Saturday, April 30, 2011

Jaundice.

It's been a hard day for this momma. It started out with a bit of a rough sleepless night for me, then a trip to the hospital to get his blood drawn that took waaay to long b/c of silly paperwork not working, then the phone call saying we needed to get Eli into the Children's Hospital like now. That's just a lot to process!

And it's hard... oh so hard... when there are unknowns. I want Eli to live and thrive. So even though I know jaundice is really normal it's still very scary to me. It's hard, so hard, to see my boy in pain. Being pricked over and over, having IV's in him, not getting to hold him... ugh! Add to this my fear of losing him too... oh it's just not easy!

I'm so grateful for our little man, that he IS alive and mostly healthy and that we live in a place where we can get great care very easily. And he is getting better! His numbers went down a bit which is AWESOME.

I won't go into the details 'cause I don't have time but we most likely will get to go home Monday. We are hoping even tomorrow if things keep progressing, but we'll see. I'm hoping my milk comes in ASAP, too.

So I've been an emotional wreck all day! Yikes! What a way to spend our 6th Anniversary! Thank You Lord for such a rock awesome hubby and daddy! Love love love the little man's daddy!

-Heather

Going Back.

Eli's jaundice is not getting better, so we need to head back to the hospital. We went in this morning to get his blood checked and the results went from a 13 to a 20. He will need some phototherapy treatment for the next 24-36 hours, so we'll be in the hospital another night or two. Please be praying that the jaundice will go away. Thanks.

Friday, April 29, 2011

We Are Home.

We came home today. With a beautiful, alive baby. Take a minute to fully appreciate that statement with me.

Greg and I both lost it when we finally got to pack up a full car seat and drive a baby home. And again walking into that room with a baby. I just can't describe it.

I know many of you breathed a collective sigh of relief when you heard Eli was here alive and healthy. It was kind of like holding your breath with us for almost 9 months. Thank you. It's been quite a journey and we are so very happy to start this next chapter.

Eli has a little jaundice action so we have to head back to the lab tomorrow morning for a test to see if that's getting better or worse. But that's very manageable regardless. Right now he's having a little regular sun-in-the-window treatment with Grammy in his new room and hopefully that will help.

We've been home for a few hours and I just started looking at some of the comments on here and facebook. I'm blown away by all the love and support we've been shown. I haven't been able to respond to folks individually but know we are grateful! Eli can't wait to meet you all!

We took a few more great photos today and after my nap, I'll share a few. For now, you can check out the hospital photographer's photos online at http://www.bellababyphotography.com/ with the password 0427elijoseph. Get ready for some cuteness!

-Heather

Thursday, April 28, 2011

First Family Photo.

Last Night of Just Greg and Heather Photo.

I got to take a shower on Tuesday night. It felt great. I look excited. Greg looks nervous. Pretty much sums up that night!

To Tie You Over...

We apologize for not inundating you with photos of our little, adorable man. I had great intentions, honestly, but man, we are exhausted! It wouldn't be so bad with just Eli's sweet interruptions... but there are a lot of hospital folk doing their jobs that come a knocking quite frequently. And some lovely random beeping of the security system they have been fixing all day. So yep, I'm gratefully tired!

We'll work on getting more photos taken and then posted. Since our time is limited on blogger, I don't know how many will get to you while still in the hospital. I'll try. Seriously though ... I do want to brag a bit 'cause he is really cute. And you all who have loved and prayed for him would most definitely agree.

Just know, he's doing great. He's passed all his tests and checks. There are no problems. That's a pretty huge deal!

We are having a little issues with breastfeeding ... it's going to take awhile for us to get that rolling. But other than that, we are doing so well and are humbled and encouraged and shocked that we get to be a family.

Not sure when we are heading home ... most likely tomorrow?! We'll keep you updated on that and on our visitor status. Due to aforementioned breastfeeding issues, it's really hard to know when is a good time for folks to come see us! We may be ahem ... a little busy.

