Fearfully and Wonderfully Made...toughest post so far

What I'm about to share with you isn't something that most women like to share with very many people (at least to my knowledge). But I'm under the conviction that I am not the author of my life story; God is and He deserves for the story of my life to be told. I don't hold back in what I say because I hope to convey to you the hope I have in my Savior. Hope that doesn't fail, ever. This post is long and has some minor gross details, but I do believe this post will be worth it through the end. May He be honored in my writing.  

On January 28 I found out I was pregnant.We certainly did not set out to get pregnant in the midst of all the current craziness in our lives, but we were ecstatic the moment we saw a plus sign! I scheduled an appointment with my doctor for March 5 and ordered Lily a super cute "Big Sister" shirt. We told our families and very few friends. I've been waiting for the shirt to come in (that I ordered over TWO weeks ago) before I told the rest of the world.

On Tuesday, Feb 21 I had a little bleeding. I called the doctor and they said it was most likely nothing to worry about. We moved the weekend prior and I probably just overdid myself.

The bleeding continued and increased Wednesday and Thursday so I called and asked to come in for an ultrasound.

Do you mind if I back this thing up for a minute?
I distinctly remember a conversation in October that I had with one of my best friends, Katie. Brent and I were in the midst of deciding what to do since his career in insurance wasn't working. We knew the Lord was preparing us for something, but at that time we had no clue what it was. Moving to Birmingham wasn't even on the radar yet. As I was leaving a baby shower in October, I was talking to Katie who knew our situation very well. I remember making the comment during our conversation that I had a feeling that I would have a difficult time with my next pregnancy...whenever that may be...and that God had definitely laid adoption on our hearts.

Fast forward to January 28 when I find out I'm pregnant and I immediately have an intuition that something isn't going to be normal about this pregnancy. Maybe the abnormal part was simply that we are currently living with family and soon to be renting a basement apartment. Not the most ideal place to bring a newborn home to, but it's the people that make a house a home, not the actual building. I quickly disregarded that and thought the abnormal part would be something a bit more serious.

I believe always that God is preparing me for what's to come. Whatever I'm going through currently always has a purpose for the future.

My "motherly instincts" were really just God's way of guarding and preparing my (and Brent's) heart. Of course, we still got excited and did all the dreaming you do when you realize a newborn will be in your arms soon. And we were really excited about watching Lily become a big sister. Really really excited. We told her and she understood what was going on. She's very smart and I'm pretty sure she understood it better than the typical 2 year old. She was uber excited and liked to ask to see Mommy's baby, then she would insist that I show her my belly. She wanted a "little bruder".

Fast forward again to Thursday, Feb. 23, I went to the doctor. Alone. Not only was it my first time to ever visit this particular doctor's office, I knew exactly what I was going to see on the screen in that dark room. And I was going to see it alone. Brent already had plans to leave work early to drive to Huntsville and get our tenants moved in, so he couldn't leave any earlier. And it's a good thing he didn't; I was at the doctor for 3 hours. At that (3 hour long) moment, there was only one person that I needed anyway. His name is Jesus.

I was fine while filling out all the necessary paper work for a new patient. I got a little anxious when I sat with the nurse to go over my medical history and describe my current symptoms. I even managed to work myself into a fever and high blood pressure. I'm pretty sure I was physically there just to go through the motions, but I had forced my heart to be somewhere else.

It was in the ultrasound room that my heart decided to welcome itself back into reality. While the nurse was preparing everything, my heart was beating out of my chest and I'm sure if I was asked to speak I would not have been able to muster up any words. I knew as soon as I saw my black and white empty womb on the screen in front of me, I would absolutely uncontrollably lose it. I've never needed to feel the comforting presence of Jesus more than I did in that room. I needed Him to sit beside me and hold my hand. I begged Him to let me know He was there. Within seconds of that pleading prayer the ultrasound was on and I was filled with His peace. No tears. Just eyes confirming what my heart already knew. The nurse didn't say a word to me. She spent an eternity taking measurements and pictures. All we saw was an empty yolk sac. And as she was finishing up, I heard her words of confirmation, "I don't see a fetus."

