Week 38: An anticipation and a Kyle Memory

Week 38: An anticipation and a Kyle Memory

So here we are. At the end. I have anywhere from zero to 18 days or so….that’s rather terrifying, if I can be honest. It’s also stinking exciting. Anticipation is mounting at rapid levels around here.

Also – I know you’re excited to discover who won those two free journals last week? The winners are now listed! Thanks for joining in on the fun! We may  just need to do another giveaway to celebrate this baby’s arrival?

The girls have already designed “The Royal Welcome Home Celebration” party – complete with recipes, decorations, supply lists and cake designs. They’ve already planned a wedding for him and a birthday party.

We started week 4 of school this week – we’re planning a month (at least!) long break after baby gets here.

The house is getting in tip top shape for all the guests coming in. And really, I have way more energy than I did a month ago. This nesting stuff is really setting in. My kitchen floor cleaning routine last night consisted of sweeping, swiffering, steam mopping, swiffering again, then one last steam mopping. I’ll probably do it again tonight. The baby’s room (which is really just a corner of our room for now – his room will be the guest room for a couple months) is pretty much ready to go with all it needs.

“His corner of our room” being a something-borrowed Moses basket bassinet that had a lovely pink liner. Which my girls said would absolutely-positively-in-no-way-from-here-to-Madagascar do. So I made a new liner. Notice Henry – the bunny the girls made for this baby at Build A Bear – they say “he’s keeping the bed warm for him so he won’t be scared at our house when he gets home.”


My four favorite food groups are now Greek Yogurt Smoothies, Ice Cream, Frozen Yogurt, and Popsicles. With frozen blueberries for snacks. Sometimes I get adventurous in the kitchen and make a salad.


I haven’t packed a hospital bag yet. But I bought a bag to pack. Progress, right?


Underneath all the flurry of preparations, though, is a sense of nervousness amongst all of us. My youngest asks almost daily, “I’m glad he’s not going to die, right Mommy?” My oldest just shows an exorbitant amount of affection to my belly. This sort of outward display of affection isn’t normal for her. She’s holding on to every last moment. At the young age of eight,

She gets it. 

None of us are guaranteed anything. No matter what anyone says. We aren’t fear mongers or dreading the worst anymore. But we are aware of the brevity of life. We can only trust that His plans are better than our plans. That’s all we have to go on. And that’s not always as scary or as bad as it seems.



So there are many things I’m fearing as potential triggers for flashbacks: even packing the hospital bag is something I may pass on to my husband to do for me. Rehashing memories of the quick hospital packing I had to do when we lost Kyle weeks sooner than we expected is not something I want to experience. Seeing an empty baby warming bed in the hospital room is something I’ve dreaded since almost day one. (My doctors have graciously offered to keep those out of the room for me until I’m ready for it. Which, I may never be. And they’re ok with that.)

One of my more poignant memories was when they hooked me up to contraction monitors for Kyle for intermittent monitoring at times. And they only used one of those velcro belt things – because they only needed to measure my contractions, not a heart rate as well. The dear nurses didn’t say a word or act as if anything was different from normal – but it being my third hospital delivery, I definitely knew what was up.

This time, I think the sight of those monitors could bring on a flurry of emotions no one is prepared for.  I’ve learned enough about my own pregnancy induced PTSD to know that those crazy flashbacks and emotional downward spirals are completely unpredictable.

I usually have crazy dreams. Especially during pregnancy. I’ve only had one vivid pregnancy dream, and in it our baby died shortly after birth.


Of my three hospital births, only one has ended in a crying healthy baby. And honestly, my memory doesn’t hold up to the time and trauma of the events between that birth and now. And I have absolutely no imagination strong enough to envision what it could be like to have a baby and hear it cry?

I only remember the quiet, still, sereneness that sounded as Kyle came into my arms. I remember an occasional camera click from my sister’s labor of love. But that’s about the only sound that was there.


There is a sense of relief that I won’t be delivering in the same room as I did with Kyle. (Although I’d give almost anything to have those nurses and doctors with me!) I was advised to check out the maternity floor before going into labor. But I haven’t been able to bring myself to do it yet. Perhaps this weekend will afford an opportunity to face those fears. I have a feeling this birth will be the beginning of the end of the greatest grief journey we’ve faced as a family to date.

I do have one memory of Kyle’s birth though. Or after his birth. One that always brings a smile to my face.  It’s such a stored up in my heart memory I don’t think I’ve shared it with too many people.

There was this 60 year old nurse that discharged me 18 hours after Kyle’s birth. Five hours after they took him from my arms. And about 15 hours before I had a meeting to attend at the funeral home. She helped Chris pack up our things. But grabbed the Kyle bear out of the moses basket that had held little Kyle just hours before and pressed it into my arms.



“You aren’t leaving this hospital empty handed.” she said.

So I got in that wheelchair, grabbed onto that silly little blue fuzzy bear and squeezed my eyes closed with all my might to avoid the waterfall of tears that were bursting at the back of my eyelids. She leaned in close and whispered  – “I’m taking you out the VIP way, sweetheart. Deep breaths.”  As we left, I noticed one last time the butterfly image on our hospital door that signaled to all hospital personnel that entered that there was *not* a live baby in the room. And the simple sign we had made with our baby’s name. His carefully selected name. And then closed my eyes again to avoid seeing the blue and pink wreaths and balloons on all the other doors.

