Monday, June 25, 2012


I don't post here often, but there is something that has been nagging me lately and I just have to get it out.

After all, I don't know who has googled oligohydramnios and found themselves here:-).

I was on my way to a local consignment shop today, and of course I was on the phone.

'Cause I just have to talk while in the car, don't you?

My mom was telling me about a blog she stumbled upon. Same circumstance as ours- went in for an ultrasound at 20 weeks and found out they had very low fluid. They were given the same odds- between 1-10% chance of survival.

They opted to induce and deliver.


I preface this by saying (for those of you that don't know me) that I was raised Pro-Life.

As in, really Pro-Life.

Beat-down-people's-doors-and-give-them-pamphlets-with-pictures-of-babies-in-utero Pro-Life.


I caution to put this out there, because it is hard to admit.

In the very, very dark days following Tessa's diagnosis, all I wanted to do was induce and deliver her.

Thinking of spending 20+ weeks, squishing her in my womb, followed by a long and painful delivery for a baby that would pass away struggling for breath.

It was too overwhelming to think about.

I couldn't wrap my mind around how I was going to survive another day, never mind another week or another five months.

It seemed easier to just "get the worst part over with", so I could start the process of healing.

Those first few days, I turned inducing over and over in my mind. Talked to Josh about it. Prayed a lot.

And I just couldn't do it.

I couldn't be responsible for determining her last heart beat.

Slowly, the Lord started working on my heart.

Helped me see the beauty in my time with her.

Every kick, every nuance, every hiccup, every heartbeat was cherished.

I wanted her to know and feel how great my love for her was. Even if it was as simple as pushing her feet as she kicked me.

Having the boys talk to her, or kiss my belly.

A few days before she was born, I remember sitting with Josh and my mom in the hospital room. Crying, I apologized for spending our entire summer waiting and shuffling the boys constantly with the great possibility it could be for nothing.

Both of them agreed- it was not for nothing. We all wanted to give her the best shot at life, and that included being in the hospital for her birth.

Regardless of the outcome, we had to do everything we could.

"Do what you can, forget the rest", as my dad always said.

I am still so thankful I have such a sacrificial family. I don't know how I would have done it without them.

I digress.

Anyway, Josh and I didn't have much on the schedule today, so I went wandering.

My account had a credit of $20, and I enjoyed sorting through each kid's size and picking out a few things for fall.

Right next to the checkout register, there is a beautiful rack of Matilda Jane clothing.

All sorts of skirts with ruffles, dresses with perfect buttons and big bows coordinated with the most breathtaking mix of fabrics.

Sitting right in the front was a gorgeous peasant top with a pink sash.

12 months, the size Tessa will wear in the fall.

I looked it over and drooled a little bit eyed the price.


Couple things:
1) I have been talking to friends lately about how Matilda Jane has some really cute dresses, but that they were expensive.
2) I am super duper thrifty. I never pay more than $5-10 per piece for clothes for my kids. Even jeans must be under this price.
3) I don't have anything in my closet that costs that much. Not even close.

So I put it back on the rack.

As my account was accessed, she informed me that (after the few things I had in my hand), I had $29.94 left as a credit.


Along with being thrifty, I guess I am impulsive:-)

A strange mix, huh?

Riding home, I kept thanking God that I wasn't impulsive in those days after April 19th.

Although it might seem trite to compare her life to a silly dress, I recall the pressures put on me by medical personnel to "medically terminate". How it would be the kindest and gentle thing for her, after all.

I remember the very deep place I was in- where my decisions were made on emotions and trying to make the pain stop.

I shutter at the thought, and frankly am disappointed that I even had those feelings. I look at how beautiful Tessa is and how much I love that girl, and feel guilty that I even thought about inducing her early.

Had I acted during those first few days and listened to the countless doctors who told us that there was no hope, no chance....Tessa girl would not be here.

If there is one thing I have learned from Tessa's life, it is that doctors don't know everything.

God still works miracles.

....and I am so thankful that God was able to show His power, His goodness through her life.

Psalm 40:3 He has given me a new song to sing, a hymn of praise to our God. Many will see what he has done and be amazed. They will put their trust in the LORD.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Her life

So, why November 4th?

This is the day, one year ago, that we started this journey to add another member to our family.

We praise the Lord that He answered our petition for another child.

You can still find me at

or on facebook.

Thank you for being a part of her awesome story!

