Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Tis the Season

Christmas is my favorite time of year.  The weather is cool, if not cold.  We get to put up beautiful decorations.  I get to celebrate my birthday.  Plus, I'm off for two weeks of paid leave time. 

And this year, for the first time since we've been together, Doug will be off too.  Which makes this Christmas extra special. 

We've got a full schedule.  We're going to Kentucky, going to the beach, spending Christmas Day with my family and spending the weekend after with Doug's family.

Christmas is the one time of year that we ALWAYS go to Kentucky to visit my extended family.  Many times it's the ONLY time we get to see my two grandmothers and it's always the only time I get to see most of my cousins and aunts and uncles.

Last year, when I found out I was due in October and would be on maternity leave until January, I immediately started planning my trip to Kentucky.  My mom and I were going to go up early with the baby so that we could visit EVERYONE and show off the baby.  Then when Logan was born in June, we started talking about our trip and how Logan would probably be the center of attention because he would be a miracle baby. 

When he died, all thoughts of Christmas went out the window.  Doug and I didn't have any extra time to take off because of the time we had already taken off while I was in the hospital and then recovering.  And going to Kentucky would have been too hard.

You see, I have a BIG family.  My dad is one of 8 and my mom is one of 11.  And most of them have at least 2 kids.  And most of my cousins have kids now too.  In fact, last year there were at least three new babies and a very pregnant cousin.  It just would have been too hard.

Even this year, I am anxious.  I keep trying to imagine what it would be like if he hadn't died.  What would my life be like with an 18 month old.

And every time I do imagine it, I see Logan as a perfectly normal walking, talking 18-month-old.  One you have to watch closely to keep him out of everything.  One who puts everything in his mouth. 

And then I realize that I'm imagining the baby that was supposed to be born on Oct. 11.  Then I remember that just a day or two before he died we found out he had a brain bleed.  It wasn't a fatal bleed, but it most likely would have affected him if he had lived.  I realize that, if he had lived, 18-month-old Logan may not be walking and talking.  He may never have walked or talked.  My trip to Kentucky may have entailed so many machines and so much medical equipment that it was absolutely exhausting.  We may not have been able to go at all. 

And for myself, I wish either one of those dreams was true.  I know I wouldn't mind lugging the equipment.  I would have been happy to learn about machines and medicines that kept my son alive.

But the real Logan is so much better than either of my dreams.  Because he's in heaven.  And as a mother, I want what is best for my son.  So, as a mother, I'm proud to have a son in heaven even when it hurts to say so.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Sin Scales

I've been thinking a lot lately about sin.  It's a very complicated subject because what is considered a sin can vary from one religion to another, one family to another and even one person to another.  Some people think drinking alcohol is a sin, others (myself included) believe that it is only when you drink alcohol in excess that you have sinned.  God gave us some rules in the Bible.  The Ten Commandments are probably rules everyone (at least Christians) can agree on.  But even if we all agreed what is and isn't a sin, it's still really complicated.

If something is a sin, does that mean it is always a sin, no matter the circumstances?  For example, if someone broke into my house and tried to kill me but I killed them first, have I sinned?  One of the Ten Commandments is "Thou shalt not kill".  Before I go any further, let me say that I fully believe God forgives us for any and all sins that we ask Him to forgive.  He has mercy and grace that none of us can comprehend and there's nothing we can do that He can't forgive us for.  His forgiveness is not what I'm talking about here.  Acts 2:38 says:
"Peter replied, "Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. "
That word repent says to me that we must acknowledge the fact that we have sinned in order to be forgiven.  So back to my example.  When I kill someone in self-defense, have I sinned.  I think the answer is probably yes.  Does that mean I should feel guilty for protecting myself?  I don't think so, I think it means that I should feel sad that I was forced to kill someone.  I think it means I should go to God and tell him that I'm sorry that I took a life.  And then I'll be forgiven. 

There's also the difference between law and sin.  It's not against the law to commit adultery, but it is a sin.  It's not a sin to drive over the speed limit but it is against the law.

And then there's the complication that I have been struggling with and the reason for this post.
Are some sins worse than others? 
Here's my dilemma, if God can forgive all of our sins just by us asking for forgiveness, then doesn't that mean that in His mind all sins are the same?  Is He sitting up there with a set of scales and giving forgiveness out according to the weight of the sin?  I just can't see that in my mind. 
I know that I can never hope to understand His ways, but the way I see it (from my human mind) is that God gave us the Bible and in it He explicitly told us not to do certain things.  There are no "excepts" in the Ten Commandments.  It doesn't say thou shalt not kill except if someone is trying to kill you.  It's very straightforward.  But it seems like in every day life we weigh sins.  One of the commandments is "Thou shalt not lie".  But how many of us can honestly say we don't lie?  Is it a sin to lie to my husband when he asks me what I bought him for Christmas?  I think most people would say no.  I wouldn't immediately think this is a sin myself.  But put it in a different situation.  Maybe my husband is asking me what I bought him because he is worried about our financial situation and I have a habit of buying him things that are above our means.  (For the two mothers that I know read this, I just want to say this is not real, just hypothetical :) )  If I tell him I spent nothing but actually spent several thousands of dollars above what we can afford, is the lie a sin? 
I think there is a danger is weighing our sins.  Because I don't think God weighs them.  I think that He hates sin.  I don't think He hates us for sinning, but I do think He hates sin.  In my mind I imagine Him feeling hurt every time one of us sins. 

My own Church weighs sin.  We call them mortal/grave and venial sins (venial being the smaller, not as bad sins).  But I've always been told that even mortal sins are forgiven if we simply ask for forgiveness.  So is there really any difference to God?

I guess the brunt of my struggle is that I want to be a good Christian.  I want to be a good Catholic.  I want to love God with every part of my being and I want to be the kind of person that people see and know that God is part of my life.  I want to be like Jesus.  But every single day I fail in some way.  And then I find myself rationalizing to myself or to others, attempting to justify my sins.  Even if they are just "little" sins, if we KNOW what we are doing is wrong (that it is a sin), isn't it just as bad as committing a "big" sin?  If we KNOW we are going to hurt God, isn't that grave?

And now we're back to what is and isn't sin.  In parts of the Bible it says not to eat any pork.  Does that mean that eating a pork roast or pork chop is a sin?  I honestly don't think so, but what gives me the right to say that?  Most, if not all, Christians believe God gave us the Bible and if it did come from Him, how can we question it?  And if the Bible is wrong, who has the power to say it is and to then tell us what is right or wrong?  Also, should we attempt to interpret what is written in the Bible (including things that aren't mentioned or excluding things that are), or take it at face value? 

I don't have the answers.  It would be great if God could just post a little comment and lay it out for me.  But I doubt that's going to happen.  However, I am open to any input!

Friday, November 20, 2009

Day 10

45, 250 babies will be born this November alone.  13 babies will die today from complications of their early birth.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Day 9

In the United States, 1 in 8 babies is born prematurely, many with lifelong complications including cerebral palsy and mental retardation.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Day 8

For employers, the health care costs of a premature birth are nearly 12 times greater than the cost for full-term babies.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Prematurity Awareness Day

Today I'm wearing purple.

I've created this purple ribbon for my office door.

Today I'm supporting Prematurity Awareness Day.

I am supporting, thinking of, and praying for every single baby that has ever been born prematurely and their families.

I am also thinking of and praying for those that will be born in the future.

But I'm thinking of and praying for two special little boys in particular.

One is my son. As you all know, he was born soo premature. He was a micro-preemie. But he fought. And he fought valiantly. The odds were against him. That's why I support March of Dimes. Because there was a time in the past when a baby born at 32 weeks would have died in minutes. Now 32 weekers are considered survivors. And I hope that someday 24 weekers and even 23 weekers will be survivors. Not just some of the time, but most of the time.

The second little boy was born 3 days after my son. At exactly the same gestational age. At the same hospital. He laid in the bed beside my son for two weeks. And we prayed for him the whole time. And we commiserated with his parents and grandparents. I don't know where that little boy is right now, but I know he left the hospital in his parents' arms. And every time that I think of my son, I think of that little boy. And every time I think of him, I pray for him.

So that's what I'm doing today. Wearing purple. Thinking about preemies. Remembering my son. And praying for a survivor that touched my life.

