Monday, March 31, 2008

Small update on Monday

Hi Friends,

Thank you for your prayers for our sweet girl.  She is doing pretty well overall.  She is quite a tough and happy little girl!  She has decided over the last two days that she really likes crawling up the stairs!

Saturday  was a rough sleep night for her so I gave more tylenol yesterday and it really seemed to help.  She doesn't seem to be in a lot of pain except during changes of her bandages.  Perhaps though she just doesn't complain and it's good for me to give her a little tylenol just to help her out. 

In terms of leaking, yesterday was a better day.  I was really thinking maybe we had turned the corner until her evening feeding and she was soaked.  It looked like I had just poured the formula all over her little shirt and body.  When I changed her at this time I also noticed that Eliana is bleeding some around her site.  Not a lot, but it's never a comforting thing to remove bandages and see blood.

We would love your continued prayers for healing and wisdom for us to know if the conditions would warrant her being seen again by the surgeon. 

Sorry this is short, but it's morning and I need to tend to some sweet children.



Saturday, March 29, 2008

Our first 24 hours ...

of being free of the g-tube have been ... WET!  LOL  Seriously, wet.  I'm not surprised since she has a hole in her tummy.  It wasn't so bad the first 5 or 6 hours because some of the cauterized parts I think blocked some of the flow.  That isn't the case any more however.  Yesterday Eliana went through 6 outfits and I went through 3.  Yuck - too much information?

We have new neighbors and were outside talking with them last night - just meeting them and getting to know them a little bit.  Well, it was just after Eliana had eaten and I was holding her.  I felt her begin to leak, but didn't realize that it was as bad as it was.  We were both drenched.  What a way to meet someone, huh?  They seem nice though so hopefully it will be something we laugh about one day.

Eliana is feeling fine!  Yippee!!!  I'm so thankful she is not in pain.  She does not like bandage changes, but her skin is looking fine so far.  I'm putting Mylanta on her skin to help with the acid from the leakage.  Hopefully this will help.

I've found that she does better, in terms of leakage, if I can hold her reclined for 30 minutes to an hour after eating.  This works fine if she has fallen asleep.   Obviously it doesn't work if she is awake and those tend to be the really  messy times. 

As of this morning, with a big messy leak, I think it's best we stay home from our out of town field trip.  I hate to miss this time with friends, but think it would be too hard and just not the best for Eliana or I right now.  Sometimes it's hard to put *my* needs ahead of what my children would want, kwim?  I know that is part of my struggle in this decision.  I guess it's a good opportunity to talk about sacrifice and choosing to put others first.  I know they will understand.

I've been asked what Eliana's button looked like when it was pulled out.  (My dh wanted to know!)  I didn't see it.  At this point, Eliana was very upset and my eyes were on her.  Here is a picture though for those who are interested.  The large part at the bottom was the part that was in her tummy.  The tubing is the size of the hole in her tummy.  (Thus you can see why it hurt to have something large pulled out of a smaller hole.)  I think too that the skin had probably attached to it (thus the bleeding and need for cauterization).  Enough of that.  She is really feeling fine today.  :-)

Thank you for your prayers.  I'm thankful that this is the beginning of the end of feeding tubes.  I called yesterday to the medical supply company to let them know we are finished with the pump.  I will be glad to have the last of the medical supplies/machines out of our bedroom.  It's been 15 months of machines and soon - none.  :-)  Yippee!!!

I've learned a lot and hopefully am more tolerant and patient as a result.  I'm thankful for all that I've learned - though I would not have chosen it.  I am trying to walk each day one at a time - living, loving and learning with my precious family.  I am so richly blessed!

Thank you friends for your prayers.

With love,


Friday, March 28, 2008

G-tube is OUT!

Her tube is OUT!    Wow, have I looked forward to saying that!

It was painful and she cried a LOT. I'll try to write more later when I have 2 hands. It sounds like the next couple of days may be challenging with leakage, dressings, etc. We would appreciate your continued prayers. (More specifics later.)


I awoke early this morning (for me and with the help of an alarm - LOL).  Eliana decided to sleep in.  Isn't that always the case?!  I did wake her about 8:15 so that she could eat before we went in.  My sister was here with the children and they were all excited to play!

When we arrived, we had a long wait.  I sat beside a woman and her son.  He has a rare syndrome which has left him profoundly delayed - both physically and mentally.  He also has a g-tube which she asked me if Eliana had.  As I watched her with him, I thought of what challenges she has faced.  She has only ever met ONE other person with a child with this syndrome.  That's hard to imagine from a support and knowledge perspective on how she has dealt with things.  Praying she would find comfort, strength and wisdom as she walks this path.

It also made me reflect on on the future (which I try NOT to do very often).  I often get comments on how cute Eliana is - and I believe it!  I know I'm biased, but I think she is adorable.  I know that things will change as she ages and that to have disabilities as you age is hard.  I was going to write more, but think this is probably good.  Back to the blessings of the day!

