Fall

WARNING: This content might make you blush if you are part of my family or I am part of yours … or if Christian Grey makes you blush in NOT a good way.

A November Night

I peered into a bassinet and saw a full-term baby. My baby was a girl, and she resembled Rowan. Through a translucent, heavenly membrane—only a dream can produce—I saw Rowan with her father. Rowan was as she is now—a spunky, beautiful toddler. These two were in their own little world—separate from mine. I was occupied in my world with my full-term Rowan-resembling baby girl. I had nothing to offer them, over there, in that moment. Rowan was happy, healthy, and well taken care of by her daddy. Within those moments, my new baby consumed me—that world was hers and mine.

*Nine.

I placed my new baby upon my breast, and she latched on perfectly. I felt that pull on my breast and the sweet relief of my milk releasing. Following those moments, I placed my new baby upon my second breast.

All was perfect and easy and heart-warming. She was not pale or discolored; she was ripe and beautiful. There was no darkness, no syringes, no chaos. We were not in Room 14; we were in Heaven. My new baby was a healthy, precious, six-pound baby; she was not just 1.5 pounds.

And when I awoke, my heart did not hurt; I did not wish to fall back to sleep. My heart was at peace, and I felt happy. I felt grateful for this beautiful gift I was given in my sleep.

I was grateful to find healing. I need much more healing, as I’ve neglected my heart for too long.

Flashback to October

She lost herself. Somewhere between the inability to conceive a child, the money she didn’t have to conceive a child; somewhere between the shots, the egg retrievals, the lack of control over her own body and happiness. She lost herself somewhere between her very first, ill-fated pregnancy and the blood that poured out of her while tears streamed down her face. She was lost and did not understand who she was when she realized her babies could not be conceived by her. Pieces of her died when the happiest months of her life were taken too soon as her body proved unable to fulfill the needs of her babies in her womb. Her heart migrated from numb to shattered to bitter because her baby died that morning. And she was not her anymore.

She put one foot in front of the other. Saggy, unflattering leggings. Unattractive, over-sized t-shirts with milk stains. The frizzy buns. With her shoulders slumped, with her broken heart, living in fear and desperation, she just put one fucking foot in front of the other and gave the universe her middle finger for torturing her in such harsh, hellish ways.

730 days of this was too long to endure this grief. But what will “talking” to someone do? Could there possibly be any medication that could help? Was she depressed, or was her happiness doomed because her baby died? I mean, how does one carry on, and who really cares anyway? Of course her heart was hardened; of course she wanted to hurt those closest to her; of course she didn’t need anyone. She was dead inside. But—this girl carried a fire with her, a fire she always had. Deep down inside, there was a desire to burn bright. Her heart was numb; the next best thing was a drug.

The feeling he gave her was intoxicating. His kindness and flattery—she took the bait. With each **encounter, her fire burned a little brighter. What a sick drug; so addictive that she turned her back on her family—on her husband.

She’d hit the bottom. Absolutely rock bottom.

He craved her body, and she craved those feelings. A woman’s body can be so convincing, and she was that woman. A Queen. She was so heavily desired—until she wasn’t worth it anymore, because he loved someone else. Of course he did; he loved someone who was so unlike her. She was no longer worth the effort. What a stupid girl. What a stupid girl for being so smart but falling for a player. The hard crash and withdrawal from this drug left her feeling used, rejected, broken. How cruel of her to break her own heart—to betray the one who loved her the deepest and the hardest. She betrayed the man who touched her body in all the right ways and gave her more pleasure than anyone ever could, finding secret places with his body and making her cry out of pleasure. She left the man who studied her—inside and out—and cherished every ounce of her.

Present Day

I finally surrendered.

I’ve been seeing a counselor for about six weeks now, and it is the best thing I’ve ever done for myself. In addition, my medication has been adjusted, and I feel grateful for what I have versus angry for what I don’t have. My heart carries hope and has softened. I feel the depths of my emotions—the overwhelming, romantic love I have for my husband. My counselor has encouraged me to look at him differently; to feel him differently. She’s encouraged me to study my daughter’s beautiful face and embrace her touch when she hugs me or even rests her little arm on mine.

