Four

It’s September 24, 2019. The busyness of work, school, and anticipation of season changes is upon us.

It also means her day is here. I always sense in my spirit when it’s coming. I find little things puts heavy pressure behind my eyes. Sometimes I have to hold them back (or let I let it flow depending on the time or day). But it always comes unexpectedly!

Grief never leaves. Sometimes it softer and sometimes it’s heavier like September has turned out to be.

The way I miss Elodie is like this…she’d be turning 4 years old today…I imagine who she’d be at 4. Is she gentle and calm. Spicy and independent. What does she like? My life now is overwhelmed by Superhero’s. What else would overwhelm our house at this point if she was here? What does her voice sound like? Is hair detangler a staple in our house along with lost bows. Does she love clothes and shoes like her Momma (and Daddy)? Is she girly or a tom-boy?

I came upon this “did you know” a couple months ago and it wrecked me…

RESEARCH PROVES A PART OF YOUR BABY REMAINS IN YOUR BODY FOR UP TO 38 YEARS

WHAT?! It’s called fetal microchimerism. I can be a bit of a “doubting Thomas” when I read this headline and had to do a bit of research to understand it. But it’s true! Bits of your baby’s DNA can get left behind and you physically carry your children. Good or bad it can impact your own molecular composition.

The best quote from the article I found that summed it up was…

I’ve always known that motherhood changes you forever, but I just didn’t know how much it changes us, even at our most basic cellular level.

As odd as that reality sounds it brought so much comfort to me! I lost my baby girl, but I still carry her with me and not just in my heart!

I know her life matters. She still brings purpose to so many lives. She’s our story, our testimony of this thing called life. We still feel so much pain in losing her, but what I do believe is that IT IS WELL WITH MY SOUL! I trust that with all that I am that it’s HOPE in only Jesus that I can say makes that eternally true.

Happy Birthday my precious girl!!

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Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month

It takes a lot for me to come back to this blog and write. I don’t know why, but I find it harder to find the words. I have to dig deeper to gather my thoughts. Perhaps I have this undue pressure to have this amazing post that moves people and tug on their hearts. So dumb, I know! I do confess that the main draw for me to come back and put pen to paper is that I have been asked to speak at the annual Neonatal Butterfly Release through Levine’s Children’s hospital this weekend and here you’ll get a sneak peek…

Our journey to become parents is not for the faint of heart. On October 19, 2012, we had our first son, Finnegan Charles John, born at barely 28 weeks and spent 70 days at Levine’s Children’s Hospital. He will be 5 years old next week. He’s now a thriving and hilarious preschooler that keeps us on our toes. As we settled into being parents to a tiny preemie, we also faced a new reality of what pregnancy looked like for me. And that involved many new medical terms like pre-term labor…uterine anomaly…weekly injections…cervical checks…high risk. Not something we had known about previously or were prepared for.

After several doctor visits, extensive tests, and support of my doctors, we mustered up the courage to try again. With a more informed pregnancy plan and non-stop prayer, this time we were expecting a better outcome. As pre-term labor kicked-in the night of September 23, 2015, we found ourselves facing the reality that we would ultimately lose our daughter. On the morning of September 24th, Elodie Mason John, was born at just 22 weeks and stayed with us for 40 precious minutes. She was warm and pink, but didn’t move or make a sound. She looked so much like her big brother. She had Daddy’s lips and my toes. We held her and rocked her and whispered in her ear. We had a dear friend come and photograph her. She asked me what I wanted and I told her, I just want to remember.  She captured every inch of her.

As we grieved the loss of our daughter, the days, weeks, and months after, I poured my heart and soul into writing a blog. It was my therapy. As someone who already had a faith in God and knew the love of Christ, never would I imagine the journey to becoming parents would challenge that faith to the core. There were two paths I could have taken. To harden my heart, believe the lies the enemy would throw at me, and walk away from the God I loved or to fall into Him helpless and broken when there was nothing left of me to give.