The March of Dimes advocates for mothers and babies.  Today, on the seventh annual Prematurity Awareness Day, the March of Dimes is issuing its second annual Report Card on Premature Birth.  The nation and each state will receive a letter grade, reflecting its premature birth rate.  Visit to see your state's report card.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Day 6

While the rate of premature birth in the United States has been increasing, surveys show that most people have no idea how widespread or how serious the problem is. 

I was most definitely in this category before Logan was born.  Tell a friend what you have learned about premature birth.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Blue Jeans for Babies Day

March of Dimes NICU Family Support provides information and comfort to families of babies who spend time in newborn intensive care.

Today is Blue Jeans for Babies Day.  I'm wearing my shirt.  And at least 50 other people in Troy should be wearing theirs too!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Day 4

Twins, triplets and other multiples are at higher risk of being born prematurely than single babies.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Christmas Card Request

Noah's mother just updated Noah's Care Pages site.  She is asking that we send the cards to this new address:

Scott Biorkman
3480 Petoskey Way
Milford, MI 48380


Hey everyone, you may have already heard this story, but I want to pass it along.

Noah Biorkman was diagnosed with Stage IV Neuroblastoma in February 2007. He went into remission in August 2007. In September 2008, Noah relapsed with lesions in his right arm and right leg. After going through six different trials, the cancer continues to spread.  The doctor's do not expect him to make it to Christmas so his family is having Christmas for him now.  And because Noah loves getting mail, they are asking people to send Christmas cards to him.  So if you get a chance, please send this little boy a Christmas card as soon as possible.  And pray for him and his family as they have a hard journey ahead of them.  The address is:

Noah Biorkman 
1141 Fountain View Circle
South Lyon, MI 48178

And if you'd like to know more about Noah, check out his Care Page.

Day 3

The rate of premature birth in the U.S. has increased 36% in the past 25 years.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Day 2

Premature birth is when a baby is born before 37 weeks of pregnancy; a typical pregnancy lasts 40 weeks.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Day 1

Today, more than 1,400 babies in the United States will be born prematurely. More newborns die from premature birth than any other cause.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Prematurity Awareness Month

November is Prematurity Awareness Month. And for the next two weeks the March of Dimes is pulling out all the stops.

So I'm going to post each and every day. They're going to be short. Basically just facts about prematurity. But I hope that it will remind each of us, at least for the next two weeks, about the fight so many babies fight every day.

If you want to see/take part in the activities March of Dimes has planned for the next two weeks, go to

And November 17 is Prematurity Awareness Day and purple is the color of March of Dimes. So if you feel called, wear purple that day and let everyone see that you're thinking of preemies.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

NASCAR & A Deep Thought

This past weekend Doug got free tickets to the Amp Energy 500 at Talladega Superspeedway. He's been trying to convince me to go to a race for quite some time but being out in all that heat just didn't appeal to me. Well, with free tickets and the cool weather of November, how could I say no?

We did have a lot of fun so maybe I'll let Doug take me back someday.

Now on to another subject. Doug and I are reading Crazy Love with Bloom. Every week they do chapter review videos. And this week they mentioned something that blew me away. Their pastor said a couple of weeks ago that the phrase "God never gives you more than you can handle" is NOT in the Bible. The pastor said that God does put us in situations over and over again that we can't handle without Him. But each and every one of those situations forces us to turn to Him and have faith in Him. WOW... I'm just going to keep thinking about that for a little while longer.

And while I'm thinking about having faith, I'm also thinking about the faith that Stellan and his family are being forced to have right now. Stellan and his mother are going to Boston today and most likely Stellan will be having surgery on Tuesday. Please keep them in your prayers.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Random Recipes & the Death of a Monkey

My sister moved in with Doug and I the day we got married. And she's a little picky about what she eats. So for the past 3 years, I've been cooking pretty much exactly the same things week after week. Now that she's engaged, she eats at her fiance's house every night, so I decided to do a little something different.

I was given several cookbooks when we got married. So last week I went though each cookbook and picked out the recipes that I thought sounded edible. I wrote down the name of each recipe on a slip of paper and put all the slips in a big bowl.

Then we drew one out and ate this for dinner.

And it was actually pretty good! I'm learning a lot already. For example, oleo is really just margarine. And this week we're going to be having Hamburger Stew.

Now, about the monkey. When Doug and I buy dog toys, we never know which ones are going to be loved to death and which ones are going to be ignored. A few weeks ago we bought this monkey for the dogs.

It got destroyed very quickly. And Doug swore that it was my sister's dog that did the destroying. Which was believable, because she LOVES to destroy squeaky toys. So we bought a second monkey since they loved the first one so much.

And now we have photographic proof of the violence:

Levi, who has earned the nickname The Beast because of his size, is now The Destroyer as well!

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Challenges of Faith

I'm sort of afraid of heights.

So this was a BIG deal for me.

My life A few of my never-broken bones were completely relying on a rope and some nylon strips to remain unbroken.

If you're not afraid of heights this little obstacle course I ventured on recently probably seems like no big deal. But for me it was a challenge.

The obstacle course consisted of three levels of various obstacles separated by little platforms. On the first two levels you got to choose which of two obstacles you wanted to tackle, one considered "easy", the other hard. The third level consisted of all of the hard obstacles from the lower two levels and you didn't get to choose, you had to complete them all.

I didn't do the third level.

But it got me thinking about faith in general and faith in God. Here's how I see it. When God created us, he tied an invisble rope to us that binds us to him until we go back Home. We can't see the string so sometimes it's hard to believe it's really there. But it IS there, and it's a really thick rope. Just like on the obstacle course, oftentimes we get to choose the "easy or hard" path. We have rest points throughout our journey. And if we DO stumble and fall, that thick rope holds us up. It protects us from broken bones.

And our faith is challenged every single day. Sometimes you feel yourself start to fall and you think the rope must not be there because you're falling so far. But in the end, the rope always catches us. And it always will.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day

I just wanted to remind everyone that today is Oct. 15th, Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day. If you have been touched by the loss of a child, please light a candle for that little angel at 7pm. If you're lighting a candle, comment on this post so I can see who is participating.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Catch Up

Not much is going on that I really want to talk about so I'm just gonna do a little catch up post to quickly tell you about some things going on in our lives.

-Last Tuesday Doug and I got to go to a Troy football game as fans! We didn't have to work, we got to tailgate and just enjoy the game. And let me tell you, it was awesome!

-And speaking of tailgating, I made a Rainbow Cake for the event that I got from here. Mine wasn't quite as bright as that one, but I think it's because I got the generic food colors. It did taste really good though :)

-Doug and I are over halfway through our Bible and trucking right along. The devotionals for each day are usually inspiring and they're showing me how to be a better person, spouse, and Christian.

-We've also been reading Crazy Love with Bloom and this week's chapter was called Serving Leftovers to a Holy God. What I found amazing is that the author talked about this verse, which happened to be part of the Gospel that we read at church on Sunday. I'm sure there's a message in this for me but I haven't quite put my finger on it yet. The message in this verse is pretty obvious, but I feel like I'm missing part of what God is trying to tell me by putting it in my life twice in one week.

-While we were visiting my parents this weekend we went shopping and saw this. All I have to say is WHAT A DEAL!

-Then when we got home on Sunday, we had a card from Toys R Us in the mail. It was a Happy 1st Birthday card. Oct. 11 was our due date last year and I guess Toys R Us just sends these out when you register at Babies R Us. It kind of sucked :(

Thursday, October 1, 2009

October 15th

October 15th is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day. It's a day most people don't even know about. It's a day to remember all the babies that are not with us. Not just the ones who died from prematurity, disease, or SIDS. On Oct. 15th we'll remember every tiny heart beat.

So many times, when a baby is lost to miscarriage or stillbirth, people seem to act like that baby never existed. People who miscarry early are often told to try again in a month or two, that next time they'll get their baby. Thankfully I was never told that, because I can tell you, that no baby can be replaced. It doesn't matter if that baby only lived 2 weeks inside it's Mother's womb and then died, that baby LIVED! That baby was unique!

"...All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be." Psalm 139: 16

Last Oct. 15 I lit the unity candle from our wedding in memory of Logan. This year, I will be lighting Logan's birthday candle in memory of him and ALL of the lost babies.

