Friday, December 14, 2012

Sick, but happy!

I have rarely been sick in my 25 years (minus all those ear infections I don't remember - thanks for taking care of me, Mom!). But, today, I am really sick - think NOROvirus. I have lost everything in my stomach over 3 sessions, the last one ending with dry heaving. The result is a VERY tired girl who didn't get much sleep at all and can't go back to sleep without fear of getting sick again.

It's surprising to me (since I've had issues bonding with this baby) that I can only think of baby's health.  I really could care less that I had to call in sick to work and stay home doing absolutely nothing (since I have no current crafty things in the works).  I don't care that I probably won't get anything to eat down today (except water).  I just want our little one to be okay.

So, today, I'll do my best to take care of the body that's housing our tiny family member.

Thank you, Cameron, for caressing my back last night as I tried to sleep and for loving me and spending 5 wonderful years together with me.  I wish I could say it under better circumstances - Happy 5th Anniversary!

Sunday, November 11, 2012


I can't even tell you how privileged I am to be a child of our King! He is my constant supply of peace and mercy in this fallen world. He has taken my mourning and given me a spirit of joy. The idea of having this new baby has been a difficult one for me. I have felt many people's quick responses to the announcement as their judgement that this baby will replace my Levi. That has made bonding in the first few weeks a challenge. I know as time goes on that feeling this baby kick and figuring out names and planning for the future will help me ease into this. But, I just miss my first son. I am not down and out, bawling my eyes out; in fact, I very rarely shed a tear. But, my mind constantly wanders back to the day I first saw him in this world and the hopes that I had for him being crushed when I held his lifeless body. I still want so much for Levi that he'll never have. My mind knows that Levi will never come back. My heart wishes I could hold him and tell him I love him and will never forget him. I have been learning about idolatry, along with Cameron, as we have begun a home group with our neighbors, Jose and Abida. For me, this has meant thinking of how I treated my pregnancy with Levi in a whole new light. In a way, I idolized that first pregnancy. I idolized my son and the life of being a mother. I worried constantly about what we would do for childcare when I went back to work ("part-time, full-time, per diem - what should I do?"). I worried about other people holding and loving my baby. I worried about who we would allow to be influences in this child's life. I wanted control. And I had none. I only had worry. Releasing that to the LORD has been one of the most freeing things. And since I've done that, some pretty amazing things have happened. God is good. He knows my heart and only wants me to give of my life willingly. Let me tell you - it is so much better (not always easier) when I allow Him to have control in my life!

Friday, August 17, 2012

This week, I met a beautiful lady who owns a bed and breakfast in Cle Elum. Her home and business is in the middle of the Taylor Bridge fires that are still burning this week. This lady was most precious and I pray her home is saved from the flames. We shared some stories of our babies. She had a Thalidomide baby - something I hadn't really heard of before. It's a drug still in use for other conditions, but used to be used for morning sickness. My friend lost her first baby at age 18 after having been pregnant for a WHOLE YEAR. Her belly was so tiny that the hospital didn't believe her when she told them she was pregnant and overdue.
I think I would be fairly furious if that happened to me, but under the circumstance, what could she have done? Her baby was born at a time where they would whisk the precious package away; for her sake, she said, they didn't want her to see the baby's body or face, which was evidently very malformed. It made me so happy that I got to hold precious Levi and cuddle and rock him and take pictures of our family together. I can't believe how far we've come as a country and as a profession.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

