Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Moving On.....

I have the best bloggy friends!

You gals really have shown me the body of Christ in action this past week, with your encouraging comments and prayers.

Now it's time to get a new post up on the blog.  I hope this one is more hopeful, more optimistic.

What have I been doing this past week?

I have been reading my Bible, even when I don't feel like it and even when I can't quite internalize what I'm reading, or when my attention span is very short (which happens a lot in this season of my life).  And slowly, very slowly, Scripture has begun to come back to life for me.  My heart has been touched the past few days.  My heart has been encouraged, strengthened a wee bit, and convicted too.  Praise God He has not alienated Himself from me the way I have alienated myself from Him!

I've been listening to a bit more music too, because I notice it makes me feel better.  It puts everything into perspective for me.  Music is, after all, my prayer language, being a singer and all.  Today I believe that God spoke to me and asked me to concentrate on lifting my voice in song and maybe, just maybe, my heart would be healed and my chains would be broken.  It was an "ah-HA!" moment.  So, I'm going to try to do more singing this week and next.  Baby steps, gals!

I really have stepped up my prayer life again.  I could believe the voice that tells me He isn't listening because I've been unfaithful.  I could believe the voice that says He doesn't want to hear about what I need or want......only deep down, I know those things just aren't true, because He says "cast all your cares on Him for He cares for you".  And "ask, seek, knock".  I spent some time this morning interceding for my kids, and it felt really good.  Some undefinable thing, deep down, slid back into place in my soul.  That's better.

There remains a very, very important thing missing for me, and that is Good Sleep! I take calcium, HTP ( a natural sleep aid, depression and anxiety fighter), and I drink Sleepytime tea, but a lot of nights I don't sleep well, and when I don't sleep well for many nights in a row, ugly things start to happen, trust me! So I need to work on the sleep area.

You know what? I don't know what's going to happen down the road.  I don't even know what's going to happen tomorrow.  But God does and He's orchestrated everything perfectly just for me.  I don't need to know why He does things, only that the Bible says that He does all things well.  I am going to find peace in that.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Being Real


Deep breath.

Can I tell you all a secret that I've been keeping these past few weeks??

Can I? You might be shocked.  I'm going to level with you......

I'm struggling.  Very, very hard.  I'm sinking rapidly in this ocean I've been asked to navigate by One Who they say loves me very much and cares for me and died for me and only wants what's best for me.

I'm actually having a full-blown Crisis of Faith.

And it's just another bit of grief to add to my burdened shoulders right now, but I can't seem to see the shore in this ocean, or to pull myself out of the downward spin I'm in.  It's slowly eating me alive, and it's hurting my family too.

Let me lay it out.

I don't understand why the Lord, after several years of praying for twins, would answer our prayers, and then.......before I knew what hit me......He took one away.  I don't understand why Olivia died.  I don't understand why I'm being asked to say goodbye again.  Why?

I can't seem to comprehend it, even now.  I'm shattered.  I'm broken.  I'm confused.  I'm devastated.  I'm  shaken to the very core of who I really am and what I really believe in.

I'm tired of lying.  I'm tired of pretending everything's getting better.  I'm so weary of platitudes and pretty phrases and looks of sympathy and verses that tell me I'm going to be rescued and blessed and healed and surrounded and taken care of and lifted up and delivered.

I just can't seem to believe it.

It's so scary for me!!! I have always, always tried to trust the Lord and walk with Him and believe Him and do what He wants me to do, not always with a willing heart, but nevertheless, there has never come upon me such a great wave of uncertainty and unsteadiness! I thought that I had my hand firmly in His and I thought that I was doing pretty well, seeing that the grief of our first stillborn baby and a few miscarriages and years of infertility didn't kill me!

But I'm not doing well!!!

My soul is famished.  I can't even sing and worship and lose myself in the familiar songs that I have loved, as a singer, a child of God, and a worshipper......Right now, I no longer believe the cherished words that I used to cling to and confess and raise as a mantra for my life!

Did you hear me? I just don't believe the words!!! I can't be a hypocrite and I can barely raise my voice and I can't form the words about trusting and honoring and obeying and surrendering and holiness and joy......

I thought I KNEW that God was with me! I thought I could trust His strength! I thought I would never lose that feeling of knowing that He was indeed as close as my own skin, my own breath.....

But I've lost it.  Everything around me appears dark and hostile and silent and unyielding!  As never before!

I hear the songs this season of "Emmanuel"..."God With Us"......and I scream out in the very core of me.........

ARE YOU?????


I lift my eyes to the brass domed sky above me and I heave and groan and question!

I'm on a rocky ledge and I'm looking down.  I have never been here before.  I'm crying out for help.  I want so badly to renew my faith.  I want so badly to be that testimony of His faithfulness that I used to so diligently pray for!  But.......

I'm not.  I'm so unfamiliar to me!

I can't even read my dear Bible! I'm so skeptical, so numb, so injured in my spirit.  I thought I knew that the Scriptures were just the thing to heal my heart.  I thought I had enough verses memorized to be able to cling to and renew my mind, but I don't.  I don't.  I don't.

And it's staring me in the face, this lack of anything to grab on to.

I hear all the advice.  I listen as I read of others who have been here before me, and I will be deadly honest with you, I used to scoff at those travelers who were so shaky in their faith as to have a crisis!

Well, here I am.  One of those travelers!

I am suffocating here.  I am a shriveled, dry vine, ready to drop off the plant at any moment.

And I'm begging for God to come and rescue me.....and I can't see Him or feel Him or hear Him!!!

I'm constantly having to fight back hysterical, gut wrenching, gasping sobs and swallow the huge lump in my throat! I'm forever trying to take deep breaths to keep the horrible agony from exploding out of my chest.  I'm avoiding people's gazes. I'm shunning my dear friend.  I don't know the wan, drawn face and the empty, dead eyes that meet me in the mirror each morning.  I am as dry as dust and as frail as old bones.  I'm slashing my husband with words which I have no idea from where they come......

That's the truth.  That's the ugly, unfrosted truth.

I guess I'm asking you to pray for me! I know you have been.  I know some of you have been with me this whole way, these past months.  I know that you have been holding me up and interceding for me.  I appreciate it! I have no right to ask for more and I'm unworthy of your love and your admiration and your diligence!

But I can't do it myself anymore.  I can't continue on pretending that I'm getting better.

I need a miracle.  I need intervention.

I crave the Voice of Truth to drown out all of the other voices raging at me right now.

IS this time really for my glory?

I'm afraid.  I'm pressed on every side.  I want fresh air! I want.......

I want......

I want Emmanuel.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Pennie Again

Another appointment down South is under my belt, and we're getting closer and closer to saying hello and goodbye at once.

Pennie continues to look great.  I suspected, sometime early this week, that she had turned, due to the discomfort I'm now feeling and the fact that her movements have slowed down considerably.  On the 2nd, she was presenting transverse (laying crossways) with her buns down in the birth canal.  Yesterday, she was firmly head down in the birth canal, which did not seem to worry Dr Winkler in the least.  So, I guess I deal with difficulty sitting down for the next several weeks!

She had her hand in front of her face, reminiscent of Scarlett O' Hara.  She looked as though she was saying "O woe is me, I think I shall swoooooon!" We all got a good, much needed laugh over that.

Fluid levels look, well, swell, if you'll pardon the silly and weak pun!

Cervix looks great.  Her umbilical cord is attached to the placenta at the perfect spot.  I had no idea there was a "perfect spot" for that, but Dr Winkler said that there was practically no risk for her umbilical cord to dissolve or become weak during labor.  This is good news!!

I'm thinking about taking myself off of bed rest.  We'll see what Dr Whelan says on the 27th.  But at this point, I think Pennie and I are both out of danger.

Dr Whelan says that I can deliver at my hometown hospital if I can go to 34 weeks or after.  I'm thinking this is a piece of cake.

I get the feeling that Dr Winkler is not worried anymore about pre-term labor.  I'm not either.  It's tiring, worrying about that, with everything else on my plate.

I have to tell you that the closer labor and delivery get, the more I'm just not ready.  It's careening madly closer and I just can't grasp that.  Right now, I'm carrying two Babies.  This is the last time I will have these two Babies, together.  I guess I want to hold on as long as I can.  I know that when labor and deliver comes, then I will have to say goodbye to one of my precious twins.  This may be the only time I ever get to experience the wonder and miracle of carrying twins.  So, I want to hold on!

I'm going to start bringing in the crates of newborn girl clothes today.

I'm going to be ordering diapers in size newborn and 1.

We desperately need socks for Pennie.

I also need a new carseat, and I have chosen a Graco Travel System.  It won't be the double system that I had originally planned on getting after finding out we were having twins.  My choice is the Graco Snug Ride Travel System in Rittenhouse.  It's black and white. It will cost about $295.00.  I'll definitely have to save up for that, as my husband says there is no money for it.  But, we need it and I will have to see how this can happen.

I'm going to prepare a home birth kit, just like I did before Lucie was born, to put on the back of the toilet.  We didn't use it when Lucie was so unexpectedly deposited in the toilet because of the sheer panic that set in moments later, but we want to be prepared, in case I can't make the 45 minute drive to my hometown hospital in time to deliver The Babies there.

