Wednesday, April 28, 2010


A lot can happen in a really short amount of time.

Let me give you the short end of this very fast story.
  1. On Daniel's birthday, Tuesday, April 20th, I started bleeding.
  2. Mind you, I was only 33 weeks, 6 days pregnant.
  3. I had my regular OB appointment and ultrasound that morning.
  4. Turns out I had a partial placental abruption.
  5. I was monitored in Hendersonville Medical Center and given a steroid shot for the baby's lungs to mature quickly in case of an emergent delivery.
  6. Because I kept bleeding, it was almost inevitable that I would have to have a C-section that day.
  7. So, they transferred me to Baptist Hospital where they have a NICU.
  8. I had an ultrasound there...  No more abruption.
  9. I had to have another steroid shot for the baby in case he came.
  10. BECAUSE, I was having contractions...  2 minutes apart. 
  11. They put me on Magnesium Sulfate.
  12. It has awful side effects:  hot flashes, burning sensations, flu-like symptoms, etc.
  13. I had to be weaned off of it in order to go home.
  14. They gave me Procardia - a pill to stop contractions.
  15. It has side effects too, like it dropped my blood pressure to 60/20.
  16. Within three days, I was released to go home, Friday, April 23rd, at 2:00 pm.
  17. By 10 pm that same night, I was back at Baptist being monitored.
  18. I had been having contractions 5 minutes apart for four hours.  Pre-term labor.
  19. I was sure they'd let me deliver.
  20. But, they put me BACK ON MAGNESIUM.  
  21. You know, the one with the terrible side effects.
  22. I cried.
  23. They gave me morphine.
  24. I slept.
  25. By Monday, April 26th, I was sent home with no restrictions and Terbutaline to take in case contractions started back up.
  26. Terbutaline makes me jittery.  Heart pounds.  Really shaky.  
  27. On the following day, I was able to go back to my regular OB.
  28. I was given another ultrasound.
  29. Dr. Nason said he had truly seen the answers to prayer...
  30. The abruption seemed to have healed itself.
  31. Everything looked perfect!
  32. He prayed with us.
  33. He also said that if I could make it until 36 weeks, he wouldn't stop me from going into labor or from delivering! 
  34. That's only 7 days away...  I'm 35 weeks pregnant today.
  35. Or, if we're realistic, my due date is June 2nd.  Still, that's only 5 weeks away.
  36. Wow.
  37. God is good and completely in control.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

B is for Birthday (or Baptist Hospital)

Well, yesterday was our little buddy's first birthday, and to be honest, we completely had an incredible week planned for Daniel.  That is, until our newest "buddy in the making" decided to give us a little scare...  But, I won't get ahead of myself.

With the best intentions, Brian and I thought it would be incredible to celebrate our children's birthdays by spelling out the word B-I-R-T-H-D-A-Y.  So, pictures will follow in the days to come, but here's what Daniel did before the plans changed...

B is for BUBBLES
Monday afternoon, Aunt Jessica took Daniel out in the front yard and played with "Manely," the bubble blower.

I is for ICE CREAM
That same day, we heard the ice cream truck in the neighborhood and grabbed Daniel and went running for it.  Daniel had his first ice cream sandwich this week!  It was a "Birthday Party Sandwich."

Daniel had his lion-themed birthday party on Saturday!

Daniel tried his new sippy cup with a STRAW in it and some strawberry milk, but although he tried them, he didn't want anything to do with either of them!

However, that's as far as we got!  On the morning of Daniel's first birthday, I started bleeding...  33 weeks and 6 days pregnant and quite a scare!  Thankfully, we had our regular OB appointment, and after an emergency ultrasound, our OB decided to have the baby and me monitored on the Labor and Delivery floor there at Hendersonville.  Our doctor even warned us that if in fact the bleeding and cramping were due to a placental abruption that we would be delivering that day!  Tuesday, April 20th, DANIEL'S BIRTHDAY!

To make an awfully long day short, I'll explain what happened from there...

It continued.  Thus causing concern, and making Dr. Nason take some huge precautions.

