Tuesday, May 30, 2017

"Worth It"

I'm having one of those motherhood moments where the emotions just hit out of nowhere like a ton of bricks. I never know when moments like that will happen because they never do when they should, and it hits me in the most unexpected moments.

Like tonight. Brian took Beau to a splashpad after work so I was with Luke alone who was crawling in my lap, touching my face, and giggling with his now 6 teeth showing. I couldn't help but think and be overwhelmed at how much this past hard year has been WORTH IT. He's my absolute joy and his name means "light giving" which is exactly what he is. He's brought light to me in more ways than one. The obvious being joy and smiles and a happiness inside of him that feels like a ray of light in such a fallen world. He has also been the source of bringing me light spiritually and teaching me more about God than maybe I've ever learned in my whole life put together. Because of him, I've also felt like there's a light inside of me that has been lit for other moms who are struggling in whatever circumstances and for that reason I'll never be the same. He's been so good for me.

As a lot of you know, I suffered from major sickness in pregnancy and post partum depression afterwards topped with an extremely colicky baby which was one of the toughest things I had to face in my life. It turns out that I have an autoimmune condition called hashimotos thyroidtitus that caused the pregnancy sickness AND post partum depression which is why all of that hit me so hard. I'm so happy to say that after I got a diagnoses, I've been able to FINALLY recover and get on with my life. Not only get on with my life, but live an even fuller and better one with Christ because of all that I went through. On this side of things, it all makes a lot more sense. I know that God had His reasons for allowing all of that and I can see it now and really want to use it for His Glory.

At the beginning of the each year I pray for a word to focus on and 2016 was "Sacrifice". That for sure would be the title of that year for me and I learned so much about giving of myself and truly sacrificing. 2017 is now "Joy" and so far it has been such a healing year and one that has turned from such hardship into one of the best most joy filled years of my life. It has all been so worth it. I'd do it again in a heartbeat to have Luke be mine. I think that God has a major plan for Luke because satan sure did make such a fuss in my life when he was born. I pray over my boys and get chills thinking of God's plan for them.

I'm proud of myself and I'm proud of Brian. Brian is my perfect other half and I owe so much to him. He never complained once about helping and he never made me feel bad when I was struggling and felt like I couldn't handle things. He always brought the right take out home and would go to Walmart almost everyday. He was always my rock that was everything I needed at the right times. Brian is definitely the definition of the hands and feet of Jesus. My mom said after I met him: "Don't you feel so loved by God that He would send someone like Brian for you?" The answer to that is YES. Very much so! He is my gift that keeps on giving!!

I'm also proud of Beau and what a great brother he is and how he never even noticed when things got hard. He has loved on Luke from the moment he got home from the hospital and thought this getting a new baby thing was one big party. He is three years old yet so tender and loving and the only thing I have to stop him from is hugging Luke too much when he just wants to crawl. I'm proud of Luke for how well adjusted and happy he is despite having colic and stressed parents for the first half year of his life. You would never even know it now!! He's so happy and easy and such a gift to our family in every way. Words can't even describe the love I have for him, I couldn't even begin.

Although this year didn't look exactly how I planned, God truly does work everything together for the good of those who love Him. God's promises prove true over and over again in my life and I couldn't be more thankful.

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

*Unexpected Moments*

Most of my favorite memories that I play back throughout my life come at the most unexpected moments on what seems to be a mundane day.

I was driving around with the boys today in my new to me mini van that has changed my life. That's a whole different story, but seriously...mini vans are the third parent that thinks things through for us so we don't have to. I noticed the gas light came on so I turned into the nearest On Cue which is also life changing. A drive through pick up window for all your coffee and junk food needs as well as a gallon of milk if you happen to need one.

When I got out to pump the gas, I looked inside the car window and there staring and smiling at me were the two cutest boys I've ever laid eyes on. This is not unusual because they seem to always have their attention on me, but in that moment it washed over me what a blessing it is to be a mom. And I just felt this warm feeling of thankfulness that these boys are mine. And that looking at me makes them light up like that.

