Thursday, January 10, 2013

Will you join me this year in the March For Babies?

Dear Friends and Family,

A question that I have been asked many times is, “What exactly is the purpose of the March of Dimes?”  I want to answer that for you by saying that the March of Dimes is a non-profit organization committed to their outreach of helping mothers reach a full 40 weeks in their pregnancies and that they are also an organization that will continue to conduct research to ensure that one day all pregnancies result in happy, healthy babies. 
Did you know that The March of Dimes was established in 1938 by FDR to fight polio?  It was, only it was operating under the name the National Foundation for Infantile Paralysis.  After polio was eradicated in our country, the mission focus was shifted to premature birth and birth defects and the name was changed to The March of Dimes. 

Throughout the years, the March of Dimes has launched various campaigns to promote the importance of prenatal care.  An example of this is the organization's folic acid campaign that urged women to take folic acid not only while they are pregnant but before they plan on conceiving.  The research behind the campaign proved that folic acid reduces the risk of neural tube defects and is important for all women of childbearing age to take.  Because of just this one important breakthrough the March of Dimes has helped save the lives of thousands of babies in America and globally. 

Tonight I logged on to the computer to formally sign myself up for a  March for Babies Family Team again this year to help the March of Dimes work towards the day when all babies are born healthy and on time, which most of you know is something very near and dear to my heart. 

I am writing today to ask you to join me.  I would love it if you would log on to my web page ( and join my team as a walker, make a donation, or create your own family team to walk on Saturday, April 20th at John Dam Plaza in Richland. 

As a Family Team, we are able to raise money for a cause we believe in and at the same time increase awareness of the crisis of premature birth, birth defects and infant death.  The March of Dimes depends on volunteers like us to help raise funds to continue this work.  Together, we will champion the health of Washington’s families! 

My family knows first-hand the importance of the March of Dimes mission.  As most of you know, I was a 32 week, 3 pound 10 ounce preemie born in 1980.  Kadlec Regional Medical Center in Richland had no NICU back then, so on a dark, cold January night I took my first helicopter ride (without my mother) to Deaconess Hospital in Spokane and there I stayed for just over one month.  It was a long journey for my mom and a story that I had heard growing up many times, but never fully understood the weight it carried for my mom until my own son, Trenton, was born at 29 weeks gestation in 2007. 
Photos of me and my mom in the NICU at Deaconess in Spokane

My nurse with me at Deaconess NICU January 29, 1980 

He weighed in at only 2 pounds 10 ounces and it is because of the love and support he received in the NICU at Hoag Hospital in Newport Beach, CA and the March of Dimes vision and relentless pursuit to save babies, that he is an amazingly healthy boy who will turn 6 this March.  
Trenton about 6 hours after birth

Holding Trent for the first time on Day 6 in the NICU
Trenton at 8 days old
Kangaroo Cuddles for me and Trenton at 10 days old

His NICU journey prompted me to seek out this organization to get behind.  I participated in the March for Babies in 2008 and 2009.  I wasn't able to participate in 2010 due to a high-risk pregnancy that ultimately ended with the stillbirth of my daughter, Paige, at 22 weeks gestation.  My heart may be forever broken, but her death has been further motivation for me to want to give back in hopes that no other family will have to endure what we have endured.  Leaving the hospital with empty arms felt like my heart was being ripped from my chest.  Tears did not stop flowing for months.  

(To read Paige's story go to  
Paige a few hours after birth August 2, 2010

Daddy holding his little girl at the funeral home
Me kissing Paige goodbye on August 8th, 2010
Trent and I at her grave site before family arrived for her funeral

But that is not where the story ends…with a sweet little boy in my arms and a precious girl looking down on me from heaven, my husband and I welcomed a beautiful, healthy, full term baby boy, Mason in 2012.  And when I am out there walking on April 20th, you better believe that I am walking for him too!   
Brian giving the thumbs up - which means 10 tiny fingers and 10 tiny toes

Breathing in the sweet scent of my brand new bundle of love
The first photo we have of the three of us together
The very proud, big brother holding Mason

I appreciate you taking the time to read this.  I hope that it inspired you to join me in the March for Babies fundraising campaign this year! 