By No Coincidence

After our new refrigerator was installed this morning, I looked over to the counter to find this note (must have slipped behind the old fridge), written by my Dad for Levi's memorial.
Levi Wrangler Lee: What an appropriate name for Cameron and Sarah's baby boy. "Levi" is a Hebrew name that means "joined or attached". Levi was only here about 20 weeks and yet he has joined us together in an amazing way. Joined a family. Joined friends. Joined hearts. In the Bible, Levi was the third son of Jacob and Leah. God later renamed him "Israel". Leah named him, saying, "My husband will become attached to me because I have borne him 3 sons." The nation of Israel began with Jacob. Of the 12 sons of Jacob, only one was chosen to be the priestly line - Levi. God chose the line of Levi to be the line of the priesthood. Not because of anything Levi had done, but just because He wanted to - God is sovereign.
For Levi Wrangler Lee, the name Levi represents his lineage to our Heavenly Father. "Wrangler" is a very American name. It means "a person in charge of horses". What an appropriate name for little Levi. Levi was an active little guy in the womb - taking after his earthly Father, Cameron and his Mother who both love the outdoors and both love Cowboy boots! Wrangler represents his lineage to his earthly Father and Mother.
"Lee" is an English name meaning "meadow or forest clearing". A meadow represents a place of peace. Somehow, through all the tears, all the sorrow, all the joyful memories that could have been, little Levi's life has brought us all a little peace in this world that is greatly lacking real peace. This name represents little Levi's early "Fathers" and "Mothers". His ancestry. The name Lee is even represented on his Mother's side of the family. My Grandfather's last name was Bakke but his brother chose the name "Lee" when he arrived here from Norway because he lived with a family named Lee and they treated him so well that he decided to adopt their family name. There was a man during the Civil War named Robert E Lee. Along with Abraham Lincoln, he is one of 2 men I most admire from that very difficult - really defining - period of our country's history. Lincoln was the great political leader; Lee was the great military leader. And I believe Cameron is directly related to Robert E Lee.
Here are a few quotes from Robert E Lee:
"Do your duty in all things, you should never do less." - Do what you are supposed to do. That's all.
"I cannot trust a man to control others who cannot control himself." - If you want to be able to lead others, you better be able to control yourself first.
Here's one that surprised me a little bit: "I love whiskey and I always did, and that is why I never drink it." - Good advice.
"I have been up to see Congress and they do not seem to be able to do anything except to eat peanuts and chew tobacco while my army is starving." - Some things never seem to change.
And here is my favorite: "I tremble for my country when I hear of confidence placed in me. I know too well my weakness, that our only hope is in God." - Lee had a very humble view of himself.
I have a story I would like to tell you:
There once was man who had a dream about a little boy. The boy was his Grandson and he was not born yet. The man saw the face of the little boy and his brow was very furrowed. the man didn't understand if they little boy was confused - or worried - or concerned. The little boy was still in his Mama's tummy but the Grandfather could see him clearly, like he was looking through clear glass. Then the man awoke from his dream very startled. He didn't know what the dream meant, but he told his wife and his family and some of his friends about the dream. Then, shockingly, he learned a week or two later that they boy had dies in his Mama's womb. It became clear at that time that the little boy had been very concerned about his family, especially his Mother and Father. He wanted to tell them that he was OK. In fact, he was much more than OK. He was walking with Jesus on streets of gold. In fact, he was skipping with Jesus on streets of gold! If he could talk, he would say, "I will be waiting to greet you in heaven when you get here!"
I had that dream about a week or two before we found out that Levi had died in the womb. It was a startling, very real dream. Now, we know that Levi is sitting at the feet of Jesus, worshipping Him!
Thank you, Dad, for such a beautiful letter to encourage us and to share with our family and friends the meaning of Levi's name!

