Lila Faith: One Year Old Time Capsule!!!

March 24, 2016

 

I just went back and reread this post from when we first announced that we were expecting Lila.

Ouch.

I have tears in my eyes thinking back on how much I struggled emotionally at the beginning of her pregnancy.  I feel so GUILTY!  If I could go back in time, I would show myself a video of this infinitely sweet little girl sucking her thumb (with one finger always hooked over top!) and laughing at the silly noises I make.  Back then, I couldn’t see past the next day.  I couldn’t imagine what could be.  Even if I had tried to imagine, I would not have been able to dream up such an amazing baby.  Everyone told me that even though it felt like there would not be enough space in my heart for another baby, to just wait.  “You’ll see!” they said.

They were right.  

I look into those big brown eyes and feel such a strong love that it is breathtaking.  She leans into me, sucks her thumb, and I brush her soft, sweet hair out of her eyes, and kiss the top of her fluffy little head.  She melts me.

I don’t know if I’ll ever share the words of these blog posts with my girls.  I’ve written so candidly that I’m afraid that they won’t understand.  That they will question my love for them.

But it is *because* of my love for them that I write.

One day, many years from now, Lila might be feeling that same anxiety, the same fears about opening up her heart another time for another child.  Wondering if she has what it takes.

And I’ll be there to say, “Yes, you do.”

And I’ll be right.

(Aren’t moms always right?)

March 09, 2016-2

March 09, 2016

 

Lila’s 12 Month Time Capsule (photos very randomly thrown in here! haha)

-Lila’s ‘talking’ has begun to sound very much like that Swedish Chef muppet.  I cannot duplicate it and it’s 100% adorable.

-Although Lila has not started walking (or standing!) yet, she absolutely LOVES climbing stairs.  She gets really excited to go up the stairs right next to her big sis.  I’m not worried about her lack of walking.  She has proven time and again that she will do things when she is good and ready to.  And I am in NO RUSH to be chasing her around as she gets into everything.

March 23, 2016-2

March 23, 2016

-Usually, Lila is very even-keeled but lately she has started to show a bit of a jealous streak.  If mommy is holding Charlotte, she wants to be held too!  I feel like a rock star, but Daddy feels kind of left out.  I know it won’t be long before they hate my guts and worship him instead so I am enjoying it for now.

March 19, 2016

-I love watching Lila delicately use her fingers to grasp small objects.  She really has a knack for fine motor activities!

March 22, 2016

 

-Lila’s new obsession is her banana tooth brush given to her by a dear, sweet friend in a basket full of yellow sunshiny things.  She screams and cries when we try to take it away.

March 12, 2016

-As I’ve mentioned repeatedly, Lila’s thumb sucking really tugs at my heartstrings.  It’s such a sweet act and I love snuggling with her when she sucks on her sweet little thumb.  The only downside for now is that she gets a pretty gnarly drool rash from constantly spreading slobber all over her chin, lips, and nose.  Also, since she HATES having her nails clipped, she can often be found with little scratches on her nose as a result of the little finger hook she does while thumb sucking.March 02, 2016

-Lila had her first Easter this month.  She got bath toys, baby food, and sippy cups from the Easter Bunny and looked so sweet all dressed up for church and Easter brunch!

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-On Lila’s first birthday (March 23rd), we went to visit the cherry blossoms in DC and had an idyllic kind of day, playing outside and taking in the sights.  Later that day, we had a cake smash for her.  Let me tell you, this girl WENT TO TOWN!  We were sure she was going to be sick from eating so much cake, but she handled it just fine and was very mad at us from taking the (pulverized, smashed to bits) cake away from her at the end.

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-Finally, we celebrated her birthday that weekend with a small family/friends party with a ladybug theme.  It was super sweet and we all had a great time 🙂  (Side note: although I am a professional photographer I am comically bad at taking party photos when it is my own family.  I always feel really weird getting my huge camera out and feel like it gets in the way!  I would much rather just sit back and enjoy the party.  I need to start hiring someone!!)

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I feel a little bad that I am posting this sooooo late, but both of the girls (along with the rest of life!) have kept us pretty busy lately.  That’s the way it goes sometimes!

