Right where I am now- 10 months 2 weeks

Thank you to Angie from Still Life with Circles for starting this topic & opening the doors for many of us to share our honest thoughts and feelings. Check out her page for many other baby loss moms participating in this project (everyone is linked up at the bottom of her post). It's been encouraging to me to read many of the other stories. Many moms who are further along in this journey give me hope as to what I one day will reach. And many others who are around the same time as me make me feel not so alone in what I am currently experiancing. It's been theraputic to just sit down and pour out my random thoughts.

I started this blog when we got Noah's fatal diagnosis. I wanted a way to keep others up to date as it was sometimes hard to keep relaying the same info over & over. I have since used it as a way to openly express my feelings in regards to where I'm at in my grieving but I also throw in other day to day things as well. I guess you could say that's sort've reflects my life right now, a mix of the everyday things with grief tossed in the mix.

 I am realizing that by me being so open, there are some out there who have been judging me & putting me down for things I say. Honestly, I really don't care. I have tried to be as honest as I can be for the benefit of others who are also walking this same painful path as me. I know what a lifeline it has been for me to read the blogs & converse with other baby loss moms & see that I am not alone. I hope to be an encouragement to those coming behind me and to help someone else like I have been helped by others who have been open with me.  So despite those few negative people, I choose to be open & continue to share. What benefit would it be to me & others to slap on a fake happy face all the time & not be honest in what I am experiancing?

I have contemplated the question, just where AM I right now? The answer to that question can depend on what day, even what hour you ask me that. Even as I write this out I find it hard to gather my thoughts in a way that makes sense. Today, I am feeling pretty good. Days ago, not so good. It just really depends.

The other night we were under some severe storm warnings & a tornado watch. Usually that never bothered me. But I guess with how bad it's been happening to others across the country, I did feel the need to take it more serious than I had before.  I was in the process of cleaning up from supper. The kids were all aware of what was going on with the weather. I noticed they had all quietly went and grabbed their "Noah dolls" and the clothes Noah wore. They sat around clutching them. What they hadn't noticed till later was that I had sort've done the same thing. I went into Noah's room and got his blanket, hat and the book with his hair clipping in, put it all in a bag and had it sitting nearby in case we had to take cover downstairs. The thought of possibly losing those few tangible things of Noah that I can hold, brings me to tears. That's just a glimpse of how life has changed for all of us. We just do some things differently now. Maybe years down the road we wouldn't have done that. But that's just where we all are at right now.

Looking back, I can see the slow progress I have made. Grief isn't something you get over, it is forever attached to you when you lose a child. It's always there. Somedays it's tucked into a back pocket, just quietly poking at you on occasion. Other days it's clutched in your hand, front and center, forcing you to handle it then and there.

I have learned if you try to fight the wave of grief when it hits, it will take you down and almost drown you. I am learning to allow the grief to weave in and out of my life as it needs to. To swim with the current of grief until I hit calmer waters. This means there are days when I don't shed any tears and am I grateful for that. But there are days when it just drains you trying to do the simple, everyday things. Sometimes there are things that trigger the wave of grief. Other times there is no specific reason that I end up in tears. I am learning to accept that it is what it is and that however I feel each day is just where I am supposed to be at in that moment.  For whatever reason, God chose to bring our family down this path. I am just trying to learn to handle what we've been given. There is no manual on grieving just as there is no right or wrong way to grieve. Everyone does it differently as well.

At times I find myself floundering in trying to figure out just what is the new normal now. Who am I? Gone is the innocence of life and the cliche that "that will never happen to me". Noah has reminded us of just what is meaningful and precious about life. He has certainly changed my outlook on a lot of things.

I admit I am jealous of those baby loss moms who have a huge network of support from family. I can see how a great support system can really make a big difference in terms of how they handle things and grieve. Neither Kevin or I come from a family like this. I am truly thankful for those few family members who have reached out & have continued to help.....who talk about Noah, acknowledge his life & keep tabs on us still....who proudly have his photo up & count him as one of the nephews, grandchildren or great-grandchildren......

