Sunday, March 19, 2017

miscarriage: Sarah Love

Within 10 years we had 6 kids. Because of their age gaps, it's roughly two years between each child. My husband and I try to live our lives with an openness to life, but we have also prayerfully felt for a while that there are many good reasons we should avoid having another baby (as a side note, while we are not both Catholic, neither one of us feel like changing our biology or using other forms of contraception is fully living in God's plan). And with two years per child, we were approaching a mile marker in our lives - we were getting ready to celebrate our youngest child's 2nd birthday at the end of December, and this time we didn't have another pregnancy to announce at the 2nd birthday party. 

Or so we thought. My very regular 28-day cycle was super out of whack in December, and I was not prepared to read my fertility signs properly for a rebel cycle (I was still working on getting properly educated in NFP). Our doctor showed us a chart that calculated our conception date either on or right around our youngest's 2nd birthday.  

I wish I could say I was happy about the positive pregnancy test...that I was instantly excited that God had blessed us with another family member despite our feelings that we shouldn't have any more babies. But I'm human. And I'm self-centered. And I was looking forward to getting rid of weekly babysitter bills and diapers...of maybe having some extra cash for fun trips or a newer, more technically savvy car. I was looking forward to never going back to the toddler stage where they get into EVERYTHING. We had sold our crib two months earlier. I had been losing weight and wasn't happy about putting that on hold or even going backwards in my goals. I was ready for life to "settle down" as much as a family of 8 can settle down. We were dealing with some very tough issues in other areas of our lives, and a baby was certain to make things more difficult. I wasn't sure how much more I could handle.  

But God. When I tremble with fear, God reminds me that I'm not alone. He reminds me how many other times I had been afraid of the new life that was growing in me, and every single time my heart became smitten with the soft skin and the vulnerable eyes that greeted mine the second my babies were born. He reminds me that His plans are ALWAYS infinitely better than I could have ever imagined. And so I held onto that hope that God was in control this time, too. 

My husband was so excited about another baby that he couldn't keep the good news from our kids. They were the first to know. And since they had been asking for a new baby, they were very excited. Their excitement helped to ease my fears, to remind me that this news was good. My daughter, who is 4 years old, is surrounded by a family of only brothers. She would tell us, "I'm SO excited to have a baby sister!" We would remind her that we don't know if it's a girl or a boy. We prepared her that it could be a baby boy. She would never accept our warnings. She only held on to her excitement and joy that a baby sister was on the way. Even our boys eagerly hoped for another girl in the family. 

Then the call came. With early DNA testing that is available now, we were able to find out that our baby had no chromosome issues. And it was a GIRL! I knew everyone would be excited to hear Zoë was going to get the sister she never had and earnestly desired. I knew our boys would be excited to have another sister as well. And I knew their joy would help change my self-centered heart and open it up to the joy of new life that would be coming.

We never really had room for another baby in our lives, but we were ready to make room. Because that's what loves does.  

At 13 weeks, my belly was becoming more and more obvious. We had already told a few people in our closest circles about the baby girl who was growing in me. We had had two ultrasounds that showed our baby girl was growing properly. I was ready to tell everyone else about our baby girl. I work outside the home preparing taxes, and I decided to wait until after March 15th (a big deadline for us) to tell my co-workers and the rest of the world. 

I don't understand everything that happens in life. At 4am on the morning of the 15th, I woke up and felt strange. I got up to go to the bathroom, and was faced with a nightmare that I couldn't make go away. I was having a miscarriage. It happened very suddenly, and I was shocked and confused and heartbroken. My body had betrayed our baby girl. Our baby girl. Oh, how I realized in that moment how much I had truly wanted our baby girl.