I don’t believe God took Elodie from us. As I went back to read through some of my blog posts to prepare for this day. I found some words that may be of encouragement to you…This was from last spring…

Easter is this Sunday and with any season and holiday after Elodie, it’s faced with a new set of eyes. For the first time, Christ’s death and resurrection weighs heavier on my heart this year. It’s through depths of faith that gives new hope. As I sat in Palm Sunday service, listening to the pastor, I had an image of Jesus holding Elodie in the hospital room with tears streaming down His face. And as the pastor described Christ, as both God and man, the humanity of who Christ was, is real.

Christ wrestled with God the Father’s plan to save the world. Christ was the Ultimate sacrifice and took the weight of the world’s sin upon Himself. Yes, the physical sacrifice was probably more than we can ever imagine as He hung on the cross, but the emotional and spiritual sacrifice by far outweighs the physical.

The image of Christ weeping as He held our baby girl reflects the reality that this world is not how God had intended it to be. The fall of man could only be saved by God the Father, who sacrificed His only son.

You’d think after having a preemie and then a 2nd trimester loss, that we’d hang it up and move on. But both my husband and I felt that our story wasn’t over. It was a clear and unrelenting message in our hearts.

By happenstance, I shared my pregnancy journey on an online group where a woman suggested that I reach out to a specialist in Chicago who performs transabdominal cerclages for women who suffer from an incompetent cervix (TAC for short). By sending one email on a random Saturday afternoon to this doctor, he responded within just a couple hours and we were given HOPE once again.

With support of my local doctors, we traveled to Chicago in April of last year and had surgery. I became pregnant quickly after recovery with our chubby, full-term baby, Augustus Tyde John. Our rainbow of hope. It’s remarkable how you try to plan life, but realize how God’s plan is so much bigger than ours. Knowing we’d have a boy and then a girl, we thought our family would be complete. If it wasn’t for our baby girl and all that transpired to realize that to really, really find great joy again, it takes great courage!

Great Joy Takes Great Courage

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Yes, its been 6 months since I last wrote on here. So much has gone on, I really don’t know where to begin…

  1. We sold our townhouse
  2. Bought a new house…a fixer upper…
  3. Moved to a rented two bedroom condo
  4. Mason switched companies and now works at Wells Fargo
  5. I went on modified bed-rest and worked from home for the remainder of my pregnancy
  6. Grew a baby to full-term – which consisted of three visits to labor & deliver for false pre-term labor
  7. Had said baby on March 1st
  8. Moved from the condo to my in-laws (where we are currently)
  9. We’re finally looking to move to our new house the first weekend in May…

You should all be caught-up now! With all that said…meet the newest John boy…

Augustus Tyde John

We call him August. Born March 1, 2017 at 7lbs 1oz and 21 inches long. He was born via scheduled c-section at 36 weeks 6 days. He ended up spending 36 hours in the NICU for low blood sugar (of course he did!) He needed a little help regulating that via IV. But the silver lining was I got some sleep! He is now 7 weeks old! He is such a good baby. How did I get blessed with two sweet and calm babies?!

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He’s here!

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Big brother meeting little brother

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Hoping for blue eyes!

This season has been…incredible…incredibly challenging, humbling, stressful, overwhelming, and joyful.

The day August was born, my father-in-law brought us a bouquet of flowers and on the card read ‘Great joy takes great courage’. This has stuck with me. As I’ve had time to reflect on this journey, I remember the conversations Mason and I had as we faced the decision to try for another baby. The money spent to travel to Chicago and have major abdominal surgery. To take a leap of faith on another pregnancy…another life. The Lord guided us the entire way…to our “great joy”. Most days I feel like I’m living a dream.

I would also be remiss to say its been challenging emotionally. I look at my two boys and my heart aches for Elodie. My girl. My daughter. There is this hole in our family. I imagine her here toddling around at 15 months old. But then I’m stopped dead in my tracks to also realize August wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for all that transpired. Its weighty to think that our plans are not our own…and I thank God for that everyday!

It’s Fall Ya’ll

Hey friends…It’s officially fall in NC. The crisp cool air, falling leaves, and Carolina blue skies. My favorite season of all time!