 Who simply remember Noah.

Nothing makes me more happier or prouder than someone who mentions Noah's name & includes him in whatever it may be, no matter how small it may seem to someone else. Seeing his name written on a Christmas card made my heart soar or someone making a donation or doing something in his memory shows me he is just as loved and valued as the rest of my kids. I love talking about Noah and including him just as much as I love talking about the older kiddos and including them in things. In our eyes, there is no difference. I have 5 kids (almost 6, Lord willing). And it will always be like that.

If Noah were here in my arms today, people wouldn't think twice to mention him or comment/like a facebook status about him. WHY is it so hard for people to do that now just because he died? He is just as real to us now as he was 10 months ago. People around us need to accept the fact we will not stop talking about him or including him in our every day lives. I am tired of feeling like I have to tip toe around in what I say or do just because others around us are uncomfortable in handling grief and death and our sometimes raw emotions. I shouldn't have to feel like I need to hold my feelings in for the sake of making someone feel at ease. Us talking about Noah, whether it's happy memories or reflecting on the sad ones, is a way of coping and healing. Trying to surpress that just makes things worse for us.

We have had people walk out of our lives due to those very things since Noah died. Some people simply can't handle grief and all that comes with it. Like the saying I came across recently said "when you are up, your friends know who you are, when you are down, you learn who your friends are." Grief is not something for the faint of heart. Grief is dirty, hard. Precious are those people who aren't afraid to get in the trenches with a grieving person and walk alongside of them, however long it takes. God has brought people into our lives because of Noah, he has strengthened some relationships of people who were already a part of our lives, and he has taken some people out of our lives which I can only assume are for our benefit and growth.

Simply put, losing a child is not something you "get over".  There is no timetable on grieving. It is an ongoing thing, just some days it's more prevalent than other days. I am SO thankful to the people who have chosen to stick by our side no matter what, through all the ups and downs these last 10 months have thrown at us. I am thankful they can see the beauty through the ashes and aren't giving up on us.

 In some ways, I long to go back to how things were 13 months ago, anxiously anticipating a new baby. I hate how I feel some days. Don't get me wrong, I do have days where I feel good and get things accomplished. I appreciate & cherish those days! But on those tougher days where grief rears it's head to the surface, just trying to do simple things can be difficult. Add on to this is that I am at the same gestation now  as I was last year with Noah. It brings back a lot of memories. At times, I feel like I am where I was last year at this time. Being due with this baby on the day he died gives us mixed emotions. On one hand, I feel like it was a sign from God & Noah. On the other hand, it is hard as we get closer to Noah's 1st birthday as well as being the end of this pregnancy. Those end-of-pregnancy hormones mixed with some of the tougher days of grieving makes for a yucky combination at times I think.

Another aspect sometimes people forget about is, is the kids and how this has all impacted them. I could be having a good day emotionally but then one of them make break down crying which then can sometimes trigger me into tears. It breaks my heart that I can't take away their pain or do anything to lessen it.

But in the same sense, I wouldn't trade this last year at all. The lessons Noah's life has taught us and are continuing to teach us are priceless. We have grown as a family, individually and together. I have gotten emails from complete strangers who have been encouraged by Noahs testimony that they happened to come across it on the internet. And that makes me thankful! I want his story of strength & what God has done to be heard by others. It is my prayer to share with others our journey, both the good and ugly, so that they can see the hand of God in our lives. While I don't have the answers as to why it all happened to us, I DO know there is a greater reason. One I may not know of on this side of Heaven. Our faith is what has gotten us to where we are right now. I'm not sure where I'd be right now without it.

So where am I? I am here, just trying to do the best that I can where I am right now. Today I am feeling good and I am thankful for that. I am just taking things 1 day at a time.

