Friday, September 12, 2014

Standing on the Brink

For weeks and weeks I have tried to put an update together, but I just couldn't. First I blamed it on pregnancy brain... and then, lack of motivation... but here it goes. A lot of updates and a look into my mind.

I sit here on the brink of a new beginning. In just two days I will be 30 years old, a fact that makes me both cringe and rejoice at the same time. I don't think I would do my twenties over again, if given the chance. I also sit here just four short weeks away from meeting our son Caleb.

You aren't doing the math wrong, today I am 35 weeks pregnant. Several weeks ago I was diagnosed with gestational diabetes, because of this- our little man will be here on or before our 39th week, our due date is now October 10th. All in all it hasn't been a devastating diagnosis, although at first I was shocked and upset, just a few minor dietary changes and a slightly increased exercise regimen, I have been able to keep my blood sugar normalized without medical intervention such as insulin injections or oral medications. Our little man still has some effects from the disease though. Diabetic babies are typically large, they receive mom's extra blood sugar (which crosses over from the mother through the placenta, and with baby's pancreas also working in overtime) the extra glucose is stored as fat. So our little big man, has a fat belly. In your mind that sounds cute right? Well... yes I'm sure he will be, but it also means, based on the ratio of his stomach size to his head size, we will be having a planned C-section both for his safety and my own. (If you would like to read more about the risks and why we've already made this decision, you can look up shoulder dystocia- if we try to have him naturally there is a great risk that he would become stuck at the trunk/shoulders... which can lead to terrible consequences that we aren't willing to risk).

I promise to update you when we have an official date of arrival- or if anything were to happen before then. :)

Back to the story...

One thing I've had trouble wrapping my mind around: Many people look at us now as a "healed" family. A family whose dreams are finally becoming a reality, which they are... they absolutely are. Here is the part people aren't aware of: Because I'm pregnant, people automatically assume I am finally "healed" emotionally from our losses and infertility. Some act like they ever even happened. The truth is, with each growing week of increased movement and awareness of the life that will soon be in our arms... I have become acutely more aware of just how much life we lost with our sweet babies in Heaven. This also makes me more grateful than ever for this little guy... but it also brings up feelings of guilt for the ladies I know who are still suffering. I sit here, enjoying my pregnancy... still hurting for them, suddenly fertile but still with an infertile mindset. It just isn't something that you get over. It becomes a part of you, not a part that is expressed every single day... not something that keeps you from getting out of bed or keeps you from experiencing the joy of love and new life... it just remains, like a faint scar... that you can see and feel... but the world does not.

So many emotions.

So complicated....

So few appropriate words to accurately describe our feelings.

You can see my posting dilemma.

I will say this, we are doing fantastic. Despite the diabetes... our health has really been wonderful. These last few weeks are (I can already tell) physically the hardest... the demand on my petite body *literally* grows more every day, between muscle spasms, swollen legs and all the other lovely things that come with carrying a fat little baby... but the payoff will be amazing. This is us today, exactly 35 weeks pregnant. Every day, one step closer to living the dream...

I am seeing both my normal obstetrician and a high risk doctor. We are in excellent hands. My biggest prayer request is that we make it as close to 39 weeks as possible for Caleb's lungs to fully mature, the last thing we want is for him to be in the NICU... but we will cross that bridge if we get to it. Here's what you really want to see, a look at our chubby little/big man. Oh how I can't wait to kiss those cheeks.

Looking back, I really can't believe what I thought my thirties would look like when I was a mere 20 years old. It feels like a lifetime ago. Quite honestly I thought I would be like my mom and would be done having children by 30. That thought just makes me laugh now. That was before I knew what suffering for love really was. That was before the battle began... Sometimes things take quite a bit longer than we anticipate. My husband was so worth the wait... I thought I would be married well before I actually was. Thankfully I waited until it was right. And getting to finally hold one of my children?! I can barely wrap my mind around how amazing it will feel.

Thank you everyone for your continued prayer... thank you for celebrating with us, we have received many gifts from so many people that love Caleb so much already. We are so blessed.... so incredibly blessed.

So here is to 30! Here is to Caleb, our miracle... and here's to you, our prayer warriors. We love you all so very much.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Half Baked!

Hello friends!

Lots of people have been asking how we are doing lately... I must apologize that we haven't updated you all sooner.

It's been an exciting time in the Jewell household. We got to celebrate Mother's Day by witnessing the wedding of my beautiful sister in law. That was a nice little getaway to Virginia. We had a blast with the family and we truly couldn't have found anyone better for her to marry. We can see so many fun adventures in their future. There's nothing more beautiful than witnessing such love.

