Monday, March 30, 2009

Happy Birthday To My Dear Husband

Recently there was a very Special Day at our house, or should I say my hubby had a very Special Birthday! I am not going to elaborate too much about it, but it is a Special milestone in life! Maybe you can guess from the pictures what that milestone is!

Sunday's are always very busy around here so we celebrated in the evening. After church we went out to lunch. When we were done with lunch, hubby and most of the children had to head back to church for JBQ and TBQ practice. I took the two youngest and we headed out to buy some balloons.

Taking a three year old boy and a 5 year old boy out to but balloons is a lot of fun! They enjoyed this a great deal. The lady at the store even gave them their very own balloon , which was so very nice. We also picked up a Happy Birthday banner and some party hats. The boys insisted on party hats! So we headed home to prepare for daddy to return!

The two little boys wanted to wear party hats and hide and surprise daddy when he came home. Mike and the other children didn't get back until about 5:00. Micah, the three year old didn't make until then. He ended up falling asleep. So Luke was left alone to do all the surprising.

Later in the evening we celebrated with a cake. I made him a banana cake which is a favorite of many around here. I also make homemade butter cream frosting which is so much better than coming from a can.

Me with dear hubby and Luke and Micah

Micah with his Daddy

This is Josh and Anna ( definitely two of our most dramatic children! )


Jeremy and Leigh, Tim and Naomi, Micah, Anna, and Luke

Here Victoria, Sammy, Rebekah, and Anna

As you can see, our family is a party in itself! All of our children were here along with my oldest son's girlfriend and my second oldest son's fiance. Did I mention I am going to be a mother-in-law in January? We had fun and took lots of pictures.

Mike is not a big Birthday person, mostly I think he doesn't like the attention. I pray that he had a wonderful day! I Love you Honey!



Friday, March 27, 2009

Still Here

I am still here. It's been a difficult week for me, but this evening I am feeling a little better. I have had to deal with a lot of emotions this week on losing Faith. The early weeks were tough, but things were getting a lot better. All of a sudden it just came from nowhere. I have had to cry out to the Lord to comfort me and give me strength. I have a lot of people depending on me, so I need to be able to function. God is good, and I know that he is helping me.

One thing that some people don't understand is even though I have 10 living children, Faith was also very much wanted. I am thankful everyday for my children, and since losing Faith I am learning a new level of Thankfulness. I am trying to appreciate them each and everyday. I must admit that I am not perfect at this. Some days I am still impatient and frustrated, especially this week while things have been so hard. I do find myself hugging a bit more and giving more kisses!

I have started to feel a little bit down from reading so many stories of babies dying, or being so very ill. Young children with cancer, older people with life threatening illnesses. My heart has been aching for these people. Don't get me wrong because I am grateful to be able to pray for these people. With all of the modern technology , it makes our world a much smaller place. Most of you know about baby Stellan , but if you don't, stop by and learn more about him and don't forget to pray. God is still on the throne and he is still in the healing business!

On Sunday my dear sweet hubby is having a very special birthday! We will celebrate as a family. Our family alone is a party in itself. I will be making his cake this year. In recent years I have been buying our cakes from Sam's Club or Walmart. My hubby really appreciates for me to do it myself, and since we need to desperately save money, that is what I will do. I wish I could decorate it, but I am not gifted in that department. I hope that we can make it a special day for him! I'll let you know how it all turns out!

Have a great weekend!



Sunday, March 22, 2009

I Never Saw Her Eyes

Today, for some reason, has been really tough. This journey of grief can take you many different directions and when you are least expecting it! I have really thought that I have done pretty well dealing with the loss of Faith. I am not going to pretend that it has been easy but God has certainly helped me. Time does help to heal your heart, but the pain will never fully go away. The first month or so was the very hardest. Why does the world continue to go on when you feel like you are standing still? Doesn't the world know that my baby is dead?

As I was driving to church today, I was feeling a bit down and really didn't want to go. I told myself it would probably be the best place to be! As I was checking my 3 year old into his class I saw a brand new baby. She was beautiful, but it made my heart ache. I quickly got done and went on to service. I struggled through worship time but singing has always been good for my soul. I really didn't hear much of the message though, because I started having tears that just wouldn't stop.

