Saturday, December 12, 2015


Friends, I am tired.
My 10 month old has decided sleep is for the birds. My once decent sleeper has stopped sleeping through the night over the last few months, and the majority of this week has stopped sleeping through the hour. LITERALLY. We have tried everything....supplementing with formula, sleepsack, no sleepsack, feeding, rocking, cry it out, no cry method, better daytime routines. The kid just doesn't want to sleep...unless she's laying on your chest or sleeping in bed with you (thing number 1000 I said I'd never do that I now do regularly....out of desperation honestly).

So, as I lay on the couch tonight with my dog at my feet and my restlessly sleeping babe on my chest, I was grumbling to myself in my head about yet another night with Grant's snores from the bedroom and my sighs of minimal, frequently interrupted, uncomfortable sleep. I was fretting about another sleep deprived day tomorrow, filled with yawns and caffeine, when I have so much to do.

And then the conviction came.

I realized it. This time only a year ago, I was having a different kind of sleepless night. Nights full of restlessness due to worry that I'd never have a baby to sleep on my chest. Worry that I'd never get to lay on the couch with her and cuddle. Sleep interruption because I'd wake multiple times a night panicked, waiting to feel her move, wondering if she'd died inside of me (50% of babies with Trisomy 18 are stillborn - something I just couldn't get past worrying about throughout my entire pregnancy, even after they reversed Eve's diagnosis).

How quickly we are to complain in life. How quickly we forget the blessings we have been given.

I have been in a season of wanting lately. Wanting to work less, wanting a bigger/better house, wanting my family closer to me, wanting more sleep! All this wanting has blinded me from seeing all that I have. A job that I truly enjoy, a day off a week with Eve, a house that we own with adequate space and wonderful neighbors, a "local family" full of friends that would do anything for us with a simple, quick ask. A baby to sleep on my chest in the middle of the night. A baby that wants to be near me so badly, that she wakes throughout the night asking for me to hold her. The healthy child that a year ago I didn't think I'd have.

Every time I think I'm getting over the crazy pregnancy I walked through, the losses before it, they creep back up again and hit me like a hammer on the head. That pain is deep rooted within me. But the wanting I felt then should remind me of the gift I have now. I am thankful beyond words to have Eve and all that we have here in Colorado. I'm almost embarrassed to admit I want more.

Advent is all about wanting. The wanting of Christ's coming. It's about the understanding of the gift He is to us. I am going to try hard this remaining Advent season to not focus on the wanting in my life, but on the gifts I have already been given. I'd encourage you to do the same. (And maybe we will all sleep a little better by doing so!)

Thursday, August 13, 2015

To the New Mom from a New Mom

If you have kids, you will understand this next comment: Post baby, I eat my words all the time.

Pre baby, I made comments like so....
"I will want to work when I have kids. I need the social interaction."
Nope. False. While I absolutely love my job, I love my baby more and would be totally fine staying at home with her every day if it were financially possible for us.

"I'm a pretty organized person. I'm sure we will have her on a schedule."
Mostly false. I am organized. We do follow a loose schedule (she eats around the same time every day, naps within the same hour or two each day, etc), but I am quick to throw the schedule out the window any time Eve's cues don't seem to fit or when we have something to do. In order to have a social life, we found it necessary to keep her up later sometimes, change nap time around, etc. And I could care less, when I thought it would matter a great deal to me! I've learned to let her tell me what she wants, and that works for us.

"We will sleep train I'm sure."
Ha. This one makes me laugh. I thought I would be ok with "cry it out" or "sleep training". But I am far from it. I am not good at letting Eve cry for very long at all. I just can't handle it. She's still young, and I'm sure we will have to figure that out someday, but for now, if she wakes up, so do I. :)

I could go on and on.
If there's anything I have learned from having a baby, its that anyone that doesn't have a baby has no idea what its like. I "do babies" for a living being a pediatric nurse, and while that does help....I am more in tune to their development, knew how to swaddle and soothe, etc....there is so much more to parenting than schedules and milestones! I am learning and adapting all the time.

Just when I figured out how to manage myself, a baby and a household, it was time to go back to work. A huge change, more to juggle and quite the learning curve. There were tears, fights, and battles lost (mostly dishes, cooking and laundry battles lost). Almost four months back to work, I am still figuring it out. Making time to clean, cook and shower are difficult, especially on days I work when all I care about is playing with Eve for the few hours I get to see her awake. I constantly feel pulled in a million directions and there is always something to do. It is hard.

