We had a miscarriage

I found out I was pregnant on Mr. Right’s birthday. It was something we had been hoping for, but still, it was such a wonderful surprise. I wrapped this and gave it to him as a birthday present.

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He was so happy! We ended up telling our families that night, because we were SO excited. And also because we knew that we were already at a very high risk for miscarriage and needed our prayer warriors. I had some complications during the first trimester of my first pregnancy and at one point, my doctor told me that the odds were stacked against Wrenn, but through a miracle from God, Wrenn beat those odds.

I was having those same complications with this second pregnancy, so the doctor pulled me in for some testing. It took a week of monitoring my hormone levels, with many long waits between test results. Oh, how I hate the waiting for test results.

I got the news one week after I found out I was pregnant, that we had an indeed lost our precious baby. By that time, I already knew that in my gut, although I was still clinging to the hope that I was wrong. All of those pregnancy symptoms were gone, and my soul just knew that our precious baby was no longer with me.

I’ve had friends and family members who have lost a baby. When I started to share our news with those around us, I was amazed at how many people have been carrying that same secret around. That same pain. I feel like I have joined a club that I didn’t want to be a member of. A club where I will meet my child for the first time in heaven instead of here on earth.

This isn’t how it’s supposed to happen.

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Grief is a strange thing. I only knew I was pregnant for a week, so I only had those hopes and dreams of what my child would be like for such a short time. Just seven days. Other than a tiny bit of nausea, I never felt this baby.  And yet, when I found out he was gone, it was devastating. It was a life lost. A future gone. A part of our family that would be missing forever. The emotions have hit me in waves. I am totally fine, and then the grief hits me and I cry and cry and cry. One minute my heart is so heavy, and the next I am experiencing joy. Regular joy. I’m fine. And then not fine. And then fine… back and forth. Back and forth.

I took off a few days from work and decided to just be. To experience the grief, to give myself margin to feel and to mourn. I didn’t want to be around people, to spend the energy talking about regular things when MY BABY HAD JUST DIED. My friends and family were so wonderful to both of us, sending us flowers and chocolates and calling and texting and saying so many prayers on our behalf. I was too sad to respond to most of them, but they were so special to me. I spent about two weeks quilting and gardening and playing with Wrenn, taking long naps and crying in my car and avoiding people whenever possible.

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Here is what I know:

1. God is still good.  He was good when he did a miracle and saved Wrenn despite the odds, and he is still good, even though this precious child passed. My God is sovereign, and just, and loves my babies more than I do. I will continue to praise him even on days that my heart hurts. Please know that, my friends.

2. We’re going to be okay. Things are already better. It has been a month now, and I honestly feel like my old self again. Most of the time. That awful cloak of sadness seems lighter. I have been warned that it will hit me at weird times, but for today, I feel better than I did yesterday. I know that one day I will get to hold my child in heaven, to introduce him to Wrenn and my other future kiddos and smother him in kisses.

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In the meantime, I wanted to share my story with you, my dear readers, because the stories others have shared with me have been so comforting. Many people choose not to speak of a miscarriage,  and I completely understand. But I also have always found that the most comforting words to hear are, “Me too.” Those words bring me hope – that God can redeem hurt and loss by giving me a “Me too” when someone else is hurting. To be able to empathize with their pain and let them know that they will be okay.

So here I am… me too.

Peace and a Toddler’s Prayer

 

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I prayed 2 Thessalonians 3:16 the whole time my nephew Sawyer was in the NICU.  Here is a prayer from my journal written on June 3:

You promised to give us peace at ALL times and in EVERY way. God, we need your peace now. Give it to us in abundance. Help us to trust you when we’re weak, scared, tired, hopeless. Give us more hope. More trust. More faith. More peace.

While life seemed like a roller coaster, God promised he would give us peace at all times and in every way. And he dd. He sustained my sister and brother-in-law and the rest of the family.  And I am confident that he always will. Because God keeps his promises.

Isn’t it wonderful to have a God who keeps his promises?