We finally met with the surgeon, Dr. Rice, who said it looked like she was doing well and asked if I was sure I wanted the tube out.  I told him "Yes" and said that we hadn't used it since late Oct/early Nov when she'd had salmonella.  His next question really caught me off guard.  He asked "Why did you wait so long?"  Huh?  I didn't realize that it was a choice!  Because my ped told me too!  I've been wanting this out for months!  We were told to wait through the sick season and then get it out.  I was even told the surgeon may not want to take it out.  He said that he was willing to do whatever the parents wanted.  He only asked because he has had people come back a day after it was removed wanting it back in.  I assured him that we were ready!

The next few moments made me again feel like an unprepared Mommy.  He asked if she'd had tylenol.  I said no, but that I'd like for her to have it if he were going to remove the tube.  If I'd known, I'd have given it to her in advance.  I should have thought it through and given it to her anyway.  Parenting isn't for cowards and there are so many opportunitites to "beat yourself up" over your mistakes. 

He took a look at her site and then said he would take it out.  With one hand on her stomach, he used the other to just yank it out!!!  (There was nothing to deflate as she had a BARD.)  No meds, no pain relief - just a hard pull and it was over.  It clearly hurt her too as she began to cry and scream unlike her normal cries.  It was hard for me not to sob with her.  She had a LOT of leakage too - a lot (both blood and stomach contents).  He applied multiple pads to clean up her site and then I got a peek.  Ugh.  Poor baby.  He used silver nitrate to cauterize the inside of the site to help it stop bleeding.

All this time she is crying and crying and I'm doing my best to comfort her.  Dr Rice then puts a bandage on her and tapes her up.  I hold her thinking she may settle, but she doesn't.  She cries and cries some more.  A nurse then came in with tylenol, which I gave her, but this doesn't settle her down either.  A little boy from another room even comes to peek in to see what is going on.

Dr Rice said that for the next several days that her dressing will need to be changed often - every couple of hours as she will leak whenever she is fed and just through the day as well.  I need to watch the amount of leakage because if it is "too much" then she could get dehydrated.  He said things should improve (amount of leakage) and begin to heal after several days.  If she is not completely healed by 3 to 4 weeks, then I need to call and have her scheduled for surgery to close the site.  Oh, I'll need to watch her skin with the tape too so that it doesn't "break down".  She has had problems with this in the past.  All of the leakage will be acidic which is hard on the skin.

I expected this moment to be filled with joy - and was caught off guard by some of the other emotions I felt including sadness.  And guilt over not being better prepared.  The stress of dealing with medical issues can be hard - especially when it's your child.  We are supposed to travel in 2 days with friends and I'm wondering if this will be feasible.  In fact, when I asked the surgeon if this would be a bad week-end for travelling, he looked at me surprised that I even asked.  He said it wouldn't be the best, but I could probably do it. 

If you have read all of this, thank you.  We would love prayers for the following things.

  •  Healing of her site with no infection or problems.

  • Her skin - that it would not break down under the constant changing of tape and dressing.

  • Wisdom in knowing if her leakage is "too much" and if/when to seek help if it is needed.  (This would be a hospital trip.)

  • Is it too much to ask that her site heal on her own without the need for further surgery?  I really just want what is best.

  • Wisdom on doing what is best for Eliana - including knowing when to change my plans in order to best care for her.

That's all I can think of at the moment.  Please pray as you feel led for our family.  I'm so very thankful that we are almost at the end of this chapter.  I'll feel that it is complete once she is healed.  I guess I hadn't really looked beyond getting it out until now. 

Eliana fell asleep on the way home and had a short nap here.  When she woke up, she was happy.  She is smiling and seems herself.  Thank you God!  I'm planning to continue giving her pain meds today and as needed. 

One other thing, Dr Rice asked if the g-tube had been worth it.  Had it been helpful?  Absolutely!  She had enough damage and trauma from the NG that I don't think she would have learned how to eat without it coming out.  Her progress was slow enough too that she needed the g-tube for a solid couple of months to help her maintain her weight and fluids.

I am thankful that we had this opportunity.  I'm thankful that this was available and an option for our little girl.  I'm thankful for Dr Rice (he is soooo nice!) and the many others that have cared for us.  I'm grateful to the Great Physician who has held Eliana in His hands since long before we knew or loved her.

We are blessed beyond measure!  Thank you for your prayers.

With love,


Wednesday, March 26, 2008

What's new with Eliana?

I’m feeling behind here – and in most areas of my life.  LOL  You’ve heard that before haven’t you?  Just want to make sure that I don’t ever portray a super mom image – I’m not one!  Just trying to do my best each day – often failing and thankful for grace and forgiveness and fresh starts.  I’m also trying to just live life – letting go of things that I can’t get to and trying to get to the things that matter most.  Sometimes I do better at this than other times.  There is always so much more to learn!

I wanted to update a little on Eliana and all that she has been up to.  I’ve already typed this once and lost it – ugh!  Going to try to do it again and get it saved this time.   I am having trouble with photobucket and am not sure what is going on there!

Eliana can crawl up the stairs on her own, though needs a lot of encouragment and enticements (toy or sibling cheering her on).  She doesn’t typically try to go up the stairs on her own, which I can’t say that I’m too sorry about.  It seems a little silly to work on a skill (I know it’s a good one) that once mastered we will do all that we can to keep her from repeating.  We aren’t able to teach her how to go down the stairs safely at this time due to her g-tube.