And now, I am going to challenge you.  If you are making a donation to my team, would you please consider donating $66 in honor of the number of days Trenton spent in the NICU OR $22 in honor of the number of weeks I was pregnant with Paige. 

Thank you!

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Year 2 without Paige

Year two without Paige is definitely different than year one. I spent the first year in gut-wrenching grief trying to find a way to live without her. Year two has brought with it many new feelings and much more acceptance. I have spent it trying to find a way to keep her memory alive in me. It is easier for me to invite her in now. To truly allow myself to remember her and see signs of her. It helps to remind me that I am small in this universe. There is dew and there is ocean. There is the moon and stars. And my baby died. It was a minute blip on the radar of the universe. However, it was an atomic bomb for my little family.  But, there is still dew and there is still ocean. God is God. And He is still in control.  I believe that there is something beyond what I can see in my every day. Maybe Paige is all around me. And so after 24 months it is okay for me to allow her to keep coming to me in a sunset, the shape of a cloud in the sky, a summer breeze that warms my face, a passing butterfly…in any way that I choose to see her love, simply because it is comforting.

What I am learning is that my life is what I make of it. Every morning when I wake I have to put forth the effort to make a conscious choice to focus on the joy that she lived at all. The happiness I felt when I was pregnant, carrying her and planning for our future together. Grief is so draining emotionally and physically. I am not saying that it is easy for me every day, but it is something that I work on. Every. Single. Day.

Sometimes, when I really sit and think about it, it seems miraculous that anyone lives. We as humans are so vulnerable and delicate. All of us. We are creatures designed for death. No one is immune. My daughter taught me that. Paige taught me about impermanence. I am grateful for the lesson. It has helped me to be more “heavenly minded”. We can all stumble through this life pretending like it isn’t going to end, but that would be foolish. We are all going somewhere when we die and it is our own choice where.

My two living children have also been very instrumental in my journey over the last year. Trent has been along for this crazy ride since the beginning. He is now five years old and he is amazing. I never fully understood the phrase about having the faith of a child until I witnessed true and blind faith within Trenton. He accepted more at 3 years old than I did at 30. At times when I was down he reminded me that I had to keep going and that we didn’t die along with her. We were here and we needed to LIVE. He talks about her constantly and draws pictures for me of our family and she is always in them. He has nights when he wants to look through her memory box and cuddle with our Paigey Bear. Maybe with time she will not be so much a part of his every day thoughts. But, Paige will always be a part of his story. Part of the fabric of his life. She is and will forever be the baby sister that he never had the chance to play with or grow up with on this earth. The baby sister he visits in his dreams and at her grave site. For now there is a Paige shaped hole in his tender little heart, but he and I both know that one day it will be filled.

And Baby Mason. He is 4 months old. Beginning to roll over, grabbing at everything he can get his little hands on, smiling and taking his first bites of cereal. Two years ago he wasn’t even part of my plan. But now he is and it seems like it was always meant to be this way. He is a wiggly bundle of pure love and I can’t imagine my life or my family without him. How can I not feel blessed? He taught me that it is okay to hope and dream again. It is okay to move forward. Moving forward doesn’t mean forgetting the past. It means that we were strong enough to jump into the deep end again. Mason didn’t replace Paige and never could. He is his own little person who holds a great big chunk of my heart.  I am thankful to Mason for restoring my hope. If I would have let fear creep into my heart and take root, I wouldn’t have been able to feel the overwhelming sensation of true and pure joy that having another child has brought to my life. It wasn’t easy getting pregnant or being pregnant after losing Paige, but it has been worth it. 