My counselor has advised me to live in fun. To have fun and be silly—live in my baby girl’s world for a bit each day. I asked her how I should heal my marriage. She knows our foundation is strong; she smiled and said, “Start with fun. Go have fun with your husband.”

We have spoiled our marriage rotten! Expensive dates; words of affection and admiration. Gifts and obsession and “I miss yous” … and—the best sex of my life.

Our bed hosts our dirtiness, our filth. Oh, if our walls could talk. The pleasure; the vulnerability. His body; his eyes. He yearns for me and takes my breath away. I’m obsessed with his sex; it builds my confidence and heals pieces of my heart. He is smitten with me and lights my fire.

I am happy today, and I will work hard every day of my life to maintain this spirit. I am grateful to have finally hit the bottom—for there is nowhere else to go but up.

*I was born and she died on the ninth—a day that belongs to her and me.

**Sexting; a single make-out session with some heavy petting.

There comes a time …

There comes a time in every girl’s life … when she starts her period.

It’s exciting. It’s also physically and emotionally uncomfortable. It’s just new and different.

I felt kind of vulnerable because I was on the younger end of my peers who “got” her period earlier than most. I felt a little isolated; I didn’t feel more mature, but I guess I was, at least physically…? I don’t know … a whole host of emotions really, which I guess is kind of the point. Hormones and emotions.

Nurses ask when the first day of my last period was. I tell them it was waaaaaaay back when in March 2014. But it was so much more than a period, emotionally. I even call it a “fake” period because it was induced by birth control pill-withdrawal after a two-week menstrual cycle. I barely even bled; my nurses were just trying to sync me up with Mary + intended mommies. I’d been holding up the show, so I did a quick “run-through” before spotting then preparing my lining …

My last “real” period was during Valentine’s Day 2014. I remember it well because I actually bled through my pants and onto my desk chair at work. My [male] boss saw my chair and inquired, but I literally did not think it was actually blood. Surely it couldn’t have been. But it was. And he knew it before I did. Aaaaaand it was pretty mortifying.

So, as I recall the first day of my last cycle in March of last year, I can’t help but acknowledge how much hope my heart held. Even though it had been and was broken, I prayed and begged for it to be THE last period. I so desperately wanted it to mark the end of hopeless and the beginning of my dreams coming true.

And it *did. It was the last period.

Today I got my period.

I went to the ladies’ room while holding Rowan. And then I saw it.

I looked into my baby’s eyes with some tears in mine and said to her, “Rowie, Mommy got her period!”

Today was monumental for reasons I’m still sorting out in my heart …

*Statements like these can never be completely true because of the place in my dreams and heart I hold for Emmanuelle.

Another Spring Has Sprung

How is a girl supposed to get through the in-between day?

The day after beta number one; the day before beta number two.

One year ago, I had two [4 week + 6 days] embryos nestled in my womb.

One year ago, I had Emmanuelle.

What a crazy ride. From then, when I was begging God for something—anything. To now—I reflect on my dreams finally having come true, and it’s already been a year.

Fear consumed me one year ago. My husband told me I didn’t even seem happy as he searched the iPhone app store for pregnancy- and daddy-related apps.

I was happy. I was terrified.

I had to protect my heart. The body does what it does, and it was supposed to absorb a significant [additional] amount of HCG from the day before to the next day.

I remember driving to work the next day after my second beta blood draw. I got a flat tire.

I decided not to tell my husband because who cared anyway? It was beta day number two. It needed to rise by 66 percent. IT ABSOLUTELY HAD TO RISE OR ELSE …

“2,081!”

“… Oh, and I got a flat tire!”

I don’t know why I reflect on these things, but I do.

Rowan is everything and more than I could have ever imagined. She’s impeccable. She brings me so much joy. I love her, my darling Rowie.

There’s someone missing. And I had her a year ago.

Those were my happiest days. I cherished every moment, not knowing my pregnancy would end so soon and abruptly.