Monday, August 6, 2012

Crazy, Splendid...Life

Life has been crazy. Our 3 Chinese exchange students just left yesterday. For 3 weeks, we housed, fed, and transported our kids to classes and events. 'Parenting' three 11 year-olds is not easy, especially when they don't speak your language. Our biggest regret was that we took more than one child in, so they fell into their native Mandarin instead of practicing their English. This despite our constant insistence that they speak so we can understand. :) But, they were good, sweet children.
I have an ache in my heart. It seems my longing for children has never been stronger. With only 2 months and 4 days since we lost Levi, my body reminds me every day that it is not the same as before I was pregnant with my little boy. I can only imagine that this all would be easier if I were holding my precious bundle in my arms.
Lately, the urge to adopt has been on my heart. I think God is changing us for the better through this terrible situation. Cameron has talked with me before about his desire to adopt a child (or a few). He told me once that for every child God blesses us with biologically, he would want to adopt one. I do count Levi as 'our first biological child'. When my patients ask me if I have children, I tell them we just had our firstborn by stillbirth. It is not fun to relive that moment, and I could tell them "No, we have no children." But, it would be a half-lie; more importantly, it would deny my son his importance in my life. That little boy changed me forever. He created a longing in my heart to mother.
I told myself when we left the hospital that I would return to normal life and try my best to live as I had before. While that is a good goal, it is somewhat impractical. I cannot and will not forget Levi and our experience of losing him. My life WILL be changed. It is what I do with my loss that defines 'normal life' for me. And normal will never be the same again.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Levi's Birth Story