Not long after Dr. Nason spoke with a maternal specialist at Baptist, I was en route there via ambulance!

When I arrived at Baptist, I started having contractions, lots of them, every two minutes of them...  We really thought we'd be having two birthdays on the same day...

However, I was put on an IV and given fluids and magnesium to stop the contractions and hydrate me.  We were then taken to get another ultrasound done, and the specialist did not see any major abruption.  He believed the bleeding was caused by my placenta, but reasons as to why cannot be explained!

What we thought would be a few hours turned into a few days...  We are under control at this point with the Magnesium slowing down contractions and Procardia keeping the uterus from doing so as well.  Baby boy looks great - his heartbeat is holding strong and he's moving around like he's ready to take on the world!  But, we're hoping to hold out for another two weeks at the least.

D is for DINNER
After almost two days of no eating or drinking due to the fact that I was in pre-term labor and on Magnesium which relaxes the throat muscles and can cause choking, I was given my first meal today!  A chicken quesadilla and fruit never tasted so good!

A is for ABSENCE
We're here at Baptist Hospital for at least two-three more days if all goes well.  I will have to be monitored while lowering dosages of Magnesium and weaning me off of it.  It's a very rough drug that causes some MAJOR side effects, from flu-like symptoms, feeling hot and flushed, burning sensations, etc.  I've experienced them all!  But because we're here, we are separated from our Birthday Boy!  We are missing him incredibly, but in our absence, he's been in the best hands he could possibly be.  We are so thankful for friends and family who love us and our boy(s) so much.  A special hug goes out to Aunt Jessica and Mimi for all they have done!

Y is for YAHWEH
Have I mentioned God in any of this?  I just have to tell you, He's been so real to us in the past days that it's unfathomable.  He's wrapped His protective arms around us and our unborn son and had us in the right place at exactly the right time.  We just so happened to have an OB appointment on the day I started bleeding on Daniel's birthday.  We just so happened to have an amazing OB who cared enough to make sure we'd be with our baby in case of early delivery by transporting us to Baptist.  We just so happened to be in the best place possible for care, and we just so happen to be doing perfectly well!  God is sovereign and completely in control, and we know that He knows what is best for us.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Daniel's 1st Birthday Party (in Pictures)

Daniel arrives for The Mane Event...

Smiles with his Grandpa (one of his first guests),

and Plays with his cousins.

He then waits patiently for his cupcake,

Smashes it with both hands,

Talks to the chocolate,

and Tries to share with his Daddy.

Daniel then has to get cleaned up in the sink,

and He is dressed and ready to open his gifts!

Daniel's Daddy opens most of his gifts...
This one is from our sweet friend; she had made a "B is for Brothers" shadow box for Daniel and baby "Brother" out of broken crayons!

His favorite gift is this swimming pool from Aunt Jessica,

and He is even sweet enough to let all his cub friends jump in!

After presents, he visits all his buddies...
Scott and Ashley,

Ray and Gloria,

Jimmy, Miss Addy, and Amanda,

Danielle, Ryder, and Justin (he wonders where Izzy is),

Ty, Connor, Clayton, and Shelby,

Jennifer and his good buddy, Pierce,

and Tucker, Jordan, and sweet Addison.

He then visits with his family...
Loves on his Aunt Jessica and a balloon,

Tries to get away from Aunt Kim and Daddy,

Says goodbye to Great Uncle David, Great Aunt Christy, and cousins Mason and Hayden,

and Takes a picture with Mommy and Daddy!

With everyone else leaving, Daniel is ready to go,

and Thanks his Mimi for all of her help!

Sunday, April 18, 2010

The Mane Event (Planning the Party)

If you didn't know it, I am quite the planner.  I love getting to use my creative talents.  When I taught Kindergarten, I loved getting parties together, decorating my classroom, and coming up with incredible ideas for everyday lessons.  So, when Daniel's first birthday party was quickly approaching (4 months ago), I let my mind run WILD with ideas, and I finally decided on a lion theme.  Who would have thought lions would be so difficult?!  I couldn't find anything lion-themed, other than some adorable baby shower decorations that I adored!  So, I used them as the decor and created the rest.  Here are just a few of the decorations and ideas I incorporated into Daniel's Mane Event!