I just don't feel like an update post is complete without updating you on Olivia.  Dr says that all of her fluid is virtually gone.  He says that she will be very shriveled, which is normal for a situation like mine.  I was hoping that an adequate fluid level would remain, so that at least her skin would be smooth.  I'm just trying to come to grips with what will happen with her.  I have a feeling that there is no way to be ready for her birth, and that I will just have to "do it" when it comes to that point.  My precious baby.  Baby B.  Olivia Caroline, you will always be one of The Babies in my heart.  You will be intertwined with Pennie as long as I live and breathe.

Will I ever have a Baby B again? God only knows.

I guess that's it.  Isn't that enough? If any of you have favorite brands of socks that you really love, leave me a comment.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Dearest Friends

Today I got to fellowship with two of the most wonderful friends I've ever met.  Most of ya'll already read Marsha and Christine's blogs, so I won't link up to them.

I "met" Marsha and Christine soon after I started blogging.  We became fast online friends.

We all met up in real life when Lucie was 9 months old at Christine's house with some other local bloggers.

It was fantastic.  But much too short.  And a long time ago!

Marsha flew in to Christine's yesterday.

And I was able to meet up with both of them again at a fabulous pizza parlor in my old hometown.

I just want to say I'm privileged to know both of these gals in real life.  I mean it.

These girls are wonderful.  We were able to share hearts and listen to hearts and really talk.

I just want to say, since I think they're reading this......

I love both of you deeply, so much.

Thank you both for being a living salve to my torn and bleeding heart.

I think our hearts are linked now.

And that's one of the beauties of blogging.

Friday, December 10, 2010

100 Things

Here are 100 things that you never needed to know about me, but I'm going to post them anyway!!

  • I'm the only person in my whole family who does not have blue eyes.  (Mine are green)
  • I haven't dyed my hair in over 6 years.  Yes, my hair is naturally that dark!
  • I used to be a natural blonde.  Really!
  • I used to collect teddy bears.
  • I have no sense of humor.
  • I adore Kettle chips and homemade sour cream ranch dip, with a Blue Sky Cola with crushed ice.
  • I love sour things.  Almost nothing is too sour for me.
  • I do not like game meats.
  • I almost didn't graduate from high school due to missing half a credit.  Mom came to the school.  Credit was mysteriously found.
  • I never aspired to marriage and babies.  Ever.  How wrong I was!
  • I am a naturally tense person.  I catch myself clenching my hands and hunching my shoulders all the time.
  • I've never had braces.
  • I've had one cavity in my life.  In a baby tooth.  It was filled at the dentist.  Said tooth fell out not too long after that.
  • I used to have a mortal fear of going to the dentist.
  • I have had at least 4 of my babies with no meds at all.  But I like meds in childbirth!
  • I used to wear bi-focals.
  • I used to be anorexic.
  • I have had food issues for quite some time.
  • My favorite color was peach.  I used to be The Peach Girl.  The colors of my wedding were ivory, peach and emerald green.
  • Labor and delivery terrify me.  Every time.
  • I do not like parties.  Or crowds.
  • I used to be anti-social.
  • I hate board games.  And card games.
  • I had never seen a Bible in my whole life till I was 13.
  • Likewise for snow.
  • I do not like pets.
  • I do not like dogs.
  • I struggle with insomnia.
  • I take a lot of naturopathic meds.
  • The only doctors I have are an OB and a perinatologist.
  • I have seen a naturopathic doctor for over 12 years.  As has most of my family.
  • I can't stand the sound of chewing.
  • I am not a compulsive person.
  • I am loyal.
  • I am not a good communicator.
  • I have been in choir, in some form or another, since I was 6 years old.
  • I like to sing.
  • I hate to sing.
  • I am a serious morning person.
  • I hate nights.  I guess you could say I'm afraid of the dark!
  • I would love to have twins again.  Any time of the year!
  • I read voraciously.
  • I can read one book a day.
  • I was addicted to the pain medication Darvocet.
  • I eat gluten/wheat free, as well as mostly dairy free.
  • I like my collar bones.
  • My wedding ring is a size 4.
  • I don't really like or need jewelry.
  • I hate having my feet touched.
  • I snore when I'm pregnant.
  • I don't really know what my Love Language is.
  • I like all kinds of music.
  • I once kissed my newborn baby's buns.
  • I don't think I'll ever dye my hair again.  My son thinks silver/gray hair is beautiful.
  • I do not like alcoholic beverages.  I don't mind if others do.
  • I would like to have more babies at home.
  • I have dimples.
  • I hemorrhage severely after birth.  Yay.
  • I love road trips.
  • I love to eat out.
  • I hate milk.
  • I've never made a snowman.
  • I've never ice skated.
  • I'm clumsy.
  • I love warm brownies.  Namaste or Pamela's. Yum!
  • I'm very suspicious.
  • I'd like to be an author.
  • I have a Bionic sense of smell.
  • I have very refined taste buds.
  • I could watch cooking shows all day.
  • I really like my step-mother-in-law.
  • I come from a broken home.
  • It's always bothered me that my brother does not like me.
  • I can be very morose and critical.  And negative.  
  • I love bare trees in the winter.
  • I love to cook and make up my own recipes.
  • I'd like to record a CD with my husband.
  • I've dislocated both of my knees, the left one, twice.
  • I want to go to France someday.
  • I have a deep desire to be fluent in French.
  • I loved French class in high school.  I remember almost everything.
  • My favorite singer is Celine Dion.  Her voice gives me chills.
  • I secretly wish we were really having triplets.  Or that Olivia was really alive and the Dr made a mistake.
  • After I have my babies, I usually stay in the hospital alone.  At least I have since Kellie was born in '03.
  • We do not have cable television.
  • I really would love to decorate my house beautifully.  Alas, I have no talent for it.
  • I have never liked facial hair on men.  My husband is very clean shaven.
  • I would like to go to Hawaii, with all my kids and husband.
  • I love Van's waffles with gobs and gobs of butter and a touch of syrup.
  • I grew up in Huntington Beach, CA.  I can still smell the Coppertone and feel the sand between my toes.
  • I love hardwood floors.
  • I've been flossing regularly.
  • I have to have a notebook and pen with me at all times, in case thoughts come to me.
  • I like to write poetry.  A lot.
  • I hate showing my written material to anyone.
  • I am a pretty private person.
  • I love V-8 juice.
  • I'm totally okay with having only one son.  And no, we aren't going to "try till we get another boy."
  • And no, we don't NEED another boy.  At least, the Lord doesn't think we do, so far.
  • I love cabbage in any form.  And sauerkraut.
  • I do not like pork.
  • I've been to Mexico on mission trips twice.
  • I can't play any instruments.  I don't want to either.
  • I like to make cards.
  • I save my journals.
  • I adore good pico de gallo and guacamole.  I eat them with a spoon!
  • I have very dry skin.
  • I eat 100% organic and natural.  I feel soooo much better because of this.
  • My bath/body products are mostly organic and natural too.
  • I have sensitive skin.
  • I love Greek food.
  • I only use Dixon Ticonderoga pencils.  Bought in bulk at Costco.
  • We try not to buy things that are not made in the USA.
  • I tend to have a bad temper.  Ugh.
  • I love Risotto.
  • Are you still there???

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Pennie and Stuff

Today I went South for another appointment/ultrasound.  The appointment was supposed to be on the 23rd of November, but we were iced in totally up here then and I had to cancel.  So, I have to say it was a loooong time to go without seeing Pennie.  I have to say, I've gotten used to and so comfortable with "seeing" her every two weeks.

To update, she is now 2 lbs 9 oz!!! She's gained a pound since my last check up! She's a baby porker! Ha.  She was so active.  She even was opening her mouth for us, like she was searching for fingers to suck on.  I suspect that she already is a finger/thumb sucker, because every time we see her, she's got her hands up by her face.

Everything looks great with her.  Her kidneys are functioning great.  The cord is working great.  Her little heart was beating away, bumpity-bump.  She was bum-down, which means her buns were in the birth canal.

Unbeknownst to me, I had placenta previa, which, if anyone doesn't know what that is, it's when the placenta is totally or partially covering the birth canal. As long as the placenta is covering the cervix, vaginal delivery is totally impossible, and premature detachment can occur, leading to extreme blood loss and even bleeding to death.  Today the placenta had moved, so it is now only a low-lying placenta.  Whew.  Placenta previa is not good, and I'm glad that it moved.  It's right next to my cervix.  I am aware of how God delivered me with that situation, and I am deeply grateful.

Please permit me to be very candid here, friends, concerning Olivia.  She is very, very tiny.  She weighs probably 8 ounces or so, and they said I probably won't even know when she's born, that I probably won't even feel it.  They also said that, concerning the condition she's in at birth, they may not even let us see her or even tell us she's born, in case it is an extreme case of deterioration.  That is okay with me.  I'm coming to grips with things, concerning my Olivia.  I just pray that God gives us special grace and peace to handle things at the time of delivery.

