My body clock has decided this is the time for me to wake up each morning.  It turns out though that this works out fairly well as I get a chance to escape the upstairs before the kids are up at 7.  I keep the stairway gate closed and sneak down for some me-time on the computer.  (And while Brent may not appreciate being stuck upstairs with the kids first thing in the morning, I think we both know that if I took the kids downstairs he would fall back asleep for who knows how long.  Brent = not morning person.)

Lydia is up and likely enters our bedroom (not sure on her exact routine because as mentioned above, I am happily downstairs).  Upon waking Brent and realizing I am not there, she goes into Eli's room.  Usually I have a monitor on downstairs so I get to listen to the two of them converse for awhile.  Lydia looks at books and then drops them into Eli's crib for him to look at.  They talk and giggle and I enjoy listening to my sweet babies getting along so nicely.

7:20ish am
Once I hear Brent is out of bed, it's time to go get water/juice for the kids while he rescues Eli from the crib.  Brent opens the gate for Lydia and before long she is downstairs with me asking to play the caterpillar game (Cootie) or play on the iPad.  I inform her that breakfast will be first, but turn on Disney (Mickey Mouse) for the kids to watch while they eat.  Brent sleepily brings Eli down and puts him in his booster seat.  Eli immediately begins asking for food.  The boy loves breakfast!  Lately he wants cereal bars and starts shouting out what color (flavor) he wants.  One red and one green have been the trend.  And after finishing those, he then wants a bowl of cereal with milk.  Lydia, not nearly the big breakfast eater that her brother is, prefers toaster strudel or waffles for breakfast.

Our mornings are not routine at this point, though with Lydia starting preschool in just over 2 weeks we'll be force into one soon.  The kids generally watch a show or two while eating breakfast, then play and do whatever in the house the rest of the morning.  They are beginning to be really good at playing together alone (as in without me) and sometimes will go down in the playroom to entertain themselves.  It's nice to get a chance to get a few things done... makes me almost wonder why I'm starting over with another baby!!  Almost.  :-)  The temperatures have been nice in the mornings lately so sometimes if we can get everyone dressed and out the door we try to go out.  Sometimes just running errands, but sometimes going to the zoo or just playing outside.

Lunch time.  While he loves his variety of breakfast foods, lunch and dinner are a much bigger challenge with Eli.  His absolute favorite is grilled cheese and he'll hardly eat anything else for lunch.  Sometimes he'll do okay with PB&J, but he has absolutely decided chicken nuggets are no good anymore.

Sweet freedom comes at naptime.  :-)  Once lunch is over the kids are upstairs for 1-2 hours.  Eli usually sleeps, but Lydia doesn't sleep much anymore.  She stays in her room (mostly) and stays quiet, but I can tell by the way she acts that she often doesn't sleep.  This can get frustrating because I know if she would rest she wouldn't be so wound up and prone to getting in trouble later in the day.  But anyway, the kids rest for awhile and I get a chance to catch up on work/couponing or just to rest/relax myself for a bit.

Kids are up from naps and we're on to the afternoon.  Again, the agenda is relaxed and depends on what we need to do that day.  Both kids love to be outside.  Lydia is getting really good at pedalling her tricycle and Eli loves being in the cozy coupe.  We also enjoy playing on the deck or in the backyard sometimes.  Lydia likes running down the hill into the drainage area behind our lot pretending she's going to the jungle.  She'll run down, then go back up the hill to her right where there's an empty lot, then make the journey back to our yard.  Sometimes she'll just do this over and over and over again because she enjoys it so much.  Poor thing isn't going to like it so much when we get our fence put in soon.  But it will be much safer for the kids having a fenced backyard and eventually we'll put a swingset up too.  Besides being outside, the kids have some favorite indoor activities too.  Lydia likes to ask me to play "tickle bug" which basically just means she and Eli run around and I try to grab them and tickle them.  So we play or watch movies or do chores for the afternoon while we wait for Brent to get back home.