I was missing Faith so very much and one thing that I felt so sad about was that I never had a chance to see her eyes. You know when you look a person in the eyes how that seems to bring life to that person? She had died before she was born, so there was no life. The one thing that brings me comfort is that she is living a life free from pain and disease and all the stresses of this world. She is with Jesus and will always live with him. I remember reading from another grieving mom was she thought about that when her baby opened her eyes , Jesus was the first thing that she saw! I am excited for Faith, when she first opened her eyes, She saw Jesus!

After the service, a good friend could obviously see that I had been crying. It was great to be able to talk to her and let her know what I was feeling. I am so grateful for friends and family that seem to be there when you need them. Most of the tears have come when I have been alone in my room or bathroom. I like to be alone with my thoughts. One thing I learned today was that it can be a good thing to do it in public. People need to know that Faith is still in my heart and heavily on my mind,and I am pretty sure she will always be!

So I don't mean to be a downer. This is just some raw emotions that I am experiencing today. I still praise God for making her and for sharing her with us. God is my hope and my comfort. I am not sure how people cope in this life without the hope that only God can give us. I am not sure why she was taken from us, but we have great expectations of meeting her again soon!

Could you please pray for me to have the strength I need to press on. I have a lot of people depending on me. This grief thing can zap out all of your strength. I also would like to pray for you, so please leave me a message and let me know how I can pray for you.

Isaiah 40:31 (New International Version) but those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.



Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Faith's Name in the Sand

There is a Ministry called To Write Their Names In The Sand that helps to honor the lives of children that have been lost to miscarriage, stillbirth, or any other form of death. This Ministry was started by a Mother that had lost her own child, and now she is doing this to help other families. On March 10, 2009, Faith's name was written in the sand on a Beach in Australia. If you have lost a child for any reason, you might want to consider having your child's name written in the sand also. This is such a Blessing and isn't this a beautiful picture?



Saturday, March 14, 2009

What a Difference a Few Days Can Make!

This past Monday it was Beautiful here! It was in the mid 70's and Sunny, so I took the kids out to play. It was so refreshing to spend time out of the house. Spring, here we come!

Tuesday it was still warm, but it was cloudy. Wednesday it cooled off quite a bit. Thursday it was in the 30's and we had threat of winter weather. Friday we woke up to a dusting of snow. My oldest son Jeremy, had the day off and slept in. When he woke up he asked "who let that happen?" Matthew, my 11 year old, said "God did!" Jeremy then asked "Why would he do that?" My response was that God likes to give us variety and doesn't want us to get bored! I think we all are ready for warm weather to stick around for a while!

Here are a few pictures I took while we were out on Monday.

This was what I was wearing, Flip Flops and Capri's!

Here's our crazy dog ,Tessa, enjoying the nice weather too!

Here is Micah playing Tennis wearing Swim goggles!

This is Luke in the Little Tikes car we have had since Jeremy's 1st Birthday, 21 1/2 years ago! Check out those sunglasses!

I am working on the post about Faith's Memorial Service. I have a slide show I want to share with you that Mike put together for her Service. We are having a few technical difficulties, so my computer genius husband is working on it. Without him, I'm sure I probably couldn't do more than email. Thanks honey for all your hard work! So be looking for it real soon!



Friday, March 13, 2009

All About Faith Part 2

So, after my appointments on Friday October 24th, my sister and I hung out at the Hotel for the Weekend. We found Meijer on Saturday and did a little shopping. Sunday came and we went out to eat for lunch and then went for a little ride to see if we could make it to the Hospital. We had ridden a shuttle from the hotel to the hospital both days, so we wanted to make sure we could do it ourselves. Later we got back to the Hotel and just rested and watched TV and talked to our families.

After laying around for a while I suddenly thought that I could not remember when I last felt the baby move. I tried rubbing her a little, but nothing. Then I drank a lot of orange juice and ate a candy bar. I thought that the sugar would surely get her moving. The movement never came. After a while we went to the Hospital to get checked out. They couldn't get any heart tones, so they brought in the Ultrasound Machine. There we found out our baby girl was gone.

At first they wanted me to have the baby that night, but later came and told me I could go back to Kentucky to have her if I wanted to. I talked to my husband and we decided I would go home and have her with my own doctor and my family and church family near by. So my sister and I left Monday morning for Kentucky. I was instructed to head straight to the hospital.