So many things to teach.  So many things you take for granted with most children.  You just don’t set out to teach them a whole lot of things – they just learn on their own.  Like how to eat, how to stand, how to speak and more.  I’m amazed and thankful that people have figured out ways to teach these children that don’t learn in a traditional manner.  I had someone ask me if working with Daniel’s sensory issues was a lot harder than Eliana’s "stuff".  It doesn’t even come close!  I know that through all of this that God is going to teach me so many things that I need to learn!  I’m thankful to be learning from a cutie pie.

One of the new things we’ve been doing is using pictures on a piece of paper to help her communicate.  Her therapist made a sheet with some of her favorite things – cow, turtle, music, book, ball and bear.  We will point to the picture and then ask her if she would like it.  Or talk about it.  If she points, then we give her the object, in essence rewarded her for asking.  We are using this in addition to speaking the word and sometimes signing the word as well.  Hopefully using a combination of methods will help her to learn and be able to communicate with us.  She is babbling, but not really saying words yet.

I’m thankful that Eliana has numerous teachers – from therapists to her siblings.  She is blessed to be surrounded by so many people that love her.  Rebecca has been trying to teach her "doll".  She says the "d" sounds when Rebecca says doll, which delights Rebecca.  She has also been trying to teach her how to feed the doll a bottle. It’s really cute.

Eliana had physical therapy today and her therapist was very encouraging!  She commented on how much better Eliana was doing at things from just last week!  This with being gone most of the week too!  Yippee!!

She is cruising on the sofa!  It's really cute.  We remove the cushions to make the height a little easier for her.  She is doing a lot better than last week when she did this for the first time.  She also stood on her own - very briefly - twice today.  Once for me and then again while her therapist was here.  She is learning how to squat from a standing position and also how to stand from a squatting position.  All of this is hard work - and she is doing so well. 

Here is a look at the rest of our week:

Tomorrow we have speech therapy and then my sister and her children are coming to visit.  We are very excited to see them as it has been several months.

Friday we have an appointment with Eliana's surgeon to talk about removing the g-tube.  I'm not sure if he might remove it then or just talk about it.  I really don't know what is going on.  We would love your prayers.  I've been told that the removal of this g-tube (Bard) is a painful one.  Later that day, my oldest will be doing a dissection with a friend of a crayfish.  Yuck.  Then that evening we have our sweet friends from VA coming for a visit.  There's more, but that's probably enough for now.

I still want to write and post pictures on Easter (we spent 4 fun days with our friends in VA) and a couple of our field trips this past month.  More later when I figure out how to get to the pics at photobucket.

Thank you to the dear friends that have written me and who are praying for us.  I appreciate both so very much.  I'm trying to write back, but please forgive me for being slow.  We are doing pretty well.  Two of my children still struggle at times with the loss of our little one.  I'm doing OK.  I try not to think about it too much to be honest - though as most of you know, being pregnant can be consuming in regards to your thoughts and it does pop into my thoughts often.  I'm thankful that God is carrying us through this time, like He has through so many others.  I'm not sure what I'm supposed to be learning - though I've gotten better at just leaning on Him and trusting instead of fighting for my own way.  That doesn't mean that the hurt is gone, just that I know He is with me every step of the way.

Here's one last picture of our little angel.



Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Today's appointments

We met with Eliana’s ped this afternoon. She is a true gem! I thank God often for her as she has been wonderful for Eliana – and for me! I know God placed her in our path while we were at the hospital. I’m thankful she has walked this road with us.

Eliana is doing great! :-) She is up to 19.5 pounds now and is 29". She is still low on the growth chart – but doing fine as she continues to grow on the curve.  Dr. L even commented that she may be getting my height! ;-) (She would be the first!)  One of the first things she said to me when we saw her was to comment that I probably wanted to talk about removing the g-tube! Of course, she was right! We talked about it and she knows that I haven’t used it since Eliana had salmonella in late Oct/early Nov. She agreed that it was time to remove it – though cautioned me that the surgeons don’t always want to be quick to remove them. She called and set up an appt for us for next Fri (10 days from now) to meet with the surgeon! Did I mention that she is fantastic?!  I'm not sure if this will be a consult or if he will actually remove the tube. 

She asked me how feeding was going and I confessed that my priority remained liquid foods as I really want her tube out. She asked if I was counting on the calories from the formula and I said yes. She does eat some solids, but not enough to make up the calories. She thanked me for being honest with her. I can’t imagine being anything else.

We talked some about her falling over, though she didn’t seem concerned. Eliana has not done it since yesterday either. A friend mentioned that it might have been due to flying and the changes in altitude. I’m hoping she is right! What relief to think it might be that instead of any of the other things that I wouldn’t let my mind think about.

We talked about her development and other things – all doing fine.  Dr L also commented that while Eliana has low tone (typical with Down syndrome) that overall her tone is pretty good.  These types of comments are always encouraging to me. 

Eliana had to get the last of her synagis shots today. We won’t be back for 3 months! Imagine – 3 months! That seems such a long time. The longest we have gone thus far is monthly. I’m thankful she is doing so very well!

