Monday, June 25, 2012

Footprints on her heart....

I just love this picture. And to think... one day her feet will be as big as's already unbelievable how fast she's growing... even harder to imagine us sharing shoes one day. :)

I took this picture because it hit me this weekend; I really need to be careful which paths I take today knowing one day she may want to walk in my footprints.... that's a lot of pressure!

The question I asked myself this weekend is tied to what could become one of my biggest fears if I am not careful, "what will the impacts of my footprints today be on my daughter's heart and life in the future.... " Will she see the kind of person she will strive to grow up to be? I certainly hope so. I want to be a role-model for her. I want to be the one she can share all of her dreams, fears, tears, and laughter with, and so much more...

I have always tried to be a good example for my nieces/nephews; however, they do not live with me day in/day out, so I have never felt this kind of pressure, knowing that every day my daughter is going to be watching my every move, what I say, how I react, etc....... it certainly makes one stop and really think about the person they are.  That's exactly what I've done the last couple of days... reflected on the person I am today.  I can certainly admit I may not have always done the right things in my past, but thank God that's why they call it "the past".  All I can do is ask for forgiveness and strive not to make the same mistakes again.  I wish everyone was that way.  Unfortunately, I know we all know a few people who can't seem to let go of the past nor admit when they're wrong and it makes it so hard to move forward.  I'm sure, if you're honest, each one of you reading this have done or said something you wish you wouldn't have and that you could take it back.  I recall my Grandma Story once told me, "be careful what you say, because words spoken can never be taken back".  Boy, isn't that the truth.  Same way with your actions - once you do it you can't undo it. I've learned over the last decade that actions speak louder than words.  They can also hurt more than words.  Sometimes it's what's not said that speaks volumes.  Why is that so hard for some to understand?
Which is why not only do I have to be careful of my own footprints, but also whom I expose my daughter to.  I know I may not always be able to shelter her from the storms, but I can certainly make sure she has the right equipment to protect herself when I'm not around.  With everything I do for her now and with her, I remind myself that Her foundation today will be what she will stand on tomorrow
Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it. (Proverbs 22:6)
I've always tried to live by the "Golden-Rule" (do unto others as you would have them do unto you); and although I'm human and have fallen short from time to time, I can honestly say I'm proud of who I am and what I stand for.  We are proudly teaching our daughter to put God first in her life.  We want that to be her foundation that she makes all of her decisions on and where she draws her strength from. 
Whereas there is a laundry list of things I want to teach her, two other things that are of the utmost importance for me is, 1) to not hold a grudge 2) forgive quickly.  I personally know wounds can leave you with lasting feelings of anger and bitterness; and in the end if you don't forgive and move on, ultimately you are the one that sacrifices the most.  I want to teach Alexis that forgiveness is a noble thing.  I certainly do not want her to be a door-mat, nor arrogant, but I want her to learn that forgiveness is for her own peace of mind and not others.  I once had a very special person tell me that "forgiveness doesn’t mean you deny the other person’s responsibility for hurting you, nor forget the act, and it doesn’t minimize or justify the wrong, but you can forgive the person without excusing the act. It simply means that you do not carry the burden and ultimately carry a grudge over it".  Those can become heavy fast.  I believe that's pretty sound advice to pass on.  I know it has allowed me to rise above those who have hurt me; and it's also made me sadly realize that sometimes you have to simply cut ties and let go of those "anchors" in order to not sink with them, because some people simply cannot let go and forgive.
It's funny.... I often start these blogs with one intention in mind but never knowing how they will end.  I just let me heart do the typing and today is evidence of that.... I guess in the end my hope is that they'll make sense & hopefully help you along the way too... (big smile).
Until next time.... please continue to pray for us....and we'll continue to keep you updated as we continue our amazing journey.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Family Update 06-21-2012