Kisses to my sweet baby girl in honor of her first birthday!  Mommy and Daddy love you so much!

Lilas first year

 

Lila Faith: 1 Month Time Capsule

one month

How is this little sweetie pie one month old already?  It has been so fun getting to know this new little one that we have been so blessed with.  Her first few weeks were quiet ones, where she only cried when she was hungry or needed a diaper change.  The most noise actually came from her big sis as she adjusted to all the commotion that a new baby brings.  Now, the tables have turned… Charlotte has settled into the new routines and loves checking on her baby sister while Lila has grown a little uncomfortable with bouts of reflux 😦  Poor baby!  She is so very sweet and we just love her to pieces!

April 27, 2015-3

Memories for Lila’s 1 Month Time Capsule:

-First smile:  I know they say that babies don’t have a social smile until 6-8 weeks, but little Lila has given us several sweet smiles that are definitely not reflexes or gassy 😉  Her big sister gave us early smiles too!  It’s so fun to see her little grin in response to my goofiness.

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-Lila makes the sweetest little noises when she’s cuddling with us.  She sounds like a little baby chipmunk 🙂

-She loves to snuggle and be held.  Sweet baby snuggles are the best!

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-This girl is a pooping machine!  Lila might not like me documenting this one, but it’s kind of our running joke.  She sneezes and poops.  Smiles and poops.  Eats and poops.  Pampers is going to make a fortune off of us!

-Her spiky hair.  When her hair is freshly washed, it sticks straight out in all directions and then eventually settles into a faux-hawk that is super trendy 😉

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-Lila LOVES her swing.  She loves to take little catnaps in the swing when Mommy’s hands are full.  Charlotte hated the swing, so this is new for us!

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It’s so fun finding out all the things that make Lila her own little person.  We can’t wait to see what the next month brings!

Lila Faith: A Birth Story

You guys, Wilburta is here!!  Except her name isn’t Wilburta…

…it’s Lila Faith.

March 26, 2015_lilas_birth

And as one would expect from this pregnancy, Lila came into the world on her own terms.

We had recently heard good news about Lila’s growth.  However, after a later biophysical profile showed that my amniotic fluid was once again on the low side, we decided it was best that I start my maternity leave a little ahead of my scheduled c-section so I could rest and attend the last few doctor appointments before the big day.

On the morning of Monday, March 23rd, we sent Charlotte to daycare and I took advantage of the time to myself to take a long shower, use the hairdryer that had been collecting dust in my bathroom, and do my hair and makeup.  This is going to sound so shallow, but I wanted to practice curling my hair- like a teenager!- to see how long it would take me.  We were the incredibly fortunate recipients of a hospital photography session (I’ll be sure to share!!) and I thought maybe, just maybe, I would try actually doing my hair.  Yes, 48 hours after birth- HA HA HA HA!  I must have been delusional!  Anyway…

As I swiped on some mascara, I looked up at Lila’s ultrasound taped to our bathroom mirror and the word ‘Believe’ written in lipstick.  I had to smile.  When I originally stuck the ultrasound on the mirror, we were so afraid and so worried about this baby girl.  She had come so far, surprising us all, and it would only be a few more days until we got to see her cute little face.  I couldn’t wait to hear how much she would actually weigh at birth.

38 weeks

The morning of Lila’s birth…totally clueless how my day would end!

Our bags were semi-packed, but I didn’t bother to put my toiletries into the hospital bag before leaving for my doctor appointment because I thought the biophysical profile would go just fine like the others.  I had a list of last minute to-do’s and another doctor appointment to attend that afternoon, but I guess Lila had a different plan that day!

At the maternal fetal specialist, the ultrasound technician checked Lila out, told me all looked well, and sent for the doctor to review everything.  As he reviewed the notes, he started to talk about how everything looked good and how we would proceed as planned with our c-section on Thursday, March 26th but then when he took a look at Lila himself he got drastically different measurements for her fluid levels.  After taking them several times, based on his measurements, he did not feel comfortable with allowing me to wait a few more days and sent me straight to the hospital for delivery.

