33/34 Week Update and a Delayed Transfusion

Today I am 34 weeks and 2 days pregnant. Last week Nora looked happy and healthy on her weekly biophysical profile ultrasound and non-stress test. The technician didn’t  measure Nora but the doctor measured my belly and it was the size of a 36 week belly instead of 33 weeks. Here are a few pictures of me at 33 weeks. My sister could NOT stop laughing when she was trying to take these pictures because she said it looked like I was wearing a prosthetic belly. There was a group of other moms nearby watching and laughing with (at?) us too. I love having a gigantic baby belly, especially since I know I only have to go to 38 weeks and not 41 weeks like I did with Liam and Asher.

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And how I really feel most of the time:

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Originally we thought Nora’s fifth and last blood transfusion would be today but Dr. Moise pushed it back an extra week. He’s traveling internationally this week and he really likes to do the last IUT at 35 weeks, so my next transfusion will be a week from today. I am kind of nervous about going four weeks between transfusions but once again I just have to trust that Dr. Moise would not do anything if he thought it would put Nora in danger.

Today I had my 34 week check up and Nora passed her biophysical profile and non-stress test with no problems.

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Thankfully her growth has slowed down some and she’s now in the 88th percentile at 6lbs 2oz. I actually lost a little weight this week which worried me some but didn’t concern the doctors. There was no extra fluid present in Nora’s body (which is good) but my amniotic fluid was measuring at 24 which is on the high side. Again, the doctor wasn’t worried about it and said Nora looked very active and healthy. Here I am at 34 weeks:

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Since Nora’s transfusion was moved back we have been able to stay in Alabama for an extra week. I’ve been able to do some fun “normal” summer activities with the boys like swimming and playing in the sprinkler and drinking root beer floats on the porch. It’s so nice just to be at HOME, all together. We’ve been able to see our extended family this past week which has been so wonderful. My sister in law repainted her childhood rocking chair for Nora and it is so cute!

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Thanks to my mother in law, we were able to get our house decluttered, organized and somewhat ready for a new baby. It has been such a great, productive visit home and now we are just ready to meet our little girl. Please pray that Nora makes it to her next transfusion without getting too anemic. We can’t wait to meet her in just a few short weeks!

13 Weeks and Counting

This post doesn’t really have much of a theme, just updating how things are going. I think every paragraph ends with a prayer request, sorry! We just need your prayers so much…they keep us afloat. On Monday I had my weekly IVIG treatment done at my house by a home care nurse. She will be coming out to our house every week from now on to give me my treatments. This is SO much easier than driving two hours to the hospital and getting the treatments in the labor and delivery ward. The nurse was SO kind and was here for about nine hours (poor thing!) I was just happy that Asher kept his clothes on all day. His favorite thing to be is naked. I had envisioned myself being productive and doing laundry and such during the treatment, but I was hooked up to an IV and blood pressure monitor the whole time and was basically bed-ridden. It turned out to be a good, forced rest for me. The nurse insisted that I nap and rest while she took care of Asher (Liam was at school) and she handled all of the treatment stuff too. When I woke up she and Asher were doing artwork for Mommy and then she played trains in the floor with him for a LONG time.

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Artwork done by the home care nurse and Asher. Notice Asher’s phonetic spelling of turkey “TRCE” haha 🙂

He absolutely loved her and soaked up all the attention she gave him. I haven’t been able to give the boys much attention lately so he needed it desperately. He actually threw himself on the floor in typical 3 year old fashion and cried when she left. He is counting the days until she returns. This woman was such a blessing to our family. Also, her sister just lost her daughter, Hazel Mae, who was stillborn this month. Will you all pray for Hazel’s parents and big sister? I keep thinking about them all and my heart aches for them. At random times her name, Hazel Mae, (isn’t it a beautiful name?) comes to my mind throughout the day and I tear up and my heart races and it feels like I miss her, even though I never met her or her parents. It still shocks me that other women lose babies, every single day. Let’s all pray peace and healing over this family.