We hear the garage door open and Lydia immediately runs to "hide" behind sometime so she can surprise Brent when he walks in.  This is her new favorite thing... anytime anyone leaves someplace and then returns she wants to surprise them.  Makes it not very surprising actually.  Eli on the other hand generally runs to the door and starts trying to open it.  Opening and closing doors is his new favorite thing.  Often when I'm getting dressed in the morning he is going in and out the bathroom door telling me, "Hi!" or "Bye, cya later." each time.  But anyway, both kids are excited for Daddy to be home (and so am I because I'm in need of a break at this point!) 

Dinner, possibly bath, and bed for the kids.  Eli's bedtime routine:  He wants to turn all of his fans on and also his nightlight.  He loves to do things by himself, so it's very common to hear him saying "Do it? Do it?" or "Turn? Turn?" as in, "I want to do it." or "It's my turn."  And yes, everything he says comes out sounding like a question.  Once his PJs are on, his teeth are brushed, and he has adequately turned on what needs to be on in his room, it's time for books.  He always gets two books.  Lately the Elmo books with buttons to push for music/sounds are his favorites.  As soon as books are done Eli immedately yells, "Ginkle! Ginkle!" ... ie, his favorite song "Twinkle Twinkle."  We can never get away with not singing this to him before bed.  He'll let us sing a different song first, but "Ginkle" is asked for as soon as the other one ends.  Once he's had his song, he's pretty content to give hugs and kisses (a hug on each shoulder followed by a kiss on the lips) and get into his crib.  He usually insists on a final hug & kiss after being put into bed, then he'll grab his one and only must-have toy frog we call "Ribbit" and lay down to sleep.  Lydia's bedtime routine:  She also wants to do everything herself, so we usually stand by while she strips herself down, goes to the bathroom, and gets her PJs on (not always in that order and not often very quickly).  We help her brush her teeth, then she gets one book and one Bible story.  Lately she's had a bad habit of picking at her upper lip, so chapstick has become part of her morning & evening routine.  Then she usually chooses to either "elevator" up to her bed (where we lift her off the ground from her feet) or to "blast off" (where she counts down, says blast off, and we jump her into bed).  Hugs and kisses happen in here somewhere, but she changes when and where she wants them.  She doesn't like to pick a stuffed animal out for herself and prefers that we choose her "friend" for her most times.  We do bedtime prayers next.  Sometimes she will repeat after us as we pray and other times she has us pray and then we pause so she can say some things she is thankful for.  Lastly she gets a song which she generally asks that we pick one instead of her.  Before we close her door, though, she always wants to say one last thing and it's always, "*click click* My light is on/off, and I'm as snug as a bug in a rug."

At last we can relax!  Well, that is as long as Lydia stays in bed.  She still occasionally gets out of bed to ask us some silly question, or we'll hear her get up to go to the bathroom 5 times in the hour after she is put in bed.  But for the most part we get to enjoy some quieter time together in the evenings before I can't stand to stay awake any longer.  I still struggle to stay up past 10.  I guess pregnancy and toddlers will do that to you.

So that's basically what goes on around her day in and day out.  Of course there are all kinds of little stories that could be told each day, but this captures the essence.  Some other noteworthy things about each kid:

She starts preschool soon and is very excited.  It amazes me how grown up she already seems.  She converses very well and I'm often floored by how sophisticated her speaking is for a 3.5 year old!  Lydia is an amazing big sister, looking forward to the arrival of the new baby and also teaching Eli so many things.  For the most part she does well being patient with Eli when he doesn't understand her and she shares very nicely.  She makes me so proud!  I especially love how well she is doing with memorizing verses for church.  She has done the memory verse every week for the past 3 months and even today she can recite all 3 of them with little to no help at all.  It's going to be odd not having her around all the time when she starts school, but I'm really looking forward to talking to her about all she is learning and doing there.  She's going to love it!

He has become quite the chatterbox.  He is realizing how many words he knows and never fails to point out people/objects/colors everywhere when he sees something he can say.  A typical conversation may go as follows:  "Fan? Fan?"  "Yes Eli, that's a fan."  "On?  On?"  "No buddy, it's off."  "Off?  Off?"  "Yep, it's off."  etc.  His lately accomplishment has been mastering colors.  He's 95% accurate with blue, red, green, yellow, orange, and purple.  Whenever we drive anywhere I can expect various colors to be shouted out at random when he sees a car of that color.  I know that he is super smart and wish I had more time to work with him on these skills.  Perhaps when Lydia starts school.  I'm really looking forward to that alone time with him for a few months before baby 3 arrives.  Eli also has a super fun personality.  He is just so happy most of the time and loves to smile and laugh.  He can be a bit of a softy though and whenever he is sad or hurt even the slightest bit he comes crying to me saying, "Chair? Chair?" until I take him to the recliner and snuggle with him there.  It's his comfort zone, head on my shoulder rocking in the recliner.