Monday afternoon we arrived at the Hospital and I get admitted. Later as my doctor came to check in on me, they started inducing me. She thought it would be safe to try a normal delivery instead of a c-section. I am so grateful for her wisdom. I have had 3 c-sections and know what recovery is like. This did prove to make everything easier for us.

They started the pitocin, but several hours later not a whole lot was happening. They decided not to increase the pitocin until the next morning. So on Tuesday as things progressed, I got the best epidural! It allowed me to take a nap and not feel any pain! Later in the afternoon as I was starting to feel more pain they came an gave me another dose. That did not seem to do a lot for me, so they came and gave me a little more. It took the edge off for a few minutes, but then I was feeling a whole lot of pressure. The nurse checked me and said it was time.

My doctor came just a few minutes later as the nurse was getting everything ready. They thought that I would probably have her with one push, because they kept saying she was so small. Well, that didn't quite happen. I had to push through about 4 contractions. All in all it wasn't too bad. She surprised them all by weighing 6 pounds 11 ounces! Not so tiny after all!

I really didn't know what to expect. My baby was already gone, and I didn't know how she would look. My doctor cleaned her up a bit and then handed her to me. I remember hearing something like a big gasp. I believe the gasp was from Mike and I as we both broke into tears. My doctor had tears streaming down her face. She has truly meant a lot to me through this whole process. Thanks again Dr. O! The hardest thing for me was there was no cry. She didn't breathe, she truly was gone. I was so used to that first cry, and this is not the way it is supposed to be.

Mommy and Daddy meeting their Baby Girl

Faith was absolutely beautiful! She definitely looked like she belonged to our family. She especially reminded me of my seven year old daughter Anna. Everyone tells us that our kids all look alike. We were able to hold her for as long as we wanted. We had a wonderful nurse Lori, who then took her and gave her a bath and dressed her.

Dr. O had brought a beautiful white dress that was hand made with smocking on the front with a matching bonnet. A patient of hers that had never been able to have children had made it, and gave it to her to give to someone who could use it. So we had her dressed in this beautiful dress.

A friend from church, Alison, who is part of the organization NILMDTS came and took pictures. She actually took most pictures that we have of Faith. This has been such a huge Blessing! Thanks Alison for all that you have done. A little later, my children came to visit us at the Hospital. They were all given the chance to hold her if they wanted . Most did hold her, but there were a few that didn't. That was OK. I wanted them them to do what they felt comfortable doing. They probably stuck around for around 2 hours. It was so good to see them, but I must admit it wore me out a bit.

Micah, our three year old was so oblivious to all that was going on. He thought we were having a party or something. It had been six days since he had seen me, and the last he knew I was in Michigan. So after being there for a while, he looked around and asked if this was Michigan! It was so sweet! Always ready to give us a good laugh even when times are hard!

This is Micah meeting Faith, being held by Rebekah.

After they left, they prepared me to be moved to a room. I was first told that I was going to be put on the floor with expecting mothers that were hospitalized for various reasons, but were not in labor. Eventually I was put on a floor that was for women in general. It was old and not very pretty. Of course they didn't want me to hear crying babies, and I am sure I couldn't have handled that very well. They put a special sign on your door, so that everyone who enters knows the situation. Some people (including nurses) were great about everything, and others you could tell were very uncomfortable coming into the room.

One thing that is hard is that you leave the hospital with empty arms. Not only do you not have the baby, but no new diaper bag, baby paraphernalia, etc. What you leave with is paperwork on funeral homes and cemeteries that work with the hospital to make everything easier, lists of grief support groups, how to obtain a stillbirth certificate, and foot prints and other little mementos.

Don't get me wrong, I am so very Thankful for all the help and support we have been given, and I will treasure the mementos for the rest of my life. It is just not what anyone ever dreams will happen to them. We had been given so much hope that she could have a good chance on living, so being Stillborn was not what anyone expected.

(Coming soon I will share about Faith's Memorial Service and Burial Service.)




