Monday, November 22, 2010
There are some precious mommas in our small group of couples who have lost babies or young children. The newness of their grief journey has renewed the grief in my own heart. Seeing how close they are to have held their children, seen their precious faces, and kissed them makes me long for Molly and Micah all the more.
As the holidays are getting closer, we have talked in our small group about how to deal with the days that are coming near and how to honor their babies in a way that honors our Lord. Most everyone at one point or another has said that they are dreading the holidays and that they wish they could just skip them. I remember feeling those exact things a few years ago. That first Thanksgiving and Christmas were awfully hard to get through and part of me wished to skip the whole lot and move on to a new year. But I didn't skip either holiday and I am glad that I didn't. Yes, they were difficult, but there were also some sweet moments as well.
And so, I pray for our little small group this week of Thanksgiving when giving thanks is incredibly difficult to do. I ask you, Lord, that you meet them where they are and that you would provide for them in surprising ways that are unmistakably you. That they would experience sweet moments of grace like I did and that you would give them grace for the hard moments that will likely come as well.
Wednesday, September 29, 2010
Two sets of Twin Cousins: Will Alt, Piper Mutz, Lily Mutz, and Isaac Alt
Lily and Piper in their bumbo seats
Lily and Piper soaking up some rays in their cute suits!!
Piper wearing the cute suit that I had purchased for Molly when I was pregnant with her. I found it on sale at GapKids and bought it on a whim that we would have a girl. It was fun to put her in it.
Tuesday, August 3, 2010
They are now 4 months old and yesterday I set them up to take some pictures of them and all their cuteness.
They are getting so big, so fast!! I just cannot believe how much they are smiling and how expressive they are becoming! We are absolutely loving seeing their different personalities and watching them develop and grow. They are loving their hands and like to have them in front of their faces at all times, especially when they are eating.
Piper has begun trying to roll over. The problem is, she doesn't even like being on her tummy so I am probably going to laugh when she actually does it and then decides she doesn't like it but can't turn back over. It will be funny but very frustrating for her, I'm sure.
Lily is content to lie on her back and when she sleeps, she always has her arms up above her head like she's laying in a hammock. She doesn't care to be rocked to sleep or held when she's tired, she would rather be put down wide awake and fall asleep on her own.
Piper likes to sleep on her side and will sometimes get to be on her side with her head tilted back in an arch. She was like that in the womb, so it's natural that she still does it. When she was born, her nose was a bit flattened because her head had been tilted back and pressed upwards.
They are both finding their voices and love to smile, coo, shriek with delight, and sometimes laugh! It is just so much fun to watch their eyes move around and to see them smiling at you when you aren't even looking at them. Makes me feel so loved!
I am so giddy when I go in to get them in the morning or when I am feeding them their bottles and they stop drinking to smile at me. It makes my heart feel incredibly full and so happy! They are such a delight!
Wednesday, June 23, 2010
Sunday, June 13, 2010
Just wanted to share some pictures from the first 48 hours of her life. We have enjoyed celebrating her life today and will continue to all week as we reflect on the joy she brought just 2 years ago. Amazing how time goes so fast. Amazing what we walked through 2 years ago and what we experienced. Incredibly life changing.
I am forever changed by her, by the grace given to us by God. She is, and will forever remain, my precious Molly Ann. No one will ever replace her, not now and not ever.
Hugs and kisses.
Tuesday, June 1, 2010
Me and Piper
Snuggle bugs: Piper and Lily
One of the funny things about having twins is deciding which one to hold or snuggle or love on. We aren't usually just holding one of them without trying to console the other or changing ones diaper and then the other before putting them down for their nap. Jacob realized just a few weeks ago that he was not enjoying them for who they were as individuals because it was all about feeding both of them, changing both of their diapers, or putting them both down for naps. He felt that he would enjoy them more if he was focusing on just one at a time.
So he has now decided on a new tradition, if that's what you'd call it: Twin of the Week. Last week it was Piper and this week it is Lily. When he's focusing on one of them he holds them when we feed them bottles or takes them outside on a little walk. He'll talk to that twin more than the other and really focus on how cute they are or what he likes about them. It's really fun to watch.
By default, I get the other twin each week. So when it's Piper of the week, I get Lily and vice versa. It's really fun for me too because then I get to focus on just one baby too. With one baby we would be focusing on just that baby and their needs and wants and special characteristics. But with two, we have to split our time and focus on both of them at once or each of them separately.
We have been doing really well and the girls are growing like weeds, or at least Lily is. She's probably close to 9 pounds and already growing out of newborn clothes. She's in 0-3 or 3 month stuff but it's still a little big. Lily is also our serious baby. She furrows her eyebrows and is constantly focusing on something or looking around intently. I haven't seen her smile as much as Piper, but I'm sure that will happen soon enough. She likes tummy time and will often fall asleep that way if we let her.
Piper is starting to be very smiley. Last night she grinned and smiled at a neighbor of ours who was holding her. She was just as content as can be and that was fun to see. She is thinner than Lily and is still in newborn clothes. I would guess she is close to 8 pounds if not already. She does not like tummy time, probably due to her acid reflux, but we still have her do it some each day so that she gets used to it. She also cries more than Lily but we also think that is partly because of her reflux and partly her personality.
I'll post more pics later this week after their 2 month check up. I can't believe they are already 2 months old!!
Friday, May 14, 2010
We buried him just a few feet from his sister, Molly. Losing him just 11 short months after Molly was incredibly difficult and in some ways harder for me to deal with than her death was. I experienced intense anger and asked many questions of our God as to the purpose of his life and then death, especially so soon after losing Molly. I felt it like a slap in the face, so personal.
