Tuesday, August 10, 2010

First post of the year?

I know...first post this year. I won't even begin to make any excuses. I will say that I have sat down a couple times to try and put together an update. The truth is when you go 8 months between posts the thought of providing a complete update becomes a very daunting task. I just can't do it...it's been a very full 8 months.

Let's start with Rhys. He is 9 months now. Yes, 9 months! He is a very happy baby. We've had our challenges and to make a semi-long story short...we found out at 6 months that he has many food allergies. Here is the complete list: milk, eggs, peanuts, chicken, tuna, tomatoes, and peas. The allergy we found out on our own was the milk allergy. I tried supplementing with some formula one day which ended up with an ER visit as he broke out in head to toe hives within minutes. I've changed my diet to eliminate these things as best as I can and it has made a huge difference for his tummy, his sleep, and his skin.

Elijah and Phoebe are growing up...I guess there is no way to stop that, eh? Elijah, now 6, and Phoebe, now 3, are each other's best friends and each other's worst enemies. Gotta love that sibling rivalry. They have their moments, but they are such good kids and I am so proud of them.

As for myself, I start the RN program at the local college in 13 days. I have mixed emotions about this. I'm thrilled to have been accepted into the program (afterall, I did work very hard on my prereqs) and I'm looking forward to this new phase of my life, but am not excited about Phoebe and Rhys having to go to daycare. I've been blessed to be in a position and have opportunities since I've been a mom to not have to place my kids in childcare so this is going to be hard for me. I have anxiety mostly about Rhys and his allergies and me not being able to control his environment and now the latest being that he refuses to take a bottle or a cup. He wants his Momma's milk directly from Momma and no other source. Praying this works itself out soon. I have so many other thoughts and emotions regarding being away from the kids during the day. I won't get into it all, but I ask for your prayers.

I can't believe next month will mark 2 years since Joy went home to be with Jesus. I, of course, still think about and miss her everyday....and more so recently likely because of this upcoming milestone. I'm not really sure how I'm dealing with my grief these days. I don't find that I have time to reflect and sort through any of it these days. I'm still moved by people who have the courage to mention her name to me. It warms my heart to no end...and as I write this I'm starting to tear up. There's lots going on under the surface...maybe I'll try to tackle this topic one day if I'm able to actually sort through it myself.

So there is my attempt at an update. Kinda brief and not too complete, but an update nonetheless. Here are a few pics for your viewing pleasure.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Rhys' Birth Story

6:00 am, Lewis and I arrive at the hospital. I have to say it was really surreal being there again. The last time I was there was when I left empty handed after Joy's birth. While we were waiting to check in I eyed the purple tear drops behind the desk sticking to a filing cabinet. This was a marker that was placed outside my room after Joy's birth to indicate that there was not a happy scene going on on the other side of the door. Then I heard the cry of a newborn baby. I could feel tears welling up in my eyes as the last time I was there that sounds was so heartbreaking to me because I never did get to hear that sweet sound from Joy. It was a reminder of what I was missing. Lewis had requested a specific room number like we were checking into a hotel, but they were so busy they were unable to accommodate his request. He apparently wanted the room we had when Joy was born because it was a rather large room. I personally did not want that room. Lots of feeling wrapped up in not wanting to be in that room and not sure I can express them, so I won't even try here.

I kept fighting the idea that it was a scheduled induction maybe because it was just scheduled the day before or that throughout my pregnancy my doctor kept saying that we cannot induce since I was going to be attempting a VBAC. Nevertheless, labor did not start on it's own and by the morning of Wednesday, November 4th I was two days overdue and very miserable and uncomfortable. I just simply wanted to get the show on the road, so to speak.

You have to know it was a pretty uneventful labor when the most painful and traumatic thing was when I first got there the nurse that was to go off shift in a hour was the one to try and start my IV. I have to say I never had anyone try and start my IV in a vein right near my wrist bone. OUCH! Did I say my threshold for pain is low? Okay, that poke did not work so she went on the the other wrist same spot. OUCH, again! No luck there either. She said two sticks were her limit and she called someone else in to start my IV. Success with a vein on the front of my left hand. Praise the Lord! Nothing really happened after that for some time. They wanted to start pitocin, but I questioned if we could just wait for the doc to break my water and see if I need it. So nothing was done until 7:45am when my doc arrived and broke my water and suggested the pitocin start since we were here to have a baby. I agree, but typically when my water has broke in the past my labor progressed pretty rapidly and I did not think I would need the pitocin, but I caved to my doc's advice. Contractions started not 10 minutes after that, progressing to a point over the next 30 minutes that became unbearable for me. Let's just say the anesthesiologist could not arrive quick enough to administer my epidural.