So, while I wish with all of my being that things would have turned out differently 2 years ago and that Paige were here carrying her dolls around, splashing in the sprinkler with Trent and welcoming her new baby brother into the family. She isn’t. And won’t ever be. No matter how hard I wish or beg for things to be different. I am slowly coming to terms with that. It may be taking me longer than it takes other people after a loss. But I am not them. I can’t compare myself to them. I only know how my heart feels.

So for now I will hug her brothers a little tighter, kiss them a little more and pray that they will always know how very much I love them. I would have loved the chance to raise Paige in our home with her brothers, but since I can’t, I am choosing to think of her in heaven sending these beautiful moments down to me, her mother. She has everything she could ever dream of. All of her needs are fulfilled far beyond anything we can imagine here on earth. She is ALIVE with Jesus. Completely healthy. Aboundingly happy. And maybe she is excited for the day she will see me again. Maybe she loves me like I love her. And boy do I love her.

Dear Paige,

Happy 2nd Birthday in heaven my sweet girl! I hope you are having an amazing party with Jesus today. We miss you more than you will ever know. Today we are having a picnic at the cemetery and some cake after dinner. Trenton will also be sending you some balloons, just like he did last year, so keep a look out for them. We love to watch them floating up to the sky until we can’t see them anymore. Maybe you can see them then. Just know we love you and can’t wait to one day see your beautiful little face again. Keep on sending us small glimpses of heaven, we love seeing little pieces of you in our world.


  This picture is from last year, her first birthday in heaven, but it is one of my favorites. 

Friday, January 20, 2012

Such a beautiful song. "I Will Carry You" - Selah

There were photographs I wanted to take
Things I wanted to show you
Sing sweet lullabies, wipe your teary eyes
Who could love you like this?
People say that I am brave but I’m not
Truth is I’m barely hanging on
But there’s a greater story
Written long before me
Because He loves you like this
So I will carry you
While your heart beats here
Long beyond the empty cradle
Through the coming years
I will carry you
All my life
And I will praise the One
Who’s chosen me
To carry you
Such a short time
Such a long road
All this madness
But I know
That the silence
Has brought me to His voice
And He says…
I’ve shown her photographs of time beginning
Walked her through the parted seas
Angel lullabies, no more teary eyes
Who could love her like this?
I will carry you
While your heart beats here
Long beyond the empty cradle
Through the coming years
I will carry you
All your life
And I will praise the One
Who’s chosen Me
To carry you

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Happy First Birthday In Heaven...

Funny how life isn’t always what you think it will be. Things change. Bad things happen. Even though you believe in a loving God, you are not promised a perfect life. For me, this past year has been a huge reminder of these things.

Whenever Trent’s birthday rolls around I busy myself planning a big party with friends, family, food, and cake. The day is usually spent making my home spotless before guests arrive, trying to keep Trent looking cute in his birthday outfit for a few pictures, and making sure that he has the best time, is thrilled with his gifts and knows how much his dad and I love him.

Today is Paige’s birthday and it is nothing like Trent’s. She isn’t here. I can’t hug her, dress her up in a pretty birthday dress, or have a big party for her. I miss her. I know that she doesn’t miss this place at all. She is happy, healthy, and free now. That makes me so happy for her. My selfish heart just wishes she were here with me celebrating her first year of life. I would give anything to watch her smear frosting all over her chubby cheeks and giggle with all the excitement that only a first birthday can bring.

It is definitely bittersweet for me today. And even though we are not having a party with all our friends and family, we are still celebrating her life and what she meant to us. Trent and I are baking a birthday cake for her while Brian is at work and then we will take her some beautiful flowers and release some balloons for her at the cemetery this evening. It may not be the way I want to be celebrating one of my children’s birthdays, but it is what I was given and in this life I can only do the best with what I am given and I will continue to trust in Jesus. It is because of Him that I know I am one year closer to seeing Paige in heaven.

Oh Paige! How very much I miss you. You have touched my life and changed me forever. I cannot say that about many people. Your spirit will live within me as long as I continue to breathe, that I promise you. I hope you know how much you were wanted, were loved, and still are loved. Happy first birthday in heaven my sweet girl!