We won't be celebrating his birthday like we will be for Molly in just one month. There won't be a cake or flowers or anything like that. I have just quietly remembered him in my heart and mind as I went about the day. We sent some balloons with hugs and kisses later in the evening as we went on a short walk.
I look at our two precious little girls and see God's hand in all circumstances. We did not deserve Piper and Lily because of the two babies we had lost before. Micah's death doesn't make sense now that we have the twins. I do see that had we continued the pregnancy with Micah, we would not be enjoying Piper and Lily now. We cannot know what God has in store when he allows certain things in our life. We just cannot. For that, I do praise Him for being in control of everything and not allowing me to take control instead. It would all be a mess if I did. :)
This post doesn't make a ton of sense, but I just wanted to share my thoughts and also remember our babies, Molly and Micah. In less than a month we'll be celebrating Molly's second birthday. Amazing how time flies and yet goes so slowly all at the same time.
Thursday, May 13, 2010
Please spread the word about this. You can visit his website here: www.counselorsfornashville.com
Anyone who would like to donate their time to those in need of counseling can contact Samuel through the website and anyone in need of counseling can also get in touch that way. I am sure a lot of my readers know someone in Nashville who might want to utilize these counselors.
While there is an obviously huge physical loss for these people, there is also an emotional loss that cannot be ignored. People have lost their homes, belongings, valuables, things that hold memories from their past, all of which carry an emotional tie. This is incredibly devastating on all levels and these counselors are giving their time to help with the emotional part which is greatly needed.
Samuel was just on a radio show this morning to talk about what he's doing for the city and you can listen to that interview here: CounselorsForNashville on 99.7 WTN.mp3
I am so proud of you, Samuel. You've seen a huge need and done something beautiful in response. I pray that many are helped and blessed as a result of this.
Tuesday, April 27, 2010
Jake's parents, Bill and Pam, were in town and so was my older sister, Ashley. It was a real treat to share the bath with all of them.
Thursday, April 22, 2010
Where have I been for 2 weeks? Well, those of you who have had babies know that answer. Feeding, sleeping, changing diapers, swaddling babies, feeding, eating, sleeping, more diapers, etc.
These two weeks have been a mixture of ups and downs. We are thrilled to have both our girls at home with us and doing what we've been longing to do for so long. I was talking with Jake the other day and it dawned on me that nearly everything I had prayed for during the pregnancy was given to me. I carried the girls to 38 weeks, neither of them had any problems that meant time in the NICU, and we got to take them home when we did just four days later. What a blessing!! We are so grateful!
Some things about the girls that I have found to be worth sharing:
Piper likes to pee when she has no diaper. She peed right when she was born (all over me and the Dr.), she has peed on our bed at least 4 times, she has peed and pooped on my mom, peed on the pediatrician, and peed on the changing table.
Lily, on the other hand, has yet to pee on anything but in her diaper. :)
Piper likes to do back bends when you pick her up. Lily is usually the one who wakes me up at night when it's time for them to eat. While they will both take a pacifier, Piper likes hers more than Lily does.
Lily is our sleeper. Piper is wide-eyed.
Lily has three birth marks: one in her left ear, one on her left thigh, and one on the back of her neck. The one on her neck is just like the one I have on the back of my neck. It comes from my mom's side of the family.
Piper has no birth marks. :)
I feed both girls at the same time and since we've been home, they've been sleeping for 5 hour stretches at night. Really amazing and really wonderful. I don't know what I'm doing right, but I'll keep doing it so long as they keep sleeping like that. :)
As far as the lows, I have been going through post partum depression. It isn't fun and it feels very much like an out of body experience. I don't feel like myself and I have lots of feelings of guilt. I feel guilty for not enjoying the girls more and not loving every minute of it. I do have moments when they are crying and I just smile because I am so thankful for crying babies in my house.
I know that what I'm going through is temporary and normal for a lot of moms. I know that I'm ok and that God is in control. I just need some time and space to get myself back to normal and back to me. I am taking lots of steps to work through what I am feeling and going through and have an incredible support system in my terrific husband and surrounding friends. It has been encouraging to see my Jake and my friends gather around me and love on me in various ways. I am so blessed.
While I will work on posting updates about the girls, I cannot promise that I will be writing much in the next several weeks. I appreciate the prayers of so many and am so grateful that Piper and Lily are here.
Here are some pictures to share:
One proud Daddy and his girls!
Piper Marah Mutz
Lily Mataya Mutz
Friday, April 9, 2010
Thursday, April 8, 2010
I promise to write an update over the weekend, once we are home and all settled. I just have to share with you all that we are...
GOING HOME TODAY WITH OUR GIRLS!!!!
I am so excited and emotional to be taking our precious daughters home to our house!! I am just so ready for this momentous occasion.
We will probably be heading home sometime after lunch and hopefully another nap. :)
Monday, April 5, 2010
Mom and girls are all healthy...the girls have hair, are really pink, don't look like one another right now, and have GOOD lungs--crying!!!!!
Rebecca is back in her room resting. She is a bit warm from all the anethesia. Her mom is fanning her to cool her down a bit. She wants a POPSICLE!!! Unfortunately she has a really "mean" nurse, it's ice chips instead.
Becs primary emotion right now is "I'M HOT!" and "I want to see my girls!" "I want to hold them!!!!!!!!!"