It’s still my favorite, even though tragedy always tried to steal our joy away from this season. Finn was born early at 28 weeks on Oct 19, 2012. He’s a big 4 year old now! Who’s obsessed with superheroes, tells jokes, and makes friends every where he goes. He’s such a joy in our lives. And even after losing Elodie, now over a year ago, at 22 weeks on Sep 24, 2015…this season now just has new meaning, its super special to us now.

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I’m now 18 weeks pregnant with baby boy. Many have asked and I’m sure curious as to how I’m doing/feeling. Well, I wish I could say its been uneventful, but its been a little challenging. Basically, my uterus hates me and its quite irritable already. We already made one trip to the ER a few weeks ago. So now I’m on semi-modified bedrest, which actually means that I need to take it easy as much as I can. I drink about 2-3 liters of water a day, take magnesium and probiotics, walks are now out, no more lifting heavy things (including Finn), keeping my feet up as much as I can and lie down when necessary.

Fortunately, I’m able to work from home full time now. I also have medication to help manage these early contractions as they come. I take it only as needed and so far it has only been a handful of times. But the TAC is doing its job and no changes there, I’m so relieved to have it. So it’s one day at a time! Some days it seems like this pregnancy is just crawling by and other times I realize I’m nearly half way there.

Emotionally, I’m doing OK. I started to put a list of baby things we need and made a small registry. Today was the first time I actually bought something for our new little man. Finn insisted on buying a pair of jammies for him. I’m trying to embrace this pregnancy and trusting the Lord that our little man will be born healthy and full term. Some days its hard to believe that its still possible. It’s taking a lot of trust and prayer!

It also hit us a few weeks back and continues to hit me hard that the Lord had this little baby boy’s life already planned, even though we had no plan to be pregnant with a third baby if it wasn’t for losing Elodie. Its those realizations, where you discover how amazing the Lord really is and how He works in such mysterious ways. This little boy’s life is that much more special to us now.

Outside of cooking baby, our new house is finally ready to start renovations. We closed last week and have a line-up of things this week…tree removal, Habitat for Humanity will demo the kitchen and remove the cabinets and appliances to be donated, and permits will hopefully be in-process so the rest of the work can get going soon. Timing of when we’ll get in is still up in the air but still hoping by March. Oh and if anyone has any baby items handy to hold us over,  we’ll definitely take you up on it…our movers, unfortunately, packed all our baby items at the back of our storage unit! Classic! This is where I just laugh, b/c this whole adventure can either make you cry or laugh! I’m choosing joy…most days. Ha!

And then there were five…

Well, hey friends…it’s been months since I’ve actually sat down and wrote. Emotions are going every which way these days —joy, anxiety, fear, frustration, freedom, disappointment, relief, and excitement…img_7652We sold our townhouse of nearly 8 years. We left with a plethora of memories, but its now settled and done. We made the leap to find a new house with a yard. We found one, but requires a bit of renovation…or maybe a lot of renovating. We are now facing 6 months of renting. What were we thinking?! But here we are…

We moved to a sweet two-bedroom condo in a fabulous part of town. We’ve already fallen in love with the area. We walk to dinner, the park, and frozen yogurt. Our neighbors are kind and quiet. But unfortunately we’re on the clock. We face new ownership in the new year and a very real deadline which is looking more and more uncertain as our reno timeline continues to creep past the expected date (and we haven’t even started!). So this may mean having to move {twice} early next year before the real adventure begins…

And that would be the arrival of baby John due in March!! So emotions stem from just the pure fact that the Lord has blessed us once again with a new life and all the other stuff is really an afterthought {kinda}. So needless to say, we’re completely and utterly drained emotionally!

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We recently found out we are also having a BOY! I’m still in shock. After Elodie, for whatever reason, we were convinced we’d have another girl. I would be lying if I said I wasn’t sad about it. It rocked me! It still does, more than I think I’ve really allowed it to. It made me sad, because I had my little girl. I had that chance and she’s not here and that forces you to grieve all over again. But the Lord knew this little boy would join our family even before He took Elodie home.