I had to have a fun "exam" today, by a doctor I didn't know, who IS NOT my wonderful regular Dr W.  My cervix looked suspicious, so they also did a fetal fibronectin test, which can tell whether I'm at high risk for pre-term labor in the next few weeks.  Thank God, the test came back negative, which means there's little chance of going into labor within the next month or so.  Praise God!!!! I don't mind telling you all that I was waaaaay scared! I was by myself, with Sara and Kellie out in the waiting room.  I had a pretty intense prayer time with the Lord while waiting for the doctor.  He even talked about giving me a steroid shot today to help mature Pennie's lungs, and also hospitalizing me for the duration of the pregnancy!!!!! I feel like, again, God delivered me today.  And I praise Him and thank Him for that.

Today I was contemplating finding out fairly late in my pregnancy that we were having twins, and wondering why we didn't see it sooner on ultrasound or hear a double heart beat, or even have a clue from my elevated pregnancy hormones upon having an initial pregnancy test at the doctor's office.  And I feel that God gently spoke to my heart and I saw how, if I had had my whole pregnancy to bond deeply with both Olivia and Pennie, then the loss of Olivia would have been that much harder to bear. Actually, it might not have been bearable.  I feel like God really has shepherded us through the whole pregnancy.  That is not to say that I did not bond deeply with Olivia.  But I think you all know what I mean.  It's only been two months since we have known that we were having twins, and it has been a whirlwind.  I just barely had time to really adjust to the idea of two identical babies when we found out that Olivia had died.  It was only three weeks.  And I have to tell you all that it was the most blessed I've ever been, and I am so thankful that I got to carry these babies together as long as I did.  I feel, right now, so sheltered and I do see God's hand all over my pregnancy, and all over each one of these babies.

I also have to tell you that I would definitely want to have twins again.  6 weeks ago, I didn't even ever want to be pregnant again.  I was pretty devastated.  But God has a way of changing hearts and He has moved on mine.  In the past, after we would bear the loss of another baby, I would be so petrified to get pregnant, and worried about it all the time.  And once I did get pregnant, the worry and anxiety over being able to sustain the pregnancy was strong.  But now, I feel that my heart has really started to change and see that God's hand is present, even in death.  He orchestrates every single thing for good, and that means tragedy and trials and sufferings too.  So, I guess I'm coming around more fully to His will for my life and my future fertility much more than my own will.

Another note: I do have to be more serious and buckle down more on the bed rest thing.  I do have to let the children take care of me more.  I will take Dr's orders more seriously from here out! I promise! Can anyone recommend some good books to me, for the next 7 weeks?? Thanks!

I'm now really 7 months on the dot, according to Pennie's growth.  I can't believe it's already been 7 months and I'm looking at the last three months of this blessed pregnancy.  I'm soooo blessed.

I would like to leave you with a last thought: won't you consider looking back over your life, over your hard times and your seeming times of desolation, and trying to see where God was showing you something? Maybe you could write down what you think He was saying.  Won't you try to listen more acutely for His whisper? I bet you'll be surprised and blessed by what you see and hear! And let me know how God has sustained you or spoken to you or shown you something! Leave me a comment!

Monday, November 29, 2010

Hard Day

Today was a hard day.

I set out with my son to go grocery shopping and do some errands in our hometown earlier this morning.  I knew I had to get a rock chip in my windshield repaired.  I had a couple of other stops to make, and I planned on being home really early in the day to spend the rest of the day with my kids.

Yeah.  As if.

I left the house this morning at 8:30 and just got home.  Ick.

I spent several hundred dollars more that I thought I was going to, unexpectedly.  Like about $650 more.

I hate that!

I had to go to our hometown crisis pregnancy center because I had some things we wanted to donate, in Olivia's name.  Ouch.  That was harder than I thought it was going to be.  After I gave the items, it was like Olivia's being gone was really cemented.  It's real now.  It hit all over again.  Ouch.  But it also felt good to know that her stuff was going to go to moms who really needed it.

While grocery shopping, I saw the most beautiful bunch of fiery orange and yellow tulips, and I knew I had to have them.  I knew that I had to take them up to Janie's Place in our hometown.  And I did.  They looked stunning against the stark, gray sky and the cold, gray granite marker.

And while I was there, I went into the office of the memorial park where Janie lays, because I had to talk to them about Olivia.  I had to make preliminary arrangements for her burial.  Ouch.  I don't think "ouch" adequately conveys the feelings I had while there.  Dave made the arrangements for Janie and I didn't even have to think about it.  But he's so busy right now that I was the one who had to do it.  Another blow from the hammer that nails Olivia's passing to my heart.  The funeral director, who was the nicest, most compassionate older lady, said that they could pick her up after she's born, whether she's born in our hometown or at the other hospital down South, where I will have to deliver if I go before 34 weeks.  They have a liaison there too.  They can also arrange a private graveside service too, with a tent and chairs, if we so desire.  I am leaving that up to Dave.  He said he'd make that decision for me.  Thank God for my dear, dear husband.

So, that about sums up my day.

I SO want to be brave! I want to be courageous and stalwart and steadfast! I want so badly to say that the grief isn't so bad, it doesn't bite so much, it is easy this time around.......but I'd be lying! I just want these days to be over.  I want Pennie to be here and all of the uncertainty, the not knowing, the state of limbo, to be over.  I crave closure.  I want to hold Pennie.  To smell her.  To kiss her sweet head and hold her to my breast.  I guess I just want my heart filled with her.  I want to go on to the next chapter in our life.

I wrote this little verse a couple of weeks ago.  It resounds in my heart.  It's Olivia......

Her name
echoes in my soul.
Like the gentle waves
breaking, sighing
along the twilit shore~
her name whispers 
in my heart
and I will never
copyright 2010 by leeswords

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Breaking The Silence


I've been gone a long time!

Some nice person figured out Husband's password for our internet account and has been helping themselves to free internet AND giving us all kinds of problems with our internet provider, which, to put it in a very nice way, is LAME!!!!!! We plan on switching to a Sprint card, I think.  So, I've been forced to be offline completely lately.  I figured an update was in order, and I'm sneaking time on Husband's computer!

First up, we're iced in here at our house in the country.  It began to snow on Saturday night and continued, with snow all day yesterday.  We only have about an inch, but the temps dropped drastically last night into the teens and so, we're totally iced over today.  Everything's frozen shut outside.  It's about 23 degrees right now at 10 AM. The sun is shining and the sky is baby blue, but man, it's COLD! The cold snap is expected to end tomorrow, with temps back up to 43 by Friday.  Brrrrr! My girls are having a blast, though.

I had to cancel my Dr's appt down South today, due to the roads leading to the freeway being treacherous.  I won't get to see Pennie today...booo! But I rescheduled for December 2nd.  Or Friday, which isn't perfect because my wonderful tech Kyrsten won't be there.  I'll have a different doctor....waaaaah.....I don't like seeing another doctor! (I know, I'm griping!)

I'm still craving a huge platter of cheese enchiladas with rice and beans and pico de gallo and guacamole, from our small, fabulous little local Mexican restaurant.  And a tall, hot Carmello from my mom's coffee shop.  If it warms up past 34 today, I'm zooming up to my mom's shop and grabbing a drink! It's not really like a craving, it's like "I have to have cheese enchiladas and a coffee drink VERY SOON or bad things will happen!" You moms know what I'm talking about!

My heart is raw.  My very bone marrow hurts.  My soul is weary.  Sometimes the pain of thinking about Olivia flying to Heaven takes my breath away.  But it is a strange roller coaster that I'm on.  I vaccilate from joy to grief, from tingles of excitement to lances of agony.......and every laugh or smile or excitement is tempered by my numbness.

We got a VAN!!!! We found it on Auto Trader online.  We got it last Thursday, the 18th.  It's RED, a deep, dark red.  It's a 2001 Chrysler Town and Country Limited, fully loaded.  All-wheel drive.  Anti-lock, automatic 4x4 brakes.  Heated seats.  Leather.  Everything's power.  New engine.  It's absolutely immaculate and plush and the safest, most awesome ride we've ever had!! Husband took it to work today because his 1987 Pontiac 6000 isn't all that safe in the winter weather that we're having.  Boo on him! He's mocking me! He calls every so often to talk smack to me.....but he does call it "My Van".  Yep.

I have a bit less than 8 weeks of "couch" rest left.  And I AM counting down the days!

I'm sorry I haven't been able to answer your comments personally lately.  I never have any idea when I'm going to be able to be online anymore.  But I am soooo soooo soooo grateful for all of your continued support through comments and prayers.  I dearly, dearly need the prayers, now more than ever.  THANK YOU!!!!!!

I'm not sure when I'll be online again regularly, what with our laptop, which was really mine, being down and out right now.  We need to take it to the Genius Counter at the Apple Store.  It's critical mass, people.  Actually, I'm enjoying not being online.  I don't feel compelled to be online.  I miss you guys, but I don't feel obsessed with what you're doing and what you're thinking! But you all know I love you and, if you want, contact me via email and I'll give you my mailing address if you like to write letters.  We can be pen pals....but BEWARE! I loooooove to write and letters are no exception!