When you know this is your one and only season, you cherish every moment—uncomfortable or not. And I was preeeeetty uncomfortable. the. entire. time.

No matter how many times I say it, write it, or think it, “I miss her,” just doesn’t do it.

But we will celebrate her and Rowan in two days—at the March for Babies!

Rowan met Dr. Levens, Nurse Mary, and my donor egg nurse, Pam, last week.

With a bit of muted excitement, Nurse Mary asked if there were any more embryos waiting for us.

“No, my two girls were my only ones.”

We admired beautiful Rowan, posed for pictures, enjoyed each other’s company. We hugged, and I told them I loved them.

And just as he’d told me many, many times before, Dr. Levens made his exit with this statement:

“Well, we’re not going anywhere …”

Unfinished

6.12.14

My booboo babies, I remember when I first started to feel your presence.

And now you look like little, precious humans. You have blessed me! You have brought me so much joy!

Your daddy says I am lighter now. He says that he doesn’t have to carry so much of my burden anymore; he can let his mind wander and question the world just like he always has. He finds it entertaining! I would have to disagree.

You have a good daddy. He does little things here and there for Mommy that just melts my heart—makes my day a little bit easier.

I am so happy you’re finally here. I knew you would bring me happiness. I can’t believe I get to feel this every day.

1.9.15

There’s very little significance associated with today …

… except that it is the ninth of the month.

I just hope she didn’t suffer. I hope she didn’t suffer in my womb. I hope Jesus numbed her discomfort in Room 15.

1.28.15

It’s a blessing to just be … after three years of infertility.

This winter I am not preparing for an IVF cycle. My first began two years ago.

My mother remarked how nice it must be to come home from work and spend time with our daughter … our baby.

No shots. No meds. No IVF.

We’re in family mode now—not at a stand-still. Our life isn’t on hold anymore. Our dreams have come true. Our hearts ache too, but for a very good *reason—she’s worth it.

I still hurt, and **it still stings—but the weight is gone. The heaviness is lifted.

After all the times I asked God, “When is this going to be over?”

I just want this to be over.

It’s over—done. I’m living it now. I’m living now.

It’s quite simple actually. *blessed*

*Emmanuelle

**infertility

Joy wakes me up in the middle of the night—because she’s hungry and is ready for her “diddy” to be changed. She eats well now—rarely turns blue.

Joy welcomes me in the morning and rests with her daddy while I go running. I have joy when I run—she’s mine; I no longer just daydream about her.

My running is going well; four mornings per week, I log some miles. Pumping is a phenomenal work out. *wink* I’ve reached my pre-pregnancy weight; in fact, I’m about five pounds lighter. *confident mamacita* I wear a bit more eye make-up these days; I put in a little more effort. Because I’m a mother, and it makes me feel beautiful.

Joy.

She keeps me on my toes and bursts my heart. There aren’t enough kisses. Her eyes couldn’t be more bright.

Her wardrobe is PINK. We cannot escape it; pink suits her complexion.

She talks about everything—sleeping, playing, stretching, eating—but she’s quiet too. A content little girl with those big eyes. Physically, she is very strong. And her strawberry hair grows—a head of peach fuzz after her baths.

WHICH SHE LOVES.

My little water princess for sure. She belongs in Nana’s Floridian pool.

My Papa is not well. Please, please pray for him. I want him to stay with us; he has lived a long life. I am grateful for his longevity and the memories created, but I want him to stay with us.

I pray for his comfort. I pray that he knows he is deeply loved and cherished.

My sweet Papa.

More Sharing is Caring!

I’m sending this information out into the blogosphere for those who live in the Washington D.C. metro area. And even if you don’t live in that area, this fertility clinic is worth it!

My fertility doctor is hosting this event. Dr. Levens is an amazing doctor!

IMG_2815

People often wonder how we were able to afford six cycles of IVF, *especially at our age. The truth is: We took out a loan. We’re paying off loans for education; you better believe I’ll take out a loan to have my family.