We drove from her appt to mine (follow-up OB). I arrived a little early and we waited. I was a little anxious about how I’d feel and wondered if being there would set my emotions going.

After I arrived, I was sitting in a waiting room across from a pregnant woman and the tv/video that was running was talking about pregnancy issues when I sat down. (It’s like a news show with various topics – not all are pregnancy related.) I sat there wondering if I could handle this and talking to God about it.  I felt fine.  I was able to look at this other woman and feel happy for her.  Knowing she was joyful as she felt her little one kick.  I was thankful that God would allow me to see things from this perspective and not focus on myself.  

I have felt an amazing peace during this loss - more as times passes. At times it doesn’t seem right – as though somehow it lessens the loss. It’s not to say that I haven’t felt pain and hurt – I have. It was especially hard the first couple of days.  I wonder if maybe - just maybe - I'm learning a little more about leaning on God.  I know that I’ve had more than my share of struggling with God over the last year and this time I’m just trying to relax in His arms.  (I like to actually picture myself crawling into His lap and just being held.)  Knowing that He loves me. Trusting that He knows best. I wish I could stay here all the time. I know it’s my choice and I’m not sure why I ever choose to leave. So many lessons to learn. I’m thankful our Teacher is patient and good.

My healing seems to be good and there are no problems. I spent time just talking with my midwife. She is a Christian which is a sweet blessing. She asks good questions and is patient about listening to me talk things through. I didn’t have a lot of questions – but shared a lot of my ponderings. I appreciate her encouragment.

I have always loved my OB practice. I have gotten to know a lot of people there over the years. Given my HG pregnancies, I find myself visiting far more than normal (Weekly from about week 6 on.) This has given me opportunity to build relationships there for which I’m thankful. I saw one of my favorite doctors (he did most of my prenatal care with Eliana when I was soooo sick), who came up and congratulated me and gave me a hug. I hated having to tell him that the baby wasn’t there as I know it made him feel badly. He loved seeing Eliana and immediately asked to hold her. She is having a hard time though with "strangers" and isn’t happy being held for long. I also saw briefly the dr that delivered her who commented that she had heard Eliana was beautiful and agreed. I spent time talking with several of the nurses and another dr who all seemed to enjoy our little cutie! Overall, my time there was good. I’m thankful for the wonderful care I’ve received there for the last 13 years.

Thank you dear friends for your prayers. I’m thankful to have one more day in which to say God is good. He loves me and blessed me through good times and difficult ones. I’m thankful to be resting in His arms.

With a grateful heart,


Monday, March 17, 2008

We are home - and have a busy week ahead!

We arrived home late last night -  Eliana and I.  We were greeted at the airport by excited children with lots of hugs and kissed.  *grin*  We arrived home to a welcome home banner and a party with lemonade, cookies and candy set up.  It was sweet.

Eliana was a great traveller - and that wasn't surprising at all.  She handled the take-offs and landings well.  She slept some on both flights and was a delight when she was awake.  She could not have been any better!  I'm not surprised though as she is really an easy-going baby.  

We visited with some dear friends that I work with on the FIAR website.  I've known some for 10+ years and some for fewer years.  It was a fun time - relaxing and sweet for the most part.  I think Eliana was a bit overwhelmed at times though with being around so many people that she didn't know - though they all "know" her through many prayers over her short life.  I enjoyed having my friends meet her - I wish you all could.  She is such a delight and I love sharing her with others.  I'm glad I was able to go.   

Our week is full and here is some of what is going on.

Today (Mon) we were able to stay home!  I really enjoy those days, especially after having been gone.  I needed a nap and was able to take one too.  (I didn't get much sleep this week-end as I was up late chatting with friends.) 

Our speech therapist came today.  She is so encouraging!  She notices every little thing Eliana does and just praises her.  She is making progress and it's exciting to see her making connections and picking things up.  I think she is a smart little girl - though I'll admit too that I've very biased.  *grin*  She was pointing today at pictures of some of her favorite things (her therapist made up the pics).  She seemed really drawn to the music picture and we did a lot with music today.  I'm encouraged about her progress and appreciative for "things to do" to help Eliana grow and learn.

Tues - Eliana has an appt with her ped tomorrow.  I'm expecting to discuss a time for getting her g-tube removed!  I'm hoping we'll be able to set this up tomorrow.  She is doing well and I am looking forward to having that gone!  It interferes with things (like learning to go down the stairs) and has started to pop open again (which is just yuck!).  It also leaks all the time - not a lot, but again enough to be yuck and to stain her clothes.  I'm thankful we had this option and also ready to just move on!  Hopefully I'll be sharing a big praise on this tomorrow!

Also, I'm not sure why, but Eliana fell over (while sitting) a number of times today (about 4?).  She was just sitting and fell backwards.  This happened while her therapist was here and she commented too that it was very unlike Eliana to do this.  I'm hoping that it was just ... well, I don't know.  Something that will pass, have no effects and not return again.

I have also have an appt to see my midwife.  This is just a follow up to make sure my body has done what it needs to have done.  I'm thinking this will be hard.  It will be hard to just be there - seeing people, reminders, etc.  I would love prayers for this time.