Oh, I almost forgot!! Pennie seems to be doing really well in there.  She's pretty active.  I won't have an update on her for a while since I had to cancel my appointment today.

I'm in my THIRD TRIMESTER! I can't believe how this pregnancy has flown! I think I have less than 100 days left! Ooooooh! Wait, I'm not ready! Ha.

Okay, that's a long enough update.  Talk to you all soon! MWAH!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Pennie Jane Is....

Pennie Jane is....

  • thriving!
  • 1 lb 9 oz.
  • in the 60th percentile.
  • opening her eyes! We saw them actually looking around!!!
  • loving her hands.
  • a little jumping bean!
  • really cozy in there.
  • looking really great.
  • a blessing.
Mama is:

  • on modified bed rest, until 34 weeks (8.5 months).
  • so happy that Pennie is great.
  • trying to take it easy.
  • craving cheese enchiladas, still.
  • right on target for tummy size.
  • not gaining much weight.
  • having a touch of the flu.
  • working on not fearing labor/delivery.
  • trying to rule the house from the couch.
  • working on being 100% joyful for Pennie's arrival.
  • dreaming about having twins again!

Sunday, November 7, 2010


It's Sunday again, and in our family that means the day that lasts forever.  It's Daddy's one day off.  It was a beautiful day.  It seems that God grants this family more hours in the day, maybe, and makes the sun crawl instead of sprint across the sky, just for us!

It's the eve before another sonogram down South at my peri's office.  As I type this, Pennie is being very energetic.  She's trying to impersonate popcorn, it feels like! We'll get to look at her again and see how she's doing and how she's hanging in there.  I've recently had a bit of an intuition lately that maybe we aren't going to make if full term, just a feeling or an inkling, or just something I can't put my finger on.  We'll know more tomorrow.

I know I've asked and begged and asked for you guys to pray for me, but I really need you to keep up the prayers on my behalf.  I tend to suffer from anxiety for no reason and depression too, and it's really, really bad tonight.  I hate it.  I struggle with anxiety when I least expect it.  Argh, I just feel like my hormones are so freaky! I still feel like I'm pregnant with twins, even though one of them has passed away.

I slept really good last night.  I went to bed way too late and I was a bit concerned about that, but I was asleep about 10 minutes after my head hit the pillow and didn't wake up till almost 5 AM! I know the time change can seem a bit like jet-lag, and so, I really want to sleep well!!!!!

Our local IGA grocery store is the most worthless time waster ever!! I don't think I've ever seen worse customer service, either.  Ugh.  I just hate going there for last minute things, and I just won't.  I'll go without before going there.  It's sad because it can be fixed and made better in a heart beat.  The long-time manager of this store was recently busted for stealing lottery tickets, to the tune of more than $100,000!! If only I was owner of that store! Ha.

My two girlfriends had a baby shower for me yesterday.  They made plans to have the shower for the twins after we had only known for a week, because I was panicking about not having enough for two girls, and they were so wonderful and gracious to help us out with our needs.  Then, of course we found out that Olivia had died after the invitations had gone out, and then had to let everyone know, yada yada yada.  The shower was yesterday and about 10 of my good friends were there and we got four outfits to donate to our hometown crisis pregnancy center in Olivia's name.  The gals let balloons go in memory of Olivia, and they wrote little notes to her that they gave to me to keep.  It was a nice time.

We still need a stroller/car seat combo for Pennie.  And we're trying to stock up on diapers and wipes.  Thank the Lord for!

I also have an appointment tomorrow with my regular OB, for my 6 month check up.  It's going to be a loooong day tomorrow, what with going all the way down South and then back up north.

I'm getting a hair cut tomorrow.  I really, really love my hair gal.  She's awesome.  She goes to a church in our hometown and she just got back from her second missions trip to Thailand.  This time she went with her 16 year old daughter.  When we had Lucie, she brought me and the kids lunch from our favorite local hamburger place.  She does everyone in our family's hair.  She's that great!! I always look forward to seeing her.

I'm craving cheese enchiladas.  And I tend to have some acidic stomach lately, which I have never, ever had, in any of my pregnancies.  Ick.  Especially at night, before bed.  So, do I really want to indulge in cheese enchiladas?

We're about to start our family time.  The family's going to eat brownies.  I'm going to watch.  Too much sugar amps up my anxiety level and then I crash into a yucky, grouchy mess.  Not tonight!

I love Celestial Seasonings Sleepytime Extra tea.  Double bag for me!

Everyone knows I hate Starbuck's, but yesterday I had a Salted Caramel Hot Cocoa.  I like fancy hot cocoa.  My husband says I'm snooty, but I hardly ever drink hot cocoa, and so, I like the good stuff.  Not enough salt, though.  It didn't live up to its name of "salted."  But it was good.  I wish there was somewhere else I could get them!

I'm going to ask for a weight estimate tomorrow on Pennie.  At my last ultrasound they said she looked bigger than she needed to be, and I've been praying that she'll put on weight and get tons of nutrients, just in case.  My doctors relax more and more with every week that goes by.

Okay, is that enough things?? Ha.  I'll let you know how Pennie is doing tomorrow.  Ta-ta!!

Thursday, November 4, 2010


I have a mark, a scar, on my back, following under my left shoulder blade, right up against it.  If it wasn't curved, it would spread out to be about 12 inches long.  I have had it all of my life.  It is the end result of heart surgery to correct a problem that I was born with.  Nobody outside of my small, immediate family knows about it.  Swimsuits were always tough for me to wear.  Tank tops? You almost never saw me in them.  My scar informed my modesty level, all of my life.  

When it came time to pick out a wedding gown, awkwardness and uncomfortableness followed me from boutique to boutique.  The scar must be covered, at all costs! If not, people would stare! They'd talk! Questions would fly!

Interestingly, the area around and on top of my scar has always been very sensitive.  Oh, the wound and the scab have long ago healed, but the reactivity, the trickiness, will always remain.  Paradoxically, without this old blotch.....I would be dead.  This mark, this nevus, saved my life.  My very days have been spared and shaped by this old line of raised and darkened skin.

I've been thinking about soul wounds and heart scars lately.  I've been prompted, thinking about my "blemish", to analyze how I viewed soul wounds and heart scratches.  I have lately been thinking about, as a Christian, how I wear my "owies".  Previously, wounds and scars were things to be hidden and protected and never, ever talked about.  I wore them with shame, with uncertainty, and honestly, how could I even think that scars could be shown with confidence? How could lesions of any kind ever be viewed with pride, with fondness, with even a small smile of remembrance??

So many times I have asked the Lord, begged the Lord, to take pain and blotches and gashes away from me.  Countless times in the last 7 years I have cried out to Him to remove all memories and marks, all traces and vestiges of agony and anguish, and all outward "stains" that came with such raw hurt!

My musings have changed a lot lately, in the midst of personal agony and the bearing of another deep, throbbing, heartbreaking gash.

How can wounds, scars, tears, become badges of honor and dignity? How can we, as the Old Testament talks about, turn our scars into landmarks of, tributes to, reminders of, where we've been? Can we look at our personal struggle and pain as signposts of how the Lord has delivered us and from where He's pulled us?

I'm working on this.  I'm asking God to heal the wounds but leave the scars so that I'll never forget, and Lord willing, that I will bear my stripes, uncovered, out in the open, with dignity and courage.  By His strength, I hope to wear my scars as stories that others can see, so that when others look at me, all they will see is His faithfulness and His mercy to me.  Lord, may you grant these things to me this day! Amen.

I'll leave you with a favorite song, from Point of Grace..........

I used to dream
that I could rewrite history.
I used to dream
that each mistake could be erased......
I used to pray 
that You would take this shame away,
hide all the evidence of who I've been.....
But it's the memory of
the place You brought me from
that keeps me on my knees,
even though I'm free.
Heal the wound
but leave the scar,
a reminder of how merciful
You are.
I am broken, torn apart!
Take the pieces of this heart,
and heal the wound but leave the scar!
I have not lived a life
that could boast of anything,
and I don't take pride in what I bear.
But I'll build an altar with 
the rubble that you found me in
and every stone will sing
of what You can redeem!
Heal the wound but leave the scar,
a reminder of how merciful
You are.
I am broken, torn apart!
Take the pieces of this heart,
and heal the wound but leave the scar!
Don't let me forget 
everything You've done for me!
Don't let me forget 
the beauty in the suffering!!!

Sunday, October 31, 2010


It's time for another post, gals.  I felt the need to do an update, although there isn't tons going on.  I'm trying to get my life to be about more than my pregnancy.  After all, I DO have a life here, with kids and husband and such!

Right now, as we speak, Pennie is hopping around in my tummy.  She's quite the active little thing! My next sonogram is the 8th.  I think my tummy is now regular size.  I just don't feel super pregnant like I was and I don't look as huge as I was just two weeks ago.  I've been super, super tired again lately, like I was at the beginning of my pregnancy.  I mean, I could sleep all day!