Baby 3:
Still in waiting mode with this one.  Waiting to find out the gender and waiting to feel more consistent movements.  I am happy to feel baby move a bit more often these days.  Usually once a day, sometimes more sometimes less.  But they are getting stronger and more like popcorn pops than tickly butterflies.  My next appointment is in a week (I'll be 18 weeks) and hopefully I'll get to schedule my ultrasound.  I'd love to get it done at 19 weeks, but they may make we wait until 20.  Mom & Dad will be on a cruise that 20th week and I'm hoping I can sweet talk my doctor into an earlier ultrasound so I can be sure I can get ahold of my parents.  People have asked me if I have a feeling either way about the gender.  I really don't have any intuition about what this baby's gender is this time.  Pretty sure I thought both Lydia & Eli were boys at this point, but this one I really don't have any clue.  I'm just looking forward to seeing my peanut again!  We haven't really discussed names yet and said we'd wait to find out the gender, so I'm really looking forward to that.  Ready for baby 3 to have an identity all his/her own!
There's something that's been bugging me the past couple of weeks and I feel like I have to get it out somewhere.  It started with a conversation with my parents and was reiterated by the message at our church this week when Lee pointed out how all of us Americans are rich compared to the rest of the world.

When it comes to tithing (giving a tenth of your income) to the church, I get REALLY frustrated with all the times I hear people say they can't do it.  They don't have the money for it.  They are barely making ends meet so they don't have any money to give to the church, etc.  Because I guarantee that 99% of the time these people CAN afford it, they just don't want to make the effort.  It isn't important enough for them to make sacrifices for it.

I always want to ask this question:  If you were told you needed to set aside 10% of your income in order to keep your child alive, think you could do it?  I am certain that every single person would do that in a heartbeat.  They'd cancel cable, they'd sell whatever they could stand to get rid of, they would change their grocery shopping habits to only buy what was absolutely needed to keep food on the table, they'd take 3 minute showers and turn off more lights to cut down on bill costs... the list could go on and on regarding what someone would be willing to do for something that matters to them, like the life of a child.  It drive me insane when people "can't afford" to give money to God yet they eat out on occasion, enjoy cable tv, have a smart phone, drive a fairly nice car (less than 7 or 8 years old), and all kinds of other "extras" that are far from necessary.  They have the money, they just choose to spend it on something else.  Like I said, if it became a matter of life or death, they would quickly do anything they could to find the money.

Is God not more important than cable tv?  Is it more of a priority to enjoy going out to eat a few times a month rather than support God's mission through the church?

I'll just never understand it.  How can people be so blind?  How can they not see that if their heart were TRULY seeking the Lord, they could find ways to make their priorities reflect His?

Americans just don't get it.  So stinkin spoiled...
As August approaches I find myself feeling... weird.  I don't exactly know what I'm feeling, or even what I want to feel or think I should feel.  There's a part of me re-living a little bit of what it felt like to watch the new pregnancy announcements on Facebook after having lost my own, except now it's new baby announcements.  It makes me a little sad and more than just a little impatient for this current pregnancy to run its course.  A part of me still has that knee-jerk reaction of thinking, "That's supposed to be me!"

Of course I tell myself time and time again that it is NOT supposed to be me.  If it were, then God would not have let what happened happen.  He has had a plan for our family all along and we are living it right now.  I can not dwell on thoughts of what I think things were "supposed" to be like.  Here and now, right where I am, is where I'm supposed to be.

