Throwback: Baby’s First Gift

This post was originally shared on January 7, 2014. 

I had the pleasure of attending a baby shower over the weekend honoring a friend and former co-worker. It was so good to see her and celebrate her precious little boy who will arrive sometime next month! This baby shower was probably the easiest for me because my friend is living proof that doctors  can be wrong, and God is capable of working unimaginable miracles. Seeing her precious belly reminded me that our own miracle is coming soon. We are one day closer. I was filled with hope as I watched her open each gift. Attending her baby shower was truly a blessing. 

Earlier in the week as I was shopping for a baby shower gift, I came across the cutest, softest little stuffed dog. I had already picked out a baby shower gift. I was pretty happy with the gift, so I didn’t think I needed to pick up the dog too. I walked away and started looking at the non-baby stuff in the store. As I was walking towards the check out counter, I couldn’t stop thinking about that little stuffed dog. I decided to give it one more squeeze before I left. I thought to myself, “Maybe they will still sell these here when we finally get pregnant.” I walked away again. As I stood in line behind a lady at the checkout, it finally hit me. I need to buy that little dog for Baby Bell! So I did. I bought a baby shower gift and I bought a gift for our own little miracle. 


I put the little dog in a drawer when I got home. I look forward to the day when we finally get to give it to our child. Maybe it will be one day soon. Maybe we won’t have to wait much longer. I know there is reason for all of this. I know God is in complete control and has heard every single one of our desperate prayers. I know one day all of this waiting will be worth it. I have to admit the past few months have become harder, but I find peace in knowing God works miracles each and every day. I refuse to let a doctor’s diagnosis stop me from pursuing my dream of having a little Baby Bell. 

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I’m a Failure.

You are too. 

 

I fail daily. You do too. I admit my failures. At the end of each day as I’m tucking myself in bed, I briefly reflect on the day and think of things I might do differently tomorrow. I’d be lying if I said I have it all together. I don’t. I’d also be lying if I said things are a breeze around here. Nobody has it all together. NO-BODY.

Gavin (my 13 year old) often tells me he is my “guinea pig” or my “project”. His choice of words. Not mine. He’s right. There has been a lot of trial and error with him. I became his mother when I was the ripe young age of 18. The nurse handed me this little brown-eyed boy with the biggest brown eyes, and I immediately prayed I wouldn’t mess him up. {Disclaimer: I still pray I won’t mess him up.}  I’ve been doing the best I can since. In hindsight, I realize I could’ve done A LOT better, yes. In the early years I struggled with how to handle his tantrums in Wal-Mart or church. I wasn’t as patient as I could have been when we were trying to potty train. He was my first child. It’s all trial and error with the first kid, right?

Now that I’m the mom of three kiddos, I still catch myself wondering how other moms always look like they have it all together. I consider it a win if I leave the house on time and everyone is wearing clean clothes and has neat hair. {Small victories here.} I’d also like to note, if I manage to get everyone in the car without (a) having to go back in the house to grab something I forgot or (b) anyone crying for a blanket, paci, juice, or snack – those are also winning situations. Moments like that are few and far between though.

I feel as mothers, it is so important to give ourselves grace. Personally, I need lots of it. My pal Becky Thompson nailed the topic of grace in her book, Hope Unfolding: Grace-Filled Truth for the Momma’s Heart. Listen, if we are all honest here, we call all agree we need a little grace. We aren’t perfect. We won’t always get it right. Becky shares her perspective of grace in all of the motherhood moments. She keeps it real.

“You know, sometimes we have to be willing to trust God to lead us down the roads that don’t make sense if we want to continue to walk in His perfect plan.”  – Becky Thompson

out with the old

This is not a recap. . .

Ok. Maybe it is a little.

This year…

  • Trey and I both celebrated our 31st birthdays and our 4th wedding anniversary.
  • Gavin made the Harris Middle school baseball and basketball teams.
  • Averlee became the first of my three kids to take a ride in an ambulance.
  •  I dove in and co-founded a faith-based infertility prayer (support) group. {You can read more about Seeds of Hope here. }
  • Ryker started talking and has not slowed down since. . .
  • We took a quick family vacation to Cincinnati.
  • We made a trip to Orange Beach, Alabama for the 2nd year in a row.
  • I repaired a couple broken friendships.
  • I ran my first Ragnar Relay …. and loved it so much I decided to help captain a team for 2017. Call me crazy ’cause I am.

Most of all, 2016 blessed us with so many opportunities to celebrate and enjoy our little family of 5. Trey and I are so grateful for the blessings we were given throughout the year and we look forward to what 2017 has in store for us.

 

Two.

Time flies ridiculously fast.

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Ryker and Averlee- 2 weeks old*

Today I am enjoying the last few hours before my tiny little miracle babies turn two. Tomorrow morning, I will wake up as the mother of twin two-year-olds. God is amazing and we will be forever grateful for the blessings we have in these two crazy kids. 

