Monday, March 20, 2017

What is a Rainbow Baby?

So I have talked about our babies being Snowflake Babies. But they also happen to be Rainbow Babies. A Rainbow Baby is one that is born following a miscarriage, stillbirth, neonatal death or infant loss. 

I just love the imagery behind this term. When a beautiful and bright rainbow appears after a storm, it gives hope of things getting better. We appreciate rainbows more after experiencing the storm in comparison. Even as I think about the story of Noah, and God's gift of the rainbow, I am reminded that a rainbow is a promise of sunshine after the rain, of calm after storms, of joy after sadness, of love after loss. After experiencing the heartbreak of losing a child, the beauty of new life is such an incredible blessing, absolutely a rainbow after the storm.

People think that once your Rainbow Baby {or Babies} arrives you are somehow all better after your loss{es}. There is an assumption that you finally got the baby you wanted, as if your Rainbow Baby is somehow a replacement for the one who is gone. While there is an incredible joy that helps in the process of healing your broken heart, there will always be an empty space in your heart for the one{s} you lost. Your heart will always wonder who they would have been, what they would have looked like {in the case of miscarriage}, how they would have fit into your family. 

So while a Rainbow Baby is not a replacement, he or she is still an incredible reminder of God's faithfulness. While we may never understand why we had to lose 6 babies before we were able to hold our 2 Rainbow Babies, we know that God is good. After experiencing so much heartache and pain through infertility and loss, we rejoice in the beauty of God's rainbows.

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Living with Crohn's :: A Health Update

I was really blessed to see a decrease in all Crohn's symptoms during my pregnancy. I felt the best I have felt since I was diagnosed, and I was so thankful that the Lord protected my health while I was carrying our babies. It is actually pretty common to see a decrease in Crohn's symptoms during pregnancy, and I was thankful that was the case for me. Pregnancy is also supposed to help lower the chances of surgery for Crohn's patients, so I am also thankful for the blessing of Embryo Adoption, which allowed me to experience pregnancy!

Since babies arrived, I have seen a return of some symptoms and have struggled a little bit, but nothing major. I haven't experienced a full flare, which is a HUGE praise! The one thing I have struggled with the most is low energy. My B-12 prescription expired, but I knew I would be seeing my GI pretty soon, so I just decided to wait it out. Probably not my smartest move, though my B-12 stores were not as bad as I thought they would be. I am also still iron deficient from delivery, and I think that is probably the biggest contributing factor to my low energy. The combination of those deficiencies with having 2 babies....well, let's just say I have been one tired mama! I am working on building back up my B-12 and iron levels, so I am hoping to feel better soon. But otherwise, I am not feeling terrible regarding Crohn's {endometriosis is another story...silly broken body}. 

Last month when I went for my yearly check up with my GI, I thought I would get my check in the healthy box for another year...except I didn't. Since it has been 7 years since the onset of my symptoms {5 since my actual diagnosis}, I am now required to see my GI every 6 months. It's around this time that Crohn's patients can start to see regressions, particularly a rejection of the medications they are taking {your body can build antibodies and start rejecting the medication}. So I will have to go in for additional monitoring, just to be sure that I stay in remission, and that my body is still responding to Humira. 

It also means that I am due for another colonoscopy. Ugh. Because that's what every 32 year old wants to hear...BOO. So I have to figure out a time to get that done before the end of the year. Good. Times.

So that's where I am with my Crohn's. I am still very thankful for being in remission, and I pray that continues for many years to come.

Friday, March 10, 2017

High Five for Friday!

{one} I am really excited to be a part of the launch team for Christine Hoover's new book Messy Beautiful Friendship! I have been a part of her launch teams in the past {here and here}, and so I was really happy when I got the email that I was chosen again for this one! She is full of so much wisdom, and I am looking forward to reading her thoughts on both the messiness and beauty of friendship.

{two} Finding ways to spend intentional time with the Lord has been a bit of a challenge. The first couple of months when the babies arrived, it was nearly impossible to find time for anything except for feeding babies and catching sleep when I could. I remember praying repeatedly, "Lord, you know I love you. Please forgive me, but I am going to sleep right now." {which, by the way, I do believe sleep can be the most honoring thing to the Lord at times}. Anyway, everything was such a blur as we learned to navigate life with 2 newborns, and I am just thankful for grace in those crazy seasons. But now that the babies are actually sleeping at night and seem to have a little bit more of a schedule, I am settling into a new routine in the mornings. I have been listening to the Bible {I am reading chronologically this year} while I feed babies breakfast, but now I spend a little more intentional time when they go down for their morning nap. And my soul is just soaking up every bit of the Word that I can. 

{three} I am absolutely LOVING my new RIVI vintage inspired felt letter board! I used some of the birthday money I was given to get it, and I am so glad I did. It's just a fun way to be creative, and it's also getting me to practice my photography skills {which still leave a lot to be desired ha!} I definitely look forward to using it to display some fun quotes :)

{four} Speaking of being creative juices have been flowing, and I have been looking for a fun new project {because I have SO much time on my hands these days. right.} Anyway, I have been doodling here and there and wanting to practice my hand lettering a bit more. So I decided to take some online classes, practice a little each day, and follow some monthly prompts. And I am enjoying it so much! Once I get in some more practice, I might post some of my work. But either way, I think I may have found my newest creative outlet...