Still, the approach of August is emotional.  I am extremely grateful to be pregnant again, and maybe we can even work something out to get an ultrasound in August and find out the gender (I won't be 19 weeks until September though so we'll see).  There's really plenty to be looking forward to.  But I'm really dreading turning that page on the calendar.  You see, I made this calendar in December when we were still pregnant and I specifically marked August as "Baby month."  I don't really want to look at that all month long, but I can't bring myself to cover it up.  Like I don't want to erase the baby that I lost.  Not sure yet how I want to approach that.

In other news, I'm 13 weeks along now and feeling pretty good.  I have thought I've felt the little flutters of baby movement here and there for a couple of weeks, but nothing definitive.  This is of course making me more on edge.  I know I felt really relieved at 11 weeks when the heartbeat was strong and steady, but the more I have to wait for my next appointment the more anxious I get.  Only a bit over a week until the next one:  August 2nd.  I'm hoping that being officially out of the first trimester, hearing the heartbeat again, and starting to feel movements in the coming weeks will ease my fears again.
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Sometimes it's hard to believe that we're nearing 2 months since we found out we're expecting another little bundle in January.  At the same time, this has been a VERY long and emotional 2 months.  After two great pregnancies, I figured it'd be easy to relax, but pregnancy after a loss is anything but relaxing.

Thankfully I don't feel like I've been a TOTAL basket case.  Not going to lie though, it's nerve wracking.  I got quite emotional a few weeks ago at church when the message was about facing our fears.  I don't want to be afraid, but my heart still feels torn to pieces when I think about how hard I tried to NOT be scared last time.  How much I told myself to not worry so much because the baby was surely just fine.  Despite the gut feeling I had, I didn't want to let worry and fear get ahold of me.  Then BAM!  I came face to face with exactly what I was insisting I didn't need to fear.

It's really hard to convince yourself to not be afraid next time around after going through that.

So today was the day for my checkup at the doctor.   I insisted that Brent be there with me (which meant the kids tagged along too).  When I found out we'd lost our last baby, Brent was home with the kids.  It was awful to be there by myself, so I was determined to do my best to avoid that possibility this time around.  If there wasn't a heartbeat today, I was not going to be in that room alone.

I was trying to suppress my nerves all morning, thankful that my appointment was nice and early.  After a long wait, the doctor finally came in with the doppler and was quickly able to find a heartbeat - beating away at 166 bpm.  I told Lydia about getting to hear the heartbeat, thinking she'd be excited, but I guess you can't expect too much reaction from a 3 year old who's busy playing on her iPad.

It's really really great to be 11 weeks now with a good heartbeat.  I can't promise the nerves will disappear completely, but it certainly helps to be in good shape as I near the end of the first trimester.  Baby's doing well, I'm feeling better with less exhaustion and nausea, so we're all feeling the yuckiness of the first trimester starting to fade into the past.  Moving forward is nice.  :-)
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Every night after we read some books Eli lays his head down on my shoulder to rock for a couple of minutes while I sing him a song. Lately he has been settling in as usual, but as soon as I start singing he lifts his head and waits for me to give him a kiss before laying back down. I think I'm in love. ♥
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April 7, 2012... from Brent's Facebook page:

She's 3. I don't know her concept is solid, but tonight Lydia asked me to pray with her to ask Jesus to be her "forever friend" #HeartMelter

We've obviously been talking about Easter and tonight we were saying bedtime prayers and we thanked God for sending Jesus to save us and when done I asked her if she knew what it meant to be saved by Jesus. She said yeah and that one day when our family is all gone she will be with Jesus forever. I told her that one day when she is older if she decides to, she can ask Jesus to be her forever friend (a term our kids ministry uses at church) and she said, "But we can do that right now!" I asked her if she wanted to pray to God and repeat after me... Something we've tried numerous times with bedtime prayers and she's always said no to, making one of us pray instead... And she said a very enthusiastic yes, and prayed to ask God into her heart and to be her forever friend. Again, I have no idea how much of it was play and how much was serious understanding, but wow... Took me by surprise! I love my church and the kids ministry clearly is doing something right!
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Not sure why I feel like blogging so much today, but I guess I better grab the opportunity while I can. You can bet you won't see two blog posts on the same day again for another year or two or three...

So I changed the design of my blog. It's not nearly as pretty as the one my lovely friend Kim made for me, but I needed something different. Maybe someday I'll put effort into something better, but for now this is a sufficient change. Life is quite different now than it was in the early days of this blog.