I am pragmatic, I am told. Thus, the title of my blog. Also, I'm a nurse, so if you can't swallow a fairly straightforward birth story, PLEASE DO NOT READ THIS POST! Two weeks ago, on an overcast Saturday, we birthed our first child, a son named Levi Wrangler Lee. I say that WE birthed him because Cameron never left my side. You'll see later other ways that he "helped". It all started on a typical (for me) Wednesday. I rode my bike 10 miles to my midwife's birth center in Bellevue. Thoroughly sweaty and pregnantly exhausted, I arrived just on time to meet Cameron, do my urine dipstick (which showed, for the 1st time, slightly elevated protein), and walk in for my 30-minute visit. Andrea, my midwife asked if we had any questions, talked for a bit about the glucose test for next time, gave me my lovely orange drink to store in the fridge at home, and proceeded to check for Levi's heartbeat via Doppler. She could not hear the heartbeat after about 15 minutes of trying different positions and amounts of ultrasound gel, so she asked her colleague to come give it a try. Lauren, the other midwife was not able to find his heartbeat, either. At this point, Andrea was a little on edge, but I was not concerned in the least. We have had issues because of an anterior placenta (meaning it lies right behind my belly button, impeding many things such as the Doppler and my ability to feel Levi's kicks). She asked me to go for Ultrasound, so of course, the logical response was for Cameron to stand up and tell her, "Let me try." In a flurry of giggles and "Ow's" from me, he proceeded to press the Doppler against my abdomen in a manner quite unsuitable to a full bladder. He has had experience with ultrasounds, as he worked in Critical Care for a few years and sat for many hours holding pressure to the groins of many a person who had just had a femoral catheter removed. Nevertheless, after no heartbeat from Cameron's prodding, Andrea suggested I come back the next day for her to try again (position change?). Thursday, I arrived to my appointment at 1pm. This time, I drove, since I had to work at 2:45. No heartbeat, quick phone call to Eastside Maternal Fetal Health for an immediate appointment. I drove to the MFH office, which is right across the freeway from the hospital where I work for a 2:15 appointment. I am feeling bit rushed at this point, and the tech who brought me back to the ultrasound room was running late...of course. She had me recline in a chair and immediately slapped a blood pressure cuff on my arm. "147/80 - that's a little high. We might be concerned about that." I gave her a polite smile and told her that perhaps she might want to try it again after my ultrasound, since I was going from appointment to unplanned appointment, running late for work, to boot. She left, and Tom, the US tech walked right in and got to work. For the first time, I got warm US gel on my abdomen (why aren't they all warmed?). Tom got a good view right away, but I knew as soon as Levi came on the screen that something was wrong. That little pitter-patter of his heart valves was gone. For the 1st time, I panicked. I told Tom, "I can handle any news you give me. I don't want you to wait until the end. Please tell me as soon as you know something." He measured femur length, head circumference, and gave me an estimated gestational age of 19 weeks, 6 days, and told me, "I'm so sorry, but I can't find a heartbeat and it looks like we're dealing with a fetal demise. I'll go get the doctor; he should be right in." When Tom left the room, I took a deep breath and called Cameron, telling him the news and to get here immediately. Then, I sobbed the first deep cries. A million thoughts ran through my head: "I should call my mom and dad - they've been praying"; "What about Danielly (my pregnant friend)? How will she take this?"; "What will Cameron say when he gets here?". I went through half a box of Kleenex before the perinatologist walked in the room. He was very sympathetic, offering me his sincerest apology, then began telling me that they did not know what caused this, this was not my fault, there were a few options to choose from, and I would have to follow up with my midwife for where to go next. Then, Cameron came in the room, stoic as all get-out. I had called him earlier, on my way to the US, and I thought he may not have received my 2nd voicemail, thus being clueless as to the results of the scan. He told me later that he'd listened to my message and had to go in the bathroom at the clinic to compose himself for me. The doctor told us that I could have a D&E (more advanced than a D&C because of Levi's gestation), that I could wait for labor to begin (could be weeks or months), or that I could be induced. I could NOT imagine going through either of the first 2 options, so we left the clinic to go back to my midwife's office. Chris, the primary midwife at the birth center, got us in despite a full schedule and just hugged me for what felt like a few minutes. She told me she'd like me to go to Valley Medical to see Dr. Jolly. Her 2nd choice would be Dr. Brown at Valley, if we couldn't get in to see Dr. Jolly. Cameron and I know Dr. Dennis Brown and his wife, Jean, from our church community and told Chris we would prefer to see him. What transpired could have only been the work of the Holy Spirit. We left the birth center and drove to the nearest parking lot, where we hoped to have some privacy as we called family and friends. We called both sets of parents first. Both our mothers responded as though we were joking; in retrospect, I can't personally imagine my child calling me to tell me this news. Then, siblings (the hardest part of all of this was having my younger sister, Jill, in India, where I could not immediately reach her). Then, Cameron's grandparents, and our very close friends. We waited to hear from Chris all night, who assured us she would be calling Dr. Jolly's cell