My boys have been mentioning the baby more, which actually breaks my heart because I don’t know if they will ever get to meet him/her. After I told the boys about the baby, Liam’s eyes got big and watery and he said, “Mama, PLEASE don’t let this baby die in your belly. We need a baby, we haven’t had one in our family in one hundred thousand years.” This week he cuddled up to me and rubbed my belly. His face was alight and expectant and he said, “Hey little buddy, you’ll be here soon.” Sometimes Liam will hug me and say, “Mom, I just love you so much because you have a baby in your belly.” Asher asks how much longer until the baby comes out and I have to remind him that we don’t know if we will get to keep the baby. It is heartbreaking. Honestly, I don’t know how to do this. If we only have this baby for half of the pregnancy, I want to celebrate him/her while (s)he is here and savor every moment we get with this little person. But I also want to protect my boys’ hearts and I know the less we talk about the baby, the less they will get attached and maybe it will hurt less if the baby dies. But will I regret holding back if this is our only time with this baby? Oh, how I wish we could just expect this baby to come in the summer and start buying cute outfits and have long, hopeful conversations with Liam and Asher about how wonderful it will be to have a new baby in the house. I can’t even imagine the healing and joy that would take place if God answered their sweet, desperate prayers for their sibling with a YES this time and I got to see them holding their little brother or sister ALIVE in their arms. The thought is so beautiful that it’s painful and I try to push it out of my mind when it comes. It almost seems too good to be true. Will you all pray that my boys get to be big brothers to this baby and hold this baby ALIVE and BREATHING one day? Pray that God protects their little hearts from more pain and loss.

I am now 13 weeks pregnant and the baby looks perfect so far. This week I had my genetic testing done where they do blood work and a special ultrasound to check for down’s syndrome, trisomy 18 and spina bifida. I was surprised how little I have cared about these screenings, although I know they are serious disorders. Right now, I just want my baby to live and the biggest threat by far is the anti-kell antibodies. At the ultrasound they also checked for signs of fetal hydrops, which would show up as extra fluid around baby’s organs. Thankfully there were no signs of hydrops, baby was active and heartbreakingly cute with a strong heartbeat.

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Baby’s cute profile on top and hand wave on the bottom

They also couldn’t tell the gender yet again, saying it could really go either way and it’s too early to tell. Maybe next week! I have had several people ask me if these good reports mean the baby is going to live. Unfortunately they don’t. Lucy’s ultrasounds at this point looked exactly the same- perfect. There were no signs of fetal hydrops or any problems. She had a level 2 ultrasound at 16/17 weeks where they looked carefully at every organ and checked for any signs of distress- there were none. She looked perfectly healthy. The only way we could tell that she was very sick was by doing a special ultrasound called an MCA scan that measures how fast the baby’s blood is flowing. If the blood is flowing too fast, it tells us that the baby is anemic. They waited until almost 18 weeks to do this scan on Lucy (after I INSISTED they try to do it for weeks) and everyone was shocked at how anemic she was. She was dying slowly while we were looking at normal ultrasounds and saying everything looked perfect. So, why aren’t we doing these MCA scans on my baby right now to check for anemia? Most doctors don’t do them or don’t know how to do them until 16-18 weeks. It is hard to get a good reading earlier than 16 weeks, but I have been in contact with several women who’s doctors started them as early as 12, 13 and 14 weeks. I have asked numerous times for my doctors to try the scan before 16 weeks, but they are adamant about not doing it since it’s not their normal protocol. They also have told me that they can’t do anything if the baby is anemic that early, however, there are things that can be done and have been done by other doctors at other hospitals. This is why I will be traveling to Houston, TX if the baby looks anemic early, so that we can try everything possible to save the baby. Of course, to know the baby is sick we will need to do the MCA scan earlier. This is my main prayer request for this weekend: I have an appointment with my doctors on Monday, Feb. 2nd and will be asking them one more time to try the MCA scan at 15 weeks. Will you please pray that they will change their minds and try the ultrasound? If they still say no, I will be traveling to Texas to have the ultrasound done (an 11 hour drive one way.) Will you also pray that the baby is not anemic and the MCA scan looks normal? I do want to add that the regular ultrasounds we are doing every week are still very important and if the baby was SICKER than Lucy was at this gestation, we might see signs of fetal hydrops (caused by severe anemia) such as extra fluid building up around the baby’s organs. We are thrilled each week to see normal ultrasounds with no visible problems.

