Saturday, June 30, 2012

My Reality

I've heard other mommies wailing and pleading with God to save their baby. This is part of my job. A part that has always broken my heart but now breaks it even more. I so badly want to change things for that family. I feel helpless and broken hearted. I no longer have to imagine what it feels like for them, I know. I know the pain that is going to come. I know the sadness and suffering and longing they are going to have. I pray that they can feel God like never before. I pray that they know their child is in heaven and find some peace in that. I pray that somehow they find healing in the days and weeks and months and years to come.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Sewing Baby Hats- My First Tutorial

UPDATE: 6/28/2012
On the recommendation of someone else I am linking up to The Shabby Creek Cottage Transformation Thursday. If you are from The Shabby Creek Cottage, welcome! If you are thinking of making these baby hats to donate to your local hospital please make 2 identical hats. This allows the family to have the same hat that the baby has without leaving the baby without. Please also take a moment to visit Teeny Tears here: Teeny Tears Diapers. This organization provides free patterns to make tiny flannel diapers so that babies who are born too early and don't survive or who are born stillborn can have a diaper to wear. If you would like to make hats, blankets or diapers to donate to my hospital I would be happy to accept donations. Please just leave a comment on the post and I will let you know where they can be sent. My goal is to provide 2 diapers, 2 hats and 2 blankets with 1 sleeper or gown to every family who is dealing with infant death at Scott and White Memorial Hospital in Temple, TX. 

This tutorial came about because I am making teeny tiny baby hats to donate to my hospital for babies who are born sleeping or die shortly after birth. These hats are for babies from about 16 weeks to about 32 weeks. Babies after 32 weeks can generally wear preemie size clothing and have hats and things available to them. Any mommy who has a baby who has died knows how important it is to have clothes/hat/blanket for your baby. No mommy wants to kiss their baby goodbye and send them off naked. I remember thinking "I don't want him to be cold. I want him to be cozy and warm." Us mommies also know that we don't have many "things" that belonged to our babies. This is especially true for the babies that are born really early. We treasure every thing we have that belonged to them or was for them.

Most patterns for teeny tiny baby hats are for knit/crochet. I can do neither. This prompted me to go on a hunt for a pattern that I could sew. I am fairly good at sewing, however I prefer simple projects. This was especially true for this purpose, the easier and faster the better, since I need to make a lot of hats.

This is really simple. Only the most basic skills are necessary.

1. knit fabric, less than a half a yard is needed, you can make multiple hats from 1/2 yard (a soft baby knit is perfect for this). A knit fabric is a fabric that stretches (usually more in one direction than the other). Fabric stores often have really cute little baby prints in knits. Make sure you prewash your fabric following the fabric directions
2. Thread (a good all purpose thread is just fine)
3. Sewing Machine
4. Sewing Machine needle for knits (mine is a yellow shank needle, follow the size recommendations on the package)
5. ruler or measuring tape
6. scissors or rotary cutter
7. something that makes a circle, like a glass (trust me, it's way easier than trying to draw a perfect half circle)

Step 1:
You will want to cut a square of fabric 1 inch larger than the circumference of the babies head. If this is for an older child, just measure a hat you already have or measure their head. If it is for a baby here is a list of sizes. 16 weeks: 16cm; 17 weeks: 17cm; 18 weeks: 18 cm; 19 weeks: 19cm, 20 weeks: 20 cm; 22 weeks: 22cm; 24 weeks: 24 cm; 26 weeks: 25.5cm; 28 weeks: 27 cm; 30 weeks: 28.5cm; 32 weeks: 30 cm; 34 weeks: 31 cm; 36 weeks: 32cm; 38 weeks: 33cm; 40 weeks: 35cm.

There are 2.54cm per inch. Most measuring tapes/rulers/rotary cutting boards have cm markings also. I usually find my cm marking on my rotary board and then add 1 inch (I know different types of measurements so it can be confusing)

Example: 22 week hat; need 1 square of fabric 22cm +1inch

Step 2: Decide which direction your fabric stretches the most. You want the stretch to go horizontally in the hat.