I felt a little nervous about suddenly having to deliver our little one in a matter of a few hours and felt a bit unprepared even though we had been warned of this possibility continually throughout the pregnancy.  I texted John and said, “Don’t freak out, but I have to go straight to the hospital.  Today’s the day.“, which of course is exactly what you say when you want to freak someone out.  😉 He rushed out of a meeting, grabbed our half-packed hospital bags and met me at the hospital right as I was arriving.

It was a long afternoon of hurry-up and wait but eventually we headed down the hall to the OR and once again, I felt Callie’s calming presence with us there.  I remember asking if they had started yet and they all laughed and said, “Yep! He’s almost to your uterus!” which is just crazy to me because I could not feel a single thing.

Before I knew it, little Lila Faith was out and was carried to the warming station.  She took a few seconds to give a cry which made me so nervous as I asked, “Is she ok?  Is she ok?” but she was!  She gave little bitty kitten cries and was folded completely in half like a taco, with her feet up by her head since she was frank breech for the entire second half of the pregnancy.  Lila will definitely be skilled at the sit-and-reach in PE one day!  After what seemed like an eternity, they finally put her on the scale for the moment of truth…

5 lb. 14 oz.!!!

March 23, 2015_lilas_birth-9

She was a peanut for sure, but she was a perfectly healthy little peanut.  Technically, anything under 5lb. 8oz. is considered low birth weight so after all the worrying and waiting and praying, Lila came into the world squeaking by as a ‘normal’ sized baby, officially out of the ‘runt’ status that had earned her the nickname Wilburta.  And wouldn’t you know it?  There was a picture of a sunshine and a rainbow right there on the monitor of the scale shining over her weight like a little wink from God.

March 23, 2015_lilas_birth-14

A while back, I made some predictions about Lila:

  • “Wilburta” is FINE and because of our history and her little lag in growth back in December they have decided to watch us like a hawk to make sure she doesn’t become NOT FINE.  Which she won’t, because she is FINE!
  • “Wilburta” will be born on her scheduled C-section date.
  • She will be between 6-7 pounds.
  • She will be healthy and perfect in every way.

Ok, so I was wrong about a few of them- but not by much!  She was born three days before her scheduled C-section date at 38 weeks and 1 day and she missed the 6 pound mark by 2 ounces.  Not bad, not bad at all.

As with Charlotte’s birth, we had an amazing nurse who let me breastfeed Lila right there on the operating table and I cried as I watched this teeny little bundle of perfection hungrily nurse.  While pregnant with Lila, we just tried to get from one appointment to the next.  We never really got to think much about what it would be like when she was finally here.  Once she arrived, the relief of having her safely in our arms was so satisfying and fulfilling.  She was a dream realized and a prayer (or millions of prayers!) answered.  It felt so good to do all the little joyful acts of being her mommy and daddy…finally!

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Once again, we were surrounded in the hospital by the most amazing nurses, many of whom had been there with us with Callie, and then again with Charlotte.  I am so thankful for their loving care of us, especially to Nurse Cindy again…our special earth angel.  Our family and friends were there to help us celebrate with another rainbow party for our second rainbow girl.  Watching Charlotte meet her baby sister for the first time was such a surreal moment.  All of a sudden, Charlotte seemed so grown up and big!  She was a little freaked out by all the commotion, but with time she is coming around to the idea of having a baby sister.  😉

March 23, 2015_lilas_birth-35

With the roller coaster that we have been on throughout this pregnancy, I fully expected Lila to be a total handful, but she has surprised me with how easy-going she is.  She is totally like “What was all the fuss about guys?” just like I hoped she would be.

March 30, 2015_lilas_birth-4

Thank you for following along in our journey and for all of your support and prayers.  We are so thrilled and relieved to be able to hold Lila Faith safely in our arms and to grow our family once more.

Blessed doesn’t even begin to describe it.

36 Weeks Update

March 02, 2015-5

36 weeks!  There was a time that I didn’t think we would make it this far.  I’m in awe of how quickly time has gone by, while still seeming to creep at a snail’s pace at the same time.  How is that possible?