What else would you like to know? My platelets did a weird big drop so it turned out to be a great thing (in my opinion) that we were here on Tuesday being monitored. Labor went well ... it's going to take a long while for my recovery but who cares! Eli's here!

Off to nurse!

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

We present to you Eli Joseph Kasowski

Eli is here! 7 pounds 1 ounce. He was born at 1:15 p.m. He’s doing great and is one healthy baby boy. Heather is doing great too.

Hurry Up and Wait

Pitocin and epideral were up and going at about 7 a.m. Heather and Eli are doing fine right now. Now we just wait! - Greg

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Last Night of Just Greg and Heather

We are still hanging out at the hospital and soon will be going to bed… hopefully for the last time just Greg and Heather. Induction drugs will start around 5am and the doctor said again that we’ll hopefully be meeting our boy around lunch time! Insert cheers and applause here! Regardless, it’s pretty certain Eli’s birthday will be April 27, 2011.

Thankfully today has gone by quickly and we are most thankful that Eli is still doing well (love hearing that heartbeat!). God has given us peace but there are moments of fear of the unknown… wanting so badly for Eli to come alive and healthy, wanting us to meet him before his sister, wanting his intro to the world to be special.

Three years ago today I was in surgery and lost our first baby due to an ectopic pregnancy… so it’s another sweet reminder of what a journey parenthood has been for us and a reminder of God’s continued faithfulness to us.

We have limited time on blogger so sadly, posts on the blog may be fewer than I had hoped! Check facebook or shoot me an email if you need to contact me. We will try to get a photo on here as soon as possible of one seriously loved boy!

Thanks for your prayers!

-Heather

It Really IS The Final Countdown!

We are at the hospital and are playing the waiting game (giving me heprin, Eli's on monitors, nothing major, just watching and waiting).... until my induction early tomorrow morning. According to the doctor, the boy's arrival will hopefully be around lunchtime tomorrow. We'll try post right away once he's officially here on the blog (it seems we have limited access to the blog?! but facebook is all good... so we'll see).

If you want to come to the hospital, the best way to figure out if it's a good time is to e-mail either of us and Greg will respond to you on our status for visitors. I don't have any idea what state I'll be in post-labor or if you'll even get to be able to see Eli (depending on how he is doing) tomorrow. We'll keep you updated on all that but just want you to know... you're welcome to come but don't have high expectations!

Thanks for praying for him, that he'll stay alive and healthy through today's waiting and tomorrow's delivery.

We are very much looking forward to introducing our little man to you!

-Heather

His Name.

With much anticipation, we are announcing the name of our little man who we eagerly await meeting today or tomorrow...

Eli Joseph Kasowski

We named him this for two reasons:

1) The meaning — "My God increases." (Eli [אלי] means "my God" and Joseph [יספ]means "increases.") We named him this because after his sister passed away last year, we weren't sure if we would be able to have kids again. But our God increased. He blessed us with this little man, Eli Joseph.

2) To honor his sister — The way it's pronounced in Hebrew sounds like "Maelee" without the "M." We'll pronounce it the English way though.

Fun fact #1: Jesus said his name.

Remember that phrase Jesus says when he's on the cross in Matthew 27:46, "Eli, eli lema sabachthani"? "Eli" means "my God," so he was saying, "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?"

Fun fact #2: Eli isn't short for Elijah.

When Jesus said that phrase on the cross, people thought he was calling Elijah. But he wasn't. He was prophetically quoting Psalm 22. Back in those days they didn't say things like, "Open your Bibles to Psalm 22," because they didn't have chapters and verses marked out in the Bible. So to direct people to a specific psalm, they would just quote the first line. So Jesus was talking about how he was fulfilling many of the prophesies in Psalm 22 ... he was a person who was suffering for doing nothing wrong. "All who see me mock me; they hurl insults, shaking their heads ... I am poured out like water, and all my bones are out of joint ... I can count all my bones; people stare and gloat over me ... they divide my garments among them and cast lots for my clothing."

