Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Pretty Little Liar

Corny title, I know. But it's how I feel this week going through the motions; trying to choke back the tears at every turn. I want to let it all out, but while part of my world was frozen in time on August 23, 2012, the rest of it still spins.

I want to cry. I want to scream. Sometimes I feel like, maybe if I scream loud enough and long enough, the heaviness I feel in my chest every time I realize how close his birthday is will go away; maybe I'll be able to breathe again.

As a child you hear people tell you sometimes "life's not fair". That's true. It's not. 

It's not fair that instead of planning an adorable birthday party for Barrett on Saturday, I'm trying to decide what kind of flowers to take to his grave and deciding on a memorial to do this year. 

I spend every day wrestling with emotions. I go from being so overcome with joy from the time I was given with him to being angry that he is gone. It will
make you question your sanity. But burying a baby isn't sanity. And it doesn't get easier.

I saw a quote from Carley Marie that has resonated with me this week. "I will never stop grieving because I will never stop loving". There is so much truth packed in that statement.

I have three more days of pretending this week. Three more days of choking back tears with a smile. Then Saturday will come and the mask will melt away. 

I can't wait to visit you Saturday sweet baby boy.

Where We are Today

It's been over a year and a half since we lost Barrett. In that time, not one day has gone by that he hasn't crossed my mind at least a dozen times.
 
To most, it probably seems that I am "over it". They don't see me post about him every day on Facebook. I no longer burst into tears when I think of him. In fact, I talk about him a lot without crying now. I can now tell his entire birth story without shedding a tear. But that doesn't mean I'm over it. It means that I have learned to live with the pain and I am incorporating him into our life as a family in different ways.
 
I post pictures of our rainbow baby, Cate, a lot. And when I do, I feel as if I am posting Barrett too. For me, he is part of her. She is here because he isn't. If Barrett were here, it would be physically impossible for our precious Cathleen to make me laugh every single day. She is my gift from God and her brother. I imagine that his looks and personality would be so similar to her, my little goofball. She will always carry a part of him with her just as Audrey will.
 
I smile when I talk about Barrett and when I think of him. I smile every time I finish a blanket for Barrett's Blankets. I smile because I am so blessed that he is mine. But the truth is, I miss him. A lot. I miss him every time I think of what milestone he would be hitting right now had I carried him to term and had a 15 month old baby boy now. I imagine him running alongside Audrey in the yard and fighting over toys with Cate.
 
I love that Barrett is buried in a family cemetery, but I admit that sometimes I wish the drive wasn't so far. It's just not possible for me to make it to his grave as often as I'd like. So I bought apple trees for each of the kids and planted them. Barrett's has a plaque and when it gets bigger, I plan to put a bench under it where I can just sit with him awhile.
 
I have not forgotten. Spreading his name is still just as important to me. It's being done through Barrett's Blankets (which is slow right now due to having Cate, but I fully intend to hit the ground wide open again in a few months...but I am still slowly but surely sending out blankets). I wear a ring every day with a tiny footprint that says "You are with me every step of the way". I love having the ring since I haven't been able to wear my necklace with his handprint with his little sister being so fond of pulling on necklaces.
 
When Barrett died and there were so many days that seemed impossible to get through, I often wondered where I would be a year from then or ten years from then. I wondered if it would always be this hard. Here is an answer to those of you who are freshly experiencing loss: No.
 
I'm going against the norm here. So many people say "It always hurts just as much" and so on. And that's true. Oh man, is that true. Sometimes I think it hurts worse the more I think about it. But everyday living is easier for me now than it was in August 2012. Not just because of Cate, but because I am adjusting.
 
 
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A Closer Walk with Thee

I've spent a lot of time this week reflecting. Reflecting on my faith, where I'm failing in my walk with Christ, and spending time in His word. I wanted to share with you what He has really shown me this week.

Consider this your warning if the topic of breastfeeding is still taboo to you and makes you squirm in your chair. I'm going to talk about it because it relates.

1 Peter 2:2 

Like newborn infants, long for the pure spiritual milk, that by it you may grow up into salvation—
I've read this verse a lot. But this week I did more than read it. I began to understand it. God gave me a better understanding of this verse through my relationship with my own daughter. 

Cate gets pumped bottles while I'm at work, but other than that, she is completely breastfed. And she LOVES her momma. When she wants me, you better make it quick because she will get fired up very quickly.

So as I read this verse, I thought about Cate. I thought about her desire to nurse. But she doesn't just nurse for nutrition. She nurses for comfort, she nurses to sleep, and she nurses because she enjoys it. When something is wrong in her world, she wants me. When everything is right in her world, she still wants momma. She desires to be with me.

As I compared that to my spiritual walk, my toes got a little, well actually a lot, sore. 

Do I run to Him for comfort and peace? Do I run to Him for spiritual nutrition? Do I run to Him in the bad times? Do I run to Him in the good times? Do I long to be close to Him?

If I longed for Christ with the passion and determination that Cate has for me, I would never set my Bible down. I would pray without ceasing as the Bible instructs. Because Cate wants to hang on me all day. She just wants to be close to me.

I should have that same desire for Him. I should seek to be closer to Him with that same determination because I NEED Him like she needs me. She cannot thrive without me and I cannot thrive without Him.   

Now, every time she cries for me, it is a reminder to me of how I should be pursuing Him. Every day. All day. Constantly and consistently. 