Since my last post, we had a great measurement appointment at 33 weeks- ‘Wilburta‘ climbed up to the 30th percentile in overall weight!  I remember feeling like that was pretty darn huge compared to all of our other visits.  But on Wednesday at our 35 weeks measurement check, however, her growth had slowed quite a bit.  She dropped down to the 16th percentile with an abdominal circumference of less than 2%.  Since she had still managed to grow a bit though, she was given the green light to stay put for a little while longer.  The doctor said this slow down in growth may be an indicator that the end of her stay inside my tummy may be drawing very near.

So, just enough good news to keep marching forward…just enough drama to scare us half to death.

To be honest, now that we are at this point in the pregnancy I’m not scared of her being born a little early.  We’re only a week away from what is considered full-term and the doctors have reassured us that she will do very well if she were born this very day.

What is really scaring me, however, is her staying inside of me.  This may sound backwards, but I just want her out.  If something about my body or placenta isn’t giving her what she needs to grow adequately, I am really frightened that something bad will happen in between my appointments and that I won’t know- or be able to do anything about it.  I can remember feeling this way with Charlotte too, even though she never gave us any reasons to be worried.  It was just a natural consequence of losing Callie and meeting so many other women who have lost a child and hearing their stories of stillbirth.

There is a certain fear that I have held about pregnancy in the third trimester as a result ever since- this feeling like I am a walking death trap for my baby.  If you haven’t been there then you are probably scratching your head on that one, but I know damn well that the women who have been there know EXACTLY what I’m talking about.  It’s not fun.  It’s not cute.  It’s all business.

I miss that innocence of feeling with all certainty, without question, that my body is a safe haven for my baby.

We are scheduled to have a C-section at 38.5 weeks on March 26th.  That is less than 3 weeks away!  We could use all your prayers and positive energy that our baby continues to grow until that date.  I’d also really appreciate prayers that if for some reason she stops thriving that we will know right away and be able to get her safely into our arms.  Lastly, please pray that God takes away our anxiety and replaces it with peace in our hearts.  We’ve been busily preparing for this little one’s arrival and trying to have fun with it.

And that’s what we’ll continue to do!

 

28 Weeks! Another Update…

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28 Weeks!!  Woot wooooooooot!!  We are in the third trimester 🙂  So happy and thankful to be here.

Since my last post we have had another measurement check on little Wilbur.  She continued to grow, making what the doctor described as “adequate” growth.  There was a very slight slide in her percentile, but she remained the same number of days behind.  He was happy with the fact that she was continuing to grow and make progress.  However, one of her measurements slid below the tenth percentile so we are now having to make weekly visits to the maternal fetal specialists.  We will alternate weeks between biophysical profiles (BPP) on the baby to check on her well-being and measurement checks.  Today will be the first BPP and I have no doubt that it will go well…she’s an active, strong little thing.  The next measurement check will be next week.

All of the doctor appointments can be a little tiring, but we know she is being closely monitored and that can only be a good thing!  The doctor seemed a lot more optimistic about her getting to full term last week so that was really encouraging.

We just have to keep on doing what we are doing and staying positive!

Thanks to everyone again for all the messages and for checking in on us 🙂

Wilbur

25weeks-2John has been re-reading Charlotte’s Web and has taken to reading it aloud to Baby #3 lately.  We have obviously always loved the book and decorated Charlotte’s nursery with a Charlotte’s Web theme when she was born.  Charlotte, the spider, is a loyal friend- brave, intelligent, and selfless.  It wasn’t until John started reading the book again to our littlest rainbow that I realized how special Wilbur is too.

Wilbur the pig is the runt of the litter.  The farmer’s daughter, Fern, saves him from being killed because he is “small and weak” and “will never amount to anything”.  With some mothering love, Fern nurses him into being a strong, healthy pig who then has to worry about becoming the Christmas ham for his new family.  You can’t help but fall in love with Wilbur.  He is innocent, sweet, polite, and cheerful.  He loves unconditionally.  The author mentions numerous times how Fern, and his new friend, Charlotte, look upon him with utmost affection.