Step 3: Fold the fabric, right sides together, so that the fold is perpendicular to the direction the most stretch is in

Step 4: Sew a 1/2 inch seam along the raw edges (you may have to go slow, knit can be tricky to sew on)

Step 5: You should now have a tube of fabric. Place the seam down the middle of the tube and lay open the seam

Step 6: Fold the tube on itself (like folding socks) so that the wrong sides are touching. Make sure the seam is lining up and laying flat

Step 7: Get your circular item and trace a semi circle on the fabric with the top of the semi circle almost touching the raw edge of the folded tube

Step 8: Sew along the line you traced (go slow, it's a curve). Trim off the excess to about a 1/8 inch seam allowance

Step 9: Turn your hat inside out and fold up the brim

TaDa! You did it!

Sunday, June 24, 2012

I Don't Understand

Most of you know that I am a Pediatric Hospitalist. This means I am a doctor that only takes care of kids that are sick enough to be hospitalized. I work at the Children's Hospital here in my town. I absolutely love my job. I get to see really sick kids get better and go home. I get to see them go from scared and sick to happy and playful. I get to help parents cope with something horrible happening. I've always tried to remember that their child being sick in the hospital may be the worst thing that has ever happened to them and it is scary. Now that I know personally what it is like to have a child die I truly realize how scary it must be.

We get a variety of illnesses and injuries admitted to the hospital daily. From things that are really simple (like a toddler having tonsils removed) and they go home the next day, to kids with life threatening infections or conditions that stay in the hospital for weeks-months. We also get children with NAT (non-accidental trauma, AKA: Child abuse). I happen to live and work in the county in Texas with the highest incidence of child abuse. We care for A LOT of kids who have been injured by someone else. This is what I don't understand. How, How, can someone hurt a child? How can a child's own mom or dad hurt them? How can they hurt them bad enough that the child dies? I don't understand. For some reason summer time is a time of lots of child abuse, that and around the Christmas Holidays. I don't really know the reason behind this, just know that it is what it is. These cases have always broken my heart. It's one reason I wanted to go into foster care. My second night back at work after Grant died I took care of a child that had been a victim of child abuse. It took all I had not to yell at the family and I seriously wanted to punch them in the face. There was this perfect child that someone had hurt and the family was making up really stupid stories of how it happened. It made me so angry. Angry that this family has this perfect child that someone injured while I don't have mine. Angry that someone could even fathom hurting this child. I don't understand.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

3 Months and The Memorial Service

3 months without you here. Somedays it seems like a lifetime, some days like it was just yesterday. I miss you everyday and think about you all the time. I think about how big I would be right now, 34 weeks pregnant. I think about what we would be doing this summer. Instead we are planning vacation for the week you were due and planning to paint the living room instead of a nursery. You have made me such a better person. I am so thankful for you and your life. I only wish you were here with us but I know that you are in such a better place. I love you sweet baby boy, always have and always will.

Grant's Memorial Service:
This is mainly to help me remember his service one day, I don't want to forget anything about him, so if it's jumbled, my apologies. It's weird, I remember everything with such clarity on the day we found out about his diagnosis, the second ultrasound, the day we went in to be induced and the day he was born. Those days all seemed to go by in slow motion. The day of his service was different though. It seemed to fly by. I remember most of that day with clarity, but some is already beginning to fade, like what was said, and I want to always remember.

April 21, 2012. 2pm. First Baptist Church, Belton, TX.

It was a beautiful day. Sunny and warm. It was a day just like the day he was born, it made me smile. The day we learned of his diagnosis it was storming and cold, it stormed that entire weekend, 3 days of rain. The day he was born it was beautiful spring weather and the day we celebrated his life was beautiful spring weather. His service was beautiful and perfect. (I used beautiful there a lot, oh well) Our pastor from our church we attended before we moved here drove down to perform the service. It was so special to us to have him do this. He was the one that married us and he was the one that Jonathan grew up in the church under. Randy Weeaks, we love you and so appreciate what you did for us. Since we had Grant cremated and we had his service almost a month after he was born we had time to really plan. I created a guest book on shutterfly that included maternity pictures and pictures of Grant as well as a letter I wrote to him from Jonathan and I. My sister made an amazing slide show of Grant's life. Jonathan and I chose the music to play before, during and after the service. We ordered balloons to release at the end and had people write notes on them. My sister actually had a brilliant idea to have people write notes on large address labels and stick them to the balloons, worked wonderfully! We placed some of Grant's things at the front of the church with 2 pictures. His blanket that my aunt made, his footprint impressions and card from the hospital, his monkey, and a Bible that my Mom had bought him.