Not What I Thought it Would Be

As I sit here on this Saturday starting Christmas festivities with my girls, I think about this journey I'm on as a parent. Motherhood is not what I imagined it would be.

I imagined motherhood to be picking out my favorite names and always having perfectly groomed children in adorable monogrammed outfits. I'd feed them perfect meals and never lose my temper.

I never imagined I'd clean so many bodily fluids, and some of the smells that come with motherhood, well you can't possibly imagine unless you've been there. I never imagined I'd be scrubbing poop off the wall (thanks Cathleen) or doing a last minute hair wash in the sink because my four year old got sucker in her hair right before school. 


I never imagined that we would have cereal for dinner some nights because by the time we got home from school, work, ballet, or riding horses, no one would have enough energy to even say the word cook. I never imagined that I would be so tired that I would have the same bed time as my four year old and have days where I felt like I could go to bed at 6:00.

I never imagined that I would have an awkward looking Christmas tree because my four year old can only reach so high and so the bottom is ornament heavy. I never imagined that I would leave my house in sweat pants, no makeup, and a pony tail with a nice accessory of baby drool because some mornings it's all I can do to get my kids ready when we have important things to discuss like who Big Moma lived with when she was a little girl.

I never imagined that there would be days that my house was a mess because those minutes were better spent on the floor coloring pictures or curled up in the recliner reading Fancy Nancy.

I never imagined that I could love anyone as much as I love my kids. I never imagined that any person could light up my life like they do every day. I never imagined that things like going to the zoo would be even more exciting as an adult because I get to see the excitement on their faces. I never imagined that I would be anyone's superhero. I never imagined that someone would be so fascinated by little things I do that go unnoticed by others. I never imagined that a crayon covered, construction paper card could be more valuable than gold.

I never imagined that motherhood would be this fulfilling. I never imagined that it would be this good.


23 Days of Giving: Day 2

The Christmas cards for the hospital were a huge hit and Audrey had a blast making them. She worked extremely hard on them and was so proud.

We were so excited to see what Buddy had for us to do today! Let me introduce you to our giving jar:



I can't wait to see who Audrey chooses to donate to each time she fills it up!




A New Tradition


As I've watched my daughter get caught up in the material aspects that Christmas has become, I decided that we needed to start a new tradition.

So I had a heart to heart talk with our Elf on the Shelf, Buddy. I had asked him to help me remind Audrey what Christmas is really about.

After our talk, Buddy left this note for Audrey:


I'm so excited to start this tradition with our family and I can't wait to see what all Buddy comes up with this year. I'll be sharing them each day on the blog, so I hope you will join us for 23 days of giving. 

Simmer Down Bama



Obviously there were some sad Bama fans last night. I was one of them. Of course I wanted to see my team play in Atlanta on Saturday. I wanted to see AJ holding up that crystal ball in January.

I was so proud of all the posts I saw on Facebook from my fellow Bama fans congratulating Auburn and telling them good game. Because, lets face it, it was a really good game. It was the most intense Iron Bowl I can ever remember watching. I was proud that, for the most part, my fellow Bama fan friends were losing with class.

But I was disappointed this morning when I woke up to hear about death threats and harassing message to Cade Foster. Lets take a step back Bama nation and chill out. Simmer down a little.

Cade Foster did not lose the game. Cade Foster could never lose a football game on his own no matter how many kicks he misses. Yeah there might have been so many more points on the board IF he had made them, but that doesn't mean the blame falls solely on him. Alabama lost as a team. There were dropped touchdown passes, missed tackles, and a lot of mistakes that Cade Foster had nothing to do with. They lost as a team. They made mistakes and Auburn capitalized on them. Auburn deserved to win that game.


And yes it was a sad and disappointing loss, but it can't go on forever. I think people are forgetting that we've had an unbelievable last few years and a great season this year. Those boys have worked their tails off. Many of them, Cade Foster included, have poured the last four years of their lives into this game not just for themselves, but for us. We should be thanking them instead of ridiculing them. 

Part of me, as bad as I wanted them to win, feels like maybe Bama needed this. Countless times this year I've seen people trying to sell tickets or leaving early because "Bama is going to crush them anyway". Maybe we needed a reminder of why we should go to support them no matter what.

I also think that we sometimes forget that these are kids out there playing. Grown adults are ridiculing and threatening kids. It's sad. It's pathetic. I hope that the general public don't accept those crazies as representatives of the true Bama Nation. Real fans stand by their team no matter what. They support them and build them up. They realize that these are kids giving up a lot to play a game they love for a bunch of complete strangers.

I say all this to take a moment to stop and say thank you. Thank you to the players who have worked so hard. Thank you for the time you put into the game for me to enjoy it every Saturday. Thank you for providing traditions for me to carry on with my daughters. Thank you true Bama fans for setting an example of how to win and lose with class. 

Signed,
One proud Bama fan

Roll Tide!!!

 It’s awfully important to win with humility. It’s also important to lose. I hate to lose worse than anyone, but if you never lose you won’t know how to act. If you lose with humility, then you can come back.
Paul "Bear" Bryant


Capture Your Grief 2013 Day 2 (Identity)

My beautiful baby boy's name is Barrett Luker. He has no middle name because we never settled on it. He was gone so suddenly and we thought we still had time to decide on that. On the day he was born, we weren't up for picking a middle name, so we left his name as what he had been called for the past few weeks: Barrett.

His name had no special meaning or anything like that. Brent and I just have a hard time agreeing on boy names and it was one that both of us loved. 