We're doing pretty well here, emotionally.  I asked Sofia, who's 4, if she knew where Olivia was, and she thought for a moment and said, "She's in Heaven."  I asked her if she knew where Pennie was, and she said, "She's in there," pointing to my tummy.  I think she gets it, even in her little mind.  There aren't any strange emotional things going on around here, or any devastation.  We're just trying to get through this as a family, with the Lord, the best way we know how.

We're having a lazy Sunday afternoon today.  It's Dave's only day at home, and we enjoy it so much! The day seems to last forever, as we get to be with him and just breathe together as a family.  We seriously needed this day!

Most of the girls are in the office room playing Beauty Shop.  I let them use my straightening iron and my blow dryer, and they're loving it.  Hannah, who is 13, just doesn't like to do stuff like that.  She's laying on the couch with a stomach ache.  Russell is out in his trailer doing what boys do.

Dave and I are discussing our ballots.  I love it because he fills out both of our ballots and then gives me mine to sign.  I never have to worry about researching anything anymore, which is something I just hate!! It's so much easier on me.  I trust him implicitly!

Tomorrow is another day.  Right now, I just don't want to go anywhere.  I'm getting a lot of questions like "how far along are you?" and "do you know what you're having? and "when are you due?"  I crave the familiarity of home and my family.  Tomorrow is another day when Dave goes back to work.  I know the strength of the Lord is going before me and I am glad for that!

I hope today never ends!!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Dear Father.....

Dear Father,

I just wanted You to know that I'm standing here, on this Road of Grief, again, and I decided that I can't walk another step down this Road.  I don't want to! I can't! Please, do not make me go here again. Please, I want to turn around! Please God, get me off of this Road.  I know where it leads! It's anguish! It's pain! It's months of tears and sadness! Please God, I can't! I can't do this again!!

Lord, it is so dark on this Road! It is so cold.  I am so lonely.  There is fear down this Road.  There are questions.  There are things that I can't see.  The fog snakes around my feet and curls up my legs, trying to find its way into my soul.  Please, is this a dream? Please take me away from here!

My Abba, do you hear me? Can you hear my soul shrieking in agony? Can you see me take deep breaths to push down the hysterical sobs that rise from the depths of my being? WHY do I have to visit this place again? WHY? Why do I find myself trying to hold the mask of normalcy onto my face so that it doesn't slip and scare everyone with what's really there? WHY???

My God, I just want to wake up tomorrow morning and find that this has all been a terrible nightmare.  I just want time to rewind, back to two weeks ago, when my Babies were healthy and happy.  I crave that! Please, please, help me here on this Road that You, in your faithfulness, have chosen again for me!

Emmanuel, You decided that we should have twins. We would have been so grateful for just one, but You took that one egg, days after conception, and decided to split it in two, forming my Babies, all the while, knowing that one of them would not get to be ours.  WHY? Oh God, dear Father, you gave us the deepest desire of our hearts and then, took it away.  Lord, please, let this cup pass from me! My spirit quakes within me with fear! My very marrow is washed with deep agony! Do You see??

It is the fondest wish of my being to not walk this Road of Grief again.  Lord, I am well acquainted with this place! I know what it's like here! WHY do I have to do this again?

Lord, I see that You cannot, in your sovereignty, remove me from this path. I will work on accepting my lot.  Father,  please give me what I need to have a firm step and a steady eye as I walk down this Road.  May I walk so as to glorify You each step.

And Lord, may I feel You here, because my mind knows that You are here, but my heart suddenly can't see or feel You.  Balm of Gilead, annoint my head with the oil of peace in the midst of these rising winds.  Lord, though I can't see Your hand, I will close my eyes and see it from memory of all the times when You have met me and pulled me up out of the ditch on the side of the Road.  Would You please hold me? Yes, hold me.  Still my shaking.  Lord, I believe deep down that this Road will yield good and blessing and joy......somewhere, some day.

I just wanted You to know what I'm thinking, Lord.  Blessed be the Name of the Lord forever.  Amen.

Monday, October 25, 2010


Hey there, everyone! I'm back, after an extremely exhausting day!!! I JUST got home!

Here's the news: Pennie is looking absolutely wonderful.  She has a good looking brain.  Her cord is 3-artery, which is very important.  Her bladder is working and looks normal.  Her tummy is looking good.  She was a real jumping bean! She moved and kicked and turned allll throughout the scan.  My fluid levels are great.  The doctor actually said that pre-term labor is almost not a possibility! He expects her to actually be normal sized.  That means she'll probably be at least 8 lbs.  Most of my babies are around at least 8 lbs.  She's actually measuring bigger for her age! Doctor fully expects her to be born perfectly healthy.

I'm learning to be joyful about Pennie.  Don't get me wrong!!! I LOVE HER!!! I ADORE HER......but it's a unique place I'm in right now, between grief and joy.  I really want joy to win! After all, as I've said before, all is not lost!

I really want to labor and deliver at my hometown hospital! Realllly bad! Because everything, and every one, is so familiar to me.  I know all of the nurses.  I recognize the rooms.  My dear doctor is there.  I dearly want this to happen! I crave familiarity.  To me, familiarity is comfort.  And I desire comfort right now.

So, that's another prayer request! I hope you all aren't getting tired of me shooting prayer requests your way.

On another note: I'm glad you guys liked Emily's photos.  I'm sure going to have a hard time picking out one for my wall.  I know I'm getting a big one, a canvas.  But which one to choose?? That's the question.  Those of you who read Emily's blog ought to leave her a comment telling her how much you like the pics.  And if you don't read her blog, DO!!

Okay, time to be with my Husband and kids, who missed me very much today, as I missed them!

Take care! MWAH!


Just a quick note, then we're on our way South.

Pennie's be-bopping around in there.  She seems strong and happy, to me.

My ultrasound is at 1:30, Pacific time, for all of you who may be following my blog in other time zones
(Thank God you are following me!!)

I was very, very nervous last night.  Very edgy.

This morning, no nervousness at all.  I was even able to feel extreme joy as I got into the shower this morning.  It's only the Lord.  And it's only because of the many prayers that are going up on my behalf, and on Pennie's behalf.  There's no way to express my gratitude, except to pray for you back!!

I'll update the blog later on this afternoon.

And one more thing: My maternity photo shoot pics are up on Emily's website.  Go here, then go to Gallery.  Click on "Portraits", then refresh the page and that's me.  And The Babies.  Emily is a gifted photographer.  Let me know which one is your favorite!

Talk to you later on! MWAH!

Sunday, October 24, 2010


I want to say, to that Anonymous Commenter, and you do know who you are, that you have Humbled me and blessed me beyond words.

I checked on my post yesterday, about the Necklace, and saw that there were some comments, so I read them.  The second comment puzzled me! It was anonymous.  At first I thought it was spam! I had gotten one other comment recently that was crazy and made no sense, so I deleted it.  But I read this one twice.  Then a third time, still puzzled.  I decided to do what the commenter said, so I checked my email.

What I found there caused me to immediately burst into hysterical tears, with my apron literally thrown over my face.  Loud tears! Messy, snotty tears.  Gasping, wrenching sobs.

Because Anonymous Commenter had left me a gift certificate for The Vintage Pearl.

So, I want Anonymous to know that I will have my necklace in a matter of weeks.

I still can't believe it.  At one of my very lowest points in my entire life, the Body of Christ comes through.

I don't know who you are, Anonymous, and I don't need to know.  God knows.  I pray for you, that God will heap you with blessing overflowing, for ministering to me in such a deep and elemental way.

I will post a picture of My Necklace as soon as it gets here.  Since it is a custom creation, it will take a bit of time.

I can wait.

If I could write a book of my life now, the title of my book would be.....

Learning To Breathe Again.

And, on another note:


I'll update on her tomorrow night.

Till then, have a great Sunday!

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Memory Necklace

I've wanted a special piece of jewelry to wear every day, sacred to the memory of Janie.  I've been searching for about 5 years now.  I've searched everywhere, in every price range.

Now, I want to add Olivia too.

I really want a necklace with charms on it.

I've been looking at, and  I also looked at Julie the Fish online, but I couldn't get the link to work.

I want two charms, dime sized, and a bit beat up, with a pearl too.  Only I can't decide! I can't decide if I want two flowers, two hearts, two circles....and I don't know if the money is there to do this thing.

That's really the thing that has held me back so far.

We're trying to purchase a 15 seater van for cash, instead of going into debt for it.  We dearly need a vehicle like that.  Right now, we can't go anywhere together unless we borrow some friends' van, and we have to drive with Lucie's car seat in between the front seats in that van.  After we found out we were having twins, the van became the priority.

So, we're trying to hold off on all other purchases until we save up the $7000.00 we need for the van.

I was thinking about trying to sell some stuff on eBay to get the money for this elusive necklace that I crave.  I know people do that to make money.  I think it's a good idea and a good way for moms to make extra money while staying home.

The ultrasound tech who does my ultrasounds at my peri's clinic, Kyrsten, wears a necklace like that.  It's silver, on a short chain, really small charm, with her initial on it.  I always look at it when I'm on the table.  It's really simple and pretty.

I guess this has been on my mind for quite a few months now.  I looked at a company that does footprints and handprints on charms.  You send them the footprints of your baby and they shrink the print down and somehow put it on a charm.  That was really spendy and I wouldn't trust Janie's footprints to just anyone!