Thursday, May 5, 2011

The March For Babies Is This Saturday!

This weekend is the March For Babies. I feel very honored to have been chosen as their Tri-Cities Ambassador Family for this year. We were able to make a fundraising video that has been used in many places, were featured in a local magazine, attended and spoke at the March Of Dimes Gourmet Gala, and there are even many more things in the works that I am going to be involved with in the months to come. I am very excited to be able to give back in a way that is special and meaningful for me. I am blessed to have the opportunity to teach Trenton to have a big heart and to care for others in hard situations and those less fortunate than himself. I really do still believe that the world can change all because of one person.

This place I am today is an amazing place and it is all because of my dependence on the Lord. I can hope because He lives and that has given me the strength I needed to go on. God can create beauty from ashes. I am seeing the proof of that in my own life. He is truly an awesome God. At times I have not been able to see His plan, but leaned on Him anyway, and that is the beauty of how He works. I don't have to know...He already knows and that can calm my spirit. If you would have asked me 9 months ago if I thought I could ever be in a place where I was truly grateful to God for Paige's life and that I could ever be at peace with Him taking her from me and if I could speak about her without tears in my eyes and instead joy in my heart...I would have most likely said no. But I am thankful that God has chosen to take me from a very broken and hopeless time and fill me up with his joy and hope so that I can do wonderful things to honor the life of my little girl.

I have posted our March of Dimes video below for you to see. I know there are only a few days left until the March for Babies, but please think about joining my team and walking with us this Saturday in Columbia Park or making a small donation to a wonderful cause. Team Trent 'n Paige walks to honor and remember all babies who are born too soon, those who sadly die each year, and also to celebrate all of our living children. It is my hope and the hope of my team that one day all babies will be born healthy and on time. Imagine if everyone just gave $5.00...when you put it all together that is a lot of money raised to help our babies in Washington. It is with small steps that big things can happen. If you can't walk with us or donate to our team, would you at least pray for good weather. :) Thank you for your love and support.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Trenton's Story

My first born, Trenton, just turned 4 in March and his story is different from his sister's, but equally amazing and important to share. He was a preemie born at 29 weeks who had a very rough start in life and has grown to be an amazing little boy. I have been encouraged to share the story of Trenton's early entrance into the world. Here goes...

For me the birth of my son, Trenton, was all at once the most joyous and frightening experience of my life. I was a healthy 27-year-old woman. It was my first pregnancy. I was elated when I found out I was going to be a mother and my husband was equally ecstatic that he was going to be a father. The pregnancy progressed very well. All ultrasounds and tests showed that this was a "normal" pregnancy. Our baby was due June 8th, 2007. However, he was born prematurely on March 22, 2007. 11 weeks early.

It began like any other day. I got up in the morning, kissed my husband goodbye, and went to work. Little did I know that in a mere 12 hours I would be welcoming my son into the world. I was living in Huntington Beach, California at the time and working in medical billing. After work that day my husband asked me if I would be willing to drive up to Reseda to check out this new car that was for sale by owner. I was beginning to feel some pressure in my lower abdomen and had a horrible headache, but agreed to go if we could eat first and if he would stop anytime I needed to use the restroom. Like any expectant father, he was used to these demands so he agreed and off we went. We hadn’t made it very far up the 405 when I had to take my first bathroom stop. I was feeling pretty bad, but we kept on driving. After quite a few more stops we finally made it to Reseda. He loved the car, bought it, and we were on our way home…he in his new M3 and me in my Honda following behind.

On the drive home I began contracting. And in no time at all I was in extreme pain, sweating, and praying for God to help keep my car on the road until I got home. I remember Michael Bolton’s “I Said I Loved You But I Lied” came on the radio. I didn’t particularly like the song before then, but I couldn’t take my hands off the wheel, so I listened to it and began to cry. I honestly remember thinking that it had the most beautiful lyrics I had ever heard. In the song he is saying that he feels so much more than love and basically that he just can’t express it into words. How sweet is that? That is how I felt about my husband and my unborn child. Deep, deep love. So with one hand on my stomach and one hand on the wheel I continued to follow my husband’s tail lights on the dark highway.