Barrett was born at 6:05 a.m. on August 23, 2012. He weighed 4.6 ounces. They didn't measure his length but I will always remember his size in my hands. From head to toe, he stretched from the tips of my fingers down to my wrist.

I could tell he would have looked like his daddy. He had his nose for sure. He was born with his eyes wide open. I've always read that babies don't open their eyes until later in the pregnancy, but his eyes were both wide open. I've always wondered what he saw before he left us.

Brent and I spent time with him after he was born, and then again before we left the hospital. We took pictures of him and with him that I will cherish forever. 

He was laid to rest with our family on August 26. We didn't say goodbye, but a heartbreaking see you again some day.

His identity is important to me. Only a handful of people were able to hold him. Only a handful of people saw him or his pictures. It's easy for the world to forget a soul they never met. For those of us who held him and love him, we can never forget.

It's important to me to speak his name and often. It's how I make sure he isn't forgotten. I can't take care of him physically like my other children, but as his mother, I can make sure that he is remembered. I can do my best to ensure that his legacy carries on long after I'm gone. It would break my heart if the world forgot my son. As his mother, I need to know he will be remembered. 

For four and a half months I carried him physically in my body. I will carry him in my heart for however long The Lord allows me to walk this earth. 

Barrett, Mommy loves you and missed you so much. I can't wait until I can hold you again.


What does the Bible mean to you?

I took a good, long look at my Bible today. I thought about how I don't pick it up nearly enough. And I felt guilty. How many Bibles do you have in your home? How often do you take that for granted?

I know I have at least five or six; most of them tattered from my teenage years of carrying them back and forth to youth group. I began to think about the people in the world who don't even have one Bible; people who would give everything they own just to have one. And I here I sit with five or six that aren't read near as much as they could or should be. 

I thought about how many people have probably died to protect this Book, and here I am with several lying on the shelf and my pretty red one on the couch. Lying there, closed, like any other book.

I thought about the power through Him that is contained in its pages. The power to heal and bring peace. The power to bring hope and rest. The power to save someone's soul. And what am I doing with that power? It's sitting on my couch like every other day.

The guilt overwhelmed me as I realized the lack of appreciation I have for this incredible gift God has blessed me with. And not only has He blessed me with it, but He has allowed me to live in a country where I am free to share it with anyone I please. But am I doing that? My heart breaks as I know the answer to that is nowhere near close to what it should be.

Why is it that our Bibles so often get treated like just a piece of literature when they are so much more than that? Why are they used as something to simply collect dust on the coffee table or on the bookshelf with all of the other books? Why aren't our Bibles given a place of prominence in our home? That place being our hands and our hearts; filling our families with the power it contains. Why don't our Bibles go everywhere we go, giving them a place of prominence in our lives as we continually fill our mind with its Word throughout the day?

People have died to protect this Book I hold in my hands. There are people, right now, who would trade everything they own for this book in my hand. I looked around my home, and I wondered if I valued it enough to do the same. Did I appreciate and love this book like those people? 

What does the Bible mean to you?

Right in Front of Me

I wanted to do a follow up to my "one of those days" post I wrote last week. I told you in that post that I lost something important. That something was a key.

You have to understand that I NEEDED this key. I looked everywhere for it along with my husband, my mother, and a few kind strangers. I checked in my pockets and in the hem of shorts in case it had caught in there when it fell. I did all of these things MULTIPLE times.

After all of that frustration, I finally sat down and read some scripture. I received that peace from Him and had resigned myself to the fact that I had lost the key. Finally, when I was almost ready to get off the couch and head to bed, I prayed about it. Yes, I prayed about a key.


I got up and went to get ready for bed. When I pulled off my shorts, I heard the distinct sound of metal hitting my floor. I looked down, and there was that key. All I can tell you is it was a miracle. I'm pregnant, so we know realistically that I had visited the potty several times in the hours since I lost the key. That key would have fallen out one of those times. I had checked in my pockets and the hem MULTIPLE times and no key.

Apparently, God was just waiting on me to find some humility and pray about it instead of trying to handle it on my own. So, what did I learn? He wants us to pray about everything. Even the little things like a small silver key.

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.
Philippians 4:6

One of those Days

You ever have one of those days that just isn't your day? I mean, we had a great morning. We went to check on Cate and she is growing perfectly and right on track. Had a good afternoon at work. Then, I left. I won't bore you with details, but I lost something really important that apparently grew legs and walked away--ran into someone who was probably having a bad afternoon too (at least I'm telling myself that's why they were so rude) and as much as I didn't want to, I ignored it. But I'm the type that when I lose something, it will eat away at me until I find it. So needless to say since I didn't find what I lost, its been bugging me ALL night. I've spent most of the evening looking for it and now I'm trying not to stress and just come to terms with the fact that its lost and hoping someone finds it and calls.



Anyway, now that I've bored you to death, I'll make my point. You know what has finally calmed my nerves? Scripture. It has an amazing way of bringing around that peace that nothing else can. I found myself at a verse that I visit often and is very familiar to me (which should probably tell me something).

Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.
Philippians 4:6-7

Do not worry about ANYTHING. I find that I quote this scripture to myself on a daily basis, yet it seems to be the one I have the hardest time applying. I am a worrier and I know that is one of my weaknesses in my faith. As much as I don't want to admit it sometimes, if I am worrying, I'm not trusting in Him. It is something I have to pray about daily and hand over to Him or I would waste every day away worrying when I should be trusting in Him.

