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Tuesday, December 29, 2009


Benjamin Robert arrived 2 weeks early.

Born December 27th at 1:32am

7 Pounds 2 ounces

20 and 3/4 inches tall

First sleepless night:

Pure Joy. Heaven.

There are no words for how much we love Tracey and this gift of her son.

More to come soon.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

The Night Before

This morning, after a pancake and egg breakfast, Marc and I started the day with a visit to the cemetery. We left some poinsettia bunches at the twins' headstone. We paused for a bit in the warmth of the sun (it was 60 degrees here today), and couldn't help but feel warmth fill our hearts as well. I feel so grateful to have Marc. I feel so grateful for the gift of perspective that has come with the twins joining our family. I especially feel grateful for the role of that perfect Babe born so many thousands of nights ago.

With so much family in town, the day has been filled with last minute preparations for the big Christmas celebrations and traditions tonight and tomorrow. One of my favorite moments today was spent at the piano with my two sisters. We're planning a special (secret) musical number for our Christmas Eve program around the tree with everyone. Since I haven't been blessed with the same natural vocal skills as my sisters, I'll do my best to provide them with some accompaniment. Luckily their voices are beautiful enough to hide any of my fumblings.

While playing the piano for my sisters, I was struck by the beauty and truth of the lyrics of the latter part of the second verse.

The King of kings lay thus in lowly manger;
In all our trials born to be our Friend.
He knows our need, our weakness is no stranger,
Behold your King! Before him lowly bend!

In all our trials born to be our Friend. On this particular Christmas Eve, I feel especially grateful for this aspect of the birth and life of the Savior. For much of my life I haven't felt comfortable with calling Christ my friend... it has always felt too presumptuous or something. Like, this feeling that He is much too great and untouchable for me to call him that. But, after passing through this last year things have changed. As never before in my life I'm grateful to know from firsthand experience the special way that Christ is my friend.

There is something special about Christmas Eve. I can't help but wonder a little at what it might have been like the night that Christ was born. I love that we can pause long enough to imagine the feelings of beauty and wonder of such a perfect night.

On this similarly perfect night, wishing you all a Christmas celebration filled with love and wonder.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Must Haves

I have a long list of things I need to do today. We're getting all ready for family that's coming for Christmas. Both my sisters (and their families) will be here for the holidays... and I'm so excited to spend the next couple of weeks with them. It's going to be wonderful! I have to make the most of today, getting cleaning and general chores around the house done, so that I can just sit and relax once they're here.

We've also been busy preparing ourselves for Baby Boy. We have the bassinet and changing table set up. The clothes are washed and ready to be used and dirtied. I've been working on making a mobile that I hope turns out how my mind has already created it. As I've gone through boxes and tubs of baby stuff, I've been reminded of how much we've acquired over the last couple of years. I can hardly believe we will actually be able to use it all.

But, I need help. There are things we still need to get. This is where you all come in. I know there are things that mothers out there just cannot live without. What are your must haves? 

And, for adoptive mothers out there, any advice about the best bottles and formula? And, about health insurance... what did you do? Is it best to add the baby to your current plan or to get the baby his own health plan? When I called my insurance provider, the lady I talked to was very unhelpful and left me with more questions than answers. 

Oh, and have any of you tried cloth diapers? Pros? Cons?

Am I missing anything?!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Girl, Girl, Boy, ....

* Our January Baby Boy, picture taken Sept. 2nd, at 22 weeks

Since the beginning of September we've had more than a few moments of imagining what our life could look like a year from now with two babies. Since we knew Tracey was having a boy, we just made sure to daydream equally about him paired with a little brother and him paired with a little sister. Both visions would leave me smiling from ear to ear.

For the last few days my dreams and imaginations have turned more specific. On Monday we headed down to the same Perinatologist office we went to last year with the twins. It felt a little strange to be in the same office at the same point in pregnancy when we got our first glimpse of bad news with the twins. I tried not to relive those memories, but I was admittedly relieved when the ultrasound tech. led us to a different room where we could make new memories.

As I was getting myself situated, her first question to us was, "so, is this your first?

"Um... let's say yes," was all I could think to say.