I will be praying for the all the families. If you have one of Logan's candles, please light it on Oct. 15th for as long as you can. If you don't have one, I have a few left if you want one, or you can light any candle. The most important thing I'm asking you to do is pray with me, for the families, for the mothers who aren't acknowledged because their babies died so soon.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Fall Weather

I love fall weather. I love being able to turn off the air conditioner and open the windows. And not just because I'm cheap! It's beautiful outside today and the temperature is just perfect, with a wonderful breeze. The sun is shining, the sky is blue and the clouds are perfectly white. I drove with my windows down on my way home for lunch and then on the way back. And the wind in my hair felt AMAZING!

And when I looked up at the sky all I could think of was that I was looking straight into heaven. I could just imagine Logan and the other children he's met up there, jumping from cloud to cloud the way earthly children jump on a trampoline. And I remembered that even last year, when I was going through the worst of my grief, cool sunny days like this made me smile. The tears were still there, but they were happy tears. Tears of relief knowing that all days in Heaven are sunny and cool.

A good friend of mine lost his brother yesterday and I truly believe that God is grieving with the family, but at the same time, he's rejoicing that his son is home. I'm going to choose to believe that's why today is such a gloriously beautiful day, because Heaven is having a big Welcome Home Party!

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Things I Never Thought I'd Do

There are lots of things in life we dream of doing: getting married, having a family, getting a job, owning a home. But have you ever thought about the things you've done that you NEVER in your wildest dreams would have seen yourself doing. And in addition to that, have you thought about the way your life would be different if you hadn't done those things. Here's my list:

1. Live in Alabama

2. Go to college in Alabama - this is one I fought fiercely until I found Troy

3. Own a lizard, reptile or amphibian as a pet - and we've had 8

4. Buy a brand new house as my first house

5. Have an inside dog

6. Like the color pink

7. Buy clothes for my dog - most especially pink clothes!

8. Stay in the hospital for 14 days

9. Spend 17 days visiting a NICU

10. Watch my child die

11. Watch my husband's pain when our child died

12. Pick out a burial site for my son and arrange his funeral

13. Be extremely thankful for each of the 17 days we got with our son

14. Visit a cemetery on a weekly basis

15. Explain to a 5-year-old why we don't step on the grass at the cemetery and upon explanation, be asked "But his head's not in there right?", try explaining THAT one!

16. Make flower arrangements

17. Advocate for March of Dimes

18. Understand when other Mother's lose their children and be there to tell them I understand

19. Have a garden

20. Have four dogs living at my house at one time

Some of these things may seem sad, but they have shaped me into the woman, wife and mother that I am. For example, when we first lost Logan, all I could think about was that 17 days was not enough. But as I met more and more women who had lost their children I realized how much 17 days really is. If someone walked up to me then and said my son was going to die and did I choose for him to die after 17 days or after 2 months, I would have chosen the 2 months. In the same way, people who's baby was born still or who had a miscarriage would probably choose the 17 days we got.

So even the sad things have changed my life in a positive way. I'm so much more grateful now than I was before. I recently watched a documentary about a 16-year-old girl that never grew bigger than an 8 or 9-month-old baby. She has some kind of never-before-seen disease that has kept her from growing and developing. And the father said that if someone came and gave him a pill that would make his daughter a normal 16-year-old he wouldn't take it because he loved his daughter just the way she is. I'm not that strong. If someone gave me a magic way to change the outcome, I would jump on it in a heartbeat. But I can also appreciate the change in me, the change I can create, because of the obstacles in my life.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Football & Photography

I'm not really a sports fan.

So maybe I should have thought a little bit before marrying an ex-football player.

Doug LOVES sports. Pretty much any sport will do: football, baseball, NASCAR, etc. And it doesn't even matter what team is playing. A couple of weeks ago he sat down to watch the Miami vs. Florida State game and I asked who he was cheering for. When he told me that he didn't really like either team, I immediately asked why we were watching. His answer? "I know it will be a good game".

Me on the other hand, I have to have a team to cheer for to watch sports. As a teenager, I watched baseball to cheer for my beloved Braves (who aren't really so beloved to me anymore). When Doug and I started dating and I was forced asked to watch more and more NFL, I started cheering for the Titans and the Colts. When NASCAR season came around, I picked Tony Stewart as MY driver (mostly because he wasn't Dale Earnhart Jr.).

So, when Doug asked me to go to the Troy vs. Florida game with him I agreed only because I would be watching Troy. But while I was there (in an attempt to keep me on the field instead of the press box), I found a way to enjoy football!

A lot of stadiums will not let you stay on the sidelines unless you are doing something. So I took my Nikon D60 and took pictures throughout the game.

My camera and lenses (while very nice) don't hold a candle to the cameras and lenses the professionals use at these games, so I didn't expect to get much.

After the game, Doug and I stayed the night in a town about an hour north of Gainesville. At the hotel, I plugged in my camera card to see what I had gotten. It was then that I decided to search out editing software.

If you don't have editing software or you haven't tried it out, you NEED to google Picasa! It's free and while it probably wouldn't stand up to the amazing things Photoshop and Lightroom can do, for the price, it's amazing. Let me just show you:



Picasa even allows you to create a collage by simply selecting the pictures you want and then clicking one button:

So I guess what I'm saying is, I may be enjoying football more now. And I'm definitely enjoying my photography more!

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Captivating Cocoons Become Beautiful Butterflies!

We caught one!
Well, okay, Doug caught one! The picture above I took this morning before I left for work. You can see the orange coloring of one of the wings through the cocoon. Then before Doug left he noticed that the butterfly was completely out so he snapped this one.
Amazing, huh!

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

It's that time of year again...

If you have a husband and you live anywhere in the South you know what a Football Widow is. In fact, you probably are one. Football season is in full swing and for us Football Widows that means a whole lot of time spent with our husbands glued to the TV and completely unresponsive unless you're asking if they want a refill.

In fact, my husband said just the other day that this coming weekend is the ultimate sports weekend. High School football is in it's 3rd week, College Football is in it's 2nd week, NFL starts this weekend, NASCAR is having it's last race before the Chase (that's the playoffs so to speak), and the MLB is finalizing their playoff teams. So get ready to lose your husbands' this weekend (maybe we should plan a BIG shopping trip ladies!)

For me, being a Football Widow is a little different. I'm actually more of a Local News Widow, depending on how you look at it. Because for us, football season means that Doug will be gone until 10pm or later every Friday and gone for most, if not all, of the day Saturday. Last weekend went like this: Doug got home around 2pm. We did a few things around the house before going out to the cemetery. When we got back home I fixed Doug's dinner and he was out the door by 5:30. He got back home around 10 and was gone again the next morning before 11. It was a somewhat odd week because the Crimson Tide was playing in Atlanta so Doug wasn't home until 5am. And that was just the first week.

One positive thing football season does give me is time. Time to work on my scrapbooks, do some sewing, clean the house (as much or as little as I want), and watch what I want to watch on TV for once!

Oh and just so you know, two of our cocoons hatched (for lack of a better word). I didn't catch the butterflies emerging but hopefully I'll catch one of the remaining 14 :)

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Wonderous Ways

For whatever reason I have been in a bit of a funk lately. I think it has something to do with the fact that last year I was very deep into the grieving process at this point and some of those feelings are coming back. Also, baby G. (my friend's baby) is 9 months old now and starting to be lots of fun. And, a good friend of mine from back when I was pregnant contacted me recently. She and I were due within a week of each other and spent our early pregnancies chatting about everything we were going through. It's been wonderful to talk to her after so long, but seeing the pictures of her little October baby makes me think about what Logan would be doing if things were different.

And just when I'm starting to feel really sorry for myself, God steps in and reminds me that this is His show, not mine.

You may not know much about butterflies, so give me a minute to explain this to you. That is a Monarch caterpillar. Monarch butterflies live in the northern states, even into Canada. Every fall they migrate south to Mexico. They're kinda like Snowbirds, or birds for that matter. They can't live in the freezing temperatures that Canada and northern states offer, so they migrate South for the winter and then back North in the spring. And that migration has brought the caterpillars to our house. We even spotted one butterfly!

These caterpillars will eat and eat at our garden, probably destroying the butterflyweed plants we have out there. Then, they'll start the process of metamorphisizing into butterflies. When they emerge as butterflies, they will leave us again and continue South. This is most likely the third generation of Monarchs, which means they will die approximately 2-6 weeks after becoming butterflies. But not before they mate and lay eggs for the fourth generation. It will be that generation of butterflies that hibernates in Mexico and then emerges next spring to begin the journey back North.