Jake has posted a video on uTube, try this: www.utube.com/watch?v=Q5WjDkPK1iU
More from Rebecca later! And pictures to follow...
Give thanks with us.
Proud Papa of 16
She is all smiles and in bed, all wired, heart monitor on the girls...they are kicking it! We are listening to one of the girls having hiccups. Bec's mom is holding two birth certificates. A "twofer". We are talking about if they are "identical twins" that mom's typically paint one of the twins toe nails purple or pink...to be able to not get them confused. Talk about an identity crisis!!!
She goes to the OR in 45'.
Jake was supposed to be putting on his "scrubs" and we think has wandered off...we guess he may be playing Settlers on his i-Phone.
More as the action picks up.
PS Jake showed up...he looks like a nurse in his blue scrubs!
Saturday, April 3, 2010
I woke up at 5 this morning to Lambchop scratching at her crate to be let out. I took her outside to do her thing and then tried to go back to sleep. Well, sleep evaded me as my excited heart started fluttering faster and faster.
I got up and talked to my sweet sister Laura while she drove to work and then I talked to my mother in law, Pam. I'm sitting in the nursery, hopefully the last time I'll do this with clean sheets, tags on clothes, new diapers and wipes, and a fully belly. Well, hopefully not the very last time but you get the idea.
I don't know what else to say this morning except that I am just so ready and so glad that I don't have to wait much longer! Just hours instead of days! Thank you all SO much for praying for us constantly over the past 2 years!! We are so grateful and excited to introduce to you all our precious girls.
My dad will be taking over my blog for the day so check back often as he will be updating everyone! We will get to the hospital at 10 and then the c-section will be at 12, unless there are a bunch of emergencies, then they will push back our surgery till they are caught up.
Updates to come, very soon!!
Although I'm sure I have lots more, here is my 8th and last reason as to why I love being pregnant:
I love that it's just me and these babies for 9 months. I get them all to myself, to care for and protect, before they enter the world. After Molly was born and we realized something was wrong, I wanted desperately to snuggle her back into my womb where she was safe and where I sustained her life. I kept her alive and once she was born, there was nothing that I could do to fully protect her like I had for 9 months before. While I knew it was impossible to do, I remember wanting her back in my tummy for the entire week of her life.
It's an incredible opportunity and blessing to grow and nurture a precious life. I am incredibly grateful for another chance to have life inside my body. What a delight and joy!! I have truly loved and delighted in carrying these babies!!
This beautiful Easter morning is so wonderful to wake up to. We have the promise and reminder of Jesus rising from the dead after giving his life for ours on the cross. With his resurrection we have new life and the promise of eternity with him in heaven.
And just like the delicate tulips that are springing up in our yard, we have the promise of new life just around the corner. We wait with delight and anticipation as tomorrow draws closer when we will welcome with open arms these girls we have prayed and prayed for.
Ahhh, I cannot wait!
Friday, April 2, 2010
Reason number 7 for why I love being pregnant:
I love to dream of our babies and what they'll become as they grow up. I love to imagine that these girls will love cupcakes with swirls of frosting as much as I do and getting donuts with their dad on a Saturday morning. I dream of wrapping them up in my arms when they are scared, reading endless books and stories to them before bedtime, and smoothing the hair away from their face as they sleep. I want them to know just how much I love them and how we've prayed for them since before they were conceived.
I also think of the times that won't be so dreamy and calm, those middle of the nights where we are all crying and badly in need of sleep. Those times when I don't know what to do with the way they're acting towards me or why they don't get along sometimes. Those trips to the grocery store or Target when I have to leave my full cart because of a temper tantrum.
I dream of it all. I want the hard and the easy. The joy of raising kids along with the difficulties.
That's what I love about being pregnant.
Thursday, April 1, 2010
#6 of why I love being pregnant!
One of the first things that I do when I find out we're expecting is to go out and buy a journal for the new life forming and growing in my womb. I love to write, as if that's a surprise by anyone reading my blog, and it's really fun to write to our kids before we even meet them face to face. I have a journal for Molly and also one for Micah, which has been good for me in grieving their death as well. I can write to them and tell them all the things that I miss about them. For the twins, I have one journal because I didn't know we were having two until several weeks after I had already started writing in it. So for their birth I am going to start one for each of them. :) And I hope to get their footprints and handprints in them as well.
Wednesday, March 31, 2010
For today, my 5th reason that I love being pregnant:
#5 I love watching our babies progress each week through some emails I get and a book on their weekly development. It is really neat to me to get to track what is developing this week and what they are doing that's new. Even though I have read through this book already 2 times, I still find it fascinating how their bodies grow and form so intricately and beautifully. What a creative God we serve!
As for an update on my latest appointments, I saw my doctor for the last check-up yesterday. He walked in the room and said, "Well, one more week left." I smiled and said, "Yeah, Monday!" He did a double take and realized that we were down to just several days instead of a week. Good thing I reminded him or he might not have made it to my c-section. :)
We pick up my parents Sunday evening and I'll do my best to sleep before heading to the hospital around 10 a.m. on Monday. We are so thrilled to be closer and closer each day.
Check out a really sweet and fun gift a friend sent me in the mail:
Inside a cute cupcake box are 6 onesies wrapped up with socks and curly barretts on top to look like cute cupcakes!! So adorable and such a fun idea for a gift!! Thanks Meg!
And thanks to everyone else for following my fun reasons thus far and keeping us in your prayers these last few days!
Tuesday, March 30, 2010
With just 5 days left, I am ready for reason #4 of why I LOVE being pregnant!