Our church has been so supportive and loving during this. They had lunch prepared for us before the service so that our family could have lunch without having to worry about where to eat on the way here and so we would have time together. The sound guys did an amazing job with the music timing and volume. I love how softly it was playing when we walked into the church, but just loud enough to hear the words. I was really anxious about his service. I wanted it to be absolutely perfect. We had picked out music to play while people where showing up and before the family entered the sanctuary. The last 2 songs on that list were Glory Baby by Watermark and I Will Carry You by Selah. The last verse of I Will Carry You was playing when we walked into the sanctuary, perfect timing. I love that song. It conveys so well how I feel. The songs before that were SEE by Stephen Curtis Chapman, Blessings by Laura Story and The Hurt and The Healer by Mercy Me. Right after we were seated we played Beauty Will Rise by Stephen Curtis Chapman. It is by far one of my favorite songs. I love the emotion behind it but more importantly I love the lyrics and how incredibly true they are. Here is a you tube video of the song.

After the song was played our pastor said some things about us and Grant. I wish I had it recorded to remember exactly what was said, but I do remember that every word spoken was truth, and some even caused some laughter. We then had Randy read a letter I had written to Grant from Jonathan and I. After the letter we had a slide show of Grant's life that my sister put together. Have I mentioned how amazing she is? Here is the you tube video of his slide show. The music is Gone Too Soon by Daughtry. 

When the slide show ended Randy spoke again, this time a little about Grant and our love for him, but mostly about how amazing heaven will be and how we will see Grant again. He even spoke about what Grant's name means (Great) and how much greater Grant will be in Heaven. When the service was over we played Praise You In The Storm by Casting Crowns and Our God Is In Control by Stephen Curtis Chapman while people were writing the notes and taking their balloons. Once again, perfect timing as Our God Is In Control ended as Jonathan and I left the Sanctuary as the last people to leave. We walked outside and together released the balloons. It was so beautiful to watch them float away, mixing together, flying high on the wind. It was a beautiful day to celebrate our baby boy's life and I am so glad that we had the chance to do so. 

Friday, June 22, 2012

Andrea's Sayings Today

Andrea, talking and talking and talking. Jonathan says "Why do you talk so much?" She says "Because God gave us a mouth to talk."

See's the preview for the movie Brave on TV. "I like that girl with the orange hair, that's the movie Brave with the hippopotamus." 

Andrea: "Where's JaJa?"
Me: "at his school"
Andrea: "AAAGAIN?"

Andrea: "sometimes I call my Grandpa Shoemaker, Grandpa Shoe Bybee"
Me: "That's not his name, why do you call him that?"
Andrea: "It's ok if it's not his name, that's what I'm calling him"

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

I Am Blessed...Thankful Thursday #5

I am blessed. I have seen countless posts recently on my Facebook feed of people saying they are blessed because good things have happened or because God answered their prayers in the way that they wanted. I however almost never see people saying they are blessed when things don't go the way they wanted. I also hardly ever see people saying God answered their prayers when God says "no" or "wait". But aren't we still blessed and doesn't God still answer our prayers? We prayed that Grant would be healed and we would get to keep him here with us, but that didn't happen. That doesn't mean God didn't answer, it just means He didn't answer the way we wanted. God heard our cries, he still loves us, and he does have a plan for us.

God didn't answer our prayers the way we wanted but he still answered. He is still working in our lives. I see him all around me and I feel him closer than ever before. I am blessed. I am blessed to have gotten pregnant with Grant at all. It took 3 years to know what life growing inside me felt like. I am blessed to have those 21 weeks with him. I am blessed to have gotten to hold and love on him. I am blessed to be the mommy to foster children. I am blessed.

Things No Parent Wants to Do

Jonathan's birthday is approaching and mine will follow. We were talking about what we want for our birthday the other day. We both want the same thing but don't really want it either. We want to order Grant's headstone. I also want an urn for his ashes. We decided to have Grant cremated. We spread some of his ashes at a beautiful beach and we have some so that we can always have him with us. We are choosing to place a headstone at my grandfather's grave. I want a permanent place for him, a place we can go to. This may not make sense to others, but I don't really care, it is what we want for Grant. We are looking at grave markers. We know what we want, just don't know how to go about to get it done. I've also been looking at urns online. I haven't found one that is just right yet and I want it to be perfect too. No parent wants to pick out these things for their child, and they definitely don't want to say it is what they want for their birthday. However, we want to do this because it is for our son, our beautiful little boy and we want to honor him.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Father's Day

Father's Day. A day to celebrate fathers. This day has been weighing heavily on me since Mother's Day passed. I want to celebrate Jonathan. I know this day is going to be hard for him. We currently have no children living with us, D and A are back with their biological family and Grant is in Heaven. He is still a father. One of the best Daddys I have ever seen.