The “VIP way” ended up just being a back door of sorts to the hospital – there was another discharge happening on our floor at the same time, and she didn’t want my seeing that happy family of three leaving. We got on the elevator, just the two of us. All I could do was think about breathing.

She looked at me and spoke only these words. Not because of the awkward-to-her silence, she wasn’t afraid of that. But because she was led to speak these words.

“Honey?” she said. “This is the part of my job that I hate. I’m so glad I don’t have to do it often. You might not like to hear what I have to say, but I will say it anyway. I’ve taken a whole lotta mamas out just like you. And a few years later they come back and I take them out the front doors. And they aren’t holding bears then. So you just sit tight. And I have no doubts I’m gonna see you right back here.”

I don’t remember her name. And only faintly what she looked like. But for some reason, those words coming from this lady who reminded me of the sweetest little plump grandma, put a little tiny flicker of hope in my dark cold heart that day.

I wish I could go back and see her again. And have her discharge me and this baby together.  

Because deep down, while I’m scared and nervous and even have more ideas and plans of what to do if the worst should happen than I do if the expected normal delivery happens – I still have that flicker of hope that’s getting stronger and brighter with each passing day.



Week 37: Why I’ve been so quiet. (And a gift for two of you?)


Congrats to the winners! I’ve sent emails to your accounts – send me your shipping info and I’ll get those right out to you!
Angie B and Melissa (mel.3@xxxxxx.com)
To everyone else – your verses are all printed and ready for me to take into this crazy hard delivery. I appreciate it so very much. ❤ This community of support is just unreal. I'm so thankful.

So this thing called a "normal pregnancy" is so new to me. To the extent that it almost doesn't seem real?

In fact if I weren't at the point of needing more than one pillow at night and always adjusting the thermostat down down down down down….

I'd probably still be in denial that this is really happening.

The small aches and pains that creep up at the end of a pregnancy are definitely keeping me (and my amazing family who is picking up my slack around the house these days) from being in denial much longer.

I've had some drama – just not me or baby related. There have been some major issues with the doctors and midwives I've chosen – some medical major issues (like, they prescribed drugs that have been highly warned against by the FDA) and some office billing related issues resulting in 60+ hours of phone time to straighten out.

So I'm going to see a practice for the first time this week – at 37 weeks, 3 days – and I'm really thinking they're gonna be the ones to help me with this baby. At this point, I don't think I'll find time to switch around again anyway? So if they don't measure up, I may just go back to the idea of having this baby on the subway system.

Structured Journal

Now that the doctor issue is sorta feeling settled in my mind, I feel like I can focus on other things – like a baby’s room. This is another thing that has been put off. Mainly because I didn’t want to go through the pain of taking it down in case baby never makes it here? There’s no reason to think that would happen – except for my heart telling me constantly that it could happen.

The baby’s crib just may stay in the garage until he’s a couple months old.

I’ve even put off things like a birth plan. I remember spending hours and hours and hours on Kyle’s. Every scenario was planned out minute by minute. Every detail was thought through. It was more intense than my wedding. I think the idea of writing out anything birth plan related, which would force me to think through every single bit of a normal natural birth is a bit much to take in. I always get to a blank white space when I get to the part about the baby being born. Like I almost can’t imagine it?

But then – after all that. I have diapers and wipes. So maybe I’m not too much in denial. 🙂

Our girls are extremely excited. Whenever I leave, I get goodbye kisses and so does my tummy. When I return, I get hello kisses and so does my tummy. 🙂

Their hope and excitement keeps many of my fears at bay these days.

People send us baby gifts. The girls open them. Sometimes try them on. Or, I should say, try to try them on.


I think a big part of this struggle comes from not having my support team around me. Being in a new place, new doctors (I haven’t even met yet!) with no family anywhere remotely close by – it’s hard to think about doing my second hardest birth  without those people around? It’s really forced me to start thinking about what I really need to be happy. And keeping Christ center focus in my mind. Otherwise I crumble pretty fast and hard.

Structured Journal

Something that’s been kinda instrumental to me in recent days has been this awesome journal?! I’ve filled journals throughout our married life for our kids. They’ve been great for me to hash out feelings and learnings – but plain and without much direction. This is exactly what I’ve needed though, these days, to keep things in focus for me when nothing else seems to be in focus, really.

Structured Journal

There’s still lots of freedom – you choose your own passages to read, but it gives some great structure when that may be your struggling point.

I have two of these lovelies in pink to give away! So as a thank you for sticking with me through this pregnancy as long as I have been in this pregnancy, jump in on this giveaway?

And sign up for my email updates up there in the corner for an entry? (Hint, email subscribers will be the first to get the baby news…the blog may take a bit.)

Earn a second entry by including your favorite encouraging verse for me and everyone else who stops by here. Trust me, I need these!


Structured Journal

Also – any of you looking to order one of these for yourself, in pink, blue, or gray, there’s a great sale going on right now – use the promo code “totallyawesome” and get 25% off your order, bringing these journals to just $9.72 + shipping ($12.32 total)!!!


(Disclosure: I was given a couple of these to use myself and give away if I liked them. I DID! So all opinions are my own. Seriously. you’ll love these as much as I do.)


Week 32: Hormone chats, strollers in airports, Lyme’s disease. {Instagram version}


The other day I was driving. And, I was randomly in tears at the steering wheel. Not sure why, but I was. My compassionate girls were concerned. So I assured them nothing was wrong – then proceeded with a conversation that went something like this:

“Girls, I’m fine. I promise!”