I want to just go online to one of the sites I linked to, choose a necklace, and buy it right NOW, even without my husband's okay!

I'm just musing here, people.  Just opening up my mind and letting you see what's swirling around in there.

I have another necklace that I love.  It's silver, long, and has a large heart and a small heart and a couple of other charms on it.  I got it at the shoe store.  I never buy jewelry! But this necklace caught my eye.  We were trying to get pregnant again after Lucie and we just weren't and this necklace just had to be mine.  I wore it the day I saw our baby (babies) for the first time at 7 weeks.  I wore it when I heard a heartbeat for the first time.  I wore it in my photo shoot with Emily.  It's special to me.....

But I want a smaller necklace to wear every day.  With initials of Janie (JRG) and Olivia (OCG).

Okay, so I'll keep you updated on the progress of getting this necklace and show pictures if I do get it.


PS: The day after tomorrow I will have another ultrasound.  This is an anatomical study on Pennie.  It will tell us how healthy she is and how she's growing, and if she's having any issues from losing Olivia. I'm trying not to think about it.  I'm not as excited for this ultrasound as I was with the others.  I'm trying not to be nervous.  So far, she has looked very healthy, but so did Olivia.......PRAY FOR ME AND PENNIE!!!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Taking a Breath


First, let me say I'm totally BLESSED by all of your comments! I mean, people I don't even know have made me feel so loved and so watched over! Thank you, Devin, for rallying your friends on my behalf, and on Pennie's behalf.  I've never felt so well taken care of.  I'd like to respond to everyone who commented personally, but I don't know if that's in me right now......But I want every single one of you to know that I will treasure your comments forever.

So, it's The Aftermath.  I've been able to regroup a bit, to Take a Breath.

How am I doing?

What am I thinking?

I can try to answer those questions here, briefly.  I'm not sure how many words I have, right now.

I will say that the shattered, broken pieces of us that had fallen on the ground and all over are being refitted into another picture.  I can't see the whole picture yet, but I'm accepting this New Reality that God obviously has for us.  I feel less broken, most moments.  I feel more broken, some moments! How's that for contradiction? Seriously, I don't know what the next days, or weeks, or months, are going to look like.  But God only makes Beauty.  It may be tragic Beauty.  It may be devastating Beauty.  But in the end, it's Beauty to Him if one can glorify and honor His name in the midst of shattered, broken pieces.

I so dearly want to do that! I want everyone who looks at me, right now, to see God's faithfulness.  I want them to see His light shining out of me.....I want to be a living incense to Him! I don't know how to do that.  But I will just keep praising Him and thanking Him and talking to Him, even when I don't feel like it.  It's all I know how to do, in this New Reality.

So far, Pennie seems to be doing well.  She feels like she's getting stronger in there.  She's still kicking and spinning and moving around.  Believe me, I am intensely aware of every tiny bubble from her!

I can say that I'm glad I trusted my instincts and went in to the doctor.  My regular OB sent me straight down to my peri's office to have an ultrasound.  I'm glad I went.  I'm glad I didn't just write my feelings off as paranoid or silly.  My instincts were right on.  I just had a feeling, after Olivia hadn't moved for an hour or so, that she was gone.  She was the active, VERY active one.  So, even though I had to hear very sad news, I'm still glad I went.

What will happen now? Well, I'll carry both babies till Pennie is ready to be born.  Nobody knows when that will be.  We're all hoping that it's nice and long and that Pennie stays in there and cooks up healthy.

I'm going in for what's called an anatomic study, which was supposed to be on both babies, on Monday. It's standard at my peri's office.  It's a long ultrasound in which they take measurements of everything and look at all organ systems and things like that, essentially to see if the Baby is healthy and developing normally.  It's even more important to have this done on Pennie right now, in light of Olivia's death, to get a read on how she's doing.  Many twins, upon the death of one twin, go on to be born healthy and happy.  So that's what we're looking for, a healthy remaining Twin.

I'll tell you, we were just starting to come out of the stunned and surprised fog of hearing we were having twins to being really, REALLY excited and starting to work on getting things ready for their arrival.  It's only been less than three weeks ago that I laid in that room and got the most wonderful, most flabbergasting news of my life.  What a roller coaster these past weeks have been.

I never liked roller coasters.  I still don't.

You know what, though? Yes, I'm walking this road again.  Yes, I will have a stillborn baby.  BUT!

I've not lost everything, as I did with Janie.

I won't have empty arms! God willing.  There are TWO babies in there and I'm going to do everything within my power to make sure that we come home with one baby!

I'm still the mother of Twins.  I'm still a Multiple Mom.  Olivia has not vanished.

Another interesting and strangely comforting thought that I didn't get to have with Janie is that Pennie is the mirror image of Olivia, so, we will never wonder what Olivia would have looked like! We will always know, when we look at Pennie.  Whenever I wonder, all I have to do is look at Pennie.  A bittersweet musing, but one that I hope will bring great solace in the months to come.

I guess that's it, in a sort-of nutshell! You guys know I'm just not a nutshell girl!

I do have a couple of prayer requests.

I struggle the most at night.  My mind won't stop turning.  I dearly, deeply desire sweet, peaceful sleep.  I NEED peaceful sleep, for my health, but most of all for Pennie's health.  Please pray for peace and serenity at night for me.  I do not want to take sleeping pills.  Besides, I know God can do this for me!!

PLEASE PRAY FOR PENNIE! I don't know what God's will is for her, but I know I want her desperately now.  Pray that she will thrive.  Pray that she will grow.  Pray that she will stay in there till her appointed time to be born.

Please pray for my appetite.  My calorie intake is severely lacking; in fact, I don't even think I'm getting enough calories for myself, let alone Pennie.  I want her to be healthy and plump and have everything she needs in there, but I have to get extra calories.  It's much more important now.  I must eat but don't really feel like eating.  So Pray for my appetite!

And please, pray for labor and delivery.  I desire a peaceful labor and a joyful delivery.  I know God can, because every single labor and delivery I've had, even Janie's, has been easy and peaceful.  Please pray for a minimum of bleeding and a quick delivery.

I guess that's about it.  Again, I'm so blessed by all of you.  I'm so humbled that you all, even if you don't know me,  have come together to bless my family with the benediction of your prayers and thoughts and offers of help.  Even on Facebook, people that I don't even know have been praying.


And God bless, abundantly, overflowingly, each one of you!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Olivia Caroline Gilchrist

Olivia Caroline Gilchrist is safe in the arms of Jesus.  The Father called her name two days ago and she answered.

She will not be joining us to live her life with our family.

We are utterly broken.

We appreciate your prayers for us, as we will have to carry her until Pennie is ready to be born.

Pray for strength for Pennie!

Pray for joy and strength for me, and for my body to be as healthy as it can be for Pennie.

I appreciate all of you who are praying.  Thank you so much.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Please Pray

Gals, I need you to pray for me and The Babies.

Pennie has been very active today, all day, and it's unusual because she's usually the quiet one.  She's Baby A and she's usually shy and quiet.

The thing is, I haven't felt Olivia, Baby B, move today.  I think I felt one kick earlier this morning, but she hasn't moved once since then.

Needless to say, I'm very, very worried.  But I don't want to be! I don't want to freak out and call the doctor over nothing.  As the night goes on, I'm getting more and more worried and fearful that something is wrong with Olivia.

So, would you please pray for us? I want These Babies so so soooooo badly.  Olivia was active and happy and waving to the camera just last week......

Lord, Help! I don't want to go down this road of fear and worry and anxiety over everything!

Thanks for your prayers!

A Few Thoughts

The photo shoot was sooooo fun!! Emily is a great photographer, and she really knows how to put a person at ease! But the best thing about it is, she KNOWS me.  We go way back.  She knew how to capture the real ME, and not silly, contrived posing that was fake and not me.  She's working on editing and stuff now, and I can't wait to see the proofs.  Let me tell you, if you live locally, you really must pick Emily as your photographer!

Right now, Pennie is awake and I can feel her little hands poking me.  Olivia seems to be pretty sleepy lately.  It used to be just the opposite, with Pennie sleeping and Olivia awake the most.  I get to see them again next Monday, when they will do an anatomical study on both Babies, measuring everything and studying every organ to make sure everything's a go for each Baby.  These always, always make me nervous, but my ultrasound tech, Kiersten, is the very, very best.  She's sweet and fun, but best of all, she's a Twin Mom too, and that means she's been where I am and it makes me feel less alone.  So far, from everything they've been able to see, The Babies look good and healthy! I'll update Monday.

I'm excited to report that a Baby Shower is apparently going to become reality on November 6th! I can't believe it! Two awesome friends decided they wanted to bless our family and get all of our friends together to celebrate The Babies.  I'm just so excited! The best part is, my girls are invited and they get to help bake and cook and decorate and plan! So, I over-invited, just because I want so much to share the joy and happiness of The Babies with alllllll of our many friends.  I registered at Target, and that was kinda weird, since the last shower I had was for Sofia, over 5 years ago, and I didn't register with her, since I didn't know the church we were going to at the time was going to have a shower for us till the very last minute.  Registering for The Babies really made me aware of how much we really need for them!! If you're local and want to come for some awesome food and awesome fellowship, contact me via email and I'll give you all the details!