Fun fact #3: Eli doesn't mean Eli.

The Eli from 1 Samuel 1-2 (the head priest with the wayward sons) and Eli (Joseph Kasowski) are different names. The former is spelled with the Hebrew letter ayin (ע). The latter is spelled with an aleph (א). Not a big pronunciation distinction, but enough to change the meaning of the name.

Did you guess it?

Not NY Giants fans (Eli Manning), his cousin Ali can spell it, Greg is studying Hebrew, the "Book of Eli" is actually a movie (and the Bible too!), not a "lie" has his letters, the last "e" in Maelee and the "li" in Linn spells it out!


AND... I'm off to the hospital! I didn't take my shot early enough this morning and my platlets are dropping, so the doctor is having me head to the hospital so they can give me the drugs while they monitor things... and get ready for induction later today or tomorrow.

Please pray for Eli!

-His Parents

Monday, April 25, 2011

Can You Guess It? 10

That's all you get... no more clues...

Except to tell you that it's a great name that means something.

We'll post his name and the sweet meaning behind his name after our appointment tomorrow morning.

And then you can see if you guessed right!

And no, I didn't hear about my blood work/platelet count today (it is the south after all) but I'm sure I'll hear about it tomorrow (we are assuming no news means it's nothing to be concerned about).

Have I mentioned how great it is to have both our moms here to cook and clean for us? I know my weight gain these last weeks is not all baby... oooh food you are so good!

Can You Guess It? 9

Throughout the day we'll be giving you some hints...

And we'll do the big reveal tomorrow morning.

Last one.

--

His sister's full name influenced our decision.

Can You Guess It? 8

Throughout the day we'll be giving you some hints...

And we'll do the big reveal tomorrow morning.

I think we may need to stop with the clues...

--

It's a short name that cannot be shortened.

Can You Guess It? 7

Throughout the day we'll be giving you some hints...

And we'll do the big reveal tomorrow morning.

You'll love it. Heck, you'll love him.

--

It's not a lie, folks, we really will tell you tomorrow.

Can You Guess It? 6

Throughout the day we'll be giving you some hints...

And we'll do the big reveal tomorrow morning.

Not really a shocker.

--

There is a book with his name in it.

Can You Guess It? 5

Throughout the day we'll be giving you some hints...

And we'll do the big reveal tomorrow morning.

Sssshhh, don't tell if you get it.

--

It's not as unique as Maelee Linn's name, but it has a shout out to her.

Can You Guess It? 4

Throughout the day we'll be giving you some hints...

And we'll do the big reveal tomorrow morning.

Won't it be fun to call him by his name?

--

If you don't already know it, he has the same middle name as his daddy and grandpa.

Can You Guess It? 3

Throughout the day we'll be giving you some hints...

And we'll do the big reveal tomorrow morning.

Don't think too hard, you'll find out soon enough!

--

What his dad is studying definitely influenced the little man's name.

Can You Guess It? 2

Throughout the day we'll be giving you some hints...

And we'll do the big reveal tomorrow morning.

Keep your guesses to yourself!

--

His cousin will be able to spell it.

Can You Guess It?

Throughout the day we'll be giving you some hints...

And we'll do the big reveal tomorrow morning.

But if you guess it, try keeping it to yourself, eh?

--

We are not giants.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Her Easter Dress.


My mom bought this dress for Maelee last year. It was going to be her first Easter dress. It has been hanging on the dresser for months. I like to wonder if she would have even fit into it today... wondering if her arms would have been too chubby to get through the arm holes, wondering what her little butt would have looked like in the bloomers that match, wondering if her chunky legs would have been too short to wear the dress, wondering if I would have found a nice southern hat to stick on her...

We miss our daughter this Easter Sunday... we miss all that Easter could have been with her. But we recognize that her dying on Easter last year doesn't change the meaning of Easter.

Granted, I will be glad when today is over as my heart is heavy. We are beyond grateful for her brother, who is moving around in my belly as I type this and sure helping his momma get through another milestone day.