His plans are not my plans, but I continue to trust Him with each and every step. Even though it’s so hard sometimes. I trust that He’ll guide us through this journey of renovating and moving our lives from place to place in boxes. And trust Him with this little life growing inside and that he brings him safely to this world. We ask for continued prayer as we are on this little adventure and that we find peace and stability through it all!

Draft

Life lately feels like I’m constantly in ‘draft’ mood. I can’t seem to get my thoughts together before we’re on to the next thing. As we grieved Elodie in the early stages, thoughts and words outpoured from my heart, where I could barely keep up. Now life is just moving along and inspired words seem few and far between. But that doesn’t make life any less lived, it’s simply reality.

We’ve found ourselves contemplating a move. Our simple and understated townhouse, has been our home for 7 years. The longest place I’ve lived as an adult. It is where we came home to after getting married, it’s where Mason poured over text books and long nights of studying for the bar, it’s in this kitchen where Mason tore open the thin white envelope telling us he became a lawyer. It watched as we made career changes and took pregnancy tests.  It contains our blood, sweat, and tears as we attempted small and large DIY projects.  It’s in the walls of our home where we cried tears of joy, fear, and sadness. It’s where we brought our children home. This place has been a constant when life has not. It’s been surprisingly emotional to prepare for. We know this move allows us to be closer to our people…our community. This home has taught us about contentment. We’ve learned to Trust more than we ever have before and we are trusting Him even in this.  On to new adventures, especially as we search for our next house, a place to call home, with excited anticipation.

As we see where this next journey takes me, not a day goes by that I don’t think of my Elodie and wishing she was with us. Some days it hurts and I cry. I now consider myself a bit of a weeper now. That commercial. That song. That story someone shares. That sunset. Most days we are at peace. I have a framed photo of her next to my bed…not a photo that sits on my nightstand…now that would be much more appropriate. But no, it’s a large framed photo we had at her memorial that has yet to be hung. It sits propped against the wall. She’s the last thing I see before I go to bed at night and the first thing I see in the morning. Her face puts things into perspective for me every single day. Her photo ended up there by happenstance. We wanted to hang it, but couldn’t find the right place, so I left it there to deal with on another day and there it has stayed. 8 months. Emotionally I’m well. Physically I’m well. We are cautiously optimistic about another pregnancy. I’d be lying if I said I’d be able to keep it altogether. I don’t think any length of time would ever make me ready, but that’s where Trust is the only thing that I know will carry us through. And I’m trusting He knows the right time too.

As Mason and I celebrate 7 years of marriage tomorrow (May 23rd), I said to him jokingly, “Of all the things we’ve gone through during our marriage, some people don’t even experience one of those trials in a lifetime…if we can survive through all of that…I guess you’re apparently stuck with me for life!” It’s humbling to be your wife. Only by Grace.

 

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Photo credit: Chris & Julie First

Restored

I was hoping, while I was in Chicago, that I’d be able to write…Either we were busy exploring the city or I didn’t really “feel” like it…

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We arrived early on Saturday, April 9th. Took our Uber from Midway to the Four Seasons with the expectation to just drop our luggage, but as we checked-in, not only was our room ready but they upgraded us to a city view suite…sweet! We admired the views for a bit and bundled ourselves up to head out for the day. We found a charming breakfast spot off Superior. We then popped into some shops on Michigan and then made our way to the Navy Pier and then down to the Bean for the quintessential tourist pics. After all that, it was about 2:30 and we made our way back to rest our legs and figure out where to go for dinner. Note to self…don’t try to make dinner reservations the day of at 3pm.

We did happen to find a cute modern italian spot called Il Porcelain off Hubbard. It was very good and since we never had lunch, a 5pm reservation suited us just fine. Ha! We then walked back up Michigan to try to get a drink at the top of the Hancock building…oh the crowds! No thanks! A nightcap at the lobby bar was perfect…

