the weekend and some poor computer skills on my part plus G’s 11 month mark.

This weekend was one of sleep deprivation.  Thursday night Jack fell out of his bed in the  middle of the night, Friday night he woke up at 3:30 crying because he had wet the bed, and Saturday night he woke up screaming at 3:30 having a nightmare.  He has some weird night terrors sometimes but this was his first nightmare.  He was convinced there was a bee in his bed and could not get past it.  So we stayed up for the night.  I felt so bad for him.  Jack woke up right as Tommy did [because he gets up that early for the outage] so Tommy got ready and left for work and Jack and I laid in my bed watching a movie.

I guess I fell asleep and Jack did not because next thing I knew Jack had a pen in my face with the cap off and Jack asking me to help him.  He had pen mark on his face and he had done some journaling.  Yesterday evening I picked up my computer [my new Macbook] to do some work and it wasn’t working right.  Nothing was saved, it looked like a totally different computer, and I spent about an hour working on it last night trying to get it fixed.  Then I spent 2 hours on it today trying to get it fixed, reset settings, and download new stuff.  None of it worked.  It was so frustrating.  Finally it dawned on me that I had left it sitting out the other night and Jack must have messed with it while he had the house to himself Saturday night/Sunday morning.  I asked him if he played with my computer, and he told me he did and that it turned colors.

 

So I finally called Apple hoping my brand new computer wasn’t broken and it took all of 1 minute for the very kind man to very kindly tell me it sounded like I was in a guest profile and not my normal one.  To which I said yes it did seem like that.  He asked if I was, and I said I wouldn’t even know how to know that.  He told me how to log out of it and log back in mine and what do you know, it was all fixed.  He was very nice to me and didn’t make me feel totally dumb, which was nice of him because I already felt that way.

jack is a studPlayiing outside Sunday!

 

I spent all of my computer time trying to fix something that wasn’t broken.  So unfortunately all I had time left to write today was this post.  I hope you had a great weekend and your Monday is off to a good start.  Tomorrow I will be back with a healthy crockpot recipe.

 

And Saturday was the 5th which makes 11 months since Gabriel was born.  It’s hard to believe it’s been so long.  I spent some time Saturday thinking about what it was like a year ago when I was still pregnant with G.  It’s crazy that it’s been nearly a year.  I’m very thankful for my sweet friends Amy and Becca who continue to remember and celebrate our precious boy each month with us.  I am so blessed to have friends like that.  Their actions remind me of how I need to serve others.

 

G's grave 11 months

it’s trisomy 18 day!

Dear friends,

It’s Trisomy 18 Awareness Day!  A day where we focus on T18 — the chromosomal syndrome our sweet baby G had.  We are going to spend the day remembering him, celebrating his life, and spreading awareness about T18 but also infant loss in general.

T18 Awareness Day

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Today is one of those days I’ve set apart and made really special in my own heart.  I think the reason it is such a big deal to me is because I feel helpless, I am helpless.  As I learned about this day last year while I was pregnant with our T18 baby, I knew that in the future I would have to take advantage of what this day was set up for and spread awareness — do something.  And I have all of these dreams and big ideas in my head.  Some of them may happen, some may never come to be.  But I want to do something.  As a T18 parent, I have been helpless.  I would have done anything to save my baby’s life.  Any amount of procedures, doctor’s appointments, whatever it took.  But there was nothing that I could, nothing that our doctors could do.  Our Gabriel had Trisomy 18, and his days were numbered just as each of ours are too.  Feeling helpless is a terrible thing.  It’s something that doesn’t sit well with me.  So for over 14 months now, I have been learning to rest in that and rest in God’s powerfulness and not my own.  It’s been a hard lesson and one that I imagine I will continue to learn for a long time.

 

However, within that feeling of helplessness, I believe that God has stirred something in me.  I believe He has been at work for over a year now on my heart.  Seeds were planted a year ago, and they have taken root, taken hold of my heart, and are bursting forth.  And I am busting with excitement to share what all of this means with you!

 

A year ago, while I was still pregnant with Gabriel, Tommy and I knew that we wanted to do something to honor our sweet G.  We weren’t sure how that would look, what form it would take, and when it would happen, but we definitely had the stirring that we needed to do something.  We explored several very different ideas — I mean incredibly different ideas.  But we weren’t ready for it yet and none of the ideas really felt right.  In September, it hit me!  Just like that.  I knew exactly what we needed to do.  So I introduce to you first, dear friends, Project Gabriel.