to let her know what had happened and to try to get us in for induction as soon as possible. Our families met us at home around 7PM and we all sat around comforting each other and talking about the What-Ifs, which were quite variable at that point. We got a call around 9:30PM from Chris, saying that she couldn't get hold of Dr. Jolly, which was very odd since they're friends, and that she would call us in the morning after she called the office number. I slept very well that night, despite being very upset. On Friday morning, Cameron went to work and I got a call from our Pastor Dave, who wanted my permission to call Dr. Brown personally with the news. About 5 minutes after hanging up with Dave, Dr. Brown called me and offered his apologies for what had happened. He said he'd call the head charge nurse of Labor & Delivery to book a room for me that evening and they would start preparing my cervix in anticipation of potential induction with Pitocin, which would start Saturday afternoon. He said he would specialize in my care, meaning that, although he was not the on-call doctor that evening and night, that if anything needed to be done or I had any questions, the nurses would call him personally (not Dr. Olson, who was on-call). He also gave me his home and cell numbers and told me not to hesitate to call him for anything. My mom, sister Kirsten, and bosom friend, Lauren spent Friday with me. When Cameron got home from work, we packed our bags for the hospital and I was admitted at 6:30PM. Tiffany was my nurse. She didn't have to go through the packet of paperwork (somehow, this had been taken care of between the charge nurse and my birth center), but did orient me to the room and the plan of care. She answered all the questions I had for her at the time and soon went off shift. My night nurse was Leslie, who was also a midwife and went to school with Chris. Leslie was a blessing from the LORD, a peaceful spirit and a kind woman, who was precisely what I needed that night. Leslie tried 2 IV starts unsuccessfully, then another floor nurse attempted twice with the same result. About 10 minutes later, an IV nurse (thank God) came with a warm pack and successfully placed an IV in my left forearm (the site of choice for Cameron and me, so that he could hold my right hand during labor). At 8PM, I was given my first dose of Cytotec, a tablet that is inserted vaginally to soften the cervix for delivery. Then, I took half an Ambien for sleep, wrote in my journal to Levi and to God. I slept well until 3AM, when I was given another dose of Cytotec and the other 1/2 of my Ambien. At 4AM, I awoke with back labor; Leslie checked on me, brought me a heating pad, and lightly rubbed my back with her fingertips while I lay on my side. I must have fallen asleep during that time - it was heavenly. Cameron and I had talked about his work schedule on Thursday evening and agreed he would complete all pre-scheduled days. He is in his last few weeks of a paid internship at the PRO Sports Club as a personal trainer, after which he'll move to commission and a permanent position. He is currently on a 6 day-a-week schedule, with Sundays off. The ability to sort of time delivery for Saturday evening was part of what led us to choosing to be induced, so he could be with me the whole time. Cameron left for work (a 4-hour day) at 6:20AM on Saturday. I kissed him goodbye and slept another few hours. I remember my mom and dad coming in and saying something and I just waved my hand at them in recognition, but kept sleeping. I think I'll stay away from Ambien except for those rare occasions, when it would really benefit me to sleep through labor pain. ;) Leslie went off shift at 7AM, when my day nurse, Tammy came in to meet me. She told me that Leslie had spoken of my faith, and asked if she could pray with me. I was ecstatic to have a nurse who would ask me this and to pray the words that she did. It was part of what gave me continued strength to go though that very difficult day. I spent the morning with Mom and Dad, Lauren, Kirsten, and Debbie (Cameron's mom). Dr. Brown came to see me and gave me a 3rd dose of Cytotec at 9:50AM, when I was found to be 70% effaced. We talked about my wishes against epidural and narcotic pain management, and he asked me to think about the use of epidural if it were a long labor. Cameron arrived with his friend, Ryan around noon. I had a light lunch, but didn't have much of an appetite, and didn't want to have a full or upset stomach when my contractions started. I was given my 4th and final dose of Cytotec around 3PM, when I was found to be 90% effaced. Tammy went off shift and I met Kim, who was finishing the last 4 hours of her 12-hour shift. Cameron and I took a walk around the hospital, and I started having more and more cramping. At 5:05PM, Kim started my Pitocin drip at the lowest setting and began monitoring my uterus for contractions. She would look at the monitor and say, "Do you feel that?" I only felt more cramping and discomfort, but not pain, yet. Dr. Brown had notified our family and friends, as well as Pastor Dave and his wife, Suzette, that Levi would not arrive before 4 hours, and that labor could be as long as 14 hours. Cameron, Debbie, Ryan, and Shanna (Cameron's sister) were in the room. We were all joking and laughing and then my contractions started. The first one was 45 seconds long with a 15-second break. I was able to laugh through the first few, but the contractions continued at this 1-minute interval, getting stronger and stronger. When Cameron had to help me remember to breathe (note: we have not taken birthing classes, yet), everyone else left the room. It was only about 5 minutes into the Pitocin drip, I'm told, when my IV infiltrated (the fluid and medication was not going into my vein, but into the surrounding tissues). Kim stopped the drip and went to call Dr. Brown, telling me we would need to start a new IV. It