This is a daily battle for me everyday with my pregnancy. Since losing Barrett, worry has been an understatement this go around. Even now that I constantly feel Cate moving, I worry. I will worry until she is alive in my arms, and even then I will worry. It's something I have to give hand over to Him every single day and trust that He is watching over my little girl and that everything that unfolds in our future is part of His perfect plan. The planner has to remember that while my plans can fail, His plan is always perfect.




I wanted so bad to complain about my afternoon. But after reading that, I found that the more I thought about the blessings in my life, the more calm I became and that peace that only He can give started to flood me all over again. Today, I'm going to challenge you to think of at least ten things in your life right now that you are thankful for--ten specific things. Here's mine:

1. I am thankful that I am drowning in God's grace and for the salvation He gives; that no matter how bad I screw up, He is still there waiting for me to come running back to Him.

2. I am thankful to be married to my best friend and to know what it's like to spend every day with the love of my life and know that God's perfect plan was for us to walk through this life together.

3. I am thankful for all of my children. Audrey who makes me laugh every single day without fail--the most remarkable child that I've ever met. Barrett who has taught me so much and gives me one more thing to look forward to in heaven. Cate, who reminds me what it's like to have hope.

4. I'm thankful for an amazing job that I love to go to everyday. I can't describe what it's like to have a job where no matter how hard you try, you couldn't find something to complain about--it's all good.

5. I'm thankful for my mommy who listens to my rants when I need that "girl talk" or like today when I knew she would understand my freaking out because, well, I got it honest.

6. Specifically today, I'm thankful for my husband again who is willing to do anything for me. Like today, when he drove all the way to the store to help me look for the item I lost and spent an hour in the heat looking with me.

7. I'm thankful for the opportunity to share Barrett's story everyday; from Barrett's Blankets, to the blog, to the book that is doing better than I could have imagined, and all the way down to the person who saw the magnet on my car today and asked about him.

8. I'm thankful for my friends I talk to every day without fail (you know who you are and you are truly blessings in my life). 

9. I'm thankful for living in a small southern town--this hit me again today when random strangers started helping me look for what I lost outside in the heat today.

10. I'm extra thankful for the baby girl who is kicking my ribs right now as I type this reminding me that she is doing fine :)

What are you thankful for today? Are you worrying about something? Let it go.

This Mother's Day

This Mother's Day is different from any before it. After Easter Audrey asked me what holiday came next and I told her Mother's Day. So she has been talking about Mother's Day since Easter. She would say "Mommy, Mother's Day is when you make something for your mother". As sweet as that is, it made me a little sad.

It made me sad to think of all the moms whose babies aren't here to make them a card and wrap their little arms around their neck. I thought of all the moms who held their babies in their wombs, but now hold them in their hearts. I call many of these women "friend" and my heart broke for them. To think that people may not remember to recognize them today brought tears to my eyes. To any of you reading this, you are just as much a mother as I am and I commend you for your strength.

This Mother's Day, there is an empty void in my house where my son should be four months old and waking me up bright and early this morning. Carrying a rainbow baby is very emotional at times. I want my son here. I want to hear his little giggles this morning as we get ready for church. But I know if he were here, then Cate wouldn't be. In a weird way that almost makes me feel like I'm choosing between my babies--who would I rather have here? But I want them both here. That part of Mother's Day has not been easy for me because I don't feel complete as a mother without him.

But this Mother's Day is different in good ways too. This Mother's Day is my first to be awakened at midnight by the kicks of a precious life growing in my womb. This Mother's Day I am sitting here with one daughter kicking away and the other singing "Pop! Goes the Weasel" in my ear as I type this.

This Mother's Day I am thankful for the even closer bond that has grown between myself and my mother just in the last few months. I am thankful for all three of my children and I am intensely missing the one who isn't here.

This Mother's Day I want to take time to remember the mothers who can't hold their babies in their arms today. Not only are you mothers, but you are among the strongest.










Weekend Fun

Audrey and I got up early this morning and headed to the animal shelter to love on the dogs and take pictures of some of them. Audrey made friends with a sweet little pit bull named Blondie and Blondie seemed to love her too--her tail was just a wagging!

Her daddy had told her we'd go fishing this afternoon so she talked about that all morning and that's where we headed after lunch. It was NOT a good day for fishing--there is a storm blowing in and it was way too windy for the fish to bite. But Audrey was satisfied anyway so it was ok. I did learn something today: seventy-eight degrees feels like two hundred degrees when you're pregnant.

I was hot and miserable soon after arriving. I think I'll find a good little fan for future fishing trips this year--maybe a few ice packs too!

Brent told Audrey he didn't know many people who went fishing with a bow in her hair. I reminded him soon he would have two of them fishing diva style!




Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Coming to a Close

Well, my first trimester is nearing the end. Just a couple more weeks! I went in for another ultrasound and Baby C has grown a lot! I can't call baby a bean anymore. Baby actually looks like a baby now!

The second that baby popped up on the screen, it was waving its little hand at us back and forth. I just had to laugh a little. It was adorable! Then it started kicking its long legs and wiggling all around. Baby even "jumped" once! Baby C is definitely a very active baby.

We got to see baby's profile, hands, and feet. I'm one proud and grateful momma. I cannot begin to describe how blessed I feel today after seeing my precious child and that wonderful heartbeat. Baby's heart rate today was 166.

