Friday, October 4, 2013



It is amazing to think about how you have changed in the last 12 months!

You have become a big brother and a great one at that.  I have seen your heart grow with love for your sister.

You have expanded your interests to Bob the Builder, Mickey Mouse, Cars, and Bambi.  Trains remain your favorite though and your collection is growing and growing.

You've grown physically of course.  When I went to the hospital to have Emily you were just my little baby and yet just hours later you walked in the room a big boy.

You are completely potty trained, day and night.

You can count to 14 without missing a beat, know your ABCs, introduce yourself as Douglas Elijah Gooden and your sister as Emily Rebecca, can spell Eli, know all your colors, recognize stop signs, and can sing several songs all by yourself.

You say our meal prayer and bed time prayer, love to sing Holy, Holy and people always tell us how good you are at Mass (even when Daddy and I don't feel like you've been very good).

You like chicken, peanut butter and jelly and "dip" aka italian dressing.  You don't like potatoes unless they are french fries.

We call you an elephant because you seemingly remember everything.  When we went to our first high school football game of the season you said it was going to be "green and purple football", we were confused until we remembered that the last high school football game we took you to had uniforms of those colors.

You always let Mommy have the last kiss and will tell everyone that Mommy loves you the most and that Mammaw spoils you.  In the last few weeks you have started to say "I already told you 3 times..." when something is really important to you.

Your best friends are Iyanna and Andrew but anytime you see kids you refer to them as your best friends.

And most of all, you are loved more each and every day.  Every time I look at you or think of you my heart fills to overflowing.  Remember how much we love you and that we will always have your back, even when it seems like we don't.


Thursday, June 27, 2013

Happy Birthday!


Happy 5th Birthday sweet boy!  Everything I can think of to say I've said a thousand times.  We miss you so much down here.

Your daddy and I have talked several times about what it would be like in our house if you were still here.  You would be starting kindergarten this year.  We should be meeting your teacher and buying uniforms, a backpack and so many other school supplies.  Instead we're fixing flowers for another trip to the cemetery.  Even though I miss you constantly some events make the heartache even worse and seeing all the other kids getting ready for school this year is one of them.

I often wonder if you would like trains the way Eli does or would it be some other obsession.  Would you know how to read?  Or write your name?  What kind of birthday would we be having today and who would we invite?  Would you be playing t-ball and soccer?  Eli and I talk about you a lot, especially lately.  When he sees a picture of you he says "Brother!"

Thank you for being such a blessing in our lives.  I have felt you with me so much lately and as much as I miss you, I know you are in a much better place and I look forward to seeing you and holding again one day.


Monday, May 20, 2013

4 Months

I really can't believe Emily is already 4 months old!  I really haven't updated much about her so I thought I would take a minute to do that.

Emily is 15 lbs. 12 oz. and 25.5 in. long.  She wears size 2 diapers and 3-6 month clothes.  I actually went through her closet on Friday and took out all of the 3 month stuff and put in the 6 month and I'm pretty sure she could wear those now too.

She sleeps through the night and naps well during the day.  She LOVES to nurse and has only been taking 2 4 oz. bottles at daycare until just last week.  It was kind of crazy because she was eating around 10am and then they were having to wake her up at 3pm to giver her a second bottle but as soon as we would get home she would want to nurse and then again less than 2 hours later.  It's all about nursing though, not eating.  Sometimes she gets so mad because she's getting milk after she's full :)  I'm really enjoying it though because Eli just wanted to eat and would finish quickly whereas I get to spend extra time with Emily.  And on that note, I am doing sooo much better with my milk supply this time around.  I'm getting 24-25oz. per day and she's only taking 10oz so I'm building up a great supply, so much so that we're running out of room in our freezer!  After the struggles I went through with Eli, that's a huge blessing for me.

Emily is such a happy baby.  She smiles easily and loves her brother and her daddy.  She likes being held and rolled over for the first time last Thursday morning.  I was actually getting ready for work when I heard her crying and when I got in there I found that she had rolled from her back to her belly.  She hasn't quite figured out belly to back yet.  She's a big talker and will tell you a story a mile long if you'll listen, heaven help us when she actually learns to talk!  She has already taken to a blankie which makes things easier for us since we're used to carrying Eli's around.