This is the invitation I created using Photoshop.  I had them printed on 5x7 photo paper on Shutterfly.

I was given the amazing idea to save at least one item/decoration from every party throughout my child's life and reuse them each year, so as you can guess, this "Birthday Banner" will be a staple at all of Daniel's future parties!  I have seen this done at many parties and decided to create my own!

This was the gift table prior to guests arriving.  It gives you an idea of what the decor was, lions and polka dots.  I found the inflatable lion at a consignment sale and knew it was the perfect centerpiece.  I also displayed Daniel's newborn, 3, 6, 9, and 12 month pictures and used the same cardstock from the birthday banner to create labels for each picture.

I loved the favors!  We used clear acrylic boxes, raffia ribbon, and animal crackers for each one.  I also made small labels that said:  "We're not LION when we say, You've made this a special birthday!"  I attached more cardstock to the basket to give it a "ferocious" look!

The food table was decorated with more lions and polka dotted napkins, plates, etc.  I also had Daniel's 1 year pictures taken in his birthday shirt (which was created by a good friend of mine) and used the picture as a starting point to the food.  The lion is actually named, "Manely"; he is a bubble-blower which was a huge hit with our little guest cubs.

 Here Daniel is playing with Manely (the bubble blower), Daddy, and Grandpa.  The bubbles were such a hit!

I had cut out sandwiches in the shape of crowns (get it?) and gave guests 3 different sandwich options.  Orange toothpicks, of course, and the "King of the Jungle" dessert plates.

The cake/cupcakes helped set the lion/polka dot tone!  My sweet friend, Lori, used Daniel's napkins to create a 2-tier white cake and 24 chocolate cupcakes, which included spelling out Daniel's name.
The centerpieces for each table were small baskets with "Rules from the Birthday King" on them.  Each basket was filled with colored 4x6 cardstock, pens, and a game sheet called "Daniel, Now and Later."  I also included either a plush lion or lion picture frame at each table to hold the orange, yellow, and brown balloons.  Guests wrote sweet messages to Daniel on the cardstock.  The game was one in which guests had to decide which things Daniel is doing now or will be doing later, and in case of a tie, the bonus question was to guess the time at which Daniel was born.  The winner received a box of Now and Later candy!

The "Crazy Coloring" table

The "Wild Game" table

Daniel's birthday bib 
He ate his cake in it, and it cleverly included a washcloth as the candle!

After eating cake, Daniel changed into his Birthday Shirt designed specifically for him by Maggie Moo's Mom.  All of the planning fell perfectly into place!

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Already Come and Gone

Daniel's first birthday party...

As long as it took to plan it, his birthday party should have lasted a week.  Two hours just didn't seem long enough...  I'm ridiculously exhausted, but I'd do it again just to see his face light up over that chocolate cupcake.  I'd do it all again just to watch him walk to each table and raise his hands to each familiar face.  I'd plan for a year if I could keep this day forever etched in my mind.  I'd do it all for Daniel...

I guess it's bittersweet, knowing your child is turning one and at the same time, knowing he'll never be here at this moment in time ever again.  It's hard only because I have learned to notice how precious each moment is, and as a parent, I am strangely able to see how quickly this is all happening.

One year ago today, I didn't know what life would be like with a child.  I was 39 weeks along, and I was so ready for Daniel to be here that I didn't picture what I thought might happen.  I didn't know what life would be like a year AFTER that.  I never had a thought in my mind about his first birthday party decorations or what he should wear on that special day.

Nevertheless, in just two short hours and months of planning, his first year has already been celebrated, and it won't be long before he'll be turning two.  So, just for this moment, and in this late hour, I want to picture today as it truly was...

Truly wonderful.  Ridiculously overwhelming.  Perfectly planned.  Significantly blessed.

I'm All Planned Out

And in about 13 hours, we'll finally see how it all turns out...

Daniel's 1st birthday party is today!