When I was pregnant with R&A, so many people would tell me, “Oh. You will have your hands full.” I knew being the mom of twins and a pre-teen would not be an easy task, but I felt I was up for the challenge. I’ve been doing this twin mama thing for two years now, and I can tell you- Yes. My hands are full. You should see my heart though. Being the mom of these three kiddos has got to be one of the best, most challenging, and rewarding things I’ve ever done. Ever. Yes. There are days when I hide in my bedroom to eat my lunch. Yes. There are days when I just want to wave a white flag and call Nana (my mom) to rescue me. Those days do happen, but then there are the days when I hear, “Mommy. Hold you.” and “Mommy wuv” over and over. There are days when I don’t shower because we’ve been playing “bass-e-ba” (basketball), having races, or watching Mickey Mouse. Eating is more important than showering on those days. Priorities. 


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Gavin (12)  Ryker and Averlee (1) *R&A’s 1 year*

Ryker

Nicknames: RyRy. Ryker Roo.  Averlee calls him “Roo Roo”.

Favorite Food: He loves ORANGES. He would eat an orange at every meal if I allowed it. Some days I pick my battles and he does get to have an orange with every meal. Vitamin C. Like I said. I pick my battles. There are worse things he could be asking for!

Favorite Game: This child LOVES to play basketball. He has a small play goal/ hoop that was in the garage. Well. The weather has finally cooled off here in Tennessee, so hanging out in the driveway to watch him play basketball had become quite a chilly event. I had the bright  idea to move the goal into his room for him to play indoors. Now we play basketball every morning when he wakes up…. every morning before nap… every day after nap… and so on. He is actually pretty good! His big bro has been working on correcting his form. I guess we should start preparing for scouts or whatever because this kid is gonna be a ball player for sure!

Ryker is a huge fan of tractors, construction equipment, ball, his big brother, and his Mommy. Since it is the Christmas season, he has become fascinated with Christmas lights, or as he calls them “crinkle frights”. I try to get him to say it as much as possible because it is by far the cutest thing he’s said thus far in his short little life! It. Is. Fantastic.

Ryker talks a lot and often. He attempts to repeat anything and everything. He’s also learned to put himself in timeout. He will hit his sister and immediately report to timeout. Clearly I’ve failed as a disciplinarian somewhere, but I guess we have some time to work the kinks out!

Ryker is also PACIFIER FREE!! He does carry a certain blanket around with him everywhere though. We are slowly getting him to let me wash it at least once a week, but that’s only because Averlee has one just like it. I  give him her’s as a decoy long enough for me to was his!

Averlee

Nicknames: I call her Averlee Beth. Ryker calls her “A-wee”. Trey calls her Averlee. Gavin calls her “V-V”. She says her name is “A-lee”. She might be super confused when she starts kindergarten. *facepalm*

Favorite Food: Averlee loves to eat anything out of Nana’s purse at basketball games. Before we can even sit down, she will start trying to open my mom’s purse so she can dig out whatever snacks or treats my Mom has. One game she at her own snacks, Ryker’s snacks, and even asked to eat the cereal bar my Mom brought for Gavin. A few weeks ago we had BBQ for dinner. Averlee loved it! She ate it with and without BBQ sauce. It was insane! I have never seen a child eat as much or as well as Averlee! She’s a champ.

Favorite Game: She loves to play the game “Whatever Ryker has, I want to take it from him.” Unfortunately, this game has not been playing out in her favor as of late. Ryker has learned to fight back! *Trust me. It’s a disaster. There are lots of tears and occasionally a bloody lip or two.* Averlee loves to have someone read a book to her. Anytime she and I are playing in her room by ourselves, she tells me to “sit down” and she’ll select a book from the shelf. She will then sit in my lap and repeat after me as I read her the book. Even though she has shelves and shelves of books, lately we’ve read the same two books over and over. That’s totally fine with me though! I’m just excited she likes to have someone read to her!

Averlee had a rough first year and a half of life, but the last couple of months have been so much more enjoyable. She clearly feels better! She is a sassy little spitfire. She is so full of personality! It’s so neat to just watch her as she tries to figure out how to do something. She rarely asks for someone to help her do anything unless it’s to take something from her brothers. Her favorite person is hands down – Nana. She would probably go live with Nana if that was an option. It isn’t. She’s stuck with me as her mother!

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Ryker & Averlee – 18 months* 

In August of this year, Ryker and Averlee started a Parents’ Day Out program twice a week. At first it was not an enjoyable time for Ryker. It broke my heart to leave him knowing he was so upset and crying “Mommy” all day. In the last month or so he has gotten so much better though. There are no more tears when I drop them off! They have a lot of from from what I’ve been told. Ryker talks about a little boy named Carter all of the time. I’m not sure if Carter realizes it or not, but I think Ryker wants to be his best friend.

