Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Adventures in Life: Our Journey to Parenthood (part 2)

If you have missed the previous post you can read

So, one year later, we were back at square one. Everything was different, but somehow everything was the same. We were still a family of 2. We still wanted to be a family of, well, more than 2. Only a very small group of family and friends knew about the miscarriage, and I am so very thankful that we waited to make a big pregnancy announcement because I don't know if (at that time) I could have handled having to tell so many people about loosing our little angel.

On a side note - and kind of a public service announcement:

Please, please, please, be very careful when asking young couples "So, when are you going to start having kids?". I know that people ask because they care, (and some people ask just to be nosy) but you never know what that couple may be going through. This question can be very hurtful. I was asked this question several times in the spring/summer of 2013 and it was all I could do to hold back the tears.

For young couples who may get this question - the most polite answer I have found for this question is "Whenever God decides to give us kids."

Okay, back to the story. We started trying again. I am not going to share the specifics of 'the trying' here. However if you are in this trying stage, and would like more information about this time from me, please leave a comment and I will be more than happy to answer your questions privately. I will say this, the summer of 2013 was one of the loneliest times of my life. It felt like everyone I knew was either pregnant or had a young baby...the thing my heart desired the most. I have always been pretty good at putting on a happy face and not letting people know how I am really feeling, and that summer I had my "happy face" on every day. 

Month after month went by. Summer turned into fall and fall turned into winter. And we were starting to wonder if God's plan for our family involved some other means of having children (like adoption) because try as we might, we were still not pregnant.

Some days we felt frustrated - why was it taking so long? Why wasn't God's timeline more like ours?! What was He waiting for?

Some days we felt desperate - what if there is something medically wrong and we can't have kids?

Some days we were just so sad for our little one that we lost. 

But all days we were thankful (or at least we tried to find reasons to be) - Thankful for each other. Thankful for good jobs and a roof over our heads. Thankful for the lessons we were learning. Thankful to the opportunity to grow closer to each other through this trial. Thankful for how God was molding us to be more like Him.

We had decided that if we were not pregnant after the first of the new year (2014), that we would make an appointment with a doctor to get some medical advice. But thankfully we never needed to make that appointment, because like I said, God's timing is perfect! And at the beginning of December we found out that we were pregnant (again)!

And to be perfectly honest, I was terrified.

I know, it doesn't make sense, for months and months we had been wanting to be pregnant. Praying every month that I was. And now that I finally saw the 2 lines on the pee stick, I was terrified. I couldn't get past the big "what if".

What if we have another miscarriage?

I don't know if that will ever go away.

Something I had to do every day of my pregnancy with Rebekah was to thank God for giving me another day of being this little girl's mommy. To ask Him to keep us safe and healthy for that day, and to give tomorrow to Him. I know that God is in control. I can worry and plan and try all I want, but when it comes to babies, it doesn't do a lick of good. Now, that's not to say we don't plan things. We do. But when we plan, we also keep in mind the fact that God also has a plan. And His is better than any plan we could make ourselves.

This lesson applies situations besides babies! I would like to encourage you to remember that God is in control, that He has a plan. Give your worries to Him!

To be continued with Rebekah's birth story tomorrow...and because no post is complete without a cute baby picture...

(again, picture from Aunty Wen...isn't she amazing?!)

Monday, September 29, 2014

Adventures in Life: Our Journey to Parenthood (part 1)

I just wanted to say a big THANK YOU to everyone who has left such sweet comments about our little Rebekah! (I have not had time to respond to them all, but I do read and appreciate each comment!) 

(Daniel's sister Wendy took this picture when Rebekah was just 5 days old!)

I have had it on my heart for some time to share with you the journey God has taken us on over the past few years as it pertains to growing our family. It is something that we have kept off of the blog because parts of it are painful and difficult to share. Actually, a lot of this story is painful and difficult. But through all of the heartache and trials, God's love, mercy, and goodness have been revealed to us over and over again.

So, let's start at the beginning...

In April 2012 (yes, the same spring we started our massive Operation: Finish Basement project) Daniel and I decided that we felt ready to grow our family. We did not really have a specific time line in mind. We knew some couples that had tried and waited for years to get pregnant. We also knew some couples that it seemed like all they had to do was look at each other and, BAM, they were pregnant. 