#4 I really do love my maternity clothes! No belts are necessary, just accessorize and look cute! I have some great maternity jeans from target and gap. I am also a huge fan of these great tank tops from Target that I wear under every top, every day.
My clothing options have dwindled in a serious way over the last 2 months. I think I have 3-5 tops that are still kind of long enough and only one pair of jeans that fit comfortably. The others are too tight probably because my hips have done some adjusting. :) I am also loving any sort of exercise pants, but what I don't want is to look like I have given up on life as I stroll through wal mart at a snails pace.
See you tomorrow for reason #5!
Monday, March 29, 2010
#3: I am so thankful for such great genes that I can pretty much eat whatever I want when I'm pregnant!
This is especially true with twins on the way. You have to double the amount of calories, calcium, protein, iron, and other essentials to your diet. A great book on twin pregnancies even said to have premium ice cream or milk shakes in order to get the amount of calcium needed in the pregnancy. Because of that, I've been one of Chick-fil-A's biggest customers!!
I love getting to tell people about the baby or babies I am carrying.
It was fun seeing people react when I was pregnant with Molly and we weren't finding out if we were having a boy or a girl. I didn't really get to do that with Micah since I wasn't really showing that much when we miscarried. But it was fun to tell people that we were pregnant and show off the ultrasounds we had of him.
This time is different because I look like I am about to burst and so people think I am way over due. I've only had one person, a man, ask if I was carrying twins. :) It's been fun to tell people I am having twin girls. At just 20 weeks I was in Texas visiting my friend, Christy, when one of the ladies in her bible study asked if I was due any day. :) I smiled and told her that I was just halfway to the finish line because I was having twins. She was so shocked! I guess I looked like I was pretty close to being done.
Stay tuned tomorrow for reason number 3.
Friday, March 26, 2010
When I was a kid, it was a really big deal when you went from being 9 years old to 10 years old. You were no longer single digits, you were double digits!! I know, it sounds like I had a boring childhood, but it was really a milestone for me to go from 9-10. I wonder if I'll make it to triple digits??
Ok, so I don't really sit and think about turning 100. I am excited to say that we are in the single digits of our countdown to meeting the girls and hopefully taking them home. Note the word "hopefully".
Now on to what's really going on in my head and heart.
A big mix of everything, all jumbled together. Granted, I am hormonal and tired but in the middle of all those feelings are others that I knew would come to the surface at some point or another.
I am really, really missing Molly.
I am really scared to have these babies and find out something is horribly wrong. (And while I'm at it, please don't tell me that everything is going to be fine. I don't know that and neither does anyone else, except for God of course. I have learned that just because I've lost two babies doesn't mean I deserve to have these two.)
I am feeling sad that I won't be the first to hold them in my arms.
I am angry that I have to wait an hour to be stitched up, or possibly more, before they can be in our room with us. Haven't we waited long enough?
I am ready to meet them and yet not at the same time.
And on some lighter notes...
I am excited that we have made it this far and have had such a great pregnancy!
I am so grateful that they are still kicking me and moving around, letting me know that they are content.
I am thrilled and humbled beyond words that God would give us two precious daughters to take care of.
I love Piper and I love Lily.
The latest update for me and the girls hasn't changed much at all. I did see my doctor last week and had another non-stress test, which I actually look forward to. Everything is on track and looking good.
When I saw my doctor last week I mentioned to him about this new pain I've been experiencing. The bottom line is that the weight of the girls and my uterus, is placing such pressure on my ligaments and joints that at times I experience a painful, pinching sensation in my legs that calls for immediate change in position.
I was at PetsMart the other day to stock up on dog food when I had this happen. I was walking towards the checkout line when it struck me in the left leg. I had to stop in the middle of the main aisle and twist and turn my leg around until it quit hurting, probably one of the longest it has hurt like that. One of the managers walked up to me and asked if I needed help with anything or if I was ok. I could tell he was a little nervous with a way pregnant lady in the aisle not looking at anything but instead with a pained look on her face. I told him I was fine and that it was just part of pregnancy. Thankfully he didn't call 911. I just wanted the dog food and then wanted to get to Panera across the street for my own chow.
So that is the latest. One week from tomorrow, Monday, we will be meeting our babies for the first time. We are thrilled, nervous, excited, anxious, and scared all at the same time. It will be quite the celebration at the hospital when they arrive and we are hopeful and prayerful that everything will be fine and that we will get to take them home with us when we go home.
Thank you for all of those prayers. We still need them. We will definitely update the blog again before next Monday and will also post pics once the girls are here.
I will also be making it my goal for the next 7 days to come up with one thing each day that I am thankful for about being pregnant. An excellent suggestion by my handsome hubby!
Today I said I was thankful for: Feeling them kick and move around, especially when I eat or drink something sweet. They really like ice cream! :)
Monday, March 22, 2010
With my clothes options getting smaller and smaller, literally, I am looking forward to more options in the coming weeks. Today, it is warm and sunny out and supposed to hit in the low 60's. I stood in my closet and looked at the one pair of jeans that I can still wear and thought, "hmmm, should I wear these jeans or these jeans?" :) I opted instead for a non-maternity skirt that is so springy and fun! If it didn't have the elastic waistband and drawstring, I wouldn't be wearing it now. I'm just so darn hot to be wearing jeans!!
A friend just asked me yesterday what it was like to have two babies in my belly vs. just one. I told her that it's definitely different and I can really tell there are two based on all the squirms, kicks, and jabs that I feel.