Those happy faces are my hard earned reward and I couldn't help but feel proud as I looked at the four eyes that are constantly on me. Smiling little faces that make me feel like I'm doing a good job. We need to pat ourselves on the back more. We as new moms need to encourage ourselves and realize that we are making a difference and we are not failing.

It doesn't matter if at the end of the day you feel like you might lose it because you've given everything you possibly have and are asked to give more. That is true, sacrificial love. It doesn't matter if you are in a good, easy phase where enjoying your kids is easy. That fun love is one of the biggest blessings we receive in this life. In both times we are ALL doing a great job. Whether we are holding a screaming colicky newborn all day or playing with a joyful toddler who makes it easy to see things are going well, we are doing a GREAT job. And both sacrificial love and fun love are equally important. I've come to realize that together they make something really beautiful.

Friday, December 2, 2016

*He Came Near*

There was a moment hours into watching my son suffer and fight for his life that I knew I would have to stay with him alone. I was told parents only and possibly only one in the room. Not that it mattered, Brian was hours away trying to get to us. Shaken up and changed forever, I looked at my sister in law kelsey and said "This is a time you're glad when Jesus goes with you."

We spent hours in the ER after a fast paced "code red" situation. I knew it was whatever code red means because a nurse said it on the intercom after taking Beau's vitals and it seemed to be the loudest sound I'd ever heard in my life. 14 people surrounding my son as I was by his head rubbing him and holding his hand. "You're doing great, try not to hold his has SO tight" a really sweet nurse told me with a comforting voice. I WAS holding on so tight. One of my two greatest treasures was in front of me fighting for his life.

A little candy bar he got into without anyone seeing. A little candy bar is all it could take. I didn't know how serious it could get, I really didn't know.

We arrived at the ER around 7 and I'll never forget the security guard looking at him and saying urgently "Don't wait in line! Go!!" I've never realized how lucky I was to have to wait forever on the stomach bug infested chairs in an ER before. If you have to wait that's good news. We didn't have to wait...

Four and 1/2 traumatizing hours later my baby boy was finally asleep and I could breathe again. We were moved to the hospital and not long after I was alone with Beau in a hospital room. He looked so small in the bed. Sitting by a familiar computer screen lighting and steady beeps in the background, I finally let myself breakdown. I just cried and cried expecting to feel so alone but I didn't.

Chills hit me hard when I could feel God with me so near in that moment. He was there as He always is, but in a closer more obvious way. Comforting me. Holding us. Beau was finally comforted and so was I. God was THERE.

I believe in God because I know Him and I feel Him. I believe in God because He's not just something I read or hear about. He's the most important part of me.

Until the story ends and God can wipe away our tears forever, He's there with us in them. I know He hurts for us, too. I know seeing us suffer is so hard for Him. But He's there through the hardest moments of our lives feeling it with us, too. He's emotional. Sitting by us suffering is as hard for Him as it is for me to sit by my son and hold his hand while he was in agony and fear. God was human, He understands our pain. And more than that He loves us like His own children. His life was filled with more pain than I could ever imagine. He knows suffering and He's there with us through it.

Today Beau came up to me and said: "You didn't leave me, mama. Honey didn't leave me, mama." He was obviously talking about the actual ER because we both were there the entire time until he fell asleep. Even a three year old is impacted by knowing he won't be left in the hardest times. We won't be left in our hardest times, either. He is there. And He is GOOD.

Saturday, April 23, 2016

*So Much More*

Today I found myself amongst piles of clothes trying to figure out what fit Beau and what didn't anymore.

It never gets easy putting the clothes away that he'll never wear again. I have memories tied to so many of the outfits that might be lost if I pack them away. We are lucky we have so many good memories that I can't keep them all in my mind. These years of just me and Beau have been amazing and FULL. I can't help but be thankful.