Sunday Afternoon

Yesterday was my husbands company picnic at Terre Hill Park. The kids always look forward to this as there are games & activities for them to do. I was feeling so-so about going. After having a not so good week & then being around a huge crowd of people, it just didn't seem too appealing. I figured if I needed to get away, I could always sit in the van & read. Being around people can be hit or miss still for me. I don't know how to explain it, but it can be emotionally & mentally draining at times because I have to work hard at maintaining a level of composure I guess you could say (though not so much with those who I feel safe with & are understanding). I don't always feel like chit chatting but I try to so as to not appear rude to those who may not "get it", but then I end up drained later on. I am getting more to the point of not worrying what others think & focusing more on myself like I need to & have been told to do. If someone wants to pass judgement, then that's on them. I've been reading blogs from some other baby loss moms & conversing with some around the same "stage" as I am, & I see we are all experiancing, feeling & doing a lot of the same things. So it's not just me like some have implied.

Anyway, we got to the park around 2pm. Each year there is a theme to the picnic. This year it was Mexican. Kevin had signed me up for the annual cooking contest that I've been participating in every year (and have actually placed in every year!) This year it was homemade salsa. Though I wasn't feeling too good about it as salsa is so subjective to personal taste.

The kids were excited to see the activities that were there for them this year, a big blow up "Cars" slide & a bungee jump. They also had some games to play as well as guessing games. And plenty of food! The kids had a blast & were kept busy.

Here's pictures of each of the kids on the bungee jump. I really wanted to go on it as well & would've, except for the little sign that said pregnant chicks can't! (excuse the poor quality of the pics, it was overcast & I took these w/my phone).




And here is a video of Erik jumping on it. He finally figured out how to do flips and was pretty impressed w/himself!

 video

Mid afternoon they announced the winners for the salsa contest. I was surprised to find out I placed 2nd! I don't usually make mine with black beans but I know they were looking for creativity so I threw some in for the heck of it.

Later on in the evening, bingo was played. Susan won one of the rounds. She picked out Pictionary Man for her prize. We have a large game closet so it's nice to add new games to it.
Sarah was tickled to find out she won one of the kids guessing games. She had to guess the weight of a piñata and she was the closest. She won the piñata and a mexican blanket. At the end of the evening, they drew an employees name for the "grand" prize. The kicker was you had to be there to claim it. The prize was for 4 Dutch Wonderland tickets. They drew a name & the guy wasn't there. They drew a 2nd time, and everyone said that lady left. So they drew a third time and wouldn't you know it, Kevin won! The kids all jumped up in the air cheering! They've never been there even though we only live about 12 minutes away. It's pricey for what they offer (yes, I am frugal lol). We have taken them once to the Winter Wonderland thing they offer near Christmas which was inexpensive, but they've never experianced the whole park.

Till we left it was almost 7:30pm. It was a long day, especially because I had been up since 1:30 that morning. Yeah I haven't been sleeping well again lately. Friday night I had only about 3hrs of sleep & this morning I was up at 4:30.

I realize I am behind on posting a bunch of updates so I will try to do that along with a bunch of pictures this week. (our tadpoles I shared about the other month actually survived & became frogs!)

"There's no tragedy in life like the death of a child. Things never get back to the way they were." ~Dwight D. Eisenhower

Baked blueberry oatmeal

It's been one of "those" weeks again.  Grief is like a rollercoaster, full of ups & downs & twists. You have good days, then you have some not so good days. It's nothing you can control either. It's been raining for the last week now & I know that does make things worse for me, though I have these down times even despite the weather.

So right now I'm just trying to hang in there.

I thought I'd share my baked blueberry oatmeal recipe that some of you had asked for. With blueberry season right around the corner, it's always nice to have some blueberry recipes on hand. Speaking of, I'm getting ready to plant my own blueberry bushes. (if this rain would ever stop!) So we're looking forward to expanding our gardening ventures & trying something new.