It's been 5 days since the initial loss. I don't know if heartbreak fully explains what we are going through. I've combed through Facebook support groups and advice on the internet for ways to process the emotions and sadness and loss I'm feeling. We decided to name our baby girl because as a unique individual, she will always be a part of our hearts and our lives. I look forward to being able to hold her one day in heaven. We named her Sarah Love. It is true that we do not grieve for Sarah. She is with our heavenly Father. She has no pain, no sorrow - only the peace, love and joy that all of us on Earth desire. We grieve for ourselves. We are the ones who have the loss. I'm sad that she was only here a short time with us. I'm sad that I won't get to see each day how much her brothers love Sarah, how she would have brought out the tenderness in them. I'm sad that Zoë won't have the sister she longs for. I'm sad I won't get to kiss her sweet, soft face or hear her giggles. 

We waited until Friday evening to tell the kids so they wouldn't have to go to school with sadness in their hearts and the loss of Sarah on their minds. They are heartbroken as well, but I know they will eventually recover from this quicker than my husband or me. Zoë is only 4, so she is still trying to process everything. She still tells us every day that she wants to hold baby Sarah. We've tried to make a point to talk the last couple of days about Sarah and ask the kids to talk about what they are feeling. To let them know it's ok to be sad. To remind them that none of us have any guarantees about what each day in life will hold, and why that makes it very important that we treat others - especially each of us in our immediate family - with love. With love, we look for ways to turn something horrible into something beautiful. 

Monday, June 29, 2015

he's here - Asher James

It's been a while since I've written here. We've been blessed with another stinky boy. He's 6 months old so...yeah, it's been a while.

I love reading birth stories. But for some reason the ones I read are never anything like mine. First difference - I've been induced with all 6 births. The birth stories I read are always lovely 110% natural, laboring all day and night, with a caring husband calmly lending support, and a beautiful experience of birth in a warm tub or at least in a bed but definitely no cords stuck in your arms. This is like a foreign language to me. It doesn't compute in my experience.

At first our decision to induce was a conscious decision to have control over the situation. Plus, who doesn't jump at the chance to SEE THEIR BABY NOW!! Then, after the first two babies, we really started to change our thinking about inductions. Wouldn't it be wonderful to just let the baby come when he/she and God decides? Although I've never let myself go terribly overdue, I have decided - after 6 babies - that my body doesn't know how to go into labor without pitocin.

I tried so so so hard to let Asher come on his own. But there was this little deadline called the last day of 2014 that was insistent that we cave and induce. His due date was December 24th. We made it past Christmas Day, and I had already let my doctor know I'd like to go into labor on my own, if possible, but that he MUST come by the end of the year. The tax deduction wasn't as big a factor - but it was a factor - as the fact that since my oldest son had his appendix removed in June, we had for the first time ever in our lives met our maximum out-of-pocket for the year. So everything after June was F-R-E-E to us. Did I say free? So Asher just had to come. Because - FREE!

We planned our induction date of December 28th. But I really really really hoped he'd come on his own by then. December 27th came, and still no Asher. We prepared for the induction and took the kids to stay with family. And we took full advantage of the quiet and treated ourselves to a movie - the last Hobbit movie.

Labor started during the movie. Contractions were about every 15 minutes. Of course at first I assumed they were Braxton Hicks contractions. But these stayed pretty regular. I was very excited at the possibility of going into labor all by myself! After the movie the contractions continued. About halfway home the contractions stopped. I was bummed, but at least I got to sleep well.

The next morning we got up early and made that call to see if there was room for us in the inn hospital. They didn't have room for us. I can tell you - for a mom who is ready to have a baby and whose kids are at relatives' houses and everything was neatly planned - this was not welcomed news. Thanks to my über-supportive husband suggested we make the best of it and enjoy the morning. I think it was one of the best times I had just enjoying the quiet of our house with my husband.