I was pleasantly surprised by the feeling of being proud of myself, too. I felt proud that I've made it to yet another size up for my son and all the work it took to get there. I feel like moms give themselves way too much grief....when I'm proud of myself, I can be a better mom. Riddling myself with guilt never makes me better. Each mom has her strengths and they deserve to be noticed inside themselves.

We were created to do this, our kids were given to us for a purpose and it was no mistake that God gave our kids to US. I truly believe this verse has so much to do with being a mom:

"For we are God's handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do." Ephesians 3:10

It's overwhelming to think about the much bigger picture this pregnancy means and being a mom to my boys day to day. The mundane days that seem like they may not matter add up to a much larger plan than we could ever imagine. It's days like today when I'm cleaning out a closet that it hits me.....all of these little things are adding up to something big.

I can't wait to see what the something big will be for both of my kids. I can't wait to start this next chapter of my life knowing TWO sons and pouring all I have to give into them. And even more than that, pouring all I have to give with the help of the Holy Spirit which is much more than I could do on my own.

Maybe that's why I can truly feel proud? I know it's not ME doing the good, but it's God. I know I'm not the one equipped with strength, but it's God who gives it to me. It's not all on me at all. And we are human, we CAN'T be perfect no matter how hard we try so why do we beat ourselves up when we aren't? Anything I do right is because of God and anything I do wrong is forgiven.

I can definitely breathe a sigh of relief and turn down the noise of today where everyone has the ONE RIGHT WAY to feed/birth/parent a baby and realize, my kids were given to me on purpose. It's okay if I don't do exactly what people think I should. I'm going to point my kids to God and because of that guilt has no place and the outside noise turns down. I can enjoy this first year knowing what a wonderful beginning to something big it'll be no matter how I choose to do it. Because God has a BIG plan and those tiny things don't matter nearly as much as we make them seem.

What truly matters is knowing God and making Him known. Seeking Him in those long nights and tired days because He is the source of life and truth and all I need.

And He is what my kids need most of all. He's SO much more than anything we can give them ourselves. He's part of the much much much bigger picture. Actually, He IS the bigger picture.

Saturday, January 16, 2016

Halfway There!

We are just a few days shy of being 20 weeks and things are definitely getting more exciting!!!

Here is a picture of me at 19.5 weeks:

Pregnancy photos are not my favorite to take but I do know now that it's fun to look back when pregnancy is a distant memory in life's rear view mirror. :)

We now know that our sweet baby is a BOY named Luke and he is kicking and moving like crazy! I started feeling him at 16 weeks which is much earlier than I did with Beau. He feels like a frog hopping and I love it!!

He now weighs a 1/2 lb which we got to find out at the gender reveal! He is SO cute!!! Here's some pictures of his head, little arm, and foot! My heart could explode:

We also found out there's a complication with the placenta placement which was a bit of a bummer but it definitely didn't take away the excitement of the gender reveal! I'm not allowed to move much or lift anything including Beau so that's been interesting! I'm still very nauseas so we'll see if I'll be in the hall of fame for being nauseas until he's here. It's looking good for that award around here!

One great thing about having a boy is we already have everything we need!!! I probably won't even make a nursery or decorate before the baby comes which is totally the opposite of my first pregnancy. We only use the pack n play beside our bed for the first six months anyway and we need guest rooms for visitors that will want to get their hands on our Luke!

I'm a little more practical this time around I'd say but I did splurge on something for the hospital of course!!! :) Here it is:

Just seeing that cute little onesie gets me really excited for what's to come. I now know I'll be an all boy mom and I am definitely okay with that!!! I only played with boy dolls when I was little which is funny because I was always meant to be a boy mom even then.
I've always had a special place in my heart for little boys and men in general and I am honored to be surrounded by them!!!! It's such a privilege! I feel nothing but feelings of joy ever since I heard the wonderful words "It's a boy!"