And my girls are worth every monthly payment until the end of time …

But – Shady Grove probably has some of the best financial plans around, and still maintain their expertise, care, success rates, etc. There’s no catch. Below are the financial plans my husband and I used.

Six Cycles of IVF (fresh or frozen): $20,000 (not including medications) – If you do not achieve pregnancy after six cycles, you get your money back. If you withdraw from the program prior to six cycles, you get your money back. My husband and I took out a loan, did five cycles (four fresh, one frozen), withdrew from the program, and got all our money back.

Six Cycles of Donor Egg IVF (one donor shared among three intended mothers): $35,000 (not including intended mother’s medications) – If you do not achieve pregnancy after six cycles, you get your money back. If you withdraw from the program prior to six cycles, you get your money back. Each intended mother is guaranteed at least four eggs, and if she doesn’t receive those eggs and must proceed with a new cycle, this “cancelled” cycle does not count against her six cycles. And if a cycle is cancelled, that intended mother has first dibs on the next round. My husband and I paid about $5,000 upfront for this program and took out a loan for the rest.

*My husband and I are pretty young. Most of our peers are just now getting married; few are starting families; and I don’t even know how many are struggling with infertility and paying for IVF. Some readers have made comments suggesting that I’m so privileged and lucky and rich to afford six cycles of IVF. I mean, yea – if that’s what you want to call it. Six cycles of IVF = privileged. While I am so content and joyful regarding the financial decisions my husband and I have made to create our family, I understand other couples choose a different path. I wish finances weren’t a part of infertility. It’s so unfair. I’ve shared what we did; it seems kind of do-able.

I love this fertility clinic so much! People need to know about it!

xoxo…

Misunderstood

It’s the little things—like wearing my black dress flats for work and noticing they are too big … outstretched from my pregnancy-induced edema.

I haven’t worn my flats for months. Who cares about shoes when your daily goal in life is to take care of chores at home then accompany your baby on her NICU journey?

I wore slippers during those days—for the most part. I got a little fancy on Christmas Day and wore boots. Whoa.

But the point is—I wanted my pregnancy. Duh. But I wanted the whole thing. I worked to achieve my pregnancy for a long time. I began missing it at week 18—thinking I still had at least 20 weeks left.

I’ve been misunderstood.

Well, maybe not. I understand my heart is hardened and full of poisonous things—save for my husband and baby girls.

What some people may not understand is that I feel no need to justify my emotions. Morally, I don’t quality them as “bad” or “wrong”. Regarding the death of my daughter, I do not evaluate my emotions on a moral compass and adjust them accordingly. I can feel however the hell I want to feel.

I mean, people tell me I’m bitter and miserable and sad and can only feel pain. No shit. Tell me something I don’t know. Tell me why my baby died.

But you have Rowan so your heart shouldn’t be filled with ugliness due to the loss of Emmanuelle.

I disagree. Watch your child die. Watch your dancing girl fade away … then feel the need to enlighten me of the ugliness I carry in my heart.

What I haven’t shared is that I have more respect for TTC sisters who admit to being jealous and bitter than those who pretend like they aren’t.

Because that shit is real. It may not be nice. It may not be Christian-like, but it’s real. There is something beautiful about vulnerability. When we allow our walls to fall down, we connect with people. When we present ourselves and all our imperfections, there is grace.

But—in all sincerity—if you struggle from infertility and literally do not feel an ounce of jealousy or bitterness toward fellow sisters, you are a saint. You have a heart of gold; good for you. I hope you use that gift of a heart in a powerful way to impact others’ lives. Because they need your touch. I need your touch.

I do not strive to win a gold medal in the “Pain Olympics”. I mean—I’m just in a shit ton of pain. Reprimand me.

Upon witnessing some of Rowan’s “downs” in the NICU, I pulled away emotionally. I could not lose her too. The thought of losing her … I would have crumbled. My heart would have been destroyed. I don’t take lightly thoughts of suicide; I have been clinically depressed for several years. If I would have lost Rowan …

I have life; I have joy because of my Rowie. And you know what? There are women far stronger than I.

Women who’ve lost both babies—even three babies during a single pregnancy. I couldn’t live.