He has risen.

He has risen, indeed.

-Heather

Check back tomorrow for some clues to our boy's name...

Friday, April 22, 2011

The Final Countdown.

I have had this song rolling in my head for the past few days. No joke.

10 days or less and we will hopefully get to meet our boy. I can't quite formulate the right sentence to follow that... too much to pack into one sentence... but overall, much praise and excitement!

The little man performed wonderfully at the ultrasound this morning; he completed all his 'tasks' right away. The little guy was even so awesome as to move and groove like an acrobat in the waiting room (giving his parents continued reassurance in a typical high-stress time). I was much more composed this week and again grateful for such a talented doctor and staff. They took blood with results to come on Monday. If my platelets drop down, they will take baby next week. Or I could just go into labor! Otherwise...

Our induction is officially scheduled for 5am (!) on Monday, May 2nd.

10 days or less folks!

Thanks, in advance, for your prayers for the next 10 days and for delivery. I am anxious about Easter because Easter Sunday is when Maelee died last year. But the Lord has given us two moms that will be with us that day and in the week ahead... to love on us, pray for us, distract us and cook for us! And He has also promised us to be Who He Is and I can rest in that.

I'm hoping to really treasure these next 10 days with our boy on the inside and not worry or wish them away. I hope I'll get to be pregnant again someday but the reality is I may not (I am not in control, this I know) so I do want to treasure all the uncomfortableness and sweetness and downright weirdness that is God's design for human reproduction. And I have only 10 days to digest all your suggestions on preparing for the inevitable stink to come... so that will keep me busy!

Some of you may be wondering about our birth plan. My birth plan: to get baby here alive. However that needs to happen, I'm game. I refuse to be crazy opinionated about this... be informed, yes, but be open and flexible.

Here's a tentative timeline of the next weeks for those type A's that may be interested:

Tomorrow night: Grandma K arrives!
Tuesday 4/26: Ultrasound and Dr app't
Friday 4/29: Ultrasound and Dr app't
Monday 5/2: Induction Date! Lexington Medical Center
... insert a whole lot of awesome and unknown here...
Thursday 5/5: Grandpa K arrives!
Friday 5/6: Grandpa T and Auntie Amy arrive!
Sunday 5/8: Baby Dedication at Riverbend Community Church (service time TBD) and possible Meet Baby Shower at our place in the afternoon (info to follow)
Thursday 5/12 - Sunday 5/15: All family leaves :(
Monday 5/16: Our new reality begins!

Join with me as we can now count on two hands how many days are left before we get to hold our much-anticipated little man...

-Heather

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Preparing for Stink.

For those that have an opinion on this issue, please help settle a dispute between my mother and I:

She thinks I need to get the fancy pants diaper genie that will solve all our future stinky diaper issues.

I think it seems a bit over-the-top and with spendy refill bags, not very wise. Couldn't we just use regular grocery bags to tie up a smelly diaper and put them in a regular garbage can (with a lid)?

Let me know your thoughts (via email or facebook or comment) and especially if you have figured out a great solution to not having your place smell like poo.

I'm really looking forward to having this problem.

-Heather

From Pink to Blue.

You know how really good parents love their kids equally? They don't show favoritism and love each child for the unique gift that they are...

On a smaller scale, that is how I feel about our kids' room.

I LOVED Maelee's room. It was girly but not over the top. It was simple and ready and wonderful. And she would have loved it, too.

My parents came in January 2010 to create Maelee's room and they did a super job. It all started with this birdie boppy that my sister gave me...and we were able to find pieces to match (for cheap, too!). My ubber-talented mom sewed this and that and my dad painted the walls to include a pink border and brown stripe on the top. He's a pretty darn good painter and it looked awesome.

But her little brother probably wouldn't have enjoyed the pink loveliness. So a change had to be made. My parents were both going come in March but with my Grandpa dying that didn't work out. So instead my mom came last week and is just going to stay 'til baby is here. This means that not only is she having to sew up a storm but she had to paint, too!