Thank you again, to everyone who has left a comment, read the blog, prayed for us, thought about us, hoped for us, helped us with childcare (my family especially) and sent us kind gifts. We appreciate every one of you and couldn’t do it without you ❤

Dreams

I have had vivid dreams since I was a little girl, and often my dreams come true. This may sound crazy and ridiculous to some people, but it’s true. As I grew up I realized that God was using these special dreams to tell me things or prepare me for something in the future. Sometimes I think He uses them to tell me that He knew back then and He knows now and all of this is part of His plan. Often, I don’t know why He gives me certain dreams and A LOT of them are meaningless and random. Many of my dreams don’t come true, but some do in amazing ways. I think it is so special that He occasionally uses my dreams to communicate His love to me.

Sorry if this is a repeat. I think I’ve mentioned this one in my blog before. About two years before I met Josh I had a vivid flash of a dream about my son. He was about two years old with white blonde hair. He had his shirt off and was standing on a curb. I felt like God told me that I would have a son. He looked just like Liam and Asher when they were little.

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I had a few more dreams about my future baby boys, and many of them came true. I always thought it was strange that God only gave me one dream about my future daughter, and it was a baffling one. Years before I met Josh or even dreamed about my sons, I had one dream about my baby girl. I was lying on the hospital bed, giving birth. When she came out her skin was a strange reddish brown color. I was thrilled to have a daughter, but there was a sense of something being very wrong in the dream. Then I woke up. I had a passing thought that maybe I was going to marry someone of a different ethnicity and my daughter would have darker skin. Now I know that the dream was about Lucy; my daughter that came out with reddish colored skin because she should have still been developing in my womb instead of being born when she wasn’t ready. How strange that He knew all those years ago about the tragedy that I was approaching, closer and closer every day. I wonder if His heart ached back then for the pain that I would go through. I’m thankful that I have such a strong God, who is able to shoulder the grief of the world. I whine about not understanding His ways, but do I really want to know all the things that He has to know? I couldn’t bear it.

There are some dreams that are yet to be fulfilled, but I am expecting them to be one day. These dreams bring me so much joy and hope. While I was pregnant with Lucy I prayed all the time that God would tell me if she was going to live or not. One night I had a quick flash of a dream. Josh was facing me and was holding a baby out in front of him. The baby was facing Josh, so I couldn’t see the baby’s face. I couldn’t tell if it was a boy or a girl. Josh’s eyes were alight with joy and he was smiling into the baby’s face. He was absolutely in love with that baby and his face was full of pride. The baby had such a cute bald head that was covered with the finest layer of blonde peach fuzz. The dream made me so happy. I hoped it was Lucy, but never felt confirmation whether it was or not. Now I know that it wasn’t Lucy, it was some other baby. But that dream is so amazing to me now. God used it at the time to comfort me because He knew I needed to see that we would have a healthy baby. He knew that when we lost Lucy the doctors would tell us to never try again, that we should just be thankful that we got two. God knew how much it would mean for me to have that promise, that we WOULD have another baby one day, even if it wasn’t Lucy. And He had the wisdom not to show me back then that the baby Josh was holding in the dream wasn’t Lucy. I couldn’t have handled that knowledge while I was pregnant with her and fighting for her. He knew exactly what I needed two months before losing my daughter.