This has been an easy pregnancy so far. I hardly ever feel sick. I've been tired and I have extreme cravings. In facts, I've been having too many cravings to even list them.

Thank you for your prayers and please continue to cover Baby C in prayer. We are so blessed and so thankful for this child.

She did what?!?

Well, I'm on my soapbox today. Why is it that we love gossip so much?

I'll be the first to say that there have been times in my life I have been the worst to participate in gossip. I knew it was something I needed to work on and I've been praying about it for awhile.

Did you hear what so and so said? Did you know so and so said this?

It's so easy to buy into that. A lot of times we try to say well I listened to it, but I didn't spread it so it's ok. WRONG. Same thing and just as bad. Listening to gossip is equivalent to encouraging gossip.

My strategy lately has just been to respond by saying: I wasn't there so I actually don't know what happened or what was said and I don't need to know unless it comes from that person.

Or, I just walk away.

If you have questions about something that happened, discussing your doubts or whatever with someone else who wasn't involved, that's just as bad. If you have questions, ask the person involved or don't ask at all. Don't make assumptions--just go directly to the person involved.

Gossip hurts people. Most people who become depressed or commit suicide because of bullying weren't physically bullied. They were most often bullied by words--by gossip.

Your words are so powerful. We should choose wisely which words we use. We should pray about our words. Our words should build people up and not tear them down. Gossip always tears down. Just walk away from it. People won't get mad at you for it. I think you'll find that they end up thinking more highly of you for not participating.

A dishonest man spreads strife, and a whisperer separates close friends.
Proverbs 16:28

For lack of wood the fire goes out, and where there is no whisperer, quarreling ceases. As charcoal to hot embers and wood to fire, so is a quarrelsome man for kindling strife. The words of a whisperer are like delicious morsels; they go down into the inner parts of the body.
Proverbs 26:20-22

And since they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God gave them up to a debased mind to do what ought not to be done. They were filled with all manner of unrighteousness, evil, covetousness, malice. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, maliciousness. They are gossips, slanderers, haters of God, insolent, haughty, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, foolish, faithless, heartless, ruthless. Though they know God’s righteous decree that those who practice such things deserve to die, they not only do them but give approval to those who practice them.
Romans 1:28-32









Catch up!

I haven't blogged in over a week! Crazy, right? Nausea and sickness wise, this pregnancy has been a breeze so far. Although with Audrey I never got sick until I was nine weeks, so I'm not going to brag about that just yet. While I haven't been sick much, I've been feeling completely exhausted. Lately I literally feel like I could sleep all day if it was possible (well, getting up to eat of course!).

Speaking of eating, I can't get full. I eat and an hour later I feel like I haven't eaten in days. I constantly have a snack in my hand. I'm trying to make them healthy snacks so I don't turn into a blimp. I'm eight weeks pregnant and have already had strangers compliment me on my "bump". I made the ultrasound tech double check on Tuesday that there was only one baby. Yes, there is only one--one beautiful little blueberry sized baby. I've never been so excited to feel so miserable.

On Tuesday, baby had a healthy heartbeat with a rate of 169 and is growing right on schedule. It's funny how after losing a baby, even good news only comforts me for so long. Everything with Barrett was always good news too. Then he was just gone. I have insane fears of that happening again. I so badly want to bring this baby home. Being pregnant shouldn't be this scary, but that's the life of a BL mom expecting her rainbow. Dads too. I know this pregnancy is scary for my husband too. He's scared of enduring that pain again just like I am.

I spent my morning at the hospital today for an EEG. It went as ok as an EEG can go I guess. I was definitely ready to get out of there well before it was over. I finally got all the glue out my hair and it actually feels like hair again. I just keep reminding myself I've got to do all of this stuff to stay healthy for Baby C.

I also wanted to share a song I heard today that I had not heard in awhile:

Much of You
Steven Curtis Chapman


How could I stand here
And watch the sun rise
Follow the mountains
Where they touch the sky

Ponder the vastness
And the depths of the sea
And think for a moment
The point of it all
Was to make much of me

'Cause I'm just a whisper
And You are the thunder and

I want to make much of You, Jesus
I want to make much of Your love
I want to live today to give You the praise
That You alone are so worthy of

I want to make much of Your mercy
I want to make much of Your cross
I give You my life
Take it and let it be used
To make much of You

And how can I kneel here
And think of the cross
The thorns and the whip
And the nails and the spear
The infinite cost

To purchase my pardon
And bear all my shame
To think I have anything worth boasting in
Except for Your name

'Cause I'm a sinner
And You are the Savior and

I want to make much of You, Jesus
I want to make much of Your love
I want to live today to give You the praise
That You alone are so worthy of

I want to make much of Your mercy
I want to make much of Your cross
I give You my life
Take it and let it be used
To make much of You

This is Your love, oh, God
Not to make much of me
But to send Your own Son
So that we could make much of You
For all eternity

And I want to make much of You, Jesus
I want to make much of Your love
I want to live today to give You the praise
That You alone are so worthy of

I want to make much of Your mercy
I want to make much of Your cross
I give You my life
Take it and let it be used
To make much of You

I want to make much of You
Much of You, Jesus



The Most Beautiful Thing

I am quite sure that today I have been the happiest mom on the planet. I was a nervous wreck all morning anticipating my ultrasound after lunch. When they called my name my heart sank as I was unsure of what I would see. When I was on the table I held my breath until Baby C popped up on the screen. I immediately saw that baby had grown and before she even pointed it out to me, I saw that beautiful little flutter that I was searching for--the flutter that meant my baby's heart is beating good and strong.