My earlier post regarding the miscarriage was extremely emotional for me. This one isn't. I feel the need to just post some about the facts of what is going on with all of this. First of all, after some personal suspicions that things weren't going well, I had an ultrasound on January 6th that confirmed the baby was gone. A week prior we'd had an ultrasound and the baby measured 6wks 2 days with some "cardiac activity" but no measurable heartbeat. So it was sometime in that week that the baby passed away. On the 6th there really wasn't anything to see on the ultrasound. At the risk of sounding morbid (I don't know any other way to explain it), most of the tissue had already broken down and I basically saw an empty sac on the screen. The tech said the sac itself measured 10 weeks at that point, but there was no more baby to be found. So it's been interesting to discuss how far along I was. We never had anything other than ultrasounds to go by in establishing a due date, and since the baby obviously was never developing as he/she was supposed to, we really have no idea if I should have been 7 weeks along or 10 weeks along or somewhere in between.

After I went home I struggled with wishing I could go back in time and make the tech keep looking. Surely she just wasn't looking as closely as she needed to, right? But denial is a common reaction to grief and I had to keep telling myself that this was a professional... and it's unlikely that someone who does ultrasounds all day every day would simply overlook a 7-10 week baby. I had to let go. So we decided to get a D&C done on the 9th rather than wait for my body to miscarry on its own. Since I had no signs or symptoms of miscarrying, it was labeled a "missed miscarriage" - where basically your body doesn't realize that the baby is gone and thus continues to behave as though you are pregnant.

The surgery itself was quick and easy and less emotional than I expected it to be. The aftermath has been more difficult than the D&C itself. Because now we are back to the waiting game. When you are pregnant your hormone (HCG) levels increase. After birth or a loss, it takes time for those levels to drop again. And the amount of time is pretty unpredictable. My body is still acting to some extent as though it is still pregnant. In fact, I still get a positive result on a home pregnancy test (and will until the HCG levels get low enough to not be detected anymore). So of course this has taken a bit of a toll on me. I am very anxious to be pregnant again. Not to negate the life that was lost, but because we do still want to have another baby to hold in our arms. It is frustrating to wish my body would shape up so we can try to conceive again and to have no idea when that might happen.

At my post-D&C follow up exam on Wednesday (the 25th) I had blood drawn to check my HCG. Results came back at 439. Which is pretty good I suppose because it does mean it is falling, but it still could be awhile before I get to 0. I'll go back for another blood draw this coming Wednesday to compare and ensure that it is still falling.

I have to admit that it was a really weird feeling to take a pregnancy test and be disappointed to see a positive result. Maybe because it is a reminder of what "should have been" or because I know it means I probably can't get pregnant again yet... maybe a little of both. But all in all I am trying really hard to have patience. Really I've been pretty impatient with all of my pregnancies, then I look back and see that I ultimately didn't have to wait very long. However anyone who has ever tried to conceive knows that even just a couple of months can feel like an eternity. When you decide you are ready to have a baby, you want it now!

There are a couple of reasons I'm in a hurry this time, though. The first being financial. Our health insurance is a high deductible plan, but once we have paid that deductible, everything else is covered 100%. No doubt with the D&C and all of the blood tests I will max out that deductible this year. If we can also have the expenses of a new pregnancy/birth in the same year then we will only have to pay that deductible once for all of it. If we don't have a baby until next year, then we'll have to pay it all over again. Not fun. So of course God's timing is perfect and He can supply all of our needs, but I have reason to hope for sooner rather than later.

The other reasons for being in a hurry are emotional. I love being pregnant. I loved knowing I was pregnant with our 3rd child. I was really looking forward to having another baby. And so of course I am anxious to get back to that. I had entered 2012 with the idea that it would be another year of expanding our family. I guess I'm still hoping that can still come true. I will always think about the baby that we lost, but I know that he/she is in Heaven waiting for us and in the meantime I still want to see our earthly family grow.