After that gut wrenching realization, I sat in a cold sterile room and waited close to an hour for the doctor to discuss with me what was going on. He had been in surgery all morning and the nurses weren't sure when he would be back, so I hung out until he came in the room. I opened the ESV Bible app on my phone and read Psalm 139 probably 15 times.

Your eyes saw my unformed substance; 
in your book were written, every one of them,
the days that were formed for me, 
when as yet there was none of them
Psalm 139: 16

He returned from surgery and pulled me into his office and very graciously and thoroughly explained everything to me.

I have a blighted ovum, or some call it an anembryonic pregnancy. Basically, an egg was fertilized and my body made preparations for a pregnancy...all the symptoms, increase in hormones, gestational sac, yolk sac etc. I was pregnant with a fertilized egg that never grew into an embryo. Apparently this type of miscarriage is common. My body still thinks I'm pregnant and will take up to 3 weeks to complete the miscarriage. Right now I'm caught in limbo; therefore, I will have a D & C this week.

My biggest fear/question for the doctor, was I ever really pregnant? Yes I was.

My doctor was wonderful, he kept asking me if I was okay. I guess since I wasn't crying he wasn't sure what was going through my head. I assured him that I am okay. I told him I'm a believer and I have a peace that can't come from this world. And he, also being a believer as well as every other doctor at this practice, encouraged me with words that our God is sovereign and His purposes are always good. He assured me that there was nothing I did or didn't do to cause this to happen. It was simply already written in God's plan. And if you have been with me for any length of time on this blog you know that I've been unable to give an explanation for the bigger things that happen to Brent and me. They are what they are because it's what God wants. We trust and we don't question His will.

Because we have hope in an Almighty Savior, we truly have peace about this. At the same time, we are incredibly heartbroken. Many in this abortion-addicted world would say it's absurd for us to mourn the loss of less than an embryo. I mourn for my baby like I've kissed his chubby cheeks, held his tiny body, and rocked him to sweet slumber. And so far, it's just getting harder.

You quickly get used to life as a pregnant woman. I think I get the most upset when I realize there are little things that I all of the sudden can do again. Go for that second cup of coffee in the morning, eat seafood, drink diet coke. No need for those maternity clothes we set aside last weekend when we moved. No more imagining my swollen whale sized body at the beach this summer. No need for the third bedroom to be a nursery. The bouncy seat and exersaucer can go back into storage.

But to think that I have a baby that can see Jesus face to face. A baby that is able to worship Him with a pure heart. A baby that never knew the filth of this sinful world. A baby that I will never hold, but is held by the same Father who held me in the ultrasound room. I'm jealous for that baby. But one day I will see his face and the face of our Maker. Knowing that Jesus is loving and caring for my sweet baby more perfectly than I ever could makes me trust and fall in love with my Jesus even more.

Lord willing we will have more children. I want 2 and Brent wants 5 so I'm sure we will find a way to meet somewhere in the middle :) . But our future children will never be able to replace the hole in our hearts for the one we lost. We are very thankful to have our sweet Lily. Without her, this would be even  more unbearable. Her joyful laughter makes our broken little world whole again.

We have told Lily that her "little bruder" is with Jesus in Heaven now and no longer in Mommy's belly. Her response? A very sad "But I don't have Jesus." She's recognizes that her sibling is with a Person that she can't see. I know she is barely 2, but I refuse to undermine the power of the Holy Spirit's work in her heart. Maybe she is in an early stage of knowing she has a need for a Savior.