Hopefully we'll get to see the journey again in the spring, but even if we don't I'm so glad we got to see it now. Isn't it amazing how God makes this world work! Isn't it wild that a little tiny caterpillar can change into a beautiful butterfly! And what's even more amazing is that God gave us this world. He gave us it's beauty and yet we take it for granted every day, we get upset with him when things don't go our way, we feel like he's taking from us when we lose loved ones. I think we all need to try to remember to look at all we are being given, on a daily basis.

God didn't take away my son and neither did the devil. God GAVE my son eternal life and the best home possible. He gave my son everything and I feel blessed and humbled that He chose my son to have it, and that He is just waiting to give it to me.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

3 Years Ago

3 years ago, I was nervous and excited.

3 years ago, I was so happy I cried.

3 years ago, I married the man of my dreams.

We didn't know then what our lives would be like now.

We didn't know we would move from the nasty trailer park to the beautiful new house in the brand new subdivision.

We didn't know we would have three dogs and a cat in addition to the reptiles.

We didn't know we would lose our first son.

We didn't know how many times we would be warned about the high statistics of divorce in couples who lose a child.

What we did know was that we loved each other. And that was all that mattered. We knew we would be happy, together, joined as one. And we knew that we were making a commitment until death do us part, in good times and in bad.

I had no idea that the bad times would be so bad.

I had no idea that I would watch my husband endure so much pain and heartbreak. Or that he would be so strong while I endured the same pain.

I love you, Doug, and I always will. Thanks for being such a wonderful husband, even when I'm not a wonderful wife. Thanks for supporting me in my dreams, even when I haven't dreamed them yet. Thanks for being a great father to our son, even though you can't hold him. Thanks for helping out in the million ways that you do, even when I don't notice what you've done. Thanks for making me laugh, even when it's the last thing I want to do. I LOVE YOU, I LOVE YOU!

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Christmas in August

I don't know about you, but I love a good book. I can sometimes read a full novel in a day, depending on how good the book really is and the amount of time I can devote to reading. And I read just about anything. Romance, suspense, thriller, self-help, Christian, anything. Because of the cost of books, I've learned to be creative in getting enough of them to fill my time. There is a store in Kentucky called Half-Price Books where you can buy, sell, and trade books. I have found many books there for $1-$3. It was there that my mom found out about an online website called I immediately signed up and started posting and ordering books. (If you've never heard of this and are interested, let me know and I'll fill you in.) And there's always the library. Right after Doug and I got married (before I had a bookshelf overflowing with books) I would go to the library and get 5 books every 1-2 weeks. And I've read and enjoyed all of these previously read books.

But last week I joined a book club and yesterday the first books I ordered came in the mail. I got six brand new books for less than the cost of one at a bookstore! Okay, to be honest, I only got 5 of them yesterday but the 6th is a preorder that was included in the price and is supposed to be shipped this month.

You would have thought it was Christmas if you saw me opening that box. I was very particular, carefully cutting the packaging tape and lifting the lid. Then lifting each book out of the box with care. They were so new, the dust jackets didn't have creases, it was like they were falling off the books.

Oh and the smell! There's not much that compares to the fresh smell of a new book to me (not even new car smell).

And the pages were so crisp, no writing on the cover pages, no broken bindings. Just completely perfect, brand new, straight from the factory books.

Don't get me wrong, I still love my old, previously read books. And some of these may actually end up on after I finish with them. I'll always have second-hand copies of books, but it is SO nice to get BRAND NEW books every once in a while.

Maybe that's greedy or silly or materialistic. but at least I can admit to my faults :)

Friday, August 7, 2009

Quotes from My Favorite People

After I posted, I thought of a couple more that I just have to share. First, when M. was visiting, a big yellow butterfly passed in between us (we were no more than 5 feet away from each other). She told me, "that's Logan's butterfly!". We have a butterfly garden in memory of Logan and we've told her that when she sees a butterfly she knows that Logan is saying hey, so she thinks every butterfly is Logan's. That night she told her mom all about "Logan's butterfly" and later she told her dad "it was yellow and big".

While we were making dinner we were goofing around (she was probably asking me questions and asking "why" after everything I said but I really don't remember) when she says "you want another piece of me?" The funniest part is that she's talking about a literal piece. You know that game where you pretend like you eat a child's fingers, toes or maybe even their nose? Well, when she asked me the question, she's holding out her fingers for me to take a bite! And after every bite comes the question "you want another piece of me?"

And last, M. is potty training right now so of course someone has to go with her when she has to go. She usually asks me to if I'm around. So the other day I take her to the bathroom and she says "I NEED you to go!". Apparently, she doesn't like doing #2 with someone in the room!

M. started her first day at preschool today and T. started his first day at kindergarten. I'm hoping they are having tons of fun and I'm sure school will result in more stories for me to tell.

Original Post:
One of my best friends lives across the street and has three children. A 5-year-old boy T., an almost 3-year-old girl M., and a 9-month-old boy G. They can get on my ever-last nervers sometimes but those kids are some of my favorite people in the world. And last night they stayed with us while their parents went to school orientation (both preschool and kindergarten). Here's just a few moments and quotes from the two oldest.

When M. and I went outside to let Levi go potty we heard police sirens and she says to me "Nana that's a police offiter" She calls me Nana because she had a hard time with words that started with vowels when she first started talking and even though she can say Anna fine now, Nana just stuck. When I told her that she was right, that it was a police officer she said "Police offiters help you".

Later, when Doug got home, he had to edit some video for work. The police officers had been escorting the Dixie Youth World Series winners home to Troy so his video included the police cars and their sirens. As soon as she heard it her ears perked up. She went over and sat beside Doug and watched him work. Then she kept asking, "where are you Doug", Doug told her that he was shooting the video and was behind the camera. She didn't understand so he says "You know how when somebody takes a picture of you, the person with the camera isn't in the picture?". She nods her head and then turns to me and says "Doug Doug says I'm in the picture".

Later, I was filling Levi's water bowl when she asked what I was doing. I said "I'm getting water for the dog". "What dog?" she asked, so I pointed to Levi. Then she says, completely innocently like I have no idea "He's name is Levi".

T. has recently developed a pretty bad fear of storms and while he was at our house he asked me how my phone told me when there was going to be a tornado. Herein lies the problem with not knowing what I child has been told. When I told him my phone didn't tell me, that a radio did, he was adamant that his mom told him that it was my phone. So, I explained to him that it's not on my phone, that it's a radio, that I have at my house, in my car, and at my work. (This is kind of a little white lie because at work I just have a weather program that warns me about severe weather, but sometimes I find it easiest to just simplify things.) Then I took him to our bedroom where this radio sits. I played the alarm sound for him that goes off when there is a storm. Next I asked him if he thought I could hear it in every room, and M. says "I can hear it".

Here's another moment with T. and his fear of storms that happened a few weeks ago. I went over to their house and the wind was blowing pretty good and the garage door was open. T. was standing in the doorway between the house and the garage with tears running down his face. Then he says "why do God and Jesus make the wind?" I told him that there was wind and rain to keep all the plants alive. Then he says, "but plants need sun".

T. has really matured a lot lately and when Levi had an accident he was the first to tell me. Then he asked how to clean it up. So I handed him a paper towel, the nature's miracle (great stuff by the way) and he went to cleaning. Then after dinner he took his plate to the sink and also took M.'s. But he was still very upset when his mom got home because he didn't get to have a sleepover. In the Spring of 08 we invited him over one night and pitched a tent in the backyard and had a sleepover and ever since then, he wants to sleep at our house all the time.

Hope you enjoyed these little moments. If not, I guess you had to be there!

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Strength in a Storm

Well, I've been slacking for a while in my goal of writing at least once weekly but I'm hoping to be able to commit the time again now. Just a few updates:

-You probably noticed the facelift. Let me know what you think. I personally think it looks WAY better than the green blogger template I had before but that doesn't mean there isn't room for improvement.

-We got a new puppy last Saturday. His name is Levi and he's a Yellow Labrador Retriever. He's only 6 weeks old and Doug and I are still getting used to having a baby in the house again. We did it before with Callie, but we ended up giving in and letting her sleep with us, if not in the bed, at least in our room where she could see us. We are determined not to let this one become dependent on sleeping with us because when he gets a little bigger he will be staying outside so we don't want him crying all night and keeping the whole neighborhood up. In the meantime, we are sacrificing a lot of our sleep.

Now on to what I really want to talk about today.