 

 

Project Gabriel is a support network for women and their families who have experienced miscarriage, perinatal, or infant loss.  Project Gabriel is brand new and just getting started, and I am beyond thrilled to share and have this safe place for women who need some love, support, and encouragement during the most difficult time in their lives.

 

As the first act of Project Gabriel, we will be having a peer support group for women who have lost a baby either through miscarriage, perinatal, or infant loss.  This first meeting will be on April 14th at 6:30 pm with the location to be announced.

 

Project Gabriel

 

This is the passion of my heart, and it is with great joy that I share it with you today.  It’s both terrifying and exciting to share this little secret with the world!  And now, I need your help.  I want to reach as many women as we can.  If you know a mama who needs this support, who could benefit from being around women just like her who know that deep pain of losing a child, would you please let her know about our group?  I know the way for us to make the most impact is to have support from friends and the community.  Thank you friends for how you have supported and loved me over the past 14 months.  Now let’s do it for other women, too!

 

First up, would you head over to Facebook and like our Facebook page?  You can click on like our Facebook page, or find the site at Facebook.com/ProjectGabriel

 

And please share this post with anyone you think could use it.

 

so much love!

 

\\\\today I have the incredible privilege of sharing on one of my very favorite blogs Naptime Diaries  so head over there and check out Jessi’s great blog and incredible heart\\\\

 

Last year’s Trisomy 18 Awareness Day post.

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If you are new here, thank you for coming over to read.  If you’re interested in knowing more about our story here are some posts to catch you up quickly:

when we shared that our 2nd baby was very sick

the definite diagnosis of T18

sharing details about baby G in the womb  

when G was born

Click on the Gabriel category to read more about our precious baby.  We celebrated every day with him — the special, the mundane, the hard, and the joyful, and I’ve shared a lot of it here.

10 months.

Yesterday I posted a recipe, and I accidentally posted it before I was finished writing it.  So if you read it shortly after I posted it, you may want to go back and take another look.  I left out the nutrition information the first time around.  So I had to make some edits.  You can look at yesterday’s post or just click here to check it out.

 

Wow, it’s been a long week, and it’s only Wednesday!  Come on weekend.  I had a doctor’s appointment yesterday and have another one today.  Tommy was traveling Monday and Tuesday for the 3rd week in a row.  And I’ve eaten way too much ice cream this week.  Whew.  Need a fresh start.  Maybe I will do a “fresh start Thursday” this week.  Anyone else need a fresh start this week?

 

 

Today is a sweet day and a harder day.  It’s a sweet day to remember our precious baby G, as it has been 10 months since he was born.  It’s hard to believe that he would be creeping up on 1 year if he were here.  It feels like only yesterday he was born.  Time is funny like that.  Yesterday I was deeply missing my baby boy.  While the really hard moments are fewer and farther between now, there are still times where my heart hurts so bad that it physically hurts.  It’s a reminder of my need for God every day, every moment.  At those times I have to remember to just keep breathing.  And thankfully, it passes.  And it passes quicker these days.  Grief lightens, but it’s always present.

So on this day, we remember where we were 10 months ago.  We remember meeting our sweet Gabriel.  We remembering celebrating him and life.  We thank God for the time we got to spend with G.  And we continue to miss our G.  We continue to grieve.  Thank you for loving him with us.

 

Gabriel 10 months

Sweet flowers with Gabriel’s initials on them were delivered on my doorstep this morning along with a giant Coke, and apple slices for Jack from my sweet friend, Becca.

standing on holy ground.

This week is beautiful here in East Tennessee.  Beyond beautiful.  We’re talking 60 degrees, even 70 yesterday.  I went by the cemetery today before I picked Jack up from preschool.  It was a perfect day to go.  The warm weather, mixed with sunshine and partly cloudy skies, with an incredibly strong and present breeze made for an amazing visit.

 

I like to drive through the cemetery with my windows down.  I open the sunroof and roll the windows down, and usually turn my music up really loud.  I’m pretty sure I would have found that inappropriate before – and I do try to be respectful if other people are around and turn down the music – but for me, that’s just part of how I do it.  There is something about feeling the fresh air in the cemetery and listening loudly to music praising God and exclaiming His truths that makes it part of how I grieve – how I handle visiting the cemetery as much as I do.