We ended up making it home to our apartment safely around 9:30 that night and I went to our bedroom to lie down. The contractions weren’t letting up at all, so I called my doctor’s office. I wasn’t sure what was wrong with me, maybe food poisoning from that Subway sandwich I had for dinner? Or could this be those Braxton Hicks contractions that I had been reading about in my pregnancy books? I definitely never thought that I was in labor since I was only 6 ½ months along. The answering service for my physician assured me that they would have the doctor-on-call call me back as soon as possible.

Well, after an hour and a half with no call back and some bleeding when I urinated, my husband and I decided to drive to the emergency room and have things checked out. That was my first ride in his new car. I grunted at him over every bump in the road or turn that wasn’t perfectly smooth and he told me to please not to let my water break in his car. We both laughed. As if I had control over something like that! While we drove down the scenic Pacific Coast Highway toward Hoag Hospital we held hands and prayed that the worst wasn’t happening, although, looking back, I am not sure of what we thought was actually happening.

My husband and I arrived at the hospital a little after midnight and I was immediately taken up to labor and delivery. I can still remember the dirty looks we received from an elderly couple in the waiting room of the ER who were very perturbed that I just walked in, was put in a wheel chair, and taken back so quickly while they were left there to wait. I was put in a gown and given an IV. The nurse performed a vaginal exam and then excused herself from the room quickly. She said that she wanted to get a doctors opinion and would be right back.

When the doctor came in the room to check me out he had a very relaxed demeanor and seemed as if he was just going to check me out and send me on my way. However, that is not what happened. He slowly introduced himself, put on a glove, and casually checked my “status”. I will never forget the look on his face. His head tilted to the side, as if he was surprised, and he told me to get ready because, “We were gonna have this baby tonight. Within the hour.” I couldn’t believe it. The labor had progressed so quickly. I kept thinking to myself, "How can this be? I am only 29 weeks along.” Since I was fully dilated, effaced, and in full on labor, there was nothing they could do to try and stop it or even slow it down.

The next half hour or so was such a whirlwind for me. They tipped me back in the bed to get the room ready for delivery and when I was tipped back down it was time to push. It seemed as if all delivery decisions were now out of my control. It was too late for them to administer any pain medication to me plus I hadn’t even decided if I wanted anyone but my husband in the delivery room with me and now there was a crowd at the foot of my bed. The NICU doctor came and introduced himself to me and gave me all the grim details of what hurdles our baby would possibly have to face being that he was not fully developed yet. I can remember lying in the bed signing papers for consent to treat my child, but I really had no idea what they said. I was scared. Too scared to think rationally anyway. But in my quest to be brave, I just smiled and nodded and went with the flow. Even though I felt like curling up in the fetal position and pulling the covers up over my head. After three hard pushes Trenton was born at 1:42 am by normal vaginal delivery.

He weighed 2 pounds 10 ounces, was 15 3/4 inches long, and not breathing when he came into the world. The delivery doctor quickly handed him off to the NICU staff, which were standing by with an incubator and all sorts of medical supplies. I couldn’t see him at all from where my bed was. I kept asking my husband what he looked like and how he was doing. The NICU doctor intubated him there in the delivery room and then his team whisked our baby away to the NICU. We were not allowed to go with him. My nurse promised to get us an update as soon as she could. My husband and I sat in the delivery room awaiting news from the nurses about our baby's status for what seemed like days or weeks, but in reality was only about an hour.

