Monday, July 27, 2015

Let's Get Real

Written by: Brianna

I can't believe I haven't even taken the time to announce this beautiful BOY that we welcomed into our family on June 8th!!

Allow me to gush for a moment before I take the time to explain why it's taken me seven weeks to show this beautiful boy off.  We are so excited to try our hand at all things boy.  New clothes, toys, activities (kinda, we encourage our girls to try a little of everything), and experiences are all in store for our future.  Some sooner than others considering how many times I've been peed on. ;)  I'm continually amazed at the simplicity that is boy world, and I'm grateful to be a member.  But most of all we are beyond grateful to have another healthy, living baby as part of our family.

That being said is why this next part is so hard.  Four kids is a lot!  It's a herd, an entourage, a circus, and it's life altering (in my humble opinion).

We never thought we would have this many children to raise, and it is stretching my capacity mentally, emotionally, and physically.  Also, news flash I am older this time around.  Not to mention older than I ever "planned" to be while dealing with sleep deprivation, losing baby weight, feeding schedules coupled with taxi schedules, multitasking on crack (meaning extreme multitasking... I'm not on crack), and the looming thought of going back to my part time job with my two littlest littles in tow.  Add this on top of the massive amounts of guilt I feel for not being the mom to my big kids that I once was, not counting my blessings every minute, and not taking in this grand finale/encore baby... and well, I cry every. single. day.

Now that I have you all worried, including my husband who gently informed me last night that he worries I'm headed for a Britney Spears type melt down.

Know that I can do this (I'm telling myself that too).  I can and have done harder things.  I have seen screens with no heartbeat.  I have labored numerous hours to hear no cry.  I have laid two babies in their final resting place.  I have cried buckets of tears to where there is nothing left to come out.  I have felt a literal physical ache from having a broken heart.  This is nothing compared to that.  And I refuse to let being overwhelmed and my mommy guilt get the best of me.

Hopefully this gut check moment has not soured too many.  I know there are so many who ACHE for the stress I am feeling.  I am also hopeful that there are enough of you that can relate to where I am at too.  So here's to reaching down deep inside my soul and pulling out some of that amazing perspective that through my losses I was able to gain.  Here's to to remembering what matters and letting go of some of the excess.  Here's to stretching and growing so I can hopefully become the person our Heavenly Father intends for me to be.  Here's to motherhood, the good, the bad, the ugly, and the fulfilling.  Here's to being REAL.

Friday, May 8, 2015


Written by Brianna

During my pregnancy with Rainbow Baby A I became very superstitious, and avoided certain practices and/or past times.  For example, for the entire pregnancy I wore a pair of February birthstone earrings (month A was due) that my husband, Nate, got me while I was pregnant with Alex (also due in February) that I couldn't bear to take off.  I also wore a Tiffany's "bean" necklace that Nate got me for Christmas while I was pregnant with our first daughter... I figured it worked that time.  Beyond that I would not announce the pregnancy as I had either of the previous two.  I would not start working on the nursery (that ended up being a labor of love on Nate's part) as I had started cleaning it out before and lost Alex two short weeks later.  I declined to go on a girls get away that was a long standing tradition because the gestation of my pregnancy, and I couldn't take a chance of a deja vu.

Now I want to make note that I am a logical person, and what I lack in logic I make up for in faith.  Neither of which lead me to believe that any of the above would make one ounce of difference in my pregnancy outcomes.  That being said, sometimes that all goes out the window when you are terrified of being jinxed.  Complete sanity during pregnancy after loss is just a hollow promise or a pipe dream at best.

This pregnancy I have done better with the superstitions.  I only have had this one I have been holding on to, and today is the day I conquer it.  Approximately four and a half years ago we announced we were pregnant with Demree by having J wear this shirt...

My insides still ache when I see this picture, oh but how I can't help but feel blessed by that smile.  Anyways, several months ago I came across this shirt while cleaning some things out.  I didn't know what to do with it so I shoved it up in A's closet.  Well today I am thirty-three weeks pregnant, and it was time to take this picture... and yes they are full biological sisters. ;)

Milestones are good... even the littlest of ones. ;)

Tuesday, March 3, 2015


Written by Brianna

Two weeks ago I went to my target ultrasound appointment, because I was nearing the 22 week mark in my pregnancy.  I love this appointment because I am able to get amazing images like these of our little...

I have also learned that any and all OB related appointments usually begin with the medical history questions, and go something like this:

Ultrasound Tech: What pregnancy is this?
Me: Seventh.
UT: Do you have six children at home?
Me: No, three.
UT: So three miscarriages?
Me: One early miscarriage, and two second trimester losses.