Maybe that's not anything spectacular to many people, but as a mom, who's a big-time planner, a teensy bit over-zealous, and a whole lotta excited, I cannot tell you what celebrating my son's first birthday means to me.  It's more than just a party; it truly is a celebration of the gift God has given us - Daniel Benjamin.

After miscarrying our first child, getting pregnant with Daniel was such a blessing.  I can remember when my due date seemed so far away, and yet in a few days, that same strong-willed, energetic baby in the womb will be turning one.  It is an honor I cannot put into words.

So, with all the time and energy I've had in me, I've spent a good three months or so planning this party, and though I'm about tired of planning, I know that once this day is over, I'll look back and wonder where all the time has gone.  Before long and Lord willing, my sweet baby will be a boy who's almost a man, and that's surreal to me at this point.  However, it's reality.  I just want to savor each moment today...  From buying gallons of ice cream and purchasing balloons to smashing cake and opening precious gifts, I do not want to take one second of Daniel's big day for granted...  because - let's be honest - it's my big day too!

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Bed Rest

Oh, the two words I never hoped to hear...

Yet, with the issues with my kidneys, urinary tract, a low-lying placenta, and now early bleeding, I should have expected it.  I'm resting comfortably on the couch, and I am truly thankful that I am as healthy and blessed as I am.  My husband and family have been amazing since yesterday when the issue first began, a few hours in the ER, and the instruction to stay put. 

32 weeks now, and the anticipation is building.  Just pray that he'll hold off for a little while longer. 

We'll keep you updated...

Monday, April 5, 2010

Two. Of. Them.

I realized today that life is really going to change soon.  With Daniel turning one in two weeks and "Brother" set to arrive the first week of June, this fact that there will be two of them has started to hit home.  I have to begin thinking about everything in two's.  Two cribs.  Two high chairs.  Two car seats - one infant, one convertible.  Two in one stroller.  Two different cries.  Two different laughs.  Two in one room.  Two different sizes of diapers, changes of clothes, sets of toys... 

I have friends that have twins (Lord help them)...  Though I cannot fathom what it is they go through, I've thought about how "the two" hit those parents at once.  I imagine that could be an advantage considering what it is I'm feeling now - this is the pregnancy talking and the anxiety that comes along with it.  I feel as if I just got through with one baby to start with another, and the truth of the matter is that I'll have two babies - they'll just be at completely different stages.

Two of them, and only one of me.  Wow.

Yet, on the other hand, I'm feeling extremely blessed by this idea of "two."  Daniel will never know life without a brother.  He'll always have a friend he can count on, pick at, and love unconditionally.  He'll never have to question who his best friend is or who to call in times of trouble.  "Brother" will more than likely move at a quick pace.  He'll always be attempting to keep up with Daniel, thus energizing him to crawl sooner, speak more clearly and walk even faster.  He'll never know life without his big brother.  Those reasons alone help me to understand the Lord's reason for two of them...

I've spent days fearing the worst...  and I'll probably continue to do so every time someone initiates the topics of two babies at church or two children screaming for sippy cups and bottles or two kids' things being packed into one diaper bag.  However, I cannot help but think of the beauty of "two."  Scripture says that, Two people are better off than one, for they can help each other succeed.  (Ecclesiastes 4:9)  I'm excited that the unknown of "two" is coming quickly, and I'm so grateful that the Lord has chosen me for "such a time as this."

Sunday, April 4, 2010

So Much Can Happen...

in just two weeks.

Two Sundays ago, Brian and I had just dropped Daniel off at his Mimi's so we could head to church (well, so I could actually pay attention in church) when the Lord really opened our eyes.  In less than five seconds, driving down I-65 towards Nashville, we hit a bump in the road, hydroplaned, and hit the concrete median...  twice.  I cannot remember now what I was thinking then other than if I had to die, I wanted to be holding Brian's hand.  That's exactly what I did. 