The moment that has blown me away the most is a verse I read Thursday night just before I went to bed. Remember me telling you how I read Psalm 139 several times on my phone while sitting in the doc's office? Well, when the doctor finally walked in I didn't exit the app, I just pushed the button that turns the screen off so that the verse would still be there when I turned the screen back on. Thursday night I was laying in bed checking Twitter and someone had tweeted Psalm 46:5. I really liked the verse and wanted to look it up on my phone. I opened my Bible app, expecting to see Psalm 139 and instead I see this:
As you do not know the way the spirit comes to the bones in the womb of a woman with child, so you do not know the work of God who makes everything. In the morning sow your seed, and at the evening withhold not your hand, for you do not know which will prosper. 
Ecclesiastes 11: 5-6a

I've said it before, and I'll say it again. God is REAL. He wants more from you than to claim you are a religious person. That you attend a church occasionally, you pray when things get rough, you own a Bible, and you think positive thoughts. He wants your heart, your life, your everything. He wants to carry you through this life. And in return you get Him. The greatest reward. Life can really be unfair and painful. It will be that way with or without Jesus in your life. Wouldn't you rather be able to cast your pain and your burdens on Him so that He can give you His perfect peace that transcends all understanding? I can't say it enough, if you don't know Him deeply (and I didn't say know of Him) you are missing out on the greatest gift and your life is empty. You were made to be satisfied only in Him. Quit chasing things of this world and run hard after Him.

I heard the song below last Sunday night. Matt Maher was at church for a concert. I fell in love with this song immediately. It's adapted from the hymn "I Need Thee Every Hour". Perfect timing to hear such a song. Thanks for letting me share the depths of my heart with you.


Lessons from an old t-shirt

The other night my parents kept Lily while Brent and I went to Bible study. After we picked her up and it was time to go home, I found myself leaving in a mad/irritated/hurry up mood because it was way past Lily's bed time and I had a thousand things to do before I went to bed. I got impatient, grabbed Lily's things, and went on to the car. My ever-so-patient husband who is a fantastic father took his time with Lily getting to the car. I would have picked her up, yelled "bye" to my parents, and quickly gotten into the car. Brent let her walk down the stairs and played "Bear Hunt" the whole way to the car, while I sat there even more annoyed that he just wouldn't get a move on it and get her in the car seat.

Thankfully, the Lord gave me a little glimpse into the future, a mental picture that I never want to forget. It humbled me and reminded me to slow down and enjoy even the most irritating moments.

Lily put on one of my brother's old t-shirts after her bath that night. The shirt, of course, dragged the ground. As Lily was being led by her loving and patient father down the steps at my parents house, I saw the back of the shirt dragging the ground. And it gave me a little hint of the train on a wedding dress.

Brent leading Lily down the stairs in a gown that is gracefully flowing behind her.

Her wedding.
Many years away, but they will be short years. Very short years.
And I'm already tearing up over it.

The days are long, but the years are short. She is my daughter forever, but one day she will become more than just my daughter. I want to savor the good, the bad, and the ugly.  May I become more patient like my Father and my husband so that I may find a way to cherish even the most frustrating moments. And thanks and praise be to God for giving me a husband that is more patient with me than I deserve!


Bathtub Fears

I need to blog about this before I forget...

Monday night Lily was sick with a stomach bug. She only threw up once but was very lethargic all day long. When it was time for a bath, I had to do a lot...I mean A LOT... of persuading to get her in the tub because she was pitching a nasty fit about it. We talked about throw up germs and how nasty they are and how they crawl all over her body and if they aren't washed away in the tub she will carry the throw up germs to her friends at school and then all of them will get sick and have to stay home with their mommies and she would have no one to play with at school. How's that for a run-on sentence? Then I made a deal with her that if she would let me bathe her first, then I would stick my feet in the water and she could bathe my feet. She finally got in the tub and I had the cleanest feet I've ever had.  I just assumed her not wanting to get in the tub was because she didn't feel well.

Wednesday night it was time for another bath. {We bathe her every other night unless, of course, she is just disgusting. Don't know if that's proper parenting etiquette or not, but that's what we do.} She watched the water fill up, but the second she stepped in the tub she starting screaming, stomping, and sliding all over the tub. She refused to sit down and after she fell twice, we decided that being dirty is safer than hitting her head on something.