This is always when their stare breaks away from their computer screen.  This is when they look at me with either pity or bewilderment, wondering if I am simply crazy to be back in this place again. This is when they ask in what order were my losses, and when they like me can't believe I had two blissfully uneventful, text book pregnancies to begin our family.  This is when they ask if we ever knew why.  This is when, if they are good at their job, I see amazing amounts of empathy coming from another woman (my techs have always been women), a mom, as she thoroughly checks every inch of our unborn child to offer us as much hope as possible.

Honestly, it is not until these kind of reminders that I realize my differences.  No I haven't forgotten, how could I.  Not to mention I have an ever growing belly to remind me of such.  But I have just come to accept that this is my history... my journey.  It is still heart breaking at times, and I still maintain emotional scars.  BUT... this is our family.  This is our dynamic.  I own it.  I embrace it.  I like to think I have taken point from my amazing older daughters.  They just accept that we have babies in heaven and we have babies here.  They have no doubts about this reality, and are confident in us seeing them again some day.  I doubt they think it's ideal, but their innocence allows them to accept that it will all be okay.  It is honestly no wonder we are told repeatedly to "become as little children".  They really have it all figured out... just ask them. ;)

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Lyla's Story - Part 2

Written by Alli

"S" was set to be released from the hospital on Saturday afternoon.  She asked her friend to come get her and take her home.  Unfortunately, her friend was unable to do so.  I offered and was more than happy to be the one to take her home.  She was ready to go around 5:00.  We had spent all afternoon together with Lyla, and she had been able to spend some time alone with her.  There was such a feeling of emptiness watching her place Lyla in the hospital bassinet, getting into the wheelchair and leaving the hospital.  There were many tears shed and lots of hugs.  It was so different from when Carter's birth mom left the hospital.  After she left, we were able to break down and cry for quite awhile, but since I was "S"'s support system, I had to stay strong for her.  She needed her medication, so we went and got that and then I took her home where I stayed with her for over an hour waiting for her friend to come get her and take her home with her.  I really enjoyed that time.  We got to talk uninterrupted and "S" opened up about things that had happened in her life.  I am so thankful for our open adoption and to be able to call her not only my friend, but also family.
My absolute favorite picture of "S" and Lyla.  Truly captures her love for her baby.
Lyla had to stay one more day in the hospital, so Sunday was a fun day filled with family and friends.  We loved being able to show her off and reality was starting to set in that we might actually be able to call this little girl ours.  "J" was also able to spend a couple hours with Lyla and we loved being able to spend that time with him.  The time from "S" leaving the hospital until Monday morning was the longest and hardest time.  So many negative thoughts and so much fear started to set in.  We hoped for the best, but for those 24 hours, Lyla still wasn't ours.  She was in our home, and we were taking care of her, but she was not ours.  "S" had a rough night that night and was getting some negative feedback from family members about the adoption.  I sent an encouraging text letting her know how many prayers were being said on her behalf and we texted much of the night.  She was so strong and told me she was so glad she found us and that she knew the adoption was meant to be.  It never ceases to amaze me how strong these women we call birth mothers are.

Our first "unofficial" night as a family of four
The next morning was awful.  There is no other way to describe it.  I was going to the courthouse to meet "J' and "S" and support them while they signed papers.  I took one last picture of me and Lyla in case it was the last time I got to be her mom.  I just didn't have peace and I was filled with confusion.  Both "J" and "S" had been wonderful the past 3 days, but the situation was still so tense and filled with uncertainty.  I loved these two wonderful birth parents and I prayed they would do what was best for Lyla, whatever that may be.
It was a quiet 30 minute drive to the courthouse.  Paul dropped me off and went to drive around with Carter and Lyla.  I walked into the courthouse and there they were.  "J" and "S", were sitting on a bench with our attorney between them, going over the paperwork.  They both had tears in their eyes and they looked very somber.  I interrupted the attorney so I could hug them both.  I was crying and couldn't hug them tight enough.  Then the courtroom doors opened and they were ushered inside.  My attorney asked me to stay out in the hall, so I sat on a bench where I was trying not to cry.  Thankfully, "S"'s caseworker was with her and was updating me throughout the process.  When she sent me the text that said, "They signed.  Lyla is yours forever", I couldn't hold back the tears.  It was so hard to breathe and I honestly couldn't believe that little girl was ours.  I was crying for the heartache that "J' and "S" were going through and praying fervently that they would have peace in their hearts.  When they came out, there was more hugging and crying.  I wanted to make sure they knew this wasn't goodbye.  Lyla would know them.  She would know their love for them always and they would be a part of her life.
"J' followed me to our car so he could see Lyla and we told "S" we'd meet up with her in an hour.  We were in Idaho for a couple more days and were able to see "J" and "S" a couple more times.  I love open adoption.  I love that "J" and "S" are able to not only know Lyla through pictures, but through spending time with her.  I love that Lyla has this huge support system that isn't just made up of mine and Paul's families.  She has "J' and "S"'s families as well.  With all the heartache and difficulty that came with Lyla's adoption, we feel so blessed to have her as part of our family and to have "J" and "S" as part of our family too.  The Lord is in control.  He knows what we need.  He loves us and He answers our His timing, not ours.  We couldn't be happier to be a family of four!