Similarly, just when we thought we had figured out the sleep thing, Eve decided to no longer sleep through the night. More tears, more fights, more battles lost. She was sleeping from 8pm to 5 or 6am pretty consistently from 3-6 months and then BAM!, no more. I know there are sleep training ways to get this to happen again, but as said above, I currently just don't have the heart for it. Weight gain has been a constant battle for us with periods of exclusive pumping, supplementing, and fortified breastmilk to make it happen, so if my baby wants to eat in the middle of the night, I'm going to feed her.

I say these things not to provoke sympathy, judgement or advice (which I'm sure I will receive all of  anyway), but to share what every mother already knows. You think you know what your parenting style will be, what you are getting into when having a baby, but you don't. You can read the books and blogs, listen to all the other moms and what they have to say, but at the end of the day, every baby and every family is truly different. I just don't think there is a right way, despite all the judgement running around. Every stage brings new surprises. You are learning who your baby is, and through every bit of that, who you are as well. Babies completely change EVERYTHING.

So if you are a new mom, take this advice. Don't stress. Remember that every challenge is just a phase that will soon pass as your baby changes. Remember that every other new mom shares similar struggles and while those struggles may vary from mom to mom, every mom has them! I still revel at the new moms who are able to do their hair, put on jewelry and look all put together every day! I can't seem to make that happen and would live in either scrubs or yoga pants if I could.

And remember that whether you keep a schedule or don't, breastfeed or don't, let them cry it out or don't, work or don't, you are their mom, and you love them more and in a different way than anyone else could, and that's what matters!

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

6 Months After the Miracle Arrived

6 Months. We have a 6 month old. It's hard to believe really. First of all, time flies. It still feels like yesterday that I was in the hospital holding a newborn. It still feels like yesterday that I was pregnant with her, not sure we would ever meet her alive. But she is alive, and has been for 6 months!

It was almost exactly a year ago that we were first told she may not be healthy. We went into our 13 week ultrasound full of hope that this pregnancy would work, and then left our 13 week ultrasound full of anxiety, wondering what would come. About this time a year ago I shut down all hope of what my daughter would be like. I did not let myself dream of having a healthy baby. Of watching her grow and develop a personality. But that is exactly what we are doing today. We are watching her grow and become a sweet little person. I am amazed by that daily.

Eve decided in honor of her half birthday, she would show us she was a "big girl". In the last few weeks she started sitting up on her own, getting on her hands and knees and rocking back and forth, eating pureed foods, and drooling like crazy, with a tooth visible and nearly through! She is a bubbly, happy, talkative baby full of life, which happens to be her namesake (Eve means life - we chose that name for her when we were told she wouldn't live). She brings much enjoyment to our lives!

 I feel like lately, its really setting in what we went through. How traumatic our pregnancy was (and the two years before it). I'm not sure if that is because I am starting to see the personality come out in our daughter, or if it's because we are nearing a year from the original Trisomy 18 and Triple X diagnosis, but I have been thinking about that crazy time a lot lately. I think about those "abnormalities" seen on early ultrasounds every day as I watch my baby grow. I think about the "rocker bottom feet" they saw as I watch her stand normally, strongly and bounce on Grant's knees. I think of those "clenched hands" as I watch her suck her thumb and bat at toys. She still prefers her hands in fists actually, something her pediatrician says is totally fine and normal. I think of her head and neck measurements being abnormal as I revel in how smart she is. I love watching her figure out new toys, how to open things or shut them, how to use a spoon. She recently started showing interest in everything she sees, and it is so fun to watch. I am so thankful that we decided to stay pregnant and give her a chance at life, and thankful that she is healthy and able to live that life to the fullest.

With all honesty, while there is tons of joy with this healthy little one, the fear and pain remains as well. Grant has always handled things better than me, and he is able to see the joy without the pain, but I still feel it at times. Every now and then, usually when on my own in the shower or car, I will mourn the pregnancy we had, relive what it felt like to know you would lose your child. Its in those moments, that I sometimes will give into the fear that she may not be really be healthy. I know this doubt comes from darkness and not the Lord, but I sometimes will entertain it, and then have to pull myself back out of it. Fortunately, we have a wonderful pediatrician who reassures me with every appointment. Just like the average new mother needs reassurance that its ok if their baby has a runny nose or doesn't sleep through the night, I need reassurance that Eve is healthy. Just last week, at our 6 month well check, she walked in to the appointment, took one look at Eve sitting on the table playing with a book and said "Michelle, she is so happy and healthy. Remember that". I am so thankful to have found such a wonderful pediatrician. I am thankful that she understands the struggle and is sensitive to it without me having to say a word about my fears.