On July 14 we donated about 10 of the bears to the hospital. We didn't want to give them too many at a time because their storage space is limited. We left the rest of the bears at my parents house so that if needed they could be taken to the hospital quickly. I never dreamed that I would need so many of those bears myself.

First, my best friend knew someone who was told her child would not live and we sent a bear to her. Then a friend of that woman lost her child and contacted us to see if she could get one for her friend.

Then, last week, tragedy again struck our own extended family. One of Doug's cousins and her husband lost their 2-year-old twins. Our thoughts and prayers have been focused on them and I felt the need to be there for them in any and all ways possible. We picked out two bears to give them and my mom brought them down so that we could take them with us to the funeral. I was completely prepared to comfort this family. I was not prepared however, for them to comfort me.

You see, one of the first things that each member of the family said to us was an apology. They told us over and over how sorry they were that we were having to go through this. Of course, the anniversary of losing Logan was just two weeks prior to their loss and hearing of it did bring back the pain of those first few days but I couldn't imagine how they could be worried about what we were going through while they were dealing with such a horrible tragedy.

Then I remembered myself, apologizing to my aunt, who had lost her own 11-year-old son many years ago. Before the funeral, I told her I was sorry because I knew it was probably hard on her and brought back so many bad memories. Now I know what she was going through.

It is hard to attend a funeral, especially the funeral of a child after losing a child of your own. It's hard because you do have memories of your own child's funeral and the pain you were feeling at the time. However, the memories aren't the hardest part. The hardest part is watching these people that you know and love, and understanding to the utmost degree how they are feeling. Understanding exactly what they are going through. Recognizing your actions in theirs. Knowing what is coming in the moments, hours, days, weeks, months and years ahead.

This particular family is very strong. They have already begun to look at the ways the death of their twins is glorifying God. And honestly, that's pretty amazing. We had time to prepare for the fact that Logan could die. For the 12 days I was in the hospital and the 17 days Logan was in the hospital we were faced with the very real possibility that Logan could die. And we recognized God in our situation and prayed that he would send us a miracle and allow Logan's life to glorify God. I can't speak for Doug, but I never once asked myself how Logan's death could glorify God. Not until after he had died. Not until I started reading other people's stories. Not until I got past the beginning stages of my grief journey. Not until I accused God of not saving my son.

But the truth is that He did save my son. He took Logan away from pain, sorrow, and even death and gave him eternal life. And though I have no tangible evidence to give you, I know Logan's birth and death glorified God. It made me dig deeper in my faith, made me see God in my every day, helped Doug and I bring God into our relationship more than ever before. And the fact that this couple, who just days ago lost their children so unexpectedly, without any warning, is already seeing God and his glory in their situation makes me feel humbled and ashamed. I wish I had been as strong in my faith one year ago as I am now. I wish I could have really seen God, and his presence in my life then, when I most needed it. But after all, I am only human and I sin. I am not perfect, and I never will be, but my goal in life is to work to continue to be more like Jesus every day. I WILL struggle, I WILL fall, but if I continue to get back up and try again, I know God will be in my life and will reunite me with my son once again.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Praying for Stellan

Stellan is home now! He never had to be airlifted to Boston and gets to wait at least a little while longer for his surgery.

Stellan is going to be airlifted to Boston to have another surgery. This is probably going to mean being dependant on a pacemaker for the rest of his life but as his mom said "If he ends up with a dead AV node and is pacemaker dependent for life, at least he'll have a life."

Last night Stellan was actually SVT free for an hour and a half which was a nice break for him and for his parents. Please continue to pray for Stellan and his family, for a safe trip, wisdom for the doctors, success in the surgery and for a quick recovery.


I know not many people read this, but for those of you who do, please be on your knees in prayer for Stellan. Long story short, he was diagnosed with heart problems at 20 weeks gestation and they thought he would die in utero, but he was born alive and without any of the heart problems he had been encountering. Then at about 4 months old his heart problems reappeared. Since then, he has been in and out of the hospital and had surgery. He's in the hospital now and things aren't going so well.

After what we went through with Logan, it's hard to see another Mommy going through this. Stellan and his family need prayers for health, faith, wisdom, and comfort in the coming days. Hopefully I will be updating soon to say that Stellan is doing much better.

Monday, July 13, 2009

My Mission

One year ago today Doug's parents, Grandmother and Aunt came to see Logan. We had already been told that his kidneys were not functioning properly and he had started swelling up. When I went in to see him it was so heartbreaking I just cried.

Doug had to leave for work early the next morning so we had told the nurses that we would be back early to see Logan. Around 4:30am the NICU called us. They said that they wanted to prepare us because they had changed Logan's ventilator to a bigger one and his color was slightly gray because his oxygen saturation levels were low. Doug and I decided to go on to the hospital.

When we got there Doug noticed that his eyes were open and I think I knew right then that he was saying goodbye. We stood over him for a few minutes and then the nurse practitioner took us aside to explain what was going on. They told us that Logan wasn't getting enough oxygen and that they were making plans to possibly transfer him to another hospital that had a different kind of ventilator. They then showed us to a room where we could sit and talk. Doug decided not to go to work and I layed down because I was worn out. We called my parents and asked them to bring me some clothes (I was wearing my sweatpants) and the breast pump so that I would have them if we went to the other hospital.

Then the nurse practitioner came in. She told us that Logan was deteriorating quickly and that we needed to go in. She warned us that the nurses were performing chest compressions. It is all like a big fog to me really. I remember walking into the NICU and going over to Logan. Doug was standing behind me and I reached out to touch him. The nurses were talking and the machines were beeping but it was like I was underwater. I couldn't really hear anything. Until the nurses asked me if I wanted to hold him. I said yes and they got us two chairs. I sat down and they handed me my precious little boy. Doug and I were both crying and I didn't want to let Logan go but I handed him to Doug and Logan breathed his last.

The nurses told us we could go to the room and they would unhook Logan from all of the wires. They brought him to us all wrapped up and we sat holding him for quite sometime. It was a crazy morning and eventually we left with Logan to make the drive to Troy to the funeral home.

When I look back, the moments immediately prior to Logan's death were very peaceful. I knew he was going to heaven and that he would be okay. The hardest part for me was standing by Doug when he called his parents to tell them. I can remember his words and the look on his face like it happened 2 seconds ago. I don't think I'll ever forget that moment.

And then came the anger. I was mad at God, that he took my baby. I was mad at the chaplain, that he didn't come sooner. I was just plain mad. And I coped by planning: for the funeral, the cemetary, the stone.

I remember feeling like I should have said something. Like I should have yelled at the nurses to keep Logan alive or yelled at Logan to keep fighting. But I didn't say anything. Then at the funeral and the cemetary I wanted to rip open the coffin and just pull him out. I wanted to scream at everyone to leave me alone.

The past year has been hard. But we've made it and we're stronger for it. Yesterday at church we read the story of Amos who was called by God to deliver a message and then rejected by the people of Israel.

12 Amos answered Amaziah, "I was no prophet, nor have I belonged to a company of prophets; I was a shepherd and a dresser of sycamores. 15 The LORD took me from following the flock, and said to me, Go, prophesy to my people Israel.
The priest talked about realizing the mission God is giving us and that we have to be open to it, even if we don't think we want it. I cried all through his sermon. I felt myself thinking "I don't want this God". I don't want to be the woman whose baby died. I don't want to be the one to comfort other women because I've been in their shoes. I don't want to be making these bears to help other mothers of angels. Because I want my son here.

But that's not God's plan. This is the mission He has given me and I just have to do the best with what I've been given.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

God's Ways

While I do believe that God is always there for us, no one has convinced me yet that God is in everything we do. When I accidentally send an email to the wrong person, or fall and hit my head on a window sill (both things I've really done) I just don't believe that God is there, making that happen for some reason. But sometimes, He really does work in mysterious ways in our lives. Sometimes things happen that give you goose bumps and you know that He made it happen.

Yesterday, my boss walked into my office with another man. He asked me if the guy looked familiar. As I sat there looking at the guy I knew I recognized his face but I could not, for the life of me, figure out where I had met him. Then the guy says "I sat in front of you at SE200 training in Colorado". Immediately I knew who he was, Hank.

In May 2008, almost exactly one month before I was admitted to the hospital, I went to Colorado for some training on some new equipment we were getting at work. Hank was from Oklahoma and his company was getting the same equipment. What you have to know about all of this is that I went to Colorado the day of my 20 week ultrasound. I was showing those pictures off like a proud mama should.