You probably know how the story goes… Charlotte begins writing words in her web as a way to show Wilbur’s humans that he is an extraordinary pig, one worth saving.  When John read the following quote the other night, I couldn’t help but make connections to our own lives right now:

“Have you heard about the words that appeared in the spider’s web?” asked Mrs. Arable nervously.

“Yes,” replied the doctor.[..]

“Do you understand how there could be any writing in a spider’s web?”

“Oh, no,” said Dr. Dorian.  “I don’t understand it.  But for that matter I don’t understand how a spider learned to spin a web in the first place.  When the words appeared, everyone said they were a miracle.  But nobody pointed out that the web itself is a miracle.

“What’s miraculous about a spider’s web?” said Mrs. Arable. “I don’t see why you say a web is a miracle- it’s just a web.”

“Ever try to spin one?” asked Dr. Dorian.

Mrs. Arable shifted uneasily in her chair.  “No,” she replied.  “But I can crochet a doily and I can knit a sock.”

“Sure,” said the doctor.  “But somebody taught you, didn’t they?”

“My mother taught me.”

“Well, who taught a spider?  A young spider knows how to spin a web without any instructions from anybody.  Don’t you regard that as a miracle?”

“I suppose so,” said Mrs. Arable.  “I never looked at it that way before.  Still, I don’t understand how those words got into the web.  I don’t understand it, and I don’t like what I can’t understand.”

“None of us do,” said Dr. Dorian, sighing.  “I’m a doctor.  Doctors are supposed to understand everything.  But I don’t understand everything, and I don’t intend to let it worry me.

Sometimes you don’t realize how miraculous the smallest, ordinary things are around you until something big happens.  I’ve been praying for a miracle -that we will hear at our next appointment that everything is just fine- but I’ve missed the miracle right in front of me.  Baby #3, our runt, our Wilbur.  She is a miracle already.  So is Charlotte.  So is everything else that is gloriously ordinary in our lives.  We don’t really like hearing worrisome news at doctor’s appointments and we like it even less that we can’t understand it.  But I’m going to do my best to stop trying to understand it, and I’m trying to not let it worry me.

Today at church, our pastor talked about Mary and how she was struck with fear when the angel told her that she would become Jesus’ mother in Luke 1: 26-38.  Despite this fear, the implications her pregnancy would have, and the multitude of questions she must have had running through her mind, she gave herself over to God completely and allowed herself to be his servant.  What a gift she gave to God and what a gift He gave to her and to the world!  She did not understand.  She didn’t know what to expect.  But she trusted God and found peace in that.  And look at where that trust led.

After watching the lighting of the candles on the advent wreath- faith, hope, love, and joy- and listening to these words, I felt strengthened and peaceful.  Like Dr. Dorian mentioned in Charlotte’s Web, I don’t know everything but it gives me great peace that I don’t have to.  It’s in God’s hands.

Thank you so much for praying for our “Wilbur” 😉  We have been so comforted by your messages of support.  We are so lucky and so blessed.  I hope you all have a wonderfully, amazing Christmas.  We’ll keep you posted on how things are going after our next appointment!

Leaving you with our favorite Christmas song right now…

Baby #3

Charlotte, proudly announcing that we are expecting our third child, our second rainbow in April :)

Charlotte, proudly announcing that we are expecting our third child, our second rainbow in April 🙂

Baby #3.

How can I explain to you the roller coaster that has been Baby #3 this far?

I just spent this rainy afternoon reading back my old posts from Charlotte’s pregnancy.  I was blown away by how differently I feel this time around.  John and I were still very much in grief from losing Callie when I became pregnant with Charlotte.  I was so sad and so scared throughout it all.  I fought so hard to stay hopeful, face my fears, and maintain faith.

I’d like to tell you that this baby’s pregnancy has been the complete opposite…happy and carefree!  But, that’s not exactly true.

I’m not sure how to explain this time around…

When I first saw the positive test, we were on vacation.  I slipped back into bed and whispered to Charlotte that she was going to be a big sister and left the test there as a surprise for John unsure about my own feelings.  When he came back beaming, I had trouble beaming back.  I was happy, I suppose, but I just couldn’t bring myself to be excited.