I'm really excited!!! :)

Saturday, December 19, 2015

*15 week bump date attempt*

It takes two seconds on my Facebook page to realize that one of my biggest passions and joys in life is being a mother. The moment I met Beau, my life changed for the better in ways I couldn't have imagined. I felt a joy and fierce love I had never known and I knew that once I became I mother, I would never want to turn back. It is the greatest change in my life and when people talk about kids being a burden and wanting freedom for a while, I just can't understand. Mostly because I've never felt more free, happy, or myself than when I started taking care of my very special boy.

But getting there is not easy. The Mount Everest I like to call pregnancy and really the first few months with a newborn is the key to that happiness and for me it's not an easy climb!

So, since this will be the last
time I'm pregnant (go to last blog if there's any questions why, ha) I've decided to try to do things like bump dates to try and attempt to make pregnancy more exciting and enjoyable.

I see other cutesie little pictures and blogs and look at them in awe and jealously as I work hard to enjoy it even a tiny bit. But that jealousy is coupled with happiness for that person because I am grateful some women love it. What a gift to you! Blowing out someone else's candle doesn't make mine burn any brighter, great stories of pregnancy do my heart good.

I want to be that glowing mother that dreams of the baby and oogles over a growing human inside, but I just puke and watch my thighs grow more than my belly and wonder why it always feels like 107 degrees wherever I go. But finally meeting my baby outside of my body changes everything and life does become more beautiful and full of love than I ever imagined. So it's definitely worth it. I'm truly happy for moms who love pregnancy and I'm trusting in you to keep the population growing.

I'm really am beyond thankful for the opportunity to be pregnant even as much as I've suffered because it teaches me to truly love them and give myself up for them even before they are here. I would do anything for my babies and they are my greatest gifts along with Brian! The love of a mother is nothing you can explain, but it's incredible. I am honored to take the journey to the next phase of life and make our family complete!

So, here's my attempt at a bump date at 15 weeks along! Baby is the size of an orange:)

I'm feeling A LOT less nauseas but it's still hanging on during the day. I'm really happy many hours of the day and able to enjoy life again and play with my boy which I will never take for granted again! I've missed him so much. From about 4pm on, though...I still feel extremely sick and have to go to bed around 6:30 or 7! Ha! It'll be interesting to see when the nausea stops!

Baby has a heart rate of 165!! Faster than Beau who was 145 at this age. It is the best feeling to hear that sound!!! The upside to nausea is it's like I can always hear that heart in a way. It's a great reminder that baby is doing great. And now that it's more of a normal nausea situation, I can appreciate it! :)

We find out if it's a boy or girl January 7th!! It's crazy to think the mystery of what my family is going to look like will finally be solved. I've dreamt of this my whole life and couldn't wait to start knowing the people who would matter most to me in life. (Which is why I was married two months before I convinced Brian we should have our first baby! Ha!) We are both glad I was that crazy!! It was a great decision for us.

So, will I be an all boy mom or have a daughter? Not long until we know! Ahhhh! Talk about butterflies and nerves. I'm thankful I have the holidays to help me pass the time.

Okay, let's see...I'm craving chik fil a chicken sandwiches and they taste like a piece of Heaven! And oranges, I can't get enough.

15 weeks in and I've already made it over the hardest hump. That's something to be thankful for!! I am so excited to see what these next few months hold for us:)!

Thursday, December 3, 2015

Lessons I learned in the Darkness

What I'm about to write is not one of my favorite types of things to write about. It's heavy and really personal but I have this feeling that won't go away that I need to share what God taught me lately in some of the most difficult days of my life. The end is where my lesson comes in because I have to explain where I was at first, I just really hope that someone can get something good out of what I learned because I want my suffering to matter and mean something even if it's just to one person.

Out of all the things in life I've ever experienced, my first trimesters have been the worst. It's hard to explain the horror and suffering that surrounds it especially since most pregnant women do not have to go through what I go through. Anytime I see someone at 12 weeks announce they are having a baby and I've seen them many of the weeks leading up to it, I'm like what?! How?! Because my pregnancies leave me debilitated and suffering in physical and emotional ways I never knew possible. I have to tell people in the first trimester because 1.) I disappear for a while and 2.) I need to be encouraged through the dark days.

