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Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Noah News



     It is about time for another post about our little Noah! We are so excited to share that everything is still going very well with this pregnancy. Noah seems to be growing bigger and stronger each day! He is a very active little boy, and most of my evenings are spent watching his little kicks and moves. I could just sit for hours talking to him, reading to him, and just watching him move. I continue to be so incredibly thankful for the peace of mind that comes from each movement. I never thought that one tiny little kick could bring so much comfort to my anxious heart.
     Today Noah is officially 26 weeks old! According to my pregnancy app, he is about the size of a head of lettuce, or a butternut squash. It is amazing that we are so close to leaving behind the second trimester already. The time is just flying by! As much as I cannot wait to hold this precious little guy in my arms, I do hope that the remainder of the pregnancy does not go by too fast. I love each minute of the bonding that we share together. There is nothing quite like the gift of knowing your little one is growing inside of you. I cherish this opportunity, and am soaking up every ache and pain that comes along with it! I have loved being pregnant with both of my babies!
     There is still much anxiety and worry that comes along with each moment. As I fall more and more in love with Noah, I also worry more and more about his health, growth, and safety. I just want him to be healthy and happy in my arms when September comes around. It is scary at how you do everything that you can to eat healthy, to exercise, and to follow all of the healthy pregnancy rules, but yet so much is out of my control. This is exactly what God is teaching me in each moment. He is teaching me about full and complete trust. When everything is far beyond my control, I have learned that I need to fall into His faithful arms over and over again. It is a daily, and often a moment by moment, choice to put the most important things in your life into the hands of God. But I know that He has been faithful to us, and that He will continue to be faithful. I know that there is no greater, or more powerful hands than the hands of our Lord! He is gently and amazingly forming the body of my sweet little boy.
     We have our next ultrasound and doctor appointment scheduled for July 7. That appointment is rapidly approaching! I am looking forward to seeing how much Noah has grown, and I hope that he cooperates so we can see each and every body part. We are also anticipating the upcoming classes that we will be attending to help us prepare for Noah's birth and arrival into the world. It was tough to register for these classes, knowing that I did the same when I was pregnant with Caroline, and then had to make the very difficult call to cancel our registration. Yet I know that Noah deserves the very best from us, and I want us to be prepared and ready to take the very best care of him when he arrives. I know that the months of July and August are going to be very busy!
     This past weekend we finally made our big move. It has been an extremely emotional couple of weeks, and I am just so ready for life to settle down a little bit. We are working on getting our new house all set up, and finishing up with cleaning and packing at the old house. There have been many big changes and adjustments in the past month, and so we ask for continued prayer for peace, and for a calm heart in the days to come.
     Thank you so much for all of the continued thoughts and prayers. We are so blessed with all the love and support that has been showered upon us. Thank you for taking the time to think of us, and to lift us up to the Lord in prayer. I love being able to continue writing in my blog, and sharing the joys and the sorrows with all of you. I am so grateful that you continue to read and follow our story!  
 
 
Here are a few updated pictures. I apologize that they are not the greatest pictures, I fail miserable at taking selfies! But I love being able to watch my belly grow each week! 

 


24 Weeks
24 Weeks
24 Weeks




 






25 Weeks
25 Weeks
25 Weeks


Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Happy 1st Birthday Caroline Joy



        Happy 1st Birthday Caroline Joy!
We love you!
 
 
 
     Dear Caroline,
 
Happy Birthday sweet girl! I miss you and I love you more than you will ever know. My heart was broken today, as I thought about celebrating your birthday without you here. Yet this morning, as I watched the clock move to 5:16, the moment you entered into this world, I remembered every detail. I watched the flame burn brightly on your pink candle, and I remembered. Every detail of your beautiful birth. Every detail of your precious body. Every detail of the moments we shared together. They were all so vividly clear. My dear Caroline, I am so thankful for those memories, and for those moments that we shared. They hold me together, and they fill my heart with joy. Despite the pain of missing you, and the ache of empty arms, I felt joy in my heart today.
    The truth Caroline, is that tonight, I am just feeling sad. I miss you so much it hurts. It is so hard to describe all of the feelings that have filled my heart. Yet despite the pain, and the tears, I want to focus on the good things! The day was filled with so much love and support, and it truly helped me to realize how blessed we truly are. There are so many people who remembered you today, who spoke your name to me (through written words), who shared your story with others (on social media and just by talking about you), and who celebrated your birthday. I cannot even begin to say how much that means to your mommy. Each time I saw someone share your name, or remind me that they are praying for us, it filled my eyes with tears. I never want you to be forgotten sweet girl, and today it showed how many people you have touched throughout the past year. How many amazing and wonderful people remembered your birthday today, and helped us to celebrate and remember in such special ways. The day was also filled with small blessings, tiny reminders of you. Little moments that filled my heart with joy, as I think about the wonderful party I am sure you were having in Heaven. I read a book this morning, and this page stood out to me. It says... "Mommy, please don't cry...we have lots of parties here, with streamers and hats and the best chocolate cake ever! I can just picture the celebration that you are having in Heaven today, bigger than any party I could ever give you.  