After I lost Lucy I had a very vivid dream of my future son. He was tiny and was swaddled in a blanket. He was looking up at me and his forehead was all crinkly with concern. He had a tube down his nose and taped to his face, but other than that, he seemed healthy. He was so cute and his name was Ransom (not saying that will be my son’s name, but it was in the dream.) He had a small face, like Liam does, but his features were more like Asher’s, big downturned eyes. I can see his face right now, clear as day, and I believe one day I will hold him in my arms. I can’t wait.

I have had a couple of dreams about our next baby. I started having them before we decided to adopt. Several times I dreamed of breastfeeding my new baby and it was always a peaceful, comforting dream. About a year ago I dreamed that I was in a hospital meeting my new baby. Instead of being in the hospital bed, I was in a comfortable arm chair and a woman gently placed my baby in my arms. It was a girl and I was SO excited. I shouted out, “It’s a GIRL! And she is BREATHING!” Then I was in the hallway talking to every single person that walked by, calling out, “Come look at my new baby. It’s a girl and her heart is beating and she’s breathing and she is ALIVE!” My heart could have burst it was so full of pride and joy.

There are several other dreams that I am waiting to see come true. I am truly thankful for a God who cares so much about me and my future. All of the worrying I do about my future is in vain. He already holds all of my days in His hand. He has it all planned out and the best part is that He will be with me every step of the way.

An Incredible Privilege

This week my baby boy will start kindergarten. How is that possible? I feel like I was just begging God for that positive pregnancy test in 2008, begging Him to give me a blonde baby boy named Liam. I feel like it was just yesterday that Liam was taking his first steps, that he was learning how to go potty and how to read all at the same time. It went too fast. I am tempted to get weepy and to cling to his babyhood that is so quickly fleeting, that is gone already. I am tempted to feel sad that he is growing up so fast and that he will be away from me Monday through Friday from 7:30-3:00 in the care of a stranger. But my Lucy Dair has taught be otherwise. I will never be able to experience kindergarten with Lucy, to watch her outgrow her babyhood and blossom with self confidence and make new friends. I will never get to see her beautiful name on a pink backpack or buy a My Little Pony thermos for her lunchbox. I will never get to teach her how to read or introduce her to fun books like Anne of Green Gables or Harry Potter.

What an incredible privilege that I get to do all of this with Liam. This week I will not reminisce in weepy sadness about his baby days gone by. I will savor this amazing moment in time, right now, the week Liam starts kindergarten. I will recognize what a blessing it is that I get to experience all of this with Liam: the new friends and new teacher, the fun books I get to introduce him to, the field trips, the class parties and the holidays. Even buying all of his school supplies felt like an undeserved privilege.

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Excited about his new Ninja Turtles thermos (ignore the lego explosion in the background)

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REALLY excited about his new Ninja Turtles thermos

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On our way to his kindergarten open house

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On our way to his open house

Once again, I am thankful for the things Lucy has taught me. I am able to appreciate these moments in life more deeply and to savor the sweetness of NOW. I am a better Mommy because of her. If you are sending your baby off to kindergarten this fall, you have been given an incredible privilege that many parents never get. Don’t let nostalgia get in the way of experiencing this fun milestone in your child’s life. Savor it, enjoy it, and thank God for it. You are so blessed.

*A quick side note- not only does Liam start kindergarten on Thursday, but we will get to find out the gender of our rainbow baby on that day as well! Stay tuned for the big announcement 🙂

I have a son…

I have a son.

He was born kicking and screaming on February 7th, 2009.

I loved him so much that day that I first met him.

I love him still, five years later.

I revel in him, I delight in him, I thank God for him.

My love has not lessened since I first met him on that cold February day five years ago.

He owns a piece of my heart.

 

I have a son.

He was born kicking and screaming on March 3rd, 2011.

I loved him so much that day that I first met him.

I love him still, three years later.

I revel in him, I delight in him, I thank God for him.

My love has not lessened since I first met him on that cold March day three years ago.

He owns a piece of my heart.

 

I have a daughter.

She was born completely still and silent on February 9th, 2013.