Taking down Maelee's things was not easy... even with the joy and thankfulness we have of getting a room ready for our boy.


Tysse Painting Service would be proud. It wasn't easy to cover that pink with such a dark blue but after a few coats, she got it (and no paint on the ceiling - whoop!). We kept the main wall gray and Maelee's brown stripe is still there, too! Mom added an orange stripe (not an easy feat). But it turned out super! And no-VOC paint means the smell was almost non-existent and better for the environment. Win, win!


Since we started with just fabric this time, my mom was able to create most everything (which keeps the cost low). And I found a plain navy sheet at BuyBuyBaby for $7 with a coupon. We aren't doing a bumper this time but I will go get a breathable brown one down the road if I feel like he needs one in there. And Burnetta is making us a quilt with the matching fabric to complete the bedding. My mom even made a changing pad cover out of navy minky.

Check out the curtains! Complete with covered buttons (Maelee's were tied into bows but Mom thought buttons would be more manly for the boy). I'll post a close-up photo soon.

The sweet glider chair is the one furniture piece that we didn't have in Maelee's room. I almost bought a glider last April but could never quite decide. I knew I wanted to buy one again this year (and again had a rough time deciding). But we found this one on sale at BabysRUs, with a coupon, and were also able to use up all the merchandise credit and gift cards we received as gifts for Maelee. That was a big deal for me. My mom had returned some gifts there after Maelee died and I didn't know what to do with the credit. But to me, it's sort of like the chair is partly a gift from Maelee to her brother. I like that.

I'll take a photo of the actual final room once it's completely finished in the next days. There are still some sewing tasks that need to be done, a few items to find to complete the room, but the majority of the room is done. We are ready for our new occupant. And I recognize that having a super cute nursery is not a necessity in any way. You really don't need most all of the "stuff" our American culture tells us you do. But when it comes to babies, it sure is fun to make things cute.

And speaking of babies, our little man is doing fine according to our appointment this morning! And his momma was emotionally much more stable. Win, win.

-Heather

PS - Many thanks to my parents and Tysse Painting Service's account at Sherwin Williams for making two beautiful rooms for our kids.

UPDATE - Greg's mom found 4 yards of our fabric at Joann's in Bismarck and she's flying here Friday so we will have plenty of fabric! Yippee!

Friday, April 15, 2011

Rollercoaster.

Little man is doing well based on our appointment this morning. He's around 5lbs 14ozs of little miracle. Thanks for your continued prayers for him!

I was really, really wanting to schedule our induction date officially and have it on the calendar for April 29th. But our very wise doctor wants to wait until Monday, May 2nd. He thinks it's unwise to take baby earlier (unless something develops to warrant that) and really doesn't want him to be on a ventilator if there is no reason not to... and he is right (of course). But that doesn't mean that it's not hard for me when I think of getting near or passing the day I was gestationally with Maelee when she died.

And so I lost it. Right in front of the doctor. I know they get paid well, but really, he earned every penny today.

I don't want to wish our little guy to come before he's ready. But I so badly want him here alive... that sadly, I'm not thinking quite rationally... my mind thinks if he has to be in the NICU for awhile, oh well! At least he'd be here! But babies don't always make it out of the NICU either. So we wait. To me this sounds just too much like how we were last March, when the doctor said we could take Maelee at 35 weeks and we said no, it's better to wait and let her cook in there longer. That was the right decision because she wasn't ready. Hard truth.

When I don't have anything good to compare this pregnancy to, every day is a bit of a rollercoaster for us. By the grace of God, I mostly am able to focus on what is good, but sometimes the stress and anxiety and memories hit me like a ton of bricks. Plus hormones!

Taking down Maelee's room yesterday and getting ready for our hopeful new occupant... well, that probably had something to do with my breakdown. I really ought to let myself process more so I don't let it build up. Ah grief, you twisted thing.