God has blessed our family and I am blessed to know that I have a super special reason to look forward to the day I arrive in Heaven. I love to watch Lydia and Eli grow and pray that God will allow us more of the same in His perfect timing. So for now we press on and trust that God knows the desires of our hearts - and it is He who will direct our path.
Eli is fast approaching 15 months old and I haven't done much writing down of his life milestones. So let's see... a day in the life of Eli...

Well, he usually wakes up around 6:30 (ugh!) but will talk/play in his crib until I can drag myself out of bed to get him. He is absolutely in love with his stuffed frog that is in his crib with him. Every night when he goes to bed he pounces on it and uses it as his pillow. In general he really likes stuffed animals and there are several that he tackles at first sight. Eli is definitely a cuddler. Some mornings I can get him out of his crib and he will lay his head on my shoulder and snuggle in the rocking chair for a little bit before we get our morning started. I love those times!

Eli continues to be our big boy. He is slimming out some as he loses that baby fat, but he's no twig! And he certainly likes to eat. Unfortunately we've been dealing with a milk allergy (that he will hopefully outgrow) so finding things he is able to eat is tough. Between the allergy and his pickiness, the boy practically lives on bread and chicken nuggets. He is very particular about textures, so I've had a hard time getting him to eat fresh fruits, but he still does well eating baby food purees so I just stick with those for now. We recently tried giving him coconut milk and that has worked out well. Eli still does not like to drink anything other than water, but the coconut milk goes well with cereal or making pancakes and is a good source of calcium for my growing boy. He will meet again with the allergist in May.

As of early January Eli is a walker! He took his first solo steps on January 7th and before long was growing more and more confident in his new ability. Today (20 days later) he toddles all over the house. He still looks a little unsteady, and if he does happen to fall down he has to hold on to something to stand back up, but I'm so proud of his progress! Eli is also talking a decent amount these days. He says mama, dada, nana, grandpa (something similar sounding), ball, toes (sorta), uh oh, night night, bye bye, hello (only to a phone), go, and boo. He will sign more, please, eat, and all done. He also does animal sounds for monkey, snake, and puppy.

His favorite game at the moment is anything he can open and close. He makes quick work of our kitchen cabinets, opening all of the cabinets in his reach and throwing things on the floor. And he constantly rearranges the items in my lazy susan. It always means a lot of cleanup, but I love seeing his little mind work. He is going to be like his Daddy, always investigating how things work. Eli is always studying the mechanics of things.

So that's basically Eli's day. Wake up, tornado through the house, quick nap in the afternoon, eat a lot, then go to bed around 7.

Lydia is fast approaching her 3rd birthday. I am constantly having to remind myself that she is still only 2. She is SO smart! I signed her up for preschool for next year but I'm sure she will already know most of the things they teach already. She knows the letter sounds and can spell her name. She is constantly pointing out what letters are on signs wherever we go and is slowly catching on to how to read the words. I have no doubt she'll be reading by age 4. Brent has been working on teaching her left and right, and she can count to roughly 14 (the teens get a little mixed up most of the time). Lydia is a constant stream of questions and we do our best to teach her as we go. So academically I'm not thinking she'll need preschool, but I'm looking forward to her having more social interactions and working on her motor skills as well. She will start in late August and will be in class MWF 9-11:30. A couple of our friends have their daughters in that class as well, so it will be nice to spend more time with them.

Hopefully some more interaction with others will help Lydia get over some of her fears. She has been awful with going to the childcare at church. She used to LOVE it, then suddenly she started crying every time. We'd put her there and try to leave her in hopes that she'd get over it, but usually we get called back and/or they inform me when I pick her up that she's cried basically the whole time. Not sure what sparked this, but it makes it really difficult to go to church these days. Eli doesn't do well in the childcare either, so too often we find it more convenient to just watch the service online from home. Lydia is also pretty sensitive about loud noises. She can absolutely panic if there is suddenly some sort of noise like an alarm going off or someone using a power tool. She sometimes is okay with sufficient warning, but boy have we had some major meltdowns lately when an unexpected noise happens!

Lydia's favorite shows right now are Mickey Mouse and Toy Story 2. She pretty much requests Toy Story 2 every day right now and will quote lines from it all the time. Because of her obsession with this movie lately I thought she might want that for the theme of her birthday party, but she decided months ago that she wanted Dora and she's sticking to it! It's funny to me because she rarely talks about Dora and we don't watch that show, but she isn't budging from her party choice. Silly girl!