A teenage girl who endures a cancer battle with her high school sweetheart, only to be rewarded 15 years later with five cycles of IVF; two miscarriages; a death-threatening first trimester carrying her rainbow baby; fucking pre-eclampsia; and a NICU journey starting at the ripe old gestational age of 26 weeks. How incredibly unfair.

A woman whose lost her best friend—her mother—to cancer and endures the loss of several pregnancies; a genetic connection with her children; and the opportunity to carry her babies—an experience that’s supposed to be the silver lining of donor egg treatment. Oh—AND—she has a heart of pure gold.

A woman who mothers her long-awaited baby for just a few days, resting on the promises of a birth mother who assures her for months that baby belongs in an adoptive home. All the joy and anticipation crumbling in a single moment. Where do you even begin to put the pieces back together?

If you are offended by my candid comments regarding TTC sisters who carry jealousy and rage, then—simply—you’ve not seen their Instagram memes and/or blog posts that suggest they—in fact—carry these emotions. And, you know what? I don’t think they’re ashamed of feeling that way, and they shouldn’t be ashamed. In fact, I’m proud of them. Again, I have far more respect for them than those who fail to admit they feel the same way because of societal expectations regarding manners … or whatever the fuck you want to call it.

It’s human nature. We struggle and fight to become the one thing we feel we are meant to be in this world—a mother. We envy those who’ve won their battles before we have without acknowledging the baggage they carry. All we see is the baby bump, and we are desperate for it. Good heavens, it’s just the way some of us are wired—myself included. How else do you think I’m able to identify these twisted emotions? Pardon my honesty.

It saddens me that a journal entry mentioning Emmanuelle turned into such a debate. My beautiful girl deserves more than that. And it’s not a guilt trip; I take full responsibility.

I’m also disappointed that I won’t get to share Rowan’s beautiful face with you. I’ve been waiting to receive her newborn three month-old professional photos to show you all what she looks like. But—this space isn’t safe enough for her. And I acknowledge that—though this is my journal—it’s on the fucking internet. It’s free for anyone to make of it what he or she will, I suppose. How naïve of me, right?

Tangent: I noticed today that a new follower has taken some of my language from a recent post and “written” a blog post of his/her own. And this blog post’s very little re-arrangement of words and phrases barely disqualifies it from being straight up plagiarism. A loved one of mine tells me I ought to be flattered. Would you claim photos of my baby as your own too? A very scary thought indeed.

Lovely women, you amaze me! You are so gracious! I truly admire your hearts and understanding. I pray for nothing but the absolute best for you all. May all your dreams come true. You have blessed me more than you will ever know. If you have not received a personal thank you from me, please do forgive me and know that I am so lucky to have you in my life. God bless each and every one of you.

Deja Vu

I posted a journal entry this morning. A reader commented that it was pathetic and that *** this excerpt was very hurtful toward fellow TTC sisters. I am somewhat of a people-pleaser, and I take criticism to heart. I certainly don’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings. I decided to remove my post because I am not emotionally strong enough right now to be that vulnerable.

Well, I am going to re-post it.

Some of my loved ones caught a glimpse of this post before it was removed; I feel confident that I won’t piss off every reader. I feel confident that I will continue to be loved and not judged by my family and close friends.

I am angry. I am bitter. This is part of my story.

Caveat: *** Regarding the apparent controversial excerpt below, I will be the first to admit that I was (and still am at times) extremely bitter toward and jealous of other TTC sisters. Is that the right attitude to have? Probably not. I can admit that. But I will advocate for myself: There is not a How To guide on surviving this road I’ve traveled. And, honestly, I cannot expect a fellow TTC sister who is now pregnant after six IUIs to understand the magnitude of my loss.

Love is messy. Man, life is messy.

Against my wishes, there is a lot of drama in my life. Certainly I know people who would welcome my drama into their own lives. Those who romanticize struggle and heartache. They’d like a little slice to keep life interesting; just enough to gain sympathy and recognition.