Jonathan (JaJa),
You are an amazing husband and daddy. You have loved all of our children unconditionally just like you were called to do. You have taught our foster kids what it is like to have a real dad. You have taught them by example what a real man treats his wife and the mother of their children like. They have adored you. Not only have you set an example for our foster kids, you are a dad to Andrea too. You have been an amazing influence on her young life. She has learned what a daddy is supposed to be like from you, something she will never forget. As soon as we found out we were expecting Grant, the smile on your face and your excitement was so precious. You loved him instantly and I know you love him as much as I do. You have been an amazing daddy to him, the best daddy he could ever ask or wish for here on earth. I Love You!

I also want to say happy Father's Day to the man that taught me to play softball, basketball, how to fish, how to hunt, and always cheered me on, Happy Father's Day Daddy.

I have 2 great men in my life that are both fathers. My own dad and my husband. I wouldn't be the person I am today if it weren't for my dad. I wouldn't want to do life without Jonathan and I am so glad he is the father of my children.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

A Movie That Made Me Think

I may be behind the times here, but I recently watched the movie Courageous for the first time. I had been wanting to see it, just hadn't done it. I knew that it was a movie about some police officers and it is faith based, other than that, I had no idea what it was about. I personally thought it was a really good movie. It's about a few officers who work for the sheriff's department and are fathers. One of these men looses his 9 year old daughter in a tragic car accident. This loss is what inspires him to make the resolution to be a better father and to get his friends involved in this resolution.

That right there made me think. Those of us who have lost children know how much our children inspire us. These children of ours in heaven inspire us to be better moms, dads, doctors, teachers, etc. They also inspire us to do great things to help other families who are suffering like we are. The pain of losing a child is so incredibly deep there are few things that lessen it. I know for me, one thing that has helped me tremendously in my grief is to help others who are going through what I have already gone through. It absolutely breaks my heart to hear about another family having to say goodbye and it makes me want to lessen their pain anyway possible.

Another part of the movie after his daughter dies he is talking to his pastor for advice. The pastor said something that really, really made me think. The pastor said this "There needs to be a grieving process and the Lord is the one who carries you through it. It takes time, it takes time for healing. I've heard many people say who have lost a loved one that in some ways it is like learning to live with an amputation. You do heal, but your never the same. But I would also say, that those who go through this and trust in the Lord discover a comfort and intimacy with God that most people never experience. God doesn't promise an explanation but he does promise to walk with us through the pain. The hard choice for you is whether or not you are going to be angry for the time you didn't have with her, or grateful for the time you did have."

Wow! I totally needed to hear that when I heard it. One, I needed to hear that I can chose to be angry or thankful. I also needed to hear that it's ok that I will never be the same. It is like an amputation, living without your child. I have changed. I am no longer the person I was and that is ok. I actually think that I am turning into a better person because of Grant. I am choosing to be thankful for the 21 wonderful weeks I had with Grant. I am choosing to be thankful for his life and the impact it has had on me and those around me. I am choosing to be thankful that God has placed a burden on my heart to help other families who are hurting. God is working in this situation. He is carrying me on this journey where pain is so deep you feel like you can't catch your breath at times, but when I remind myself to completely lean on God, the pain lessens.

Something as simple as watching this movie has helped me to have hope. This journey isn't easy. I still have bad days, really bad days, but I have good days too. I can see myself peeking through again where at one time I couldn't see me for the fog of pain and grief. I think that I am liking the person I am becoming. I know that Grant has a huge part of who that person is. I love Grant so incredibly much, I think of him daily, and I miss him all the time. I don't think those things will change before the day I see him again in Heaven, but I'm ok with that. I'm ok with completely depending on a God who I know loves me and is holding Grant safe. I know hard days will come, but I know that God will carry me through those like he has carried me through the last 11 weeks and 4 days.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Andrea and Her Sayings