Here's a picture of my last batch that I made. My kids love this not only for breakfast but to eat any time of the day.
3 cups of quick cooking oatmeal
1/2 cup of brown sugar
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp salt
1 1/4 cup of milk
2 eggs beaten
1/2 cup of applesauce
fresh or frozen blueberries (as much as you prefer, I use roughly 3 cups, I don't measure, I just pour)

Mix everything together. Pour into a greased square dish (about an 8x8) and bake at 350 for 40-45 min, or until a toothpick comes out clean from testing. I actually double this recipe and make a 9x13 pan for us so it lasts more than one breakfast. It reheats well too.

~Your soul friend is someone who loves you for what you are,
accepts you for what you lack, and still gently invites you to grow

It was a year ago today....

A year ago today is forever etched in my memory. Every last detail. How can it not be? When you are given a diagnosis saying your child is going to die, it's something that you can't get out of your head, no matter how much you want to. My blog post from that day can be found here .

It almost seems fitting that it's raining out today mirroring my feelings as I look back on that day.

No one ever thinks something so tragic could happen to them. But it can and it does. It makes you face reality and see that no matter how things are in your life, ultimately it's ALL out of your control. You can be doing every right, yet in a matter of seconds have everything turned upside down.

Recently when I realized the date of being told Noah was going to die (May 14th), it hit me that it was exactly 2 months to the day before he died (July 14th).

A year ago today our lives were forever changed.

~Remember when the waves are over your head,
 they are under God's feet.

10 months old

Today you are 10 months old Noah, wow!  Everyday, I think about the milestones you'd be reaching if you were here & at the same time, I wonder what your days in Heaven are like. Knowing you are waiting for us makes us look forward to Heaven even more! We love & miss you so much my sweet Noah Alexander! ♥

An add-on to my friends blog today

A sweet friend of mine recently put a challenge out on her blog, asking what crazy calling has God called us to do in our lives. So I emailed her not figuring I really fell into the category of what she was asking but wanted to share with her anyway. Today, she ended up sharing some encouraging scripture & quotes as well as my email to her, found here .

I admit, reading it over, my thoughts were all over the place! I think in part due to I haven't been feeling well since I had that testing done (I have really felt loopy trying to get my sugars back to normal & probably should've waited to write more coherently). I just figured I'd add onto more of what I was saying to Lynnea.

Like I mentioned to her, I feel burdened for moms (and families) going through what we've gone through in getting a fatal prenatal diagnosis as well as losing a child. The OB practice I am with as well as the hospital I delivered at really lacked support for us which was disappointing. Especially after hearing how others experiances had been better in other hospitals, etc. Don't get me wrong, I liked my delivering hospital in the fact that it is small and we got more personal care (and I LOVED my OB who delivered Noah, she was amazing!)  My complaints aren't at all with general labor & delivery. The lack of support came to dealing with our special circumstances and grieving. Looking back I can see how some things should've been handled differently. I think since they are a smaller hospital, they don't have many infant deaths & therefore just lack the training on how to deal with those special families.

I have had several ideas rolling around in my head lately about just how could I use what we've been going through to help others, even with this hospital specifically. I also want to do something in Noah's memory for other families who have lost their precious babies. It's something I've been in prayer about and am just trying to see what & where exactly God's leading is in all this. Like I told her, for now, I use my blog to be as open & real as I can in a public setting (I'm always open to chatting more via email) as it's a way for me to put my thoughts down in attempts to try & process things as well as hopefully reaching out to others.

I also told her how God has been using Noah's life to strengthen our faith among other things. I should've also added that this last year has also been a lesson in total reliance on God. When everything fell apart in our lives, when we had no one else to turn to or rely on as we go through this journey of grief, we still had Jesus. It has been amazing when you let yourself completely fall onto Him, how he meets your needs as they come up. It is only through his strength & grace that I am here where I am right now. Don't get me wrong, I still have a long way to go. We're only coming up on 10 months since Noah died, and I'm learning that grieving is a long process. 1 step forward, 2 steps back. But I know He's got plans for Noah's testimony & our lives & that gives us a sense of peace!