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Lyla's Story Part 1

I figured it was time to finally tell Lyla's story.  "S" thought for sure she would deliver early, and we even had a false alarm, but she still didn't come.  Although she wasn't due until December 9th or 10th or somewhere around there (I can't remember!), the doctor decided to induce her the day after Thanksgiving.  This worked out well for us since we would be in Idaho already to celebrate Thanksgiving with my family.

"S" was supposed to be induced at 6:00 a.m. Friday morning.  Paul and I were up bright and early and nervous as could be, but we kept getting texts from "S" that the induction was being pushed back.  She was finally told to go up around 10:00 a.m. She asked us not to come until they actually induced her, so there was more waiting.  We got the call at 12:30 that she had been started and had her epidural.  We were eating lunch so we finished lunch, kissed Carter good bye and made the 30 minute drive to the hospital.  We got there at 1:38.  The nurse was in there and I asked how "S" looked.  She said, "Everything looks good and we'll check here again around 3:00".
Just a few minutes later, the nurse said she was going to go ahead and check her now and could we step out in the hall.  Paul and I went out in the hall and another couple of minutes later the nurse came running out and said "S" was at a 9!  Things started happening really fast after that.  Paul stayed in the hall and I went inside to be with "S".  I stood on the left side of her and the doctor told her to push.  I helped hold her leg and just 3 short pushes later, our little girl was born at 2:02 p.m.  Just 24 short minutes after we arrived. I was the lucky one who got to cut the cord and then they layed her on "S" and let her hold her before they whisked her off to be cleaned.  That moment, where two mothers are joined as one, is a moment that is indescribable.

I was torn between wanting to hold "S"'s hand and wanting to make sure the baby was ok.  Her caseworker was there (she's a little bossy :)) and told me to go be with the baby.  I went over and held her little hand while the hospital staff did what they did.  She was perfect and she was beautiful.  I was trying really hard to hold back my emotions and not get attached, but it was very difficult.  It was such an amazing experience to be there with "S" as she delivered that sweet little girl and it was definitely impossible not to get attached.  Because of the situation, Paul and I were still very unsure if we would be coming home with that little girl and because of it, we were trying to shield our hearts.

We spent some time visiting with "S" and then the birth dad, "J" came up and spent some time with the baby as well.  Everyone kept asking us for a name, but we hadn't decided on one yet.  "S" didn't have a great support system, so there was really only Paul and I and her caseworker at the hospital.  We spent almost every moment together in the hospital.

"S" had a friend with her that first evening, so we told her we were going to grab dinner and she could spend some alone time with the baby.  She would never ask us for that time, so we tried to do what we thought was right and anticipate what she might need.
Paul and I went to grab dinner and we tried to agree on a name, but it was much harder than I thought.  I was so tired and emotionally drained and we finally got to the root of why we couldn't choose a name.  We were both so scared that we wouldn't be bringing this little girl home, that we didn't want to name her.  Naming her would be the final attachment to her that we weren't ready to give in to yet.  We just couldn't do it.  We decided to sleep on it and discuss it in the morning.   Paul went home to stay with Carter and I spent the first night in the hospital with the baby alone.

When I woke up, I went to see "S" right away so she could spend as much time with the baby as she could.  We decided to dress her in some cute clothes that weren't hospital issued and we discussed the name.

I told her I loved the name Lyla and "S" said, "Well, then that needs to be her name".  Paul called just a short time later and said that he was on his way and he knew what the baby's name needed to be and he would reveal it when he got there.  "S" and I were dying to find out what name he had chosen.  Once he got there, I was expecting a big reveal, but he didn't really have anything planned, so he wrote each letter on a piece of paper and we all picked the letters out of a hat.  Once it was spelled out, Paul had also chosen Lyla as the name.  It seemed like it was meant to be, so Lyla became her name.  Even though we thought naming her was hard, the next two days were about to become the hardest two days yet.

