Monthly Archives: November 2012

Surviving Thanksgiving

I survived my first Thanksgiving without her.

As soon as I found out I was pregnant, I had dreams of her sitting at the table with us eating sweet potatoes and green beans.  I loved that she would be old enough to “participate” in Thanksgiving dinner.  I was dreading having to sit down at the table without her.

I think the anxiety leading up to Thanksgiving was worse than the actual day was – and the day was really tough.  Even that morning, I sat in the shower crying trying to decide if I was actually going to leave the house and face our traditions without her.  I can’t even tell you how big of a part of me wanted to stay in bed under the covers.  I was torn between celebrating Thanksgiving for Noah and in Hannah’s memory and just ignoring the day completely.  How unfair and ironic is it to have to celebrate a day of being thankful for everything you have when it feels like one of the the most important parts of you has been taken away?

I have been blessed with a lot in my life, but I found it really hard to have a thankful heart that day.  And I think that’s ok.  I have a grieving heart, and it is still raw and wounded.

So, in the shower that morning, I prayed for grace….and a lot of it.  I prayed for God to just soothe my soul and get me through the day.  And He was faithful.  I survived the day, and He gave me joy enough to laugh and smile.  He is good, and I am living proof that His grace is sufficient in all situations.

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Half-Way There!!

First, we’ve decided on a name!  Noah Cooper.  I love it.  If Hannah had been a boy, his name would have been Cooper, and since we didn’t know that she was our little Hannah until she was born, we called her Cooper for pretty much 9 months.  We knew that we wanted to use the name somehow since it carries so many sweet memories, and it is perfect for his middle name!  I love how it will always be a link between our two children.

I can’t believe I’ve passed the 19 week mark.  Since I know I won’t carry this baby a full 40 weeks, I’m pretty much half-way there.  It’s crazy to think about.  In less than 5 months, we will have a baby at home!!!!!!  I told Zach I wish I could wake up and tomorrow was already April.  I’m so anxious to meet him!  And, as time keeps passing by and I can feel him move more and more, I get more nervous and scared.  But, that’s a post for another day!

Here is Noah’s journey so far!

It’s positive!!!

1 month (5 weeks)

2 months (8 weeks)

3 months (14 weeks)

4 months (16 weeks) and the secret is finally out!!!

17 weeks

18 weeks

19 weeks (excuse my Christmas tree – it looks much better now!)

It’s amazing how quickly the bump (and Noah) is growing.  I feel a lot bigger during this pregnancy than I did with Hannah, but I love having a baby bump again!  Such a wonderful gift 🙂

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Slacking on the Blog Front

I’ve been slacking in writing new posts.  But, it has been a crazy few days around here!

I usually draft my new blog posts in the evening while dinner is cooking and Zach is at work/the gym.  On Thursday, I decided to make Shrimp Alfredo and Red Lobster’s Cheddar Bay Biscuits.  Yum!  I had my shrimp thawed and had already made my biscuit dough and was getting ready to put the biscuits on a baking sheet.  I reached into the drawer under my stove, and I found mouse droppings.  Not just one or two.  Several.  I immediately freaked.  I don’t do rodents.  So, after having a good cry, I started looking for more evidence.  And, there was plenty more – under the kitchen sink, behind the refrigerator, in the laundry room, and den.  Gross.

After reading online that mouse droppings and all the nasty things in it can be dangerous to mom and baby, I immediately called my dad and asked him if Penny and I could come stay the night.  Then, I called Zach over and over and over and over again.  When he finally called me back, I had already started packing my bags.  He turned into super dad and super husband mode and stayed up until after midnight disinfecting all the mousey surfaces and setting up bait/traps.  I helped for a while then I headed off to mom and dad’s to escape the bleach/chemical smell and all the nasty mouse diseases I was sure I was going to pick up.  I’m pregnant so I’m allowed to overreact 🙂

On Friday morning, we did catch one little mouse.  So far, no more evidence has been seen.  But I know as soon as I put everything back where it was and start decorating for Christmas, they will come out to play again.

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Oh Boy!

Zach and I went yesterday to find out if Baby is a boy or girl.  And….we’re having a BOY!!!  (By the way, my guess was right this time, so I’m batting .500)

I. am. so. excited!!!  I think I said, “I can’t believe it!” about 500 times yesterday.  It just feels so different knowing this time.  I can actually pick out clothes for him…that don’t have ducks and frogs and whatever other ‘gender neutral’ animals that clothes companies use!

I didn’t have a preference.  I just wanted to see a healthy, living baby.  And, I hate that my first thought whenever they go to look at him or try to hear his heartbeat is, “Please be alive!”  But, that’s what pregnancy is like after you lose a baby.  I don’t think that feeling will ever go away.  The first thing I looked for yesterday was his heartbeat, and I couldn’t relax until I could see it with my own eyes!