took about 10 minutes for her to come back in the room; by this time, I was really having to work through the contractions. The room felt about 120 degrees and I just wanted my hair back and a fan in my face. Truthfully, I didn't really care if I had a gown on at that point! Kim took the IV out of my arm, giving me a compression bandage. My left arm was quite swollen. I mostly labored lying back at about 70 degrees. We tried side-lying which I knew immediately wouldn't work. We tried kneeling on the bed with my elbows on some pillows - wasn't gonna happen, either. Kim kept asking me when she could put the new IV start in. All I could think to tell her was, "When am I gonna get a break longer than 15 seconds in which to breathe and relax?" And, "How can one possibly start an IV in 15 seconds?" She moved on to another subject, asking me to get up to try to urinate. Well, my bathroom was pretty close, but I told her I could only do it if she flung the door open and got out of my way. I sat on the toilet for about 10 contractions (5-10 minutes) with Cameron supporting me in front. She wanted me to get back to bed, so again, I told her to get out of my way and I might be able to do that. Back in bed, the contractions got worse. When Kim asked, I told her my pain level was at a 9/10 (10 for me was when I had an earache and Cameron obliged me by putting warmed olive oil in my ear - won't do that again). So, she pulled up a chair across the bed from Cameron and asked me what my birth plan was. Side note: given the urgency of our situation, we didn't have time for this. However, I strongly suggest that you develop your birth plan in writing for the multiple people who will ask you about it. I had told my very 1st nurse, Tiffany everything I ever wanted in a delivery, including the most important and final step in labor: a water delivery. However, the 10-minute speech wasn't passed on in its totality. :) Back to Kim. Cameron started telling her about the 'No epidural, no narcotic medications' policy that I had so distinctly told him to recite the first time we talked about having children (when we were dating). I was sitting in bed, watching these 2 people converse about MY body, and I told them, "No, no, no...I can't do this for 12 hours! I didn't think labor would be like this!" At this point, Kim told me that normally, even induced contractions do NOT start at 1-minute intervals and that I may or may not have received enough Pitocin, but that my body had fully taken over and delivery was imminent. She had already called Dr. Brown to come, which I wasn't aware of. Cameron then told her about the water delivery, but I was so hot, I couldn't imagine getting in a warm tub. So, she drew a tepid bath and got out of my way so I could run in and start soaking. The second I hit the water, that 9/10 pain was completely gone. I relaxed and felt a pop. Not a minute later, Kim called at me through the door, "Dr. Brown's here - he wants you in bed so he can do a vaginal exam!" I told her there was absolutely no way I was getting out of the tub for a vaginal exam when she had specifically told me I could deliver in the water, as was my plan. Furthermore, I was going to drop Levi on the floor if I got out of the tub. I really didn't realize how close his delivery was. But, with further insistence that Levi would not drop out of my body and that I would be able to get back in the tub in time, I ran across the room back to my bed, leaving my wet gown in the tub. I lay back to that 70 degree position, but Kim dropped the head of my bed to 30 degrees. Another note: I HATE lying flat. My mom was pulling my hair back and Dr. Brown was getting his gloves on when I came out of the fog that had enveloped me for the past hour and sat up, saying, "He's here." Cameron put his hands on the bed and caught Levi as Dr. Brown frantically rushed to finish getting ready. At 6:13PM, our perfect little boy arrived to this world with the umbilical cord wrapped around his neck, then his arm, and again around his neck the opposite direction. Though he never breathed a single breath this side of heaven, Cameron and I were both beaming, happy parents. I told Cameron that June 2, 2012 was the worst and the BEST day of my life. Levi had perfect features: 10 tiny toes and 10 tiny fingers, eyebrows, muscular legs, all his boy parts, eyelids, nostrils, lips, ears. Over the next 12 hours, I loved getting to know my son. We slept well Saturday night, as well. Sunday, I showered and got minimally ready. I told Cameron that I've never felt so un-glamorous and yet incredibly beautiful. Leslie was again my night nurse, from 7PM-7AM. We told her we would be taking a walk as a family, bringing Levi in the Moses basket I had bought for him. We were allowed to do so, but required to keep his body covered while in the hospital. We walked outside to the fountain, where Cameron snapped the last photograph before our camera died (it was fully charged when we got to the hospital). We turned on the video camera and took many videos of us with Levi. Cameron held him and we took videos of Levi touching the grass and the flowers, and Cameron explaining to him what a bumble bee was. :) That time outdoors is a great time to reflect upon and definitely a critical part in our healing together. I am honored to have carried Levi for 23 weeks. I will never forget that day, the following weeks of healing, and the immense pleasure of being Levi's mommy. I can't wait for more children, to get to experience the miracle of life all over again, and for the growth that Cameron and I will continue to see in our relationship. God is good and has a plan for Levi's life and death; he knows why this happened; and he is the great Healer. If you have questions for me, please ask them. I am an open book - it is part of my healing process to be able to talk about everything that happened. More in the coming weeks about how we are doing!