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Sweet Sawyer came home from the NICU on Tuesday, June 16, and I think he has been held every single minute since. I know everybody rejoices over a new baby – because life is a MIRACLE – but with this baby… THIS BABY… well, we just can’t put him down. I want to smother him with kisses and keep him forever, but as his Aunt B I will settle for a lifetime of loving on him and spoiling him whenever possible. And a lifetime of thanking God for creating such a miracle. May I remember God’s goodness every single time I see him.

Speaking of goodness… you guys, my little Wrenn did something the other day that made my heart just explode with joy. We pray often with Wrenn – before meals and each night before bed – it’s a part of our routine. She and I had sat down for dinner (Mr. Right was at a church meeting), and did our regular meal prayer and then started eating. A few minutes later she stopped me, reached over the table to grab my hand, and said, “Pray. Pray!”

I asked her who she wanted to pray for. We pray for family members and friends as well as choo choo trains and puppies and bugs. She told me she wanted to pray for “Yuke” (her cousin Luke, Sawyer’s big brother). So, I held her hand and bowed my head and started to pray, and then she stopped me and said, “BABY! Yuke and baby!”

It was my child’s way of saying she wanted to pray for Baby Sawyer. Oh, what a sweet, innocent heart who has no idea what is going on, and yet she has heard us pray for Baby Sawyer over and over these past few weeks. And she felt compelled to pray for him, in that moment. She has such a limited understanding and yet she wants to pray.

God, bless all of these little children in our family!

A Quick Update on a Crazy Week

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This has been a crazy week or so. Last Thursday, I was woken up at 3:30 in the morning by the sound of my phone ringing. My mom was calling to tell me that my sister’s water had broken and they were on the way to the hospital. It looked like Baby Sawyer was coming six weeks early.

That was a week ago. My precious nephew was born six weeks early at a hefty six pounds. He is absolutely beautiful and perfect, but as with most preemies, he has had to fight his way through the NICU to get strong enough to come home. Which will happen, but never as quickly as the rest of us want. My husband’s side of the family went through something similar when my other nephew was born eight weeks early a few years ago. It’s always heartbreaking to see a mama leave her baby in the NICU. I have been on my knees for a week. As a big sister and fellow mama, it’s really hard to watch your younger sister go through this and not be able to make it better.
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The upside was that we got to spend the day with my other nephew, the big brother, while his parents were at the hospital. Little Wrenn LOVES her cousins and had the greatest day of her life. They played, and played, and played and played. Luke told my parents that he liked coming to my house, “Because Aunt B has play-dough. And bubbles.”

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And I’ve been working on little Sawyer’s baby quilt, which I was already behind on. I picked a simple pattern with fabric that I adore (wait til you see the fox print I chose for the back… it’s the cutest), and churned away on it last weekend while Miss Wrenn played and Mr. Right worked. Someone on Facebook told me it looks like rows of books.

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And in the meantime, little Wrenn has been absolutely delightful. Like, take my breath away delightful. We have had some of our best days of play and talking and adventure-having. She is at the best age and is learning to communicate so well. I love hearing all of her new words (and “Shay!” which is the word she uses for anything she doesn’t know the word for). Tonight as I rocked her before bed I just thanked God for choosing to make me this girl’s mama. She is one of His greatest gifts to me.

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Would you join me in praying for sweet Baby Sawyer? God knows exactly what this child needs and what his future holds. Join me in praising God for knitting him together perfectly and pray that his mom and dad have peace during this very stressful time. I know for a fact that God loves this miracle child. And so does his Aunt B.

Wrenn at 18 Months

1800455_10106013956469904_7264506211568886624_n I know I say this every month, but 18 months is the BEST age. Wrenn’s little personality has really started to come through – I can tell she’s going to be a joker and a leader and strong-willed and outgoing. I don’t keep a baby book, so this post is mostly for me, so I can take a snapshot in time and remember this wonderful stage.