Sunday, March 8, 2009

All About Faith Part 1

In March of 2008, almost a year ago, we found out that we were expecting again. I was so excited because I wasn't sure that I was going to get pregnant again. I was 43 years old and this was the longest we had gone between pregnancies. I kind of felt like I was pregnant for the first time, because of how excited I was. So my pregnancy progressed as normal, with the nausea and all the joys that come with pregnancy. I took my girls to Virginia to visit my Mom at the end of June. I was scheduled for an Ultrasound at the beginning of July soon after I returned from Virginia. I was 20 weeks and excited to find out if we were having a boy or a girl. We currently had 7 boys and 3 girls, so we were kind of feeling it was time for some more pink around here.

So the ultrasound day came and we found out were were having that Girl! As the Tech continued on she asked if we were going to see a high risk doctor. I said I did not know. Since I was old for being pregnant and I have so many children, I was at a higher risk for complications. I also know that God is the author of life and this pregnancy was in his hands. All she mentioned was that she could not get a good view of the heart. She tried for a long time and then I went on to talk to my doctor. She mentioned that the Nuchal Fold was measuring thick, and that could be a marker for Down Syndrome. The Following week I went on to the High Risk Doctor for a more in depth ultrasound. At that appointment the Nuchal Fold measured normal. There were no signs of her having Down Syndrome. However, it appeared that our daughter had Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome. This is where the left side of the Heart did not develop correctly.It is generally smaller and sometimes it is called having half a heart. They have come up with a series of 3 surgeries just in the past 20-25 years to help save these babies lives. Before that there was nothing they could do and sent these babies home to die. ( To learn more about HLHS check out this link )

We were referred on to a Pediatric Cardiologist. She did Echocardiograms about every 4 weeks. Faith's heart continued to grow, but the left side still was not the same size as the right. Faith's condition was not clear cut. She did not fit into a perfect diagnosis of HLHS. So they continued to watch her as she grew. Meanwhile I developed Gestational Diabetes. This was a first for me. Even as I worked hard at trying to eat right, I ended up having to give myself 2 shots of insulin a day. They then said she was pretty small. How unusual! I have had pretty large babies, and I had Gestational Diabetes which puts you at risk for having a large baby.

Our plan was to go to the hospital at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor when I was about 37 weeks pregnant. They have one of the best surgeons in the world for babies with HLHS. She was to be born there and have to have surgery within a week after being born. We decided that since I was probably going to have to be there for a couple of weeks before she was born, that it would be best if my husband stayed home and try to go to work as much as possible. So my sister drove me to Michigan. We left Kentucky on Wednesday October 22nd and arrived in Ann Arbor that evening. I had an appointment the next morning with a Pediatric Cardiologist and had another Echo done. They still could not see exactly what they were dealing with. I then had an appointment to speak with the Surgeon. There still was no clear cut plan on what course of Surgery we were going to take. He mentioned something about Coarctation of the Heart. He said that we would have to wait until she was born to do an Echo to get a better look. He said she would definitely need surgery but wasn't sure if it was going to be for HLHS or to fix the Coarctation. (to learn more please check out this link:

The following day I had an appointment with the OBGYN doctors. I have to admit, that my first appointment that day was not a good experience. We were to schedule when we were going to have the C-Section. They were supposed to assess my condition as well as the babies condition as to when it would be best to do this. The doctor walks in the door and starts asking me to sign forms for the C-section an asks what day I want to have her. I also forgot to mention that I had been on Medication for High Blood Pressure throughout this pregnancy. So I proceed to ask him about my diabetes and blood pressure and how they would come into play in making this decision. He pretty much said that at this point it didn't matter. He didn't check my sugar levels or anything nor did he seem to care. He just wanted to put me on the schedule. A little later I had an Ultrasound with another doctor and she helped me so much! I was also assigned a nurse to help me manage my diabetes. They decided I could bypass the other office and come straight to them. I was so relieved! As I left that appointment everything seemed to being going well. Even Faith's growth had increased at a descent rate, so I was so encouraged. This was a Friday, and I was to return the following week for more appointments.

(I have decided to divide this in to 2 parts because it was getting very long. The second part will be coming very soon.)



Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Getting to Know You

I am participating with Getting to Know You being hosted by Lynette Kraft. She has asked us to share some of our favorite blogs. I shared a few of my favorites with her, but you can see more of my favorites over on my sidebar. This is a really fun idea and helps us to know who is out there. It just might give us some new favorites! So go check it our for yourself. Just click on the Getting to Know You button and it will take you over to Lynette's blog. Have fun meeting new people!