We were going so fast...  It happened so quickly that Brian began speaking prayers aloud to the Lord, and I remember wanting him to know I loved him, so I grabbed his hand as we were hitting the median the first time.  I remember also thinking that another car was going to hit us...  It didn't, and no sooner than the wreck started, we were sitting on the side of the road waiting for the police officer to write a report.  Brian and I were shaking, but the baby was just kicking as though nothing had happened.  We were sent on our way, despite the damage to both the front and rear bumpers/trunk/hood/etc., and made it to church in time.  Wow.  I still have no idea why the police didn't call for an ambulance...  I was 30 weeks pregnant!

That was two Sundays ago, right?!  The following days were a mad dash to contact insurance, get a rental, and spend the week at a Minister's School/Conference in Bowling Green, KY.  Monday, we called Farm Bureau, got our Chevy Impala rental car, and were thankful to be alive.  Tuesday, we rested and got a call from the collision shop that the damage was more than we expected, I think.  Wednesday, we headed to Bowling Green and while there, we received word that the damage to the car was extensive, and more than likely, would be considered "totaled," as well as began looking for a new vehicle and test-driving an SUV and a mini-van.  Thursday, we were back in Bowling Green, got the check for the amount of the car, got to the bank in time to deposit it, and were still feeling REALLY blessed. 

I had told Brian that I was pretty sure that the car was totaled the night it happened.  Oh, and did I mention that since we have an 11 month old and another baby on his way, that we'd been praying for a larger vehicle, specifically a van, for over 2 months?!  Friday, we actually went to Bowling Green and left to go look again at cars.  We test-drove the SUV again and were sold on it.  We also took a mini-van around the block and didn't like it compared to the SUV.  So, that night, we bought an SUV.  We paid a bit more than the amount we had been given for our totaled car, but we were genuinely thrilled. 

By the following Monday, we were back at the dealership.  Returning our SUV.  Yes, that's right, those words the dealer tells and has you sign on are important.  We remembered we had three days if by any reason we weren't satisfied with the vehicle.  And we weren't.  It had some issues.  Big ones actually.  To my knowledge, here we are a week later, and it's still sitting in the transmission section of the dealership's shop.  So, we're still on Monday, which was about 6 days ago, and we needed another car.  We had the rental, but we were given the opportunity to drive the mini-van again...  It was a little over our price range, but while we were driving it, Brian said that if he could get the dealer to a certain number, he'd buy it.  We get back, the dealer gives us "the best he could do," and we leave just an hour later with a Nissan Quest mini-van, which JUST SO HAPPENED to be a couple hundred dollars LESS than the amount we had received for our car.  Yes, divine providence.

The next few days were amazing as well.  Tuesday, we went to dinner for our third anniversary which was the following day but a church night.  We went to Demos and had Marble Slab.  Nothing fancy, but we had just bought a vehicle and were simply glad to have one another...  after our run-in with a concrete wall.  :)  Wednesday was our 3 year anniversary.  It came and went, but I honestly felt more loved than I ever expected.  Being in a fairly serious car wreck with your spouse can do that to you...  Thursday, I can't remember.  Friday, we cleaned our carpets, talked with our neighbor who just happens to be a realtor (which we're needing), and took Daniel to spend the night with his Mimi so we could get the house ready for two babies...  which meant rearranging a LOT of things and rooms in the house! Yesterday, Saturday, we cleaned more.  It was tedious and repetitive, but we're almost happy and it's just about finished. 

And today is Sunday, Easter.  We spent the day at church, eating a fabulous lunch (that my incredible sister made) with family, watched Daniel open his Easter basket from Mimi, napped, then headed back to church. 

That's just two weeks!

Oh, and I failed to mention that during these two weeks, Daniel has changed:
He got his 5th tooth. 
He began walking...  on his own...  all of the time... 
He started imitating us.
He can make cow, lion, duck, and mouse noises.
He can clap his hands.
He can find the Cheerios box in the cabinet.
He can also open the box and eat away...
He tried his first popsicle, Dorito, and cantaloupe.


Because Christ died, for me.

Because He rose three days later, for me.

Because my husband is amazing.  He fears the Lord, loves Him faithfully, and strives to serve Him in all he does.  And, on top of all that, my husband was made for me.  Me.