Kami: “But mom? You’re crying!”

“Well, yeah. But I’m ok really. Maybe we should talk about hormones.”

Chloe: “HORMONES? What is that?”

“Well, it’s this thing you get when you’re pregnant. Well, you have them all the time, but you have lots of extras when you’re pregnant. They are really good because they keep the baby healthy. But because there’s so many, they can make you cry sometimes when you aren’t even sad! Or you can feel angry when nobody did anything to you!”

Kami: “Oh I hope I don’t ever get those. That sounds awful.”

“I kinda is. But it’s all good. So right now, I’m not sad about anything or angry at anyone. I’m just having extra hormones that make my body do weird things. It’s all good. The extras will go away when I have the baby.”

Chloe: “I think I have those hormone things. I have the disgust ones. That’s why I’m such a picky eater.”


I travelled to Columbia, South Carolina last weekend and ended up coming back with this from a dear friend who has been present right after the births of all three of my kids. So happy we met them way back when our  family’s journey in West Virginia started ten years ago. However, I’d been really worrying about how I was going to get this stroller and car seat back to my place in Philadelphia. I travel super light and never pay for or lug around checked bags, so I wasn’t sure what to do about this. But my friend convinced me to just go for it at the airport and see what happened. Traveling with kids gets you free checked stroller and car seats. But I didn’t really have a kid with me.

Well, one that was visible.

Well, one that was really obviously visible, I guess. 🙂


I did think trying to gate check this in South Carolina would yield better results than the Philadelphia airport… If it didn’t work though, I’d end up paying $60 in checked bag fees. So I was really hoping to save that $$$. 🙂 My equally frugal friend who gave it to me was on call to come grab it from the airport if they gave me a hard time. But I really wanted this stroller to get back to Philadelphia with me. So…I walked in the airport, and had no less than 4 different TSA people ask me about where the baby was. Then I’d point to my belly….and they’d laugh. At the gate, some dear ladies saw me with the folded stroller, the carryon, the car seat attached to the base, and my purse and my belly…I think that was my carrying about 100 pounds at once…and felt sorry for me. They all grabbed a piece of equipment. And by the time I got through the gate, I wasn’t holding a single thing except my purse. 🙂 And I still had my $60. So, American Airlines for the win! 🙂 Sadly, when the girls and Chris picked me up at the airport in Philadelphia, Kami,when she saw the stroller, thought I must have the baby with me. She was rather disappointed.


This week we dealt with a crazy diagnosis of Lyme’s Disease….my youngest had been showing signs of it for the past month or so – although we really didn’t recognize it as Lyme’s – nor did we ever find the tick culprit. But after a pretty scary weekend of her rapid decline, we were able to get a diagnosis and get her started on treatment right away. This was crucial for her long term cure rate, and based on how she’s doing now, every one seems confident she’ll recover 100%. However, I can’t describe the fear that struck my heart when I walked outside after sending the girls out to the car for the dr appointment and found Kami collapsed on the ground like this.


After just 48 hours into her 4 week treatment regimen though, she is completely back to her normal self and we are so very thankful. I kinda prefer copperheads though, I think, to these autoimmune disease things. I think I do. Maybe we’ll just move to Hawaii. Where we can just worry about sea turtles. I think I can still outrun those at this point….

So today. Today is the day in the pregnancy that Kyle left us. 32 weeks, 0 days. 220 days. Of course I’m anxious. Keeping myself busy with the girls. Always waiting for the next kick. (Which just happened as I typed this.) I found myself thinking about what he’ll look like today. Maybe he’ll have dark hair like the girls did? I haven’t  even imagined such things yet. So the thoughts of his having hair – of his being real. and in our house in such a short amount of time took my breath away. I just really feel like this is going to happen after all. And I can’t believe that. Like – after all this time. All the losses. All the grief. All the babies. All the burials. We might actually have one that’s ok in our arms before then end of the summer.

And with those words, I stop, because I can’t see my screen anymore through the tears of unbelievable amazing grace.

Week 30: Facing reality.


I so appreciate all the texts and emails and notes about how I’m doing and how things are going…I think my mindset – even if subconsciously declared, has been one of denial. For a couple of reasons:

1) Dates have always been significant to me and coming up on week 32 has been a huge weight on my shoulders. (That’s the week we lost little Kyle.) Just like I ignore the calendar dates as much as possible to avoid knowing that “the nineteenth” is coming up (Kyle was born on 12/19), I’ve been kinda ignoring the weeks thing a bit too. Usually the midwives would tell me when I came in for appointments.
2) This pregnancy has been a complete breeze, so I haven’t had to dwell on any discomforts. (The hospitals here, are a different story!) But the pregnancy – actually as easy as Kyle’s without weekly ultrasounds. I’ve only had 3 appointments so far – which is so nice. I love being so “normal” and “forgettable” and not having to be checked up on all the time. Such a far cry from the girls and Kyle! I was preeclamptic with both of the girls, gaining 10 lbs a week towards the end in water weight, and even had to get my rings cut off because of rapid swelling with one of them! And that was in the winter!

I was super terrified of having an August baby and what the heat would do to exacerbate my preeclampsia tendencies – but so far I’m doing fantastic. My rings are still loose and I’m still sleeping with only one pillow at night. Not that those things are marks of any sorta heroism – just interesting to me the comfort levels I’m still at when I assumed I’d be in a much different place at this point.