Finally a little before 4:00 am Trenton was stable enough for us to journey down to the NICU and see him. I will never forget how it felt to be wheeled into the NICU and placed beside his incubator. It was dark and quiet. Quite a pleasant space really, however, there was a heavy sadness that accompanied it. His bed had a sign on it that read, “Minimal Stimulation”. What did that even mean? How sick was he? I couldn’t even see his face. There were so many sensors and IVs and wires hooked on to his little body. His skin was purplish looking and he was so swollen that he almost appeared shiny. But despite all of that, he was the most beautiful and perfect being that I had ever laid eyes on. I had loved him for the last six months while he was growing in my belly and now that same love had become very overwhelming. He was mine. I was going to fight for him. Pray for him. And do whatever was needed to make sure that he made it out of that hospital and home safely with his dad and me. I was able to take one photo on my camera phone that night and then was taken back to my room.

The nurse brought me a turkey sandwich on wheat bread and a glass of milk. I drank my milk and picked at my sandwich, but I wasn’t hungry. I felt sick to my stomach. She told me to try and get some sleep. I finally did manage to fall asleep. I slept for almost 2 hours. When I awoke and realized where I was, I quickly remembered that it wasn’t a dream and I asked to go and see my baby again. They told me that I needed to wait for the doctor and lactation consultant to come in and see me. Wait? Wait! Are they kidding me? I was fine. I just needed to be with my son. He needed me.

That night began a roller coaster ride of emotions for me. For the next 66 days I was a permanent fixture in the NICU. I used to sit there for hours staring into the incubator lifting my precious little boy up in prayer just asking God to please give my husband and I strength to deal with this hurdle facing us, to carefully watch over my precious boy, and to give wisdom and a caring heart to all of his doctors and nurses.

I did not get to see Trenton’s beautiful face for 2 days. I know that may not seem like such a long time, but for a new mother it is an eternity. When the nurse finally lifted off his breathing tube and eye mask for a moment so that I could take a peek, I couldn’t believe it. His poor little eyes were so bruised. The respiratory therapists even called him Rocky. It seemed fitting. He was my little fighter. He was fighting for his life. It was amazing when I looked at him all alone in his isolette. How tiny and helpless he was; and yet there was a sense of strength and life that shone through. I knew he was going to make it and be okay. He just was. And once again, I fell deeper in love with my little boy.

I did not get to hold him for the first time until he was over a week old, and even then I was only able to hold him for 20 minutes. It just didn’t seem long enough at all. But I happily took what was given to me. I had been waiting for this moment! When they handed him to me he felt like he weighed no more than a bag of marshmallows. It was incredible. But since he was still hooked up to so many machines I felt a little nervous holding my own child. I know that was silly of me. But I didn’t want to do anything wrong. I wanted him to be safe. Soon I realized that he was completely safe in my arms and I began to relax. I had never felt so much happiness. I could have stared into those little eyes forever. He was the love of my life. Nothing else mattered. I had been waiting my whole life to be his mom. It felt perfect.

I loved visiting with my baby and wished that I could just stay there with him 24 hours a day. Every time I had to leave him I would try and be strong, but somewhere between the 6th floor where the NICU was and the parking garage I would fall apart. It just isn’t natural to have to leave the hospital without your baby. It feels so wrong and sad. I hated it. Even though my husband was there by my side giving me love and support every step of the way, I felt very alone. I don’t know why. But it was what it was. I was happy when I was with my son and really depressed when I wasn’t.

What happened to Trenton in the NICU was nothing short of a miracle. Even though time didn’t always move fast enough for me and progress didn’t happen as quickly as I had hoped for, God was there with us the entire time, working in a big way. I watched with my own eyes as my baby’s skin color went from purple to pink. He went from complete intubation, to a c-pap machine, to a nasal cannula, and then finally was able to breathe room air on his own. What an achievement that was! He had an umbilical catheter, many IVs, a PICC line, and a core pack (feeding tube). I can't even describe in words how wonderful it felt each time a wire or tube was removed from my baby. His nurse even fashioned a cake out of a diaper and colored q-tips when he hit the three pound mark and we celebrated. He was finally reaching some milestones and it was very encouraging.

