Friday, November 16, 2012

Half Baked!

20 weeks!!! Baby is officially "half baked". We've made it to the halfway point, as of today, and this little peanut had his or her own little celebration in there today by furiously kicking and dancing around on my bladder! (You go right ahead though killer, you deserve it!)

Yesterday was our Big Anatomy Scan. I tried so hard to stay busy during the day, but I was still a nervous wreck all day and it felt like the hours went by in super slow motion. We finally made it to 3:30 though, and Josh and I headed over to the office.

As I mentioned before, our ultrasound was scheduled in the same office as our scan with Lily was, so it was definitely hard even driving into the parking lot. I remember the exact spot we parked in at that appointment, and as we drove past it and purposely didn't park there, I'm sure we both vividly remembered that walk back to our car after learning of Lily's passing.

Going into the office was no easier, and waiting in the waiting room for almost an hour certainly wasn't easy, but I think walking into that room and seeing that same fish tank that lit up the wall in our scan with Lily was really what made me start to shake. I could barely function enough to get situated on the exam table, but I did, and as Josh held my hand and we looked at that screen, we both let out a huge sigh of relief once we instantly saw the baby squirming on the screen above us.

It got better and better as the tech checked each little body part, starting with the heart (all was well!), then the brain (this was another fear I had after our experience with Ember, but it was perfect!), then all the organs and limbs (all there and accounted for!). Then she got to the "goods" as we will delicately call it, and Josh and I obediently closed our eyes for what seemed like a VERY long time (I just wanted to keep watching our baby move around up there!). We are still Team Green and will not be finding out the sex until the delivery, which I got even more excited about after a friend delivered her baby girl yesterday and it was a complete surprise!

For those who are interested, Josh is 100% convinced it is a girl, and the kids and I are 100% convinced it is a boy. Since all four of us have a track record of being completely wrong, I don't really know what to think. I didn't even know I was carrying twins until I was five months pregnant, so I'm obviously not too "in tune" with my body, but take our guesses for what they're worth!

Here is a great profile picture of our little surprise, and though we don't agree on if it is a boy face or a girl face, we all agree it is a beautiful face...

And here is a picture of baby's foot...for those of you who aren't "ultrasound savvy", I promise, it is indeed a foot. When I got the picture from the tech, I stopped in my tracks when I realized I have an identical picture of Lily's little foot from her last ultrasound.

Here are two little feet (I promise, that's what you're looking at)!

And finally, this is the baby's arm, flexing his or her big muscle. ;)

Of all people, I know how easy it is to say "God is good" when your situation is good, when things are good, when you've just received wonderful news, so my saying how wonderful God is to give us the blessing of a healthy baby and a healthy pregnancy so far may sound trite or shallow or disingenuous, but for those of you who have followed our very long and very painful journey to get here, I think you will understand how very heartfelt it is when I say this...

God. Is. Good.

I prayed in the waiting room before going into that scan that God would stick close to us, no matter what kind of news we got, no matter how we'd feel walking back out of that office. I remembered how my life changed forever the last time I walked out of it, how my relationship with the Lord deepened and my view of the world and my children and life in general was permanently altered that day. I prayed that He would please, please, please allow us to leave this office with good memories, but that if we once again were asked to do something hard, that He would stay close by, that I would be able to still believe that, "God is good" even if I didn't feel it at the time.

When I first learned of this pregnancy, I was devastated. I was not devastated at the thought of a beautiful, healthy baby, of course not. I was devastated at thought, the belief, that I would be forced to endure another incredibly painful loss, another heartbreak, another blow to my faith and my family. I was broken. For months I felt that way. I felt a complete detachment to this baby, not because I wanted to, but because I needed to in order to cope. I don't feel guilty about that, and I don't believe I should. I knew that if I did lose this pregnancy, that the pain would be just as real and just as present and just as sharp as it was with the others, no matter how I had guarded myself. I also knew that if God allowed this baby to grow and thrive and get to a point where I could see them growing and moving and feel them kick and wiggle and respond to Eisley's new Taylor Swift CD with jabs and tiny little dance moves, I knew I would fall in love. I knew that I wouldn't be able to help it.