I also suffered from severe restless leg syndrome with the girls that would keep me awake until 2 or 3 am most nights. I’ve had a few bouts with it this go around, but I’ve learned that it is solely from an iron deficiency, so if I miss a few days of supplements, I’ll have flareups. When I’m more consistent with those vitamins, I’m just fine. (I’ll also use this as an excuse to have my husband grill lots of steaks the rest of the summer. I have a feeling he won’t mind in the least.) 🙂  Most of my “success” with this pregnancy is definitely due to my diet – I’ve been following this plan fairly closely for most of the pregnancy and it’s made a huge difference for me. I’ve had no swelling, I can still outpace the girls most of the time, and not a single blood pressure issue. Also, my average weight gain with the girls was 70 lbs. I’m hanging pretty tight with this guy at +28 and super happy about that!

Trim Healthy Mama

3) I still don’t have a hospital yet – things are looking up in that department – but the hospital and midwives I had picked are not going to end up working out. (Part of this is because of the 90 minute drive during rush hour it would take to get there. I’m too old for that kinda drama. And we all know how drama finds us. So we’re gonna assume the full rush hour scenario with me in hard labor and my driving to the hospital on interstate medians would be the way things would happen.)

The other option I had was taking the subway instead of my car, then walking a 1/2 mile or so in center city to the hospital if I went into labor during rush hour.


Here’s what they do with people who have babies on the subways. Great care + a free news story. I prefer to write up my own stories. 🙂

So while the idea of having this baby at the first hospital in America, started by Ben Franklin himself, a block away from the liberty bell and Independence Hall was rather historically romantic – I’m going for something a little closer to home. No bells. And hopefully no drama. 🙂

4) We’ve been crazy busy finishing up school, going on vacation, and just really enjoying this Philadelphia summer! I’ve had three trips over the last two months – one to Iowa, one to Georgia to speak at a ladies’ event, and one to Tennessee…and I have another quick trip coming up next weekend to South Carolina. I guess I have this crazy fear that they won’t let me on the plane at this last one if I look and act super pregnant. So I keep practicing my “sucking it in” skills and acting like I could run a 5K on demand if need be so I won’t be denied access. Although I’m starting to think booking a first class seat would have been a good idea at this point. 🙂






5) I’ve been scared to purchase anything for this baby. Partly because I’m in denial and can’t think about what we’ll actually need – we’ve been out of baby mode for so long it seems, do I really need anything more than a few baby gates and some diapers and a few clothes? This last weekend the girls and I did a little shopping though – picked up a few super cute things.


In fact, I bought Kyle’s one outfit from this store. And hadn’t gone in one since then. But my good friend convinced me to try one again while we were in Tennessee and I managed to avoid the preemie section I shopped in before completely and go straight for this amazing charmingness. I told the lady while I was checking out about Kyle. I figured she’d wanna know why I was crying over these adorable shirts. She cried. Then when I went into a Pottery Barn Kids outlet and bought some bedding, I told the lady about Kyle. Because I figured she’d wanna know why I was crying too. She cried. And hugged all of us girls. And grabbed my hands with the biggest glossy-eyed smile and said, “I am truly hoping for the best for you.”

The girls at my church here (which is awesome, by the way – can’t say enough about the friendships and support we’ve had in this crazy-big-new-place-with-crazy-hospitals!) had offered to do a shower for me. But since baby showers are still the most heart wrenching thing for me to even imagine, much less attend, they decided to do one for me after this little guy arrives safe and sound. Everyone seems pretty convinced that will be the case – I’m still holding out hope – only because I really truly don’t know how to imagine having a baby and bringing him home anymore. So not having a baby nursery set up and ready to go overflowing with stacks of freshly washed clothes is definitely keeping the reality of how our lives are hopefully about to change to a very distant idea.

People comment on my swelling tummy now. “How sweet! And how nice to have such a big gap between those two and this one!” How do I respond? In my mind, I have five kids – just three that most people can’t see – in some ways, I don’t feel there is a gap at all. In other ways, the gap around the table, and in the backseat, and in photos seems larger than the Grand Canyon.

On that note, some of you have *relentlessly* asked for a baby registry link. So, against my better judgment, but according to the unanimous advice of all my friends, here it is.  Please note that the shark and dinosaur towels were specific requests from the girls. 🙂

6) On a more serious note, I can’t stop calling this baby Kyle. Not like a normal “I get his name mixed up with all the others” sorta mom-with-more-than-one-kid thing, but like I almost feel like this *is* Kyle, we’re just picking up where we left off? It’s so strange to me.  But I’ve said several times, “Hey babe! Kyle’s kicking again….” or sometimes it’s just in my mind, “I’ve gotta get these purply red cushions changed on the glider – Kyle is not going to want to be rocked in a red glider, right?”

We took this picture on vacation – in the same place that we took a photo of the girls and I with Kyle. Love Dollywood – but it was so surreal to be back again, pregnant again, but this time the baby will probably live?