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Words
Wrenn loves to talk (which was a given, if you’ve ever met her dad and me). She will TRY to mimic just about any word we say, and sometimes it sounds like our word, and sometimes, well, it’s nothing like what we just said, which is extremely entertaining. Some of the words she uses include: mama, dadda, papa (grandpa), momo (grandma), more, happy, cracker, dough, tree, NO! (her current favorite), yeah, wow, woah, bath, baby, shoe, Jay (for Mama J, her grandma), ho ho (like Santa) and okay. She also knows the following animal sounds: meow, woof woof, and MOOOO!!! When I ask her “What does the cow say?” this girl will tip her head back, and with great delight say “MOOOOO!” She basically thinks every animal is either a dog or a cow, so anytime an animal comes on TV, I hear “MOOOO!”

Now, she understands SO MUCH more than she can say. She also does a lot of babbling to herself in another language. I love to silently watch her as she walks around her playroom, talking to herself so seriously in words that I don’t understand.

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Sign Language
Sign language has been a life saver for us – it has allowed her to communicate her desires with confidence, which eliminates a lot of frustration. Her current signs include: hungry, more, water, milk, change my diaper, sad. We’re also working on: tired, angry, happy. I encourage all parents to give sign language a try – it takes weeks, sometimes months of me using it before she starts using the sign, but it’s like one day she just adopts it. I always sign and speak the word at the same time, and it’s really no extra work for me. I use this website for quick video tutorials anytime I need to learn a new sign.10882271_10152519750186120_4488115642910489474_n

Food
Some days, Wrenn is such an adventurous eater, and her dad and I swell with pride. She loves (cooked) sushi, Indian food, prosciutto, brie, sweet potatoes, and scrambled eggs with mild salsa. Other days she wants nothing but crackers and grapes and blueberries. I hear this is pretty normal, and so we try really hard to not make food a battle, but to just start with small options and if she doesn’t look interested, try something else. She’s much more interested in breakfast and lunch than in dinner (I think she gets less hungry as the day goes on), and her go-to favorites include: pears, apples, shredded cheese, ham or turkey, grilled chicken, apple sauce, any sort of bread or cracker, and of course, anything sweet. Also – I have noticed that Mr. Right and I don’t eat many vegetables… oops. We’re trying to do better since little eyes are watching!

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Sleep
Wrenn has (almost) dropped her morning nap, and we haven’t quite gotten into a good rhythm for her afternoon nap. Lately she seems to be napping for me around 12:30ish and lays down anywhere from 1.5-3 hours, although some days, there’s no nap at all. And on those days… well, they’re not pretty. Wrenn seems to need a lot of sleep, just like me. At night, she typically goes to bed around 7:30 and wakes up around 7:00 a.m.

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Favorites
Wrenn’s favorite things include going to the park, riding in her red wagon, taking baths (she’ll yell “BATH!” and then run to the bathroom door), and dancing. OH, THE DANCING. This girl dances anytime she hears music – I wish I could live my life with such reckless abandon, not worrying about what anybody else thinks of me. She also seems to need lots of hugs/cuddles – she’s not the type of child to want to cuddle for long periods of time, but on certain days she’ll come up to me, give me a hug and a kiss, climb in my lap to be held, and then go back to playing… and repeat that over and over. I love it so much.

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Challenges
Wrenn is having some problems with hitting… other children, me, the dog, herself. It’s not a malicious act, but more caused by a lack of being able to control her emotions. I was told by a friend who is smarter than me that if I taught her words for her emotions, it would help her be able to express herself and might cut back on the hitting (which is akin to a tantrum). And so, we are diligently practicing our happy, sad, and angry signs. So far it hasn’t clicked, but again, it seems to take awhile for the signs to take hold, but once they do, she uses them effortlessly. In the meantime, I’m just thankful she isn’t biting anybody.

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Little Wrenn
Dear child, you bring me such unspeakable joy. More than I knew was possible. You have caused me to love children – all children – in a way I never knew was possible. Being your mother is one of the greatest gifts God has ever given me, and I tell you every single night that you are an answer to many, many years of prayer.

Dream BIG, Little Girl

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I can’t tell you the amount of joy this little girl of mine brings me. Her giggles, her sloppy kisses and generous hugs, the way she climbs into my lap when she wants to be held, and then climbs right back out again to go back to playing. The way she kisses each page of her book, or gets SO EXCITED about ice cream (like her mama).