Averlee loves to color at school. She never says much about friends, but she will tell me all about her lunchbox and “packpack”. I’m sure one day she will fill me in on the happenings of school. That day is not today though! .

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R&A – Almost 2 years old 

 

*Photo Creds: Jenna Henderson, Photographer

 

Previous Birthday Posts

R&A Are One

Happy Birthday to Ryker and Averlee! Part 1    Happy Birthday to Ryker and Averlee! Part 2

 

Rain, Rain Go Away

This Almost Broke Me.

You’ve heard the expression before, “When it rains, it pours”. Well friends, it came a monsoon on me. It did not just rain. We had a full blown (not really, but kinda felt like it) hurricane.  I felt like I had been beaten by the time I finally figured out which way was up.

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Today is Monday. Day 12 of what I now refer to as the Bell Twin Plague of 2016. Friends, I feel as if I have crawled out of the trenches battered and beaten – covered in snot and smelling of disinfectant. R&A began a little Parents’ Day Out (PDO) program on September 6th. On the evening of September 7th, Trey and I closed on a little investment property we’ve had our eye on. In that same evening, Ryker began running a fever. It was all downhill from there. . .

On Thursday, September 8th I sent Averlee to PDO sans her sidekick , Ryker, because she was feeling just dandy and she LOVES school. I took Ryker to the doctor to get checked out in hopes we could nip whatever was trying to invade his little body before the weekend. Ohhhh how naive and hopeful I was, right? We were fortunate to get worked in pretty quickly. Once the Physician Assistant took a look at Ryker, she told me there are a few yucky viruses running rampant currently. Ryker tested negative for strep, but she could not rule out Hand, Foot, and Mouth Disease (HFMD) . Fan-freakin-tastic. So on we went with our day. I called the director of PDO to inform her there was a possibility my child may have HFMD just so she would be aware in case some extra sanitizing efforts were needed. I told her Averlee had obviously been exposed, but she didn’t have any symptoms that morning. With that being said, I had to pick Averlee up from school before she had a chance to share her germs with all of her new friends.

So there I was at home with a daughter who wanted to play, run, jump, hop, and eat and  a son who just wanted to be held. Needless to say, I had to call in some reinforcement for the remainder of the afternoon. There just wasn’t enough of me to go around! It worked out though because I  had an appointment to work on some legal paperwork  later that evening. I needed a babysitter anyway.

Then came Friday, September 9th. I had a brief health scare about month  prior regarding a suspicious lump in my right breast. The appointment on the 9th was just a follow-up to see what that pesky thing was up to. Honestly, my mind was a million other places on that day, so I wasn’t too concerned. I had full faith the doctor would check me out and tell me to come back again later. That’s exactly what happened too! He came in, did a quick exam, asked a few questions, then told me to have a repeat ultrasound in October just to see if the lump had changed/ grown/ gone away.

Up to this point, Ryker was the only sick household member. I made a point to disinfect, wipe down, clean, and repeat just so we could avoid the spread of the germs. Unfortunately, Ryker woke up Saturday morning with super yucky, gooey eyes. Trey and I were convinced he probably had pink eye or something on top of whatever else was going on. He was still running a fever, not eating well, and just wanting to lay around and be held. He. Was. Pitiful.


By Monday morning, September 12th Averlee had become a little more irritable than usual, but nothing too alarming. Gavin woke up with what appeared to be the beginning of an eye infection. He pleaded for me to not send him to school because he thought they would just send him home anyway thinking he had pink eye. At this point, I didn’t even know what to do and didn’t have the energy to fight that battle – so I agreed he could stay home, but told him he had to clean/ disinfect his bathroom. Ryker woke up with swollen, gooey eyes so I immediately made the decision he would need to go back to the doctor. There I was. I was at home with two sick boys and a cranky daughter. Trey was at work so he called his parents and asked them to come down and lend a hand. *Hooray!*

 

Naptime finally came somewhere close to 10:45am. Averlee threw a quick little fit when I put her in her crib, but went to sleep soon after. Ryker was so ready for a nap so he didn’t put up much of a fight.  I started cleaning up a bit and putting away laundry when I heard Averlee let out this awful, awful scream. I had only heard her scream like this once before so I ran to the top of the stairs and into her room. It was like a nightmare. Averlee was laying in her crib, silent, motionless and her eyes were glazed over. She was looking out the side of her crib. I put my hand on her to shake her. She didn’t respond. I got down on my hands and knees in front of her crib and said her name a few more times before I noticed her color. My baby girl’s lips were turning blue and she was so pale. I yelled for Gavin to call 911. Friends, I had to do CPR on my own child. I am grateful I knew how, but I hope I NEVER have to do that again. Everything was a blur. It was hectic. My mother-in-law was yelling. Ryker was crying. My dog, Harper, was howling. I was trying to talk to the dispatcher and stay calm enough to make complete sentences. It took the ambulance less than seven minutes to make it to our driveway from the time we made the call. By the time the paramedics came in the house to check Averlee, she had finally come out of her seizure, but she was still not acting like herself. Just to be on the safe side, we had her transported to Vanderbilt via ambulance. Of course, I went with her.