I loved her so much that day I first met her, that last day I ever saw her.

I love her still, one year later and I will until the day I die.

I miss her, I ache for her, I thank God for her.

My love has not lessened since I first met her on that cold February day one year ago.

She owns a piece of my heart.

 

16 Months Without My Daughter

16 months ago we went in for Lucy’s second intrauterine blood transfusion, but instead, we helplessly watched her heart stop beating and a couple hours later we were inducing labor.

I have lived 16 months without my baby. It’s like going 16 months without food, or water or air or sunshine, but worse. Seriously, think about how it would feel for someone to say, “Ok, no more food. EVER.” The hunger would slowly build and the ache would set in and you would wonder, “How can I go another hour, another minute, without food? How can I go my whole life without food?” Everyone else has moved on, but I am still a Mommy living without my child. Sure, I am healing and finding some joy again, but that intense ache for my child is still there, always.

In January, Josh and I took a three day trip to Pensacola, FL to do our adoption training classes. We left our boys with my mom. It’s the longest I’ve ever been away from them. I miss them when I’m not with them. I truly love being around them. Even if I’m away from my boys for more than two hours, I start to feel that ache of missing them. I love them so much (and I’m not a helicopter parent, I promise!) Josh and I enjoyed our time alone, but I noticed that the more I started missing Liam and Asher, the more uncomfortable and anxious I felt. I realized it was the same feeling I had missing Lucy, the only difference was that I knew I would be able to satiate the ache in a day or two. I started to have this frantic thought, “What if Liam or Asher dies before I can get back to them?” I really wondered if I would ever see them again. It was kind of ridiculous, but it happened with Lucy, so of course it could happen with Liam or Asher. Aching for Lucy, Liam and Asher all at once was almost too much for me.

I had been so excited about going to the beach and relaxing with Josh. The only free time we had was the last day after our classes were finished. We were going to go to the beach and then drive home to Tuscaloosa afterwards. Josh and I both missed the boys so much that we didn’t even want to go to the beach anymore. It sounded way more fun to drive straight home and snuggle our little guys. We skipped the beach. I quenched my ache for them and it felt amazing, because I COULD. But the longing for my girl remains and burns everyday.

16 months without Lucy.

16 months of milestones missed, of aching and tears.

16 months of being misunderstood and avoided, of being judged and hushed.

16 months of being comforted by some.

16 months of two instead of three.

16 months without pink in the house. No dresses or bows or baby dolls or long, pretty curls growing.

16 months without seeing Josh hold his baby girl, without seeing Asher be the big brother that he is.

This is a long, difficult journey.

The next time we had a meeting with our adoption agency, we took our boys with us (we also didn’t have a babysitter so we kind of had no choice.) It was so much fun with our little loves, with two less to miss, and even though it was cold, THIS time we went to the beach.

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We also went to Pump It Up, where we went down this slide so many times that I almost ripped my pants open and the boys still talk about it almost every day.

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Asher’s first time down alone. I love the look of terror on his face 🙂

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TTC goes on hold, HOPE slowly grows

So, we have decided to stop trying to conceive a baby naturally for right now. We have tried for 11 months which meant 9 negative pregnancy tests and 2 positives that ended with miscarriages. That is a lot of heartbreak, discouragement and hope deferred and all of it has happened right after the death of our daughter. I had negative pregnancy tests before losing Lucy and they were very difficult to handle, but getting a negative after losing a baby is far more devastating. With Liam we got pregnant the very first month we tried, Asher took five months of trying and Lucy only took two months. Throughout this past year we have been praying that God would show us clearly how He wants us to proceed with growing our family. We think He has shown us clearly that our next baby will be our adopted one. Trying to conceive is also expensive for us with the supplements, ovulation predictor kits, pregnancy tests, blood work, etc. We feel like all of our money needs to go towards our adoption right now, especially if people are donating their hard earned money to our adoption account. Also, I will probably try to induce lactation and breastfeed my adopted baby, which means going on birth control pills as part of the protocol. Another reason we are putting the TTC on hold is because every month that we try for a baby, we are opening ourselves up to a 50% chance of having another stillbirth. That takes a tremendous amount of courage and emotional energy. We are emotionally exhausted from it, so I think it is a good time to stop and wait.