{five} So I have really been enjoying listening to podcasts. The babies and I listen to episodes during feeding times, and it's a nice way to redeem some of that time, since I feel like that's ALL I do {feed babies}, all day long. There are 2 in particular that I have been working my way through:
  • The Happy Hour with Jamie Ivey: I am SUPER late to the party on this one, but I have been enjoying it so much! It's light and fun, and I have learned so much about varying ministries. I now also have an even longer list of books to read :)  I started at the beginning {from 2-3 years ago} and have been making my way through each of her guests.
  • Undisclosed: I really enjoyed the Serial podcast, and season 1 of Undisclosed is a spin-off {of sorts} of that. This podcast is definitely more serious, but I am fascinated by the whole true crime, pick apart the case thing. It is definitely more biased than Serial {which they admit}, but it has been interesting to see their perspective on the case. 

Happy Friday! We're looking forward to Grandma coming in this weekend for her spring break!

Monday, March 6, 2017

What is a Snowflake Baby?

Before I dive into my post, I just want to say that this is going to be about Embryo Adoption, which uses the term "Snowflake Children." This post is NOT about Generation Snowflake, which is a newer term used to describe the over-protected, entitled generation of young adults of the 2010s. I absolutely hate that this term is now being used in a derogatory way, because I love how it was first coined for Embryo Adoption. I get the negative connotation; I just hate that the term itself is being ruined. So when I refer to my Snowflake Babies, please know that I'm not raising my kids to have a self-inflated view of themselves...they were just frozen for a bit :)

That being said...

I just love this quote...and I feel like it perfectly describes our infertility {standing out in the cold} and embryo adoption {snowflakes} journey :)

When we started pursuing Embryo Adoption, and I started seeing the term "snowflake baby," I absolutely loved the affectionate term. In the EA world, the term "snowflakes" is used to describe the sweet babies who were once frozen through IVF. They are affectionately called this because, just like actual snowflakes, they are frozen, unique, and a beautiful gift from heaven. Our agency is the one who coined the term Snowflakes, which is why they call their program Snowflakes Embryo Adoption

Obviously, we are huge fans of Embryo Adoption. It has been such an incredible gift to our family, and it has been an amazing way to see the beauty and handiwork of God. We look forward to sharing with Eli and Maddie how the Lord brought them into our family, and we hope they will always understand how much they were loved and wanted and prayed for. And we hope that it is a tangible way for them to understand their invitation to adoption into God's family through faith. 

I came across this "make your own snowflake" generator, and so I just HAD to make one for our snowflakes :) {it basically takes your name and creates a snowflake unique to you}.

Elijah Winn

Madeline Grace

We love our snowflake babies, and we pray we get to meet our remaining two this side of heaven! :)

Thursday, March 2, 2017

Eli + Maddie :: 4 Months

Eli & Maddie, 

Sweet ones, how did you get to be 4 months old already? You are just growing up so fast; all of a sudden, we don't have tiny babies anymore! Every day you seem to be learning new things and a little bit more of your little personalities comes out. You both "talk" up a storm all day long; our house will never be quiet again {and we wouldn't have it any other way!} You just seem to be the happiest of babies, which makes you both such a joy to both me and your daddy. You are starting to notice each other a little more, too, which is also really fun. Your daddy and I pray that you just become the best of friends. We know that there are a lot of developmental milestones on the horizon, and we are excited to continue watching you grow!


E L I J A H      W I N N

Stats :: 13.8 pounds

Loves :: making spit bubbles, when mama kisses your toes, smiling

Dislikes :: wearing pants

Eat :: you are eating so much better! you still haven't caught up to your sister, but you are eating so much more consistently, which makes us so happy. you are still on your reflux medicine, so we haven't had any problems with that, and we're hoping you are growing out of it altogether. you are actually enjoying eating now, and you will roll your eyes back in your head while you're eating, indicating how much you are loving your meal! you are eating 6 times a day, 4-5 ounces each time.

Sleep :: we started sleep training at the beginning of this month, and you did SO well! you are still waking for 1 night feed, but you let mama and daddy get long stretches of sleep, which makes ALL the difference in the world! naps were a little bit of a challenge at first, but you are doing so well now.

Play/Development :: you are grasping for toys a lot better now, but usually still use only one hand at a time. but everything goes in your mouth these days. you do really well at tummy time, but have started getting frustrated when you can't roll from your tummy to your back, so we're working on that. you are also drooling all. the. time.

Unique to You :: sweet boy, you are just so fun and happy all the time. you have started giggling, and it's just the cutest sound. we have nicknamed you "buddy" or "brother." you started making these funny little grunting noises; I call them your tough guy grunts, and daddy calls them your dino roars :)

M A D E L I N E      G R A C E

Stats :: 16 pounds

Loves :: sticking out your tongue, snuggles with mama at 5pm {you tend to get sleepy and grumpy around this time and just need a little extra snuggle time to make it to bed time}

Dislikes :: missing out on the fun!

Eat :: you are still our eating champ! you are eating 6 times a day, 5-6 ounces each time.

Sleep :: we started sleep training at the beginning of this month, and you did SO well! you are still waking for 1 night feed, but you let mama and daddy get long stretches of sleep, which makes ALL the difference in the world! naps were a little bit of a challenge at first, but you are doing so well now. you still struggle to go down, just because you are usually having so much fun and don't want to miss anything! but once you are asleep, you sleep so soundly and we usually have to wake you up :)

Play/Development :: you are grasping toys now, using both hands to play with your toys. you have started to figure out how to shake them, and everything goes in your mouth. you still do well at tummy time, but immediately roll to your back. you have even started showing signs of rolling from your back to your tummy, but haven't done it quite yet. you are also drooling all. the. time.

Unique to You :: sweet girl, you are just so fun and happy all the time. you started giggling some recently, but all we have to do is smile at you, and you break out into your big full mouth, tongue-out smile! daddy calls you "sweetie" and I call you "girlie" or "sister." your hands are in your mouth constantly. you love hearing the sound of your high-pitched voice :)