Baby C had a HB of 125 which is spot on for this stage in pregnancy! I felt like I could finally breathe--I felt so relieved, joyful, and thankful all at once. I've been telling everyone I have a feeling this one is a take home baby!

They changed our due date from the 13th to the 19th. I was super ok with that because I wasn't digging the Friday the 13th thing. I'm not superstitious, but this is my rainbow baby and I just feel better with this new date. Silly, I know but y'all I swear I'm borderline neurotic right now.

I held myself together until I went back to the lab for a blood draw. Then I sat back there and I sobbed--not teared up, not cried--I sobbed. They were the happiest tears that have ever been shed. God is so good y'all. He is so amazing and He never fails.

Now that my due date has been backed up, I'm actually just now hitting seven weeks. Morning sickness is beginning, although not just in the morning. I'm super exhausted and I'm finally starting to feel pregnant. I dream about this baby all the time. I don't share this much, but when I was pregnant with Barrett I had a lot of dreams about losing him. I never had dreams of bringing him home. With this baby I have dreamt almost every night of sitting around the house with the baby--a girl in all my dreams. I'm calling GIRL now. I'm 2/2 so far, but I there is a first time for everything. We will see in about two months! Either way--HEALTHY is the main thing!

With Audrey I craved sweet and salty; with Barrett, sweet and sour. This baby? Just random things--spinach, yogurt, peanut butter, and caramel apples to name a few. I'm learning to take it easy and rest--not taking any chances with this baby.

I am so thankful for this healthy little bean. I feel good about it today and hopefully this peace continues. I'm sure I ultimately won't feel better until I make it past the 18 week marker where we lost Barrett. That seems so far away, but I'm treasuring every moment with this little one and taking it one day at a time. Back to the doctor next week!

Thank you so much for your prayers--you have no idea how much that means. I know Baby C is one prayed for little bean and I'm so grateful for that! I can feel it for sure! God is good all the time y'all!

Dear Baby C

A letter to Baby C--

Sweet baby you have no idea how much Mommy has prayed for you. Before we even knew about you, you were constantly in my prayers. Right now mommy is praying that you are growing healthy and strong and that you make a safe arrival in September. I couldn't imagine a better birthday present than you. Mommy constantly worries about you too. I want nothing more than to be holding you in my arms in 33 weeks. Right now all Momma can think about is your ultrasound on Tuesday. Momma is praying to see a good, strong heartbeat and a healthy little bean that is growing up a storm. I'm already "nesting" by browsing Pinterest for ideas for your nursery and different photos to take. The hardest thing for Momma right now is not being able to protect you. This waiting is really testing my patience and truthfully, my faith. It's hard for me to turn over my worries. I just want to know that you are ok and growing like you should be. Sometimes you almost seem too good to be true. I'm so in love with you already, yet I'm so scared to let myself get attached to the idea of another baby in the house. I guess that's my way of trying to protect myself, but it's useless. I'm already so attached, so excited, and so in love with you my little bean. Your ultrasound Tuesday fills me with so many emotions. I'm excited to see you again. I'm terrified to look at the screen because I'm scared I won't see that flicker I'm desperate to see. I dread going in that room because it reminds me of the time I spent crying in there grieving over your big brother. At the same time, I'm praying that those memories change to happy ones filled with memories of watching you grow. I pray that you know how much you are loved and wanted here. Your big sister can't wait to meet you and talks about you ALL the time. She thinks you are a girl--guess we will see! I know your big brother is watching down over you. I can't wait to see you again Tuesday and can't wait to meet you in September. Love you so much Baby C!

Love,
Momma

I pray this is the first of many letters to Baby C throughout NINE months of pregnancy.

This Pregnancy

This pregnancy has been such a roller coaster ride of emotions. I am making myself crazy. After losing Barrett, I'm so paranoid. I go back and forth between being convinced everything is fine and I'm going to bring this baby home to being petrified that there won't be a heartbeat when I go in for my ultrasound on Tuesday.

I dream about this baby almost every night. I have dreams of bringing the baby home. I have dreams of going in for an ultrasound and getting bad news. I have dreams of Audrey playing with the baby and I have dreams of delivering a dead baby. I know this sounds morbid, but this is the life of a BL mom expecting her rainbow. Thanks to Facebook and the power of social networking, I have other mom friends expecting their rainbows who are going through the same thing and that has been wonderful. That support is indescribable and it makes me feel a little less crazy to know I'm not the only one constantly going back and forth. Facebook has also allowed me to connect with other moms with epilepsy which has also been a wonderful support.

Being diagnosed with epilepsy has not helped this at all. As you can imagine it has made me 1,000 times more paranoid. I had a tonic clonic seizure when I was four weeks pregnant and we honestly still don't know if it affected the baby. It's basically a wait and see game. I find myself constantly praying for Baby C and leaning on Him for that peace.

Finding out I have Epilepsy brings its own set of worries: what if I have another seizure while pregnant? Will my seizure medicine affect the baby? The list goes on and on.

Sound stressful? It is. But stress is one of my triggers for a seizure, SO I'm doing my best to give it all to God one worry at a time.

I'm so excited about this baby, but part of me is afraid to let myself be excited. I'm afraid to let myself become too attached--but I'm honestly extremely attached already.