Oh my goodness I almost left the other crazy story out…this one is for my Cleveland family and friends…as we were heading out for dinner and as we were waiting for an elevator, a bell hop had stacks of suitcases and noticed one said FoxSports. Ok, so there must be some media staying here, I thought. As one elevator came, we noticed a rather abnormally tall man standing by the door and the car was full. As the door closed we were like ummm, who was that? The bell hop then said that the Cavs were checking out. Oh………OK!!!! Then walks up a guy with a Cavs labeled clothing bag and my chatty husband struck up a convo. It was their PR guy. I shared that I grew up in Solon and that he was a westside guy…as we hopped into the next elevator we made our way to the lobby. As we walked past the check-in counter, there’s Channing Frye. Holy fanatics, the place was hopping with people hoping to see LeBron of course. We contemplated staying ourselves, but knew we only had a few minutes to make our reservation, so we kept going. In order to get to the street level of the property you need to take another elevator. We hop onto that next one and join Dellavedova and Chris Broussard from ESPN. Someone cracks a joke to Dellavedova about how he actually looks tall in an elevator with normal people. We make it to the lower level lobby downstairs and Mason goes up to some old guy and says I have to shake your hand…it was Hubie Brown (don’t worry I had to google him too). It was so crazy and funny at the same time! We walk out and there are crowds of people on the street just waiting. Unfortunately, no LeBron sightings, but just so you know, teams check-out around 4:30/5pm before a game if you ever want to spot any NBA players! Ha!

On Sunday, we grabbed a light breakfast of coffee and pastries and made our way to the Art Institute to meet up with Mason’s Aunt and Uncle, Linda and Burnie. They are a members of the museum, so got to quickly dip into the Van Gogh exhibit and check out some Monet’s. Nothing like an art museum on a rainy Sunday morning. We then grabbed brunch at the Gage. Such a fun Chicago spot! We then made our way over to visit with Mason’s cousin and her husband. They live over near Wrigley in Roscoe Village and spent the afternoon with them. The last time we saw all of them was at our wedding back in 2009! Mason and I grabbed an early dinner back near our hotel at Doc B’s and then got to bed early for another 4:30am wake-up call…

Monday morning arrived quickly…I had to do some pre-op prep…no eating/drinking 9 hours prior and had to use surgical wipes basically head to toe the night before and the morning of surgery. We got to the hospital early (6:00am check-in). They got me back quickly and prepped. Full biometric blood draw. The biggest decision I had to make was anasthesia. I either go general or spinal. Dr. Haney prefers general mainly because the length of the surgery. They could do a spinal, but if the surgery lasted longer than 2 hours or so they could end up having to give me general if the spinal started to wear off. So I decided to do a general. Regretted that decision when I was fighting off nausea hours after. Ugh!

Surgery went beautifully. Dr. Haney was able to place 3 TAC bands on my cervix. Imagine wedding bands that go around the cervix at the base of the uterus and then two more below that. I had asked Dr. Haney to document the shape/size of my uterus. With my diagnosis of a bicornuate uterus, I always imagined I had this very distinct indention. He showed us what my uterus looked like and described it. “It’s not a bicornuate uterus”. My uterus from the outside was smooth and round. He inspected the inside by feeling the uterus, he concluded that it also didn’t have an interior septum which would have a hard almost cartilage feeling. It was soft, muscular tissue. He believes its an “arcuate uterus” which is the mildest forms of uterine anomalies.

Seriously! WHAT IN THE WORLD?! So either Jesus healed me, which was the first thing that popped in my mind, or the diagnosis of said anomaly is really a crap shoot. I like to believe I was healed! So this surgery made it ever more apparent that it was necessary and that I simply have an IC (incompetent cervix). He kept going on and on how I could even carry twins! Now, let’s not get ahead of ourselves, but we literally felt so incredibly encouraged. He’s an amazing doctor. He was actually older then I had initially thought. He has been in this OB world for 30+ years now and knows the ins/outs and even all the politics behind it, yet he’s so encouraging and gave us such great words of wisdom. The last thing he said before he left was, “My passion in life is to bring your own children to this world healthy and full term. I’m happy to make that a possibility for you.”

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We still realize there will never be a guarantee, but knowing that my broken womb has been restored, I can’t help but praise the Lord for guiding us to Dr. Haney and to witness the impossible be possible through this man, who is not only an expert in his field, but is passionate about what he does and what he’s doing for families.