I know that some day, I will look at Eve and just see Eve, not see the crazy, painful story of bringing her into this world. Or maybe I won't. Maybe her miracle story will always be there. Either way, I am thankful for it in a way. I appreciate her every milestone so much more. I appreciate every minute I get with her. I am overwhelmed with gratitude that the Lord blessed her with us. And I am learning what it is to cast out fear and trust in God when I just don't have control. That alone is reason enough to be thankful. Having this baby is challenging, amazing, joyful beyond words, and completely refining. (Honestly, that description probably rings true to everyone who has had a baby!)

Happy half birthday little love! We are so thankful for you!

Tuesday, March 24, 2015


She's here.

On January 17th at 11:06am, after 14 hours of intense natural labor, our miracle child came into the world. Brown hair and blue eyes, all 10 fingers and toes, no signs of illness or chromosomal anomalies to be found. I think it no mistake that she surprised us and came four weeks early, therefore coming on Sanctity of Life weekend. After encouragement to terminate the pregnancy when chromosomal testing revealed she was ill, that was the perfect ending to an absolutely insane pregnancy. She was 6 pounds of perfection and we were so relieved to finally have her here. I remember thinking to myself while rocking her in the middle of that first night - Finally! No more worry or fear (and now all mothers reading this are laughing at me). I was wrong.


I am now two months deep into motherhood. I survived the crazy hormone fluctuations the first few weeks postpartum, the initial sleepless nights, the tears of exhaustion, the struggle of figuring out breastfeeding and what every cry means. I have gone to church with spit up on my shirt, had to open a package of wipes at the store because I forgot to pack some in the diaper bag and we had a "blowout" diaper (I of course later bought them!). I've had many days where I lay Eve down for her nap around 10 and realize I still am in pajamas, with my glasses on and haven't brushed my teeth. I have gone entire days of forgetting to brush my teeth or hair completely. I am officially a mother.

I had some idea of what new motherhood was like. I am after all a pediatric nurse and it took us awhile to have a baby so I got to observe most of our friends have babies first. What I had no idea was coming was all the worry and fear involved with motherhood. Maybe some of this is a little PTSD from our traumatic pregnancy story, but I think most of it is just being a mother. I am constantly questioning. Is she eating enough, gaining enough weight? Are we making sure she gets the right amount of sleep? Is she meeting all her milestones? Worry. Is it ok to leave her with Grant? Is it ok to leave her with a babysitter? Worry. Will something go wrong? Does she have something wrong with her? Is she still breathing? Worry. It can consume me. I have gone from worrying that my baby may not live, to worrying about every step of her life.

I think the Lord was teaching me how to relinquish control with our pregnancy stories, but I didn't expect Him to want me to relinquish control once I had a child too. And there is so much I simply can't control. I can't be with her every second and even if I could, I can't control circumstances. It is a daily battle.

I am learning how to be a mother. I thought that meant learning how to get your baby to sleep at night and to roll over, how to calm her when she cries. And some of that is true. But I think it also means learning how to trust that God is soveirgn. How to relinquish my pathetic attempts at control and let Him be in charge. How to have a perfect love for my child, which means casting out fear and trusting in the Lord. And let me tell you it's a true learning process. A daily one.

I am so blessed to have our little miracle in our lives. She is already a joy. I just pray daily that I can relish in the joys and push away the fears. Thus is motherhood....and its just beginning.

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Christmas Reflections

I've been wanting to write for awhile. People have asked how we were doing and some asking me to write but I just never got the urge to. I think I have hesitated partly because we have been in a whirlwind of events between baby planning and the holidays, but mostly because I didn't want my  blog to be a big emotional mess....and I have been an emotional mess as of late.

I do think a lot of my crazy emotions are pregnancy related. You really have no control of the raging hormones within you. Most recent examples would be crying because Panera Bread was closed, crying because I didn't fit into a certain outfit, crying when hungry, and I must admit, just last night I teared up in the movie Elf of all things, when Buddy saved Christmas. If you know me, you know tears would never happen for any of those reasons normally!

But there is an element of multiple emotions linked to our story, pregnant hormones or not. I still have moments, mostly when by myself in the car or the shower, of overwhelming sadness, joy and awe all at once.  Moments of reflection on all that we have been through this year, thoughts of what it would be like to bury my child or deliver a stillborn. Lots of tears. And then more gratitude than I've ever felt before that losing her is not the story we will have, that we will get to have a child soon. More tears. A sense of wonder of how she could be healthy after all that we saw in the first half of pregnancy. More tears. It's in these quiet emotional moments that the fear creeps in as well. What if she isn't really healthy after all (although at all of our OB appointments since we got our reversed diagnosis, she has looked 100% healthy and normal)? What if something goes wrong with delivery? Or after? This kind of fear is so not what we have been called to and I have to pull myself out of it often.