When Hank walked into my office he looked at the pictures of Logan that I have hung on my walls and I thought to myself, oh boy, I'm going to have to explain all of this. I've explained the story many times before. Putting his pictures on my walls encourages people to ask and I normally enjoy telling them all about him, but with it being so close to the anniversary I knew it was going to be hard.

Hank told me that he moved to Alabama and is working for a company that may do business with us. He was basically here to do a sales pitch and so we went into a meeting room for that. After the business part was done, my boss left. And Hank, the guy from Oklahoma who I met in Colorado and is now living in Alabama, pulled me aside.

He asked me if the pictures were of my baby and I immediately said "Yes but he passed away". And then I got the shock of my life when Hank said "I heard that and I wanted to tell you that you are not alone". I asked how he had heard and he told me that he couldn't remember but that when he did hear about it his heart sank. "No one should have to do that" he said, before telling me that he and his wife had lost a son to a cord accident 10 years ago. Tears welled up in my eyes as he told me his story and let me tell him mine. He asked my son's name and told me his son's. He told me that if I wanted to talk I could call him, not to hesitate. I thanked him for sharing his story and sat down at my desk, amazed that such a coincidence could happen.

And then I realized that it was no coincidence. God put Hank in my life. He introduced us at a happy time and reunited us when I needed it most. Hank also told me that after their son, his wife had a miscarriage and then had fertility problems, which happen to be similar to mine. He told me that they went with Clomid for several months and then decided to give up. They already had a son before the stillbirth and thought that would be enough. And the very next month, they got pregnant with a little girl they named Anna.

God gave me HOPE yesterday through a guy named Hank.

Friday, July 3, 2009

Father and Son

Most new dads hold their child for the first time just moments after the child is born. For Doug, it was 7 days after Logan's birth before he was able to hold his son. But he was just as happy, just as proud as any new daddy.

From the beginning, Logan responded to Doug. Logan's heart rate would sometimes get too high or too low in the early days but when Doug would talk to him it would always level out. You could feel the love between them just watching them together. It's a love that's still there in our lives every day. Sometimes it's a painful love, but it's always there. Just as Logan is always with us.

Monday, June 29, 2009

I left the hospital, for the first time in 14 days, one year ago today.

It was a strange feeling to walk out of those doors. To leave the nurses and doctors who had been my constant companions for so long. But we left with so much hope. We left knowing that some day we would be leaving for the last time with our son in our arms. We didn't know that day would come so soon or be so sad but we knew it would come.

I was so glad to be able to leave that day. But I would have stayed in that hospital bed for the rest of my life if it meant I could have my son here with me.

Just a quick note about this weekend, Logan's birthday was a very peaceful day for us. A hummingbird flew right up to Doug that morning and when we did the balloon release a big black butterfly flew all around us before landing in the garden.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Happy Birthday Sweet Boy!

I had been in the hospital for 11 days (having small contractions off and on that were controlled with different medications) when I went into labor. It was around 7:30 or 8pm when the contractions started and Dr. H started giving me the first of many labor-stopping drugs. She had told me the first day that she admitted me that when it's true labor there's really no way to stop it but the only way to determine if it's true labor is by trying to stop it. When the nurse checked me she said that I was possibly even less dilated than I had been when I was admitted. We took that as a great sign and I tried to relax and even sleep. As the contractions continued, Dr. H tried more drugs. Finally, I was given delalutin. That one made me woozy. I could only talk in one or two word sentences and I would wake myself up mumbling. According to the monitor the contractions seemed to stop and I was in no shape to explain whether or not I was feeling contractions. I honestly think that I was because I would wake up every few minutes but I had no sense of time so it was hard to tell the nurse. My parents even asked Dr. H if they should call Doug up to the hospital (he was in Troy at the time) just in case. Dr. H's opinion was that even if I was in true labor I wouldn't be delivering until the morning so the best thing to do was let Doug get some rest and for him to come the next day if I was still laboring.

Then around 2 or 2:30am I told my mom that something had changed. I felt a lot of pressure and like my body was pushing on it's own. She got the nurse and as soon as she checked me she said, "It's time to have a baby". Then, chaos. Labor and Delivery nurses, Dr. H, and the NICU nurses and nurse practitioner came running. My room filled with people as my nurse began to instruct me on how to not push and then how to push when the time came. You see, I'd never gotten the chance to go to Lamaze class so I was learning as I went (while on the crazy drugs I might add). My doctor got ready and she and the nurse were telling me "push hard because we don't want baby sitting in the birth canal too long" and then "push gently because we don't want to hurt baby". It was extremely confusing, especially because of the meds. But after 2 or 3 pushes, out came the baby and the first thing I hear is "It's a boy" coming from the nurse and then my doctor saying "It sure is".

My parents had called Doug and told him to come to the hospital a few minutes before I actually started pushing and he decided to call back to remind us about the camera. It was too late and my dad told him that he had a son. Doug was shocked along with the rest of us. We had forgotten all about the camera. Dr. H and all of the nurses were shocked by how quickly I had fully dilated and that the baby looked so healthy.

Logan Wayne Gooden was born at 2:42am weighing 1 lb. 10 oz. and measuring 13 in. long. After about an hour I was taken to the NICU to see Logan. Because Doug was not there yet my parents decided to stay outside so that Doug would get to see him first. So I was in there by myself.

You have no idea how incredibly strange it was for me. To be honest, I didn't feel like I had any connection to this little baby laying in front of me fighting for his life. They could have been showing me someone else's baby and I don't think I would have known it. You see, I don't think I had truly realized that I was having a baby yet. When I was admitted to the hospital I was feeling sporadic movement but not the pokes and kicks of a full-term baby. Then I was told that I was having a girl. We had been calling this baby Emily for over a week. And on top of all of that I was not able to hold my son or touch my son before he was wheeled away. I was given approximately 2 minutes to look at him but as I've said already, I was on some crazy drugs. So when I looked down at this tiny little baby with all his boy parts just hanging out there, I didn't have any real attachment to him. I knew in my mind that he was my son, but that "motherly love" just wasn't there.

While I was standing there looking at him a doctor I had never met was telling me all the good things (just one hour after Logan was born, he was receiving no oxygen, only breaths through the ventilator, which was a very good sign as far as his lungs were concerned) and the bad things we would be looking for (brain bleeds, the need for blood transfusions). She explained that there could come a time when we would have to decide whether or not to continue treatment. The nurses were talking to me too, having me take pictures and taking pictures for me of my hand with Logan to show how small he was.

About an hour later Doug got to the hospital and we went in to see Logan together. We had to give the NICU phone numbers to be able to reach us and we were each given bracelets allowing us to go into the NICU.

I stayed in the hospital until Sunday afternoon. We would go visit Logan as much as possible but I did a lot of resting in those first few days. I had been planning to breastfeed and the NICU nurses said that would be the best thing for our little baby but obviously he wasn't ready, so instead a lactation specialist was sent to my room to show me how to pump and every three hours I went and delivered milk to the NICU. On Sunday Logan got his first meal of breastmilk, pumped directly to his stomach through a feeding tube. Things seemed to be going so well.

And to tell you the truth, I relaxed a lot. I had been so terrified that something would happen to cause the baby to die before it was born that knowing that he was born alive and was now in good hands made me feel so safe. The doctors continued to remind us that things could change for the worst in a moment but instead they just kept getting better and better.

And just so you know, I did finally get my "motherly love" on July 1, when I got to hold him for the first time. It was an AMAZING feeling!!

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

23 Weeks 2 Days

One year ago today, at 23 weeks 2 days, I went to see my OB. I knew something wasn't right but expected it to be something minor.

When Dr. H came in to see me the mood was very light. She measured my uterus and used the dopplar to let us hear the baby's heart beat. Then she went to examine me and said words I will never forget "You are 3 - 4 cm dilated, we're going to the hospital". Everything from that point on was a blur. I went to call Doug and realized that I had left my phone in the car. My mom ran to the car while I was taken (very quickly I might add) into the ultrasound room. Because they thought I was leaking amniotic fluid we were glad to see quite a bit of fluid still in the sac. I was then taken back to the exam room to wait for the paperwork so that I could be admitted to the hospital. Sitting there, I called Doug and told him to come to Birmingham. He was only an hour away but it felt like forever before he got there.

