Sunday, November 25, 2012


To our babies when you're ready to have families of your own,

Thanksgiving was the 26th of November three years ago. We had just gone for a second ultrasound that confirmed our baby girl was no longer growing and that our due date in July would be no more. Heartbreaking doesn't begin to describe it. About three weeks prior, on the 10th anniversary of your Nana's death, Daddy and I surprisingly learned we were pregnant! It wasn't planned but we were excited. I always had thoughts that I would have trouble conceiving a child and this event did not help my heart feel that things would be easy. Daddy and I spent Thanksgiving with our family. Many of your aunts and uncles were about to bring new babies into the world and I was angry I needed to be around them. Why was He compounded my grief by those who were so joyful?

As I'm sure you'll learn, I believe that everything happens for a reason - the good, the bad, and the downright awful. My favorite verse is that everything has a time and a season. This was a time in my life where I questioned God and why He could do these things. I can only hope that you never, ever have to experience this loss in your lives - but if you do, as much as it may hurt, keep God close. In the days, weeks, and months that followed, I prayed to Him and cursed Him at the same time. My doctor was not helpful either. And when I say not helpful, I mean hurtful. The radiologist wouldn't tell us what the ultrasound showed. We demanded to speak with the doctor. I'll never forget being brought in the main office area, sitting at their phone next to their fax machine, talking with the doctor. Daddy kept his hand on my shoulder. That was the day I learned that once babies die, it's common to say, "The fetus is not viable," as if that makes it easier... I didn't know what to expect and when I asked it felt like I was being sneered at, like, "How could you not know what to do?" I was told if I were to miscarry, I could save "the tissue" in a plastic bag in the refrigerator. Yeah - this doctor was not schooled in bedside manner. Daddy took me immediately over to another doctor's office. I cried at the reception window until they accepted me as a patient and agreed to do the surgery to take out your sister.

The few weeks between this and the surgery date were rough. My body was holding on to something we had created but with no life within it. I felt empty. The surgery was the first real one I had ever had and my memory of it was a blur, seeming like a hospital tv show version. After this, EVERYONE seemed to be getting pregnant and while I wanted to be happy for my family and friends, I felt betrayed, even though no one knew.

It took me a long time to open up about this experience and it's still hard to talk about without tears forming. Helpful information for you if you ever come across a family experiencing this loss:
*Remember that you do NOT understand unless it has happened to you.
*Never say, "You're young! You'll get pregnant again!", "At least you were able to get pregnant," or anything similar. Sometimes saying nothing at all is better.

So why am I writing this to you? Again while I pray you never experience anything like this, it does have the power to change your life as it did mine. Women understandably don't talk about these things openly, but when they do, you find out it's unfortunately common. When I began opening up to others, I was amazed that I was not alone. I now know of over 20 family members and friends who have miscarried and sadly, the number continues to grow.

I write this to you to ask you to treasure your family and God's plan. Three months after my surgery, we got pregnant again. One day short of a year to the day we learned about your sister, Liam was born. What a difference a year makes. :) And less than 2 years after that, Grace joined our family. If your sister was not called by God, you wouldn't be here today. I believe she is your guardian angel in heaven watching over you both. I believe this was God's reason. As time continues, I feel closer to God because of it too. I don't pray for things anymore. I always pray first in Thanksgiving and let God know that while I may not understand it, I accept His plan for me always.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Happy Birthday, Bean!


As I sit writing this, I remember that two years ago at this time Daddy and I were stopped by the slowest train on the way to the hospital. So slow in fact that by the time it passed, there was a back up of cars behind us - at 2:30 in the morning! Your labor was sudden, two days before your due date. My water broke, contractions immediately started 5 minutes apart, and you were born 6 hours later. My plans of a natural childbirth quickly crumbled as I told the registration nurse in the lobby that I wanted an epidural - now! :)

You arrived at 7:08AM on November 24th and life hasn't been the same since. You immediately filled a spot in our hearts that we didn't know was vacant. We treasured each first with you and took what seemed like millions of pictures. You nursed well from the start and I now know that those hours we spent together each day forged a special bond that will never be broken between us. While you screamed day and night for the first twelve weeks of your life (this is no joke, ask your grandparents), we learned all their was to know about swaddling, the five S's, and played Natalie Merchant's children's lullabies on repeat.

You turned into a happy baby who tried lots of foods, bobbed around to any kind of music, slept through the night for the first time at seven months. You had no interest in rolling over but wanted to stand and "walk" at six months. You pulled at our hands to pick you up and cried if we sat you down. Once you learned to crawl though you were a speedy little guy and didn't take your first steps until after your first birthday. When you did, we joke that you walked for a few days, then ran, and haven't slowed down since!

You grasped language from the start. You signed for "please" and "more" and sometimes used "thank you" and "light." By the time you got these down, you were talking - and we could understand you. We kept a list of your words but by the time you reached 100 at a little over a year, we stopped keeping track. By then you started using two word phrases, by this summer you had 3 words down, and by the beginning of November, you started speaking in sentences in what seemed like overnight. You definitely have your tantrum moments, but I believe that many instances have been averted because you understand when we communicate with you and, more importantly, you can communicate with us. There is not a day that goes by that I take this for granted. I love talking with you, especially now. We can ask you, "What did you do at Beth's house today?" and you respond with games you played, toys you played with, and the other kids' names. It is SO cool.