Somewhat due to my humbling experience of not being able to stop crying in front of him, the doctor switched me to two ultrasounds per week. Just to give us and them continued peace that baby is doing exactly what he's supposed to be doing. So we'll be back again on Tuesday!

Thankfully... Grammy is here! Even though our stress is high, it's less because someone is here to fix food and make my bed and create beautiful things! Moms are great. And in one week, Grandma K will be here, too, so double the fun and productivity! We are blessed to have one solidly supportive family.

Perhaps later I'll post a few photos of the room transformation... a weird bitterly sweet process. And I definitely have much to say about the fact our boy already has enough clothes for the first 6 months of his life that I probably won't have to do laundry...

-Heather

I don't know about you, but I sure miss the plain brown.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Testing 123.

Dear Plain Brown (not to be confused with the plain brown wrapper for you GF folks),

I do enjoy you, plain brown. But maybe, just maybe, it's time for a change? Maybe folks that aren't into plain brown are depressed when they see you. Maybe you just aren't creative enough for these hip people. Maybe you aren't fancy enough for all the techies out there. Maybe you bore people.

But just so you know, I secretly love you and your deep plainness. I may even go back to you soon.

Love,

Heather

UPDATE: I went back. And it feels good and comfortable like an old pair of slippers.

A Name.

Drumroll...

We have a name for our little man.

Applause!!

You want to know it?

Well, you are going to just have to wait a little bit. I know that's just awfully rude of me to tell you we have a name and then not tell you what it is... just downright unfair! I know, I know! Curiosity is just bursting forth! I'm such a jerk.

But I wanted you to know that unlike with Maelee where we were indecisive about her name up until her birth and could never settle, we have actually had a name for quite some time for our guy. What grace! So you can breathe a sigh of relief that we have this decision set and made!

The big question is whether or not one of us (okay, most likely me) will spill the beans before we plan to. Since we have been calling him by his name when it's just Greg and I, there is a strong possibility we'll let it slip because it's already become so natural to us. And there are certain folks (you know who you are) that keep trying to manipulate it out of me.... oh boy!

Greg and I love our little guy so much and it's been a fun, special, unique connection for just us to know his sweet name. But soon, oh very soon, you all will know too!

-Heather

PS - I haven't heard anything concerning my blood work yet. It is the south so things take a bit longer 'round here! Also, thankfully my migraine went away Sunday and hasn't been back (and mr. migraine is not welcome back either).

Friday, April 8, 2011

Enjoyed.

Real quick - even though my head hurts - I just have to post this photo. Remember when I asked those of you that wanted to really enjoy to the fullest a cupcake in honor of Maelee?

Well, I'm fairly certain this photo of cousin Ali displays some serious enjoyment of the cupcake batter (click to see bigger):
I know Maelee was sure happy all her cousins enjoyed a treat in honor of her. Oh that we all could enjoy life's pleasures like an almost 5-year-old!

-Heather

Good on Paper.

Quick note to let ya'll know the little man passed all his "tests" this morning and things are "normal." He made it through this tough week. Much praise!

According to our doctor: "you look good on paper." Great news! Does that mean that I'm not struggling with doubts and concerns and worry? No. I have definite moments of "well, Maelee was looking good in her ultrasounds and on paper days before she died..." But a lot of that is probably just my migraine talking (yep, got one of those last night) coupled with a stressful week and my humanness.

I'll find out Monday the results of the blood they took today. I'm quite curious and I'm sure some of you medical people are too, so I'll let you know.

I'll post cupcake photos when my head feels up to dealing with the computer screen:) For now, thanks for praying for our most loved little man and his crazy parents! We can't wait to share him with you.

-Heather

Thursday, April 7, 2011

We Celebrated Her.

Maelee Linn Kasowski...
was celebrated in honor of her first birthday on April 6, 2011.

Seeing beauty was important for me this week. Thankfully yesterday was a lovely sunny but perfectly cool day. And my family sent us some sweet pink tulips to enjoy!