Saturday, June 2, 2012

For my son

Levi, my beautiful son, I haven't met you out here, yet, but Mommy loves you with a love that no one else can understand. You have grown up so wondrously within me, as only formed by the great Creator of life. Acts 17:28, "It is in Him that we live and move and exist". I do not understand now, but you were not formed to live and breathe on this earth, only the short 23 weeks I was blessed to carry you. Your daddy would pray every night for you that (at first) you would be a beautiful, wise child, filled with grace, and grown up to love and serve our LORD, then 2 1/2 weeks ago (when we found out we were having a son) that you would be a beautiful BOY, filled with grace, and raised to love and serve His Master. We were so excited for your life, Levi. A big brother to your future siblings (of which we wanted many). Now, I would be happy to just have you. My one child. I would be happy to hold you and love you and raise you well until you were pushing independence and I had to watch you struggle and make mistakes. I was looking forward, personally, to watching you model life after your daddy, a wonderful man who I've watched blossom into a warrior for Jesus. I was looking forward to life when I could stay at home and we could play together until daddy walked in the door from work and you would run into his arms. You were meant to be a daddy's boy, I know. Your dad adores you so much. His heart is hurting now, too, but that is not my story to tell. He has written to you and I have read of the incredible pain he is going through and the difficulty of losing his first son. I can only pray that you, my child, were not in any pain as our LORD welcomed you home. Whatever happened, whether we find out or not, I rest assured that our good GOD has a plan and purpose for your life. Jeremiah 29:11, "'For I know the plans I have for you,' declares the LORD, 'Plans to prosper you and not to harm, plans to give you a hope and a future.'" If nothing else, it was for our benefit and growth on this earth as a couple, to draw us closer to our Savior. I believe, though, that I will be using this gift as a ministry to many broken women around me, who need an understanding shoulder to cry on. There is something about a mama's heart that breaks with another's. It's even different and more intimate when the pain of losing your child is shared. I hope I can be a support to other suffering women. And I pray that your daddy uses his gift, as well, to the glory of God the Father. Levi, I will have much more to say when I kiss your sweet head. These things are not things I would write for others. They are things I have been dreaming of telling you since I knew I was carrying you, precious little one. I am meeting you so much sooner than I ever anticipated. But God's timing is perfect, not a step out of tune. We are following in his path, and He is providing for us. God give me strength to be a good mother to you in our few moments here on earth.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

It's circumstances like these that freak me out about going back to work.

Thus far, I have encountered no problems with my workplace, but I have felt a tugging at my heart to stay at home with my children since I was about 10 years old. This makes for knotty feelings in my stomach as my pregnancy progresses and I get closer to becoming 'mother'. Not at all like I think this would happen to me, but anytime I hear about a company giving flack to their employee for NATURAL and HEALTHY bodily functions like breastfeeding your child, I flip out. HELLO! The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends " exclusively breastfeeding for a minimum of four months but preferably for six months, and then gradually adding solid foods while continuing breastfeeding until at least the baby’s first birthday." (quote from That would be a 'year-off' for the poor woman in our story, here. Instead, she lost her job.

I know plenty of women who take frequent short breaks to pump in the back room at work, but I have to say the hospital has like 95% FEMALE nursing staff, so it would be a little to their disadvantage to tell this crowd to forget about breastfeeding their babies.

The moral of the story is that I like to be in control. I do NOT like other people telling me what I should or shouldn't be doing, especially when it comes to feeding and raising my children. I can ignore the advice, comments, and judgments from others, but I most certainly would not work for a company like this lady did. The second I felt hostility for breastfeeding my baby, I'd be gone.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

What I'm looking forward to...

1) Cameron coming home for good March 28th.
2) The arrival of our sweet, little baby September 29th.
3) Enjoying this first pregnancy and planning for our life together as a family.