We were not really in a rush, just trusting in God's perfect timing for our family. 

That sentence was pretty easy to say and believe for the first few months. It was almost exciting when someone would ask me "So when are you two going to start having kids?", because it felt like it could happen at any moment. But the months past, one by one, and every month it was a little harder to hide the disappointment. Every month it was a little bit harder to trust in God's plan for our family. 

At the end of October 2012, we got the best test results of our lives! We were pregnant, and so thrilled. We decided to let the news be a Christmas present to our families and waited with great excitement to tell them. Like giddy, first time expecting parents we were reading everything we could get our hands on, making lists of names and things we would need. Christmas 2012 was a lovely, joy filled season. I am so thankful that God let us enjoy that time with our families. Excited, care free, and joyful. Looking back, I can see that God's timing was (and always is) perfect. 

The first few days of 2013 were some of the hardest days of our lives...

New Year's Day 2013 is when the cramping began. Nothing horrible, and I figured the pain was just from the growing baby or maybe gas (sorry, TMI!). But at work on January 2nd, I knew something was not right. My symptoms got worse, and I knew that I needed to see my midwife. I drove home from work, unsuccessful at holding back tears as I called her and she immediately scheduled an ultrasound for that evening. I spent the few hours before the appointment praying, begging God to let everything be okay with the baby we had been waiting so long for. 

That evening Daniel and I drove to the hospital, and got confirmation of what our midwife had suspected. Our first pregnancy was ending with a miscarriage. The ultrasound showed our perfect little angel, but there was no heartbeat or brain activity. After carrying that little one for 11 weeks, God had decided to bring him or her home to Heaven. We were no longer pregnant.

Physically, my body did exactly what God designed it to do in this situation. We are so thankful that I did not have to endure any extra medical procedures. Looking back, this was a huge blessing! And by January 3rd, 2013, I was no longer carrying our little baby and my body was on its way back to being 'normal'.

But emotionally...

We were crushed. We were hurt, confused, angry, sad... There are so many emotions that you go through when you have a miscarriage. Human nature looks for someone or something to blame. But the truth is, there was no one to blame. It wasn't anything we did or didn't do. We were given a gift for a while, but it was not apart of God's plan for us to keep that gift. It took me a long time to accept that truth. I was angry that God would let this happen to us. Were we being punished for something? My heart ached every time I heard of another couple who was pregnant. Why did they get to have a baby and we did not? Didn't God think we would make good parents? 

A verse that we have both had memorized for years took on a new meaning. 

We did not understand why this was happening to us, but we knew that we could trust in the Lord. The spring of 2013 was a time of trial and growth. It was frustrating to feel like we had to start over. But we chose to trust that God's plan was better than our own plan. We were learning to surrender our lives and plans to Him. Realizing that we have absolutely no control over this situation. Trusting that God would provide a way to fulfill our heat's desire to be parents.  

To be continued tomorrow...

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Adventures in Reading: Before Amen

Many of my favorite children's books are written by Max Lucado. I am now finding that some of my favorite 'grown-up' books are also written by Max Lucado. 

I have found in my own prayer life, that when there is a big change in my everyday life, I need to almost re-learn how to structure my prayer life. Before Amen: The Power of a Simple Prayer came at the perfect time for me. As a new mother I have had to find new ways to get my prayer time in. Lucado takes a simple prayer and fleshes it out with great real life illustrations:

Father, You are good. I need help. They need help. Thank you. In Jesus' name, amen.

In the middle of the night, when I am feeding Rebekah, this is the perfect prayer for a sleepy mamma. Each chapter of the book, expands upon one of the 6 phrases. I love the way Lucado writes - easy to read but full of thought provoking statements. This simple prayer is great just as is, but it is also a great guide for a more than simple prayer. I think this book is going to be one that I will read over and over and get different things from it each time I read it. 

I received this book free of charge from Litfuse Publicity for the purpose of review, but the opinions are all my own. 

Max Lucado Before Amen

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Adventures in Products: Kuerig 2.0

We all love getting real mail, right? And packages are the best kind of real mail. And packages that contain something that is free...well that is pretty much the cherry on top of the Chick'fil'a peach shake! So imagine how excited I was to find out I was getting a package with a FREE gift in it from Influenster! Want to know what it was???
And 2 types of K-cups. 
The little ones that just brew 1 cup, and new big ones that brew 4 cups into a carafe that comes with the Kuerig. 