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One of the greatest joys in my life is watching little Wrenn discover the world, one tiny piece of it at a time. Whether it’s discovering that if she rubs her hands over our chalkboard, she can make pictures from the smudge marks, or learning how to stir water in a bowl, or getting up the courage to take her first steps (her record is five in a row).

I want my little girl to DREAM BIG. I want to show her what that looks like by DREAMING BIG myself. After all, I have these little eyes watching my every move.

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The Dream Big, Little One print is available for instant download in my Etsy Shop.

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Baby Shower

Over the weekend Andrea and I hosted a baby shower for our dear friend Katie. She’s doing a lamb theme for her nursery and decorating it in purples, grays, and whites, so we decorated the shower to match.

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I spent weeks working on craft projects, and then when I set everything out, it seemed kind of… wimpy. So then I did some more crafts in the days leading up to the party, raided my house for decorations, and called Andrea who rescued me with some more filler. I’m so pleased with the result!

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Mr. Right and I are on a mason jar kick right now. We have some gorgeous glassware from Pottery Barn, but it’s so delicate that I can’t wash it in the dishwasher, and it shows water spots like crazy, and, well… I don’t have time to hand wash and perfectly dry my glasses every single time I use them. Mason jars are cheap, hardy, and can be thrown in the dishwasher. And they’re cute! We have some larger ones for everyday use, and I invested in 18 smaller ones for parties (here they are on Amazon).

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I made mini hash brown casseroles (here’s the recipe – next time I’ll add another egg or two to keep them from crumbling) and this fruit salad. Andrea brought those adorable lamb cupcakes, sausage balls, and mini muffins. I’ve found, over my decade of hosting showers, that it’s better to only offer a few food items – it’s so much easier to cook larger quantities of a few options (makes for a much smoother day!), and your guests still get plenty to eat. It meant that I didn’t have to stress and could enjoy the morning before the party (a plus, considering I was also corralling a crawling eight month old as I prepped).

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Andrea and Katie were bridesmaids in my wedding… they have been such dear friends to me, and it’s fun to celebrate new life stages together. It was so fun to celebrate a new baby girl for my friend. Ever since I had Wrenn, I have had a new appreciation of what a treasure babies are!

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6 And Wrenn’s dress… we don’t dress her in frilly things very often (my baby style is all about comfort/mobility and much less girlie than I ever would have predicted pre-baby ), but someone gave us this gorgeous pink polka-dotted dress at one of my baby showers, and it’s like a baby prom dress. I love it. Every girl has to dress up occasionally, right?
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Can I just add that it’s so rare to get a picture of me with Wrenn that’s (1) not a selfie, (2) I’m wearing make-up and my hair is done. I’m trying really hard to have pictures of all three of us together, because I know in 30 years I will love looking back on this time of life, but man, it’s hard!

Happy Baby Shower Katie – I can’t wait to meet Baby Girl in a few months!

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bow1Looking for baby bows and other lovelies? Visit Texas Lovely on Etsy.

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Baby leggings: An experiment

I only quilt. And make headbands. And pillows. But I do not EVER make clothes. I just don’t know how to.

Mr. Right says I’m a perfectionist who is scared to branch out and fail. I think he may be right. Or maybe it’s that I have a limited amount of sewing time, and I don’t want to waste it and my valuable fabric on failed projects.

But then Mr. Right found some pics of handmade baby leggings on Instagram, and I fell in love and knew I’d just have to figure it out. And that’s what I did, and I am so, SO proud!

I googled “baby legging tutorial” and found this super easy pattern. (Note to self – I want to try ALL of her tutorials.)

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Then Mr. Right and I went on a date to the Fabric store and found some ADORABLE fabrics in spandex and jersey. I have found that busy, random patterns are the most forgiving because you don’t have to line up seams or worry about having something upside down (the same goes for the backings on quilts).

I learned a few lessons the hard way:

1. I need chalk to trace my patterns. You know, black fabric + ink pen doesn’t really work. I ended up pinning the paper pattern to my fabric and just cutting carefully around it, which was fine for forgiving, stretchy material, but for another project that needed to be more exact, that would have caused problems. I’ve found sewing requires PERFECT measurements and cutting.