Monday, January 9, 2012


Here goes one final quarter without my husband. This separation has been hard on our marriage, no doubt. Looking back over 2011 (9 months of it spent across the state from one another), we traveled a lot during his school breaks.

January thru March - We started sponsoring Lucien, an 8-year old boy from Togo who shares Cameron's birthday. Cameron received acceptance to Eastern Washington University. We began thinking about traveling to Europe, initially wanting to backpack/take the train through multiple countries. As school got closer, we saw this was an unrealistic desire at the time.

March - school started. Quite possibly the strangest month of my life. We had been married 3 years and decided that we could handle a year of separation (by God's strength) in order for Cameron to finish school at a reasonably-priced institution with the program he wanted.

April - We traveled back and forth over I-90. I got to visit my Grandma Lorraine's gravesite in Spokane (a little over a year after she died). We also started exploring Spokane (a fun thing to do, but definitely felt no pull to live there). We both love our side of the state and being around family. We started thinking about buying property in Western Washington.

May - Another month of traveling. We saw each other every 2-3 weeks. We started realizing that this was far too long to go without seeing each other. We discussed how the next few quarters would go and agreed to try to do the drive every weekend.

June - Cameron had about a month off at home. I kept bugging him about going backpacking at least once over the break. We packed the car and started driving toward Vancouver, WA, with a route in mind for a 2-night trip. Arriving in Vancouver to POURING rain, we decided to just keep driving and visit Napa, CA. Toured wine country for a day and a half and drove back refreshed but tired from 3 days of driving. We considered this our 'substitute' for not traveling to Europe (hey, Napa is a mini-Italy).

July - At the beginning of the month, we met with a real estate agent recommended to us by our bank's mortgage officer. Start of summer quarter. We didn't see each other much, as Cameron's school schedule was packed into 4 weeks of intense work. Cameron turned 24.

August - Cameron came home from school. We started talking again about traveling to Europe (possibly via cruise this time), but the expense was again too high. Cameron and his sister, Shanna visited their dad in TX. At the end of the month, I got an email from with the very cruise we had looked at in the beginning of the summer discounted about 75%. I called Cameron (who was on a layover back from TX) and told him about the trip. We purchased the tickets and planned for departure in 2 weeks.

September - I left work on a Tuesday night, flying down the stairs in excitement. We left for Italy the next morning. 2 1/2 days in Rome and a 14-day cruise was exhausting but the thrill of our lives! We saw so much incredible architecture, art, history, and Biblical remains. I forget how many photos we took, but we still haven't organized them all! We got home from our trip at 11PM and Cameron made the 4 hour drive to school for his 11AM class the next morning.

October - We instituted the traveling every weekend policy in our marriage. Of course there were still about 2 weekends where we couldn't make it happen, but overall, we were both much happier.

November - It's hard to remember this month. December is so busy for us every year. I know we had Thanksgiving, but that's about all I can hold in my think tank.

December - I turned 24. We had a nice dinner at Spazzo's Italian with family and Lauren. We visited our dear friends Steven and Julia in Orlando, FL. Went to Magic Kingdom, Epcot, and SeaWorld and visited Julia's family in South Florida. Cameron got to go 'alligator hunting' (for pictures, of course) while Julia and I lay on the beach (it was a perfect 70-degree day with a breeze). Celebrated our 4th anniversary with dinner inside Disney's Epcot at the Moroccan restaurant. I ate prunes for the first time with dinner and they were delicious! We celebrated Christmas with both our families. I made my first prime rib.

I am thankful for the opportunities God has provided for us. We have a great place to live with his mom; family is all within walking distance (since my parents live in the same neighborhood); my job provides well for both of us; we have been able to travel more this year than all our previous years of marriage combined; Cameron has been able to work toward his Bachelor's Degree; the people of our church have blessed us tremendously by supporting us through a hard year; we have visited friends and family; and we are still growing together as a couple by God's grace.

We are REALLY looking forward to the year to come, as Cameron finishes school and we look into home ownership and parenthood. Thank you to all of you who have supported us in your individual ways. We so appreciate you!