Now, normally I think of getting the epidural as the worst part of labor. Not this time. My contractions were so painful and so close together I kept asking him if he was finished. I'd let him know when I had a brief window of no contractions in hopes that he would hurry up and get the catheter in already. It seemed like it took forever. Remember, I have a low threshold for pain. Finally I got some relief. Typically in the past, my epidurals have been so remarkable in blocking pain and just about every other sensation from the waist down. This time I could wiggle my toes and feel when I was having a contraction, although there was no pain. I even felt pressure and the urge to push. Never had that feeling before while in labor. By 9:30 I was 8cm dilated and by 10:00 am I wanted to push. They kept making me wait saying that they wanted me to hold off as long as I could so that I could "labor down." Never heard that expression before. Plus, we had to wait for my doc to arrive. One whole hour later it was finally show time. I have to say that it was nice to know when to push and actually able to somewhat feel how effective my pushes were. In my labors with Elijah and Phoebe they had to tell me when to push because I could never feel a thing. A couple big pushes and a couple real tiny ones later Rhys was born. He was (and of course is still) beautiful!!

Leading up to Rhys' birth I kept thinking his birth would be so emotional for me I thought for sure I would cry this time. Out of all the births of my kids I only ever cried when Joy was born. I thought for sure I would this time out of pure happiness, but I really was just so happy and in awe that crying was not on my radar. It was pure JOY!

Needless to say, the VBAC was a success. The scar from my c-section from when Joy was born will remain in tact and forever mark where she lived inside me for 30 weeks and 1 day. A permanent, tangible reminder ...call it a tatoo of sorts if you will. This is part of the reason I did not want to have to a repeat section, not to mention awful pain and recovery time.

Rhys is such an easy going baby. He rarely cries except for when he is hungry and the occasional times when he is gassy. He had his one month appointment yesterday and has gained weight like a champ. He weighed in a 9lbs 12 oz yesterday, up from 7lbs 4oz at birth.

Proud big brother & sister!

Sunday, November 8, 2009

He's Here!

Introducing.....Rhys Alexander!!!

Born on Wednesday, November 4th @ 11:11am. He weighed in at 7lbs 4oz and was 20 inches long.
Rhys (pronounced Reece, in case you were wondering) is truly a gift from God and a healing balm to my heart. We are doing well...just adjusting to life with a newborn again. Elijah and Phoebe have been sick so it's been a tad bit crazy around here trying to keep the germs at bay.
More info to come later, but in the mean time enjoy a couple pictures.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Anytime now

Just wanted to check in and let y'all know I'm still pregnant. 39+ weeks now and SOOO ready to give birth. I went to to the OB today and I am 3cm dilated. I don't put much stock in that to tell me when I might go into labor, but at least it's progress. Can't wait to meet this little guy and be able to move around without all the aches and pains. No joke... I've been pregnant for 16 out of the last 21 months!! Of course not all of it has been uncomfortable like this last month has been, but I'm ready to be done and just love on this little baby.

I think I'm nesting, but for some reason it doesn't feel like anything is getting accomplished besides a big mess in the process. Probably because I get too tired and winded to finish. I seriously don't remember being so uncomfortable during any of my previous pregnancies, but then again I'm not getting any younger. You know, I am advanced maternal age! Gosh, that makes me feel old.

Anyway, I'll keep y'all posted.

Thursday, September 24, 2009


I had a very interesting experience earlier this week that I wanted to share. Now I know my blog is not very popular compared to many out there. I did get more hits back when I was more of a consistent blogger, but quite frankly...I'm not. I mean I probably have about 20-30 people that regularly visit my blog, or at least that is my best guess by my Feedjit application. I don't know who most of you are, but I see that you keep coming back. Probably faithfully checking to see if I've posted anything. Unfortunately, I've probably disappointed you more often than not with no new posts. Anyway, I say all that to say thank-you for being interested in my story, in Joy's story, in the story that God is writing through our lives.