I must say, I had a lot of time to think as Averlee and I rode in the back of the ambulance to Nashville. I just held her and wondered how much more God planned to put on my plate. I prayed He would hold off on giving me anything else for a few days so I could maybe process everything I was already faced with. Funny how things don’t go the way we want them to sometimes, right?

Averlee was discharged from Monroe-Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt about an hour after we arrived. The doctors and nurses concluded that she had another febrile seizure. They gave us a prescription for medication to give her when she has another one. They also gave us instructions to follow-up with neurology within the week just as a precaution. On Wednesday, September 14th Averlee had an EEG and we met with a Neurology Nurse Practitioner who had reviewed the EEG. The NP did not see anything too alarming on the EEG; however, due to the way Averlee seizes – eyes fixed to the right, left hand twitches, and she stops breathing – she is ordering a brain MRI. Averlee will be sedated for the MRI. The MRI is basically a way for us to see if there is anything else going on in that tiny little noggin of hers. As scary as that sounds, I am at peace and am standing in faith Averlee will receive a good report once this test is completed. She will have her MRI sometime next month.

My brave little girl during her EEG. 


By the end of last week, Ryker, Averlee, and myself were all fighting colds. The silver lining to all of this is I have been getting lots of precious baby snuggles. I have missed them being themselves though. I know one day I will look back on the last 12 days and think, “Oh that wasn’t so bad afterall”. Today though? Today I feel like my head has barely been above water. I feel like I have spent the last week and a half praying this mountain would just move so we can get on with our lives! I will miss the snuggles and the kids needing me, but I hope I never have everything happen at once again. Shew.

 

 

Hold This For a Second

You can’t carry it all. 

In the last couple of weeks, Averlee has discovered her love for all things baby doll related. She is such a little Mommy! It is so precious. She will line her babies up beside her and cover them with blankets. She will stick things in her “purse”, grab a baby, and head for the door – Just like I do when we are going somewhere. Just the other day, she was grabbing her baby of choice for the day and her purse. I watched her as she tried to hold her baby, keep her purse on her arm, and pick up her sippy cup – all at the same time! After a few moments of struggling, she looked at me and handed me her baby so she could pick up her sippy cup. I offered to carry her sippy so she could hold her baby, but she was content with the arrangement she had made. Out the door we went. I was carrying my bag, Ryker, and baby. Averlee had her purse and sippy.

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I did not think much about all of this until yesterday when I was making out my prayer request list for the week. It seems my prayers are shifting more and more towards, “God I need you to [insert miracle]” or “God, please take [insert burden] from me.” I’m asking Him to take things and handle them for me, but I’m not fully releasing my grip. Yesterday afternoon I came across a quote though. *I see you, God. I know that was all You.*

It is okay to not be okay. If you are not okay, you don’t have to pretend that you are okay. You can say, ‘I need help. I need help from God.”‘ 

The truth is, in my mind I know I need to let go of these worries that are weighing heavy on my heart. I know this. Believe me when I say that. I. KNOW. In my heart I can’t help but to hold on to tiny pieces. Do any of you do that?

It is up to me to decide: Do I want to continue juggling these problems all by myself, or am I ready to hand them over for someone stronger to carry? 


I’m typing this through tear-filled eyes. Friends, I ask that each of you say this prayer with me today…

Father, I’m carrying this load. I’ve pretended to let it go many times and just hand it to you, but we both know- I’m still holding on. I haven’t released my grip- my super tight grip. I know You want to take this from me. I know You can heal my heart and my body. I know you can do things unimaginable. I’m standing in faith that You will carry me through this storm. I’m confident You have a greater plan than I can imagine. Father, I know I am not alone. My friends here are carrying burdens also. We come to You now to lay these at your feet. We can’t do this without You, Lord. We are submitting our agenda to Your perfect plans today. Walking with You, letting You carry us is far greater than trying to run ahead on our own. In Your Holy Name. Amen. 

