able to extend him. We started back up on pitocin and around 8am we were ready to start pushing. With my mom and hubby coaching me, 3 and a half hours of pushing later, our baby was finally born. Apparently, as they laid him on me, the doctor said he was boy, but I didn’t hear. I kept asking, what is it?? J They took him over to be cleaned and my amazing hubby stayed to kiss my forehead and tell me what an amazing job I did as I tried to push him to go over to the baby! I couldn’t hear him cry and I was terrified. Finally, his little cry rang out and I have never felt a joy like that. My mom and hubby went with the baby to be cleaned, bathed, measured, and apparently, only after that did my mom remember to go tell my dad. Unfortunately, without going into detail, the delivery was not easy on me and I had quite a bit of healing to do. But every minute was worth it.

We treasured learning to breastfeed, changing poopy diapers, counting wet diapers, and even watching Texas play in the National Championship long past visiting hours ended. One set of my in-laws arrived just minutes after the birth and were able to hold a brand-new Jarvis. In fact, seeing my father-in-law cry as he held my child was the first moment it really hit me. I was a mother. This child was mine. He was my responsibility and my blessing. The other set of in-laws arrived the day after we took him home. What a blessing for Jarvis to be surrounded by all his grandparents so closely after his birth.

We have truly enjoyed every minute of the past year, of every lesson and failure, of every cry and laugh. Thank you, sweet Jarvis, for being the amazing child you are. We love you forever and are so thankful the Lord blessed us with you.

And if you aren’t crying as hard as I am now… then you aren’t normal J

Due date expiration!

Well, yesterday was 40 weeks, Froggie’s due date! We are officially overdue now. We had another appointment yesterday and nothing is happening with labor! It’s standard procedure to conduct a Non-Stress Test on the baby when they are overdue. I sat with a fetal heart monitor and contraction monitor and movement recorder for 45 minutes while they monitor to make sure the baby is still doing well. The baby was rather sleepy and did not do as well on the test as they would like to see. So we did a BioPhysical Profile using an ultrasound. They check the baby’s heartbeat, breathing motions, and muscle development and the amount of fluid to make sure the baby is still tolerating being in the womb and still getting the necessary nourishment. Froggie looked good on that, so they are letting us go another week!

The induction is scheduled for 7 am on January 5th. If the baby has not made an appearance by then, whether I am in labor or not, they will using drugs to speed up the process. I am not thrilled about being induced- it makes labor much harder on me and the baby, and increases my chances of having to get a c-section, but the doctor doesn’t want to let the baby go too far overdue.

So as J and I discussed this morning- only 5 more nights of uninterrupted sleep! We will let you know of course if baby comes sooner, but if not- expect news on the 5th as to how labor is going and how baby and I are doing!

Here’s the 40 weeks picture:

It looks like we are having a 2010 baby!

Much love, J

A Very Comfy Baby…

So I feel like this baby is like a household goods shipment when we are moving- they always give you a date that they promise your belongings will arrive no later than, but you never know when you will get that 8 am call saying they are on the base and headed to your house.

I am 39 weeks today, but there is not much going on as far as baby goes, so the doctor has scheduled an induction date of 7 am January 5th. If the baby has not arrived one it’s own by then- the doctor will use a variety of methods to encourage the baby to come out. In 7 days I will be considered 40 weeks- my due date, December 30th. They do not like the baby to go more than a week or two past that date for health reasons. We are excited to meet this little one, but also know that labor will be easier on both me and the baby if we let it come in it’s own time. Hopefully Froggie will decide that’s before the New Year and make Daddy really happy!

Here’s my 39 weeks picture…

So keep checking back, but know that at the very latest, we will have a baby by January 6th!

Happy Holidays, Merry Christmas Eve tomorrow- we love you all!