Wed - Therapy day.  Daniel and Eliana will both be doing feeding/sensory therapy in the morning.  Daniel loves this and Eliana seems fine with it too.  It's small steps in terms of progress here though.  I'm not sure I'm doing enough in this area.  I know with  Eliana I've been so focused on liquid/weight gain for the removal of the tube that I let that take precedence over solids.  She is eating more (quantity) and is interested in trying new things.  (Wish I could say that about Daniel - the trying new things.)  Daniel seems to be improving on the sensory front - and the therapist has said that needs to happen before we will see much happen on the food front.  Hard to understand - but we are working on it!

Eliana also has physical therapy.  This is her hardest therapy though she isn't crying as much.  I wonder at times if this is just too much to do in one day.  She does best when she can get a nap in between the two therapies.  We are working on standing/walking skills and she has a cute new little walker to help with this.  I need to get a picture of it!

Thur - Field trip.  This is with our FIAR homeschooling group.  I love this group!  The older kids will be visiting a nuclear power plant for a hands-on discussion about the science of nuclear power.  The younger children will be visiting a state park for a ranger led program on nature topics.  I think it will be a fun time for all.  We'll picnic and play afterwards and just enjoy being with our friends.

Fri - We are planning to visit our sweet friends who moved last summer for Easter week-end.  We are looking forward to this time together.

Whew!  That's a lot in one week.  I'll update as I can on the things I've mentioned above. 

For those that have asked about how we are doing, I want to thank you for your prayers and the sweet notes/cards you have sent.  I'm truly thankful.  This loss of our baby has been hard, but we are daily leaning on God and trusting that He knows what is best for us.  He is good all the time.

With love,


Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Happy 15th Birthday!

I'm going to postdate this so that it shows up on Christopher's birthday even though it is actually the day after.  Happy Birthday Christopher!!!  Has it been 15 years?  That sounds so old when I think of children - and of course you have become a young man right before my eyes.  What a fine young man you are too.  I couldn't have asked for more in a son.  What a blessing you have been from the moment we knew of you - to the moment we first saw you - to the moment that is now and all of the many moments in between.  I thank God every day for you!

Before you arrived I never knew what an amazing gift children were.  I never knew that being a Mom would be the most amazing journey that I would ever take.  I never knew that my emotions could be taken in so many directions or that I could feel so incredibly blessed with just a hug from my child.

Christopher, I love so many things about you - but mostly I just love you!  I love the passion you have for a variety of things that interest you and the motivation to learn more.  I enjoy learning things with you and watching you mature.  I love seeing you play with your siblings and the delight they take in being with you.  I love being with you - you are fun, interesting, dependable and helpful.

I pray for you that you would grow in wisdom and knowledge of our Lord - but mostly that your love for Him would grow abundantly.  I pray that you would always know how deeply you are loved and that you have been created for a special  purpose.  I pray that you would walk the path God has for you with courage, strength and dependence on Him.  I pray for you daily these and many more things.

I love you Christopher!

My time to write is short as our day is full.  I feel like I  could write so much more about our oldest son - the one who made me a Mom!  It will have to wait for another day.

Eliana and I are leaving today (Thur) for a week-end away with some dear friends that we've known for years.  These are friends I've worked with in the Five in a Row (homeschooling) community.  I'm a little anxious about travelling, though am expecting Eliana to be a super traveller.  We would love your prayers for our travels and our entire family while we are apart. 

Today we are also planning a small memorial for our little one in heaven.  We are planting a rose bush near some that we've planted in the past.  We are also planting a tree given to us by friends.  I think both of these will be a sweet remembrance.  I'll write more as I can later.

Thank you for your prayers and notes.  I'm sorry I haven't been able to write back to each of you - but know that I appreciate your thoughtulness and prayers so very much and will write as soon as I'm able. 

With love,


Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Random thoughts and happenings here

As time goes on, I know healing will occur.  I'm thankful that time does help - to heal and also to give a different perspective on things.  Sometimes when I think back to difficult times, it all seems sort of hazy.  Even the pain is hazy - which is good.

My sweet children are keeping me busy - and distracted - which is a good thing most of the time.  (One of them is really working on my patience though!)  I'm thankful for the distraction of their laughter and silliness.  It really is a sweet gift.

We are planning some sort of small memorial for our baby by planting a rose bush in memory of him/her.  We did this in the past and I liked it.  Though we aren't always so good at keeping plants well tended. 

A couple of people have mentioned naming our little one.  I've thought of it and pondered it.  Its something I think I'd like to do, though at this point we haven't decided.  It seems a sweet remembrance.


Eliana signed her first word yesterday!  This occurred during her speech therapy.  Her therapist is wonderful - kind, active and involved.  I had told her that Eliana didn't seem all that interested in the couple of signs we had been doing.  Guess she is taking in more than I realize - isn't that always the case?!  Want to know the sign?  Ball.  She likes to roll the ball back and forth with someone - or toss it off for us to go  get.  LOL  We were all very excited to see her little hands coming together to say this word!


Tomorrow we celebrate Christopher's birthday - 15!  Can he really be that old?  Can I?  LOL  We haven't planned much yet as we can't get much out of him in terms of what he would like to do.  Hopefully we'll have some inspiration or in any case just fun celebrating with this special young man.  This wonderful son - the one that made me a mom!