Andrea is a funny kid who talks like she is 16 but is only 3. Maybe I should explain who Andrea is since I talk about her often. I work with Andrea's mom (Bethany). She started residency the year after I did with her beautiful little 6 month old girl, Andrea. Her husband was working in another town at the time and she had a friend living with her as her nanny. In November of 2009 Jonathan got hurt at work. In January of 2010 Bethany needed a new nanny. Jonathan is amazing with kids and couldn't work. Bethany already knew him and me and trusted us, so he started taking care of Andrea when she was almost 1. He took care of her all of 2010 and part of 2011 and then she started daycare when he started school. However, she still stays at our house quite often because her mom works crazy hours as a resident and she needs someone to take care of her. They are moving in a few weeks so she is out of daycare now and once again staying with Jonathan (JaJa to her). She LOVES JaJa! I think he is her favorite person in the world second only to her mom. 

This is what she has said today. 

We were all sitting on our bed goofing around when she grabs his arm and says 
Andrea: My Jaja 
Jaja: Will you share me with Kristy?
Andrea: NO, She then starts talking in an English accent and says "He is no you JaJa. Never."
Kristy: Will you share him with me, I love him? 
Andrea: Tomorrow 
Kristy: Is tomorrow ever going to happen? 
Andrea: No (then starts laughing hysterically)

Still laying on the bed goofing off. I'm laying next to Jaja with my arm over him pretending to sleep. 
Andrea: My Jaja
Kristy: fake snoring
Andrea: Climbs on Jaja and pushes me away, then gets down and tries to pick my head up. "Pick up your head."
Kristy: Laughing
Andrea: Pick your head up or I'm going to start counting, then starts counting at 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11
Kristy and Jaja: Laughing harder
Andrea: pushing me away so I roll farther away. then hugs Jaja and says "my jaja, not yours, go over there"
Kristy: I can't roll any further
Andrea: yes you can, right there (pointing to about a 1 inch space between me and the wall)

In the car
Jaja: Andrea, what do you want for lunch
Andrea: Macaroni and cheese
Jaja: giggles
Andrea: Macaroni and cheese, and french fries, and chocolate milk, that's all I want, K?
Jaja: Is chinese food ok?
Andrea: ummm, sure and Macaroni and cheese
Kristy: No macaroni and cheese, rice and chicken
Andrea: I don't like spicy chicken

And here are some pictures of this cutie! 
January 2010

 March 2010

October 2010

Spring 2011

Summer 2011

 November 2011

 May 2012

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Today I am Sad

Today I am sad. Some days it just hits you and you have to embrace it to move on. That may sound silly, but you can't avoid it. You can busy yourself for a while and make it go away but it will come back. You have to face it head on, embrace it, feel it, and eventually it will lessen. I keep thinking how I should be 32 weeks pregnant. 32 weeks. That's how far along my sister-in-law was when my twin nieces were born. I know exactly what a 32 week baby looks like. I've seen many of them in my profession and 2 beautiful ones in my nieces. Yet, I'm not 32 weeks along. I'm 11 weeks after delivery instead. In 6-8 weeks I should be welcoming our baby home, yet I have already said hello and goodbye. I ache to hold him again, to feel his kicks, to see my belly grow with his life safely tucked inside. I long for what could have been. I know that heaven is real, and that he is safe and loved there, but I wish he was safe and loved here, with us, instead. I wonder what it feels like to be 32 weeks pregnant in the middle of summer in Texas? I know it would be hot, but I wouldn't have cared. I would give almost anything to be hot and pregnant. My arms ache to feel the weight of a baby. To hold them close and smell their sweetness. To listen to their soft baby grunts and coos and watch them sleep. I miss him. I miss him so incredibly much.

I know one day I will get to see him again and get to hold him close. Until then I am going to do my best to continue following God, even though some days that is incredibly hard to do. I can't wait for the day when we will meet again.

Grant, Mommy loves you so much baby boy. I always have and always will.

Friday, June 8, 2012

What's in My Purse?

One of my blog friends, who I would love to meet in real life one day, did this post today and I thought it looked like fun. You should visit Hillary at her family blog, she's great! The Mueller Family She got the idea from another blog here: Ginmommy

Here is what is in my purse. If you want to join and allow others to be nosy about what is in your purse, don't clean it out, take pictures, and share your organized/unorganized self with the world :) Everyone likes to be nosy and in other peoples business, right? Jonathan and I laugh because one night about 18 months ago we decided at about midnight to go get a milkshake from Jack in the Box and drive around town looking at houses that we couldn't afford, but it's fun to dream :) I'm surprised no one called the cops on us creepers driving slowly through neighborhoods in the middle of the night.