2. You can’t iron spandex, which made pressing the seams and hemming harder, but I worked around that by doing a lot of pinning.

3. My machine sucked that light, stretchy material right up, jamming my machine so badly I had to call in reinforcements in the form of a hunky husband with his tool belt. He saved the day and had me up and running within about 15 minutes, but I found that I had to be very careful not to do that again. Quilting with cotton is so much easier.

Other than that, the project was fairly easy. It took me about two hours from start to finish (I completed it during Wrenn’s naptime) and I loved the instant gratification of being able to dress her in her new leggings that same day. Quilts take me about 30 hours to make, so it’s usually at least a month of sewing (and that was pre-baby) before I get to admire the finished product.

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Wrenn LOVES her new leggings – she is fascinated with the shiny silver polka dots, and they’re so comfy. She may or may not have worn them Saturday night… and Sunday to church… and Monday to visit my office. And pooped on them twice (lot’s of laundry going on in this house).

I’m hooked, and have bought more fabric to make a few different pairs. And now I’m inspired to try some more baby clothes – I have a book of baby dress patterns that I’ve been avoiding, and I think I’m going to tackle it next and see what comes of it!

It feels good to try something new, doesn’t it?

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Put a bow on it

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I always wanted to dress my baby girl in big, obnoxious hair bows. I mean, I’m from Texas, so the bigger the bow, the closer to God, right? Or something like that. Anyway, now that Wrenn’s actually here, I’ve found it hard to find bows that I really love. All of them look the same, and it’s really important to me to only dress her in things that are comfortable for her.

So I decided to make my own.

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I love the little ruffle, and considering the size of my fabric stash, there are limitless possibilities. And, since we tend to dress her in basic mix and match pieces, those bows add just the pop of color to finish off her look. It’s never too early to raise a baby fashionista.

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I’ve added some bows to my shop so that others can enjoy beautiful, affordable hair accessories. They’re made of the highest quality fabrics, and the headbands themselves are either stretchy lace or half-inch elastic, both of which are more comfortable for little heads than that tiny elastic, which tends to leave dents on foreheads. No need to teach them the price of beauty until they’re old enough to wear heels and spanx, am I right?

All bows are sized to order, and I can make them fit anyone from a newborn to an adult. Shipping is free, and if you want to order four or more, contact me through my shop and I’ll be happy to provide a price break.

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I’ve already given them to several baby girls in my life as gifts. And, of course, Miss Wrenn has one of everything, because I would never sell something that I didn’t love enough to use myself. This leopard print bow is one of my absolute favorites – and let’s be honest, it matches some of my favorite shoes.

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Go visit my shop and stock up on baby shower gifts! I can’t wait to see pictures of adorable baby models enjoying their lovelies.

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Prov 31Looking for beautiful scripture prints to inspire you? Visit Texas Lovely on Etsy.

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On why 4-6-month-old babies are the absolute best

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I’ve figured it out. My mom used to tell me that if childbirth was that bad, everybody would just have one kid. Meaning, it’s not that bad and that’s why people keep having babies.

But I know the secret. The reason people keep having babies is because one day they wake up and their baby turns four months old and they become SO MUCH FUN that they want to have 10 more.

I knew being a mom would be a blessing, but I had no idea just how fun it would be. To all of my friends with newborns who are dealing with sleepless nights, and heaven forbid, colic, I have encouragement for you. Four-month-old babies are God’s reward for all of the stresses of having a newborn. When they’re four to six months old, they are like Christmas and your birthday rolled into one, every single day.

Wrenn is almost six months old , and here’s some of the things I absolutely love right now:

She talks. All the time. She coos and grunts and makes a tooting noise with her mouth that she finds to be hilarious. Maybe it’s because I do it back to her and next thing I know we’re making funny sounds at each other and we’re having our own conversation in our secret language. I think we’re going to have a big talker on her hands (takes after her parents).

She laughs. I waited forever to hear that precious little laugh, the one that sounds just like mine, and I will do anything – and I mean ANYTHING – to make that baby laugh. It’s the best part of motherhood.