      Your daddy and I wanted to make you a special cake. We shared it on your table at the birthday celebration we had on Saturday. But today, we lit a candle for you and sang Happy Birthday, because every little girl deserves a birthday cake on her birthday. We wish that we could watch you eat it, and get the pink frosting all over your face! We wish that you were here to listen to us sing to you, and to see your eyes light up when we helped you blow out the candle. We wish that you could taste that frosting, and we could snap pictures of you enjoying your cake. Oh how we wish all of those things for you.


       As I sat on the back porch, missing you, I was greeted by the warmth of a smile, and a beautiful vase of flowers. The kindness of amazing friends. I am so thankful for the joy that those flowers brought to my heart. Each tiny petal is a reminder to me of God's faithfulness. He has made each and every flower so delicate, unique, and pretty. No two flowers are exactly alike. Our God takes care of each and every flower, and helps them grow from tiny seeds. Caroline, God loves you so much! Although I do not need to tell you that. You already know how much God loves you. You know how much God loves you, even more than I will ever be able to comprehend. Because you are experiencing real love, as you sit in the presence of Jesus. It is so much more than I could ever ask for you my precious daughter. As much as I want you here with me, I feel such peace in my heart. I know that your body is now perfect, and that there is no hurt, no tears, and no sadness in Heaven. This morning I listened to the song I Can Only Imagine. As I reflected on the words to that song, I realized that although I can only imagine what it must be like in Heaven, you already know. You know! You know what it is like to be there, dancing in the Presence of Jesus. You know!
     Today has been really tough sweet girl, and your mommy is so thankful for the strength of your Daddy. He has kept me going, encouraged me to laugh and smile, and helped me remember all of the precious memories. He has stood beside me the whole day, when I would have fallen apart on my own. You have an amazing Dad Caroline! I know that he is one of God's greatest blessings in my life. I am so thankful for all of the little blessings and reminders that God placed in my path today.
    


     Happy 1st Birthday to our sweet little girl! We love you so much Caroline Joy! You are so missed, but you will never ever be forgotten. You will always hold a very special place in our hearts. We are so thankful that God choose us to be your parents. You are such a gift to us! We love you,
     Until we meet again...
    
   Mommy and Daddy







I can only imagine
what it would be like
When I walk, by your side
I can only imagine,
What my eyes would see,
When your face, is before me
I can only imagine, I can only imagine
To be surrounded by your glory
What will my heart feel
Will I dance for you Jesus
Or In awe of you be still
Will I stand in your presence
To my knees will I fall
Will I sing hallelujah
Will I be able to speak at all
I can only imagine, yeah, I can only imagine
I can only imagine, when that day comes
And I find myself standing in the Sun
I can only imagine,when all I will do
Is forever, forever worship you
I can only imagine, I can only imagine
Surrounded by your glory
What will my heart feel
Will I dance for you Jesus
Or In awe of you be still
Will I stand in your presence
To my knees Will I fall
Will I sing hallelujah
Will I be able to speak at all
I can only imagine, I can only imagine
 surrounded by your glory
What will my heart feel
Will I dance for you Jesus
Or In awe of you be still
Will I stand in your presence
To my knees will I fall
Will I sing hallelujah
Will I be able to speak at all
I can only imagine, I can only imagine





Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Noah News

 
       I wanted to share a post with some Noah news! We have reached 24 weeks today! This is a huge milestone, and we are so thankful for each week that we
are given with him. It has been such a huge blessing to be feeling such an active little boy! He has been squirming and kicking often! Both Josh and I have been able to feel him, and watch him as he moves around in his tiny little home. Those active movements and kicks have brought such joy to my heart, and such incredible peace to my mind. It never ceases to amaze me at how much love I have for this little boy already. I spend countless hours dreaming about him, and wondering what he is going to look like when he is born. Will he look like his daddy, his mommy, both of us? Will he look like his big sister?
     I am loving each and every moment of being pregnant. I know that I will never again take this amazing gift for granted. It has been another pretty smooth pregnancy on my part. I feel great, and love watching and feeling as my belly is getting bigger each day! Each week I am keeping track of the growth of my belly, and it is just amazing at how God has so perfectly designed everything so that within only 9 months, a baby is fully formed and ready to begin life in the outside world. We truly serve such an incredible God!
     We are still having frequent doctor appointments, but not as often as we did throughout the early weeks. Yesterday Noah and I had to go in for the super fun Glucose Test. Noah certainly loved all of the extra sugar! The doctor was able to find his heartbeat right away, and it was beating in the 140's! So thankful to be able to hear that strong heart beating away. We are also measuring right on target for 24 weeks. Each doctor appointment begins with incredible anxiety and worry, but leaves me with a huge smile on my face and peace in my heart. Praise the Lord! We are so thankful for every good report that we are given for Noah. Our next appointment will be at the beginning of July, and we will be having another ultrasound. I am so excited to see how much our little guy has grown since our last ultrasound at 20 weeks!
     We have slowly begun to do little things to prepare for his big arrival in September. It isn't always easy, but I am taking small steps in trusting that we are going to have a healthy little boy to take home. I have gotten everything all set up with a pediatrician for Noah after he is born, and recently started researching and registering for baby items. Yesterday I even bought the book "What To Expect, The First Year" so that I can start reading ahead this summer! Josh and I have also cautiously started talking about the future, and what it is going to look like with a new baby in our house. These are all small steps, but they also have been very exciting steps. It has not been easy to allow myself to trust, to hope, and to plan. It just seems downright scary at times. But each time I feel those strong kicks, and I look down at my ever growing belly, I realize that Noah deserves this. He deserves the very best that we can give him. I am leaning heavily on the Lord as we walk through each day, and I am learning more and more about trust with each breath that I breathe. It has been a journey that is far more difficult than I ever imagined, and yet I am so excited to see what God has in store for our family in the months ahead. We take each step trusting that He is faithful, and will guide us through whatever lies ahead.
     We would like to thank so many people for praying us through the past months. This exciting and scary journey has been such a blessing to us, and we are so thankful for all of the love and support from so many. We are thankful for the notes of encouragement, the questions, the congratulations, the excitement, and the prayers. We feel so blessed to have so many amazing people in our life!                                          Thank you!
     I would like to share a few pictures of the past few weeks with all of you! Now you can watch Noah growing along with me! 
 
 
20 Weeks
Halfway there!

22 Weeks

23 Weeks

23 Weeks
Having a little fun!

True Joy



     The past few days I have been doing so much thinking and remembering. It is very bittersweet, and I often end up shedding a few tears. But I have to say, the greatest feeling in my heart has been Joy. I continue to go back to every memory, and every moment that we had with our precious daughter. I would never trade those moments for anything. As difficult as it is to not have her here in my arms today, I know that loving her, and having her in my life for those 35 weeks was the greatest gift I could have ever been given.
     In the brief moments that I had left with Caroline in my arms at the hospital, I spent some time alone with her to say goodbye. At that time we did not know that she was a girl. But in my heart, I knew. I told her that when we found out for sure, that her name was going to be Caroline. We had a different middle name picked out for her, and I remember that before she was born, I really liked it. Yet somehow, sitting in that hospital bed, with my daughter in my arms, it just didn't seem to fit. If she truly was a girl, then I knew, we would call her Caroline Joy. Because in the midst of the sadness, the tears streaming down my face, and the intense pounding of my heart, I still felt joy. I was so thankful that she was mine, and that I had been given the gift of time to spend with her. I was so thankful for all of the memories that I knew I would cherish forever. I was so thankful that even though I was sad and heartbroken, I knew that my daughter was now safely in the arms of Jesus. Therefore, in that moment, I decided that if I was truly holding a daughter in my arms, then her name would be Caroline Joy. The name fit perfectly.
     This morning I was sitting outside on the back porch, and in the middle of some dark and heavy clouds, there was an opening. It was a fluffy white cloud, clear blue sky opening. It was beautiful! There was just a small glimmer of the sunshine that was peeking through. In that moment, as I smiled at its beauty, I thought of Caroline. I feel such joy in my heart knowing that she is safely in the arms of Jesus. I know that here on earth she would have been in such pain, and likely facing a life of surgeries and complications. But I know that up there in Heaven, she has been made completely whole. She is living in a perfect body now, where she is not feeling any pain. The only thing she has ever known is love, and that is more than I could ever ask for my children. I know that she felt such incredible love during her short time here on this earth, and now she is experiencing the greatest of love in Heaven. It is a love that is so far beyond anything we could ever imagine. This morning I pictured our heavenly Father gathering Caroline's little body into His strong arms, and holding her close. It is such a beautiful picture of His great love for us, His children.
    