Daddy in waiting....
It's been quiet a journey to-date and it just keeps getting better! We laughed yesterday as I took pictures to document our recent journey.... mainly because we joked that Ryan's motto from here on out will more than likely be... "Waiting On A Woman"... considering that he now has a daughter too!  Poor guy.... :)) 
First, I have to share the picture of Ryan & Alexis from Father's Day.  Clearly this is another "first" that we got to experience in this new journey. I  certainly consider myself blessed beyond measure to have these two in my life!
Daddy & Alexis, 6-17-12
Now onto our update... and a Praise Report. 
Yesterday we were faced with what we're going to call "a slight bump" in our journey.  It started a few weeks back when a dear friend of mine brought it to our attention that Alexis had a semi-flat spot on the right side of her head.  When we went in for a checkup with our family doctor we pointed it out.

Our doctor wanted to confirm the sutures were not closing prematurely.  Something I did not know is an infant's skull is made up of six separate cranial bones (the frontal bone, the occipital bone, two parietal bones, and two temporal bones). These bones are held together by strong, fibrous, elastic tissues called cranial sutures. The sutures and fontanelles are needed for the infant's brain growth and development.  So you can see where the need to address this sooner rather than later was critical.  
Morning Feeding
CT Scan
As a precautionary measure she had to undergo a CT Scan yesterday. Of course, the first place we turned to was our God.  Then our family, friends, and church family began praying for her. On Sunday night (before her procedure) we had her prayed for at our church. I wish you could have seen all of the "little hands" (kids) that came up and prayed for her. It was such a beautiful and amazing moment. If you don't believe in the miracle of prayers, you should; especially when they are prayed with the unwavering faith of a child.

At first they told us they would (more than likely) sedate her to avoid too much exposure to the radiation. Turns out it was not needed and our baby girl simply ate a full bottle and slept through the whole thing.  I cannot lie, I was concerned.  Deep down I trusted & believed that God was in control, but I also admit that I was scared.  I hate to admit it, and I do not want to give the devil credit, but I was worried.  However, I am elated to report that we received results this morning and they are "normal".  Actually, the report stated there were NO ABNORMALITIES.  I joked with my sister this morning that on the bright side - it is now officially documented that Alexis is normal... despite how she turns out in the future, we can honestly say that she was normal at least at some point in her life (lol). 
Dress-up in Mommy's pearls
Afterwards, we went home to change clothes so we could go run errands and make some long awaited visits to some really special people. We got a little side-tracked and started playing dress-up, which was SO much fun! But got back on-track quick so Daddy wasn't "waiting" on us yet again. :)

For a couple of months we had been meaning to go see Dr. Tjaden (IVF doctor) and his staff which helped make our dreams a reality.   
Alexis, Dr. Tjaden & Megan (RN)
We dropped off some stuff at the NICU department, stopped to see Dr. Wolfe, and then headed over to see Dr. Tjaden and team. They were so excited to meet her. This group of people will definitely remain in our lives forever!  I have been telling Alexis that she's going to grow up to be a doctor, just like Dr. Tjaden.  We have been patients of Dr. Tjaden's for over 15 years and it's simply hard not to develop relationships after that long.  We just love them all.

Remember a few blogs ago when we had to make that trip to Texas for a very sad, but special funeral; & Alexis decided to "burp" at the most inopportune time (just as they started playing Taps)?  Well, we now have yet another embarrassing moment in time... just as Dr. Tjaden was holding her, loving her & coo'ing over her... she decides to not burp....but yep, you guessed it... she looked up at him with those big, beautiful, blue eyes, smiled that infamous gorgeous smile, and then passed gas... not once but twice!! God bless her little digestive tract it's all working just fine.  I'm sure when she's all grown up - reading these, she'll so appreciate that I took it upon myself to share these "incidents" with everyone! One thing is for sure - there is never a dull moment with her! :))

Last, but certainly not least or any less important on the adventures yesterday, we stopped by to see our sweet Bridgette and take her a new wind-chime.  I admit I cried thinking how I so wish we could have been introducing her to the IVF team yesterday too, but I know it simply wasn't in the bigger plan.  
One thing I have learned throughout my years in this journey we all call "life," is that - you simply don't always get to choose the outcome to every situation.  But, if you are steadfast in your Faith, then I am convinced that every trial you overcome will become yet another testimony for you to share with someone else who may need encouraging.

Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial, because when he has stood the test, he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him. (James 1:12)
And, if we will just trust in Him, it is scriptural that He gives us the strength to face our challenges ...

He will keep you strong to the end, so that you will be blameless on the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. God, who has called you into fellowship with His Son Jesus Christ our Lord, is faithful. (1 Corinthians 1:8-9)

As always, thank you so much for following our story and mostly for keeping us in your prayers.  Until next time... never under-estimate the power of prayer!

And whatever you ask in prayer, you will receive, if you have faith (Matthew 21:22)

Friday, June 8, 2012

3 Months Today....

 Seems there's so much that has happened since my last blog in just a little over a week ago.... I keep saying I am going to try and blog more... guess we'll see how that goes... :)

I have been in a state of "reflection" lately - just a true reflection of my life for the last 19+ years... some things I'm proud of and some things...oh not so much! But aren't we all that way?  I know you all are just like me, there are some things you have said or done that you wish you could take a huge eraser to; and other times you wish you would have had a Big Chief tablet and crayons to make the message a little more loud & clear for some! (lol)  Even through all of it, I think I'm most fond of my mistakes.  Not because they high-light my weaknesses or they show my ignorance, but because they have made me who I am today and pushed me to become the person I am...of which, I have to admit, I am quiet fond of!  I do love me! I know some of you are probably rolling your eyes, and that's okay, but I'll tell you like my mom used to tell me - "keep on and your face will stick that way"... (gosh I can't wait to use some of those lines on my daughter) haha! Seriously, I do love who I am today and am so thankful for all God has graced me with.  I have more than riches can buy.

I was going through pictures on my phone today and even seen some from pre-Alexis days; (which really made me laugh) and they only enhanced the "thinking train".  Pre-Alexis, we had several people warn us that having a baby would change our lives and the freedom we were so accustomed to would certainly end.  Whereas we appreciated the insight (from their perspective and always love the advise...and oh have we received a lot of but in our experience that's so far from the truth.  I will not disagree that she has definitely changed our lives (but for the better).  However, our "freedom" has not been changed it's simply been altered.  Now our adventures are accompanied with one extra little set of feet and an angel watching over us. I'd say that's an awesome change and gladly take it any day!  It's true, Alexis goes everywhere with us; and agreed, at this age it's a little hard for her to voice her opinion...but let's just say she doesn't seem to "throw a fit" and enjoys our life-style.  (I reserve the right to make a change to this in approximately 5 - 7 years)

In just three months, she has taken two trips to Texas; one at just over 4 weeks and the other at 6 weeks old.  She goes to all of the barrel races with me...and to top it off, we even took her to the river (over the Memorial Day weekend) when she was only 11 weeks old - (see picture with Maddison - her river buddy).  This is where we discovered her love for the outdoors; she was at such peace down there and not fussy at all! Yes, this is also where we were called "brave AND crazy".... (ha)

My point is, whoever tells you that a baby changes your life, know that that is true. There are changes such as: sleepless nights (not that we would know because our little darling sleeps 5 - 6 hours a night); you pack everything except the kitchen sink when you go anywhere (even just to the store).  But, from someone who has experience now, if you forget something, and trust me... You Will Forget, (oh, say the nipples to the bottles) you will be creative and that motherly instinct will kick in finding yourself utilizing whatever you have to in order to ensure your baby isn't hungry (like a medicine dropper).  (big smile) 

Looking back, it is so funny how I was so worried that I would not be a good Mom...or that I would not posses those "motherly instincts"; when in reality, if I do say so myself, I think I have done alright.  She is never hungry, wet or dirty for long, and she has more love (and clothes) than she can imagine & I haven't left her anywhere..... I'd say that's at least a pretty good start. (smile)