Answered Prayer: Courtney

I just love sharing stories like these! Today Courtney is sharing her beautiful testimony for our Answered Prayer series. I met Courtney at my wedding actually. Her husband is a friend of Trey’s. Courtney is such a beautiful young woman inside and out with a love for God. Here are her words… 

My Fertility Journey

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My husband and I decided it was time to stop birth control in the Fall of 2013. We weren’t ready to start actively trying for a baby, but we thought maybe in the next year we would, and we wanted to give my body time to get back on a normal cycle. I had a close friend trying to conceive, and she gave me a book called “Taking Charge of Your Fertility”. It talks about the importance of knowing and charting your cycle to help you get pregnant. I thought stopping birth control would give me time to read the book, learn about my cycle, and become more familiar with my body before we started trying for a baby. *By the way, that book was so helpful! I would recommend it to anyone trying to conceive.* So off the birth control I went, and then the problems began. I very quickly lost over 10 lbs, which on a small frame is a lot, but I did not gain my period. The months went by with no period in sight. I began to be a little concerned but the doctors said it was “normal” and that it should return within 6 months. Well 6 months rolled around and still no period, so my OB/GYN prescribed me progesterone to kick-start my cycle. Nothing happened. Then she ordered an ultrasound of my ovaries. After seeing what looked like little cysts in my ovaries, they told me I had PCOS, possibly endometriosis, and this condition would make conception more difficult.
At this point I was feeling upset and confused, wondering how this would affect my fertility. I decided to get a second opinion from a fertility specialist at Vanderbilt, a doctor my mom worked closely with and trusted. After seeing him and another ultrasound, he felt the previous doctor had misdiagnosed me. Although I showed some minor signs of PCOS, I wasn’t the typical case and to him my ovaries looked fine. This made me feel better. He prescribed one month of birth control to “kick-start” my cycle. Thankfully, it worked! I had a period for the first time in almost a year which felt like an accomplishment. From then on I started charting my cycles, and quickly found out that they were far from normal. My cycles were super long and all over the place, sometimes going 2 months without a period. I was a little worried that it would cause problems in conceiving, but at this point we still weren’t actively trying, so I just hoped things would settle out over time.
We began trying to get pregnant in February 2014. Being such a planner, I had the timeline worked out perfectly in my head. This gave us a couple of months of trying (since how many people actually hit the jackpot the first time?) before school let out for summer. This would also mean once I was pregnant, my morning sickness would be hitting over summer break, and I could have that time to just rest. It seemed perfect. HA! I sure thought I had it figured out! Boy was I wrong. After about 3 months of trying, and no positive pregnancy test, I was a little frustrated that things weren’t going as I had planned. Plus, my cycles were still anywhere from 35-50 days long and I had a hard time figuring out when I was actually ovulating, if I was at all. I had been reading Kari’s infertility blog and noticed how much she praised Dr. Williams, so I made an appointment. I loved him from the first visit, because he listened and answered all of my questions. He was so caring and understanding, because he and his wife had gone through their own infertility journey. He told me he would do everything in his power to help me become a mother. At this point though, the best thing was to just keep trying and to come back either at a year or when we got too frustrated. So back home I went to continue my cycle charting, taking my basal body temp every morning, and letting myself get consumed with trying to get pregnant. The charting became somewhat of an obsession. I would study my charts over and over, trying to make sense of them. Of course, looking back, I don’t think this helped the situation and only made me stress more. I prayed that my cycles would become more normal and I tried to gain a little weight back, thinking maybe that would help. Finally around the late summer of 2014, my cycles started to become more predictable. Even though they were still 30-40 days long, it appeared that most cycles I was ovulating, and I was able to decipher my charts a little better.
By the fall of 2014 I was ready to look into our fertility a little more. In October I had an HSG procedure done, where they check to see that the fallopian tubes are open. Everything came back normal. I had heard that some people had gotten pregnant the month after having that procedure done, as if it had “cleared out the pipes”, so naturally I hoped this would happen to me. I was disappointed yet again. In December, my husband had a semen analysis which also came back normal-thank goodness. So there we were at the end of 2014 with no baby and no answers. Needless to say, the holidays were hard for me that year.
In January, almost a year after we started trying, I decided to go back to Dr. Williams to look into our options. I started my period a few days earlier and was feeling discouraged. I had gotten on Facebook the morning of my appointment, and a friend of mine had posted a video. I watched the video, only to quickly realize it was a pregnancy announcement. Of course, at that point I couldn’t turn it off. The couple sang the sweetest song they had written together about the journey of their relationship and how they were now expecting a baby. I sat there watching as emotion flooded me, and I just cried and cried. I was happy for them, but my heart ached because I wanted Tanner and I to have the same joy and blessing in our life. My mom came with me to the doctor that day, and I cried to her in the waiting room as I told her about watching the video. It was so unlike me to cry in public, but the pain was deep, and I couldn’t hide the sadness. Dr. Williams, sensing my emotion, was so sensitive and encouraging. He diagnosed me with “unexplained infertility” and recommended trying Clomid. I was unsure about beginning fertility medications, especially since I was already ovulating on my own, but he gave me the prescription and the option. After many prayers and conversations with my husband, we decided we should give it more time. We really wanted to trust in God’s timing, even though it was hard to wait. I continued to pray that we would become pregnant naturally.
As the months passed and more negative pregnancy tests stared back at me, I began to really feel the effects of the infertility emotional roller coaster. The cycle would begin with the hope and anticipation of ovulation. Next, we would “try, try, try” on what we thought were the perfect days to conceive. Then came the awful, nerve-wracking “two week wait”. Every month I would conjure up all the pregnancy symptoms, making myself believe this was it! This was the month my prayers would be answered. Yet every month, my period would return, a sad reminder of the life that wasn’t growing inside of me. I prayed, more so than I think I ever had. I wanted a baby so badly. I wanted it to be my turn. It seemed like every day on Facebook, someone was announcing their pregnancy. With tears in my eyes, I would try to tell myself my time was coming. Soon my prayers would be answered. But it was hard. I am not one to cry often, and I do not like showing extreme emotion. I pride myself in the fact that I have always had a very “even-keeled” temperament, but experiencing the highs and lows of every cycle, made it difficult to keep this up. Some cycles I would be strong and trust in God’s timing. I would think, “It’s okay. God’s timing is best and I trust in that.” In those months I could feel God’s peace and strength so tangibly that I knew it came from Him. I praised Him for helping me though and teaching me the patience I so needed to learn. I also had months where I was heartbroken when it didn’t work out and my period returned yet again, leaving me feeling lacking in the patience department. I would be left crying, asking God “Will I ever be a mother? Will it ever be my turn? What am I doing wrong?” I struggled with the fact that some people got pregnant almost immediately, and unwanted teenage pregnancies boggled me. It didn’t seem fair. But no matter what, I found comfort in knowing that the God I served had always been faithful to take care of me and get me through hard times. So each month I would push forward, praying He would give me the strength and trust I needed to face whatever result lay ahead.
Over the next few months I tried just about anything that claimed to aid in conceiving, minus the Clomid which we still didn’t have peace about me taking. I used a myriad of herbs and supplements, and too many other things fertility bloggers assured worked for them or someone they knew. Again, like the obsessive charting, I exhausted myself trying to find the trick which would get me pregnant, all the while God was saying “If you will just let go and let Me work it out in My own time, everything will be okay”.