We had a lot of other bumps & hurts we've also experianced due to losing Noah. Some friends & family that we thought would be there for us for the long haul, weren't for example.  We are learning that when God brings you through a period of trial & suffering, he also changes a lot of other things in your life. Like with everything else, I've just learned to say "your will Lord, not mine". Again we've been reminded that no matter who may come & go in our lives, HE is still there!

On the flip side, all we've been going through has brought out a side of a lot of people in ways I wouldn't have expected. Support has been shown to us in many ways from people both near and far, in real life & online, often just at the right moment when it was needed the most. I am so thankful to the many people who have reached out of their comfort zones in order to say a prayer, give an encouraging word & just support us, especially long after the funeral as it's in those later months that are some of the tougher times. Galatians 6:2 "Share each others burdens and in this way obey the law of Christ."

One of the hardest things for all of us has been how life has gone on & back to normal for those around us while our life has been turned upsidedown & we are left alone to try and figure out our new "normal".  Some have expected us to be just like how we were before Noah died and I can tell you we will never be like the same. We are changed!!

Like Lynnea said, we want to take what God has done in our life and use it for HIS glory! God can take trials and tribulations and turn them into some amazing things.....as long as we put our faith in Him and allow Him to use our lives for whatever He sets before us.

Father, I want these whom you have given me to be with me where I am. Then they can see all the glory you gave me because you loved me even before the world began! ~John 17:24

'Cause what if your blessings come through raindrops
What if Your healing comes through tears
What if a thousand sleepless nights are what it takes to know You're near
What if trials of this life are Your mercies in disguise

What if my greatest disappointments
Or the aching of this life
Is the revealing of a greater thirst this world can't satisfy
What if trials of this life
The rain, the storms, the hardest nights
Are your mercies in disguise

~Lyrics taken from "Blessings" by Laura Story
(I love this song Lynnea, thank you!!)

For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all.  So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal. ~ 2 Cor 4:17-18

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Linking up with Lynette & following her lead to be spontaneous & sharing in hopes of blessing someone out there!

The dreaded 3hr glucose test

I feel like I need to play catch up here. Lots going on lately as well as lots of up & down emotions (which is probably why I haven't posted as much lately). May 6th marked the 1yr anniversary of our "fun" ultrasound we had. The day that we first saw a cleft lip & knew something wasn't right. Though at this point we didn't know just how grave things were going to turn out to be. It was actually the first post to my blog that can be found here . I can't believe it's been a year.

Anyway, I will do my best to fill in the gaps in the coming week. I made reference earlier to some testing I just had done. Let me tell ya all about it!!!

So last week I had a checkup at the OB. When I was last there 2wks prior, they said they wanted to start seeing me every 2wks now. Which honestly blows my mind. It doesn't seem like I am coming down to the end of this pregnancy. It really feels like yesterday I just had Noah. Ok, in the grand scheme of things, it could've just been yesterday. He & this baby will barely be 12 months apart, wow! Anyway, I saw in my phone I had programmed my next checkup for the 10th, which was 3wks out and didn't seem right. I figured in a moment of prego brain, I entered it wrong (I have MAJOR prego brain this pregnancy. Ask my kids, they pretty much function as my brain anymore).

Figuring I put the date in wrong (and not bothering to call & actually find out, duh), we went to the OB on May 3rd. As soon as I walked in & she saw me, she said I don't have you on the schedule. Crap. Thankfully she said I could still be seen if I wanted. I said sure (as it takes me 20 min one way to get there & considering the price of gas.....) Well it turned out that my forgetfulness was a blessing in disguise. See, I had had blood work done 2wks prior as well as my 1hr glucose test done. I was told they'd call if there was any issues. I never got a call. Since I never had an issue in the past, I didn't bother calling in to check like I normally would for test results. So I'm sitting there during this checkup & I asked her about my test results. She takes a look & said didn't you get a call? I said uh no. She said well, your iron is low & your glucose levels were high & you need to take the 3hr test ASAP.