My husband and I went to a Gaither concert Friday night with my folks.  We've been to 3 or 4 concerts, and I have to say, this one was the best.  Our favorite groups, the Martins and the Isaacs, were there and wow, it was just a great night of the most sublime, extreme talent! To think, years ago, when my folks were wanting us to watch a Gaither video, I wouldn't because I just KNEW it was going to be old fogey music!! Ha.  It was a great night, but a loooooong night! We got back at almost 2 in the morning, and for this very pregnant lady, that was just toooo late! I had a Gaither hangover the next day!!!

And boy, do I have some sort of hangover today! We had a bit of a late night last night too, and I am sooo tired today! I plan on being lazy today!! And, I have a wonderful cold, which is enhanced, or maybe I should say aggravated, by being pregnant! Ugh.  Chapped lips and dry skin to boot!! So, rest is on the agenda for me today.  It's so beautiful outside today, and I have a great view!!

Take care and I'll be posting again soon!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

The Lord Spoke

I really haven't shared a lot of the story of our baby, Janie Rose, who was stillborn on May 13, 2004, when I was almost 7 months pregnant.  And I haven't shared a lot about our three miscarried babies.  I always want to, but I always figure it's all old news, forget about it....

But grief and loss leave an indelible impression.  I traveled in a season of grief and loss for many, many years.  It was my lifestyle and, the unintentional result of allowing myself to live in that Shadowland for so long is that my heart has been shying away from joy and celebration.  Grief and loss were a long, cold, lonely season in which I felt obligated to dwell, for fear of  forgetting.

Like a soft piece of wood gouged and nicked deep into the grain, it takes much sanding, much planing, to remove those marks.

My fear of  forgetting caused me to feel completely unable to accept blessing of any kind.  I felt undeserving of deep happiness.  Mourning became who I was and I, in my broken down state,  believed that that was to be my lot in life.  I assumed the mantle of unworthiness like a heavy, old, musty wool coat, moth eaten and dirty.  It just became a part of my wardrobe that I put on every day, for a very long time.

Yet, in the midst of my struggle, I counseled others! Oh yes, I was famous for telling other ladies who were suffering of the joys that Christ offers and how He graciously sets free....and all the while, I couldn't take my own advice!! All the while, I was stifled under a self-imposed exile from all that was good!  Those words were meant for others.  In my shattered mind, Christ meant my counsel for others, never for me!

I have to tell you that it all became so cumbersome! The heavy, hot coat I wore began to choke me and I began to sweat, with no thought to the tightly clasped buttons running down the front, just waiting to be undone.

Looking back over my Journey, I see that the counsel that I so freely gave away to others........was truly meant for me.  God was calling ME to listen to myself!! There was freedom in those words, if only I could have stored up the tiny gems of wisdom for myself!

Alas, we are all on a Journey.  Our Journeys take us to different places, through different geography, at different times and paces.  Yes, we all may be on different voyages, but we're all being drawn to the same Place.....Freedom.

Now, this new season, I've come to a major fork in my road.  I can take the road I've been on and travel as I have been.....
I can turn down the other Freedom.

The Lord has set before me a choice this day.  Believe it or not, this choice is very, very hard for me! It means leaving everything that's been familiar to me for the last 7 years and embracing the unknown.

There is One Who beckons to me! He's already there, patiently waiting, with tender gaze and unfathomable love on His face.
The other day, He spoke to me.  My Beloved spoke, and He said to me:

"Rise up my love, my fair one, and come away.
For lo, the winter is past.
The rain is over and gone.
The flowers appear on the earth.
The time for singing has come!
And the voice of the turtledove is heard
in our land.
The fig tree puts forth her green figs,
and the vines with the tender grapes
give a good smell!
Rise up my love, my fair one and come away!"

This is a pretty well known Scripture passage, but it hit me like a ton of bricks.  I heard His voice! His healing literally poured through my spirit and heart! It was the warm and joyful Balm of Gilead! He told me that it was okay to rejoice over Pennie and Olivia. He said that grief and sadness and hardness was not what He wanted for me anymore.  He told me it was safe to go on in this new season, that I wouldn't forget our other babies, because He doesn't forget.

Oh Lord, help me to rejoice with abandon!
Father, be the strength which undergirds my voice.
Jesus, hold up my arms and still the trembling.
May I sing the song of my heart with confidence and laughter!!!

Ah, the sun feels good on my face!

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Still Here!

It's been too long since I posted! I wanted you guys to know I'm still here!!

Just for the fun of it, I want to do a little update on The Pregnancy of a Lifetime!

The problem is, until Tuesday, some of my stats will be missing!! But I think I'll do another update on Tuesday evening, after my second ultrasound and after my Big Babies Bump Photo Shoot!!!

Yes, I'm having my First Ever Pregnancy Photo Shoot!! I'll tell you more about it after it happens!

For now, I'll tell you what's been up the past week or so:

I'm craving peanut butter.  And lasagne.  (NOT together! What, you guys think I'm PREGNANT or something?? HA!) Like crazy!! I think it's always fun to see, with each pregnancy, the different cravings I have.  Early on, I craved Frank's Red Hot Buffalo Wing Sauce like crazy.  And cucumbers.  Right now loaded salads also sound good. And coconut pineapple drinks, like a virgin Pina Colada.  And mustard on potatoes.  And Omelettes!  Something weird that's happening the last week is that I know I really, really need tons of calories for The Babies and myself right now, and food sounds good, but as soon as I put it in my mouth, I don't want to eat it! So I'm struggling with getting enough calories every day.  I'll have to remedy that, as I want The Babies to be as yummy and plump as petit chocolat pots du creme!! I know, I know, aren't I such a linguist??!!

The nausea has returned this week.  Ugh.  And the fatigue.  Maybe The Babies are having a growth spurt?? I read lots of info that said that multiples have their big growth spurt in the second trimester, whereas singles have their big growth spurt in the last month or so.  That's probably the reason for the nausea and fatigue coming back.  I say, GO AWAY!!

On Tuesday, the day of my next appointment with my peri, I'll be officially 5 months pregnant! Halfway there, I can't believe it.

Today I'm pretty crampy.  I have things to do but I'm trying to obey my body and stay off my feet as much as my body needs to.  The trouble with that is, I also struggle with laziness! It's the bain of my existence! And I'll tell you, there IS a fine line between resting and laziness, so I try to stay far away from that line but it's so so SO hard for me not to cater to my slothful side!!

The past almost-two-weeks The Babies have gotten SO much stronger! Especially this week, for sure! I feel all sorts of popping, somersaults, and flutterings from all over my tummy! It's one of the fun things about having multiples, in that you feel lots of movement from different places all at once! The Babies are having LOTS more awake time in there!

I'm having ACNE!!! This girl has never, ever struggled with acne hardly a day in her life! And I'm getting it in the most bizarre places! Tiny, pin pricks of red dots that itch and have a teeny white head! My nose looks like Rudolph!!!

I have NO idea how much weight I've gained.  I know how much I'm supposed to gain, according to the whole entire internet AND my peri! I'm not kidding, when I was making my next appointment two weeks ago at my peri's office, I spotted The Scale in the hallway, and ladies, this in no ordinary scale! The thing looks like a treadmill on steroids!! I've never seen anything like it.  It isn't your typical Doctor's scale with the sliding weight measurer, oh no, this Bad Boy is digital!! And I have to step on it for the first time on Tuesday!! Truthfully though, I really don't think I've gained any weight since my 16 week (4 mth) check up at my regular OB's.  Hopefully I don't get into too much trouble.  I'm really just saying to-heck-with the recommended weight gain for multiples and going with what my body says.  I don't want to be The Pillsbury Dough Girl when The Babies are born!!

I've discovered that I LOVE me some Maxi dresses!! I was sooooo scared of Maxi dresses! I thought for sure that Curvy Gals like me couldn't pull one off.....but I looked online at Motherhood Maternity, and read all the reviews.  I bought myself two really cheap ones, a long one and a short one, and ohhhh, it was love at first wear!!! I pop a cardigan over the dress and I'm good to go! And I can wear them Post Babies too!!!

I've been looking at double strollers and car seats.  I've settled on a stroller and car seat brand and pattern.  My husband won't let me buy them until we get our van in a few weeks, and truthfully, I have NO IDEA how the money will come in for everything we need!!! The Diaper Budget alone will equal twice the National Debt!! Nevertheless, I have toyed with the idea of putting together a registry....but don't want to seem greedy or grasping or anything!! What would ya'll do if you were having child #8 AND #9 at once??? Here's a picture of my stroller:

It's a Graco brand Duo stroller, and the pattern, though you can't see it real well, is called Milan, and it's blue and brown circles all over the fabric.   The rating on this stroller is 4-5 stars!!! Here are the car seats:
I really love this pattern and the blue and brown combo! But it'll be a MINT to get two car seats and the stroller.  

I'm trying to drink lots of water.  

