Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Grief & Guilt

Grief & Guilt...why are they always tied together like peanut butter and jelly?  It seems like you always hear people expressing so much guilt over losing loved ones and yet the reality is - we could not change the past even if we wanted to.  The truth is, it's hard to remember that when you're in the midst of your "trial &/or loss" and I am no exception. Of course, I think mine is just a little different, in that my guilt is in wondering if it would have been different if we would have only implanted one embryo verses two? Would we have been in the same situation burying a child, or would we just have our little Alexis and living life as it is now?  The other side of my guilt is, I'm trying really hard not to have so much guilt over not going to Bridgette's grave in the last two months.  It just seems that I have really struggled with making that trip.  I think about her and going every day (and I wanted to go) but then I simply found other things to do.  Guess this means, I have to remind myself that I too cannot change anything... it is what it is and in order to get past this hard time in our lives I just continue to remind myself that it could have been so much worse.  I am forever grateful for our little Alexis, but at the same time I am so protective that I have to remember she is a gift from God, and trust that He will keep her safe from harm. 

I finally made that trip and went today to visit the graves (we have more than one buried in this cemetery).  I was literally nauseated because there were weeds growing through the flowers on Bridgette's grave.  As I sat and wept, trying to pull weeds in my dress clothes, I felt such a gentle breeze surge through my body.  It was as if she was right there with me.  I paused and found myself soaking in the breeze.  I know that may sounds silly to most, but I think it was a gentle reminder that she's always so close to me, and forever in my heart, even though she's not in my arms. I want to think it was her way of acknowledging that I was there.  Reality is, we live in a windy state and honestly I know some that read this will think I'm crazy and say it was just the wind; and maybe that's correct, but for me I'll simply continue to think it was her & the good Lord sending me a breeze of peace. (smile)

As I sat there this morning, I was reminded of a Bible verse, "Blessed are they that mourn; for they shall be comforted" (Matthew 5:4).  I feel this verse is a reminder that God is with me, comforting me and that it is okay for me to still mourn.  I do not know what, or if, there is an acceptable time period for grief.  I would beg to question whether or not you could put a time frame on how long you are to mourn the loss of a child, or any loved one?  I do know (from experience) that it gets easier as the days go by.  I believe everyone is different; but I most definitely believe that everyone must grieve their losses or they will end up bitter and angry. I know that for a fact because I was that way several years ago after about the 7th loss we experienced.  Honestly, none of them were easy, but, [by far] this was the hardest one for me. This will also cause so many problems between you and your spouse if you're not careful... I know it did for me and my husband years ago and sometimes, even to this day, we are so different in the way that we grieve, that if we let it, it could cause hardship between us.  Of course, the devil sees this as a weak link in our life and tries to use it against us; but we have to make the decision to not allow him to penetrate our marriage and stay strong in our faith and press-on.... trust me when I say - some days are harder than others... and I'm sure it's not easy living with me....(big smile)

Although you cannot change the past, no matter how bad you want to, or wish you could; you can change your today and every day thereafter.  It starts with a conscious choice and decision and I am trying to make the very best of every day.  I know I'm making mistakes because I'm human; but I am so thankful for the chance to make a mistake as a Mom and not just "wishing" for a baby like years before....

A couple of scriptures that have helped me during this time are: "He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.”  (Rev 21:4)


He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds. (Psalm 147:3)

Regardless of what you're going through I just hope that you will find the strength to turn to God and let Him help you through it - I know He is the only thing that is seeing me through this difficult time.


Thursday, May 24, 2012

My First Mother's Day (A little late)

MOM is a word I've longed to be called for almost 15 years and finally this Mother's Day it happened.  I was officially recognized as a Mom at church Sunday.  It was the most amazing feeling in the world. 

My hubby went on a hunting trip for a couple of days and returned on Saturday to leave me and my sweet girl, Alexis to spend some quality time together.  As you can imagine, I spent most of my days mesmerized by her existence and mere beauty.  I spend a lot of time just watching her sleep or watching those big blue eyes bouncing back and forth looking around.

I have some big shoes to fill when it comes to being a Mother.  I hope I'm 1/2 the Mother my Mom has been to me... she's never changing and her love is never ending, no matter what I did wrong! I want to teach Alexis all the things my Mom taught me and am still learning from her... that is one thing I can honestly say -  being a mom is never-ending but it's so worth it!! Where I once was empty I am now full and where I once had a hole it is now closed.  I carry a different absence from the loss of Bridgette and I'll always love and miss her but I am forever grateful for Alexis. 