Recovery has been pretty easy so far. Minus the nausea which was a beast the first few hours and then holy digestive system. I will spare you all the details there. I have a love/hate relationship with Percocet. So life is trying to walk a little, stretch those ab muscles, drinking prune juice, water, advil/tylenol cocktail, and peppermint tea. Gosh I sound like an 80 year old woman! Thank you for all the prayers, notes, texts, emails, calls, etc from those near and far. This has been a healing step, not only physically, but emotionally as well.

Who Cries on Easter

The post-Easter food and emotional hangover is real guys. I finally gathered my thoughts enough to sit down and write this one out. It brought such joy to see so many beautiful photos on Instagram of friends and family in smattering of pastels and florals with #HeisRisen hashtags filling my feed. But my spirit…boy it was heavy for such a joyous day.

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As Dave Huber laid out his Easter sermon yesterday, he spoke from Luke 24:36-49…

Jesus Appears to His Disciples

36 As they were talking about these things, Jesus himself stood among them, and said to them, “Peace to you!” 37 But they were startled and frightened and thought they saw a spirit. 38 And he said to them, “Why are you troubled, and why do doubts arise in your hearts? 39 See my hands and my feet, that it is I myself. Touch me, and see. For a spirit does not have flesh and bones as you see that I have.”40 And when he had said this, he showed them his hands and his feet. 41 And while they still disbelieved for joy and were marveling, he said to them, “Have you anything here to eat?” 42 They gave him a piece of broiled fish, 43 and he took it and ate before them.

44 Then he said to them, “These are my words that I spoke to you while I was still with you, that everything written about me in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms must be fulfilled.” 45 Then he opened their minds to understand the Scriptures, 46 and said to them, “Thus it is written, that the Christ should suffer and on the third day rise from the dead, 47 and that repentance and[c] forgiveness of sins should be proclaimed in his name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem.48 You are witnesses of these things. 49 And behold, I am sending the promise of my Father upon you. But stay in the city until you are clothed with power from on high.”

 

As he spoke about how the disciples doubted even as Christ himself stood in front of them, the tears started to stream down my face…What in the world?! I’m pretty sure I was the only one sitting in Easter services crying my eyes out…yet the weight on my shoulders started to lighten as he continued…doubt and faith are not in opposition of one another, but doubt can strengthen your faith as you lean into it and wrestle with it…Christ didn’t rebuke them in their doubt, but came along side them and showed them the way.

I’ve been struggling lately. Struggling with where we place our next steps. Struggling as we waited on whether or not insurance would cover my surgery. Struggling with the reality that we are stepping out in complete blind faith. I’ve been having this ongoing dialogue in my head. God is good. He can allow for this surgery to be successful and give us a healthy “full term” baby. God is good. We could have a successful surgery, yet lose another child. God is good. What if I deal with pre-term labor? God is good.

As I sat in church on Easter morning, it all became clear. I’m doubting what I know to be the goodness of God. God is still good in all circumstances. Do I believe He is good if He redeems Elodie’s death through giving us a healthy, living child? Do I believe God is good because He took her in the first place? Do I believe God is good if He allows for us to lose another child. The answer is always yes, because my faith believes that to be true, but my faith is weak. It’s only Christ who can walk me through this journey. Stepping out in faith is hard. I can honestly admit that it’s harder than grief itself. Grief can be folded up in a nice little box. But doubt and faith, the unending wrestling and never really getting answers to the many questions…now that’s hard.

Mason summed it up as we talked in the car as the tears kept streaming and Finn asking, “Mommy, what’s wrong?” We believe the Lord is leading us down this path…to have this surgery and to try for another child…we are stepping out in blind faith and trusting. We both have the desire to have another child (the Lord hasn’t taken that desire away) and anything opposing this decision has always been boiled down to pure, unadulterated fear, which doesn’t come from the Lord. This season of doubt is in essence cultivating our faith and making it stronger…Lord I pray.