This week-end, Eliana and I have plans to go away to visit friends.  It will be my first week-end away since Eliana was born.  My last one was a sweet trip to Chicago with Rebecca, my mom, sister and niece.  Such a lot has happened since then.  I'm not sure I'm really feeling up to going.  I don't really "feel" like doing much of anything but just hanging close to home, kwim?  These are sweet friends though and I think it would be a fun time.  The getting there - flying - will be a little bit challenging, though I'm hoping Eliana will be a good traveller.


We've been working on school the last couple of days.  It adds some structure, fun and distraction to our days.  Daniel loves doing a book and activity (Before Five in a Row).  This week we are rowing Snowy Day (I know - no snow here!).  We have learned about stop lights - played games, colored, sang songs and more.  Today he had fun making a paper snowman.  He asked if the big ball was the head.  LOL  You can tell the poor boy hasn't had experience with making one!


I've started a new study this week.  If you need some prompting on one, check out this blog.  Go to the entry on March 8 to read before starting it. 

I need to add more photos.  I haven't been taking many lately.  Hopefully soon.

Thank you for your prayers and sweet notes.  I'm grateful for each of them.  I am blessed in many ways.  I'm so thankful to know God as I can't imagine walking through life without Him. 



Sunday, March 9, 2008

Grief - what do you do with it?

I know we all handle it differently - and I find this true for myself even throughout the day.  I've pondered whether it is best to just distract myself by staying busy and try to move on OR if I really need to sit, be still and just work through it.  For me, it's probably some of both.  I've been trying to keep myself busy - and at times it helps.  At times though, I find that the sadness will all come crashing in.  It could be something I see, a thought or even for now, pain from my own body which serve as reminders of our loss.

I wonder too for my family how best to handle my grief.  I do think it's good for them to see the pain.  Yet, I sometimes wonder how much to share.  It's easier with my daughter as she needs to talk and is deeply grieved herself.  With the guys in my family it's a little harder to know.  Roger and I have talked.  I've also been doing a lot of praying.

Yesterday my oldest daughter and I went to a consignment sale.  I didn't really want to go.  This sale is a real blessing to our family though and it's where we buy a lot clothes for our children!  I didn't feel like I could pass it up.  I had earned the privilege of shopping early (thanks to the help of a dear friend and my family - thank you Rebecca! - who completed the work for which I had signed up).  

I decided we should go - and if I couldn't handle it, we'd just come home.  So Rebecca and I went.  At times it was fine, a distraction, especially when looking through all of the cute little things for Eliana.  Other times, it was harder.  One time we overheard someone talking about her pregnancy.  Rebecca just reached for my hand and gave it a squeeze.  She is so very tender-hearted and is taking this loss hard too.  It was especially hard for me seeing other women pregnant.

As we grieve, there come the questions.  Questions my children ask and those in my own mind - though I find that I have fewer of them now.  Perhaps I have learned a few things from this past year?  When we came home from the doctors office, we gathered our children to tell them the news.  Eliana had fallen asleep, so we had taken her straight up to our room to sleep.  When we shared the news of our baby's death, our youngest son looked horrified and managed to say "Eliana?"  Oh no, we quickly assured him.  She is fine and asleep upstairs.  I thank God that our sweet Eliana is alive and well!  Oh, am I so very thankful that this was not a trial we had to face!  We are indeed very, very blessed!

Later that day we heard, "Thank you God for the baby that is in Mommy's tummy that has gone with you to heaven."  (3yo)

Sometimes I just cry - usually when I'm alone - and tell God that I really wanted this baby.  He knows that.  I remind myself that even this small amount of time with this baby was a gift.  We have been blessed with this little one, even though it was for a much shorter time than any of us would have liked.  This baby is a gift!

We have been blessed by many people praying for us.  I've had so many of my friends on the FIAR boards post sweet notes and prayers, friends sending emails, cards and making calls.  We've had several friends bring meals or homemade bread.  There are always friends during times of struggle that surprise me - in a good way.  Often it is someone that I may not know too well who really reaches out to support, encourage and bless our family.  It is a reminder to me that I have been given so very much - and that I need to continue looking for ways to give to others. 

I am reminded often of others who are struggling with grief that seems overwhelming to me.  I am thankful that God has not called me to more than He has.  I am thankful that He walks with me. 

I read of a question that someone was asked during a time of grief.  What have you learned about God during this time?  Its a good question.  One that I have been asked too.

I have learned a lot about God.  I thought I'd share a few of them.

*God is good - no matter my circumstances.  No matter what happens.  No matter the outcome.

*God is faithful.  He is with me - to carry me, hold me and love on me even when I feel all alone.

*God is love.  He shows His love to me in many different ways - in music, through His word, a whisper to my spirit, through the loving words or gestures of another and many other ways.

*God is enough.  When I want or think I need more, I need to remember that He is enough.  HE is the only one I need to please.  He is the only one who can meet my needs. 

*God is worthy of praise.  Not because of what He is has done, but just because of who He is.