So, here's my purse. My amazing husband picked it out and gave it to me for Christmas in 2010.

 Here is a quick peek at the inside. 

Olive Garden Cupon, 2 baseball game tickets, all from vacation over 2 weeks ago ;)

Bereavement Committee information from my meeting yesterday.

Grocery list and receipts. 

Inhaler, lotion, eye drops, tums, zantac, medicated chapstick. 

Wallet, Checkbook, and 1 random quarter. 

2 packages of kleenex, lipstick, lipgloss, D's lipgloss, nail file, pseudofed.

Pens, Chili's Hope bracelet, 2 work ID's, random cap from plug in my car. 

There you have it, a bunch of random stuff, and now it is much cleaner!

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Thankful Thursday #4

Here is my Thankful Thursday for this week. I missed last week because we were spending time with D and A before they were scheduled to leave on Friday so this week will include stuff from last week also.

1. I'm thankful that we got to go to the Ranger game last Wednesday with D, A, Andrea and some of my family. The kids had so much fun and to see the amazement in their eyes was beautiful.

2. I'm thankful that D called me on Friday after they left and arrived at their biological parents house. She called to "let me know they were home" but I think it was more because she was missing us. I'm glad that her mom will allow her to call us.

3. I'm thankful for my job. Last week was my first week back and it went better than I had expected. Some cases were more difficult for me to deal with than normal but I think I handled it pretty well. I love my job and am glad to be back at work.

4. I'm thankful for my husband. Jonathan and I have been married for 6 years now and I am so thankful to have such a loving, supportive husband. I couldn't do life without him.

5. I'm thankful for the chance to be on the bereavement committee at the children's hospital where I work. This is all because of Grant. I was asked to be on the committee as a parent who has lost a child and I can also speak from a physician's perspective. I am so glad to be able to help make other parent's experiences better, even though the situation totally sucks. I have to say my experience at our hospital was wonderful but if we can help even 1 family it will totally be worth it.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Advocating for Orphans

Please help me help orphans. Orphans and foster children, and now helping families through loss, are my heart. This group is a group helping to advocate and raise money to rescue orphans from a specific orphanage in Eastern Europe. These orphans are special needs and the way they are treated will break your heart. People in the United States get arrested for treating animals less badly, and yet here these precious children sit. Please visit their blog and pray for the child and family they are advocating for. If you find something you would like to own you can bid for the items and all money raised goes towards the family to bring this sweet baby home. Please help bless another family.

Hidden Treasures Adoption Auction

The video below is not for the faint of heart. It shows conditions that will make you feel sick for these little ones. Please help advocate for them. They need a voice and someone to love them.

Reece's Raibow is another adoption advocation group that I love. They mainly advocate for children with Down Syndrome but they advocate for other children with special needs also. They help raise grants for these children so that families who want to adopt them aren't hindered by the huge cost. Please join me in praying for these children. Consider advocating for one child.

Reece's Rainbow

Sunday, June 3, 2012

6 Years!

June 3, 2006-June 3, 2012 = 6 Years of marriage to my amazing husband. I can't believe it has been that long, yet sometimes it feels like it was just yesterday. We have had a roller coaster of 6 years with many trials and some triumphs. I would venture to say that some of these trials are likely to be the most difficult of our lives and yet we are still standing and standing strong. I don't know what tomorrow holds, no one does, but I know that I don't want to face it without Jonathan by my side. I have to say, marriage isn't easy. It takes work and commitment but the result is totally worth the effort.