I couldn't.

I'm in love with that chin, with that nose. I'm in love with those arms and legs and tiny feet that look exactly like Lily's did on her ultrasound. I fall deeper in love every time I feel a tickle or a wiggle or a not so comfortable jab to my nether region. I can't help it.

For Josh, those feelings are coming, but he doesn't get to feel what I'm feeling yet (emotionally that is, I'm not talking about a jab to his nether region, though I'm tempted at times to demonstrate it for him). I know he'll get there too, the first time he gets to feel a kick from the outside or sees my belly jolt from a baby dance move. I know for sure he'll fall head over heels when he gets to hold her ('s totally a him, but whatever) for the first time, when he gets to see the doctor hold her (him) up and tell me I was totally right, it is a boy! ;) But for now, he's still a bit guarded, but so incredibly thankful for the good news we got yesterday.

The fact that we are slowly but surely attaching to this pregnancy, to this child, to this reality, does not by any means erase our sharp awareness that things can still go wrong. No one knows that better than we do. But, this was a big milestone for us, and I could tell that even the kids relaxed a lot when they got the news that the baby looks healthy. On that note, I would like to share with you the most precious letter that Eisley wrote me while she was at school yesterday, knowing we were having our Big Ultrasound.

How sweet is that girl?? I'm so proud of both Jake and Eisley for how strong they have been during this process, but I'm mostly thankful for the encouragement they have been to me and Josh. I don't know what we would do without them.

So...all in all...a great day! I'm trying to enjoy each moment as it comes, but truthfully now I'm even more anxious to hold this baby in my arms and shower it with a million thankful tears!

Thank you so much for your prayers, especially yesterday. We felt them and are so thankful for the awesome friends and family we have!

Sunday, November 11, 2012


19 weeks and 3 days.

That's how long I have had with this baby. That was exactly how long I had with Lily.

I knew, when I first got pregnant with this little one, that if by some miracle I made it this far, I would have a mix of bittersweet emotions about it.

Sweet...this baby is officially bigger than Lily ever was. He or she has made it farther than she was able to. This week I finally felt the baby kicking me, wiggling around, assuring me that they are still alive and well. There is nothing, nothing, nothing as amazing as feeling your child move around inside you. It's something I remember distinctly grieving for after the twins were born. I missed it so much, the feeling of them safe and snug and moving around in there. Last night while Josh and I were driving the baby kicked so hard and so uncomfortably that I squealed in surprise (and some pain too) when it happened. It wasn't a comfortable feeling at all! But it was the most wonderful feeling too. Every time I feel a wiggle, I can breathe a sigh of relief and chant inwardly, "Still alive. Still alive. Still alive."

Bitter...this baby is officially bigger than Lily ever was. He or she has made it farther than she was able to. It  may seem like that shouldn't feel sad, but it absolutely does. This baby has outgrown his or her big sister. They have outlived her. This week, I finally felt the baby kicking me. I never felt Lily move, not once. The first time I felt this baby kick I was lying in bed reading with Josh next to me, and I jumped and exclaimed, "I just felt the baby!!! Finally! Oh my gosh I'm so relieved!" Then, almost instantly, the realization came to me...Lily was so close. So. Close. Days away. If she had lived just a few more days, I would have felt her kick too. I just missed it.

Every single milestone, every single happy moment and healthy ultrasound, every single day is tainted with a small amount of grief. It just is. Yesterday was my birthday, and would have been Lily's first birthday had she not gotten tangled in that cord, had that freak thing not happened, had God allowed her to live...but she did get tangled, and that freak thing did happen, and the Lord had other plans for her. So yesterday she didn't turn one, she didn't turn anything, she never had a birthday and she never will. But I will continue to have them every year, until I don't, and every year I will think of her, and what could have been. Not necessarily what should have been, I'm not saying that, but it is impossible not to think about what could have been.