Having a rainbow baby is so many things all at once--joyful, exciting, terrifying, and full of worry. As a parent you want to protect your child, but this is one instance when you can't and that is frightening.

To all my readers expecting your rainbows--you and your little ones are in my prayers! I hope you are doing better than me with the worrying! I can't wait to see pictures of you holding your babies!

Embracing

I've been wearing out Google search on my iPad today. Some new words have been added to my everyday vocabulary: epilepsy--tonic clonic seizure. I've heard both terms before, but they've never been applied to me before today. Now I want to find out everything I can about them.

I found this awesome app on the iPad called "Seizure Diary". It reminds me to take my medicine and allows me to keep up with when I have a seizure, how long it lasts, etc, etc. It's an awesome app for anyone with seizures!

I've spent a lot of time on epilepsy.com tonight. It's an abundance of information, but I'm taking it all in. I have to admit--all of this is scary. I have so much admiration for children with epilepsy. I'm an adult and I'm scared to death.

Right now I'm mostly scared for the baby. A seizure could be very dangerous for the baby. I am praying so hard to make it through September without a seizure. There are so many things I can't do anymore or things I can't do without supervision. Once again, my struggle with pride and independence is being tested. I'm being forced to depend on others for everyday tasks.

I titled this post "embracing" because that's what I'm trying to do today. I don't want to have a pity party, because there are so many people who have it way worse than me. I'm trying to embrace this new aspect of my life. I can't change it, so I might as well accept it and do my best to take care of myself.

Stress is one of my seizure triggers, so as my husband says, I need to learn to chill out. I've got to learn to truly give things to God and let Him take care of it. I'm not superwoman and I can't do everything, I can't handle everything, and I can't take care of everything.

My struggle right now is not stressing over how this will affect the baby. I was pregnant when I had my seizure a couple of weeks ago and we honestly still have no idea whether it affected the baby or not. Only time will tell, but I know that whatever meets us down the road, it's in His plan and He will be with us all the way--good or bad. (But I am praying and believing GOOD!).

Be sure to check out the blog tomorrow! I'll be sharing some of your Pay it Forward pictures you've submitted!


Empty

Tonight I feel empty. It's two days before Barrett's due date and he currently consumes most of my thoughts. I so desperately long to hold him again. Several times today I have caught myself just staring as I revisited the day he was born. I imagine that I have the opportunity to hold him again. I imagine that I am able to rock him once more and sing to him like I did so often with Audrey.

Earlier I was changing clothes after church and my mind wandered to the clothes we had bought for him just three days before we found out he died. I had spent that Sunday afternoon buying lots of blue for a house filled with pink. The night before Barrett was born, my one request for my mother was to please get his things out of the house. I knew if I walked in the house and saw them, I would probably collapse into my grief. I longed for those days I had looked forward to of dressing him up in his football outfit and watching his daddy holding him with pride.

Today everything seemed to remind me of him. Sometimes I smiled, and sometimes I cried. I knew that Tuesday was going to be hard, but I had no idea it would be his hard. I had no idea that the days leading up to it would be just as hard. I feel so empty without him, almost lost.

The new baby has given me a reason to not just crawl into myself and lose it, but I have to admit I'm fighting that hard. A huge part of me wants to spend the week curled up in a ball just crying and grieving for my son--for the piece of my heart that will always be missing.

I am cautiously excited about Baby C, but I will never feel complete. It is impossible to feel complete when such a huge part of me is somewhere else. There are still days I find myself asking "Why?" though I know I will never get a satisfiable answer to that. I know I just have to trust in Him and His perfect plan.

Tuesday morning happens to be the day I go to the neurologist about my seizures. I'm hoping that will distract me for the morning, but I'm not counting on it. I know that visiting him will be the only thing I can think of. I never knew I could miss someone so much. I think of him and its like a rush of emotions. I feel happy that he was my son, grateful for the time I had with him, sadness for all the things I didn't get to do with him--I feel overwhelming grief. I've spent a lot of energy trying to choke it back. I don't like to cry in front of people at all. I'm trying to stay focused on the future, which for me will always include Barrett.



Leave it All Behind

I heard this song while driving through town today. It's one of my favorites, but today was one of those days when it just hit me. I've been doing a lot of worrying the past two days and needless to say God once again sent me just what I needed to hear.

The Well
Casting Crowns

Leave it all behind,
Leave it all behind,
Leave it all behind,
Leave it all behind,

I have what you need,
But you keep on searchin,
I've done all the work,
But you keep on workin,
When you're runnin on empty,
And you can't find the remedy,
Just come to the well.

You can spend your whole life,
Chasin what's missing,
But that empty inside,
It just ain't gonna listen.
When nothing can satisfy,
And the world leaves you high and dry,
Just come to the well

CHORUS:
And all who thirst will thirst no more,
And all who search will find what their souls long for,
The world will try, but it can never fill,
So leave it all behind, and come to the well

So bring me your heart
No matter how broken,
Just come as you are,
When your last prayer is spoken,
Just rest in my arms a while,
You'll feel the change my child,
When you come to the well

CHORUS:
And all who thirst will thirst no more,
And all who search will find what their souls long for,
The world will try, but it can never fill,
So leave it all behind, and come to the well

Yeah
Leave it all behind

The world will try, but it can never fill... leave it all behind

And now that you're full,
Of love beyond measure,
Your joy's gonna flow,
Like a stream in the desert,
Soon all the world will see that living water is found in me,
Cause you came to the well

CHORUS:
And all who thirst will thirst no more,
And all who search will find what their souls long for,
The world will try, but it can never fill,
So leave it all behind, and come to the well

Outro: leave it all behind, leave it all behind

Is that not an amazing song with a wonderful message?!?! Whatever it is that's weighing you down today--storms, worries, struggles, addiction, trials, ANYTHING--run to Him and lay it at His feet. Leave it all behind and seek Him.