Because our son is precious.  God gave us Daniel...  and though I feel at times that I fail miserably at being a parent, I am so humbled by the fact that this little boy is our responsibility, our gift.  The Lord gave Daniel to me.

Because despite who I am and what I've done, the Lord loves me.

He gives me days like today to remind me of how great He truly is.  I'm honored to be His child.  I'm so thankful that on Easter, I can truly say that my Redeemer lives.  He's risen, and He's alive.  Isn't that such an honor?

Friday, April 2, 2010

An Amazing Giveaway for New Moms

I'm not exactly a "new mom;" in fact, I'm getting used to diaper changes, Gerber products, and exhaustion, considering I have an eleven month old.  It's no surprise that when I found out we were pregnant again just 4 months after my first was born, I was completely flabbergasted!  What's been a bit difficult is knowing that there aren't going to be baby showers this time around loading us up with diapers and wipes and this, that, and the other; I mean, we are very more than prepared with everything a child could ever need, BUT, who doesn't love getting new things?! 

That's why I was SO excited to come across this amazing giveaway online...

Enter now through May 1st, when the winner will be picked randomly.  $1700 worth of fabulous products!  I just cannot imagine...  Wouldn't you LOVE to be the winner of this whether you're having a baby or not?!

Faithfully Frugal and Free

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Holidays Really Get to Me...

Don't ask me why exactly, because truly there are a number of reasons.  When I was newly dating Brian (well, actually, just days after the Lord told me that I'd marry him), he mentioned that he wasn't a huge fan of Santa...  or Halloween and costumes...  or the Easter Bunny.  My mouth could have dropped.  It more than likely did.  I remember thinking to myself that "I could change his mind," and that there was "no way my children would be missing out on holiday fun."

My, how the thoughts have shifted!  I have almost become the "grinch" when it comes to holidays.  Mainly just the ones that are truly about Jesus and have actually become so focused on pagan rituals.  I mean, where did Santa Claus come from?  And, exactly who thought it'd be a good idea to dress children in black wigs, fake teeth, and thick make-up for the sake of a scary costume?  And, how did chasing after eggs sound like something that made any sense at all?

Don't get me wrong, but my mind is aching over the fact that the world revolves around EVERYTHING except Jesus.  You cannot even get to the fruit section at Walmart without craving a chocolate bunny or sneezing your head off due to the lilies and daisies this time of year!  Forgive me for saying so, but I am heart-broken over the idea of kids not knowing who Jesus Christ is, but being able to tell you every single detail about eight reindeer and a bunny who delivers baskets.  Where have we lost our way?  When did this life become more about tradition than the TRUTH?

I must admit...  I loved picking out Daniel's three Christmas gifts and watching him as he got his first glimpse of the lights on the tree.  I had a blast dressing him up as a lion for Halloween.  I even enjoyed finding the perfect Easter outfit for him as well (which I found at consignment for $2).  I really have tried to incorporate Christ into the center of each and every holiday we've had with Daniel.  But as a parent, I'm starting to realize how my actions reflect what my children are going to remember about each holiday and the real reason behind each of them. 

I am not completely against holidays or meaning to "bash" those of you who participate in them, but I recently have become aware of my conviction that I want to be different...  peculiar, even, as Scripture says.  I want the world to know that I love the Lord and want Him to be the focus my family has.  I don't want to be bombarded with the what-I-seem-to-make overwhelming issues of picking out what to wear for each special service and cutting down a tree.  I want to remember and be an example as to the fact that Jesus was lowly, humble, meek...  He didn't dress in new linens.  He didn't focus on what His appearance was.  He actually was willing to die on a tree for my sake...  for the world, that is.  So, when these holidays arrive each year, and if I have trouble distinguishing between truth and tradition, I want to be certain that my heart is where is should be on a daily basis...  Focused on the real meaning behind each one:

Jesus Christ.

I write this only because I have truly struggled over how to parent my child in a Christian manner.  I have often wondered if we should celebrate holidays at all or have parties that focus on anything other than God.  Maybe it is because I am young in the faith and still have a great deal to learn, but I have come to know that there IS more to life than merely what we have made of it.