We just ask that you continue to pray for us. Pray for our hearts to be discerning. Pray for our hearts to grow in faith. Please pray for my upcoming surgery on April 11th. As of today, I finally found out that insurance has “covered and approved” my impending transabdominal cerclage (TAC) surgery in Chicago. Pray for my doctors and nurses, give them wisdom. Pray for quick healing and little pain. Love you all!

Waiting

Spring time is here in Charlotte. Flowering trees, blooming perennials. Warm weather. And the dreaded pollen smog, which hopefully clears in the next couple weeks. I love spring. It carries that feeling of hope. Renewal. New birth.

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We are in countdown mode until my TAC surgery. It’s scheduled for April 11th in Chicago. I’m also still waiting to hear back from my insurance. Dr. Haney’s office processes pre-authorization 30 days prior to the scheduled surgery date and it can take anywhere between 2-15 days. We are on day 7. Praying I’m “approved” and that we hear this week. If I’m not approved, we’ll file an appeal. If that fails, Dr. Haney does have an out of pocket rate, however, I would need to reschedule the surgery since the out of pocket option can only be performed at the surgery center and I’m currently scheduled at the hospital. Please pray that insurance covers and we’ll be on our way.

I’ve had a few people ask if I’m nervous. I’m not necessarily nervous for the surgery itself. I’m more emotional about the reasons why I’m having this done in the first place. Thinking back to when Finn came early at 28 weeks and the long NICU journey and then losing Elodie. There are a lot of emotions tied to this. Which makes me even more confident why this is an absolute must. I’m learning to trust Him with this and I’m not doing a very good job.  Part of me wants to just get through the surgery to even think about what’s next. I have doubts. I doubt more when I put my faith in this doctor and this TAC. I get confused, I want to trust Him, but it feels like blurred lines sometimes. My prayer is to have the strength to say, “I trust You”.

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Easter is this Sunday and with any season and holiday after Elodie, it’s faced with a new set of eyes. For the first time, Christ’s death and resurrection weighs heavier on my heart this year. It’s through depths of faith that gives new hope. As I sat in Palm Sunday service, listening to the pastor, I had an image of Jesus holding Elodie in the hospital room with tears streaming down His face. And as the pastor described Christ, as both God and man, the humanity of who Christ was, is real.

Christ wrestled with God the Father’s plan to save the world. Christ was the Ultimate sacrifice and took the weight of the world’s sin upon Himself. Yes, the physical sacrifice was probably more than we can ever imagine as He hung on the cross, but the emotional and spiritual sacrifice by far outweighs the physical.

The image of Christ weeping as He held our baby girl reflects the reality that this world is not how God had intended it to be. The fall of man could only be saved by God the Father, who sacrificed His only son. As we approach Easter, I pray you too see Christ’s sacrifice with new set of eyes and have eternal hope. He is Risen!

Battle Wounds

Goodness February, your days were celebratory and devastating. Frustrating and peaceful. And you just had to throw in that extra day didn’t you?

February also marks some very special birthdays too! Happy 60th Birthday to my Momma! Seriously, how good does this lady look?!

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And the happiest birthday’s to my hubby! #36 We spent a lovely weekend in Charleston just the two of us.  A little golf for him. A little spa for her. Happy Birthday to me Mason!

Then two lives lost…a husband, father, grandfather, and friend. A daughter, wife, young mom, and friend. Facing loss after coming through your own seems to be heightened at best.

The loss of my sister-in-law’s Dad who battled ALS for 16 years was the first wave that came crashing down. It cut me out from the knees. And then came the unexpected loss of neighbor and friend. This one took my breath away. I physically shook as I read the news and couldn’t sleep that entire night following the news. I felt so deeply for her young boys and for her husband. My healing wounds turned scars, ripped open again, fresh bruises that are tender to the tiniest touch.

The below response to grief, coming from an experienced sage, came to life for me this month…

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What I took from this is that there will always be waves.  While married to a man who loves the surf, I’ve come to appreciate waves and all their powerful glory…my prayer is that we learn to ride these waves and find joy in the pain…I don’t want the waves to ever stop…it just makes me feel that much more alive.

Please keep the Butler’s and the Dobbin’s families in your thoughts and prayers as they grieve the loss of their loved ones.