My mom was with me as I was wheeled to the hospital, begging the nurse to tell me if my baby was a boy or a girl. I was immediately given an IV filled with magnesium sulfate to stop labor, a steroid shot to help the baby's lungs develop, antibiotics because of the infection in my uterus, and a catheter because urine output has to be monitored when you are on magnesium.

My dad beat Doug to the hospital and for whatever reason, seeing him walk into my room made it all so real. So real, in fact, that I had to ask him to leave. The doctor came to see me, probably more than once that day. I was told that no one knew the sex of the baby but that because of the amount of amniotic fluid they believed that it was the infection causing the leakage. I was also told that I would be on bed rest for the rest of my pregnancy. It was explained to us that if we didn't make it to 24 weeks in the pregnancy, there was virtually no hope for the baby but that every day after 24 weeks was a huge victory.

Throughout the next few days, the situation changed several times. After another ultrasound in the hospital I was told that I still had enough fluid and that I was having a baby girl who we named Emily Rebecca. There was a point where my doctor even talked about releasing me to my mom's house, just 10 min. away, where I would still be on bed rest, but not in the hospital.

That never happened. A few days later, at another ultrasound we found out that all of the amniotic fluid was gone. It was determined that I had been leaking fluid the whole time and that now it was empty. I was told that the fluid could build back up but the chances were slim. Dr. H decided that the best course of action was to keep me in the hospital where I could be constantly monitored. If at any point my health was in danger the baby would have to be delivered, but in the meantime, the best thing for the baby was to be inside of me, growing as much as possible.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Losing him

One year ago today was my husband's first Father's Day. Although we didn't know it at the time, it was also the day we started to lose our son.

The problem started in the middle of the night. I can remember sitting in our bed and crying, praying "please don't let me lose our child on Father's Day". I thought about waking Doug up and having him take me to the hospital. Maybe I should have. But I didn't, I convinced myself to get some rest since I wasn't in any pain, there was no bleeding, so surely everything was okay.

When I did wake up, I read my pregnancy book, talked to some people and decided that it was most likely a very minor issue, something that happens to lots of pregnant women. Doug and I relaxed that day. We really didn't do much of anything. Never knowing that our lives would change forever the next day.

If I had it to do over again, I would have had Doug take me to the hospital that night. It's not that I think it is my fault that Logan died. I honestly don't think going to the hospital that much earlier would have made a difference. Because if it had been in God's plans for Logan to live on this earth, he would be here now. That was not God's plan. I don't know why, although I wish I did. However, I think some of the what if's would be gone if I had gone in earlier. We might know, more difinitevly, what exactly happened that caused the premature labor. Knowing that, might ease some of the questions that will come with a subsequent pregnancy. And if we had gone that night, my husband would have been with me.

But we didn't go. We spent a peaceful day at home, the last day we would spend there together, as a family.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

One year ago yesterday I had my fourth ultrasound. The morning of my 18 week ultrasound I had drank orange juice for breakfast (I truly craved it during the pregnancy) and during the ultrasound we found out that it made the baby pretty active. In fact, Logan moved around so much the technician could not get good pictures of his heart. So they made me an appointment for the next month and told me not to drink any orange juice. Doug and my parents came with me. It was the first time my dad had seen an ultrasound and he was really excited to see his grandchild.

Little did I know at the time that exactly one week later I would be admitted to the hospital. Looking back, it was the calm before the storm. You see, for whatever reason, early in my pregnancy I was terrified that I was going to miscarry. And before I even got married I had fears of infertility. So when I got to see that little baby, moving around (even giving us a thumbs up one time) I felt like the time of worry was over. Little did I know, it was just beginning.

When and if I get pregnant again, I know I will worry. I've already noticed the fear of infertility (see previous sentence), I will fear miscarriage early on, then will come the fear of the cerclage surgery that I will have performed, and the slight risk of infection or delivery at 12-13 weeks. Next will be a fear of a fatal diagnoses (such as Trisomy), pre-term delivery and stillbirth. And even if I make it full term and my child goes home with me healthy, there's still SIDS to worry about. All of these are things that happened to women in my grief support groups and the sad part is that there are many more worries I didn't bother to mention.

How I wish I could be a naive pregnant woman again! However, I'm not saying all of this to take away anyone's naivete. I'm saying this to point out that even for me, worrying is pointless. It's pointless because the truth is that every life (from the tiniest little bunch of cells to a 100-year-old man) is in the hands of God. We can't spend our whole lives worrying, we just have to trust Him.

Take my worries for example, if I allow them to, they could take over my life. Because the fact is that as a child grows, the bad things that could happen to them only multiplies. It never decreases. Even after the risk of SIDS goes away, there's plenty of other things that can happen to a child.

But if we put our faith in Him, we can live without the fear. It's an extremely hard thing to do, completely trusting in God and His plans; but it will provide peace in our lives. If we put our task to the Lord in prayers, He will help rid the worry from our hearts.

Friday, June 5, 2009


Doug and I like pets. Total we've had 3 firebelly toads, 1 pacman frog, 1 chameleon, 1 betta fish, 2 leopard geckos, 1 bearded dragon, 3 cats and 2 dogs.

While we love each and every one of our pets, the dogs ("our girls" as we call them) have become like children for us. They are spoiled. We got Callie from a pet store in town and Bella was given to us because as a puppy she was a biter and was biting the one-year-old daughter of her previous owners.

Lately I've been watching pretty much every episode of The Dog Whisperer. Our dogs are not BAD but they're not always good either. Bella likes to run... out the door... into the street... and make us chase her. She also likes to chew... everything. Her favorite pasttime lately has been to get "the cool stuff off the table" (ex. my orchid). We've even come to believe that she is pushing the chair out from the table to use it as a step.

Callie is a barker. She barks at the neighbor's dogs, the vacuum cleaner, a trash can that has been blown over. She also wants to stay outside all the time... in the rain. When we call her to come inside she likes to hang out at the very back of the yard and wait for us to resort to getting out treats to get her to come inside.

So I've been watching Cesar Millan and I've been listening. I've been trying to implement his practices into my life. Exercise, discipline and affection, in that order. I've been getting up every morning almost every morning at 4:30am to walk the dogs and taking them for another walk in the afternoon. I'm practicing my "Tsst" and the perfect touch. I'm noticing my energy (whether I'm being calm assertive or just frustrated). And I'm seeing a difference. It's not going to happen overnight. But when we are on walks and I ask the dogs to sit because a car is coming they do it. (Well, most of the time anyway.) Last night while Doug and I were laying on the bed reading our Bible reading Bella went into her kennel and laid down instead of jumping up on the bed.

I can make them better dogs if I provide them what they need. And the amazing thing I've come to realize through all of this is that God ALWAYS provides us with what we need. He never neglects to walk us for one hour of extra sleep. He never stops throwing us the ball and letting us bring it back, no matter how tired His arms are. He provides us with all of the exercise in faith that we need.

In the Old Testament there is a lot of talk about discipline too. There's a lot of sections about the punishment the Israelites will receive if they break God's laws. I happen to believe in a merciful God so some of this reading is hard for me to swallow. But I think the main thing is that God does discipline us, but not quite in the way the Old Testament talks about. I think God's discipline is more like Cesar's. Cesar doesn't hit the dogs, he doesn't yell at the dogs. But he does provide rules, boundaries and limitations for the dogs and corrects them when they overstep. He "Tsst's" them or touches them to remind them of the rules. And I think that's how God works. He set up rules in the Bible. The Ten Commandments is an obvious one but if you look closely pretty much the whole Bible sets up rules, boundaries and limitations for us to follow in life. And when we start to overstep he reminds us. And helps us refocus and behave.

And always there and present is the affection he bestows on us by way of His blessings. Our family, our friends, our pets, our homes, our jobs, and so much more.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

11 months

Logan would have been 11 months old today.

It's hard to imagine.

Next month we'll celebrate his birthday with our family and we'll miss him no more and no less than we have everyday since he left us.


Wednesday, May 20, 2009

A Journey

Have you ever read the Bible? I mean really read it? I read a Children's Bible as a child, probably more than a few times. And I can tell you lots of stories from the Bible, but I've never actually read it, word for word. I tried a few times. When I was in high school and I got my first job my mom told me that I should just spend the money I got in my first check so that I would get the enjoyment out of it and see what I was working for. I don't think I spent the whole check, but I did spend some of it and the first thing I knew I wanted to buy was a Bible. I'm pretty sure that most of the rest of the money went into savings so I could buy my car. Hey, what can I say, I was sixteen!