If you were looking at my belly, Piper (baby A) is on the right side facing her sister. She's head up and her feet like to play the drums on my bladder and major arteries in my legs. I can definitely feel her head and lately I've noticed what must be her shoulder pushing out as well. Or maybe it's her fist, I'm not sure. Lilly (baby B) is on the left side and is also facing her sister. She's head down with her feet straight into my ribs, maybe she's trying to tickle me or something. :) I can feel her two feet playing my ribs and sometimes I can feel what must be her bottom pushing out my side.
It's really quite fun to sit and imagine what they're up to in there. Sometimes one is awake while the other is sleeping, and sometimes they are both awake and likely having a party or something. One of the great things about sleeping at night, or not sleeping, is that they aren't waking me up with their acrobats. I've found that they typically sleep when I sleep, maybe lulled to slumber by my resting heart rate. Who knows! It is fun to imagine what they're doing and how they'll be once they're born.
We've settled on their names: Piper and Lilly. Although we're not sure how we want to spell Lilly. Either: Lilly or Lily. We can't decide. And another thing we need to decide is middle names. Yeah, we have no idea on that one. :)
The countdown continues... 2 weeks from today! Wow, it is really happening. I almost can't believe it!
Wednesday, March 17, 2010
At 10 I went to the labor and delivery unit of our hospital and my nurse, Donna, helped set me up for my non-stress test for the week. Lilly, our baby B, must have been awake and happy because her heart was going up and down just like they wanted to see. After a yummy juice cocktail from Donna, Piper, baby A, perked up and followed suit. After being hooked up for over an hour, they let me go.
I made my next appointment the same as today, 10 am. Wednesday the 24th. After the NST, I went and saw Dr. A around 11:45 and all he did was measure my belly and ask if I had any questions. I had none so he said he would see me next week. :)
My belly is measuring 45 weeks, which is just wild to think about! I am still gaining weight, which means the girls are getting what they need. I am so thankful for that.
For now we keep on waiting till labor starts on its own or until the morning of April 5th. Jacob has a few bets going for when I'll have the girls. The wager: Chick-fil-A milkshakes. :)
Thanks for the prayers! I'll update again next week or if labor starts before then!! :)
Thursday, March 11, 2010
We now have a line in the sand for the girls' arrival. Now we wait, some more. :)
Wednesday, March 10, 2010
I saw my OB next and he said we were pretty much on target for a scheduled c-section, unless I go into labor on my own. I am measuring 43 weeks, for those of you who get that. Definitely overdue if I were only carrying one.
April 7th is the big day for the c-section. I don't have a scheduled time yet and it could change of course if I go into labor before then. All of these things shall be revealed in due time! :)
Tomorrow I go to the hospital for a non-stress test. I'll be happily reading while they watch the girls' hearts for about 45 minutes. I don't go back until next Wednesday, when I'll be 35 weeks! Woo woo!!
Oh and I have to share this great picture we took last night. Shows me in all my belly glory plus a sweet gift from a friend of mine in the great state of Washington. She also lost a son at full term and read Molly's book. While we have never met in person, I do think of her as a close friend. Thanks Becky for the wonderful gift! I love the ladybugs!!
Friday, February 26, 2010
Anyway, enough with the confusing talk and on with the latest and greatest. I saw my dear old doc on Thursday afternoon and everything checks out so far. I am measuring 41 weeks, which is good, and am 10 pounds away from weighing 200 lbs! Whoa! Never thought I'd ever weigh that much! But of course, it's all for the girls and a good thing too. I've enjoyed lots of Chick-fil-A milkshakes! :)
Along with another doctor's appointment we'll have one more ultrasound in less than 2 weeks and that will be the determining factor for how the girls might be arriving. If A hasn't turned around then we'll schedule a c-section. But he also said that even if A is head down, 40-50% of the time you end up having to have a c-section anyway. So... it looks like we're preparing for major surgery which is ok with us. We just want them born safely and happily!
At my next appointment and ultrasound I will be 34 weeks and at that point will start going every week until they are born. I will also be going every week to the labor and delivery unit for an NST, or a non-stress test. They will monitor me and the girls and watch for their heart rates to accelerate and decelerate for a certain period of time. From 34 weeks on I'll be spending a lot of time at the doctor's office and at the hospital. A great time for catching up on any reading I want to get done before our world is illuminated by these two precious girls!
Yeah for being so far along and no problems to speak of!! Thanks for all of those prayers for us and the girls! We are so thankful for each of you, whether we know you or not. Pretty soon we'll be introducing them to you, with such pride and joy!!
Friday, February 19, 2010
I said yes, not really knowing why I was saying yes except that I was wanting to go to the college thing that night anyway. Now let me reassure you, I am not wanting to fit in with the college crowd or wear bump-its so that my hair sticks up a foot high over my head. I am interested in sharing my experiences in the hopes that I might encourage some of the women in that age group.
In a really neat way, I heard about this new ministry within the college ministry. It's something the interns and college ministry staff are wanting to put together to encourage college kids to find mentors and develop relationships with them. Well, I have been wanting to do that and God pretty much put me in the same Starbucks as a group of women who were discussing this very ministry, before it had even started. Had Jacob not been with me, I doubt I would have spoken up, so he did for me. He interrupted their chatter and told them that I was wanting to be a part of their ministry and could I get some info on it. :) I, of course, am trying not to turn red in the face or sweat through my layers of maternity tops.
They were really sweet and one of the women, an intern at the church, got my info and we went to coffee a few weeks later. She told me all about the ministry and how I could be a part of it. I went to their first meeting in January and really enjoyed it.