Except for the kisses. Baby girl loves to give open-mouthed, slobbery, wet kisses. I didn’t think there could be anything better than hearing her laugh, but getting a big, slobbery kiss on the mouth or cheek from her is the best feeling in the whole world. She’ll plant a few kisses on me, then hug me and nuzzle her head into my shoulder, then sit back up and give a few more kisses, then cuddle again. Oh my goodness, I want to have a dozen more babies if it means more of this.

She has discovered her hands. And she stares at them, turning them over, moving her fingers as she studies them and then smiles in delight at these strange things attached to her body. The only thing more interesting than those hands… is her feet. Which she can now put in her mouth. If only I was half as flexible as she is. I love watching her play with her hands and her feet.

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Actually, I love watching her discover things. First it was her hands and feet, now it’s the whole world. She studies people intently. She looks for the dog. She is fascinated with textures – I recently took her grocery shopping and I let her touch every item as I put it in the basket. She sits in her exersaucer and plays with all the toys and you’d think she was conducting some elaborate science experiment. Watching her learn about her world and the endless possibilities it contains is one of my great joys.

The only thing better is to see the way she looks at her daddy. When Mr. Right walks in the room, everything else stops and she gets a big grin and can’t take her eyes off him. She makes eyes at him, smiles at him, talks to him. If I’m feeding her, she stops every minute or so to look to see if he’s still there. If she hears him rustling around in another room, she has to search him out to see if it’s him. She looks at him like he hung the moon. She has no idea how much he loves her yet. I don’t know that she’ll ever fully comprehend it.

Yep, four to six months is the best stage. I don’t know how it could possibly get any better than this. (Winking, because I’m pretty sure things are about to get even better.)

Mamas, what age is your favorite so far?

How do you know when it’s time to stop nursing?

photo (8)I’ve made it through six months of this whole nursing thing. That was my goal, and I did it. It may have been one of the hardest things I’ve ever done – I tell people it’s a lot like when I trained for my half marathon. Every single day you wake up and you have to do it, whether you want to or not. Whether you’re in the mood or not. Whether or not you have time. Even if it means sleeping less, missing something important. You just DO it every. single. day.

Part of me loves it. Like LOVES it. There’s something so wonderful about being able to feed your baby in a way that nobody else can. To bond with her, to hold her close, to have those moments in the still parts of the night when everyone else is sleeping and it’s just you and that beautiful, chubby-cheeked baby cuddled together.

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Mr. Right and I have been talking about weaning lately. My goal had been six months, and then I said I’d reevaluate. My new goal is to make it nine, (basically until the end of cold/flu season) then throw in the towel, you know, before she gets any teeth. But there are moments when nursing (or pumping, really… this working mama does a LOT of pumping) is starting to infringe on my sanity. Most days I’m fine, and then there’s a day where it feels like I HAVE DONE NOTHING ALL DAY EXCEPT FOR PUMP/FEED/PUMP/FEED/STORE MILK/THINK ABOUT PUMPING/CLEANING PUMP PARTS/DOING MATH IN MY HEAD TO FIGURE OUT WHEN I HAVE TO PUMP NEXT and there is no time for things like showering, eating, getting to church on time, actually leaving the house at all. It’s hard.

I’d quit, but once I do, there’s no going back. I see the health benefits (like three weeks ago when she had RSV – I really believe her case was milder because I was nursing her). I see the bonding benefits. And there’s a small part of me that knows that this may be my only time to ever get to do this. We want to adopt other kiddos, so this may be my only chance to experience this part of motherhood.

Quitting is just, so… final.

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And then there’s the allergy meds. I fantasize about the day I can take just ONE Advil Cold & Sinus. Or one of those amazing Claritin Ds that you can only buy behind the counter. They keep the good stuff behind the counter, the stuff I’m not allowed to have.  And because of that I haven’t been able to breathe through my noses since I got pregnant. I kind of miss that.

I just can’t decide, and so while I wait, I nurse. I may end up being one of those mamas who nurses her kiddo until she goes off to college with a stuffy nose as red as Rudolph’s.

Fellow mamas, what about you? How did you know when it was time to throw in the towel and ween? And no judgement here, whether you went one day or one year. We’re all on the same team. Only loving and encouraging comments please.

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