Even though it goes against every fiber of my being to not try for a baby, it is very freeing to know that we WILL be meeting our baby girl next and we won’t be experiencing a stillbirth.  We are almost finished with our home study and were told to start working on our profile book to show the birth moms. This means that there is a (very small) chance that we will be getting our baby in the next few months. Josh and I realized the other day that we don’t have any names picked out yet! With a pregnancy you pretty much know how long you have to pick the name, but with adoption you have no idea. We could get a call soon telling us that a baby has just been born and the birth mom has picked us, or it could take over a year. The last couple of days have been full of hope for us as we look up baby girl names and ask the boys what they think about them. We finally told them about the adoption and that they will be getting a baby sister, but we don’t know how long it will take. We told them all about the baby’s “Belly Mama” and it all seems very normal to them because everything sounds normal when you are 3 and 5! Liam even wrote a sweet (kind of awkward) letter to Belly Mama the other night:

Please, I know you are having a baby.

Dear Belly Mama, thank you.

Love, Liam

Liam suggests on a regular basis that we name the baby Lucy, and that is always a stab in the heart. It is hard to explain that we already used that name for his baby sister who isn’t here. He wants his baby sister Lucy so much, and we do too. But lately I have noticed that when the boys talk about their baby sister they are referring to our baby girl who is coming next, and that is hopeful. Liam’s name choices for his new baby sister are, “Frontsteve, Flashy, Lil-Star and Rosie.” All good reminders why five year olds should not be allowed to name other humans. Occasionally he asks, “But can we PLEASE just nickname her Lucy?” And I have to tell him no. Today Asher told me that he really wanted to go to his baby sister’s house. They are ready to meet her.

Since Lucy died, it has been extremely painful to go to Target for some reason. I think it’s because I usually buy most of my baby stuff/maternity clothes there. I always used to walk through the baby girl clothing section and touch the pretty dresses and dream about having my own girl one day. I also see at least one or two pregnant women EVERY time I go there. While I was pregnant with Lucy, I went to Target one day, still unsure if I was going to be able to keep the sweet baby I was carrying inside me. I decided to celebrate my girl whether I got to keep her or not. I bought the cutest baby skinny jeans and an orange shirt with white flowers on it. I was so excited about seeing my baby Lucy in that outfit. I never saw her in it. Target brings up lots of heartache for me. But today, I went to Target with my boys for a few things and found myself walking through the baby girl section again, with HOPE and JOY, trusting that my new baby girl is coming. The boys were so excited about the baby girl stuff and kept asking, “Can we buy THIS for our baby sister?” It made me so happy. I splurged and got her some cute little shoes and hair clips and Asher insisted that he pick out a “pappy” for his baby sister. He only just got rid of his night time pacifier, so he was excited about getting one for her. As I left the store I realized I got through the whole shopping trip without feeling depressed or anxious. I felt hopeful and excited about the future, and the boys did too. What a delicious feeling.

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Why I Love this Ultrasound Picture

Ultrasound pictures are hard for me to look at, even of my own babies. It was on an ultrasound that we first discovered that Lucy was anemic and that my antibodies were attacking her. It was on an ultrasound that we watched Lucy’s heart stop beating. All of Liam and Asher’s ultrasound pictures are stored away somewhere out of sight. But there is one ultrasound picture that is displayed on my refrigerator right at eye level so that I never miss it, and it brings me so much joy. When I look at it I feel like I’m looking at a miracle.

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This was Asher at 20 weeks, 1 day. Lucy died at 19 and a half weeks. She never made it to 20 weeks. The reason this ultrasound is so remarkable is that it could have very easily been Asher that never made it to 20 weeks and we never would have had this picture.