You know the feeling when you have major food poisoning and are about to heave it all up? The second before where you get sweaty and the worst feelings comes over you and dying doesn't sound too bad. That's what I feel like for six weeks strait day after day, night after night, minute after minute that ticks by slower than it ever has. One especially low night I remember just throwing up a little bit of water and blood and that was it.

I tried to comfort myself with happy thoughts about my new baby, but the problem is, I couldn't really THINK. I couldn't FEEL anything good. I couldn't feel happiness, I couldn't feel love, I couldn't feel hope, I couldn't feel any warm feelings I felt before I was sick. All I had left were survival instincts and how can I make it to the next hour? But sadness and hopelessness found it's way in easily. I KNOW that having a healthy pregnancy is a wonderful and great thing to be happy about, but in that condition you can't think like that. Your mind is so overtaken with misery that thinking strait is next to impossible and guilt for not being happy makes it worse. Being so sick you can't comfort yourself with the truth. I was just a shell of who I once was during these days and the only way I knew life was still going was by hearing a leaf blower outside the closed window every once in a while. And getting texts from my friends and family...which genuinely helped because I needed to feel remembered.

I prayed and prayed that God would spare me this pregnancy so many times. I woke up in a panic many nights just thinking that I might have to endure what I had to endure with Beau again. How could I do it? How could I survive that kind of torture a second time? The C section was a cake walk and RELIEF compared to what I went through the first 14 weeks. They say once the baby comes you forget, but I never forgot. It haunted me almost everyday and panicked me over and over again. Everyone would say "Next time will be different!" but I knew deep down it probably wouldn't be.

 I also prayed a more important prayer, that at least if I did have to suffer again, would God please bring something good spiritually from it? Because last time I did not grow, I only became bitter. I wanted my suffering to MEAN something. Help SOMEONE. And it hadn't.

So here I was, faced with my biggest fear yet again and it actually came worse this time. I cried out to God day after day just begging him to give me some relief, ANY relief. But the relief never came. It seemed like the toilet was mocking me, no, no no...you're still here. I tried not to cry because crying always made me throw up more.

I finally just got really honest with God and wrote down in my journal: "Dear God, I'm afraid to pray. I don't know how much more no I can handle. Please give me something, ANYTHING"....and here's where I learned something I'll never forget.

I opened my bible and it landed on this verse:

"While Jesus was here on earth, He offered prayers and pleadings, with a loud cry and tears, to the one who could deliver him out of death. And God heard his prayers because of his reverence for God. So even though Jesus was God's son, he learned obedience from the things he suffered. In this way. God qualified him as a perfect High Priest, and he became the source of eternal salvation for all those who obey him." Hebrews 5:7-9

I was in shock. It was exactly what I needed to hear in that moment. Jesus himself spent many days and nights just like I did crying and pleading to God, yet he was allowed to suffer for something GREATER. The one who never sins learned for suffering. LEARNED from it. I felt God telling me through these verses that he HEARD me and that he wasn't treating me any differently than he did his own SON, Jesus Christ who was allowed to suffer as well. Jesus pleaded over things that were heard, but not always answered yes. Jesus HAD to suffer to save us all. It was a greater plan, a bigger picture.

I have had more times when God has said YES to my pleadings that I was expecting my prayers to always be answered yes, but that's not always what it's going to be. I have to trust that when he says no he has a good reasons for it. Maybe my body just needs to be severely sick to make healthy babies?  Maybe I was given this to have a deep compassion for women who need help in this time. I will GLADLY take anyone's babies for them that are sick and need help throughout my life. Even if a person is not as sick as I was, I have such compassion for it. I just can't handle thinking someone else might have to suffer like that as well. Or maybe I was allowed to suffer so I could learn this incredible lesson. God answers me no differently than he answered his own Son when I suffer. I don't understand the no's in my life, but I know one day I will.

There is a BIGGER picture and I know that God HEARS me...and sometimes that has to be enough.