Today I returned to work for 1/2 days.  WOW that was hard to walk out the door knowing I was not taking my baby girl with me - but luckily we have an amazing nanny (Ashley) who made the day SO MUCH easier.  I honestly don't think Alexis missed me - she went from my arms to snuggling right up in Ashley's arms... it was evident that Ashley is the right pick to watch and nurture our baby girl! Just one more thing I am so thankful to the good Lord for!!

(May 24, 2012)
WOW, I just realized that I never finished this post... which is so surprising since it was such an amazing day I've waited forever for!! Soooo... I'll simply finish it now & just add a little extra... (big smile)

Ryan and I were just talking Tuesday about how different our lives are now from just a year ago.  Although we have been through a lot of hurt, we cannot explain how wonderful it is to have so much joy at the same time.  All of the hurt does not compare to all of the joy we are receiving, and the fullness we have by God's great gift of being Alexis' parents.  Don't get me wrong, it doesn't take away the pain, but it certainly makes every day bearable when our little girl looks up at me with those big beautiful blue eyes and smiles.  I'll admit, these last couple of weeks have been hard for me and I've shed a quiet-a-few tears thinking/missing our Bridgette; but I also know without a shadow of a doubt she's in God's arms and watching over all of us. 

We feel like our story is meant to touch someone - and even if we never find out how, who, or even why, we will continue to trust God's plan and share until he directs me in a differently.  I trust that He has convicted my heart to continue to write and expose the vulnerable side of our lives with so many strangers for a reason.  So, who am I to question Him when He has been faithful to me and given me exactly what I asked for... "one child".   

"We prayed for this child and the Lord has granted us what we asked of Him" (1 Samuel 1:27)

There is a song that has really hit home of late..... Tears are a language God understands....
God sees the tears of a brokenhearted soul
He sees your tears and hears them when they fall
God weeps along with man and He takes him by the hand
Tears are a language God understands.

When grief has left you low it causes tears to flow
When things have not turned out the way that you had planned
But God won't forget you His promises are true
And tears are a language God understands.

Although I have days when I cry I also know that it will get better with time.  I share that because I want you to know that whatever your pain, whatever your burden, just know that there is a God who holds the bigger picture and knows just how much you can and cannot handle; and He will NEVER give you more than He can see you through!! You just have to trust in Him.

Cast your burden on the Lord, and he shall sustain you: he shall never suffer the righteous to be moved (Psalm 55:22)



I woke up thinking this morning about how it's sad that we live in such a selfish world when we serve such a unselfish God... if only we could strive to be more like him think of how better our days would be... no more strife between families, friends and in the world period... I may not "forget" what someone has done to me but I definitely will "forgive" them. Life is too short to carry around anything except the positives - plus, now I have to be a good example for a very special little girl; and that changes everything!

I don't forgive because I'm weak - but I forgive because I'm strong enough to know that everyone makes mistakes.
Today's Verse: If you do good to those who are good to you, what credit is that to you? Even "sinners" do that. (Luke 6:33)

Ryan, Candye & Alexis (& Bridgette, RIP 1/4/2012)

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Alexis' 2 Mo Appointment

Dear Family & Friends,

I promise you, there is not a day that goes by that I am not in amazement at Ms. Alexis.  She has amazed me since the day she was born.  But, she amazed everyone, including doctors, from the day she was born.  She has always been so tentative and animated with her smiles and facial expressions.  As you can see, she was making a face that was priceless - especially to consider that I was talking to her about her upcoming appointment where she would be getting shots.  I swear she understands me.  I know she probably doesn't but she certainly has me fooled already... (LOL).
Today we had to go in for her 2 month appointment & we scheduled her 4 month appointment before we left.  Just in awe at how fast time flies.

She weighed in at 8lbs 8ozs and is 20 1/2" long.  She is officially on the growth chart for weight but not quiet there for the height yet.  Of course, we're not too worried about it, because in our eyes she is absolutely perfect and shows continued growth.

“From the fullness of grace we have received one blessing after another” - John 1:16

As you can see, Her and Daddy were having a fine time while we were waiting on the doctor to come in... (see picture on the left)

After the appointment, she was pouting, not very happy about the three (3) shots she got.. I admit it, I do believe I cried harder than she did!  Daddy was our hero (as always)... he came in to rescue both of us and wipe our tears... so grateful for a strong man in our life. 

And, ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. (Ephesians 6:4)

As you can tell, she is by far not lacking any love and attention.  She is truly the apple of our eye and has become my "snuggle bug".  She and I have spent the last few weeks bonding and I am sad that I have to return to work - but it's for the best for all of us.. especially her; otherwise she will grow up poor... (haha).

I'm sure you haven't noticed or anything.... but I try to take a lot of pictures.  I'm trying to capture as much as I can; and documenting these days for her (and for us).  I spend a lot of time just staring at her (and yes, I still cry when I look at her); and I cannot believe she is really here.  I have waited forever for this little angel and she has no clue how she has made our life complete.  From just a thought/dream to now a reality - our dreams have come true & she is proof that miracles do happen & prayers are answered - all you need is a little faith and lots of determination and perseverance. 

I'm sure you can only imagine that this Mother's Day is going to be so special for me.  I will actually be acknowledged as a Mother - where all the years before, even though in my heart I knew I was a Mother - it wasn't acknowledged because we had no living children.  This year I can proudly say I am a Mother.  Even if I never receive a gift it will not matter because I was given the greatest gift ever when these girls were born on March 8th, 2012; and for that I am full and satisfied.  Thank you, Lord, for hearing my cries and answering my prayers... thank you for these gifts you have bestowed upon me. 

Until next time, please continue to keep us in your prayers. 

“We prayed for this child and the Lord has granted us what we asked of Him.” – I Samuel 1:27

Ryan, Candye, Alexis (& Bridgette, RIP 1/4/12)

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Unplanned Blessings

I just logged into my blogger and it apparently has undergone a make-over; one that will take a little time to adjust to - but it's like facebook - I cannot see complaining since it's a free service I utilize. :)

I cannot believe it is May already.  It seems like just yesterday we were celebrating the new year???  I also cannot believe my baby girl is almost 2 months old.  Time is really flying by. 

Well, Alexis & I took our first trip alone... yep, all alone.  We traveled over 400 miles just the two of us and I will admit I was as nervous as a long-tailed cat in a room full of rocking chairs (lol).. however, I don't believe she was the least bit nervous (ha).  She really did very well, considering.  We did stop a lot more frequently than I expected, but I think a lot of that was just for peace of mind for me. It was worth it though to see the look on my families face.. they were definitely surprised. 

Although this was an unplanned (surprise) trip - God knew I would be there and he planted us there for a reason.  We went to visit with my sister's fiance's father (who is in a nursing home).  It was an awesome visit but we had a little surprise ourselves.  While there a lady (resident of the home) came in to say hello.  She is a very young lady (early 40's with down-syndrome).  She seen the baby and just lit up with the most beautiful smile I have ever seen on anyone.  She asked if someone would take a picture of her and the baby.  Of course we said yes. (Picture on left) 

She sat on the bed beside me and that is when it all unfolded....
She held the baby and there was a glow about them both... she was so happy and Alexis was so content! Then I faintly heard her saying something to Alexis - being the nosey person I am - I leaned over to listen.  That's when tears began to flow down my cheeks.  She was praying over Alexis but it wasn't just any prayer - her exact words were "Lord Jesus you know the Mommy waited on this baby for a very long time and so you have to keep her safe and protect her all the days of her life"... tell me God doesn't work in mysterious ways.  He used a complete stranger to send me comfort.  You see, I had never met this person before - she did not know me or my story. I am still in awe.  As most know, my biggest fear had/has been that we would lose Alexis too (since we've lost Bridgette); so yes, I am very protective (as would any parents who have experienced the losses we have).  But this prayer was a comfort to my soul and a conformation that it's all in His plan and hands. The ironic thing is, she probably has no clue that God used her and was such a blessing to me. 

My message to you is to simply remember that everything is in His plan and everything happens according to that plan, not ours.  I know we do not always understand why things happen, and a lot of times we blame it on "misfortune" or "bad luck," but I firmly believe that during our most difficult times is when God is trying to reach us and out of every test comes a Testimony!! Something great is about to happen!!

“From the fullness of grace we have received one blessing after another” - John 1:16

Ryan, Candye & Alexis (& Bridgette, RIP 1/4/12)