This age is a trying time for us with Lydia. Lots of questions from her and lots of testing her boundaries as well. But overall, she is a sweetheart who brings us overwhelming joy. I love being able to have conversations with her and being able to watch her learn. She gets so excited when we get to do special things. I love watching her eyes light up! Love my girl. :-)

We are still a bit in recovery mode after the loss of our 3rd child, but we are hopeful for the future. After having a D&C on the 9th, I had a follow-up exam on the 25th and everything is going okay. My doctor said that we are free to try again whenever we are ready. I would still love to be holding a new baby in my arms in 2012, but we will trust in God's timing.
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This post may not make a whole lot of sense. I may not even publish it for anyone to see. But I feel like getting some of my crazy thoughts out, even if they are pretty much a jumbled mess.

That's basically what everything feels like right now anyway. A jumbled mess. I'm trying to make sense of everything. All that happened. All that is going on with my body. All that I want to do and need to do. And sometimes I just want to curl up in a corner and hope that time can pause for a little bit while I pull myself together.

It's been two weeks now since I made my final plea that God would keep my baby healthy and growing so that I could hold him/her in August. I think Thursdays are the hardest right now. It's odd I suppose. Friday was the day I got the sad news. Monday was the day I had the D&C... the day everything was "final." But I think Thursdays hurt more than those days because it is the day I remember that God said no. And for the life of me I can't understand it. I know I won't understand it, this side of Heaven at least.

To even begin to capture where I am in this story I have to start back somewhere around October 2011. We knew we wanted a third child and were ready to take on that responsibility whenever God allowed. However, my "fertility" had not returned since having Eli, so I wasn't exactly expecting to get pregnant. But knowing that it technically IS possible to get pregnant without that, I had a friendly little chat with God. Not an unusual thing, these types of conversations. I just casually prayed, "Alright God. I know that you have the timing all worked out and all. BUT, if you want to know what I would like in all of this, I'm going to lay out what I'd really love to see happen..." And I proceeded to pray that, if it would be okay for me to get my say in this, I wanted to get pregnant without having to deal with "AF" and for it to be in time for the holidays so we could have a little fun with the announcement. Added benefits to this situation would be that I knew I'd probably get an early ultrasound so we could get an accurate due date. My doctor usually doesn't give ultrasounds until the 20th week, so an early peek at the wee one would be extra special.

So anyway... that conversation pretty much came and went without any more serious thought. I knew it wasn't super likely and I knew that it wasn't important for everything to happen that way either. Like I said, just a casual chat with God to put in my request... like when Lydia asks us if we can have something specific for dinner. No biggie if it doesn't happen, but what a special treat it would be to get what was asked for.

And guess what? I got my wish! I could hardly believe it the day I took a pregnancy test and it came back positive. "Wow God," I thought, "Thanks!" I was truly stunned that God had given me everything I asked for in my silly little request, but I reminded myself that I serve a loving God who loves to give good gifts to his children. I felt completely blessed.

In the weeks that followed, with bloodwork and ultrasounds to try to establish a due date, I grew more concerned. While I had nothing solid to go by, the timeline didn't seem to be adding up correctly. I couldn't shake the feeling that the pregnancy should be further along than all of the tests were indicating. But I kept pushing it to the back of my mind telling myself that I am a natural worrier and was likely just letting the worries get the best of me. Besides, God gave me this gift. He gave me exactly what I had asked for. I kept coming back to the words of Jesus in Matthew 7 - "Which of you, if your son asks for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!" I had to trust that God does not give bad gifts. Why would He give me the wonderful (and unnecessary) gift of granting my request only to rip it away?

I continued to cling to this hope and on Thursday night, January 5th, I prayed. What I knew would be my last (early) ultrasound was scheduled for early the next morning. This would be the day I would finally know something. Either there would be bad news or I would see the heartbeat of a growing baby. No longer would I have the "it may just be too early, we'll have to wait and see" line to fall back on. I was expected to be about 7 weeks along, so there would be no more gray area this time. As I was lying in bed that Thursday night, I gave it all to God. He knew I was scared. I wasn't feeling confident at all. And I pleaded with tears streaming down my face that I'd see that precious heartbeat in the morning. I cried out, "God, not my will but yours be done. But if it can be your will, please let this baby be okay."