Last night was their second night and they asked me to share my love story with God. Wow, I feel so humbled by another opportunity to share my story and Molly's too. After working on my talk all day long I decided it was good enough to share with the world as well.
So.. here's what I said to them:
My love story with the Lord
When I think of a love story, my mind overflows with word pictures of: happily ever after, in love, perfect harmony, and days spent in pure bliss. Anything with the word love next to it creates images in our minds of pure happiness, joy, delight, and content hearts.
Here’s another set of words:
Heart-wrenching, tears pouring down your cheeks, a broken heart, dark valleys, great unknowns, unanswered questions, and letting go of what you hold so dear.
Do those words create images of a love story? Does that sound like something you long for and want to be a part of? Does that sound like something a loving God would weave into your love story?
No one likes pain or welcomes it with open arms. We prefer comfort and enjoyment to pain and suffering. And yet, as I think through my own personal love story with God, I see both beauty and suffering at the same time. I see a broken heart and delight, tears and joy, dark valleys and happily ever after.
How can that be? Well, let me tell you a story of one of the greatest people I have had the privilege of knowing.
Her name is Molly Ann. She accomplished more in her life than some ever will. She brought hearts together. She changed lives. She brought hope and light to many. She was remarkable.
And the best part about Molly: She was my daughter.
Since I don’t have time to tell you every bit of her story, here are a few things I want you to know about her.
Molly was born June 13th, 2008 with a rare brain aneurism, something we didn’t know about when I was pregnant with her. It’s so rare that there are only 6 cases reported each year in the US. Looking at her, you would have had no idea that anything was wrong. She was perfectly formed and beautiful, with steely blue eyes, and dark hair.
She lived for 7 wonderful days and fulfilled her life purpose beautifully. We made some great memories while she was alive. We got to give her a bath, took a few thousand pictures of her, and held her multiple times. She was, and still is, one of the greatest gifts my husband and I have ever received.
She drew me closer to the throne of God without uttering a word. As a result of her life and death, I have experienced a love from God that I have never known before. Holding her as she was ushered into the presence of God was the holiest moment I have ever experienced. I knew that in her death, God was still holding us tightly and loving us.
My love story is one of great highs and deep lows. Before I had Molly, there wasn’t much in my life that I had experienced that really drove me to my knees before God. I experienced break-ups, mistakes, letdowns, disappointments, and frustrations, but never had I experienced a pain like this.
About a month before Molly died, I remember hearing about the death of Steven Curtis Chapman’s daughter, Maria. I recall thinking about what it would be like if we lost our daughter. “I can’t imagine going through that.” “How would we handle losing a son or daughter?” I also thought to myself, "well that won't happen to us."
I know I prayed on several occasions for God to use me in a mighty way, that he would give me a love story that I was proud of and that I could share with the world. I wanted a ministry and without knowing it, I was about to get one.
Going into labor at 41 weeks, I had no idea how our lives were about to change. In the midst of tests, questions, tubes and wires all over Molly’s precious body, holding her close, and then letting her go, God was continually weaving our love story together, wrapping me up in security and affection.
Molly’s story is heart-wrenching and it often brings tears to my eyes when I tell it. Our hearts broke the week of her life and the days that followed. We could not believe we were just meeting our new daughter and saying good-bye all at the same time. Our world shattered as we both entered into the dark valley of grief and asked many questions of the Lord. At the same time, I also experienced an incredible peace that surpassed my own understanding. I found hope in the life and death of my daughter. As painful as it was to watch my daughter die, it was a holy place and one that has altered the course of my life forever.
You might not think that we were experiencing God’s love after Molly died. It can be difficult to see how a love story could have death as a part of it.
Yet, I must tell you that God can love us through great pain and suffering. God was not afraid to hurt and cause suffering, because He loved us so much. We think we cannot experience pain and love at the same time, but the truth is, we did experience the love of God while we were experiencing such deep pain. Having to let our daughter die did not stop God from showing his love to us. His love continues even when we’re in pain. I believe that we have a mistaken notion that we can’t experience both at the same time.
There’s a verse that I want to share with you. Something you might have heard before, but this time I hope that you’ll hear it with fresh perspective:
John 16:33 “In this world, you will have trouble. But take heart, I have overcome the world.”
The four words I want to highlight here are “YOU WILL HAVE TROUBLE”. If you’ve never been told this before, please hear it now. You will have trouble. That is a promise from God. Doing everything right and making all the right decisions doesn’t mean you won’t experience suffering in one form or another. If you can accept that truth now you won’t be completely shocked when pain, suffering, and trouble happen to you.
Less than a year after Molly died, we experienced another tragedy. We miscarried a little boy at 14 weeks gestation. People all around us could not believe we were going through yet another loss. I could not believe they were so shocked. And yet it makes sense, with all the comfort we like to give ourselves, it’s easy to see how we can be shocked when others or ourselves go through suffering.
One thing that I have learned as a result of losing two kids is that there are no guarantees in this life. There is no promise that I’ll wake up tomorrow, that I’ll have more kids, that my husband and I will live to be old and gray.
As you can tell, I’m pregnant again. This time, I’m having twins. Twin girls. When something difficult happens to you, you begin to wonder if you won’t experience the same thing again. I’ve struggled with fear and worry in this pregnancy and sometimes I share it with others and sometimes I do not.