(and thanks, Michelle Dieleman for your beautiful heart in creating this video. Perhaps someday I won't cry the ugly cry every time I view it:-)

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Second to Last:-)

It happened by chance, the day we found the ducklings.

Our family was mobile last summer, and biked/roller bladed for hours at a time.

Quite the change from this summer.

There is a trail a few miles from our house that forms a figure 8 around two small ponds. Partially shaded by trees, we set off one night to explore.

As we rounded the corner and crossed the bridge, we watched as 40 ducks waddled through the brush and into the moss filled water upon hearing our approach.

Excitedly, the boys watched for a few minutes as the ducks fluttered and chased each other.

We left with the promise that we would return next time with bread.

Two loaves in hand, we went back the following week to find very friendly ducks. They would waddle right up and practically take the bread directly from your hand.

As we were throwing morsels to the quacking masses, I noticed a mallard off to the side, struggling with a piece of bread. Upon closer inspection, half of his beak was missing.

You might think it strange, but it was the most beautiful thing to see inside his beak. The way the muscles worked to process food was amazing.

I took a liking to that duck, the "one with the broken beak". Every time we visited, which was at least once a week, I purposely sought out that duck and threw bread directly to him. As his friends were fighting over Bryce's half scraps, he always got a hearty helping.

I feel like the mallard with the broken beak. You sought us out, and loved us well.

Seven days after we received Tessa's diagnosis, I posted this quote "God showed up, but not how I thought. He showed up through His people."

Those were the darkest days of my life thus far, and we were immediately enveloped in love.

Fast forward months and months later, and I am amazed by how God continually used His people to reveal his love for us.

I could literally weep if I think on how this community has surrounded us. 6,500 people checked here the day she was born. I am not sure I even know that many people. You prayed when we couldn't and begged your friends to join you, helped us with gas when we didn't have a dime, and brought meals by the truck full. I feel your love for my child, and I am not really sure how to adequately thank you for that.

I won't pretend to know why this happened, or why God miraculously spared her life, but I do know I have learned a whole lot on the journey.

1) Often, people would say something like, "I am struggling with ________, but it doesn't compare to what you are going through."

Pain is difficult to compare. Suffering is hard. Period.

And sure, I look at Reed's parents and know that what they went through was much tougher because their little boy did not make it, but it doesn't discount the months of devastation we endured.

It was valid.

Sometimes life is miserable and someone out there probably does have it tougher. But once you know profound misery, you are able to empathize.

A woman I admire greatly sent me a quote, "Only people who have cried deeply can laugh. Everyone else only giggles."

I can truly say I am laughing in a way I never have before because of the deep sorrow endured.

And I can empathize in a way I never have before because of my affliction.

2) When I tell someone I will pray, I will.

I had a friend going through a tough time a few years ago, and ran into her at the mall. She told of problems in her marriage and asked for prayer.

As we parted, I told her I would pray for her.

And I did.


My follow through in the past has been pretty dismal.

As this community has prayed and prayed and prayed and stuck with us, I have learned a lot about perseverance of prayer.

3) God loves to lavish blessings on His children.

My brother has a couple of friends that have morphed into our friends as well. One of them was also having a baby this fall. I had grand visions of Kelly, Amber, and I sitting in the softball bleachers with our pregnant bellys "talking baby".

As my pregnancy turned into a nightmare, I could not be around pregnant bellys or new babies.

Dealing with the excitement of their new life when Tessa's future was so unsure led to extreme depression. It was easier to protect my heart by avoiding those situations entirely.

After Tessa was born, I finally took the time to look at baby rooms and shower pictures and all the things that were so painful to be a part of when I was pregnant.

In M's room, there was a plaque that said "I prayed for this child and the Lord has granted me what I asked of Him."

I told my mom, more than anything else, I had to find that for Tessa's room.

Well, if you know anything about my mom, she called every Hallmark and Family Christian Store in the state of Michigan to purchase that sign.

Nobody had it.

After a really rough day at the hospital, I came home and someone had given me that sign (thanks Sarah!) without even an inkling as to how badly I wanted it.

So often through our journey, God has given us little treasures to remind us of how greatly we are loved.

Having our two favorite nurses the last two shifts at the hospital.

The women that I wanted to pray over me, and how the prayer meeting just "happened" to be the next night.

I prayed and prayed that Tessa would go home at 38 weeks, and she was discharged at 38 weeks, 6 days.