Monday, January 5, 2015

Prayers... Please

Written by Brianna

Over the past few weeks most of our friends and families have seen this announcement...

That's right we are pregnant with another baby.  Maybe some day I will write up how I came to this decision (and how I talked my husband into it ;), but for now know that the news is still crazy, hopeful, scary, and crazy.  Yes I said crazy twice, because I question my sanity on a daily basis. 
Our cute little peanut at almost 12 weeks. :)
As of now I am 15 weeks 3 days pregnant.  The holidays were a welcome distraction, but now I feel submerged in my pregnancy after loss anxiety.  This next month will be especially difficult for me, since I am coming up on the gestations of when I lost my other two babies.  The fear can make some moments excruciating. 

I have been sick with cold, and now some flu like symptoms.  I have no physical strength which makes emotional strength harder to muster up.  As I was praying yesterday for strength and comfort, it came to me to ask for the prayers of others.  I hate asking for help.  I do.  I know I'm not alone in this, I think it's human nature.  I'll also be the first to admit that I take prayer for granted.  When times are good I tend get casual with my talks to my Heavenly Father, but you better believe as soon as I need Him I can't hit my knees fast enough.  So you can see why I feel awkward in making this request, but I always go back to what the Bible dictionary says about prayer...  

"It {prayer} is the act by which the will of the Father and the will of the child are brought into correspondence with each other.  The object of prayer is not to change the will of God, but to secure for ourselves and for others blessings that God is already willing to grant, but are made conditional on our asking for them." 

So here I am asking for your prayers.  Prayers for the safety of our baby, prayers for peace in our hearts, prayers for our children to be tolerant of their scattered mom, and prayers for strength both physical and emotional.  I know the power of prayer is real.  I know that come what may, it will carry you.  I know this because I have felt it before.  So consider this me calling in a life line. :)

Friday, January 2, 2015

Thankful for YOU

I know I still haven't written Lyla's birth story yet.  It's been difficult to put into words.  Her adoption was so different from Carter's.  But I'm working on it and it is coming.  However, I felt a need today to write about something else.

I wrote the below post on July 2, 2014, but never shared it because it was just too raw.  

We started our adoption paperwork last August to begin bringing home baby #2.  There are reasons we started the work, but as of today, still haven’t finished it.  There wasn’t an urgency.  I didn’t feel that we needed to hurry.  This past year has been rough.  We’ve had to deal with Paul getting laid off, starting his own business, being sued by his previous employer (what a mess!), having our agency stop doing adoptions, losing one of my biggest clients for reasons that weren’t my fault and other stressful events.  It made me discouraged to even think about finishing the paperwork for baby #2.  But a few weeks ago, I was in my car just having a talk with my Heavenly Father.  When I say talk, I kind of mean, yelling, because let’s face it, I was angry.  Things were just too hard.  Too many trials had been thrown in my way and I was wondering when the blessings would start.  As I was driving and crying and yelling (kind of a scary combination), I got the very distinct feeling that we needed to finish our adoption paperwork as quickly as possible.  I stopped mid yell, because I was confused.  How could I even have had that feeling while I was yelling?  So I continued yelling and told my Heavenly Father that I would move forward with faith and just trust that He would provide.  Then I promptly apologized and asked for forgiveness for my poor attitude.  Oh yeah, and for the yelling.

Ever since then, I have been baby hungry.  Like, cry every time I see a baby and can’t stop thinking about our future child.  Hope has been restored.  Faith that we will be able to adopt again has come back.  I feel very strongly that our baby is out there and we need to find her.  I feel like it’s a girl, but both Paul and I thought Carter was a girl and obviously he wasn’t. J  It feels good to have something to look forward to, something positive amidst all the strife.  It’s a great feeling to know that my Heavenly Father is looking out for me, even when I am doubting his timing.  It could take years for us to find our baby, or it could take months, but I’m hopeful and I’m faithful, and I know the Lord will provide.

We were contacted by Lyla's birth mom just 5 short weeks later.  Paul and I were terrified.  We weren't sure how we were going to be able to cover the costs of the adoption.  We had already been living on savings for almost a year and our account had dwindled to almost nothing.  But we knew we were supposed to pursue this.  We moved forward with faith (again!), and once again the Lord provided.  He sent us YOU.  He sent us loving, caring friends and family that wanted to be a part of bringing Lyla home.  We could not have done this without you.  We are forever indebted to all the individuals who wanted to help.  Every time we look at Lyla, we are thankful for you.  Asking for help is one of the hardest things we have ever had to do.  It isn't something Paul and I are used to doing.  But we would do it again in a heartbeat, because it brought us our little girl.  It helped bring Lyla June home.