You want a little taste, but if you envy what I have, guess what? You can have the whole E-N-C-H-I-L-A-D-A. Because I’ll tell you what: I don’t want it. I didn’t ask for it. I dare you to walk an inch in my shoes.

I’m pissed off, yes. I strive to keep it simple. I’m a simple girl with simple yet rewarding goals in life. I’m not asking for the moon, people. I’m a minimalist by nature, yet my life is a fucking shit show—a soap opera. I would like a streamlined path in life, thank you very much. But—no—I get to hurt and watch the ones I love the most hurt.

I get to wonder what she would have looked like at Rowan’s age. I get to watch others have twins. She’s alive in our hearts. God bless you my dear loved ones who aren’t afraid to talk about her. I love talking about her. And I love crying about her because that’s what she deserves.

Bitter.

*** I’m so glad some of my TTC sisters are able to acknowledge my “success” now that they’re gestating and no longer enraged. I can only imagine how difficult it was for you to watch my pregnancy progress—a pregnancy that required twice as much of everything you’ve been through to achieve yours. I literally smirk when I think about it. I smirk like a bitter little bitch. You’re such a delight now, dear sister. Why were you so bitter toward me? Why were you so jealous? Would you have liked to experience five failed IVF cycles; the loss of yourself in the creation of your child; the actual loss of your child; and 11.5 weeks in the NICU?

There I go again—smirking.

Oh, but nothing beats Facebook. Sifting through others’ lives just to run across a photo of that acquaintance from years ago whom you were never quite perfect enough for. She gets to have a streamlined path in life. Congratulations, you’re pregnant after—what?—six months of marriage … How incredibly easy. No, darling, your life is not hard.

No doubt, if I weren’t pumping/breastfeeding, one would think I’m on my period. But—no. I’m not. This is just my heart right now. I haven’t had a real period since last February; my fake, birth control-induced period was in March prior to the transfer of my beloved embryos. Ah, yes. My two perfect blastocysts; my baby girls. My Emmanuelle. She was built; Mary and Daddy’s gifts created her on April 11. Nine months ago my baby’s life began, only to be burned to ashes six months later. And there’s no answer. No explanation. They found nothing wrong.

NOTHING.

And so, I suppose I will begin my period again someday. After all, I am only 27, and I won’t lactate forever. I will bleed, and it will be meaningless. I will not have ovulated; my periods won’t be normal. The shedding of my uterus will be in vain because I cannot conceive children naturally with my husband. My ovaries will float in the abyss of my infertile body, carrying an abundance of follicles that only create shitty eggs. So I’ll bleed for no fucking reason. It will be just as it were …

And would you like to know the question many people ask me? The question that hurts the most?

They ask if I want more babies.

And my answer is yes.

And it breaks my heart.

When’s your due date? January 2.

I’m a chump for the holidays. I get caught up in all the joy and fun.

There’s just something so magical about it all, isn’t there?

I typically experience the after-holiday blues around this time. It’s childish, I know. But I just can’t help myself.

Today is Rowan and Emmanuelle’s due date. Happy due date my darling daughters. Rowan is enjoying her day with Mommy and Sarabi in her baby pink onesie. She graciously accompanied me to Starbucks this morning. I snuggled her in our Sakura Bloom sling. It was magical. Show off my baby? Don’t mind if I do. No doubt, my baby Emmanuelle is enjoying her due date with our Heavenly Father. I love you Emme. What color onesie shall I imagine you in while you sit on Jesus’ lap? Grandma would know; she’s good with that stuff. Perhaps an ivory-colored onesie with some feminine flare. You are my brunette baby with a darker complexion; you would look like a beauty among the angels.

January 2: The end of the holidays. I remember 2012 … Shortly after the New Year’s holiday, it was time to move on with “normal” life. We were in the depths of our infertility journey, and I’d welcomed the holidays as pain medication for my aching heart. Little did I know, we would spend 2012 and 2013 child-less. I woke up one Monday morning – dark and cold – and my heart just ached. It just hurt so bad. My pain medication was gone; there were no more distractions. There certainly wasn’t a baby. My heart hurt that morning, but I bundled up and went for my run – passing Belle Haven Drive along the way.