To be honest, I cried a little afterwards.  Not because I’m sad at all to be having a boy.  He is exactly what God intended for our family, and I know he will fill our home with so much life and energy (and noise)!  I think I was sad at the loss of little dresses, hair bows, dance classes, and Disney Princesses.  Those were all things I lost after Hannah died, and I won’t get that experience with this baby either.  Does that make sense?

I talked to a dear friend today who lost her son in a very similar situation almost 10 years ago.  She had a daughter shortly after her son died – their birthdays are close together just like Hannah and her brother’s will be.  As we were talking today, it felt like she was taking the thoughts out of my own head.  Not that a baby can ever be replaced, but she said that she thinks God gave her the opposite of what she lost so that she could still treasure the unique spot her son had in her heart.  He gave her a completely different experience with her daughter than she would have had with her son.  And, I think that’s what God is doing for us.  Even though I’m sad that I’m not getting the chance to raise a daughter yet (I’m hoping I will one day!!!!), I know that God knows the struggles that situation would have brought into my life.  And, I know that if He ever gives me a daughter, my heart will be ready.  (By the way – she had a son a few years later!  God is good!)

I went to bed last night thinking of all the responsibility of raising a son in our culture.  I want to raise a Godly man who loves and respects women.  I want to raise a good husband who works hard to support his family.  I want him to be a man who is firm in his beliefs but not aggressive.  And, in my head I kept saying (don’t judge!), “Please don’t let him be a jerk!”  I want him to be like his Daddy!

I joke that the world is not ready for a miniature Zach (and in some ways that’s true…haha), but I hope my son is full of love and laughter – just like my husband is 🙂  So, I’m ready and excited for the world of hunting, sports, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, and Ghostbusters….all the things his Daddy loved as a kid!!

Here are a few more pictures of my sweet boy!

Waving Hello!

Flipping over!

Hanging out with his hands behind his head – sleeping just like Daddy!

He looks like such a cuddle bug!!

Showing off his profile and hands!

Mouth wide open!

*If you are looking for a 3D/4D ultrasound location in Hampton Roads, I would HIGHLY recommend Prenatal Miracles in Virginia Beach.  I had an awesome experience and got some really cute pictures 🙂

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A Surrender and an Unexpected Blessing

This is another post that I’ve been wanting to write.  I’ve been praying about how to put this into words.  Please know that there is no judgement in my words.  This is just the path that God has led me down and the things that I have been convicted about.  In no way do I presume that your journey is the same as mine.  I pray that you know that!

Shortly after Hannah died, I struggled with whether or not I wanted more children.  When I decided that I didn’t want any more kids, I remember asking Zach about 5 times a day if he was going to leave me.  I felt so guilty for ‘changing the rules’ of our marriage, but everything was different.  When your child dies, things change.  They just do.

I knew that fear play a huge role in my choice.  I was afraid that it would happen again.  But more than being afraid, I didn’t trust that God would give me another child.  I felt like the trust I had in Him had been so broken, and I wasn’t going to give Him another opportunity to let me down.  So, I shut God out of that part of my life.

I tried to have peace with the decision I made.  I convinced myself that the pain of losing another child was greater than the desire I felt to have another baby.  I made plans for myself – I was going to go back to school and start a career.  I even wanted to move away and start putting the pieces of my life together someplace else.  But nothing gave me peace.  Later, I realized it was because I had made all these plans and decisions without God.

We took our annual family vacation in July.  Instead of spending a week at the beach as a family of three, it was just me and Zach.  Somehow, on the outside, things were exactly the same as they had been the year before, but everything was different.  We stayed in a cottage with some of our best friends.  There were two families of four, one couple expecting their first child in a few months, and then us.  I felt like we didn’t belong.  I was a mom, just like them, but I couldn’t relate.

It was the first time in months that I had spent a significant amount of time around other people, let alone children.  I was used to being alone.  I can’t tell you how painful it was to wake up to the sound of children.  One night after dinner, Zach and I decided to see a late movie.  When we got back to the house late that night, the difference between our lifestyle and our friends’ was obvious, and it was painful.  If Hannah had been with us, we wouldn’t have been able to go.  I realized then that I probably couldn’t handle going on our family vacations anymore.  It was too hard, and I was mentally exhausted.  We packed up and left the next morning.

Right after we got back, I spent a lot of time with God.  I was fighting with the choice that I had made.  I surrendered and felt God tell me that if we were meant to have more children, He would give me more children and He would give me the desire to have more babies.  Also, if we weren’t meant to have any more kids, He would answer that too.  It wasn’t a choice that I had to make alone – the burden wasn’t mine.  When I finally gave up the control, I had peace.  I knew that either way, it was up to God, not me.

Three weeks after we got back from vacation (and 5 months to the day since I felt Hannah move for the last time), I found out that I was pregnant with our second child.  The timing was such a ‘God thing’!

There are no guarantees that the outcome of this pregnancy will be any different than the first.  In this life, we aren’t promised tomorrow.  And yes, I’m terrified that I will go through this process and have to bury another child.  But just like with Hannah, even if I knew the outcome, I would do it again without hesitation.  Every day that I carry this precious life is a gift.  And I am loving every second of it!

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