Now this was extra exciting for me because I had quit drinking coffee when we started trying to start our family, and continued my coffee fast during my pregnancy. This little beauty showed up about 4 weeks after Rebekah was born (perfect timing!). Daniel doesn't drink coffee so I had always considered buying a Kuerig so I could just brew my 1 cup of coffee in the morning...but my hesitation was "what would I do when I had guests over"?? I guess they could each brew their own cup, but the Kuerig 2.0 totally solves this problem! With the bigger size K-cup and the carafe I can make a pot of coffee too! It is so easy to say #HelloKuerig in the mornings (or any time!) Another reason why I am so excited about this Kuerig is I can make coffee easily with one hand. Having a newborn, I'm learning to do many things with one hand while holding my sweet girl in the other...including type this blog post!  

In all honesty, there are 2 things that I would change about this nifty little machine. 
(1) The carafe does not fit in the Kuerig unless the coffee cup pedestil is removed. Meaning you have to fine a place for either one or the other when it is not in use. In a perfect world they would fit all together making a nice compact machine. 
(2) Not all k-cups fit in the new Kuerig 2.0. I shop at a store that has Roundy brand groceries and I got the store brand cups that I thought would fit (and were $2 cheaper than the brand name cups). Well, when I put them in the Kuerig 2.0 the touch display screen told me they were not the right cups for the machine?! Bummer. 

But over all I am loving my new Kuerig 2.0 from Influester
If you would like to join Influenster and have the opportunity to receive free packages in the mail like this one, leave me a comment and I can send you an invitation to join! If you are wondering what kinds of products you may get for free here are some links to other items I have received free from Influenster.

* I received this product free from Influenster, but the opinions in this post are all my own true opinion. 

Friday, September 19, 2014

Adventures in Rebekah: 1 Month Old

We are a few days past the one month mark... but let's just pretend it's the 15th -okay? 
Hooray, Rebekah is 1 month old! 
Dear Rebekah, 
What a wonderful, exhausting, joyful, emotional, and challenging month we have had. You has been a wonderful  baby - very good natured and easy going (unless you wants to eat or have gas!). You has spent this first month eating, sleeping, snuggling, and growing! You have gained over 2 lbs since you were born! You are starting to "play" more with your toys. Your favorite toy is a little red crab that hangs from this activity mat that you got from your Uncle Willie and Aunt Chelsea. 

It's so fun to watch and listen to you play. Every time I look at you I love you more and can hardly believe you are ours. You are a true gift from God Rebekah Elise! 

Friday, August 29, 2014

Adventures in Life: 2 Weeks Old

How can 2 weeks seem so long and at the same time go by so quick?! 
Over the past 2 weeks 
we have been doing lots of snuggling...

(mostly her, not so much us)

a photo shoot with Auntie Wen...
(more of those photos to come!) 

A trip to the pediatricians
(just a regular check up - everything is great!)  

And a few moments of awake time
(most of that time has been spent eating - she is a good eater!) 

Thank you for all of the sweet comments - we are so thankful for our
 happy, healthy little girl! 

Adventures in Reading: Home to Chicory Lane

Everyone has dreams of things that they would like to do "some day". Want to know a secrete? One of my dreams is to have a house on some land and open a little bed and breakfast. So when I read the summery of Deborah Raney's new book Home to Chicory Lane, I knew I needed to read it! 

The first in a new series, Home to Chicory Lane, is about the Whitman family. We are first introduced to the Whitman parents, Audrey and Grant, who have worked hard turned their family home into a bed-and-breakfast. On the weekend their inn is set to open, their youngest daughter unexpectedly shows up, without her husband, and her parents suspect trouble. 

This is the first book by Deborah Raney that I have read and I'm excited to read more!  
I very much enjoyed her style of writing. This story was filled with real life characters with real life problems. The theme of God's plan and perfect timing, even when we can not see it, is woven throughout the story. I was imitatively drawn into the story and found myself relating to the characters, rooting for them and hurting with them. I am excited to see what else is in store for the Whitman family in the books to come! 

I was given this book free of charge from Litfuse Publicity, but the opinions are my own true opinion. 
Home to Chicory Lane Deborah Raney