 

Today was a perfect day to make that drive.  As I drove in and around and up the hill to Babyland, where our sweet G is buried, I took in the beauty of the day and the anticipation of this visit.  I visit a lot, so it’s not like it’s a big deal for me to go.  But today something seemed a little different.  Because I was short on time I left the car running and just hopped out quickly.  My current very favorite song for our lives was playing and was at the perfect point.  I could hear the music as I felt the incredible presence of the wind around me.  And as I stood with my feet over where my baby’s body is buried, my eyes closed, and my hands out, I sang along to this song.  To this exclamation of truth.  And proclaimed it in our hearts and in our lives.  And as I stood there soaking in this incredible moment, feeling the intense presence of God in the strong gusts of wind, I became very aware that I was standing on holy ground.  This plot that belongs to us.  This patch of dirt.  This marker that marks where our son’s earthly body lay to rest.  All of those things I had known of this place became the background to the very holy ground I was standing on.

 

I was suddenly reminded of the Holiness of our God.  Of His power.  Of His presence.  And how He is God over all – the big and the little.  As big as life and death.  And as little as growing the grass around this grave plot.  I was blessed with a holy encounter with our Father today.  One that commanded reverance.  One that reminded me of His power and His presence.  One that I am thankful the Lord allowed me to be a part of.  And one that brought my mama heart deep comfort in knowing that my baby is intimately known by our Creator, just as I am.

 

this hope is an anchor for my soul

 

The song is Anchor by Hillsong.  And it is unbelievable.

the difference between snow and rain.

Last year was the rainiest year Knoxville has seen since the 1800s.  It rained all the time.  I talked about rain a lot, because it rained for more than a week straight after we found out Gabriel had T18.  It would rain on most of the days I had OB appointments.  Rain was a constant in our lives, and it represented how I felt really well.  2013 was a rainy year both physically and symbolically for us. 

 

Now we sit here in the year 2014.  It is a new year.  We continue to grieve for our sweet G.  We miss him.  I wish he was here – Jack would love having a brother to play with.  There are many moments where I think that Gabriel should be here with us.  But the truth of the matter is that he isn’t.  And while it is impossibly hard, we are not defeated because we have hope.  We are anchored in hope.  We trust that we will one day be reunited with our sweet G.  That we will know him well then.  And we trust that he is presently with our Father – being cradled and loved lavishly – so much more than we could ever do or imagine.  And knowing those things, thinking about those things reminds me of snow. 

 

There is nothing more pure, more new, more fresh than snow.  Watching the snow fall, watching it build and lay is a blessing for us.  To watch it fall from the sky and create beauty that is rarely seen on earth, is a special gift for us here.  Waking up in the morning to a fresh snow fall – one that is undisturbed and entirely peaceful is such a reminder to me that God makes all things new.  So with these recent snowfalls we have had, I am reminded of this about our Father.  And I am even more deeply stirred to think about how He has made our Gabriel new.  He has made him pure as snow.  And one day, He will do the same for us. 

 

It’s only fitting that this winter we have seen much more snow than usual for Knoxville.  While this time last year, all we got was rain, this year we seem to be sitting under snow.  A visual example of where we are in our lives.  In a season of awe appreciating God’s graciousness, His blessing, and His healing and new creation of our son who was so sick on this earth. 

Nikon D3200 714

a broken heart.

One year ago, with Valentine’s Day looming and the worst news of our life a few weeks behind us, all I could focus on was the heart.  People were decorating with hearts all around, living this normal life, and all I could think of was that my baby had a broken heart – literally.  This child growing inside of me had a heart that was a terrible kind of broken – one that couldn’t be fixed.  And it was every where.  And it was always on my mind. 

 

This year looks different.  I see hearts all around this year and I remember our sweet baby G.  And I also see hope.  Our sweet G has a healed heart now.  He has been made whole and he no longer has a broken heart.  This year I even find myself putting up hearts, wanting to celebrate this day.  It’s amazing the difference when you don’t have a broken heart anymore.  And while my heart might just always be a little bit broken because I lost a child, I can also see the hope that comes with healing.  The hope that comes when you’ve celebrated hard days, held on tight, and are maybe just a little bit better for it.  The hope that comes when you see some more joy alongside the pain.  The hope that sits on each little construction paper heart – because you know each one of those represents something greater – love. 