I started Eli on cereal around 4 months but Emily still has the tongue-thrust reflex so I'm planning to wait, hopefully until she's 6 months old.  When I think about that as 2 months from now it seems far away but when I think about it as just after Logan's Birthday it seems like it's just around the corner!

Monday, April 29, 2013


It seems like just yesterday I was a little girl playing house and now all of a sudden I'm a mom to two beautiful blessings.  Sometimes I'm overwhelmed with emotion just looking at them.  I'm talking breath-taking awe that they came from me.  Just today Eli was running down the hall and as I was telling him to stop running (because of his broken leg) it hit me once again, that feeling of unconditional, indescribable love.

The amazing part for me is I have loved other people's kids before.  When I was a kid my mom took care of a little girl from down the street and I loved her.  When my friend and I played house, she was my baby.  My sister and I always found creative ways to make her laugh, like head-banging to "Big Guitar".  Then I got older and started babysitting myself.  I loved a little girl who once said the f-word to me at 3 years old, another who was terrified of the toilet and a 4 year old with a head full of curls.  As I got older I fell in love with my friends' children and I honestly could not imagine loving my own children more.

I dreamed of my kids for as long as I can remember, their names changed throughout the years, as did their appearance and their imagined daddy.  And when I was wheeled into the NICU and introduced to Logan for the first time, I can remember wondering if it was all real.  In a way those 2 weeks are some of the most vivid memories of my life but at the same time they seem like a dream.  

When the nurse put Eli on my chest I could hardly believe it was real.  And as he has grown I've found myself holding on for the ride, sometimes wishing that this stage or that would be over or hurry up.  And then he looks at me and calls me mommy and it stops me in my tracks...

How did it go so fast? From playing dolls to being charged with taking care of and teaching these two.  How do I get this across to them, not to rush life away and to enjoy every experience.  How do I teach myself that same lesson?

Sitting there watching Eli today I almost had to remind myself that he's not just another kid I love, the love that overwhelms me is explained every time he looks at me, cause he calls me mom.

Thursday, March 14, 2013


In a way, I feel like I am starting this post the same way I started this blog, in a state of mourning.  And yet so much is different.  Four years ago I was mourning Logan and I will continue to for the rest of my life.  But today I'm also mourning lost dreams, 2 little souls that never existed and never will exist.  In fact, our plan only included one of them anyway, but both of them existed in different dreams for me.  Conner Phillip and Olivia Louise, the two names we had picked for our last child.  I had dreams for whichever one would join our family.  But today I know that (most likely) neither of them will.

I think Doug and I both knew as soon as things got interesting in the delivery room that most likely Emily was our last.  We started talking about that reality in the hospital and continued to talk about it in the weeks after Emily was born.  I tried dealing with it then, but it's just not the same as the moment when your doctor actually tells you.

The thing is, I know how blessed I am to have the 3 children I have.  I know that I am blessed to have 2 of them with me here on earth.  The issue that caused Logan to be born so early could have caused the death of all of my children.  God could have chosen not to give us any more after Logan or to not even give us Logan. I know God's plan is perfect.  But even knowing all of that, it still hurts to know that I will never carry another baby inside me.  I will never bring another life into this world.

I'm almost sure that I would have had some of the same feelings after a fourth baby was born.  Knowing that this part of my life is over, even by my choice, would have been an adjustment.  And in a way, I'm glad that God chose to give us this definite answer about future children rather than us questioning whether or not we should have more.  I imagine that if we had the opportunity to have another child I would have mourned whichever one I didn't get.  I imagine almost every woman who has children grieves to some extent when the opportunity to have more has ended.

So I am doing my very best to soak up every moment with Eli and Emily.  I don't want to miss a minute with them because I know very soon they'll be grown and there won't be another baby behind them.  I want to remember all the silly little things like the noises a tiny baby makes and the way they curl their little bodies when you pick them up.  And the big things like learning to crawl, talk and walk.

