Monday, November 27, 2017

Would Have

Dear Sweet Baby,

This past week, we would have celebrated your first birthday (approximately).

We would have gone overboard celebrating you, though maybe not as much as we did with your big brother. We learned our lesson (I think...). There certainly would have been lots of pictures.

We would have let you have too much sugar as you dug into your birthday cake. Would you have investigated this new confection before diving in or done a faceplant right in the middle of it all?

You would have celebrated possibly your first Thanksgiving. We would have loaded your plate with all the fixings, eager to see which you would devour first.

Your big brother would have shown you how yummy olives can be and how to eat them properly (on your fingers, of course!). Would you have liked green olives like your daddy, black olives like me, or both like your brother?

Your Daddy would have snuggled you and taught you about football as we watched the games while your brother pretended to play "Minnesota touchdown". Would you have had your Daddy's slight build or his kind eyes? You would have loved having him as your Daddy.

And me, sweet baby? I would have introduced you to some of the wonderful traditions like snuggling up to watch the Thanksgiving parade on TV in our pajamas with a special breakfast. Would you have loved the music and marching bands or been more interested in the balloons?

You will always be intertwined with Thanksgiving in my heart and mind now, little one. You were our "holidays" baby. We found out about you on St. Patrick's Day, announced to the world you were coming on Easter, and lost you on Mother's Day. Your short life changed so much of ours.

I will always love you. And though I may cry, I will also smile at the "would haves". For, you see, you will always be a part of our family though we never held you.

I can't wait to meet you someday.

Your Momma

Saturday, February 4, 2017

Days of Plenty

On a whim, I recently started rereading "Little Woman" by Louisa May Alcott. I hadn't read it in a long time but have fond memories of it, especially the old, worn copy my mother passed down to me. As I started reading, it reminded me of the "Little Women" Broadway musical production that I had the privilege of seeing many years ago. If you haven't heard of it, I highly recommend checking it out! ;) Sutton Foster! Maureen McGovern! Wonderful songs! :)

Of course, thinking of the musical meant that I had to look up and listen to the soundtrack for it. Some of the songs I remembered, others I had to be reminded of, some I had completely forgotten about. As I scrolled through the list, I saw one that I couldn't remember called "Days of Plenty" and decided to listen to it. I wasn't prepared to be reminded.

Sung here by the original actress for Marmee, Maureen McGovern.

I burst into tears as I listened to this song. As the family mourns the death of dear Beth, Marmee pours out both the depth of her grief and the strength of her resolve to daughter Jo. I couldn't help but draw parallels to the baby I lost last May.

"I never dreamed of this sorrow..."
While we struggled to get pregnant with our first, the pregnancy itself was very smooth and uncomplicated. I knew we'd probably have issues getting pregnant again, but I never dreamed after my first pregnancy that the problems would come after that positive test.

"How I wish I could change the way things went..."
 No other words are needed. I don't know why God asked me to walk this valley, but I do know it's not a road I would've chosen for myself.

"Not this bare emptiness..."
And it feels oh so bare and empty at the moment. It's been more than 10 months (almost 11) since we found out we were pregnant, almost 9 months since we lost that baby. I've lost count of the negative pregnancies tests in that time.

"I wanted days of plenty..."
I wanted to see my son become a big brother, watch my husband hold another child, celebrate every milestone with that baby. First words, first tooth, first steps...days filled with plenty of joy.

"There has got to be meaning, Most of all when a life has been so brief..."
I think this is why I blog so much about this right now. I'm still trying to find the meaning in the tragedy. I told my husband one day that I wish this loss wasn't so all-consuming, especially as we get close to being a year removed from it. I know one day it may not be as raw, but right now, as I search for where to go from here, the weight of it feels suffocating at times.

"You can't let this defeat you, I won't let this defeat you..."
 I feel like this is the pep talk I need to give the woman in the mirror every morning.

"So believe that she mattered and believe that she always will...She will always be with you, she'll be part of the days you've yet to fill..."

My time with them was fleeting but oh-so-meaningful. My baby will always matter. And so does the Munchkin that I have with me. I have been blessed with days of plenty with him and for that I am incredibly grateful. I look forward to the day yet to be filled with his joy and antics.

As I try to find my way forward as the mother of two children, one on earth and one in heaven, I am grateful for the days I have been given with both my children. I pray there will be many more to come with my Munchkin and maybe, someday, days of plenty with a new little one here on earth.

Soli Deo Gloria,

Saturday, January 21, 2017

Book Review: "Love Unending"

I had the great privilege of reviewing Becky Thompson's first book "Hope Unfolding" last August. So when I found that her second book, "Love Unending", was also available for review, I jumped at the opportunity to read it! The subtitle for "Love Unending" is "Rediscovering Your Marriage in the Midst of Motherhood". Boy, is that right where I am in life at this moment!