 

As I reflect on a lot of heart issues of my own this week, I am reminded of my brokenness, my broken heart, but also just how much I have been healed.  Thankful for a week of reminders and the blessing of seeing healing in our lives. 

 

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9 months.

Nine months ago we met our sweet baby G face to face and loved on him while he was here with us.  And then 9 months ago we held him back out to the Lord.  G’s view is amazing now, and he is no longer sick.  Praise be to God. 

 

Gaby 9 months

 

Nikon D3200 880

 

And thank you to my sweet friend, Becca, who made this banner for me to celebrate our baby boy. 

when you watch the world go by.

There are these moments in life that happen that are the worst.  It’s that feeling that you’re sitting there, looking out the window and the world is going on totally normal outside and you are completely frozen in time.  You feel like you can’t move, you can barely remember to keep breathing in and out.  You can’t understand what’s happening out there – how it’s so normal and looks like the world you used to know, but that world is totally gone for you.

 

This was my life a year and a few weeks ago.  I sat here on my couch, right where I’m typing from, and I watched out my window as the day turned to night and the night to day.  As neighbors came and went and cars drove by.  As there was rain, and sun, and much more rain.  Even as it snowed.  I watched it all happen wondering how on earth it could be so normal out there.  Why didn’t the outside look like how I felt on the inside?  Why was life moving on at normal speed while I was crumbling and wondering how to make it through a day.

 

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It’s weird how we have those moments.  They usually hit us in the midst of tragedy.  When our world has been rocked and what we’ve known has been taken.  My moment was in our greatest tragedy, after learning that our baby had Trisomy 18.  I was shaken to the core.  And life looked different to me from every angle.

 

But the weird thing about these moments is that they make us appreciate life so much more.  They make us enjoy and love the season of living, tremendously.  They make us humble, I believe, as memories of those moments flood back to us without warning.  And we remember that life is a gift, and each day precious, and that we are to appreciate it.

 

Those were the hardest days and the most challenging times, certainly.  And I wouldn’t want to go back to them.  But I do find myself sometimes reaching back to those days.  Those were days of brokenness.  A terrible time, but a time that taught me so much.  A time where I was desperate and just surviving, and I learned how to rely on only God to get through.  Now that a year has passed since we learned of G’s diagnosis, I lead a pretty normal life, and I’ve fallen back into a pattern of relying on myself a lot.  A year ago, I knew I wasn’t strong and I needed God’s strength to carry me through each day.  Now I feel stronger.  I feel like I can do things again.  Like I can manage life ok again.  But in reality, I should be just as desperate for God now as I was one year ago.

 

And as I sat looking out my window, remembering what it felt like one year ago to watch the world go by, I was reminded of all of these things.  Thankful for reminders of my brokenness and my need for a saving, grace-giving God.

one year later.

Today is January 7th.  On January 7th, 2013, our whole world changed forever.  What started out as an exciting day became the worst day of our lives.

It was a Monday and we were going that afternoon to have our big 20 week ultrasound and find out whether we were having a boy or a girl.  I worked part of the day, and Tommy had taken the day off.  I got up early and headed out the door for work right about the time Jack woke up.  Tommy got Jack ready and took him to preschool that day.  As soon as I left the house I felt sick, and as soon as I pulled into a parking spot at work I opened my car door and threw up.  [And since I was 20 weeks pregnant and I throw up hard, I also peed my pants.]  Not an awesome start to a work day, but I wasn’t going to let it get me down.  We were going to see our baby in a few hours.

I’m sure my patients didn’t appreciate any smells I brought into their rooms that day, but I got my work done and headed out about 2:45.  Tommy picked Jack up at preschool and got him down for his nap.  My brother came over to watch Jack while we went to the appointment.  So I ran home to meet Tommy, get Bradley set to watch Jack, and change clothes and brush my teeth!  Tommy and I took off for the doctor’s office.