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Photo Cred: Natasha Thomas Photography

On a weekend in August 2015, I was supposed to start my period. I was expecting it, because my cycle had been a little different that month, and I thought we had “missed” my ovulation window. The weekend ended, and I still had not started. I had no pregnancy symptoms, not even fabricated ones, except for a little cramping (most likely due to the impending period). I woke up Monday morning, August 17, still not having started. I decided to go ahead and take a pregnancy test just to get it off my mind, bracing myself for the all familiar negative. After a year and a half of negative tests, I couldn’t help but wonder “Do these things actually work? Is there such thing as a positive test?” LOL. Much to my surprise, 2 pink lines showed up! “Could this really be it?”. I took another test (different brand), because I wasn’t convinced. Two pink lines. I was shocked. I ran to the bedroom, woke my husband, and told him, “I think I might be pregnant! Come look at these tests!” We both stood in the bathroom staring at the two tests, with two pink lines, giggling in shock and excitement as we took in the weight of the moment. Our long-awaited prayers had been answered! Nothing but praises filled my heart and mind in the coming days.

 

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Photo Cred: Natasha Thomas Photography

While we had been trying to conceive, I had written a prayer over my future pregnancy. I have to say, God not only answered our prayers for a baby, but blessed me with an enjoyable and healthy pregnancy. I loved being pregnant! It was such a wonderful time experiencing the miracle of life growing inside of me. I spent my whole pregnancy thanking God for His precious gift, and for His timing which in the end seemed more perfect than I could have planned myself. Our sweet baby boy was born April 23, 2016, and I could not be more thankful for our little blessing. He was so worth the wait.

 

Previous Answered Prayer Stories:

Kayla

Lindsay (Part 1)      Lindsay (Part 2)

 

If you have a story you would like to share for the Answered Prayer series, I would love to hear from you! Email me at dearbabybellblog@gmail.com!   – Kari B. 

 

Relationships and Infertility

Tonight we will have our 2nd Seeds of Hope meeting/ gathering. I have chosen relationships as our topic of discussion for this month because I feel like this is a very important topic we can all relate to! 

 Relationships and Infertility

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Your spouse. It is so important to not let your infertility struggle destroy your marriage. This is a time for you to lean on each other for support, openly communicate your feelings, and  be on the same page. Easier said than done? Yes. Definitely. Trey and I had only been married six months when we realized something wasn’t right. We had been trying for a few months, but I had stopped having cycles. Obviously, a cycle is one of the necessary components to becoming pregnant. As our journey unfolded, I learned Trey and I had different ways of handling our emotions. There was nothing wrong with how either of us handled our emotions (with each other), but it was very important for me to realize he wasn’t one to talk about his feelings. I was. He had to learn to listen when I needed to just vent, and I had to learn he wasn’t the type to sit down and cry with me and tell me everything going through his head. Trey only cried in front of me twice. I cried in front of him more times than I can count.