The grief I am feeling for Conner and Olivia is nowhere near as intense as the grief I felt for Logan.  I never heard their heart beats, felt them move or held them in my arms... but it is just as valid.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Emily's Birth Story

If you haven't already heard, Emily Rebecca arrived on Jan. 17 at 5:17 pm (that's 17:17 military time!) and weighed 8 lbs. 5.6 oz and was 20 3/4 in. long.

I had my cerclage removed on Jan. 14 and while the procedure went ok a little piece was stuck in my cervix.  My doctor told me that it was still in there but that the knot was out so when I started dilating it would simply fall out.  I had contractions pretty regularly at first and was beginning to think we might just have a baby that day or at least in the next day or two when they just slowed down and then went away.  The next day my doctor checked me again just to make sure everything was ok and she said I was only dilated 1 cm.  I have to admit that I was somewhat depressed because I knew that in order for my doctor to induce me at 39 weeks I had to be 2 cm dilated.  I love being pregnant but the last few weeks are difficult and I was very ready to meet my little girl.

On Wednesday we walked a little at the mall and that night I had a few contractions but as soon as I laid down they went away.  Thursday morning the contractions started pretty early for me but I didn't want to get my hopes (or anyone else's) up.  So I timed them by myself until they started coming every 3-4 min. for about 30 min.  By the time I told my mom they were pretty intense and very regular so we warned Doug and called the doctor's office to find out when I should go to the hospital (since I have the issues with my cervix I'm a little different).  The nurse suggested that I go ahead in and just get checked so mom and I headed to the hospital and called Doug to meet us.

Here's where the story gets a little crazy and a lot miraculous.  I was having tons of very painful contractions but they weren't showing on the monitor as strong as they felt.  In addition, every time I was checked (and they checked several times because I kept complaining) I was still only 1 cm.  Just as the nurse was coming to tell me that because I wasn't progressing I had to either go home or walk around the hospital my water broke.  She checked me again and said my water was definitely broken but I was still only 1 cm dilated.  She told us she was going to get me a room (I was in a recovery area to be monitored) and would be right back.  In less than 5 min. I told Doug he HAD to get her back in the room because Emily was coming.  She came in, checked and said "how is this possible, you're complete" then she told Doug to go get help.  They got me in a room, the doctor walked in, introduced herself (mine was out sick that day) and said "ok, you can push next time you have a contraction".  It wasn't long before the next one hit me and out Emily came.

Once Doug cut the cord the doctor set to work on me.  We learned that my cervix never dilated past 1 cm.  My uterus actually ruptured, allowing her birth.  It took quite a while and another doctor to repair the damage that was done.

At first I really had no understanding of how serious it was but then I started to catch on and notice all of the amazing little miracles that led to me holding our beautiful little girl.

First the second doctor who came in just happened to be in the hospital at that moment.  He is a very experienced doctor and was able to repair my uterus without giving me a hysterectomy and without even having to take me to an operating room and sedate me.  Doug and Emily were with me the entire time.

Second, according to one of my nurses I didn't lose nearly as much blood as would have been expected considering what happened.  She said that red-heads tend to lose more blood than others but by a miracle I lost less and they were able to make the repairs instead of removing my uterus.

Third, I was still at the hospital even though I had been there for several hours without progressing at all.  All of the measurable signs said that I was not actually in labor, but the nurses could look at me and tell something wasn't quite right, even though they didn't know what it was.  I was told by several nurses that they had never seen anything like what happened to me in their entire careers.  They said they had seen uterine abruptions but never any that ended without an emergency c-section.  The nurse practitioner from the NICU (who just came to visit us because she had treated Logan) told us that most uterine abruptions don't end with such good results for both baby and mama.  And everyone, including both doctors, told me over and over again what an amazing job I had done with as little medication as I received.

We still don't know the full implications of this experience.  There's a chance that Emily was our last miracle.  But I know that God was there and orchestrated the entire thing.  And however it all works out I know His plan is perfect... down to the verse we chose for Emily before we had any idea that any of this would happen.  I personally feel like it ties this whole story together with a nice little bow:
"For You created my innermost being: You knit me together in my mother's womb.  I praise You because I am fearfully and wonderfully made."  --Psalm 139:13-14