I'm super incredibly HOT lately!! I MUST have all windows open at all times!

Okay, I think that's long enough for a quick update!! I'll post more Tuesday evening! And now I'm off to make some lasagne!! Have a great Sunday evening! MWAH!

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Open House

Okay, I've seen these open house posts on some of my bloggy friends' blogs, and in an effort to see if I can think of anything else right now than The Babies, I'm going to post my own open house!!

I'm skirt, black long sleeved shirt and my trusty apron!

I'm listening to..........Daddy listening to the score from Lonesome Dove as he sorts through files on his computer, and Kellie and Sara playing Sweet Streets houses with Polly Pockets, Lincoln Logs, and Duplo people! Sofia's playing too, and it's a riot!

I'm looking forward to......... a Gaither Homecoming concert in two weeks, and Jan Karon's new book coming out this month! YAY! So excited!!

I'm smelling........two kinds of chicken cooking in the kitchen: Buttery Lemon Dill Chicken in the oven and Cranberry Mustard Chicken in the crock pot for tomorrow.  Mmmmmm!

Outside my is overcast and thankfully, not hot and not humid either! We've had a spate of the most humid days I've ever seen since moving to Washington almost 25 years ago!

I'm reading.........Nothing of note right now, but I just finished Jan Karon's Mitford Bedside Companion.

I'm creating.........nothing right now!

I'm praying for.......My dad's friend of more than 50 years who was seriously injured a few weeks ago, my mom's coffee stand to sell, and most importantly, all of the couples we know very personally whose marriages are failing or rocky.  Do you know anyone whose marriage is failing? Pray for them!!  And is your marriage rocky? Don't let it be! Build up your house with your hands!!

I'm thankful for.......God's love.  His mercy.  His favor.  Period.

Now it's your turn!!

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Babies Bump?

So here's the long awaited picture of my Babies, errrr....ummmm....well, bump doesn't even do it justice!! It's a mountain!! It's a large mound! It's a hill!!!

And you all know how I was so freaked out about how big my tummy was?? Well....

Suddenly I'm proud of my big belly.  Isn't that crazy?? I guess I now have Two Precious Excuses to have a huge belly!!

Hannah took this picture on Tuesday, after my ultrasound.  She took a few before I liked any, because even though I am proud of my tummy, that doesn't mean I'm proud of ME! Ha.

Without further ado, I give you.....

The Babies @ 18 weeks

How do you like that?? That is one big bump! And now I KNOW why it's so big!!

I'll post another picture in about two weeks, at my 20 week (5 month) check up.  By my specialist's calculations, I'm 18 weeks, but by the Lilypie twins ticker I wanted to put up on my sidebar that was cut off, I'm 18 wks and 2 days.

Lucie Beans @ 20 months
And because this is my blog and I can pretty much do anything I want, I'll leave you with two more pictures that just make me want to chew on some Lu-lu:

Sara said, "Smile, Lu-lu!"

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

A Surreal Dream

 CAUTION: SUPER LONG post ahead!

Okay.  It's the "morning after", if you will, and boy, has my mind been on speed-dial!!

Yesterday seems like a surreal dream!

It was the single most life-altering day of my life, aside from accepting Christ as my Saviour, even more than getting married or getting the news that we were having our very first child.  I was handed the biggest, most incredible surprise of my entire existence yesterday, and I'm still trying to process things!! I'll try, in this post, to articulate some of the things that are running through my mind!

We do know with about 100% certainty that the babies are IDENTICAL!!! From here on out, we will refer to them as "The Babies" instead of "the girls", as that nickname is already taken by 6 OTHER girls!!

You all should have crowded into that dark, peaceful room with me yesterday just to see my face!!!

I have to tell you that I was scared to get on the table, for fear there was something wrong with my baby.  I stood there for a good 10 seconds looking down on that bed....until the tech touched my arm and said "this is going to be good! It's going to be okay."  So, I laid down.

I had told her that I thought I was fairly large for where I was in my pregnancy and that I had never been as large, and she asked me if I was sure I was only having one.  Of course I was sure! Dr W had only found one baby all those weeks ago, and only one heartbeat thus far.......

I was totally prepared to see that we were having a boy.  I thought that's why I was having such severe symptoms, and why this pregnancy has been so different so far.......

*Excuse me while I laugh out loud!*

You ought to have seen the office staff looking at me so funny, when I walked in.  I'm certain they knew right away that I was carrying twins.  This office specializes in multiple, high risk pregnancies.  Oh, they knew, and so did the tech, as soon as she came out to the waiting room to get me.  I waited in the waiting room for oh, about 3 seconds!!

After I laid down,  she said, "well, let's see if there's only one baby in there."  My son, who I brought with me, sat down in the chair and she squirted the warm, wet gel on my tummy.  She put the wand on my tummy, and her first words were.......

"There's two babies.  You're going to have twins!"  Her voice was quiet and confident and totally sweet.

I said, "you're joking!!!"

She said, "no, I'm not!" I then said, "of course you wouldn't joke about something like that!"

And, I immediately and shamelessly burst into tears! I looked at Russell and said, "call Daddy NOW!"  Then I asked the tech if we could actually use our cell phone in the room!!! We called Daddy and Russell handed the phone to me.  I just couldn't stop crying! He could barely understand me.  Our conversation went something like this:

Me: "Are you sitting down?"
Him: "No, I'm at my case.  What's up?"
Me:  (sobbing pretty good by now) "We're having twins!"
Him: "No Way!"
Me:  "We're having TWIN GIRLS!" (because right after she told me there were two, she zoomed in on bottoms and sure enough, there were no *ahem* "appendages" on either Baby!)
Him: "O My Gosh!" Are you serious?"
Then he started laughing hysterically.  My husband laughs and paces when he's nervous.

We talked to each other several times on the phone yesterday.  I think the shock hasn't worn off for him. He is uber-busy at work, working 11 hour days, 6 days a week and doing a music project on the side that has to be done by Friday......he's a bit preoccupied right now!! It hasn't sunk in with him yet.

I tell you all that I cried for most of the ultrasound, which was pretty short, since I needed to talk to the doctor and start at the beginning with them.  Heck, I cried for most of the DAY!!

I will continue care with Dr Whelan in my hometown, but The Babies and I will receive most of our care from Dr Winkler, who practices south of here.  From my house right now, his office is an hour and 16 minutes away!! Talk about being far away from the hospital! I thought three blocks was far!!

The hospital is adjacent to my new doctor's office, accessible by a sky bridge!! It is brand new and has state-of-the-art care for me and The Babies.  I will be going down there every two weeks.  I will be getting ultrasounds every two weeks.  With identical twins, there is a risk, 20%, of Twin-Twin Transfusion, which I had read a teenie bit about in the past.  We will be watching The Babies very, very closely, and watching me, due to my nice and extensive history.  You ought to see my folders at my regular OB's office! There's a Volume 1 AND a Volume 2!!

Suffice it to say that these Babies CANNOT be born at home! The tech, who is a twin mom herself, told me that twins typically are born at 34-36 weeks.  And that they tend to be smaller than a "singleton" baby.  I told the doctor how far I lived from them and how my last baby was born on the toilet.  I could see his wheels turning!! I'm going to be a fun patient for him!!

I will be monitored closely for pre-term labor, as already my uterus is very, VERY heavy!! My uterus is measuring 6-8 weeks ahead.  So, NO WONDER I'm feeling like I'm 6 or 7 months pregnant!!! DUH!!

She said that I needed to be prepared for potential bed rest, according to how my cervix was acting, and it could be hospital bed rest, seeing as how far we live away from the hospital.  The doctor said that if I was to go into labor at 35 weeks, I could potentially deliver at my old hospital......hmm, no thanks, the changes at my old hospital make it a wrong choice now for us.

We have names for The Babies.  Baby A, who is down over my cervix, sitting transverse, is Pennie Jane. She is rather behind and under Baby B, who's head is snug up under my left rib and is sitting straight up.  Baby B is Olivia Caroline.  We love these names!! The potential for nicknames is fun!!!

Pennie Jane and Olivia Caroline.  I can scarcely believe I just typed that.  Surreal.

I will go back to Dr Winkler in two weeks, actually 13 days, for a more extensive work up on The Babies.  This will be the new plan till at least 26 weeks.  So, I'll be doing a lot of traveling, in my husband's old 1987 Pontiac 6000 work car!!! Awesome.  Such luxury.  *Cough Cough, choke choke!*

I'll end this post now.  Believe me, there IS a part two!!!

My son left for a bit during one part of the ultrasound to explore the hospital and gift shop, and he thought it was the neatest place and said I ought to deliver there! (Everyone, relax! The "boy" is almost 16 years old.  Yeah, I figure it's safe now to let him roam!!!)

My son's face, on hearing that he was going to have twin sisters, was so precious and so priceless! His mouth hung open and his eyes got really big! He asked a lot of questions, and I loooove that!!!

I'd love for you to follow us on this new road we're on! I told Dave yesterday to fasten his seatbelt, he's in for the ride of his life!!!! And I sense that I will never be the same, and that God is about to do a major work in our lives!!!