Once he was off of so many machines I was able to do Kangaroo Care with him. That was the absolute best! I was able to hold him to my chest. Skin to skin. It was amazing to see his body temperature and heart rate regulate when I was holding him close to me. To me, that was concrete evidence that he loved me as much as I loved him and that he needed me as much as I needed him.

Even though the NICU was often a little scary, so many amazing moments took place there. Of course if I could have had him born at full term I would have. No doubt about it. But sometimes, when I look back, I am grateful for the time that he and I spent there getting to know each other and think that it ended up being a pretty special experience. It is where we bonded. I cherish every single one of the moments that we spent there together. I can’t even count the number of hours I spent just cuddling with him in the rocking chair or holding his hand while he slept. Every day I would check with his nurse to see if he gained weight or had any changes take place. With every ounce that he gained, it was like I gained a bit more confidence that we were going to be alright. It gave me hope to see the light at the end of the tunnel. And I needed that. Desperately.

He came home Memorial Day weekend 2007 on a heart rate/apnea monitor, Reglan for his reflux, and iron supplements. All things considered he was doing extremely well. He had grown to a whopping 5 pounds 14 ounces and was 19 inches long. He did not have ROP (Retinopathy of Prematurity) which can cause blindness and had been a big concern since he was on oxygen. And he had no brain hemorrhaging either, which I had been told was very common in preemies. We were very blessed. Feedings were sometimes a struggle, but we managed to get through it together. Then there were times when he would “forget” to breathe and we would have to rouse and stimulate him. I have to admit that it was a bit intimidating at first to be at home alone with him, but at the same time it had been so exhausting to have him in the hospital for a little over 2 months. I felt such relief and happiness to finally have my baby home with me, where he belonged.

When you become a mother things change anyway and you instantly understand everything that your mother once told you, every silly cliché about how they fast they grow and how it is a love like no other…you realize it is all true. But when you have a baby born prematurely, sick, or with a special need, in a way, it is like you instantly become a member of a special club. Every other mother that you encounter along your journey in the NICU gives you that look and maybe a comforting hug to let you know that she knows how hard it is and that she has been there.

Taking home a preemie can be a bit scary. It teaches you so many things so fast and soon you know them like the back of your hand. You learn to take regular 20 calorie baby formula and make it into 22 or 24 calories so that your baby can be assisted in brain development and weight gain. You know just what to do when your baby stops breathing for a moment and don’t even skip a beat. You just do what is necessary. The medicine schedule becomes so routine that you almost don’t even have to look at the clock anymore. And soon that feeling that you wouldn’t know what to do without the nurses there with you disappears and you know that you can handle it on your own. Because you are a mom and that is what a mom does.

I hope that my story can bring comfort and encouragement to families out there struggling with prematurity like we were. I want to show them that even though it may seem like your NICU stay will never will. There is always a rainbow after the storm. God has promised that to us. Having a premature baby and going through all that it entails has made me a much stronger person. It definitely strengthened my dependence on God and has made me truly cherish every moment I am given with my beautiful family. Life is a precious and fragile gift. Once you have seen someone struggling just to live and breathe it changes your outlook on life. I have absolutely been forever changed by my experience with Trenton.

Trenton is 4 years old now, but I will never forget the challenge of his early entrance into this world. It can still bring tears to my eyes when I think about it. Partly because it was so touch and go with him for a few weeks. And partly because I am just so happy that he is here with no more than a few tiny scars on his heels. We were told of so many complications that he could have, but he has none. He may have crawled and walked a little later than the other kids his age. But, he did it. He is here. Alive. And thriving in this great big world. When I look at him I truly do feel God’s blessing in my life. He is without a doubt the first of two wonderful gifts that I have received from above. I love him with all of my heart and am so excited to see what the future holds for my little miracle boy.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Butterflies always remind me of Paige.

The Butterfly

The butterfly is the hope
that the transformation
that loss brings into our life
can result in something different,
something beautiful.
We may not be the same
at the end of the journey,
but we have grown
and are able to see things
that we could not before.

-Author Unknown