She caught on and asked if we had had a miscarriage. I gave her a very brief explanation. She responded with a genuine sympathy that made me immediately love her. As she moved the wand over the gooey mess on my belly, I was stunned by the miracle of life that is growing within me. We were chatting a bit while watching the screen at the same time, when all of a sudden her wand paused to take a picture and I stopped mid-sentence, totally shocked by what I was seeing...

"Is it a boy?!"

I swear her "Yes!" came out as more of a squeal than anything else. 

Oh my gosh, a boy. No, two boys. Brothers. Best friends.

So, yes, the daydreams now include all things boy. Visions of blue mixed with playing ball and never-ending energy and daredevil stunts. And, we couldn't be happier!

The little guy is growing and strong. All of his anatomy is perfect and healthy. Our Level 2 ultrasound even revealed both of his layers of teeth already formed. So amazing. The only downside to getting an ultrasound from a high risk office is that since they look for more, the chances are higher of finding something to be concerned about.

It turns out that the umbilical cord is a 2-vessel cord, rather than the preferred 3-vessel cord. That was when we heard unwelcomed words like echocardiogram, growth restriction, and "we'll be watching you more closely."

My heart sunk a little. I don't want another scary pregnancy. I just want it to be easy. No concerns, no complications. When the Doctor came in to double check everything, fortunately she eased many of the fears that had crept in. She did confirm the 2-vessel cord, but she also confirmed that the kidneys and the heart looked perfectly healthy, showing that the cord problem hasn't affected the baby or his growth and development (yet). She does want to see us again in a couple of months to make sure he is still growing right on track, but no need to be overly worried at this point. Plus, he's already measuring a week ahead of schedule, so that was definitely welcome news.

Our emotions are about to pop. January eleventh is quickly approaching and we are all ready for Baby Boy #1. We can't wait to meet him! I feel so grateful that we'll be able to give him a little brother so quickly. I don't know how or why we've been blessed with such abundance... but we are grateful beyond words for the mercy and kindness of a loving and provident Miracle Worker.

* Our May Baby Boy, picture taken Dec. 14th, at 18 weeks

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Some thoughts on being different

My favorite place these days is relaxing on the couch in our front room, surrounded by the soft glow of our Christmas tree. There is a warmth and a calm that comes with it. And since I know our time to enjoy it is temporary, I'm trying to soak it up as much as possible.

I took a quick Sunday afternoon nap in front of it today. Before shutting my eyes, they wandered around the tree to the different ornaments we bought or received last year in memory of our girls. Every ornament has an identical match - there are a couple of sets of crystal angels, a few different sets of birds, the crystal-like "Joy" ornaments, and two silver stars engraved with "Love". I love our tree and I love the love I feel for my little girls when I look at it. And I love dear loved ones who have added their love for our girls to our tree. (That's sure a lot of love!)

It's been interesting to share our news about adopting and being pregnant. As is maybe obvious, we are completely overwhelmed by the news ourselves. We recognize how much we're being blessed beyond belief. Even still among the welcomed joy of these approaching blessings, there is still a place in my heart that aches. As I've interacted with older women who have lost babies decades ago, and I witness how easily the tears flow when they've opened up their hearts to me about their loss, I get the feeling while watching them that the aching will always be there. Of course, until we meet our girls again. Then, maybe then, the holes will be completely healed and my joy will really be full.

I worry a little about some who might expect some dramatic retroactive change in my personality, now that we have these blessings to anticipate. It's true that I haven't been quite the same since losing my girls. Honestly, though, I don't expect to ever be the same person that I was before such a life-changing experience. Those moments in the hospital altered the core of who I am, who I want to be. And, really, isn't that a good thing? So maybe I'm not as happy-go-lucky or however you want to call it... but really I haven't been that way since maybe 8th grade basketball games when I was burning off the Mountain Dew caffeine high. And, that can probably be more classified as immaturity or the results of stimulating substances than anything else.

The truth is that, even while we feel deep joy and gratitude for the blessings that are approaching, there is still a plot at the cemetery that we visit. There are two stockings hanging next to ours that will never be held by the shaky, excited hands of our little girls on Christmas morning. With time we've learned to be okay with this part of our life. We accept the place our girls have in our family, and rejoice that they are eternally a part of us. And while most of those closest to us have accepted us as we are now, I hope that more will accept the ways we've changed because of our girls... rather than expecting us to be back to how we "used to be."  