Dear Father,

Thank you for the gift of this little baby.  Thank you for the sweet memories of this time that are stored up in my heart.  This baby was loved from the start.  This little one was prayed for and welcomed with delight.  Father, I miss this baby.  I so wanted to love and hold and raise this little one, but I am thankful that he/she is safe with you.  I am thankful for the promise that one day we will all be with you in heaven. 

With love and tears,


Friday, March 7, 2008

Difficult days, decisions

Thank you friends for your prayers.  I appreciate them and your sweet notes (here, in email and on the FIAR boards) so very much.  I'm thankful for each of you!

I fluctuate between having moments of being alright - able to laugh (children help with that a LOT) and moments of such sadness.  I just wish this were a bad dream - that I could wake up and have everything be as it were a couple of days ago.  I wanted this little one to hold here.  My arms already ache for this precious baby that I won't know on this side of heaven.

I'd already pulled out my maternity clothes.  I'd started thinking of names.  I was eagerly anticipating a rounded belly and the sweet kicks of a baby inside.  I love being pregnant - in spite of the difficulty I've had with it.  It is an amazing gift.  I wonder if I'll ever experience this again.  I know at some point, I won't.  This will be hard for me.  I love being a mom! 

***Don't read this paragraph if you are squeamish about too much information.  Yesterday, we were presented with several options on how to handle things.  Choices that no woman ever wants to have to face.  I was hoping not to have to have any intervention (I know that is not a choice for everyone!).  Well, that prayer has been answered.  It seems a bittersweet way to have a prayer answered.  Our baby passed last night and hopefully my body will take care of everything on it's own.  So far, physically, it has not been difficult.  Though emotionally it will take much longer.

One of my sons last night asked me why God didn't answer/hear his prayers for our baby.  He has prayed so faithfully for our baby every day.  He was also soooo very excited when he heard our announcement.  It has hit him very hard.  We talked for awhile.  I told him that God did hear and that His answer was just not the one that we wanted.  That is a hard thing to understand - at any age.  This sweet boy of mine has such a tender heart!  He still remembers (and sometimes talks about) the loss of our last baby.  (He was just 3 at the time.)  He has been told by others not to talk about it - it makes people uncomfortable.  I appreciate his heart though.  In fact, I remember him talking to me one day about this baby being in heaven.  It happened to be the day that the baby had been due - and nobody remembered or knew except me.  It was a sweet comfort to me at the time.   

I think one of the hard things about loss and grief is that you can feel so alone in the midst of it.  Even with loving family and friends, it's still pain that you have deal with.  It can seem like the world has moved on without you.  So many things can trigger thoughts, memories and tears.  Loss and grief are not easy topics for people.  Its hard to deal with pain.  I know that the pain I'm feeling is not nearly to the degree that many others have faced.  But it still hurts.

This past year - two - have been hard.  I sometimes wonder what I'm supposed to be learning.  Or if I'm failing to learn something and need repeat lessons on loss.  I'm not sure.  I know with certainty that I am loved.  I know that I need only the approval of One.  I know He is holding me and I may never climb out of His lap.  I know that as I cry, He is with me.  He understands my hurt, my fears and my longings. 

As we were driving home yesterday from the doctors, this song was on the radio. 

Held by Natalie Grant

God has used music often to minister to me over the last year.  I am thankful that He is not bound by any conventional means to touch my heart and show me that He loves me.

He loves me.  He loves you too.  Very deeply - without reserve.  He rejoices over you with singing.  (I love that!!!  Zeph 3:17)  Bask in His love today.  Pray for those who mourn.  Love deeply. 

With love and through many tears,


Thursday, March 6, 2008

Our sweet precious baby

Our sweet baby ... is being held by Jesus. Oh, how it hurts to write that. Oh, how my heart aches. This just isn’t the way that I wanted the story to go. I so wanted to carry, hold and raise this little one.

Our little one’s body is still with me, but his/her spirit has gone to heaven. We may be facing difficult decisions on how to handle this.

Please pray for us. We are devastated. Two of my children are taking it very hard.

In the midst of this pain, I know that God is with us. I know that He is good. I know that He loves me. I know that He will hold me as long as I need.  I know too that my heart is broken.  I feel crushed and so very sad.

Thank you for praying with us.

This wasn't how I had planned it ...

I had hoped for a cute post and fun announcement and even had thought of neat ways to share our news.  I have a ticker saved where you can see the baby's development.  Instead, we are faced with the possibility of something different.

We are expecting our 7th blessing - and thrilled about the addition to our family!  I had hoped that we might be blessed again and am delighted with this sweet gift.

We have kept our news close however as I knew that it would be hard for others to hear.  I know all of the reasons why we shouldn't be having a baby ... I get too sick (HG in pregnancy is awful!), we have too many children (we obviously don't think so), Eliana is more than a handful (and an abundance of joy), I'm too old, etc...  I don't want to keep listing them, but I've heard it all and honestly just didn't want to hear it.  I wanted to just enjoy our news and delight in it.  I also reminded myself that God gave us this gift!  God only gives good gifts.

I was looking forward to sharing though and this is the longest we have kept our secret.  Usually the announcement is forced out with my sickness by week 6, but this time meds have kept my sickness under control.  That has been a blessing, but it also caused me much fear.  Our children know and have kept the news - and also prayed daily for this baby.