When I have shared it, some have said to me that everything will be fine, that this time I’ll bring home my babies, that I will for sure have what I have wanted because “you’ve been through enough suffering.” My response is that there is no “enough suffering” until we go to be with Jesus. There is no promise that I will endure X amount of suffering and then the rest of my life I’ll get what I deserve because I suffered well. No way. I have a choice in how I respond to suffering and pain.
You know what, I love my life and I love my relationship with God. He doesn’t owe me anything and yet he has given me so many things, things I do not deserve.
I am so thankful that God took Molly the way that he did. God has given me so many ways to minister to other moms who have lost kids, or who have never lost kids but have a renewed perspective after hearing Molly’s story. I am so thankful for this story! What a blessing that I get to share with others the deep gratitude that I have for my Savior for giving me a daughter, even if only for 7 days.
What sort of love story do you want God to have with you?
How has your love story been different than what you thought it would be like?
How will you respond when your love story doesn’t go quite like you thought it would?
And so with my toast propped up on my belly and our pups wrestling on the bed, I'll get to it. :)
We had another ultrasound a few hours before my appointment with Dr. A. I have these great appointments every month, which I think is just wonderful and so much fun. Jacob, on the other hand, still thinks the babies look like constellations and can't tell much of a difference between heads and toes. But he comes anyway, to my delight, and sits through the 45 minute appointment.
The ultrasound went great. According to the tech's measurements, the babies are weighing just an ounce in difference. Baby A is weighing 3 lbs. 4 oz. and baby B is weighing in at 3 lbs. 5 oz. Stacey, the tech, did say that at some point we would notice one of the babies starting to weigh more than the other and that the amount of amniotic fluid would lessen as they start to run out of room. As if there's more room to be had, at this point. I can't imagine how I could get any bigger or that my stomach will stretch another inch! Ouch!
Both babies were measuring fine and everything checked out great, much to our delight and joy! Baby A was being a bit more cooperative than her usually compliant sister, so we saw more of her than we did of B. A was found opening and closing her mouth and of course we got some great photos of that! We could even see her tongue, from the profile view of her mouth. Another neat thing that we saw was that she has a bit of hair on her head! We're not surprised since Molly had hair too, but it is fun to know and see on the big screen. Who knew you could see hair on a black and white ultrasound? Crazy!
The slightly big news from the ultrasound is that little Miss A must have other plans in mind for their entry into the world because she is currently standing straight up in my tummy. She's not just breech, she's a footling breech which means that her feet are what's been kicking at my bladder lately. Her sister, on the other hand, is right where we'd like them both to be: head down. Thank you very much, Miss B!
Now, I don't really care how the girls are born... I just want them to be born safely and without complications. I would prefer to have them the way most babies are born, but I don't really get a say in this now do I? You can be praying that they would be born safe and sound and stay as long as possible in my tummy. We are expecting a higher chance of a c-section than before, since Miss A has been head up in the last few ultrasounds. She could still flip around though, and that would be great!
My appointment with Dr. A went well, with nothing much to report. He does think that I have a good chance of hanging on to the girls till 38 weeks. I see him every two weeks for another month, when I'll be 34 weeks and then I'll see him every week until the girls are born.
In other belly news, my mom was just here for a few days and she did a great job at painting the nursery with a bit of pink. Here's what it looked like when we had the room ready for Molly's big debut:
Now, get ready for the finished product. Drum roll, please....
We added some pink paint above the brown stripe and on the ceiling. We also added a pink lamp that I got at TJ Maxx for $11 and a pink and red polka dotted sheet and changing pad cover.
I love how the room looks and it definitely feels more and more ready as small changes are made. For the past year and a half it was my "office" where I sat and read my bible, an assortment of books on grief, or checked my emails. It had to be converted back to the nursery which meant getting rid of my stacks of books and piles of papers. I am super excited with how it has turned out.
You might be wondering how I am doing. At 31 weeks, I currently move at the speed of a three year old and sleep propped up on four pillows and blankets tucked under my belly for support. Sleep is difficult, although I have had a good few nights lately. Some would say it is in preparation for the girls coming. I laugh knowing that while I won't be sleeping much when they get here, why suffer now?
I am really doing well though and can hardly complain. Having two in my belly is way different than having one, and I am enjoying it as much as I can while I have them all to myself.
Saturday, January 30, 2010
I did see my OB just a week and a half ago and I go back in another week and a half, so three weeks between visits this time. From that appointment I'm pretty sure I'll start going every two weeks for a month and then every week until they are born.
It's pretty exciting. We have just a bit over 9 weeks left, at the latest, until the girls arrive. I am doing pretty well and my only complaint is that I am not sleeping well, which isn't a surprise to me at all. I'm finishing up week 28 and the nursery is ready and waiting for the girls. I worked on it with a friend of mine for a few hours on Friday and we really did some work in there! I am really pleased that it's starting to feel like a nursery again.
We also got our second car seat today. Really excited to have it and now, with the exception of a hospital bag, I am ready when the girls are! :) Just praying it's not before 36 weeks.
I have to brag on my husband. A week ago he gave me a great gift. It is the best gift he could ever give me. In fact, I ask for this gift on numerous occasions. This gift is better than anything he could ever buy at a store.
He gave me his time. We’re learning in our small group’s study on Purpose Driven Life, that time is such a valuable gift because it can never be regained. When someone gives you their time, they are giving something of themselves.
On Tuesday afternoon, Jacob gave me a nice big chunk of time together. A “Rebecca Extravaganza” where I get to choose what we do and he goes along with it. Around 2 we found ourselves in the basement, looking for something, when I asked him if he would help me put away the last boxes of Christmas decorations. They are stored under the stairs and with my ever-growing belly, it’s not a good idea for me to lift them. So for about 15 minutes, he helped me organize and put things in their places. He also helped give me some peace in that moment. As most women know, when their house is clean, picked up, and organized, they feel peaceful and relaxed. I felt so good after just those 15 minutes.