I remember. I will always remember. And I am so thankful it’s over. I’m so thankful that today represents what it does and has brought a new meaning to the days after Christmas.

Because the joy doesn’t end today. The joy is just beginning …

82 Days

We have a 6-pound 12-ounce little princess who is keeping us on our toes, no doubt!

I was told preemies LOVE to be held and snuggled A LOT. I think my husband can attest to that. He has spent hours doing so …

My beloved let me sleep in this morning. Mommy ate some breakfast (chocolate cake) and took her medication (antibiotics for a UTI that must be chopped into a million little pieces). Now Rowie is just hanging out at the breast for however long she wants. Well – until it’s time to get ready for her eye exam.

Rowan has been home for two days now after spending 82 days in the NICU. I’m not as scared as I thought I’d be. Having her in a “normal” newborn environment sans wires and monitors – it makes sense. Of course, before I lay me down to sleep I check for her neck/head placement; her coloring; I check for moving air beneath her nostrils on that adorable button nose. I do this several times; I also rearrange any cloth near her neck. “Do not obstruct my baby’s airway, swaddle blanket. D’ya hear?”

I mean, Rowan and we spend very little time sleeping at the same time, so the hours of not monitoring her airway, coloring, etc. are few.

She de-sats, gets a little ahead of herself during feeds. And that damn reflux. But we know her well and how to help her recover. “Earth to Rowie.” We watch the blue turn back to pink, and it’s a beautiful thing, I tell you!

I can tell you she has the best daddy ever. I can tell you I have the best parenthood companion ever. Patience. Grace. Selflessness. Endurance. I don’t know – that’s our recipe I guess.

Grandma and Papa have been visiting us, keeping us company in the evenings and bringing us real food for dinner. I love them. Thank God for them and grandparents in general. My mother-in-law is traveling here for a three-week stay. She’ll arrive on Sunday, just in time for Mommy and Daddy to go back to work and make that money. Well, Daddy’s been working, supporting his girls like a champ. He took this week off for the homecoming of his little princess. Thank Jesus, I could NOT do this alone.

I will miss my Rowie, but – it’s weird. I’m used to not having her with me 24/7. That’s what an 11-week + 5-day NICU stay will do to you. I’m going to go ahead and call it grace. I can’t deal with emotions of that nature right now.

Sarabi has been phenomenal. We have had Rowan’s swings and hospital blankets in our living room for quite some time now. She has been trained that those items – and that scent – is off limits. She is very slow to approach Rowan.

I remember walking into our bedroom – where Sarabi currently resides – with Rowan and Daddy on Rowie’s homecoming day. Sarabi’s ears perked right up. It was really sweet; not aggressive, but she was just very curious. I have a good feeling about these two. 🙂

And so it’s New Year’s Eve. My New Year’s wish for the last four holidays has been what I hold in my arms and heart today. Thank you Heavenly Father. Finally …

There’s not really an adjective to describe 2014. January-April: Hope. May-September: Joy. October-December: Joy/Brokenness/Fear.

January 17, April 11, April 16, April 22, April 29, May 1, May 9, September 29, October 8, October 9, December 29 …

Those days define my year. My 2014.

I have hope because the joy I carried in 2014 remains with me. I have my husband and my girls, don’t I? My heart is content. The pain of 2014 were incapsulated into just days. Those days are over; I don’t have to live them again.

Of course there is an enduring ache in my heart for Emmanuelle, but that is her place. She will not be forgotten. There is no closure or healing when you lose your baby. I can still have joy amongst that ache though. I choose to have joy, though my baby is with Jesus.

In the darkness last night, I looked at Rowan in her bassinet. I saw Emmanuelle’s face. When Rowan smiles in her sleep, I wonder if she’s dreaming of her sister.

Our suffering was never welcomed, but – boy – has it taught us how to cling to the good stuff. We let go of the small stuff, even the medium-sized stuff. Life is messy. But where there is love, there’s a lot of hope for tomorrow.

And I’ve got a lot of love.