As time went on, I tried really hard not to think about the fact that I was even pregnant.  I avoided talking about it with John and fake smiled when I did have to discuss it.  I felt relief upon seeing our little bean at the first ultrasound, but not exactly joy or wonder.  More like “blah”.

Before Callie passed away, John and I had always dreamed of having three kids.  It sounded like the perfect number.  I thought that losing Callie would make us want kids so much more, potentially leading us down the path to having a boatload of kids.  In actuality though, that just wasn’t the case-  for me, at least.

I realized that after being robbed of a future of Callie, I was taken down to the most fundamental and basic desires.  Lord, I just wanted a baby that would stay with us.  Please, God, just let me hold a baby.  Please, please let me hear a cry.  Let me change diapers.  Let me nurse her.  Oh, God if I could just have this one thing, please, please, please.  And then Charlotte came.  She never took Callie’s place, but she did answer so many of my prayers.

I was good.  More than good- filled with absolute contentment in every sense of the word.  You see, after having Charlotte, my heart was so full I just couldn’t possibly dream of having any more room left in it.

How in the world could I need anything else?

And it was in this mind frame that I went into Baby #3-  reluctantly, with the distant goal of giving the gift of a sibling here on earth for Charlotte to know and play with.  This sounds so horrible, but it wasn’t for me at all.  It was for Charlotte.  It was for John.  For our families.

Because like I said, I was good.

I spent much of the first trimester battling some pretty bad mood swings and a general feeling of discontent, mixed with strong nausea and fatigue.  I will also add that during this time, Charlotte was waking up in the middle of the night constantly and only wanting mommy, so I was downright exhausted.  I broke down in tears often and felt such guilt at my lack of ability to bond with my growing baby and feel excited and grateful for the gift that he or she is.  Finally, I had enough and went back to my therapist to talk things through.

And- poof!  I felt better!  I vented and she listened.  I started to realize that my lack of excitement, was really just my fear:  repackaged and redesigned.  Fear of not being able to handle two kids.  Fear of not being able to love each of them enough.  Fear of taking away my undivided attention from Charlotte.  Mix those fears in with some of the old fears… what if something happens?  why mess with a good thing?…and I was a just a ball of emotions.  Getting it off my chest and owning my feelings has helped me tremendously.  Oh yeah, and getting more sleep and having my hormones calm down a bit didn’t hurt either 😉

I’ll be 100% honest with you and tell you that, although I feel much happier, stronger, and less fearful, I am still not jumping up and down with excitement.  Maybe this is how it feels after experiencing pregnancy for the third time?  Maybe I’m too busy chasing Charlotte, teaching students, and managing a growing business to really even think about anything more than the moment right in front of me?  But I do know that I’m not alone in these feelings and that so many other mothers have felt the same way.  I’m not sure if I’ll start jumping up and down any time soon (or at all!) but I do know that each day makes me feel better, more ‘into it’, and enthusiastic.  I’m very much looking forward to more ultrasounds, more opportunities to get to know this little one, and the kicks that will make it feel “real”.

And here’s the other thing I’m going to be honest about.  I’m in this with my whole heart:  I want this baby and I know that after he or she arrives, I will never be able to imagine my life without him or her in it.

But…

…I can also completely understand now why some people choose not to have another.  Especially those who have experienced loss.  Because truth be told…I was good, allllllll good.  That intense satisfaction is an amazing feeling and I do not doubt that my life would have been very full and happy should we have chosen that path.

But we didn’t.  And I know that this path will be awesome… I just had to get my bearings first.

So, that’s me right now.  Happy to be past the black cloud that was the first trimester with a better outlook for the next two.  Enjoying Charlotte with my whole heart.  Letting hope slide into my heart in bits and pieces and preparing for it to grow and stretch to limits I never imagined were possible.

Love,

me

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Please join us tonight for the International Wave of Light in memory of Callie and other babies lost too soon.  Light a candle at 7 p.m. wherever you are.  We appreciate it so much!