New Baby 🙂


Baby Kyle at 26 weeks. :)

Baby Kyle at 26 weeks. 🙂


So maybe always calling him that without thinking about it, is keeping me from thinking of this sweet baby as his own person and that he really will be a new member of our family and the girls will in fact have a brother here as well as in heaven? That idea is so incredible to me. Like – not-believable incredible. Then I feel so guilty! Gracious the pregnancy hormones and how they make you feel such drastic things in such a short period of time. It’s enough to make you seasick! Or maybe it’s just morning sickness. 🙂

Anyway. That’s why I’ve been kinda silent around here. Because I’m in this weird state of denial. But based on the way things are going, this baby is coming. Whether we are ready or not. I don’t know if I’ll ever be ready. But I do know that this little guy is starting to change me. From the inside out. I feel like I am healing and hoping again. And the girls are for sure. And the big daddy? Oh he’s just beside himself. He says it’s about time we start balancing out the pink loads of laundry a bit. 🙂

A Doll and Me Tea Party


Much to the grandma’s delight – these birthday pictures are finally making their way into shareable internet land.

I sorta had a computer picture storage overload problem – I guess 50,000 high res pics can do that to a machine. Oops. 

So after thinking all were lost, and sobbing my eyes out and praying imprecatory psalms on all creatures great and small and basically denouncing all things good and pure, my sister came to my rescue. Man. Pregnancy hormones are no joke!

And let me know they weren’t lost afterall. 🙂

Love my sister.

So here it is – a lovely tea party for my little six year old Kami and her friends.

All 14 of them. And their 15 dolls.

Smallest house we’ve ever lived in. Biggest indoor bday party we’ve ever thrown.

The more the merrier, right? 🙂

It was also one of the cheapest. I utilized the dollar store’s baby girl shower section and pulled off some pretty frugal hacks to make this an American Girl doll party – without the American Girl prices.



Upon arrival, every girl got a tea hat, some pearls, and a pink bow for their dolls. (hats, $1 each, Target. There weren’t any left for Easter. But Philly people don’t wear hats for Easter anyway, right?  So it all worked out ok that I took them all. 🙂 Mini pink Bows, Dollar Tree, $1 for 20.)




American Girl Tea Party


Each doll had their own little treat boxes to take home their special surprises. (Which were, one pack of baby hair clips  – 50 on a sheet – for $1, courtesy of Dollar Tree. They also had a special craft that was added to these boxes later.) I got the doll’s names from the mamas the week of the party so they could all have their own name tags and keep them all straight too.  (Mini pink boxes, Dollar Tree, $1/12 pack.)

American Girl Tea Party

The dolls even got their own cupcakes. I asked though, and they said none of them were hungry! So they all shared with their girl mommies. 🙂


I pulled out my grandmother’s china, some china from a friend, my wedding china, and a new tea set that my girls gave me for Christmas. We had just enough for everyone! And believe it or not, three, four, and five year old little girls are fantastic with china.







File0116After a delicious lunch (of which I didn’t get many pics of the food – I was rather busy. With the 15 dolls. And their 14 mommies…), we made some jewelry for the dolls.  Another frugal hack – making jewelry for the dolls meant we were making tiny necklaces. It took 3 packs of beads, one pack of elastic string, and only about 15 minutes. Most of the girls stayed super engaged – even the younger ones. And I was so thankful for my husband and my neighbor who stuck around to help tie all those tiny necklaces together. 🙂 The girls put their doll’s necklaces in their doll’s treat boxes to take home with them later.





It ended up being quite the party. But we made some beautiful memories. And that’s what I wouldn’t trade for anything.






Week 21: It’s a……


I’ve been sitting here for several minutes thinking of a title to this post. Ironic for me only because titles usually come quickly to me.

If there’s a title when this goes live in the next day or two, you’ll know I settled on one.

*UPDATE: Cheesy, teaser title. That’s all I could come up with. Sorry. 🙂

First off, can I just say that I am so thankful for all of you? Last week during that awful-turned-beautiful ultrasound I was upheld by so many prayers and thoughts and well wishes and crazy amounts of texts-that-I-could-barely-keep-up…this baby (aaaaaahhhh….you thought I was gonna say didn’t you? hee hee hee hee!) is so loved so much by so many already.




Second. I know you could care less about my mushy gushy “thanks for all the prayers…” words.


I know my place.




I should probably just get to it.










Without anymore drama….





(Because we have enough come to us in this family – we certainly don’t need to manufacture any…..)


















And while my first born was really wanting a sister, after a couple hours she came around. Now she wants to marry her brother. So I think we’re all good.



My youngest. Oh goodness. This is all she’s wanted for over 2 years.

She said to me, “Oh Mommy. This baby is my favorite brother on earth.

Not in the normal little kid exaggerated way. But in a distinctive defining way.


Now I have one favorite brother on earth and one in Heaven. So how lucky am I?


She said a few hours after we found out,

“You know Mom? Now when our brother dies – I mean when all of us die – Baby Kyle can have a best friend in Heaven.”

And today. A week or so after we found out.

“So, all that stuff we did with our other brother Kyle? We have to do it with this brother too. We have to do the finger puppet shows and play videos for him. And tickle him and kiss him and talk to him. Because Kyle just loved it when we did that to him. This brother will like it too. And now someone can wear those clothes. And use that blanket.”

I had been wondering what to do with them. I guess she settled that one for me without batting an eye.



My oldest has become obsessed with our home videos of their baby days. These sorts of questions have popped up,

“So, how old was I when I started walking? I want to know how long until our brother starts walking. It’s gonna be so fun to watch him.”


“So, when he’s born, I’ll be the one to make sure he isn’t lonely in case you have to rest or cook food or something.”