As most of you know, when I had Liam and Asher I didn’t have anti-kell antibodies so they were safe in my womb throughout the pregnancies. The way women get anti-kell antibodies (called being “sensitized”) is either by a blood transfusion (which I’ve never had) or by giving birth to a baby with kell positive blood. Many women give birth to kell positive babies and never become sensitized and rarely do they have such a strong reaction, like I did. But my body obviously had a strong reaction. Liam was never in danger because he was my first baby so I couldn’t have been sensitized before him. I could have been sensitized when I gave birth to Liam, though. We know for sure that Asher has kell positive blood, so he would have been affected by the antibodies. I don’t know why I wasn’t sensitized after Liam, but I know it was such a blessing.

I know I’ve already written about this story in What I Got for Mother’s Day, but I’m writing about it again. Sorry for the repeat. While I was pregnant with Asher we just couldn’t figure out what to name him. I had Liam’s name picked out before I even met Josh, but we didn’t have any ideas for Asher. I decided to pray and ask God what He thought I should name him. I felt like God showed me the name Asher and said it was the name of my baby. I loved the name and so did Josh. We decided to keep it a secret, so we didn’t tell anybody his name. Some time towards the end of my pregnancy my Mom was praying one day about my new baby and she felt like God said, “His name is Asher.” She thought she might be making it up, but was pretty sure she had heard God speak to her. I will never forget the day when she came up to me and said, “I know this sounds weird, but I was praying the other day and I felt like God told me that your baby’s name is Asher.” I COULD NOT BELIEVE IT. She couldn’t believe it either when I told her that was the name we had picked for him several weeks earlier! I knew then that the name was a special message for us about Asher. It is a Hebrew name and it means “Happy, blessed, fortunate.” He is the most happy boy and was a happy, easy baby. But more importantly, I am seeing now why Asher is so very, very blessed. God let him live. He let him make it to that 20 week ultrasound all healthy and chunky and throbbing with a healthy heartbeat. That ultrasound picture is the first picture of many that might not have been. I’ve had him for three whole years and I have been blessed by every single moment I get with him. It is often easy to focus on all the things I am missing with Lucy, all the sweet pictures that never will be. But this ultrasound picture is on display to remind me of the enormous miracle that He did in letting Asher live.

God didn’t just let Asher live, but He gave me all the specific things I asked for. It was a long list. Since Liam had terrible colic as a baby and refused to eat, I asked God to give me a baby boy who was big and chunky, who loved to eat and didn’t have colic. I asked that my baby would be laid back and easy, with a sweet nature. I asked that he would be healthy and that I would have an easy delivery. God gave me all those things. Asher was 10 pounds 2 ounces and giving birth to him was less painful and easier than giving birth to my one pound baby Lucy. Not lying. He is a good eater, and he was easy to breastfeed. Since he was a baby he has had amazing command over his emotions. He knew how to self soothe since birth. I will never know why God answered all of my silly requests for Asher with a YES but He answered my one request for Lucy with a loud and resounding NO. I told God I didn’t care if she was brain damaged (severe anemia can affect the brain and heart.) I didn’t care if she had a heart defect or if she had to spend 3 months in the NICU. I just wanted her to live. That was my one request, the most important request a Mommy will ever have for her baby. And God told me NO. One day when I see the whole picture, I will be happy He said no and I will thank Him, but not today, and probably not in this lifetime. I am so very sad that He told me NO with Lucy but I am so incredibly thankful for all the wonderful yeses that He said with Asher. Today I am relishing all of those beautiful yeses. I am celebrating my blessings today, three years after meeting my healthy, LIVE baby Asher for the first time. What a good God. I am so thankful for all the days I have spent with my little Asher Caleb and for all the days to come. Happy third birthday big boy!

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Deuteronomy 33:24,25 And of Asher he said, “Most blessed of sons be Asher; let him be the favorite of his brothers, and let him dip his foot in oil. Your bars shall be iron and bronze, and as your days, so shall your strength be.”

