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Thursday, July 16, 2015

Our Gift

     What an incredible gift! This week, I have felt my heart fill once again with deep gratitude. As we enter into our 29th week of this amazing pregnancy, I feel like I need to pinch myself, over and over again. Is this really happening? Are we truly entering into the third and final trimester? Is it really possible that in less than 10 weeks, I could be holding my son in my arms? Can I really keep him, and take him home? It all seems way to good to be true. It seems so close, and yet so far beyond my reach. I want it so badly, I am hoping for it with everything that I have. It is so close I can almost feel him in my arms. And yet I just cannot wrap my arms around it.
     I know I have written this before, but I have always wanted to be a mom. I have dreamed about being a mom since I was a little girl. I would play "house" with my sisters and friends all the time, always with a pretend baby in my arms. Growing up it was always my greatest desire, to have my own children. I just knew that I was going to be a mom someday! When we found out in November of 2013 that we were pregnant with our first child, everything seemed right. I was finally going to become a mom! For those of you who have followed our story, and who know about the journey we have walked since that day, you know that we were not able to take our beloved daughter home. (if you haven't taken the time to read our story please feel free to go back to the posts from the winter of 2014 to read about our precious miracle baby Caroline Joy). Ever since that Tuesday morning in June, being a mom felt so far beyond my reach. I did become a mom that day, the moment I held her tiny body in my arms. I was her mom. I know that I will always be Caroline's mom, and it is such a beautiful gift that I will cherish forever. I am so proud to be her mommy! Yet being a mom to a baby in Heaven is so much different than being a mom to a baby here on earth. All last summer (and every day since), I not only grieved the loss of my precious girl, but I grieved the loss of all those motherly instincts. I wanted desperately, felt every urge and need, to care for my daughter, physically, mentally, and emotionally. But there was nothing that I could do. There was no crying baby who needed her mommy to pick her up and soothe her tears. There was no sleepy smiles to enjoy, no diapers to be changed, and no milk to be fed. It was just me. Only me. I still to this very day, have every desire and need to care for my daughter, those instincts do not disappear. But I have slowly learned over time, that there are other ways that I can fulfill those needs. By honoring my daughter's life, talking about her, sharing her story, donating baby blankets to hospitals, and reaching out to others who are also experiencing the loss of a baby, have all been very healing ways of working through the grief and pain of not being able to mother my daughter here on earth. I am so thankful for all of the ways that these ministries have blessed my life! I truly feel like honoring Caroline's name, and sharing her story, is my calling as her mom. I am so proud to be able to talk about her, to be able to share her life with others, and to be able to bless others because of her life. All of these things have given me a purpose once again, a reason to continue moving forward.
     As I sit here typing these words, I am feeling my sweet little boy kicking and squirming inside. It is the most amazing and wonderful feeling in the whole world! I am reminded once again that I have a sweet, healthy, strong, and rapidly growing little boy inside. What a precious gift! I just stand completely amazed at how I can be the mom to two amazing little babies. I have a beautiful daughter and a sweet son, who have made me into the person that I am today. I am so blessed! There are no words that can adequately express the gratitude that I feel in my heart. This is never how I dreamed that our story would play out, and I would give anything to be able to have Caroline here in my arms today. But I can say with every ounce of my being, that I am so thankful for the precious gifts that God has placed into my life.
     As I anticipate the big date of Noah's arrival in the months to come, it seems so completely surreal. My body and my mind are completely in preparation mode. I have been reading, researching, and planning for bringing him into our home, and having him become a part of our life. Yet my heart is having a very difficult time processing this reality. In so many ways it feels way to good to be true. I do not know what I have ever done to deserve such a gift? I feel so unworthy. Do I really get to take him home? Will I be able to take care of him, like my motherly instincts require? Can I snuggle him, hold him, sing to him, play with him, teach him,  and watch him grow? Will I truly be able to be his mother here on earth? It just seems way too good to be true. So far from my reach.
     Every inch of my heart screams "no", do not let yourself hope, do not prepare, do not get excited. It is a daily struggle. Yet the love that I have for this precious little baby extends far beyond any fears and worries that threaten to hold me back. Even from the first moment when I found out that we were expecting Noah, way back in January, I cherished the gift. I felt so unworthy of being given another chance at becoming a mother. Why would God choose me, why would he allow me to be given the gift of carrying the life of another precious child? Yet even though I felt so undeserving, it led me to be even more grateful. I would fall to my knees daily, in thanks to our God, who had given me the desire of my heart. He chose me to carry this little boy for a reason, and I will live each and every day working hard to be the very best mom that I can be to him. I am grateful beyond words that God has given me this opportunity to be pregnant, to carry this little baby, and to hopefully take him home to love forever. After going through such a great loss, I know that I will never ever take these gifts for granted again. I have and will continue to cherish each and every moment of being pregnant, of being a mom, because it truly is a gift. I am going to live a life of gratitude and thankfulness, praising God for all of His blessings. I am going to love even more deeply, and treasure both of my precious babies forever.
     As the weeks continue to move forward, I am praying for clarity, and that reality will begin to sink in. I am praying that I will begin to allow my heart to wrap around the reality that I may just be able to bring this little guy home. I want so desperately to allow myself to hope, but I know that there are still no guarantees, and that fear continues to hold a strong grip on my heart. But I have slowly been taking steps in the right direction. I am clinging to the hope, the excitement, and the anticipation that continues to grow as the weeks progress. I love the thought of snuggling with this little guy, and seeing what he will look like. I love thinking about bringing him home, and being able to watch him grow. I can just picture Josh holding his tiny perfect body as he sleeps, and me playing with his wiggly body on the floor. I love the thought of us taking him for walks in the stroller, and staying up late into the night just watching him sleep. I am so in love with our precious little Noah already, and because of how much I love him, I just know that I am going to allow myself to continue hoping, to continue growing more and more excited, and to allow myself to dream about the future. Because love is so incredibly powerful. I am so thankful for that love, and that my friends, is truly a great gift from our Heavenly Father.
     Thank you Lord for your precious gifts to us!

I found this quote online and found it really encouraging and helpful.
God truly is faithful, and we can cling to that promise, even when the future
is scary and unclear. When there is uncertainty lurking in the road ahead, we can trust
that our God who has always been faithful, with never let us down.  He will make all things clear
in His perfect time. It is never easy to trust, especially when you have felt heartbreak and pain,
but when we step back and look at all of God's blessings in our lives,we will be able to see His
goodness, graciousness, love, and control in every aspect of our lives.


     Here is a little update on our sweet little boy! We had an ultrasound last week to see how everything is progressing. Noah was such a happy little guy in there! He was moving and kicking and squirming around, and he has certainly grown bigger since our last appointment. Last week he weighed 2 pounds, 8 oz. Everything is looking perfect! We were able to see all of his body parts, organs, and even a very well formed spine. The most amazing part is his chubby little cheeks! I am so in love with our little Noah! I cannot wait to hold him in my arms, memorize every perfect detail, and kiss those chubby cheeks. We are praising God for His good and perfect gift to us!

Here is a picture of his little face. Can you see his cubby cheeks?

Look at that perfect foot! I just love feeling those feet kick me often!

If you look closely, you can see his arm and hand in this picture.
He loves to have his hands by his face.