“I guess we won’t do school next year will we? I mean, since we’ll have a new baby to take care of – we’ll be pretty busy.”


(The girls got their own personalized ultrasound images – they have them right beside their beds.)

So here he is.

The Lord has taken away. And He has given.

We can’t help but praise Him for it all. 



I couldn’t wait a second longer. :)



Thanks for praying. Here’s the news we got.

“A perfect baby. Not even a single choroid plexus cyst. Perfect measurements. Perfect heart. Perfect stomach. Perfect kidneys. Perfect everything.”

I didn’t even know how to take it all in.

So, the doc told the girls the gender. Out in the hallway – so they could come tell us.

It was so perfect. Except one girl wanted another brother and the other wanted another sister….

So one girl came stomping into the room and one came in hopping with a face breaking smile.

You’ll have to wait a few more days on that one. But we’ll let you know as soon as we tell a few more family people.

For now, we are just going to keep right on floating all the way to Easter.

Man. Do I love life.

So we celebrated with a selfie. Kami just did somersaults. 🙂

Your prayers and well wishes – wowzers. Couldn’t even keep up with them all. They carried us right into that ultrasound room until we could float right out. 🙂



Week 20: Defining Moments. (aka, we really are doing this again.)


Happy April!  These are my best April Fool’s Day jokes. But today isn’t one. This day has been marked on my calendar for 8 weeks now. April 1st. 1:00. 13th floor. Maternal Fetal Medicine.

I can not believe we’ve made it this far. Half way? No issues at all? No bleeding, no spotting, no crazy weight gains, no preeclampsia? I mean – it could set in at any time. But still. I *have* to make myself look back and see the wonder of this 20 weeks of….normal. I feel like making it to this halfway point is a sort of defining moment for me. No matter what happens later today, I’m here now.


I love this baby dearly. But when your heart has been nearly stopped for your last child, and it’s pieces are just barely coming back together….there are scars that are still so painful. It’s so natural to want to protect it – keep anyone from ever touching it again.  This baby is starting to touch it.

I talked to my baby for the first time today.

But I guess the biggest defining moment to date will be later this afternoon. We have another ultrasound. These are so difficult for me. I wish I could drug myself up and sleep through the entire thing. After the last few days, I’m sure my family wishes they could have drugged me up and made me sleep through the entire thing. 🙂

This is it, folks. 2 different ultrasounds. It’ll probably be close to an hour. Of intense examination of every vital organ searching for anything that would alert us to something amiss. I’m terrified. I feel like ultrasounds are like a corrupt trial – where I assume my baby is going to die – unless it happens to be proven alive and healthy. Mustering the energy to hope is almost impossible at times.

Most women have these ultrasounds somewhere between 18-20 weeks. Most women look forward to them excitedly. Take videos of them. They call them the “gender ultrasound”. That’s not what this is. Most women don’t find out about their babies’ diagnoses until these ultrasounds. Not to be a downer – but just a realist. Every facebook post of “gender ultrasound today! What are your guesses? boy or girl?!” sends me into a ball of anxiety for that dear mom. Hoping against hope that this will in fact be all that’s exciting about her scan.

I don’t really care to know the gender. I don’t really care to figure out a name, decorate a nursery, buy clothes even. It’s not that I don’t want to know. It’s just that it’s as far from my mind as the next time I have to take trash to the curb.

Can’t I just have a healthy baby, then find out what the gender is after we’ve passed 18 hours or so? And the name thing? How long do I have for that? What can it possibly be like again to have a baby, and just move on to things like feeding problems or falling asleep and not making yourself stay awake for every possible moment because you only get a precious few of them? Is it ok to not take 1,500 photos in the first 18 hours? Because I really may get to take more at hour 19? No one is going to take the baby away?

These are seriously questions that just seem almost impossible to think about. The most telling one was from Kami, my youngest –

“Mom? We’ll get to go see the baby? And even hold it? And then you’ll bring it home?”

She’s never known that normal.

More defining moments.

But back to the gender. I don’t really care. I wanna see four heart chambers. And I want to see an esophagus attached to a stomach bubble. And functioning kidneys.

But my husband and my girls wanna know the gender. They are ganging up on me. And from what I’m gathering, no matter how hard I fight this one, no one is going to come to my rescue on it. 🙂 So we’ll find that out today. But only after I see that heart. And those kidneys. And that stomach bubble.


So this is it. I’m in my pj’s still. But the girls are dressed and ready. They can’t wait to see this baby. It’s their first ultrasound for this one.  They’re dressed and ready. And excited. I’m getting there.

Pray for us? Not for a perfect baby….God has already formed it from the beginning. But for our hearts. That no matter what, we’ll keep fighting for faith and joy. And that the peace we’ve grown so accustomed to knowing in these sorts of moments will continue to fill our hearts.


Thanks, friends.



Week 18: Are we really doing this again? (Part II)


{Feel free to backtrack and read Part I if you haven’t already. This will make much more sense if you do.}

Up on the table I went. The same ultrasound table. The same room. The same giant flat screen that we witnessed the still still heart of our little Kyle-man…and here we were again. Just two years and some days later.

I took a giant breath. We tried to make it as nonchalant as possible.  That gooey stuff – so warm – they always have that stuff in a warmer. Seriously – if you don’t have a ultrasound tech that uses warm goo on your tummy, find a different one. It’s so worth it.

And there it was. The tiniest little thing you ever did see. Only a head and a tummy. Still attached to my uterus in the tiny yolk sack. No arms or legs and only a half centimeter long.

