Sunday, March 19, 2017

Lucky 7!

Well, if you can't tell by the picture above, we are PREGNANT! And crazy happy! This baby is due October 4 and we couldn't feel more thankful and excited. Tie breaker! Of course I'm thinking its a girl because I thought Luke was a girl and so this has to be the girl, right? Right? Hahaha. I'll be thrilled with boy or girl of course!

So, we experienced two miscarriages over the past year, one in June and one the day after Christmas. The summer loss was the worst. I went in for a sonogram at 8 weeks and the baby hadn't formed beyond just a couple of weeks, no heartbeat, etc. I wasn't experiencing a miscarriage at that time yet, so I just had to wait for it(or have a D&C..or take meds to make it happen, neither of which I wanted to do). I held it together really well in the doctors office..but when I went to check out, the receptionist asked if I needed to schedule another appointment.  As I thought about it and realized the answer was no, it hit me. I answered her a quiet no and walked out and then bawled like a baby in the hall(thankfully Joey was there to hug me for awhile and also came home with me). So anyways, I just waited and waited. That made me crazy. It took almost a month before it finally happened. It was like I couldn't move forward during that time and I got really down. I just wanted it over with..though I dreaded it at the same time. And then when it came, it was painful, like labor pains painful. It was just horrible. I was in bed for days. I had been blessed previously(though I can't call any miscarriage a blessing because they are all very sad) to not have the physical pain of a miscarriage, I only really had felt the emotional pains from our previous losses. So this just amplified the trauma of the situation and the sadness I felt. It was a hard summer for me. I got pretty down :( I gained some weight. I started feeling like nothing was fun anymore. I just felt blah. And I wasn't ready to try again for a couple of months because of the state I found myself in. Thats close to the time when I got my new calling as the Relief Society President in my ward. Well, that changed things for me. I wasn't focusing on myself as much and was working and serving in a way that got me through it... even though when the Bishop extended the calling, I felt like I was a mess and not good enough for anything. I still feel that calling was/is for me more than anyone.

Anyways, back to the story :) Nothing happened until a few days before Christmas when we got another positive test. I was hesitantly excited because I knew our chances of miscarriage are high since we've had so many in our marriage..and sure enough just a few days after the positive test, I miscarried again. So that made 6 kiddos and 6 miscarriages total. This one was easier because it was so soon, no waiting, no physical pain associated with it, but still, sad and frustrating. But this time, I was like, we are trying again-we are not giving up. My resolve had strengthened. I felt really determined I wasn't going to let this kick me in the butt the way the summer miscarriage did. I didn't even feel I needed time to "process" anything. I just felt this sense of, we aren't wasting any time Joey! Lets go! ;) He didn't mind that hahaha. We need this baby here asap! (cuz I ain't gettin any younger y'all ;) Anyways, we got pregnant immediately! And here we are, I'm just a couple of days away from 12 weeks and everything is going great so far! We had our sonogram at 8 weeks and saw our little miracle on the screen. Definitely a teary moment for us. We pray this pregnancy continues and this baby stays healthy and strong. We need this tie breaker! We just aren't complete. I have felt it so strongly this year. I was honestly feeling unsure if we were supposed to have another baby last year. I knew that my heart wanted one but I wasn't sure if I could handle 7 kids when 6 is already so hard... but these losses this year made that desire for a baby and the knowledge that I'm supposed to have another one SURE. I have no doubts now. I can do this mom of 7 thang!

Anyways, I share these details because I think people look at us and think, wow, they have a LOT of kids....they must have no problem having babies! But the simple fact is, this is my 13th pregnancy! So these didn't come to us easily. Most of them came with prior heartaches, losses and tears. Many hard days. It was those hard days though, that make the sweet days more sweet. Thats the interesting thing about life, right? Our trials just plain suck sometimes. But without them, how would we grow? Life is about our trials, how we handle them, how we let them shape us. We can turn a trial into something that completely destroys us or we can turn it around and find that teaching moment or the good. Also, how would we have empathy for those who suffer if we have never suffered? I know these losses have changed me for the good. I reach out to those who have had miscarriages/loss because I know what a big deal it is, though in my opinion its something that gets swept under the rug. Something none of us talk about. But I wish more of us did so we could love and support each other through the losses. I know there are people out there who have suffered far more than me with infant loss/child loss/infertility. I can't imagine that kind of suffering. My heart truly aches for you as I know a taste of the feeling to yearn for a baby...to lose babies...I know some of that pain. I hope if you are suffering, you know that you are loved and that no matter what, God is there. He hears your prayers and though sometimes our prayers aren't answered the way we want them to be or maybe not in the time frame we were hoping for, that all will be made right in the end. I know that. I know many people who haven't been able to have children at all. Though I have no idea what that feels like, I am positive that in the next life, they will have an abundance of children to love. This life is like a grain of sand on the seashore...so teeny!  There is so much more in store for us than this Earthly life. Those are the thoughts that got me through times when I wasn't sure if we would be able to have more...this life is not the end. If we could only see what the Lord has in store for us. . .

*Also, one piece of advice: if you are going through a miscarriage/hard time, tell someone! Don't keep it a secret. You don't need to suffer alone. You need a girlfriend besides your hubby to talk to about it..you need a hug and a warm meal from someone. Don't be afraid to share a hard time with someone and allow someone to help you in a time of need. You will not only be blessed but the person serving you will also be. I hate it when I find out someone I know had a miscarriage like forever ago! I think, oh no, I could've helped her out! I wish she would have told me! Us women...we love each other and want to be there for each other! We are amazing like that.

Monday, August 01, 2016

Nauvoo 2016!

One of the first things we told the kids when we told them we were moving to Iowa was how close we would be to Nauvoo(they were thrilled!) They really have a special love of Nauvoo since our first trip a couple of years ago. Its not Disneyland...or even that super exciting as far as what kids typically LOVE...so it has always made Joey and I smile that our kids have this special love of this town. I think its a mix of the Spirit that you feel there...the fun activities...and just that special feeling of going back in time and living the way the pioneers did and learning about them. It is a neat place to visit for us Mormon folk ;) Anyways, we had a wonderful time going again! I think the highlights were trying fudge from the Nauvoo Fudge Factory for the first time(wowsas), the girls meeting Dakota Stripling(He's cute. He sings. And he's a missionary at Nauvoo right now...), stilts which they can't get enough of and have actually gotten dang good at, dancing with the boys at the fair(Aubrey and Ella;), all of the fun kids activities at the fair,  old fashioned root beer, the girls getting "engaged" haha, me securing us BOMB seats for the pageant, and checking out the British Pageant for the first time. The original is better, but it was neat to see this version of it too. Anyways, can't wait for the next time already!

Here are some of my favorite pics! All forty something of them. Sorry I really have a hard time narrowing down pics...

















































Thursday, July 21, 2016

4th of July at LHF

 We had a SUPER fun and memorable 4th of July this year! We decided to finally visit the Living History Farms here(like Nauvoo as far as it being an old timey town where you learn about history...but on a much less grand scale) A friend of mine from church told me about how on July 4th they have lots of fun activities..so I am so glad we chose to go on this day! It was so fun! From the stilts, to the watermelon seed spitting contest, to the pie eating contests with real pie(Joey and Joe both won! Joe got first and Joey got second :), to sack races, 3 legged races, a parade where the younger kids were even involved, to getting to watch a little bit of a re-enactment of an old fashioned baseball game, it was an All-American day. It was extra fun to share it with Nana & Tata! Joey got some great photos of this fun day. I think this will be a new tradition while we live here in Iowa for sure.