Otherwise, we have spent every minute of our free time working on our house. We finally got our hardwood floors installed and now have the wonderful job of cleaning and putting the house back together, one room down... all of the rest to go.

The hardwood is turning out beautifully. Hubby has done an amazing job. I've helped as much as I can... although I felt like I should have been doing more, we both still try to be super careful, given our past pregnancy history.

I have managed a few fun projects for our little man in between home improvement sessions, including revamping a baby bouncer and customizing a onesie :) I can't wait to get started on the big projects like working on his room!

For the most part, things have gone really well, minus one bad week that included a stomach virus and a hospital stay... but Caleb is STRONG! I'm happy to say he is doing wonderful.

He and I have both had quite a bit of growth in the last few weeks! I'm also happy to say we have passed the halfway mark! Today we are 20 weeks and 5 days.

The last picture here is from today's appointment, as you can see... we have one stubborn little man. He refused to turn over to give us a good picture so he owes me some cooperation so we can get a good 3D shot at our next visit!

As for me... well... I've had a growth spurt.

Caleb is definitely his father's son, all I want lately is sweets... chocolate... ice cream... oreos... so not me! We finally found some equal ground with sweet apples, that's more my style. As long as he is growing and I can stay healthy for him, I give in to the cravings quite a bit.

I began feeling movements very early, it was exciting... now the kicks are to the point where you can see my stomach jump when he kicks really hard. He finally kicked hard enough for Daddy to feel, it's amazing. Every feeling is amazing. Every day is surreal.

Our checkup today was great! He is weighing in at 15oz (almost a pound already!!). We only saw two minor things that will be watched in the future. Caleb has a little bit of a fluid collection in one of his kidneys, not enough to be concerned... not enough to even be considered hydronephrosis or to think there is any sort of blockage in his urinary tract, just enough to be noticeable. Mommy has a low lying placenta, which means it's a little close to my cervix. Again not enough to be concerned, just to be watched. It's likely that neither of these will be an issue. I'm not concerned in the least. We've come so far...

Some days, I still can't believe we have made it this far. I cannot wait until the day we get to hold this child in our arms... look into his eyes... feel his skin... hear his cries. That's the dream. A dream that is closer to becoming a reality every day. I believe in this miracle. Not one day goes by that I don't thank God for every second, every movement, every beautiful day.

Sure, I have the normal pregnancy aches and pains, but I truly can't complain. We've gone through hell to get here and I refuse to take a second of it for granted. I tell him all the time I love him... I sing to him... there's a few particular songs I think he prefers, the ones he always kicks to. I feel like we have our own little language to each other. Feeling subtle movements feels like my own little secret when I'm doing other things, little reminders that he's there... growing... thriving.

Thank you all for your continued prayers. I feel so blessed to be able to share this with you.

A few people have questioned why I don't update on Facebook very much. I do on occasion, but I don't post many ultrasounds or bump pictures and there is a reason for this. I have befriended so many women who are still struggling, I remember the ache of seeing such things ALL OF THE TIME. So although I do post things on occasion, I definitely don't share them weekly unless I'm asked. I know what they would give to be in our shoes, and it is one little thing I can do to protect them from hurt... to help just a little... to still stand with them and for them. To show them even in our joy, I stand by their side in their pain. They are never alone. I know they are happy for us, and they celebrate the milestones when we do post, I just feel called to keep being their support.

Please keep your prayers coming! 135 days to go! Come on October!

All glory and praise to our amazing Lord!! I cannot give enough thanks and praise for everything He has done in our life!

Friday, April 18, 2014

Hello Second Trimester!

Hello and happy Good Friday everyone!! As we celebrate this weekend and all that God has done for us, we are most thankful that on this Good Friday, He sacrificed himself, so that we all may be washed clean in His blood... paying for our sins. What a beautiful gift. I hope you are all feeling the love of Christ this Easter season!

Today, we are 14 weeks pregnant, in our second trimester and feeling amazing! No more morning sickness, a little more energy... and feeling overwhelmed with love for our sweet clover baby. We are growing!!

We checked on our little baby this week... and little clover decided to give us quite a little show... showing off all of his growth and his smooth moves... and even... his family jewels! Yes, ladies and gentlemen... our little clover baby is a boy! We are having a son!

Making that statement brings me to tears as I am writing this. Our sweet son. Our beautiful miracle. The one we cried over... struggled for... prayed for... begged for... and are now thanking God every second for.