As I have since had to deal with the reality that the baby was not okay. That he or she simply never developed as intended. The most heart wrenching part of the ordeal has been trying to wrap my head around God's plan in all of this. Why God? Why? Not why did we lose the baby. But why would you put me in position to feel like I've been given the "fish" I requested only to see it turn into a snake? I almost felt like I was being punished for asking for something so trivial. Like I had to be taught a lesson that I shouldn't bother God with unimportant details and should just be quiet and take what I get. I felt like my heart got ripped out by the one person I trusted most.

I didn't understand it. Honestly I still don't. I don't think I ever will.

It still really hurts. A lot. But even in the pain, I've never found myself angry with God. Just confused.

One night as I cried and prayed and tried to make sense of it all I thought of Job's story. I thought about how Satan was given the ability to try to shake Job's faith by taking away his family, his health, almost everything he had. At that thought I practically exploded with anger at that rat Satan. Perhaps it was all his doing. He wanted to try to break me and took my baby away from me. Maybe that's what happened. Maybe God is holding me and weeping with me - both of us grieving over what this fallen world has led to.

I know I won't really know what spiritual forces were involved in this situation until I meet my Lord in Heaven. I think I'll always carry with me the question of why did God allow this to happen - why did I have to feel so betrayed - but I know that I can't allow this to unravel everything I know to be true. I have to keep looking to His promises.

In all things, God works for the good of those who love Him.

For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.

Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding.

For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

What else do I have to turn to? Jesus Christ is the one who has been my shelter my whole life. Why would I turn from that now? I know that I won't have the answers to my questions, but I have to cling to the truth that He does. For a long time I had on my Facebook page the song lyrics "Blessed be Your name when the sun's shining down on me, when the world's all as it should be..." and now I find myself in position to allow the other half of that song to ring true in my life.

Dear Lord, blessed be Your name on the road marked with suffering. When there's pain in the offering, blessed be Your name...
It's hard to come here and post about losing a baby when I had been waiting in anticipation for the perfect moment to announce the pregnancy. That moment didn't come quickly enough and sadly our child didn't get the grand announcement I had hoped for. I have hundreds of thoughts and feelings that I may or may not get around to putting into words, at least here, but for now I want to post the lyrics to a song written by a mother who likely felt exactly as I do now. And she captured it perfectly.

Glory Baby
by Christy Nockel (Watermark)

Glory Baby, You slipped away
As fast as we could say baby, baby
You were growing, what happened Dear,
You disappeared on us baby, baby
Heaven will hold you before we do
Heaven will keep you safe
Until we're home with you
Until we're home with you

We miss you everyday
Miss you in every way
But we know there's a day
When we will hold you, we will hold you
And you'll kiss our tears away
When we're home to stay
We can't wait for the day
When we will see you, we will see you
But baby let sweet Jesus hold you
‘Til mom and dad can hold you
You'll just have heaven before we do
You'll just have heaven before we do

Sweet little baby, it's hard to understand it
Cause we are hurting, we are hurting
But there is healing
And we know we're stronger people
Through the growing and in knowing
All things work together for our good
And God works his purposes
Just like he said he would
Just like he said he would

We miss you everyday
Miss you in every way
But we know there's a day
When we will hold you, we will hold you
And you'll kiss our tears away
When we're home to stay
We can't wait for the day
When we will see you, we will see you
But baby let sweet Jesus hold you
‘Til mom and dad can hold you
You'll just have heaven before we do
You'll just have heaven before we do

I can't imagine Heaven's lullabies
And what they must sound like
But I will rest in knowing
Heaven is your home
And it's all you'll ever know
All you'll ever know

We miss you everyday
Miss you in every way
But we know there's a day
When we will hold you, we will hold you
And you'll kiss our tears away
When we're home to stay
We can't wait for the day
When we will see you, we will see you
But baby let sweet Jesus hold you
‘Til mom and dad can hold you
You'll just have heaven before we do
You'll just have heaven before we do