The end of the story goes like this: we got the call that there was room at the hospital. Apparently the contractions were real the night before because I was dilated to 4 centimeters. I got hooked up to an IV and a bunch of monitors. They started the pitocin. I got the epidural (if you ever have pitocin - an epidural is a must. Unless you're Wonder Woman, which I am not.). I got happy (from the epidural). Enjoyed time talking football with my husband. Time to deliver. Per my instructions, the nurse turned down the epidural so that I could feel when to push (if you have an epidural - I highly recommend have the dosage decreased for delivery time. Trust me - the whoel process will go much faster and smoother.) Doctor arrives. Doctor makes some jokes about UK fans (seriously - best doctor ever). "Kristy, it's time to push." One push (I'm not kidding. Please don't hate me.) and Asher James is here!

gratuitous awkward just-born photo
Aw! I can almost still smell his newborn smell!
He weighed 8 pounds, 3 and a half ounces and was 21 and a half inches long.  The name Asher is from the Bible - he was one of the 12 sons of Jacob - one of the 12 tribes of Israel. Asher means "happy". And after the first 3 months of colic, he is nothing but infectious smiles! James is a family name - both my husband's father and brother have that name.

from this angle, he already looks as big as his 2-year old sister

As disappointed as I was that I didn't go into labor on my own, a friend who visited me after we came home made a good point - it's probably good that I am in a hospital environment where my labor can be monitored from the beginning since my deliveries are super fast and super easy. We live in a rural area, and it takes 30 to 40 minutes to drive to the hospital. And she's right. I'd rather be assisted by pitocin than having the baby on the side of the road! Although it would make for a wonderful birth story...

your brothers will always have your back, Asher


Monday, September 22, 2014

best attitude ever!

win or lose, it all comes down to ATTITUDE. Apollos Hester is going to win big in life with an attitude like this!

Put me in, Coach!


Friday, August 1, 2014

the perfect song for our fight for rights of conscience and religious freedom

This is a great song, "Uprising" by Muse. I was listening to it one day and thought, gee, this sounds a lot like the stand we are currently taking against the government, who is actively pushing pills on our society like birth control and the abortion pill (all under the guise of "freeeeeedom for women"). Don't fall for the P.R. machine. Rise up!

The paranoia is in bloom
The P.R. transmissions will resume
They'll try to push drugs to keep us all dumbed down
And hope that we will never see the truth around

So come on

Another promise, another seed, another
Packaged lie to keep us trapped in greed with all the
Green belts wrapped around our minds and endless
Red tape to keep the truth confined

So come on

They will not force us
And they will stop degrading us
And they will not control us
We will be victorious

So come on

Interchanging mind control
Come let the revolution take its toll
If you could flick a switch and open your third eye
You'd see that we should never be afraid to die

So come on

Rise up and take the power back
It's time the fat cat's had a heart attack
You know that their time is coming to an end
We have to unify and watch our flag ascend

So come on

They will not force us
They will stop degrading us
They will not control us
We will be victorious, so come on

Hey, hey, hey, hey
Hey, hey, hey, hey
Hey, hey, hey, hey

They will not force us
They will stop degrading us
They will not control us
We will be victorious, so come on

Hey, hey, hey, hey

Monday, July 14, 2014

well, hello again!

so I've been a little...distant...lately. We had a rough year last year. Like seriously rough. And when things get rough, we go into survival mode. I've been retreating and healing. Here's a short summary of how the end of 2013 went:

  • July: my husband's sister passed away unexpectedly at the age of 39 from MS
  • August: we found out we were expecting another baby (not bad news! but read on...)
  • September: I suffered a miscarriage. We found out through an ultrasound. There was no longer a heartbeat. We found this out the day before my grandfather passed away. Then two and a half weeks after that my husband's brother was found unconscious on the sidewalk and rushed to the hospital. He was in a coma for two weeks, and a team of amazing doctors and nurses worked diligently to save his life. He is still recovering from that, and it was a most difficult time for all of us. 
  • October: just when I felt we couldn't handle any more bad news, my husband lost his job

Have you ever felt like the punches will never end?! 

At times like these we count our blessings and trudge forward. 

Here were are at the end of all of this heart-wrenching chaos. My husband found another wonderful job (thank you, Lord!), and we have been blessed with another baby (expected due date is December 24th). And it's another boy! While we were really hoping Zoë would get a little sister, we know that ultimately God has a plan and that's always better than anything we plan. And He must think we're pretty awesome at raising boys. Or maybe He knows we wouldn't be able to handle more than one girl. Hehe!