Maelee's momma wore her Maelee apron and baked some yummy white cupcakes and had a quiet day at home missing her. I wore a shirt I haven't worn since I was pregnant with her (the same one I wore to her baby shower). It's very fun and girly... and I haven't been able to wear it yet because it triggers too many memories. But I knew she would like me to wear it on her birthday.

Maelee's daddy went to class and worked most of the day but when he got home at five, we took a family photo with our camera on auto. Greg wanted me to make my outfit even more pink so I added a sweater. And he's wearing the shirt he wore to her funeral.

Lisa mentioned one of their traditions on their daughter's birthday is to take a family photo and include a photo of Sophia. So this is our version (above) with our Maelee bear... and next year, we hope the little man will be holding his sister's bear. You can also see the sweet pink daisies on our porch that our friends gave us. M would have loved those fun daisy blooms.

Then we went out to eat at a quaint place downtown. We had the place to ourselves, the sun was shining, it was peaceful and lovely... just us.

Greg had ham/asparagus crepes, I had pineapple chicken... yummy food was an important part of M's birthday celebration.

Even though we had multiple cupcakes at home, our dinner place is known for their amazing desserts and we couldn't pass that up so we shared a piece of delicious cheesecake. I know we made Maelee happy with our enjoyment of all her cupcakes and dessert... and I know her brother was happy for it, too. You can also see my new mother's ring that Greg gave me yesterday. It's a perfect little diamond (her birthstone) on a thin white gold band. Greg's quote: "It's tiny. Just like Maelee was."

I love wearing it!

The end of our dinner was a little tough as we debated whether or not we wanted to go to the hospital where Maelee was born. We paid $25 to the Wee Remember group to add her name to the plaque of babies who have died. We really, really wanted to see her name but we didn't want to go back there. We knew it would be hard and not make the day any easier. In the end, we decided to just get it over with.

We were right, it was very tough. Thankfully I asked a nurse right when we got to the fourth floor where the plaque was (we refused to wander around there) and she brought us right there. We found our daughter's name and were so pleased that it also includes her birth date (not many did). I lost it right away because, well, I don't get to see her name printed really anywhere (if you get mail or even bills for your kids, just be thankful to get to see their name printed). We took a few photos. And then we left... too hard to see those walls, hear the cries of babies, be back at the scene, leave that parking garage... too hard. Have I mentioned how grateful I am to be delivering at a completely different hospital with our little man? A much needed change for me.

We know a couple of the other babies' parents that are on the plaque. I wish no more names ever needed to be added.

Then we came home and Greg had time to play music. We purchased Greg's electric guitar/amp last summer. It's the only thing Greg has actually wanted. Seriously. We were going to buy it last March but I said we needed to wait until baby was here. Well, after Maelee died, I was very motivated that Greg needed to buy one. So we did. And thanks to H1, we added Maelee's name on it in vinyl. It looks pretty great and is a sweet connection for daddy and his daughter.

Greg played all of the songs that he wrote after Maelee died. It was wonderful and therapeutic and peaceful.

Then we had cupcakes on the porch and watched (from what we can see with our limited view) the beautiful sunset that made the sky pink and purple and orange. I'll post our cupcakes later along with some of the photos of cupcakes you all enjoyed, too!

We talked for awhile about how we think that we have grieved well this past year. That doesn't mean it's been easy! But we do believe the Lord has graced us with good wisdom and understanding in how to grieve and honor Maelee. We can talk about her at any point, she's a part of our lives, your lives, and we are reminded that she won't be forgotten. As much as I'd like to say "Okay, we're done. We've hit the one year mark and we are now "over it" and have "moved on" and you won't have to hear us blabble anymore..." I know that's not true. We will never be over the loss of our daughter. We still have hurdles to face. We will always be grieving her. How that looks will definitely be different and will change, of course, and the sting of death won't always be so apparent, thankfully, and we will continue to wish for the day when all things will be made right. Yet I am humbled when I know He's given us a gift of grieving her well even though we haven't deserved it and have so often failed.