No matter what, your husband will be your husband. Baby or no baby. Treatments or not. Adoption or pursuing further treatments. You two began this journey together as husband and wife and it is so important to not lose the foundation of your marriage in the shuffle. It happens. I know it happens.

Your family. I’m still trying to figure out this part. Even though I have our story plastered on social media and here on my blog, we still have family members who are clueless about what we’ve been through. After my first surgery, we had people ask us, “When are ya’ll gonna have kids?”. Seriously. As if my ovaries were even ready to address this question so soon after surgery, right? It seemed like anytime there was a family reunion/ gathering/ cookout/ dinner/ excuse-to-get-together-and-question-my-reproduction-capabilities, the question always came up. It was easy for me to just be short. It was easy for me to be snippy and give smart @$$ remarks like, “When people stop asking us that question.” or  I would just say, “Never”. Oh that response shut people up quickly for sure. You know your family and you know how they are. Take their remarks with a grain of salt. Never feel like you have to explain your full medical history with anyone if you don’t want to. With that being said, you do need support. You need as much support as possible and maybe a few extra hands when it comes to getting your mother-in-law or nosy aunt off your back about when you’re gonna have a baby. Talk to a few people you trust. You might be surprised at how much easier those awkward family gatherings can get. Also – I am a firm believer the more people covering you in prayer, the better. If you don’t want to go into great detail, maybe just ask for prayers for your future children?

Your church. This is a sticky situation. I know some ladies who feel like they can’t open up to their church family about their struggles because infertility is such an uncomfortable topic for some men.  I was fortunate to have an amazing group of ladies in a Wednesday night class who covered me in prayer and lifted me up when I needed an extra boost. Infertility, pregnancy loss, and miscarriage are something a lot of churches (not necessarily just mine) don’t talk about. Churches will pray all day, everyday for Susie Jo Q who is so-and-so’s second cousin’s wife who stubbed her toe, but that sweet, young couple on the back pew? They  are merely a line at the bottom of the church bulletin. Why is that? Why are we afraid to talk about infertility? Why are we afraid to meet these people right where they need us? On our knees, praying FOR them during the hardest thing they’ve ever endured is where we should be. Instead, I know some women feel like they just don’t fit in anymore in those pews. Mother’s Day is a huge production at some churches.  These women suffer in silence month after month and they need to feel God and they need to be covered in prayer…right here. Right now. So ladies, I encourage you, pull someone aside. Tell them YOU need prayer. Tell them YOU are struggling and YOU need to feel God’s comfort. Don’t walk away from your church family, but don’t let your struggles get brushed under the rug either.

Last but not least… Your friendships. I pushed several people out of my life when I needed them the most. Don’t make that same mistake. Even though everyone will not understand your journey, they may still try to help. Even if that “help” looks a little different from what you think you need, that’s okay. Sometimes people don’t know what to say or what to do. They just want to do something to let you know they care or they are thinking of you! Infertility/ pregnancy loss is not something everyone has dealt with. It’s hard to speak to the emotions and heartache that come along with infertility when you haven’t necessarily been in the middle of it yourself. Sometimes people just do what they think they need to do, or they say what they think you need to hear. Sometimes people will say the wrong things. It happens. Don’t shut them out of your life or push them away. Like I said before, you need as much support and as many people as possible surrounding you in prayer. Don’t make the mistake of pushing people out of your life.

Infertility will take as much from you as you allow it to. Do not let it take your relationships. Don’t. Do. It. Don’t let it consume you. Don’t let it rob you of any more than it already has.

For more info on Seeds of Hope, please feel free to email me at  dearbabybellblog@gmail.com or Find me on Facebook  !

 

20 Months Old

What a week. I sent my oldest son off to 7th Grade on Monday and today the twins turn 20 months old! Time is getting out of control. I’ll be planning graduation parties before we know it! First I need to survive this season / phase of raising twin toddlers and  a pre-teen.

God, please give me grace!

A few months ago, a friend let me borrow a book titled   Grace Based Parenting . I have to admit, it has been sitting on a shelf in my office since she gave it to me, but last night I pulled it out just to skim through it. I came across a quote that really jumped out at me… 

“God helps grace-based parents see what matters and what doesn’t matter…His grace helps you see whether to write the rules in pencil or in blood.”


In this season of life, I am faced with the challenges of dealing with a son who is trying to figure out how to balance school, sports, parents who are divorced, and everything else in between. In the moments when it seems I should get firm with him, I sometimes have to take a step back and try to put myself in his shoes. I had the luxury of living in a home with both of my parents. I didn’t bounce between homes. I grew up in a small town; therefore, I always knew everyone in my classes. Gavin attends a rather large middle school. I don’t know what that feels like. I cannot relate to some of the struggles he is faced with when it comes to figuring out middle school. In the moments when I feel myself getting frustrated with him, I have to remind myself he’s only twelve. He’s just trying to figure things out, and he needs me to give him grace every now and then.