But instead of celebrating our birthdays together, I celebrated without her. And I felt her little sister or brother wiggle around inside me, and I marveled at the irony that I am at the exact point in my pregnancy now as I was with Lily when I lost her on the very day of the year that reminds me most of her absence. I couldn't have planned that if I tried.

There are a lot of things about this pregnancy that are eerily similar to Lily, so it is of course hard to separate the way they might end. We found out at our mid-point anatomy scan that Lily had passed away. I was just shy of 19 weeks pregnant. Josh's sister and her husband were in Africa. My sister was traveling. I hadn't yet felt her move.

This baby's scan was originally scheduled for last week. I was just shy of 19 weeks pregnant. Josh's sister and her husband are, believe it or not, in Africa. My sister was traveling. I had not yet felt the baby move. It is scheduled at the same place, the exact same office, that our scan with Lily was.

Now I'm not superstitious, but I think even the most skeptical of you will raise your eyebrows at the similar circumstances. And in case you were wondering, yes, it was in fact too much for me and I rescheduled it for a week later hiding behind the excuse that Eisley had another commitment that I wanted to be at. So sue me.

I'm praying that this anatomy scan ultrasound is as different as night and day from the one we had with Lily. I'm praying it will be an hour we can enjoy and bond with this little one as Josh sees him or her moving around on ultrasound for the first time. I'm praying this baby is actually alive when she puts that probe on my belly and we see a beautiful, fast, flickering heart beat and I have to stop the ultrasound tech for a moment because I'm crying tears of joy over it. I'm praying there's nothing wrong, and that it is a wonderfully uneventful hour.

But the fear that it won't go that way, the fear that it will be a repeat of what happened with Lily, a nightmare I can't wake up from...that fear is something I struggle with daily.

Here is what I am afraid of: I am afraid this baby will die. I am afraid there will be something traumatically wrong with it. I am afraid that I will never be able to trust the Lord again if either of those things happen. I am afraid my marriage will suffer, my relationships will suffer, my walk with the Lord will suffer. I am afraid I do not have the capability to grieve another tiny grave. I am afraid we have grossly misunderstood the Lord's calling these past few years and our family is in for yet another heart ache we will struggle to make sense of.

Here is what I am not afraid of: I am not afraid that I won't bond with or adore this child, despite my fears and reservations. I am 100% positive that no matter what my survival instinct is doing to keep me a functioning member of society, every shield I have put up around my heart to guard it from the pain and gripping fears this pregnancy has brought me will be shattered into a million pieces once this child is in my arms. I am not afraid one bit that I might not love him or her, that I might not feel the connection I did with my other children, that I might not unabashedly fall head over heels for this baby, even if right now I have to force a smile on my face when people ask me how the pregnancy is going.

So while things are very bittersweet, they are mostly sweet, because right now I have a seemingly healthy, wiggling, growing baby inside me, and that is a miracle in itself. I am so thankful for that. I am also thankful for about a million other things, so while this part of my life is a challenge, my life is truly, wonderfully good right now.

And this little peanut is growing more every day! Still sporting a very alien-esque vibe right now, but that's okay. :)

And here is a shot of the baby doing some sort of yoga stretch...

And finally, here is me, 19 weeks pregnant, finally taking some pictures so there is proof of it someday. :)

 Just kidding, just kidding. That was actually me as "Juno" at our annual Halloween Costume Party last week posing with Audrey Hepburn. I will say that's pretty much exactly what I looked like in my last month with the twins...but I'm not quite there yet. ;)

Here is what I actually look like. Trying hard to smile but kind of looking forced now that I see it for myself...

If you think of us, please pray for this week's ultrasound. It will be a really tough day and hopefully will turn out to be a wonderful one. We'd appreciate extra prayers as this week is already filled with anxiety over it! Thank you for continuing to follow our little soap opera! I'll keep you posted!