Rachael working the night we found out about NEC.

Our two pastors being there the morning we decided to deliver.

I can fully say that God was present in so many ways for us, and bestowed beautiful blessings amidst the pain.

Reading my devotional one night, I came across a man that prayed, "Support us, Oh Lord. Yes, support us on every leaning side!"

Without getting too sappy, thank you for supporting us on every leaning side.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Happy Halloween!

Kayden was born in November, Brycer in April.

Most of my newborn months with Bryce felt....sticky.

He was hot, I was hot. Feeding him was hot, holding him next to the pool was hot.

Every outfit I put on him was taken off because it was

You get the idea.

Kayden was born October 21, so his baby days were full of cute Halloween outfits with matching blankets, Thanksgiving sweaters, and Christmas pageboy caps.

(taken at our house in Redlands)

Although we did not live in a place that snowed, we spent many winter days cozied up next to the fire. 60 degrees feels different when you live in a warm climate year round.

There were a number of reasons Josh and I chose to start the IVF process last November, weather being one of them.

I love having a baby in the fall/winter.

Halloween is one of my favorite holidays. Every time I pull out the orange pumpkin box, a part of me gets giddy.

It kicks off the season, and leads ever so quickly to Christmas. Fall craft shows, carefully picking out presents, reading the Bible Christmas morning with my kids, celebrating family and all we have been blessed with....I just love it. Last year, I imagined telling people I was pregnant in the Christmas newsletter, and that thought carried me through 100s of miles back and forth to Ypsilanti.

One of my earliest memories of Halloween included two of my childhood friends, K and T.

Like any threesome of girls, we were the best and the worst of friends all in the same day.

K had asked my mom if I could accompany her up to the school at the end of the street, which was holding it's annual costume contest.

Nothing sounded more fun.

I carefully got dressed in my costume for that year- a pink rainbow Carebear, complete with a tan plastic bear mask.

We excitedly skipped past the three houses, watching oodles of other kids filing into the gym.

The costume "parade" was already in full swing. We quickly joined the line and showcased out attire the length of the floor with Elvis, Alvin the chipmunk, and a few witches.

Then I saw her.

She had blond ringlet curls cascading down her back. Make-up precisely applied, she was everything I wasn't: blond, beautiful, elegant.

Rhinestones glistened off the crown perfectly situated on her head. A white strapless dress with red embroidered accents led into layer upon layer of gorgeous tulle.

I wanted that dress.

And no offense to my mom but, as she won the costume contest and the huge prize basket, I stood there hating my plastic carebear mask.

We exited the gym at the same time, and I told her how pretty she was. Even at such a young age, I remember feeling awkward and nerdy as she flippantly told me "thanks".

You would think this situation would turn me off from costumes and dressing up; oddly, it had the opposite effect.

I love creating Halloween costumes.

My boys don't really let me have an opinion anymore as to what they should be for Halloween.

This little miss has no say (yet).

Happy Halloween from our house to yours. May your night be filled with candy and family.

November 4 is set to be my final post.

Have a great week!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Miss Lolly

My mom's nickname for Tessa.

She handed me this picture today:

Miss Lolly looks like me, huh?:-)

At least we have the jowls in common.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

A few new ones

I was ready.

My outfit was picked out, hanging on the closet door.

12 pages of an outline was on the nightstand, proofread by Josh.

Tessa's first diaper and hand print were sitting on top of it, waiting to go.

Tomorrow was the first time I was set to share her story, and I was ready.

Don't get me wrong- I was a little nervous, too. However, I felt peace as I knew there were a bunch of people praying for this day.

It's no secret that Tessa girl really enjoys night time with her mama. Around 2:30, I started getting the shakes.

I was so cold, I could not get warm even with three blankets wrapped around me.


Perhaps I can ward this off by being proactive, I thought. I started with a hot compress, took antibiotics, drank a bunch of water....nothing was helping. With a fever of 103 and feeling quite ill, I ended up having to cancel.

It was a huge disappointment to miss sharing her story today.

But, I have come to know one thing about my God.

He always has a plan.

The most important thing is to be ready and willing, right?

Tessa ended up going to my mom' s house. I heard she had a blast with her cousin, Alexis. Apparently, Tessa was grabbing at her outfit when they were laying side by side.

My mom swears she smiled at her for the first time.

Thank you for praying for me as I prepared for today. I appreciate you, prayer warriors.