I've worried from the start about this little one.  It has been an exercise daily to hand my fears over to God and some days I do better than others.  The last 2 days have been more than a challenge.  I started spotting yesterday.  I have never done this in any of my full-term pregnancies.  Only with the little one we lost.

We have seen the baby's heartbeat - good and strong just a week ago.  I am currently between 9 and 10 weeks.

I've been praying and seeking answers.  Right now I'm hearing two things from God

1.  I'm here.

2.  Rest in me.

Oh, I want to hear more.  I want to hear that our baby is fine.  I want to hear that I'll this sweet little one this side of heaven.  I want everything to be alright.  I know that no matter what happens, that God is good.  I know that this little one is His.  I know all that and yet I long to carry this baby to term and welcome him/her into our family. 

I'm going in to see my midwife this afternoon.

Please pray for our family.  This is a struggle for me - and for them too.  I will share later the beautiful letter my daughter wrote to me last night.  Encouraging me from God's word.  I'm so very blessed in so many ways.

I have much to be thankful for.

With tears,


Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Our "Family Event"

For the last six years our homeschool group has put together a wonderful day that we call our "Family Event".  We hold the event on a Saturday so that the Dads can join in the fun.  It is a time of games, food and always lots of fun.  We plan the event around a book or books used in our curriculum - Five in a Row.  It's been a very hands-on, creative and effective way to learn about a country, place or time period.

This year we chose the book Follow the Drinking Gourd.  It is a story about a group of runaway slaves during the Civil War and their flight to freedom.  For our location this year, we met at Bennett Place.  This is one of our state's historic sites - a Civil War site where one of the major surrunders of the war took place.  Being able to have our event here added authenticity in a way that homemade props couldn't.  The staff were wonderfully accomodating and made this a much easier event to plan and carry off than some we have done in the past. 

This is our wonderful group!

In order to pull off a large event, each mom in the group takes on a job so that the work is distributed and doesn't fall on just a couple of people.  This has worked so very well and I know it's because we have such a delightful group of moms/families in our group!

As we walked up to the event, we were greeted by signs telling of our day.

We started our morning with a couple of activities.  The folks at the historic site gave our group tours of the buildings and told of events that had happened at this site in addition to sharing stories of the time period.  This is the first year we've had someone outside of our group participating in a large teaching portion (though we did have square dance callers during our "prairie" event).  This worked well to take some of the load off of the moms and provide for a more relaxing day for all of us!

We also had areas where the children could play games - checkers, playing pretend with a stretcher, playdoh shapes or just making up their own fun.

We had a potluck lunch.  We divide up the type of dishes and there is always plenty to try.  We select recipes or food items from the country or time period and use this to set a beautiful table.  The food is always fun, interesting and bountiful!

While we ate lunch picnic style, we enjoyed music from the brother-in-law of one of the Moms.  He did a great job and even learned the song from our book to play for us!

The highlight of the day came after lunch.  The children went on a "scavenger hunt" type of trail - reenacting the flight to freedom from the book.  The trail led through the woods and their were signs on the trail (just like in the book) as well as reward posters for the catching of a fugitive.  The children were to find their way along the trail in order to end in freedom.  We had 9 stops along the trail.  Five of them were manned by a character.  We split into small groups so that the experience could be better enjoyed by all.

To start the journey, the gal that designed the trail set the stage telling of possible dangers and the need to be swift and brave.  She was very descriptive in her dramatization and then asked our 6yo if he would lead the way.  After thinking for just a moment, he replied ... "Ladies first".  (What a funny moment!)

I wanted to share this photo of the start of the trail so you could see a little of how the woods looked and see that it was dense and large enough that one stop could not be seen from another.  We followed signs and marks in the woods to find our way.

Our first stop was to see Peg-Leg Joe who was working and told the slaves about the route to freedom.

From there, we had to cross a stream in a boat. 

Hide in a tree from wild dogs who were chasing us.

Hide in a cornfield.

Hide in a cemetary.

We were met by a kind boy that offered us food.

We were taken in by a farmer who hid us in his barn.  (It was an underground secret hiding place in the book.)  We were blessed to be able to use a real old building/barn in the woods for this stop.

The next stop was at the home of a quaker abolitionist.  The quilt outside let us know it was a safe place.  While there she treated us kindly and then sent us on the last leg of the journey.

We finally reached Canada and freedom!

Just a cute photo of Eliana dressed for the day.

 I have soooo many pictures that it was hard to narrow it down - even so, this is a lot of photos.  I hope you enjoyed having a peek at our day.  I love so many things about this day - it's fun, hands-on and interactive.  I love including the Dads.  I love seeing the moms all work together to pull off a fabulous event.  It's teamwork at it's best!  I'm thankful to be a part of this group!

Though this happened last November, it's been something I've been wanting to share.  It seems that there have been a lot of other things to post about since then and I'm just now getting around to it. 

I've been so blessed to be a part of this Five in a Row group.  I remember when I had been praying about starting a new homeschool group and approached a friend about the idea.  She loved and and added that she had also been praying about it - and that I would start one!  I love seeing God's hands on things right from the start.  Thank you dear friends for all that you do to make this group wonderful!

With love,