Just had to add some FUN FACTS ABOUT ASHER:

  • People usually think his name is Ashton or Usher.
  • When he was born he was so big that he couldn’t fit into a newborn size diaper. They didn’t have a single diaper in the whole hospital that would fit him.
  • His Korean name is Kang-He (Liam’s is Kang San)
  • As a newborn, Asher was diagnosed with torticollis and plagiocephaly; both developed because he ran out of space in the womb
  • He started walking at 8 months
  • He still has that wonderful, sweet baby breath
  • He asks me for two things on a daily basis: 1. Can I be naked?  2. Can I eat butter?

February 7th

On this day five years ago my lifelong dream of becoming a mother came true when I met my Liam Joshua for the first time. That was one of the happiest days of my life. On this day one year ago I was told that my baby girl was dying and there was nothing we could do. How strange that this day represents the day that my dreams came true and the day that my worst nightmare came true too. Last year on this day I wasn’t getting decorations ready for my four year old’s birthday party, I was googling stillbirth to prepare for the death of my daughter.

Life is beautiful and tragic.

Happy 5th birthday to my biggest boy. You are the sweetness that God put in my life to balance out the tragedy. You brighten my days with your amazing brain, your sensitive heart and your fearless stunts. I appreciate the gift that you are, now more than ever before. You make me so happy and proud. I still can’t believe I get to be your mother.

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For Eternity

It’s amazing how dates cement themselves in my mind. As I get closer to Lucy’s birthday, I feel all the things I was feeling a year ago. Sometimes it feels like no time has passed and it was just yesterday that I was losing my daughter slowly, day by day, waiting until her heart stopped forever. A year ago today my baby Lucy was given a blood transfusion while still in the womb. She was extremely anemic and the doctors thought this blood transfusion could save her life. It was deemed a miraculous success, and everyone thought she would be fine. I never felt her kick again and I knew that it wasn’t a success.

I have written about it in Letting Lucy Go, but on this day a year ago I felt God ask for my daughter. It was probably the hardest decision of my life. I know that if I had said no to God, she still would have died, but I think it has helped that He asked first. I knew He was asking me to follow Him into suffering and I am thankful that He gave me the choice before He took her. I told Him He could take her if He needed to. Here is my journal entry from a year ago. I wrote down the truths that comforted me that day that I gave my baby back to God. These truths have comforted me throughout this past year and they are still true today.

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  • I have her for eternity
  • I will give her life for God’s glory if He asks
  • She is His anyway
  • Abraham gave his son to God. God gave His Son for us. I will hold my daughter’s life with an open hand
  • My life’s purpose is to glorify God (and enjoy Him), not to keep my daughter with me
  • He will sustain me
  • I will be strong and courageous in Him

I think my favorite truth is that I will have Lucy for eternity. I don’t know if I will get to keep Liam and Asher for eternity. They have to decide whether or not they will trust God and love Him. I pray that they will, and I think they will. But I know for sure that Lucy and Jude and Pax wait for me in heaven, and what a sweet promise that is. As I wrote in my journal a year ago today, He will sustain me and He has through the worst year ever. He has given me strength and courage to keep going and not give up, and for that I am thankful.

And by the way, I know God did not kill Lucy, but He did allow it. He could have saved her and He didn’t, so I trust that He has a purpose for allowing such a tragedy. My gain will be greater than my suffering, as was Lucy’s.

Here’s what I posted on Facebook the night before Lucy’s blood transfusion. I want to repeat it today because I think it is important:

As I sit here thinking about the fact that there’s a good chance my baby might die in my womb tomorrow, one thing keeps coming to mind…I have her for eternity. If things don’t go well tomorrow I know that I will spend eternity with her in heaven. If you don’t know God personally I challenge you to consider it. There’s just no better way to do life. God is real. He carries our burdens for us and offers peace and joy and eternal life. What could be better than that?

“I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart: I have overcome the world.” John 16:33