She is growing like a weed and just continues to amaze us.  She is SO full of personality.  At our last doctor's visit she weighed 10 lbs 2 ozs, 22 inches long... it's hard to imagine that she was once 4 lbs 3 ozs and only 17 inches long.  I cannot believe that today she is 3 months old (officially at 4:19 pm).  She is changing every day and it is amazing how her personality is really starting to show.  She's getting so animated and really cooo'ing a lot more now.  I can not wait until she starts talking (I also reserve the right to make a modification to this statement in approximately 2-3 years) (big smile)

As I mentioned earlier - I have been reflecting on a lot of things lately, for various reasons, but mostly in just awe & amazement at how far we've come from where we were just 11 short years ago, when we were given the devastating news that we would probably never be parents.  This was a surgery I had to have because we were losing (yet another) baby.  I can still remember coming out of that surgery like it was yesterday (actually was November 2001).  I also remember how I cried and how I thought there was truly no purpose for my life.  I honestly could not imagine what I had done that was so bad that I would not get to be a mom.  I thought God must have surely hated me.  Although I could not see it then, that we were being set up for an amazing journey later in life, I could see that there was a tough road ahead of me and I had some choices to make.  Did I always make the right choices?  No (and this is where the big eraser was really needed).  Sure, I questioned why we had to endure so many losses and even more recently had to endure the costs of IVF only to lose yet another one... but I feel like God gently reminds me that He DID give me what I asked for... and that was ONE (1) Child!!  So who am I to question God?  Yes, I'm human and I have a lot of questions, but in the end I truly only want to focus on the positive and what is in the here and now, because I know all too well how fast life can be taken from you, without a notice.  I don't want to spend my time questioning the past, instead I chose to enjoy the present that has been bestowed upon me.  You see, in my heart, I believe that our past (including our failures) only sets us up for success.  In my case, it's in being good parents to Alexis and raising her in a loving home.... I really don't know if I could have said that would have been the case 10 years ago....only God knows, but the good thing is: I'm finally okay with leaving it in His hands & letting go. 

Today we are celebrating the 3 month birthday and beautiful life of our baby girl, Alexis.  I was just telling my husband last night, how unreal it feels (yet ironic) that we are celebrating Alexis turning 3 months old; when historically we never made it past three months in the womb with a child. So to say that this is a monumental marker in history for us is an understatement; and it means probably more to us that anyone could possibly imagine until (or unless) you have walked in our shoes.

Throughout our journey over the last 18 months, I have also gained a lot of wonderful new friends, who have been such an inspiration to me.  One of them posted the following scripture on my facebook wall just yesterday.  Not only was it touching, but it was so fitting with the reflection I had been going through.  It feels as if it made my reflection-time complete.  "Who can be compared with the Lord our God, who is enthroned on high? He stoops to look down on heaven and on earth. He lifts the poor from the dust and the needy from the garbage dump. He sets them among princes, even the princes of his own people! He gives the childless woman a family, making her a happy mother. Praise the Lord! (Psalm 113:5-9)

(Thank you, Javonni... you'll never know how touching this scripture was for me...)
Guess overall, I said all of that to say this, never give up hope and never forget that we serve a mighty God who can make the unthinkable & impossible - Possible! There are two nail scared hands/feet and a pierced side that have made my today possible, and given me this life, so that I could have the opportunity to be a Mother to my girls (and all the babies that have gone on before us).  So forever I will cherish the fact that God did find favor on this childless woman, despite my many flaws, and seen fit to give me a perfect daughter and loving husband so that I could have my family. 
It's true...all good things come to those who wait! 
Happy 3 Month Birthday, Alexis!  Mommy loves you VERY much!!
P.S. Sorry this blog was so looonnnnggg... oh well, it just makes writing my book easier.... LOL!

Friday, June 1, 2012

Good Night Video.... (5/31/12)

She is amazing!!

After we said our prayers she zonked for the night... she was 12 weeks old yesterday - unbelievable how fast she is growing!!