Thursday night my mom kept Lily while Brent and I went to Bible study. I warned her about the dangers of bathing Lily lately but asked her to at least try. Again, Lily watched my mom fill up the tub and everything was fine until she got in the tub. The fit started again, so my mom pulled her out. Lily really needed a good bath so my mom filled up one side of the kitchen sink with tons of bubbly water and put Lily in the other side and bathed her in the sink like she was 10 days old. What did Lily talk about all night long after we picked her up? How much fun she had taking a bath in the sink! And once a child considers an activity fun it has to be done that way every time. I mentioned to Brent that we will just have to bathe her in the sink until she gets over this no bathtub season in her life. He said I was ridiculous to think we were going to start bathing a nearly 3 foot tall 27 pound child in the kitchen sink.

If there's anything I've learned about Lily, she pitches fits for two reasons: 1)She doesn't want to do what you've asked her to do, or 2) She is fearful of something. I knew her reasons for not getting in the tub had to be #2 because it's just weird that she would all of the sudden not want to play with her toys in the water.

On the way home from my mom's house I asked Lily why she didn't like to take baths in the tub anymore.

"Dairs too much haiw in it" {There's too much hair in it}.
Then she reminded me that the itsy bitsy spider went up the water spout, but when it rained, he got washed out.

My conclusion...she must think the hair that gets caught in the drain is the spider that washed out of the spout when we turned the water on.

We had a long talk about how hair and spiders are two different things, neither of which we need to be scared of. And I promised I would always check for hair in the drain and remove it before every bath from now until forever.


750 Feet

...that's the distance from our apartment to Brent's office.

Umm, could it be any more perfect? Actually, yes. 

We've been looking for a place to rent for a few weeks now. Looking for an apartment when you are single or married with no children is one thing. Looking for an apartment when you have a small child really narrows down your options to nearly nothing. Of all the ones we've looked at, there was only one place that we felt confident would be a wise place to move our family. And a hefty price came with it as well. So after dreaming of how cheery life would be if we moved there, we decided it wasn't practical...unless it's practical to never eat, in which case it's completely practical! :) 

The hunt continued, spending more time on Craig's List and various other websites than I care to. Last week I came across a listing on Craig's List that had a catchy subject line, but no pictures. I NEVER look at listings without pictures. It's just a waste of time. I was drawn to this one though. I read the details, though it didn't give many, and immediately emailed the owner. We went back and forth for a few days and finally scheduled a viewing this past Saturday. 

My mom went with us, to keep Lily entertained while we asked questions. At least that was our plan. 

I was a little skeptical, with it being something from Craig's List. You never know what you will run into these days. I even told my friend Jessica the names of the owners just in case we disappeared. Turns out it didn't really matter because the owner had disguised herself as a married couple with made up names in order to protect herself. Ha! 

The owner was hesitant at first to allow us view the apartment because she has always rented to people she knows and she certainly doesn't know us. Thankfully, my mom was with us and instead of taking care of Lily, God allowed her to be a part of a conversation that changed the way the owner felt about us. Apparently her youngest son is married to the sister of someone that used to go to our church. Crazy connection, but a connection nonetheless, that made the owner comfortable with us and has agreed to let us rent her apartment! 

Get this: 
1) Utilities are included in the rent;
2) Since we are moving out of our house in two weeks, but not moving into the apartment until mid-March, she is allowing us to move our furniture in early so we don't have to move twice/pay for a storage unit. 
3) We said we wouldn't pay more in rent than what our mortgage is, and the rent PLUS utilities is the exact amount, even better!
4) The apartment is almost the same size as our house, accomodating most of our furniture and has plenty of closet space. 
5) It's a basement apartment so we are safe from the 'naders! :)

Why do we ever worry that Romans 8:28 isn't really a promise ALL the time? Through this whole crazy process, God knew right where Brent would be working, He knew that we would be living within walking distance from his office (not to mention just a few miles from where I work), He knew the price would be perfect and affordable, I could go on and on and on. It's so amazing to me how He plans all the details. 