Great. I knew the 3hr test involved fasting & several blood draws. She said oh you also need to follow this high carb diet for a full 2 days prior to the test. She hands me a paper and as I look at it, my eyes about pop out of my head. I couldn't believe what I needed to consume each day for 2 WHOLE DAYS!!! I mean, what they wanted me to eat is what I eat in like a weeks time if that. I am a healthy eater, so carbs are low on my list of what I consume normally.

The way the scheduling fell, I needed to consume this "diet" on Saturday & Sunday then have testing done on Monday. Oh what a challenge this was! Saturday was a busy day due to our annual development sale (I'll cover this another time) and Sunday was Mother's day (and due to everything, I had no appetite).

Let me just say, I am SOO grateful for the awesome friends I have. I shared what I was having to deal with with many of you and ya'll helped cheer me on & hold me accountable by your messages, texts & prayers. Some even brought me food to try & take the burden off of me in trying to figure out what to eat, thanks!! (even though I felt like I was gonna puke!)

I'll be honest, this was difficult for me to do. It took me until after 9pm Saturday night to meet my quota of servings for that day. I only had until 8pm Sunday to get in that days quota (as I had to fast for 12hrs) and I just barely met it. I shed some tears along the way as I was feeling SO miserable and sick at times. I could hardly sleep Sunday night as I was SO uncomfortable & just didn't feel good. I know for some people this diet wouldn't have been a big deal, but for me it was a huge struggle.

So today we had to be out the door bright and early as I was scheduled at 8:15. I went back for my first blood draw to get my fasting level. Once that was done, she gave me my bottle of sugary sweetness I had to drink. She tells me as I'm drinking this that this is double the sugar of the 1hr test. Gee thanks. Even if she hadn't told me that, I would've known. Within minutes I felt totally buzzed yet sick. She said see you in an hour. Back out to the waiting room I went where the kids were waiting for me. (oh yeah, the entire practice is in love with my well-behaved kids, their words. They said they look forward to seeing them each visit & are amazed at how polite & sweet they are! ♥)

We packed books, card games & laptops because we knew we'd be there for over 3hrs. I ended up having a total of 4 seperate blood draws, my last one at 11:30. You'd think after all that, they'd have some results. But nope, I won't know anything until Tuesday or Wednesday.

I met up with some great friends for a picnic right after my appointment (sorry if I seemed drugged & goofy, I sure felt it!) I've been laying down ever since I got home though as I just do not feel good at all. I guess it takes awhile for your body to balance out after screwing with sugar levels for 3 days. I feel miserable. Right now, I have a love/hate relationship with food.  I have not eaten supper as I just have no appetite.

Unless you put a watermelon in front of me. That's about all I could eat right now!

Bittersweet

My first Mother's Day without Noah was hard. It was a day that had both smiles & tears. Those who have experianced deep grief, know that it's entirely possible to be both happy & sad all in the same breath as well as switching emotions at the drop of a dime. That's how I felt.

I know I was able to get through the day thanks to the support of so many of you! I know there were a lot of prayers going up on our behalf which I'm so grateful for. I also appreciated all the notes, messages, texts & cards I received as well. You may think they are insignificant but you have no idea how much they mean to me and are such an encouragement. Thank you!

I was actually able to go to church. I probably wouldn't have minded staying home to be honest but figured I'd see how it goes. We did skip Sunday school as I wasn't quite sure how I'd do trying to be able to talk to others. So since we didn't have to get up and going right away, I was able to lay in bed for a bit. As the kids each woke up, they all came up to wish me a happy mothers day. They each gave me the most sweetest card and a gift they picked out on their own. Their cards were so precious! The notes they wrote were amazing, & each of them included part of their card from Noah as well. I was smiling while the tears welled up. And the note I got from Noah was SO precious (found here ).