Usually I went to the group’s office downtown at the hospital, but for this appointment I had scheduled it at their office out west since I would be working that day.  Tommy and I talked about life and about all of those exciting baby-dreaming things you talk about.  The sonographer called me back and gave me a cup for my urine sample.  While I was in the bathroom I realized that I hadn’t much prayed for this day or this appointment, and on my way out the bathroom door I felt it strongly pressed upon my heart to just say “His will be done”.  Which I’m not sure I’ve ever said before in my life.  And looking back on it, it’s pretty wild.

I headed into the ultrasound room where Tommy and the sonographer were waiting on me, and we got started.  What had started out chatty, quickly became just Tommy and I talking, and then just quiet.  There was nothing casual or exciting about her tone, and I just thought she wasn’t a friendly person.  Everything looked the same to me – just stuff I couldn’t identify.  She told us we were having a boy – that was the only thing I could identify.  And after 20 – 25 minutes, she said we were done.  Then she said she had some concerns and would show them to the doctor and he would talk to us about it.  So she took us out to the waiting room and said he would call us back.

We waited for what seemed like forever.  I remember telling Tommy that she really should have specified her level of concerns.  We were talking missing hand – cause I could totally handle that.  He laughed and agreed.  I don’t think either of us could have imagined how bad it would really be.  So we talked about mindless stuff – just talking to keep our minds from wondering what was going on.  I was so nervous.

Finally, a nurse called us back.  She got my weight and blood pressure – like any of that really mattered.  And she said the doctor would be right in.  We went to a big group where you rotate which doctors you see, so I had never seen this doctor before.  He was rattled.  Tommy and I learned last January that you never want to be the one who rattles doctors.  It doesn’t bode well.  He walked in the room and said there was no easy way to say this, but they saw problems with our baby’s brain, heart, and stomach and thought there were signs consistent with down syndrome.  I asked him how bad it was, and he said we should consider terminating.  He had a specific name for the heart defect the sonographer thought she saw, and Tommy memorized it so we could look it up.  The doctor told us we would go see the specialists and they would know more.  We went out to the front desk and the nice ladies there commented on how beautiful our baby was in the ultrasound pictures we had.  And they were still working on making our appointment.  They finished and gave us the instructions for where the Perinatal Center was and to be there at 1:30 the next day.

We walked out the door and just both started crying.  We stood by the elevators and cried for a few minutes before going down.  We got in the car and cried some more.  I remember needing Tommy to help me walk out of there.  I just leaned on him and walked and cried.  He drove us home.  I can’t remember much of what we talked about or how much we actually talked.  I just remember feeling helpless.  Our best case scenario at this point was a baby with Down Syndrome with a repairable heart defect.  And we prayed hard for that over the next 18 hours.

That night was a blur as we waited for our appointment the next day.  I remember us looking to the Bible for hope, I remember us praying for the best case scenario but also the ability to accept the worst.  And I remember the life of this sweet baby becoming so incredibly important to me that day.  We hadn’t talked about a name for him yet, so we sat down that night and picked out a name for him that would be as full of meaning as his life was of purpose.  And that was how we settled on Gabriel.

 

It’s hard for me to believe that we have now lived a full year of not a normal life.  It’s also really precious for me to look back on the time between January and May of last year when Gabriel was with us.  His life was precious and it’s so special to remember all of those moments we had with him.

 

I’ve never shared all of these details about January 7th before.  It’s a day that has changed my life forever, and it is certainly one of the worst days of my life.  But it doesn’t take away my hope.  It was the hardest day of my life up to that point, but we survived it.  God brought us through that day and all of the days to follow.  I wanted to share about that day one year ago because I know that some of you know exactly how that day feels.  I know you’ve lived your own version of it, and you have your story of your worst, shocking day to carry with you, too.  And I want you to know that you aren’t alone.  You are loved.  And I pray that you will carry that day as part of your beautiful story.  And for those who are walking this walk now, know it will get better.  It will never go away [and I’m thankful for that], but it will get better.  One day, you too, will be able to share your story while missing and remembering your loved one.  Or maybe celebrating their life and their healing.  And for those to come, know that your story is unique and precious, but that others have walked this before you and you will get through it, too.  And know that you can find help here.

 

Today we remember our sweet, precious boy, and celebrate a life that changed ours forever.  A life who shared about grace and love and blessings and God’s purpose.  We will always love and always miss our precious G.

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