We got married in between my 2nd and 3rd year of medical school, just before I took step 1 of my medical school exam. Not necessarily the best decision I've ever made :) but it worked out just fine. I also chose to give up a scholarship that was paying for my medical school by getting married (love makes you do crazy things). 1 year later we were in a major car accident where our Ford Explorer got totaled on the highway but we walked away with only minor injuries. This left us with one vehicle when we needed two and living on my husbands not so great income. We decided to move in with my parents for my 4th year of medical school so we could save money and use the money that should be paying for rent to help pay for a car payment (the other cars were already paid off). Living with your parents when you are an adult and married is interesting to say the least. Part of that year, and a little of the year before that, I was gone for 4-6 weeks at a time for my medical school rotations. I was working a lot of hours and so was Jonathan. I was interviewing for my residency in pediatrics that fall and winter. In the summer of 2008 we packed our belongings and moved 2 1/2 hours away from everyone we knew and loved. We left our church, jobs, family and friends. The first 2 1/2 months that we lived in this new town Jonathan still lived in Dallas because his job hadn't transferred yet. I was working 80 hrs a week and we hardly saw each other. When he finally moved to Temple with me in August I was so excited. At the end of August my mom became very sick and was in the ICU on a ventilator for 2 weeks. I left my residency and stayed most of those 2 weeks in Dallas by her bedside while Jonathan stayed in Temple so he could work in Austin. The fall of 2008 is also when we decided we would start trying to have a baby. I finished my intern year of pediatric residency in spring of 2009 and life kept moving on. In the fall of 2009 Jonathan hurt is back at work and was placed on disability. He was then told he couldn't return to work in that field. Without a college degree and only having done mostly manual labor in the past finding a new job was proving difficult. Then God stepped in, again, and provided work, albeit a little unconventional. A friend from my residency needed a new nanny for her almost 1 year old daughter. She hired Jonathan and he became a manny :). We still take care of that little girl over 2 years later. Spring of 2010 is also when we started infertility treatments. Summer of 2010 I became chief resident, started applying for foster care, continued infertility, and kept working 80hrs a week. Yes, I know, I'm crazy. Spring of 2011 I graduated from residency and we moved into a nicer, slightly larger home (out of the ghetto). Residents don't make much money. I started the job I have now, that I love. In the fall of 2011 Jonathan started going back to college, we got pregnant, and we still had foster kids. Spring of 2012 we said goodbye to our Grant, said goodbye to our foster kids of 13 months, and here we are.

I am so proud of where we are. We have been parents to 8 foster kids and 1 biological child. I have finished residency with the support of my husband and now I am supporting him as he pursues his degree in teaching. We have made friends and learned a great deal about life. I pray that the next 60 years are just as full of God's blessings and that we continue to lean on Him.

You are the love of my life. I am so amazed that God would give such a wonderful man to me to be my husband. You are the best daddy and husband in the world. I am so glad that I have you to stand by my side through everything. I can't wait to see what God does with our lives over the next year. I love you mi amor!

Friday, June 1, 2012

Saying Goodbye Yet Again

Today we had to say goodbye yet again. D and A returned to live with their biological parents. I have now said goodbye to 8 different foster children and 1 biological child in less than 18 months. D and A lived with us for the longest (13 of those 17 months). Since they lived with us the longest they also acquired the most stuff. They each had 2 birthdays and 1 Christmas while living here.

We knew that they were going back today so we planned some fun things for this week. Tuesday night we had friends over and the kids had a blast playing together. I know D will miss her friend Emma. We all went to bed late (well they did, I went to work). Wednesday when D got out of school we headed to Arlington to go to the Texas Rangers game. My Rangers got their tails kicked but the looks on the kids faces and hearing them talk about it made it completely worth it. We spent the night in Arlington that night and headed home yesterday. Yesterday evening we spent the evening at the pool and had pizza and cookies. The kids had so much fun swimming and A was becoming so confident and even jumping into the big pool. We also packed most of their belongings yesterday evening. Last night we made a pallet in the living room floor and let them sleep in there and watch TV until way too late :) Today we went to lunch, bought a new Wii game for D to play and finished packing their things. We spent lots of time wrestling on the floor, giggling, and enjoying time together.

CPS showed up at 4:30 and within 15 min their belongings were packed in the car, we had kissed them goodbye and they were gone. These two children have made us better parents and better people. They have blessed ours and our family and friends lives. They are beautiful little people and I love them! I pray that they are able to stay together as a healthy family and the children won't be hurt again. I'm not 100% or even 75% sure that will happen but I must trust God and his plan. D and A's mom does want us to continue to have some contact with the kids. We are hoping to spend some time with them once every month-6 weeks. This was a shocking thing to us because before Wednesday the mom wouldn't even hardly talk to us and looked at us like we were evil. Please join us in praying for their family that they can stay together, safe and loved. My heart is heavy and I am tired of saying goodbye.