I am truly thankful it was sunny today! Had it been raining I know it would've affected my mood. I was doing well when we got to church. I knew baby dedication was going to take place & I figured I wouldn't be able to sit through that as we would've been up there this year with Noah. I quietly slipped out as that started and felt the tears start pouring out. I headed right outside to sit with Noah at his grave. It seemed to make the most sense to be with him during baby dedication. After church, we went out as a family to his grave & took a picture of me with all 6 kids. Bittersweet for sure.

After church, Kevin made me lunch. Overall it was a quiet day. I hadn't been feeling the greatest over the weekend due to this diet I've been having to follow in preparation for a test I had to do today. Most of my day yesterday was spent trying to make sure I ate everything I needed to (more on all this later).

I read something recently that was really neat. I was reminded that I sill parent Noah, just in a different way than I do my earthly kids.  I am parenting him in how I talk about him to his siblings & others, in how I love him & show my love for him to others and also in how I keep him & his memory/testimony alive. My son is still alive, he just has a different address than I do for now!

Here's a picture of me with my 6 precious kids on Mother's Day! ♥

I'm currently 30wks pregnant.


My Mother's Day letter from Noah

Hi Mommy,

I wanted to wish you a Happy Mothers Day today. I'm writing this from Heaven as I'm looking down on you. I really miss you mommy. I wish you could be up here with me. I miss not being in your belly. It was really nice being so close to you for 9 months. I didn't want to come out, but Jesus had a plan, so I came out for a little visit before I went to Heaven to be with Jesus. I wish I could have stayed longer and been with you a little more. I wish I could celebrate Mothers Day with the rest of the family. I miss Sarah, Susan, Hannah & my big brother Erik.  I wanted to be there as you hold me and talk silly to me in church as I wanted to be able to have you and daddy dedicate me to Jesus. I know you cry a lot over me and that makes me feel really special and loved. I know you miss me so much. I like when you talk about me to others. Thank you mommy for loving me so very much. I will never forget when I left you and went to be with Jesus. Jesus' arms are just as warm as yours. Please don't worry about me mommy, I am safe up here. I hope I didn't make you cry too much. I love you mom!

Love your special son,
      Noah

I received this letter along with heartfelt letters from the rest of my kiddos. ♥ Oh how the tears fell! What a bittersweet day.

Happy 8th Birthday Erik!

Today, 8 years ago (holy cow has it been that long!!) Erik made his grand entrance into the world 2 weeks late. Yes, he was supposed to be my April born baby. Boy was I looking forward to that diamond birthstone in my mothers ring someday, but alas, he must've thought an emerald would be better. I can still vividly remember the day. It was a warm Saturday & we had taken the girls to a family fun day at a local church. I had been cramping a bit, but hadn't thought much of it. Till that evening, we went for a walk & I noticed I was having some notable contractions but again, I didn't want too get excited. After all, the girls had all been induced really late so I hadn't yet gone into labor on my own.

Night time came, everyone went to bed. I stayed up & said I was just uncomfortable & would surf the internet. Well, by this time I had noticed I was having timeable contractions but didn't tell Kevin. He went to sleep. lol Meanwhile, I paced the house walking to try & bring them on stronger. I was starting to get excited by this point. Then I started getting really uncomfortable.....and irritated Kevin was still sleeping! haha So I went and woke him up. When he sort've came to, I said I'm in labor. His first words to me (and he's lucky he didn't lose some teeth over this) was "are you sure"?!?! Yes, I kid you not. I probably had some choice words for him because by this point, my contractions were 4-5 minutes apart & I was having to breath through them.