But it had a heart.

That was beating. 

So quietly even that the ultrasound equipment couldn’t pick up the sound. But the little thing was just a going strong as ever.

Yeah. We both cried. There wasn’t much to look at. But there it was – alive and tiny and so perfect. I mean, we couldn’t see if anything was wrong at that point, but for that moment in time, we dwelt in the moment of blissfulness. Completely happy that there was a baby who was alive and well and we could see it.

Week 12 selfie for my praying friends. <3

Week 12 selfie for my praying friends. ❤

Weeks 8-12: These weeks came and went with an onslaught of nausea and fatigue. I was pretty much in bed from 6PM on – after an afternoon of naps and resting on the couch. The cold and dark days here in Philadelphia didn’t help with the feelings of exahustion, either. But my girls were little angels. Chloe cooked breakfast for me, and lunch for everyone. Chris was the true hero in these weeks – I didn’t wash hardly a dish or change a single load of laundry during this time. (I rarely do anyway, but generally I can get around to carrying my own weight with the dishes and laundry when I have a free moment.) Considering we don’t have a dishwasher or a reliable washing machine, this is quite the feat.

This was coupled with an ultimatum from our landlady – telling us she decided not to renew our lease and we had to be out of our house by the end of the month. For whatever reason – hormones, my exhaustion levels, perhaps the fact that we had just gotten unpacked 4 months earlier? – I was a complete wreck from this and was pretty much ready to give up on all things happy and hibernate the rest of the days away under my covers. We spent any of my remaining energy looking at property after property and finally came to the conclusion that where we are isn’t as bad off as we were thinking, for one. 🙂 And second, that we’d need to buy something if we wanted to move into anything that was remotely move-in ready. (We weren’t up for a fixer upper at this stage of the game.)

I’m so grateful for a church that was so ready and willing to jump in and help out. I was going to make up a to-do list that would get us up and out in two weeks – and the church people would sign up and get us up and out! The goal was for me to not lift a box. The day we were planning to make an offer on a house, the landlady let us know that moving wouldn’t be necessary after all and we could stay where we were.

That was a HUGE sigh of relief for me.

Even now, I’m not sure what all of that run around was for – except maybe to get to know the area better? I do know that now I’m much more content where I am than I was before – and I’m so so happy to not be unpacking boxes right now!

Right around the end of week 11, going into week 12, I could feel the baby moving. This was such a huge relief to me! This is extremely early for anyone to feel anything. But after so many weeks of tracking every one of Kyle’s movements and thinking at each one it could be his last, I guess my mind was still super tuned in.

The tough part of this for me, though, was knowing that while I could feel this baby move, I would have a palpable fear – a deep unsettling fear – when I couldn’t feel the baby every day.  Only when it was floating near the front of my uterus was I able to feel it – when it was close to my skin. That would be a few times a day – then nothing for three or four days. I would be so nervous. My anxiety levels would rise by the hour it seemed. At one point I even took more pregnancy tests. Thinking that maybe if we had lost the baby, my hormone levels would have already dropped enough that the test would show negative. It was positive every time. And a few days later, I’d feel the baby again. And the cycle of relief and fear and anxiousness would start all over again.

Week 12, 4 days: I had requested a special ultrasound to be done. The Nuchal Translucency scan is one ultrasound done specifically within a ten day period of time. Anytime during the 12th week up to around 13 wks 4 days or so.  I was having a hard time getting in to see the midwife group I had chosen for my prenatal care here in Philadelphia, so I had to check into a high risk Maternal Fetal office – without any sort of referral – to see if they’d do it for me. Thankfully they were super willing to schedule something and I set up the appointment.

This ultrasound was the same one we had that showed Kyle’s devastating prognosis.  It’s a critical time for measuring the baby’s development and the amounts of fluid that gathers behinds baby’s neck. A larger than normal amount can be a signal of some genetic issues. This measurement of the fluid, along with a measurement of the nasal bone, is generally taken to check for Down’s markers. Kyle’s swelling wasn’t just behind his neck. It surrounded his entire body, like a bubble.

In my mind, having this scan at this time would show me, not that the baby was fine, but whether it had the same genetic traits – to the severity – that Kyle had.  This drive was one of the most heart wrenching hours of my life. I had to really come to grips with the fact that this was the moment of truth for me. The moment where I would know if we were going to do another pregnancy with a fatal end or if we could keep hoping for one a little more routine. I had to know where my mind and heart would be *before* I heard the news. If this would be the news that would finally break me, or I could continue going on with my faith…

My God never fails me. Ever. And in that tearful drive downtown I couldn’t help but feel the peace of God, knowing so many of my sisters and brothers in Christ were upholding my tired heart in prayer. I can never be more grateful for my dear friends.

That day was so full of fears. Who my technician would be, who the doctor would be to read the results, what we’d see – or not see.

Man – I think I remember a day when ultrasounds were exciting? But they are seriously the worst for me now.

I got up on that table again. (They had warm goo too. So Philly’s not all bad. 🙂

For the first 30 seconds or so all we could see was the baby’s head. It was so beautiful. But the angle she was checking didn’t show its little heart beating. I was terrified but took some comfort in the fact that she didn’t seem to be at all.

Then, around second 31, I could breathe again. Because there it was. The most unbelievable sight ever.