The challenge? As Becky puts it: "How can I remember how to be a wife when it takes all I've got to be a momma?" The solution? " treating each day as though it were the first day we fell in love". Intentionality, that's the key. Finding what has been lost from putting my relationship in autopilot, by getting in a rut, in order to care for children. But I'll let you read the book itself to discover the nuts and bolts. ;)

Coming off of "Hope Unfolding", I was expecting "Love Unending" to be a similar setup with different chapters covering different aspects of hope/love respectively with a few lines at the end to personally process the information from that chapter and apply it to my life. I have been pleasantly surprised that that was not actually the case. "Love Unending" is instead set up as a 21-day challenge for wives, with each chapter being a task for that day. Some tasks are easier than others, some require positive action while others require more internal reflection. A good mix to inspire different women who are at different places in their lives and individual relationships.

One of the things I really appreciated about the book was how easy it was to pick it back up even if I had missed a day or two...or ten. While each day may build on the previous days, there were typically enough mentions of previous tasks that you could easily remember some of them and pick right back up where you left off.

Overall rating: 5/5, highly recommended for new moms and moms of littles.

I received this book for free from The Crown Publishing Group for this review.

Friday, January 13, 2017

By the Numbers

8 - months since our miscarriage.
7 - anniversary we will celebrate later this year.
6 - months ago that we started trying to get pregnant again, post-miscarriage.
5 - years ago that we started intentionally trying to get pregnant.
4 - blood tests to make sure my body realized I wasn't pregnant anymore last year.
3 - failed rounds of Clomid in as many months to end 2016.
2 - lifetime pregnancies.
1 - one live birth; one miscarriage; one enduring deep desire.

More than one...

Before Dan and I got married, before we were even engaged, we had many of the typical conversations for a couple at that stage. We even had what we called "Awkward Questions Weekend" where we could ask any question on our mind, no matter the subject. Of course, one of those topics included our number of desired children.

At the time, I probably said two or three. After talking about it though, the ultimate answer we arrived at, what we would tell people for months and years to come, was "more than one". We made the choice at that time to not limit what God might do in our lives, but to simply express our desire for multiple children.

All these years later, that desire has not faded. In fact, if anything, it has grown stronger. After the loss of our baby last Mother's Day, we feel even more keenly how incomplete our family is.

That pregnancy was unexpected and, in some ways, miraculous considering some of the variables. However, the circumstances almost make it harder to process what has followed. 6 more months of trying, 3 of those with the aid of fertility medication, but with no positive results.

The desire gnaws.

It is something I carry every day, a part of me I cannot quiet or satiate no matter how much I want to. It tugs at my heart every time I see my son interact with a baby. It screams with every new pregnancy or birth announcement. Others may never see it, but it is still there.

My Munchkin visiting a friend who was 11 days new!
I do not know why God has seen fit to tarry in blessing us with more children. I wish I could see what His plan was. But I do know that to Him, He is not tarrying a single second.
"But do not overlook this one fact, beloved, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance."
2 Peter 3:8‭-‬9 ESV
So in this time of waiting with unfulfilled desires, I have adopted the motto of a dear friend of mine: "Until God tells me no, I will pray, try, and hope." So that is exactly what we will continue to do. We hope the testing this month brings answers. We hope the month off Clomid will help us reset. We hope that God chooses to bless us with another child sooner rather than later. And maybe, someday, my deferred hope will become a fulfilled hope.
"Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a desire fulfilled is a tree of life."
Proverbs 13:12 ESV

Soli Deo Gloria,

Friday, January 6, 2017


So apparently I have a doppelganger...

Not in the sense of looks necessarily, but in several aspects of our lives.

Meet Meg (not kidding, her name really is Megan). She writes a column called "Right, Meg?" for the local newspaper where my parents live.This photo is just a sample of the columns my mom has sent me with her notes on them. They include topics like how much she loves her Crock Pot (I hugged mine when it came out of storage 6 years ago), how her son was shy on ultrasound (we never saw our Munchkin's face before he was born), and two different columns about two different moves in her life. There have been many more columns over the years about her love of books, planning her wedding, moving, and preparing for the birth of her son who was due almost exactly a year after mine (he ended up coming early).

I really enjoy reading the clippings my mom sends me of Meg's writing. It's uncanny sometimes how similar the situations are that we find ourselves dealing with in life. I almost wish we could sit down together with some pumpkin spice lattes (something else we both enjoy) and compare notes. I don't know if we'd be friends, but I enjoy the articles my mom sends me that exemplify the similarities between our lives.

Have you ever met someone you've clicked with immediately? The kind that embodies the C.S. Lewis quote "Friendship ... is born at the moment when one man says to another 'What! You too? I thought that no one but myself . . .'"? I've had a couple of friends like that and they are truly treasures. Of course, sometimes you have that moment with friends you've been growing closer to over the course of years and they are just as precious.

So grab one of those friends this week and take them for a cup of coffee. Let them know how much you appreciate them and their friendship. :) And follow Meg on Twitter @rightmeg! :)

Soli Deo Gloria,