Sometimes I get so worried about what I can do to fix things or protect or etc, etc. But the thing is I forget that that's not how it's supposed to be. Maybe it's not that I forget, but rather I want to think I can do something in and of myself--that nasty pride. By myself I can do nothing. I have to give all of that to Him. That's where I struggle with my independence and I'm asking God to help me with that.

Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life?
Matthew 6:25-27

Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.
Matthew 6:34

Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light
Matthew 11:28-30

Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
Philippians 4:6-7

My worrying is not going to accomplish anything and I keep reminding myself of that. In fact it's the last thing I need to be doing...instead I need to be giving all of my worries to Him. It's all in His hands. I don't know the outcome, but He does. It's all in His perfect, flawless plan.

Are you worrying about something today? Lay it down. Give it to Him and take a deep breath. He's waiting.



Thankful & Smiling

Today was an all around amazing day. Have you ever had one of those days where the blessings just seem to rain down and it's really just a happy day filled with smiles? God is so good--He can take the hardest days and turn them into days like today.

I wrote awhile back about my grandfather who passed away in November. Today was his birthday and I just got the sense that he was letting me know that he was watching out for me today.

The day was spent with family and good friends. Audrey had her pageant at school this morning (yearbook fundraiser) and while it was exciting that she won, the main thing is she had a blast doing it! We don't do pageants, but this is the only fundraiser her school has for their yearbook, so we will gladly do anything to help the school out. I was so glad Audrey had so much fun getting all dolled up. Mostly she was excited about her dress and her "slippers". It put a big smile on my face to see how much fun she was having spending the morning getting pampered.

I would also like to take a moment to ask for your prayers--an unspoken prayer request. Hopefully I'll be able to share with you soon, but for now I just ask that you please be covering this unspoken in prayer. I know y'all are some amazing prayer warriors!

Thank you to everyone who takes the time to read the blog everyday and to those of you who are new here--I truly appreciate all of you! God is so good!

The LORD your God is in your midst, a mighty one who will save; he will rejoice over you with gladness; he will quiet you by his love; he will exult over you with loud singing.
Zephaniah 3:17







Trust & the Unknown

Trust--it's a funny thing. There are some people in life we automatically trust--family, teachers, pastors, etc. For most people, it takes a lot of time to truly trust someone.

I'll be the first to admit that I have some trust issues. It takes a long time for me to truly trust someone. If you break it, while I will forgive you, I probably won't trust you again. I just don't give it very freely.

One of the worst feelings in the world is to be in a position where you find yourself questioning the trust you have put in someone. That hurts a lot.

What's worse? When in an instant your complete trust in someone is shattered into a million tiny pieces--someone you automatically trusted--who you thought you would never have to worry about. Have you ever broken a glass? You can try to pick up all the pieces, but usually you end up getting the vacuum cleaner or broom to get the rest. Even then, you may still be finding tiny little pieces for days. It's almost impossible to get all of it up and there is absolutely no way you could put all of those tiny pieces back together. That's the image I think of when I think about broken trust.

So, I titled this "Trust & the Unknown" because both of those have been on my mind today.

Nothing causes me more stress than the unknown. Specifically, when I don't know what someone is thinking--even more specifically when I don't know what someone is thinking about something I've trusted them with. I hope that makes sense.

I'm terrible about taking something that is stressful to me and holding it deep inside. I'll analyze it and go through every detail until it consumes all of my thoughts. I will torture myself with it. Is that the right way to handle stress? Absolutely not, but I have this tendency to feel that by sharing my troubles with someone I am being a burden, so I keep it to myself.

Another random post--just really needed to get some things off my chest today.


It's a New Day

The last two days I have admittedly needed an attitude check. After the seizure Sunday night, I've kind of had this attitude of, "Seriously? Now?".

Have you ever noticed that sometimes when we get scared we also get angry or lash out? That's a place I've unfortunately found myself in a few times over the past two days. I'm a little angry and sarcastic on the outside, but I'm shaking on the inside.

I can't remember what night it was (my memory has been fuzzy since Sunday) but Audrey said something that really hit me today when I remembered it. Whatever night it was, I was sitting on the couch and Brent was in the recliner. I don't remember what we were talking about, but I do remember that what Audrey said came out of nowhere as she stood by her daddy. She said "Tomorrow is a new day".

At the time, I thought "How random!" and I smiled and didn't think about it again--until today. When I thought of it today, I thought about how wise my little four year old daughter can be sometimes. Her simple little words that I brushed away that night are actually wise beyond her years. I have a lot to learn from that little girl.

It is a new day. It's His day. I can give everything to Him--my worries and my fears. For some reason I had been holding onto them with a strong grip the last two days. Why? I don't know.

Cast all your anxieties on Him, because He cares for you.
1 Peter 5:7

Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your Heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life?
Matthew 6:25-27

I'm going to treasure those simple words that came out of the mouth of my small child. It's a new day. Something I hope I will remember every morning.