Friday, July 31, 2009

Baby Steps...

...not for Leah, but for me.

Before Leah was born, we had a desicion to make...where to put the baby. We have never had a baby in our room with us. From day 1 with all the others, they went straight from the hospital into the nursery in their own crib. But this time, we had no nursery or bedroom available, so we reluctantly set up the crib and changing table in our bedroom. I did not think I would like having the baby so close. I thought I would wake up to every grunt and every little noise the baby would make. But, to my utter suprise, I love having Leah in my room only steps from where I sleep!

But she is getting older (almost 5 months now!), and we have been putting off a move for her. Partly because we didn't know where she would go. Would we put her in with one of her siblings or give her a room to herself and two of the older kids would have to share? But partly because I just wasnt' ready to move her out of our room yet. So after our trip to Tennesee (pictures to come soon!), we too the plunge and moved Leah into Sam's room! I had a really hard time with it. Our room looks empty now! (I guess we will have to go shopping for a new chair or something!) Big brother Sam was so excited about his new roommate, and both the girls were disappointed to not be getting one.

Leah did awesome! Since she is sleeping a sound 10-11 hours each night and no longer needs a middle-of-the-night feeding, we knew she wouldn't wake Sam up in the night. We just didn't know how things would go in the morning. We had told Sam all the rules...no getting Leah out of bed, no giving Leah toys, etc. Well, on Monday morning, I woke to sounds of coos and giggles from Leah and could hear Sam sweetly talking to Leah from the monitor. I went in, and this is what I found.....




No one told Sam he couldn't blow bubbles for his baby sis!! I thought it was so cute, I did what any other good mom would have done, I got the camera and told him to blow more! Leah has done great in her new room with Sam and Sam has adjusted well to his new roommate. I should have known it would go so well...I just have a hard time letting go.

So here's the new set up. Oh and we chose Sam's room because my very talented Father in law made Sam a loft for his 4th birthday and he has plenty of room to share.


Isn't that loft amazing??? We are taking orders! (Just kidding, I don't think he will ever tackle another loft!)
I know, it needs a little feminine touch for Leah, I am working on it! We still have the changing pad and all her clothes in my room. One day I will have all of her "stuff" in her new room (Brian hopes it's soon!) but for now, baby steps....

Friday, July 17, 2009

A long road, but well worth the journey

When I look back at the last year, I am amazed at where we have come. The year was full of hard times and really, really great times. God has been so good. God has been so faithful. And God has carried me through it when I didn't think I could make it one more day. I wish I could say that all along, I knew everything would be ok, but I can't. I knew God was in control and that he is GOOD, and I really hoped that God's plan would align with my plan....

One year ago today, at noon, I saw on the ultrasound screen as I sat in the doctors office the tiny perfect heart of our baby Leah. See....


We always wanted 4 kids. Our first three came relatively in our plan. So on June 30, 2008 when I took a pregnancy test and it was positive, we were very excited. But nervous too. We wanted 4 kids, but after 2 miscarraiges we thought God's plan for us was to have three kids, and I was so afraid that this pregnancy would end in a miscarriage as well. But on July 17th, I saw a perfect heart forming and beating strong! I still was nervous, and we weren't by any means in the clear. I started feeling VERY sick, which was not a surprise at all, but even more sick than I had felt with the other three. What was a surprise though, was the other symptoms I was feeling too. I would get up to make lunch for my kids and my heart rate would jump up to over 200 beats a minute! Quite scary! As it turns out, my thyroid had gone very overactive. And an overactive thyroid can cause miscarriage! My endocrinologist made an appointment for me to see a high risk OB with an ultrasound to "check for viability". I was 12 weeks, the same as when we had our first miscarriage, and my doc was trying to prepare me that we had probably already lost this baby. How do you "prepare" for that? My mind was whirling with thoughts and emotions. I had no idea how we were going to go through another loss like that, or how we would tell our kids....again. I prayed that God would allow this baby to survive and thrive, and I trusted in his plan and his goodness, but it was an agonizing week while we waited for the ultrasound.

On September 12, Brian and I drove down to Good Samaritan for our ultrasound and visit with the new OB. As soon as the tech started the ultrasound and I saw the screen, I started to cry! What I saw was a perfectly formed tiny baby and a heart that was obviously beating!!! See....

Look how cozy and comfy she was!

God is so good! My heart was filled with joy. I didn't want to take my eyes off the screen. The baby even "waved" at us!

But the journey wasn't over. It was really just beginning. My thyroid was untreatable because of a reaction I had had to the medication a while back, and the other treatments were impossible to do while pregnant. So my symptoms were treated and monitored, as well as my thyroid levels. And again...God is so good! Just over half way through my pregnancy, my thyroid levels evened out to just slightly overactive! But,also around the same time, at the 20 week ultrasound we found out the our little baby had yet another hurtle to overcome.

A typical umbilical cord has three vessels that wrap around each other to provide nutrients and oxygen to the baby. (Pretty cool that the Bible says that a cord of 3 strands can not be easily broken...and that is how he designed the lifeline to a baby...with 3 strands!!!) Well, our baby had just two vessels to form the cord. Of umbilical cord defects, a two vessel cord is a common one. But to us it was not common and it was quite scary. A two vessel cord can mean nothing, but it can also be a sign of problems in the baby and can lead to problems as the pregnancy progresses. The biggest concern would be failure to thrive in utero and low birth weight, along with preterm labor. All issues that an overactive thyroid can cause too! So, my appointments got bumped to every 3 weeks until 32 weeks with an ultrasound at each visit. Then, I had, or got! to go twice a week for an ultrasound and non-stress test to make sure our baby was doing well. We had a wonderful doctor who took very good care of us and calmed my fears on many occassions...thanks Dr. Brenner! I even got some of the 3D/4D ultrasounds, which was very cool! These are a couple of my favorites...




All in all, I had about 15 ultrasounds of our beautiful baby (not once finding out the gender!!!) but none were as wonderful as when we got to meet our precious Leah Joy in person on March 2!


She is 4 months old now and I can't believe the road we took to get her here. She is truly a blessing to our family and the perfect finish for us! She is everything we dreamt about. God knew the plans he had for us and he fulfilled them even more than we could have hoped or imagined. As hard as the last year has been, I would walk it all over again just to get Leah at the end! (Although, I am so glad to know that I won't walk that road again! :) ) God is so, so good!!


I have learned so much over the last year. Lessons that will never be forgotten and that are too lengthy to go into now! But thank you to all of you who walked this road with us! Thank you for being the hands of God by providing meals and childcare when needed. For being a shoulder to cry on and an ear to listen. Thank you for going before the throne of God on our behalf to ask for protection for me and our precious baby Leah! I am so blessed with amazing friends and family!

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Beautiful sisters!

I had the pleasure of photographing these beautiful sisters the other day. I just LOVE their hair! And I love it that one of them has green eyes and the other has blue...but the same beautiful color hair. They had such sweet personalities too, although, little L made me work to get a smile out of her! What sweeties! Here's a couple from the session....