Later that afternoon I asked if we could go to Starbucks for a coffee date and then to Target to check out some of the baby things on sale there. As part of my extravaganza day, Jacob agreed. We loaded the dogs into the car, because we almost always take them with us wherever we go, and headed to Starbucks. I originally thought we would just get some coffee and head over to Target but Jacob suggested that we sit for awhile and just hang out. A great idea. We flipped through a little date book called Coffee Dates for couples and I found a great question for us to talk about: Our dream house. We talked about what we would want if money were no option and what our house would be like if we could have whatever we wanted. It was really fun, especially when I asked him what he liked the most about his house in Indiana, where he spent much of his childhood.
From Starbucks we headed to Target where there was a big sale on baby items, 50% off. He did what I have always wanted him to do, engage with me and enter into the experience. I pulled little outfits off of racks and he would tell me how he liked the ruffles or the cute butterfly pattern. It was really fun and we even picked out a few outfits to dress our girls in.
We ended our evening watching a set of home videos that were taken of his old house in Indiana. It was fun getting the tour and being able to see a bit of where he grew up. Then he played our engagement video which was really fun to watch and remember how fun it was to get engaged. We both looked so young in the video, its crazy how we’ve changed in just 5 years.
I am so in love with you, Jacob. I love getting to spend my life with you and every experience!! You are the greatest husband for me!!
Saturday, January 9, 2010
We learned about the law and all the things that go along with what has been put in place and why. The frustrating part about today was that in some cases the law made zero sense. The first goal in any case is what they call "reunification" or getting the kids back with their biological parents. If that can't be done after lots of different trials and hearings, then that child or children is placed in a forever home/adopted. That makes sense.
In order to explain the law and different things to us today they shared with us various scenarios. One of them was a case where the social worker kept saying that this mom was a good parent when she continually would go back to her abusive boyfriend and allow her child to witness and be around when she was abused. I asked how many times it took until parental rights were severed. They said there was no limit as long as that mom was doing what the state required and proving to be a "good parent". That means she had to keep doing certain things like going to counseling or staying clean and sober, in order to keep her child in her custody. This does not make sense.
Basically, there are more rights for parents than there are for kids. In fact, I venture to guess if animals have more rights than children do. I know I'm simplifying things here, but we weren't the only ones in the room who were appalled at that specific situation.
It's incredibly sad and I feel really angry at the injustice there is in this state and in this world for children. To be fair, the state does some great things for kids and for that I am really grateful. It's the situations where it seems so backwards that make me so mad.
As one of my readers put it: It's emotionally taxing, and yet God is sufficient for all that we need. He already has been sufficient so why would He not continue to do so for us in this new journey?
Friday, January 8, 2010
Today, Jacob and I, along with my bulging belly, sat through an excellent 7-hour training session on becoming certified foster care providers for the state. We both expected to be bored and feel overwhelmed with information and paperwork, yet we came away having enjoyed our time and with a different perspective on the foster care system.
The women who led our training today did so with an upbeat attitude and spirit. They interacted with us and forced us to interact in front of the group on several occasions. We learned so much and yet still have tons more to go through tomorrow and on one more Saturday later this month. We learned about a "sample" family and the situation they were in that caused the kids to be put into foster care and we talked through different options to help them and also positive and negative things that we saw in that family. It was really interesting, even though none of it was true. The story was given to us as an example of what we might encounter along our foster care journey.
I learned that just because you have a foster child in your home doesn't mean you can share their story with anyone. In fact, we all signed a confidentiality agreement today saying we wouldn't divulge any information about a case we were involved in, ever. I can't talk about our foster child's situation to anyone unless they need to know because they will be in contact with that child. It all feels very sticky and yet I understand the reason behind keeping our mouths shut.
Simply this: It's not our story to share.
It's a great lesson in gossip that I never thought I'd learn in quite this way. To respect and honor a child in my home who might not want anyone else to know what he/she has been through, is one of the many things we'll work to achieve during their stay with us.
We also learned about grief and loss as it relates to these children and their biological parents going through these situations. I hadn't thought of these kids experiencing grief or loss, but rather relief that they aren't in that situation anymore. And while that might be the case for some children, I am sure that although the situation they came from isn't what is desirable, they still miss their parents and the routine they were used to and their things that had to be left behind. I am all the more aware of other ways we grieve.
We go back tomorrow for another 7 or 8 hours and then on the 23rd we'll have one last full day of training before we're fully certified. It's exciting and scary all at the same time.
We're having two babies soon and signing up to bring other kids into our home. While it's scary and uncertain, we are sure of this: there are far too many orphans in this world without parents to guide them through life for Jacob and I to just sit here in our comfortable home and do nothing. We know that we are called to help the orphans of this world and we're excited to see exactly how we'll do that in the years to come.
As of now, we're interested in what's called "respite care". What that means is we would come alongside another family who has foster children and provide care and respite from their daily lives. We might take that foster child to his soccer game or we might take her to the dentist. If that family were to take a vacation out of the state, that foster child(ren) would have to stay behind and we would be the ones to take care of them while their foster parents are gone. We feel that we can do that right now and then later we definitely want to adopt and possibly do foster care ourselves. We shall soon see what God has in store for us.
More tomorrow, maybe. :)