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Gavin and Ryker 

Then there’s the twins…

They fight. They bite. They kick. They pull each other’s hair. I know they are just trying to figure out this HUGE world, but a part of me feels like I have failed somewhere. In a few weeks, they will start a Parent’s Day Out program two days a week. I have this fear Ryker will get kicked out for pushing, biting, hitting, or kicking. I know this is all part of growing up, but I have two the exact same age trying to do the exact same things. There are both in the same stage of growing up. Averlee is the complete opposite of Ryker. She doesn’t throw fits (yet). I’m sure that’s coming though, right? Or maybe she sees how tired Mommy gets after Ryker throws his 10th fit of the day before noon? Maybe Averlee plans to give Mommy a break? ha.

Enough about all of that. Let’s see what R&A have been up to lately.

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Little Tikes Water Table

Ryker

Nicknames: Ryker Roo, Ry Ry, RyRoo. He refers to himself as “Wy- Wy” or Just “Roo”.

Favorite Food: This kid would drink lemonade all day, every day if I would allow it. He loves “mem-made”. He also enjoys all types of fruit. He loves cookies. He will eat chicken, steak, or deli meat. He isn’t too fond of tomatoes.

Favorite Game: If it involves a ball, he’s a fan. He also loves to swim in the big pool or play at the water table. He also loves our lab/ golden named Foxy a.k.a “Sock-see”.

He’s also a Mickey Mouse (“Meee-Mou”) fan especially if Mickey has a tractor!!


Averlee

Nicknames: Averlee Beth, Sassy, VeeVee. Ryker calls her “Way-wee”.  Averlee hasn’t attempted to say her own name yet, but she will point to herself.

Favorite Food: Grapes! This kiddo loves grapes so much. She really likes all fruits! She is also a lemonade fan, but will drink water or milk just as often. She is a little picky when it comes to meats at first, but she typically will clean her plate!

Favorite Game: She loves to help clean (“keen”), take care of her babies, and will pet any animal she comes in contact with. She loves cats, dogs, cows, and the occasional goat. She is a wonderful helper! She likes to help me take clothes out the dryer. She will also pick up her toys in the floor if I ask her to help me clean up! She’s basically a mini mommy. She is quite independent compared to her twin brother. She will play by herself stacking blocks, playing tea party, or rolling a car.

Averlee isn’t much of a TV fan. She will occasionally watch Doc McStuffins for a brief moment, but she prefers to be on the go and playing versus sitting down to watch TV. I’m totally ok with that! She also prefers the water table over swimming in the pool. She will swim in the pool with her Puddle Jumper for a little bit then hop out to play with the water table.

 

Check out our previous updates here:

Twin Adventures – 13 Month Installment

Toddler Time: Let’s Be Real

We are 11 Months Old

We Made It

7 Months Old and Other News

Four Months

Impossible? No.

Matthew 19:26 tells us: “Jesus looked at them intently and said, ‘Humanly speaking, it is impossible. But with God everything is possible.”‘ NIV af76fa1e038817477675f2dadc1f421c

 

Believe in the impossible. 

Ya’ll. Do you ever feel like you are consumed with a million reasons why something will not work? Are you like me and you constantly think of the worst case scenario before you even consider the best possible outcome? Just this past week, satan has been after my heart. That’s so hard for me to admit, but it is true. He’s been filling my head with doubt. I’ve been discouraged. I’ve been overwhelmed.  Those are not feelings from God. With God, nothing is impossible. If I allow satan to control my thoughts though, I may begin to believe God can’t handle whatever is thrown at me.

As a thirty-one year-old woman who has not exactly had a spotless medical history, it is very important for me to keep an eye on my health. I’ve worked super hard to make sure I take better care of myself than I did in my late teens and early twenties. Just last week, as I was doing my monthly breast exam, I noticed a knot that had not been there before. I immediately panicked and convinced myself this was something I should be concerned with. I prayed about it that night and trusted I would wake up the next morning and the knot wouldn’t be there. It was though. So I brushed it off and tried to stay calm. I told myself I would check it again the next day (Friday) and call my doctor if it was still there. On Friday morning at 11:15, I found myself in the waiting room of my trusted OB/GYN waiting for my name to be called… yet again. This was familiar territory for me; however, this time I was more anxious than normal. As I looked at my twins in their stroller, I couldn’t help but wonder what would be ahead of us. What would I find out in the next thirty minutes? Will this visit change our lives?

After an exam by one of the nurse practitioners, I was able to brush my worries aside. In that moment, God answered my prayer. The knot is not something I should be too alarmed about. Just to ease our minds, I will have an ultrasound today.

I need to be around to see my kids get married. I need to help Averlee pick out her wedding dress. I need to see the look on Ryker and Gavin’s faces when each of them see their wives walk down the aisle on their wedding days. Of course tomorrow is never promised, but I am standing in faith that God has this under control.