      Even now, as I miss her deeply here on this earth, I thank God that she is now in a place where there is no pain, no tears, no sadness, and no hurt. It does not mean that I will ever understand why it was in God's plan for her to be taken away from us so soon, and it does not mean that the pain and the sadness is any less, or that I don't miss her every second of each day. But it does mean that God, in His great love and mercy, choose to give my daughter the very best life. A life spent in Heaven for eternity, a life of wholeness, a life of perfection, a life of love, a life of praising our Creator, a life of truth, joy, and beauty. Though her tiny body failed her here on this earth, she is now perfect and whole through Jesus. And that truth brings such peace to my heart.
     I wrote before about the dance, between joy and grief. It is a very real reality each moment of the day. In grief, you have no way of knowing from one moment to the next what thoughts and emotions are going to fill your heart and your head. But through the past year, I can say with all honesty, "it is well with my soul". In no way does it take away from the anger, the pain, the questions, the tears, and the sadness that I still experience each day. But it does mean that I am thankful. I am thankful that my daughter is experiencing fullness and wholeness in Heaven. I am thankful for the joy that she has, and continues to bring into my life. I am thankful that God has chosen to give her a beautiful and perfect life, where she knows nothing of the pain and imperfection she would have faced here on this earth. I am thankful for the gift of joy, that continues to present itself in the most amazing, thought provoking, and surprising ways. And above all, I am thankful for my daughter, Caroline Joy, who has taught me so much about myself, about God, and about living a life surrounded by love, joy, and hope.



I would like to say a very big thank you to each and every one who has taken the time to pray for us throughout the past weeks. We cannot even begin to say how much it truly means to us. We find such strength in knowing that so many are still supporting us, and lifting us up to the Lord. Thank you!