"For God did not give us a spirit of fear, but of power and love and self control"  -2 Timothy 1:7

Have you ever thought about the Christmas story in relation to emotion? Christmas has become so much commercialism that I think that sometimes the actual Christmas story takes a back seat. Maybe it's because I'm pregnant, maybe it's because of the gift of life we have recently been given, but I have really been thinking about all the feelings involved in the story as Christmas nears. Think about how much fear Mary and Joseph must have felt throughout all that they were called to. Fear of criticism and what others would think when she became pregnant before married, fear when there was no room in the Inn for her to deliver the baby, fear of being the parents of a savior, worry about if that would be well received, fear of all the unknown. Think about all the other emotions they must have felt. Gratitude that the Lord picked them and provided for them step by step along the way, joy as they met their son, wonder as they realized he was their savior. So many emotions.

I'm not at all trying to compare our story to the greatest birth story ever told, but I do think that our perspective is so different this year, that I may for the first time really be able to understand the story in a different way. And while I have heard this story my entire life and truly believe it is real, our situation this year certainly makes it feel more real. I understand what it means to get a gift you don't deserve better than I have before. I understand the roller coaster of emotions within it all, what it must have felt like to walk through all of that. I understand what the verse within the story means when it says "Mary pondered all these things in her heart". I can't even begin to imagine how weary Mary must have felt traveling in her third trimester, and what it could have been like to deliver a baby in a stable, not to mention the crazy emotions she must of felt knowing who she was giving birth to!

I'd encourage you this Christmas to think about the true meaning of it. To remember that the people within that story were real and to try and reflect on what it must have felt like. I'll tell you really thinking about what it must have felt like sure does give me more understanding of the wonder and awe of it all. It really is an amazing story.

I leave you with the quote my pastor used today at church when talking about the story of Jesus' birth. "It's a crazy story, that people should think is weird.......unless it was real". Don't forget how real the story really was as you go about all your Christmas activities. And don't forget what it meant for all of us!

Merry Christmas everyone!

Sunday, October 12, 2014

What's in a name? 15 weeks

Trisomy 18:
The name doesn't seem so scary. But with it comes an error in cell division making our baby have three of the 18th chromosome and a long list of possible anomalies including mental retardation, heart defects, hearing impairment, organ dysfunction, low birth weight, slow growth, esophageal atresia and the list goes on and on. A lot of emotion comes with the name Trisomy 18. A lot of fear and anxiety and sadness comes with this name. A whole lot of unknown and trust in the Lord comes with this name.

This is the name we chose for our daughter. It means so much more to us than the three letters it holds. If you look up Eve, you will see that it means "life" or "living". This is why we chose it. This is our hope for our daughter. We want her to live. At first, this meant to me my single most prayed request over the last several weeks - please Lord let my daughter be healed and live. But I think as her diagnosis has sunk in, I want more than that. Yes, I still pray every day for Eve to live. For us to get some time with her on this earth no matter what that time looks like or how long it is. We pray we get to meet her alive. But I also want her to live metaphorically through me. I want her legacy to live, whether she gets to grow on earth or not. I want her lessons to live in me over time. I want to live better because she lived. And I want people to know she is already living, within me, as I carry her. We cannot deny she is alive. We have seen her alive in ultrasounds, heard her living heart beat, felt her move. She is already alive. And for that we are grateful.

I pray often that the Lord takes away the name Trisomy 18 from Eve. But if He doesn't, we still choose life for her. And we pray that her life is meaningful in whatever way He desires.  And we are proud to say that she is currently living.

18 weeks

I had two rather incredible things happen last night.

1. I ate an entire bag of powdered donuts at around 1am. Although eating in the middle of the night I must admit is not uncommon for me (even Un-pregnant this is a norm), eating an entire bag of straight up sugar and fat definitely is. It was quite the feat and I'm not sure if I should be proud or embarrassed. And to top it off what did I want for breakfast this morning? Powdered donuts of course. I had to get some at the gas station on the way to work.....sad.

2. I felt Eve move. I was so sad and somewhat panicked when the ultrasound tech told me a few weeks ago that my placenta is in the front and therefore I won't feel her move as much or as often because she really has to be pushing for me to feel it. How would I know that she is still ok and alive in there without knowing that she is moving? 4 weeks apart for an ultrasound is a long time when you have a Trisomy 18 diagnosis and could lose your daughter at any time. But laying still while trying to sleep, I am certain I could feel her. Little flutters in my belly that almost feel like she is doing flips. It was a great reassurance and exactly what I needed as we are at the midpoint in between ultrasounds and playing the waiting game.

So...while I yawned my way through a very busy day at work today and I felt pretty sick and sleep deprived this morning, what a great night I had. Donuts and connecting with your babe...what could be better? Flip on little Eve....and I will eat on. :)