You are aware of the things around you. You throw away trash without being told, ask to feed the dog, and let Chloe out the back door by yourself. You cry at the linen closet door when we don't get out the vacuum for you and you love to use your "sweeper" (rake) outside as much as your wagon. Sometimes I think that we need to start paying you an allowance! While there are times you hate by separated from us, you are already an independent child. You get me diapers when I change Grace and take it upon yourself to start up her swing "turn song on?" and lovingly say, "Don't cry, Grace!" while I get her milk ready. Last week, you actually got her to stop crying - on your own. You amaze me every day.

You are beginning to laugh at things that older children find funny and you can recognize when someone is sad. You give hugs and kisses freely and have begun (in the past few months) to take an initiative to cuddle us. We love it. <3 You are shy in new situations and with people you don't often see. You are starting to warm up more quickly though. We love to watch you play with your cousins and share your trucks and other toys. I like to linger at daycare when I pick you up because you are playing tag or racing with the other kids.

You have a love of sports (which you obviously didn't get from us!) and are a true boy's boy. You like to get dirty, collect rocks and acorns in your nature bucket, and be outside. I've begun to think that vehicle noises are programmed into boys when they are born. One day I see you racing your cars around your racetrack rug while making engine noises. Who taught you these things?? Your new love is Thomas the Train. It's your first taste of TV and commercialism. Since Grace was born, books have taken the back seat to all of the other fun things in your life but you've been engaging with them again recently. Favorites are The Little Engine That Could and The Monster at the End of This Book. You're beginning to "read" them too. While getting dinner ready the other night, I saw you reading on your chair flipping through the monster one saying, "Don't turn the page!" as Grover does. As a teacher and a lover of literacy, this is AWESOME! You also like typing on my laptop. I wasn't a fan of it at first, but it's a way to learn your letters. "Push O?" is a frequent phrase you like to utter and between the keyboard and the letters on the fridge, you accurately identify close to half the alphabet. You know that L-I-A-M is Liam and your name.

You've only been alive for twenty four months - such a short amount of time. I am in awe of what you already know and of how you learn it. I know that for the next few years you will continue to absorb everything around you so easily. Because of this, I try daily to be a better person so you have a good example. I hesitate and respond thoughtfully to others instead of giving a snarky remark. I take the time to smile at strangers. I involve you with my decisions like what to get Daddy for his birthday so you can see how everyday nuances play out. Daddy did love his happy birthday brother card, the elmo balloon, and his race cars. :)

Bear hug! :)

Petting bunnies with no pants on. 

Enjoying the great outdoors with Daddy in Shenandoah.

On our way to meet Thomas!
I love you with all of my heart, Goose. You are incredibly special and I thank God every day for the gift of you. Happy 2nd birthday! Love, Mama

Friday, November 23, 2012

Happy One Month!


Your long term nickname is still developing. Until then, I'll address you by your given name. :)

People initially said you looked like Liam, now some say you look like me. Frankly, I don't see it yet. I think you look like Grace.


Day 2

One week old

Two Weeks Old

 Three Weeks Old

Week 4 (October 3rd) - Nana aka Francesca Adeline's 94th Birthday

Happy 22 1/2 Months!

Bean (more often called Goose),

Wow, have you given us a run for our money this month!

*proudly sit forward facing in "Black Van" - a milestone all of us looked forward to!

*give "Baby Sister" one armed hugs and countless kisses on top of her head.

*help out with Chickpea as best as you can: getting diapers and giving her back her "binky".

*can hold an actual (albeit short) phone conversation that makes sense. [Example: You bring us the phone and say, "Call Mom-Mom." You say "Heh-row," followed by lots of "uh-huh"s. But you can answer what you are doing ad who you are with. It's so neat!!]

Making Room for Baby & Making Changes


There were a number of things we wanted to do to get you ready for your sister's arrival. But as I told a dear friend at work, I think God laughs at me whenever I make plans. :) Therefore, we didn't get to prep you as much as we would have liked. I think many families never give this a second thought but as Daddy and I don't have siblings we wanted to make sure this experience was a happy and positive one for you!

We did have an amazing "big brother" book that we shared with you for many months beforehand. You did nice touch to baby sister Chickpea and tried to feed her goldfish and Os in my belly and shared  your stickers.

<----      :)

Fortunately, we spent Labor Day making crafts for your sister and you even picked out a gift. I was afraid you would forget the experience before you could give it to her but luckily, she was only 2 days away!

You loved your "tube" of animals and the camera "cam-ma" that Grace got you! More importantly, from Day One, you have loved your sister. I could not have asked for anything more. What you didn't love though, was thinking that you were missing out on something.. or perhaps the disruption of it all. By the time Grace was two weeks old, you decided that sleep was something to buck us on again. One night, you woke up and tried to exit your crib - head first. The next day we prompted changed your crib into a toddler bed. You said it was "broken" and so the long two months of not wanting to go to sleep at night (and not wanting to go back to sleep in the middle of the night) began. Thank goodness Grace only woke up once or twice a night! It was very trying (and tiring) to be up with you again, sleeping on your floor to get you to sleep. There were many nights that MomMom had to put you to bed. Thank goodness for her too!