Sunday, June 7, 2015

Ever closer



     It has been looming in front of me, for the past few months. I knew that it was approaching, yet I tried to forget. My focus shifted to so many things, but I never allowed the reality to truly sink in. Yet here it is, we have entered into the month of June. The month of my daughters birth. The month of hello, and the month of goodbye. The month that forever changed my life.
     Sometimes I still wonder how we made it this far. How I have managed to carry on, even though I feel like my heart is still missing. I wonder how I continue to smile, and to laugh, and to feel true joy in my heart. I wonder how I manage to get up each morning, to the silence of the house around me. I wonder how I get past the ache that I feel each day, when I realize that my arms are still empty. I wonder how my heart continues to love, when it has lost so much.
     This month should be marked with happiness, with joy, and with great celebration. A one year birthday is a really big deal. It is a day where I should be snapping pictures of my sweet little girl, as she greets the day with bright eyes, a wide smile, and those joyful baby noises. I should be decorating the house in pink, planning her birthday party, and shopping for a special birthday dress. I should be reflecting over all of the accomplishments and milestones that have occurred since the day of her birth.
     Instead, I walk into an empty room. A room that never held my precious daughter. A room that was filled with so many hopes and dreams. A room that will now forever only be, a should have been. Instead I open my carefully sealed dresser drawer, and pull out two beautiful pink dresses. Dresses that I bought many years ago, when having a baby was only a hope for the future. Dresses that are marked "one year" and would fit her perfectly during these upcoming summer months. They will forever bring tears to my eyes, and pain to my heart. I should be dressing her up, and watching her toddle through the grass in the sunshine. Instead I open up the mailbox, and find an Oriental Trading magazine. It is a "first birthday" edition, with a happy looking little girl smiling on the front. Surrounding her is a cascade of pink birthday decorations. I never receive Oriental Trading catalogs, so why now? Why this? Instead of eagerly flipping through the pages to find the perfect decorations and themes, I threw it angrily across the room. The rest of my day spent in heartbreaking tears, as I faced the awful, painful, heartbreaking reality. My daughter is not here for her birthday.
     As I look at the date today, I realize that at this time last year, we only had ten days left with Caroline. We had no way of knowing when she was going to arrive, and we prayed with all of our hearts to be given until her due date at the end of July. But God had other plans for her birth. He had her life in His powerful and mighty hands right from the very beginning, including that early Tuesday morning. He knew exactly what moment she would enter into the world, and how many breaths that she would take. He knew that we would fall in love with our sweet little baby as we marveled at her tiny features. He knew that she would fit perfectly in our arms. He knew that there would be joy as we celebrated her life, and spoke gentle loving words into her little ears. He knew that she would be loved by so many, and held with such care. He knew that the tears would fall, and He held each one in His hands. He knew that saying goodbye would be incredibly difficult (the hardest thing we have ever been asked to do), and somehow He filled our hearts with peace. He knew that the ride home would be lonely, and dark, and painful, and yet He filled us with His Presence. He knew that we would ache to hold her, touch her, and care for her, but He gave us the love and support from so many. He knew that there would be tears, screaming, anger, questions, and sadness, but He never abandoned us. He knew that the silence would be deafening, and that the time seemed to stop, but He gave us the strength to keep walking forward, one step, one moment, at a time. He knew. He was there. He provides.
     The next ten days leading up to what should be Caroline's first birthday are not going to be easy. I know that there already have, and probably will continue to be moments when it hits me very hard. Those little triggers are so unexpected, and out of my control. I know that the days will be filled with memories of one year ago, and the sadness of all that we have missed. I wish with all my heart that it could be different. I wish that she was here with me right now. But reality sinks in once again, and I have to make a choice. The same choice that I make each and every day. I choose to focus on the blessings, the joy, the memories, and also embrace the grief. I choose to take another step forward, one day at a time. I choose to remember my daughter, and to celebrate her life. I choose to focus on my blessings, and thank God for giving me joy in my heart. I choose to live life to the fullest, because I know that is what she would want. I choose to be sad, and angry, and hurt, and to just feel, because I know that it is all a part of grief. I choose to love her more and more with each day that goes by, because she will always be my heart.
     As I anticipate the arrival of June 17, I do not know what to expect. I do not know how I am going to feel, or what I am even going to be able to do. There is once again so much unknown. It is hard to prepare yourself for a day that scares you completely, that breaks your heart all over again. All I want is to have her here. I want that so badly. But knowing that she is not here, makes me want to remember her in a special way. As her mom I still feel like my job is to protect her, to take care of her, and to honor her. I know that those feelings will never go away. So on her birthday I feel like it is important to do something special for her. I do not know what that is yet, but I am praying for God's leading.
   


     I know that the days to come are going to be really tough. I have already had some really rough days leading up to the month of June. But I am so thankful for God's faithfulness to me. He has truly brought healing to my heart during the past year. Even though it has come through tiny baby steps, and sometimes I feel like I take a giant step backward before I can continue moving forward, I truly feel that there is hope in front of me. One of the greatest sources of healing has come through Caroline's little brother. Noah has brought so much joy back into my heart. As I feel his precious little kicks and movements, I thank God for the gift of his life. I am so grateful that God has blessed me with this sweet little boy, and I eagerly await the day that he is placed in my arms.
     I also feel healing in my heart when I sit outside. When I smell the lilacs, feel the gentle breeze, see the puffy white clouds in the sky, and hear the birds chirping happily. Those simple blessings bring joy to my heart, and they fill me with hope. Also, weekends with my family and husband up north by the lake, celebrating our 5 year anniversary, beautiful flowers, and of course, ice cream! These things have all become a part of my healing journey, and I will never again take them for granted. I am so thankful that God has brought all of these moments of joy into my life, as they mix with the sadness and grief. Before walking down this journey I never would have understood how you can have both at the same time. After all, when we are happy we are not suppose to be sad at the same time. Yet that is the journey of grief. It is a dance. It is a constant mix between sadness and joy. This has become my new normal, and although it is far from easy, I know that it is going to be okay. I cannot imagine my life any other way. It is because of Caroline that I can miss her so deeply it hurts every inch of my body, and yet I still smile. She has brought such joy to my heart, and I will forever be thankful for her. As I approach her birthday in just ten short days, I know that there is going to be much sadness, and much grief. I know it is going to be really hard. Yet I am thankful for the glimmers of light that continue to shine through. I am thankful for the hope that comes only from the Lord, who continues to be my strength.





 Though the Lord brings grief, he will show compassion, so great is his unfailing love.                                              Lamentations 3:32


Through the Lord's mercies we are not consumed, because His compassions fail not. They are new every morning: great is your faithfulness. "The Lord is my portion," says my soul, "therefore I hope in Him!"
                                                                   Lamentations 3:22-24