You are probably wondering why I am even talking about this, which brings me back to that something interesting that happened. So I was at a local store looking for some fall/winter clothes for Phoebe and was waiting in line at the checkout. It was then my turn and as I approached the counter the lady asked me how much longer I had (obviously she saw my pregnant belly), I told her 6 weeks, she asked me if I knew what I was having and I told her "a boy." I was paying her the money for the clothes and she asked me if my last name was J_ _ _ _ ? I said yes, and she proceeded to tell me that she had been following my blog. I asked her how she heard of it and she said she saw the obituary in the paper. She apparently felt a connection to read based on something that happened within her family and had mentioned how she admired me for the decision I made and wished me well. Some of it was a bit of a blur just because I was so not expecting that. I was going over in my mind how she connected me to my blog, I mean I paid her in cash...no debit card, my name wasn't on anything. I just figure it must have been from pictures on my blog and perhaps the pregnant belly that she made the connection?

The thing that I took away from that encounter and what really touched me was that there are people out there that know who my daughter, Joy, is and know her story and have been impacted. I already know this to be true and I know a lot of you personally who read and have been impacted. But when this lady whom I had never met before said all this to me I saw things in a new perspective. I mean I know there are those of you out there that read and we don't know each other and some of you have commented or sent me emails. I appreciate those so much by the way. Having that real life connection where someone I don't know had been impacted by Joy's story brought it back home to me at a whole different level. It was kind of like God was reminding me that Joy's life mattered and still matters today. Truthfully, after finding out her diagnosis and learning that she would likely never live outside my womb,that was all I really wanted. For people to know her name, to be touched by her short life and ultimately be lead to the cross.

That brief encounter this week was a gift I was not anticipating and I wanted to say thank you to that lady, I'm sorry I forgot to ask your name, but you speaking up and saying something really meant a lot to me.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Pictures of Joy's Birthday Celebration

Lewis and I purchased these garden stakes that we let the kids put in Joy's garden at home.

We went to the grave site where Lewis and Elijah plant some perennials.

The finished product above. You can't see it, but we also planted a black-eyed susan bush behind the grave stone which no doubt will be able to be seen over the stone next spring/summer.
And for no other reason than to prove I was there, here is seriously poor photo of the kids and I.
Lewis and the kids.

There go the balloons! We wrote notes for Joy on them. There were 6 balloons, but someone let go of one earlier. We won't say who. ;)

That's a little convertible Beamer in the front of the garden that Elijah left for Joy.
Before we head home for birthday cake we all went out for dinner.
Okay, I admit I'm no birthday cake rock star like my mother. She can seriously decorate a cake. Honestly, I don't really try because normally she does this sort of thing, but she is on a European vacation currently so it was all me. Although I did have a little help from Betty...Croker, that is. It may not look spectacular, but it was yummy. What if I told you just as the kids blew out the candle Phoebe sneezed all over it. Yep, no joke!
Elijah told me as he was going to bed that he was sad baby Joy's birthday was over. I have to admit...I am, too.

Happy 1st Birthday Joy

How do I begin to put into words the flood of emotions I am having today and the days leading up to this day? I'm not sure I can do it. My heart aches....it has this whole year, but this day brings me right back to Sept. 15, 2008. You can read about that day here.

I think I've moved beyond the disbelief that I had for at least the first six months after Joy's birth/ death, although I'm feeling that today. Maybe it's just the disbelief that it's already been a year? What a crazy year.

Something that has truly helped me through this last year has been many of you. My family, dear friends, some of which I've never met face to face, some of which I haven't seen in years and those of you who have connected with me through a similar experience. Your love, support, prayers, and extension of God's love to me have helped ease some of the pain and grief. Despite all the pain, my life really does feel so much richer because of Joy, which is really difficult for me to put into words. It's just a depth that I feel in my bones. I still don't have all the answers to my "whys" and may never know this side of heaven, but I take comfort in the One who knows all, who gives me enough grace to face each new day, who provides me with the peace and comfort I need and loves me despite all my worldly imperfections...because trust me, there are many.

I'm hoping to post some pictures either later today or some time this week of some of the things we did today as a family to celebrate Joy's life and her 1st birthday. But in the mean time, let me leave you with this scripture from Isaiah that brings me comfort when I am going through things I just don't understand and I start to question God.

Isaiah 55:8-12 For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord. As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts. As the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and do not return to it without watering the earth and making it bud and flourish, so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater. So is my word that goes out from my mouth; It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it. You will go out in joy and be lead forth in peace; the mountains and hills will burst into song before you, and the trees of the field will clap their hands.