I decided to jump in the shower. Oh did that feel good. Meanwhile, (after he realized I wasn't kidding) he called the doctor. I stayed in the shower until the water ran cold. We headed to the hospital about 1:40am. I won't ever ride in his car again during labor. That was torture. I don't care if it's a cool looking car! lol

We got to labor & delivery a little after 2am.  I have written somewhere all the details of the next few hours such as times & how dilated I was as well as doctor comments. During my labors, I always made sure Kevin kept a running journal in case I couldn't remember due to being in PAIN! ha Anyway, my labor was pretty quick with him. When it came time to push, my OB noticed his heart rate was decreasing big time. Before I had a chance to really know what was happening, she attached a vacuum to his head and as I pushed, she pretty much yanked his head out. I'll spare you the painful details but holy cow did that hurt! Before he could be delivered, she had to cut his cord from around his neck. Turns out his heart was decelerating due to his cord being wrapped around his neck twice. We were very fortunate his outcome was so positive. Erik Matthew was born about 7:30 am (I'd have to look up the exact time, I forget, I'm getting old). He weighed 7lbs 1oz & was 19". He was the same length as all our kiddos & he weighed exactly what Hannah did. They were my "biggest" babies. Erik actually had strangulation marks on his neck for several days due to his cord and he had developed torticollis due to being strangled by his cord. (Physical therapy resolved that).

Here's a pic of the kids together. The twins were 3, Hannah wasn't quite yet 2. Yes, we had 4 kids in 3 yrs. Blessed for sure!♥ (and wow does Noah look like Erik here, it's those cheeks!)


And here are some pictures from today. The kids always get to pick what they want for their cake. Some years they ask for some really elaborate ones that I've enjoyed making. Erik has actually said for a few months now how he wanted his cake. He said he wanted a picture of him & Noah for his cake this year. So this was his cake....I love this picture!


He is SUCH a proud big brother. I still remember the day when he found out he was having a brother. Nothing could wipe the big smile from his face. For YEARS he kept asking for a little brother. It breaks my heart when he comes to us in tears saying how he wishes he could show Noah how to play football or play video games with him.


 

It made this mama proud how excited the girls were in wanting to help Erik celebrate his birthday. When we were out shopping earlier this week, the girls insisted that they wanted to each buy him a little something with their own money. And that's exactly what they did. Judging by his reaction, you would've thought they got him the most expensive gifts ever. He was so thankful & appreciative of that frisbee, pack of silly bands & matchbox car they gave him. He gave them each a big hug & said he loved it all. They even found a blanket they all bought together for his Noah doll. I love how caring & selfless my kiddos are. The girls had just as much fun giving him gifts as he did opening them. Susan had even spent part of the afternoon thoroughly cleaning out his room. She said that was also part of his birthday gift!


Happy Birthday Erik! I'm so glad God blessed us with you!!! ♥


Mothers Day Poem


A Mother's Day Wish from Heaven
by Jody Seilheimer

Dear Mr. Hallmark,

I am writing you from Heaven,
and though it must appear
a rather strange idea,
I see everything from here.

I just popped in to visit
your stores to find a card,
a card of love for my mother,
as this day is very hard.

There must be some mistake I thought,
I saw every card you could imagine
except I could not find a card,
from a child who lives in Heaven.

She is still a mother too,
no matter where I reside,
I had to leave, she understands,
but oh the tears she's cried.

I thought that if I wrote you,
that you would come to know
that though I live in Heaven now,
I still love my mother so.

She talks with me, and dreams with me;
we still share laughter too,
memories are our way of speaking now,
would you see what you could do?

My mother carries me in her heart,
her tears she hides from sight.
She writes poems to honor me,
sometimes far into the night.

She plants flowers in my garden,
there my living memory dwells.
She writes to other grieving parents,
trying to ease their pain as well.

So you see Mr. Hallmark,
though I no longer live on earth
I must find a way to remind her
of her wondrous worth.

She needs to be honored
and remembered too,
just as the children of earth will do.

Thank you Mr. Hallmark,
I know you'll do your best,
I have done all I can do;
to you I leave the rest.

Find a way to tell her,
how much she means to me
until I can do it for myself,
when she joins me in eternity.

 Thank you so much Kerry for sending me this and for the extra thoughts & prayers this week as Mother's Day approaches and my heart feels heavy.