A reminder for me today: His ways are perfect! I'm so thankful that I'm able to blog about this so we can look back and remember just how good He is to us! ALL the time! 

This God--His way is perfect; 
the word of the Lord proves true; 
he is a shield for all those who take refuge in Him. 
2 Samuel 22:31


Things I Miss...

This is a post I've been meaning to write for a long time, mainly so I will remember these things. They are in a completely random order and I'm SURE there are things I have forgotten.

Things I Miss about Huntsville/Madison/Athens:
1.  Athens square, particularly Pimento's and LuVici's.
2.  Our proximity to Franklin and Nashville
3.  RocketCityMom
4.  Kroger
5.  Madison City Parks and the greenway
6.  Lindsay Lane Baptist Church and all it's staff/members.
7.  Lindsay Lane Christian Academy and all it's staff/students.
8.  Dr. B and Cornerstone Pediatrics
10.  Huntsville Hospital, not that we had to go that often but when we did we were extremely pleased and well taken care of by the entire staff.
11. The new Madison hospital, new Target, and new Walmart--I will never use them, but I'm sure I would have missed them greatly since all three are 5 minutes from our house.
12.  Cheddar's, Sweet CiCi's, Bruegger's, Cafe 153
13.  Valley Christmas Tree Farm
14.  The scenic drive on 72 headed to Mentone to visit my grandparents
15.  Our house, of course. I can't say much more about that or I'll start to tear up.
16. Rosie's Mexican Cantina...the restaurant that made me believe I could eat Mexican again
17. Playing with Lily in our house/backyard. (I plan to have a sappy little post about this).
18.  The cheesiest morning news show in history (WAAY-TV) and making fun of Gary Dobbs outdated wardrobe.
19. Country Clinic (Sanibel's vet)
20. Madison City Library
21. Kountry Kids consignment in East Limestone

Things I Don't Miss about Huntsville/Madison/Athens:
1.  Our neighbors who are the opposite of neighbors...all of them. Not kidding.
2.  The pit bull devils next door.
3.  The smell of a dead skunk every time I drive down Nick Davis.
4.  Seeing a Dollar General on every corner.
5.  Asian Cuisine...YUCK!
6.  Traffic. I know this sounds silly since I'm now in a bigger city. Traffic is awful in Bham, I'm no idiot. It just seems there are more options in Bham to get places without getting on interstates and highways. Even the back roads in Madison get backed up and it is ridiculous.
7. Riding out tornadoes in our hallway. It was always scary, but I've never been more scared in my life than on April 27. A basement or storm shelter is a must have in my next house!

Things I Look Forward To in Birmingham:
1.  Doodles (the best shaved ice and sorbets in the entire world)
2.  Proximity to family
3.  Saturday Burger Night at Granny Rosie's
4.  Christ City Church
5.  Tip Top Grill (where I like to pretend Brent proposed to me because it would have been more romantic than his parent's basement)
6.  O'Carrs
7.  No more packing to get to Bham for the weekend and no more late Sunday nights returning from a weekend in Bham
8.  Being back in my hometown
9. James Spann as my weatherman. I can't trust anyone else.
10. Milo's (that would be Brent, not me). I don't care what the jingle says, everybody does NOT go to Milo's!
11. Summit, Galleria, Brookwood Mall
12. Being here for random/impromptu family events

I miss North Alabama a whole stinkin' lot! Prior to moving there, I had visited twice so I knew very little about it. As a matter of fact, I had never heard of Athens or Madison. Huntsville and the surrounding area is the place that Brent and I discovered together and welcomed Lily into together. It is a special place with sacred memories that only the three of us can share.

I miss it, not because I just absolutely loved being there, but because fond memories were made there and I will miss making the memories. BUT, new memories are being made right here at home :)

Ok, I'll stop being sappy. I'll save that for another post!


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