When I bought that Bible I told myself I was going to read a little bit everyday until I could say that I had read the whole thing. I even sat down with a highlighter so that I could highlight some of my favorite parts to come back to later. But Genesis is tough! A lot of it is just so and so begat so and so who begat so and so... you get the idea. And when you finally reach the end of Genesis and move into Exodus, it doesn't get much easier. It starts out like this:

"Now these are the names of the children of Israel, which came into Egypt;
every man and his household came with Jacob. The sons of Jacob 2 Reuben, Simeon, Levi, and Judah, 3 Issachar, Zebulun, and Benjamin, 4 Dan, and Naphtali, Gad, and Asher. 5 And all the souls that came out of the loins of Jacob were seventy souls: for Joseph was in Egypt already. 6 And Joseph died, and all his brethren, and all that generation. 7 And the children of Israel were fruitful, and increased abundantly,
and multiplied, and waxed exceeding mighty; and the land was filled with
Exodus 1:1-7

I never finished Exodus in high school. Then in college I participated in the Catholic organization, at the time called FOCUS. I started going to Bible Studies and spent a lot of time hanging out with some really fun people. I started reading the Bible again, from the beginning, in my spare time. Then summer came and the student missionary I had befriended left to go to another campus. And all of the friends I had made graduated. And I started dating this great guy, who was Baptist and not bothered that I was Catholic. None of this is an excuse mind you, I'm just telling the facts.

When Doug decided to become Catholic and started going through RCIA, we spent a lot of time talking about scripture but we still didn't read it. Then we got married and I started working. We bought a house and then I got pregnant. At first during my pregnancy I was determined to become a better Christian. But then I was admitted to the hospital and told that my baby could be born too premature to live or could live but have severe handicaps. The 12 days I spent in the hospital were not a particularly good time for me as a Christian. I'm not proud of it, but I didn't pray a single time while I was lying in that bed. I was afraid of crying because I had convinced myself that if I really let it all out and cried that I would go into labor again. I think too, I was in denial. I didn't want to give up the false sense of control that I had. Because I thought that if I just laid there and did all the things the doctor told me to do then I could get through this without laboring and have full term baby. I didn't want to give up that control by leaving it up to God or anyone else. Then, after Logan was born I spent a LOT of time praying. But they were selfish prayers. And while I know God doesn't blame me for that, I've come to realize that that's not what praying is about. Too often we pray only when we need something and forget to pray when we've gotten something, even if it's the thing we prayed for to begin with.

Being a Christian is a huge part of who Doug and I are but it takes work. And in the past two weeks we have taken a step in the right direction. We've started reading this book:

And I truly believe this time we'll actually read the whole thing. We've already read all of Genesis and we're a good ways into Exodus. And most importantly, we're reading it together. And we're discussing what we read. This version is divided into sections for each day, Monday through Friday and then a weekend section. Each section starts with a devotional and has questions to answer. Some of the questions are about what you read and others are about issues that can come up in a marriage or in life in general. It's actually been fun and it gives us quiet time to spend together and time to talk. And soon I'll be able to say I did it, I read the whole Bible!

Friday, May 8, 2009

My 2nd First Mother's Day

Mother's Day is this weekend and for me it is the start of the memories. Yes, I was 20 weeks pregnant by this time last year so there are memories from before but most of my memories of my pregnancy and Logan's life seem to start this time last year.

You see, last year was my first Mother's Day. I was so excited because I had just started to feel the baby (remember we didn't know the gender at this point) moving enough for others to feel as well. We spent that weekend at my parent's house because the Monday after we had our 20 week ultrasound and I was leaving for Denver for a week-long business trip after the appointment. We had two ultrasounds before this one but the 20 week one was the first where we could actually see our baby looking like a baby. It made it so real for me and I spent every free minute on my business trip looking at the pictures. I got back from Denver on May 16, 2008. One month later I was hospitalized, praying that my body would not go into labor so that my child could have a fighting chance.

So Sunday is my 2nd first Mother's Day. It's my first Mother's Day without my son. And it's going to be a very hard day. It's going to be a day that will begin a series of very hard days. So if you see me/talk to me and I'm not my normal self or you don't see me/talk to me when you expected to, know that I am dealing with a lot of "Last year on this day I was..."

On another topic, this blog was put together to further my mission to help other Angel Mommies by making teddy bears. And I want to update everyone on that mission. I have 6 teddy bears completely finished. Let me know what you think!

In addition to that I probably have 15 or so that just need to be stuffed. We took down the nursery stuff last weekend and turned that room into a crafting room for me. I'm hoping that it will help me stay organized and get more work done, but I've been so busy since we got the room ready that I haven't done any sewing at all. But the weekend's almost here and I have 5 bears cut out and waiting for me so hopefully I'll get them finished. I can't wait to be able to post a picture with 30-50 finished bears!

Friday, May 1, 2009

The Middle

I haven't really been feeling very uplifted or hopeful lately. I've been suffering from a lot of doubts. I've started asking the questions again, why Logan?, why us?, why me? Why does it keep getting harder? Haven't we been through enough? Are we just not meant to have children on this earth?

And when I start thinking like this, people tell me to relax, not to stress, of course we'll have other children. But the truth is that no one knows that for sure, no one can answer any of my questions. Except God. And He's in no hurry to give me the answers. Because He knows how the story ends. He knows whether or not we will have more children. He knows his/hers/their genders and the exact date and time of his/hers/their birth. He knows the exact time of his/hers/their death. And He is patient.

I am not as patient, I’m a planner. I sometimes think that if I just knew the answers I could be patient, I could wait. But if I knew that on May 1, 2010 I would be bringing home a healthy baby, would I really patiently await that day? Probably not. I'd probably I know I would be counting down the 365 days. I’d be trying to figure out exactly when I’d get that positive pregnancy test and exactly when the baby would be born and exactly when I’d have to go back to work. I’d be planning birthday parties and Christmases and I’d miss a year of my life.

If there’s one thing I’m learning through all of this it is that we have to take life the way God gives it to us: one day, one hour, one moment at a time. I can be very stubborn so it’s taking a lot to get it into my head, but slowly it’s getting there. While I was in the hospital, I was told that every day was a victory. I got twelve of them. When Logan was born the doctors told us that his condition could change in a moment. We got 17 days full of moments. When Logan died, people who had been through this grief before, told me to take it one day at a time. Even now, as far as my grief journey is concerned, I’m doing that.

I say all of this while I hold back tears, because I don’t want to wait. I don’t want to have to be patient. I want to know the answers to all of my questions. Now. But I know my God has not left me. I know He’s telling me, “Be patient, good things will come”. I know that however my story ends, it will be good.

But oh, how the middle hurts!

Saturday, April 25, 2009

The Good and the Bad

Yesterday was a BAD day.

First, I realized all of a sudden that June is almost here. I'm not really looking forward to that month.

Then I read MckMama's blog about Stellan's not so great test results. It made me think about the hospital stay she is enduring and in turn, the hospital stay we endured.

Then I watched Grey's Anatomy. If you watch the show, you know why I cried.

And to sum it all up, Doug and I took Callie (the Westie) and Bella (the Jack Rat) on a walk and Max (the cat) followed behind us like always. But yesterday was a BAD day, and while we were less than 30 feet away from him, he was hit by a car. Max was a great cat and luckily he did not suffer but it was so hard.

Today was a GOOD day.

We walked 2 1/2 miles for babies today.

There were hundreds of people at the event and it was a lot of fun.

Balloons were released in memory of the babies who died.

Did I mention that we walked 2 1/2 miles?

And Molly finished first! (from our small team that is)

I'm sure that everyone there had a story or a reason for being there, here's one. There was a wonderful Mommy who had a son who was born and died on the same day at just 20 weeks gestation. She was at the walk with her daughter who was born at 33 weeks and is now 6 months old. She told us that the babies were born 10 years apart and she told us how blessed they were to have their daughter.

Today was a Logan Day.

Before the walk we went to Jeffers Pets and we were asked about our shirts and told our story. At the walk people asked about our shirts, and we told our story. After the walk, we went to Logan's (Roadhouse, that is) and the waitress asked about the March for Babies.

And on another note...

This little guy was brought into our lives when we stopped by Petsmart after the March. I didn't realize I was ready, but I guess I am. Let me know if you have any name ideas!