I hope to start writing more soon. Not for anyone but me. I talk myself out of not writing most days because I'm too afraid that someone might read it and will see I'm, well, amateur. I have to remind myself that I'm not trying to win any literary awards, so I need to learn to take it easy and don't try so hard and just say what I want to say. 

If anything, I'd appreciate prayers. From anyone who thinks about us. We are still recovering from last year, and things can still be scary for us. 


Thursday, January 9, 2014

"Amen, Amen, I say to you"

When I left the Catholic Church at the ripe age of 15, I didn't fully realize what I was leaving. I didn't know that the communion I received at my new non-Catholic Church was so fundamentally different from the communion I had been receiving at my Catholic Church. I'm not sure why I didn't realize this. I had been through my First Communion, but maybe it had just been going through the motions and doing what I was told to do. I didn't know when I left the Catholic Church I was leaving the body and blood of Jesus.

I didn't know.

I am willing to bet at least 95% of Catholics who leave the Catholic Church for a non-Catholic church have no idea that they are actually leaving the body and blood of Jesus.

This is one of the best teachings about what we believe about the Eucharist. The Eucharist has changed my life. I must share it! It would be unloving of me to keep this secret to myself.

"Amen, amen, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you do not have life within you." ~ John 6:53


Thursday, October 31, 2013

unity! pleeeeeeeeease, unity!

Martin Luther has always been a fascination to me. His heart for God caused a revolution. I used to admire him with the utmost respect. But once I saw the fruit of the first division - which is division upon division upon division upon division upon division...and now we have 30,000 denominations, or divisions, I realized that the fruit of the Reformation doesn't necessarily tie to the will of God as seen in the Gospel.

About 8 years ago I met an on-fire Catholic named Sharon. I was married with one child at the time and working with her. I had never met a Catholic who was so excited about her faith or who knew so much of the "why" regarding the Catholic faith, and I had never met a Catholic who was able to explain things to me like she did. She marked me. One statement she said in particular really stayed with me,

"Imagine what Christians could do against Satan if we were in unity."

I couldn't argue with her. I had never thought about unity in the body of Christ before. I had never even noticed the passage in John 17 when Jesus prays in the garden before his death. He prays for unity of believers (Christians) and the unity of the apostles. 

That's when I began to question what Martin Luther did. 

Martin Luther didn't intend to start a new church when he posted his 95 theses on October 31, 1517. The Catholic Church had some very corrupt practices going on. The Church needed to be reformed. When Martin Luther stood up and demanded reform, the Church leaders made sure he wouldn't be successful by excommunicating him and later condemning him as an outlaw. I believe Martin Luther wanted to change the Church, not start his own thing. He later went off course when he started changing the Bible and becoming his own pope.
The Catholic Church wasn't an innocent victim in the Reformation. The abuses in the Church were the root of the problem. But others who also disagreed with the abuses that were going in the Catholic Church instead helped to reform it from within. Great men and women of God  - Ignatius of Loyola, Teresa of Ávila, John of the Cross, and Francis de Sales - risked their lives to make the Church what God wanted her to be. This is known as the Counter-Reformation. I had never heard of the Counter-Reformation before. I assumed the abuses that Martin Luther stood up against were still commonplace in the Catholic Church today.

But they're not!

I'm not saying that the leaders of Catholic Church is always perfect. They're human, they can't be perfect. But no other church is as in line with the will of God in the area of unity as well as numerous other areas as the Catholic Church. Jesus gave us the Church and promised that the gates of Hell would not prevail against it. 2,000 years later, this promise still stands true.

Jesus prayed for us all to be one - you could say it was his dying wish/prayer. He prayed this so that "the world will know that you sent me and have loved them..." Time after time the world recognizes the relevancy of the Catholic Church. It has been reported recently that the NSA may have been spying on the Vatican. When the anti-christ comes, who do you think will be his first target? The Church who is the most relevant and strongest against him. Join us in our fight against evil.

If you love Jesus and hate the devil, please consider learning more about what the Church teaches and join us. I promise you that you will find that the Catholic Church is not what you thought it was.

Imagine what Christians could do against Satan if we were in unity.