Week 12 ultrasound

No bubble around baby. A strong heart beat. (Another “funny” to me – I used to care about how fast it was – my mom always swore by faster ones are girls and slowers are boys…I’m not one for jumping on that bandwagon generally – but now, I don’t care. I don’t even think to ask. I just have to see it. Beating. So, no, I don’t know how fast it was. She told us I think. But I wasn’t listening to her.)

Until she said, “It looks perfect.”

I’m completely in tears even typing those words now. I still don’t know how to understand them or take them in.

She went on to tell us how “this isn’t definitive” and “your baby could still have issues”….but I saw what I needed. I don’t care what our baby has. For what we could see right in that moment, it wouldn’t have what Kyle had. There was no “come back in a week, but only if you haven’ t miscarried before then.”  Or “We aren’t sure how your baby is still alive but it is.” It was just “It looks perfect to me. The doctor will be in in a minute.”

{To be continued….sooner rather than later this time…}



Week 16: Are we really doing this again?


Sometimes I just wonder what we’ve gotten ourselves into. And honestly, posting about a new, planned, hoped for pregnancy like this one to such a public audience was something I feared greatly.

I know there’s mixed feelings out there – I’ve heard from some of you. But most everyone seems so positive and for that, I’m so grateful. Your words of encouragement and hope and tears and even fears help me know I’m not alone.

I guess what I wanted to give from this public sharing of private events – is this: I want to share my hope. I want you to share with me your hope. That’s one of the most beautiful things Kyle taught me –

there is always hope. Sometimes I can’t see it, but someone close to me does. Sometimes you can’t see it, but I can. It’s always there, though. And I can’t tell you how earnestly I’m hoping for a very very good ending to the beginning of this story at the end of the summer.

To catch you up a bit on what all has happened in the past 4 months or so…

Week 3: I knew I was pregnant before the tests did. I kept taking tests, texting my sister and a couple of my friends. Wondering what was up. I just *knew* I was pregnant. But I had no proof yet.

Week 4: I got proof. I texted one of my favorite ultrasound techs in South Carolina – like having a medical experts confirmation of the two blue lines would help me really believe it. I was massively excited, shared the news with Chris, who was beyond thrilled. I took the day to just be happy happy happy.


Week 5: Reality set in. Everything that was logical in me said that we had just decided to do the dumbest thing on the planet. I mean really. We have no written medical evidence that what happened to Kyle won’t happen again. We don’t think it will based on what we learned,and the opinions of two of our doctors. But still, nothing definite. We also have no evidence that we had indeed solved my tendency to have early term miscarriages. We were pretty sure it had to do with my thyroid issues – which are most likely due to several environmental and poor diet factors I grew up with – and had been treating those issues with diet and medication for over a year. So we had hope that this pregnancy would be different. But we had no proof. No guarantees. The fight for hope and joy was real.

I called my doctors in South Carolina. We were planning to travel there for Christmas and New Years, so I asked if I could come in and see them while I was in town. They were thrilled. And offered (still free) ultrasounds.

Week 6: My energy vanished completely. Literally. I put myself on a modified bed rest of sorts – just to be careful. Chris was a true hero – taking care of basically everything. And never once complained of the pizza he was asked to pick up more times in a week than I’d care to admit. We decided to fake it with the girls as much as we could. They were still so fragile, we talk about Kyle every day in our house. Dealing with another loss would break them in two. So we let them think that Mommy was just really tired and they picked up the extra slack for the most part, just fine.  I took another test – just to see if I was still pregnant. I had no reason to think I wasn’t, but I had to know. I figured my levels were still low enough to show up a negative test if in fact we had lost the baby. So I took another test.


Didn’t even have to wait on the results to that one. Honestly, I didn’t think I’d ever make it this far. At this point, I had passed my second miscarriage date, so I was becoming a bit more hopeful. I knew I wasn’t out of the woods at all yet, though. And to keep my mind on track, it was Kyle’s birthday week. I had thought that being pregnant on his birthday would be somewhat helpful. But really, it was just a stark reminder of reality. That nothing is guaranteed ever. And my only hope *had* to be in Someone other than this baby. So many came around me that week. Blog readers, new friends, people in South Carolina made sure Kyle’s little grave was looking just perfectly dapper for his second birthday.


My girls stayed close to my side throughout the whole week. Which meant they were curled up in bed with me. We did school in bed, read-alouds in bed, crying and missing their little brother – all in that little bed.








Week 7: We passed the dreaded birthday week. And did Christmas at our house on Christmas Eve. Then Christmas Day, we drove down to South Carolina to surprise Chris’ grandmother. And boy did we ever! It didn’t take her long though to notice that I was in bed most of the day when I was home and spending more time in the bathroom than normal. She asked if I was pregnant. I lied. At first. Then, when I took her to the airport to send her back to her home in Florida, I let her know the truth. That that very afternoon, I was heading to see my doctors in town and would definitely keep her updated. And please don’t tell anyone. 🙂 I feel like Great Grandmas have just as much right as closest friends. Especially when they figure these things out on their own.

That afternoon we drove to my OB’s office for blood work – mainly to make sure our treatment plan of my thyroid was still working as planned. It was. My blood work results couldn’t have been more perfect. Then we headed over to my high risk doctor’s office. My favorite tech showed up at the door – we chatted for quite awhile catching up on all the office news – we were both nervous wrecks about what we’d see when she put that wand on my stomach….

(…to be continued – stay tuned!)