We're different. And, we're okay with that.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Blessings - Part 2

Ten days.

Ten days ago we couldn't keep the news for ourselves anymore. Even the thought alone of bringing a little boy home just days after Christmas has our hearts wrapped in the most joyful and reverenced feelings. I can only imagine how it will actually feel. After all these years, all the "almosts", to have a baby to bring home with us. And, then to think of the selfless love that will be involved, I think my heart just might burst. 

This little boy, destined for our home, was the initial opening of the windows of heaven. As if that alone wasn't big enough to be enough. We've been filled to overflowing with this unexpected, incredible news. But, for some inexplicable reason, we received an amazing second portion of blessings. The same amount of time you've now had to let the news of our adoption sink in, ten days, is the same amount of time we had before our discovery of "Blessings, part two."

Are you ready for this?

Ten days after we received our first email from Tracey, I woke up for the fourth morning in a row fully expecting the arrival of that dreaded monthly visitor. On that fourth morning when it still hadn't arrived, I finally gave in and took a test, fully expecting to already know its outcome, as it has been approximately 85 times out of 88. (The odds, clearly, not in our favor.)

Instead, the results sent us into shock. I calmly walked from the bathroom into our bedroom with the pregnancy test in hand. Marc was still sleeping, very soundly and peacefully, I might add. I gently nudged him until he stirred a bit and looked at me with his squinted eyes.

In a half-whisper I said, "so, I took a test this morning."

His simple reply, "And?" 

Me: "It's positive."

I said it just like that. Very matter-of-factly. No exclamation. No screaming. No jumping up and down. There weren't even any tears, of joy or of fear. There was, however, a slight hint of a smile trying to form around the corners of my lips. Marc reflected the same cautious hint of joy.

I soon realized there was a thick protective coating of numbness around our hearts. It didn't help that these sequence of events felt very uncomfortably like we were reliving an awful deja-vu from the spring of 2008. If you remember, we had been chosen to adopt a baby boy, which then followed with news that we were pregnant with our twins. Having things sort of fall into the same chain of events, honestly, made me very uncomfortable. The two main thoughts I had during that time when we were tentatively about to add three kids to our family in one year, were - "our blessing, finally, after waiting for so long" and "this is just too good to be true."

I've refrained from thinking either of those things this time around. Instead, I've just tried to enjoy each moment, hoping and praying for the strength to handle whatever the outcome might be (with both anticipated blessings). 

I called my doctor right away. That very day she sent in an order for blood tests, 48-hours apart, to check my hCG levels. The results would offer me some peace of mind for 12 more days, until my first ultrasound. That same peace of mind has been reapplied, almost as if it's melting away that layer of numbness, with every appointment, every ultrasound, every sign that new life is forming within the walls of my broken tabernacle.

Our first two pregnancies were five years apart. I thought maybe I was on the "five-year plan." Well, and actually, after certain complications following the birth of our twins, I was warned of the possibility of never being able to conceive again. Ever. Not that that news was any different than the fall of 2006 when the Reproductive Endocrinologist I was seeing flat out told me, "you'll never conceive naturally."

I've been tempted, now, a second time to call her and tell her that she was wrong. Twice.

Somehow we have conceived a baby.




I'm far enough along that my nearly inch-deep "innie" is not nearly so deep, though not yet considered an "outie." I've started to feel the early subtle movements of our little babe. The week after next we will find out if Baby Boy will have a little sister or a little brother.

They will be approximately four months apart. Almost like twins. One coming through an angel named Tracey and one coming through my healed womb.

Both miracles.

Both gifts.

Both blessings.

Both dreams that have cost us too many tears to count.

Both worth every ounce of pain and heartache of the last almost seven-and-a-half years of waiting.

If ever there was a time that I've felt first-hand the reality of the Law of Compensation at work, it's now. As beautifully stated by Elder Wirthlin, just before his death,

"The Lord compensates the faithful for every loss. That which is taken away from those who love the Lord will be added unto them in His own way. While it may not come at the time we desire, the faithful will know that every tear today will eventually be returned a hundredfold with tears of rejoicing and gratitude."

The feelings of gratitude we now feel, as we shed tears of rejoicing, cannot be contained in words.