Many thanks to each person who has been a part of our journey this past year. I know it's much, much easier to share in our joy than it is to share in our sorrow. Thank you. You're awesome.

-Heather

Cupcake photos to follow soon!

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

One Year.

Dear Maelee,

One full year. That's how long it's been since we've held you in our arms. It's been a long, hard, bittersweet year. We can't begin to describe all our dreams that will never be without you here.

We are so thankful for your existence, for the time we had with you. Even though we've had to know sorrow and pain and tragedy, we are still glad to have had you. You will always be our precious daughter! Our dearest firstborn. A piece of who we are.

You will never be forgotten by your parents, by your extended family, by dear friends.

Happy First (heavenly) Birthday, baby girl.

Love,

your mommy and daddy

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Jesus the Baker.

If my goal on facebook was to depress everyone, my status today would be: "Exactly one year ago today was the worst day of our lives."

We are both depending on the Lord to sustain us, to get us through these days of unfulfilled dreams, expectations and hopes...and just sincere, depressing feelings of missing our daughter's existence on earth.

Thank you for praying us through these very, very hard days and for your continued comments and encouragement. We miss her not knowing her grandparents and aunts and uncles and family and you. When you think about Maelee and miss her too... well, that brings us comfort. It does good healing to my heart when I read things like the email below from our basically-related extended K-family dear friend:

We will be eating Maelee cupcakes. And they will be lemon. I was telling the boys about why we would be making cupcakes next week, and I was getting a little choked up. Jeremiah said he remembered "all about Maelee" and not to worry, because he knows that Jesus will be making a birthday cake for her. And it will be the BEST birthday cake because, "You know... Jesus is making it." (according to 5 year old logic, of course). Ours will be lemon because he (J) thinks that her cake in heaven will be yellow since it is so light there.
Thanks for telling me this, Rebekah, and to Jeremiah for reminding me of how incomparable earth is to heaven... and how amazing Maelee's celebration is there. All my dreams of her party here... ah, they are nothing compared to what she has with Jesus.

I am sort of hole-ing up because that's how my most deepest grief manifests itself and I think just being quiet is soothing right now. Plus I got a headache last night with our big storm (weather pressure and stress related). We made it through Sunday and through yesterday which was one year since she died in my womb... and we are working on getting through today's one year since hearing those dreaded words. And then we will face tomorrow.

Oh how we miss our should-be one-year-old.

-Heather

Friday, April 1, 2011

Dr. Heather.

The little man is doing well according to our ultrasound this morning! By God's grace, our boy moved consistently throughout the night and did great for the nurse today too. They checked a lot of things (insert medical terminology here). All I remember was he was good, most definitely a boy, and he had his little hands in front of his face, just like his sister did.

Our friends Heather and Marc had an appointment at the same time this morning so it was super fun to have friendly faces to joke around with throughout the hour. I'm pretty sure the office didn't know what hit 'em with the Heathers there at the same time! Yikes! Four very happy parents walked out of the office because both our boys were doing well!

But the funniest part of the morning was our doctor calling me "Dr. Heather" and jokingly calling me out on my lack of medical training. I am always asking random, often silly questions and being hyper-sensitive (somewhat justified, but really folks, my sister got all those medical genes so I am quite pathetic at even basic health knowledge) and they always answer them patiently and understandingly. But today when I mentioned my blood pressure was too low (102/76) and assumed he would agree with me, he highlighted (in a funny way) that I'm probably not the best person to determine what is a good BP for me to have! Snap. Dr. Shipley 1, Dr. Heather 0.

And hearing him say 4 weeks is it... ah, that makes me very, very happy. 4 weeks or less!

So we are asking and pleading that the Lord would not allow us to lose another baby in April. After our ectopic pregnancy child (in 2008) and then Maelee (in 2010) both going to heaven in the month of April, there is a deep yearning to add joy to the sorrow, to bring home a beautiful, live little boy this April 2011. Sigh. Won't that be beyond wonderful?

-Heather