After a rough weekend last week, me with bronchitis following a bad sinus infection... and hubby also sick, we have some catching up to do around this house! The biggest task at hand: working on our new floors... we have roughly 5 months to get everything in order for our sweet baby boy!! Oh and I'm sure you are all wondering, we HAVE chosen a name. :)

Please continue to pray for our rainbow baby! (A rainbow baby is a baby that comes after the "storm", a loss or several losses or infertility... or in our case, all of the above. It's a symbol of God fulfilling His promises and His undying love for his children.) We receive this last weekend as our first gift for our sweet clover baby!

My mind is racing a thousand miles a minute with ideas for rooms and wishes and dream for our sweet Caleb...  my heart is overflowing! Thank you everyone for standing in prayer and love with us as we continue this amazing journey! I can hardly put my thoughts in order as I'm writing this.

If you find yourself in the middle of a stormy time, remember, God will NEVER leave your side. Trust Him, walk WITH Him... depend on HIM! You will find your rainbow!

Friday, April 4, 2014

12 Weeks!

Hello dear friends,

We have arrived at 12 weeks. It still feels so strange, like a dream come true. This week we saw a regular doctor. That felt so bizarre... to be back in that office, with the "normal" people. I'd be lying if I said I wasn't scared to leave our specialist. Even though he repeatedly told us that everything was perfect and normal, it still feels surreal to have a "normal" pregnancy progressing so beautifully. I never dreamed this would be our situation, I desperately wanted a miracle, but is anyone really prepared for it? We dream of it... we beg for it... but do we truly believe it will happen to us? I can't say that I did.

I spend much of my days in prayer, as I've probably said before. Prayers of devotion, thanksgiving, protection and peace. And guess what? God always answers my prayers, I pray for peace and I receive it. Whenever I become anxious, I repeat in my mind "I believe in this miracle. Thank you Lord for bestowing this amazing blessing upon us." I say it until I'm confident in it. And I do. I believe in this miracle. I believe in your miracle too, even if you haven't received it yet. God is still good. God is good all of the time.

I sought the Lord and He answered me. He delivered me from all of my fears. Psalm 43:4
Our most recent appointment couldn't have gone better. Clover baby is growing, moving and beautiful.
Commit everything you do to the Lord. Trust Him and He will help you. Be still in the presence of the Lord, and wait patiently for him to act. Psalm 37:5,7
I am so in love with this child. I'm in love with all of my children, and I long for the day when we are all together in Heaven... but for now I rest in this feeling of joy. We don't see a doctor again for an ENTIRE month! I've never been allowed to go that long, it's scary and so exciting. I cannot wait to find out whether our little clover baby is a boy or a girl. I finally feel comfortable enough to fantasize about the future, baby names and room layouts and all of the fun things that go along with expecting. If you follow me on pinterest, I'm sorry for flooding you with goodies... and food, lots of food. Lol. Recently I even invested in some cute maternity clothes. I feel bigger every day, and I must admit... it makes me feel beautiful, this life inside of me.
Something is definitely growing in there. :) As our first trimester is rapidly coming to a close, I can't help but feel like shouting from the rooftops how amazing our God is. I don't hesitate when anyone asks about our pregnancy to tell them what a miracle it is, and how amazing our God truly is. Please continue to pray for us and little clover baby, who is now the size of a large plum or a ripe apricot (depending on what app you look at). We are feeling a little better every day, a little less sick... a little less tired. Some days are still tough, but they are glorious. My darling child, I will do anything I possibly can to take care of you... even if all you want to eat is Special K (fruit and yogurt variety) and sliced bananas (clover's current favorite food). I've never been so anti-junk food before. Not because I'm trying to be healthy, but because I just do not want it, for the first time in my life. All in all, everything is going wonderfully. I praise God for that every day, please join me in singing His praises. For today, I'll leave you with this beautiful verse:
Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. I do not give as the world gives. Do not let your heart be troubled and do not be afraid. John 14:27
We hope to be able to update you soon with more good news and a gender announcement just as soon as we know!! My mom is thinking it's a girl... I'm leaning towards a boy. We have NO preference, but in every clover dream I have, baby is a bouncing beautiful boy. :) We love you all! Thank you for your love and prayers!
National Infertility Awareness Week is approaching very soon, so be on the lookout for information about events going on around the US and where you can go to find information and support. Remember, if you are on the path of infertility... God is not doing this to punish you. You haven't done anything to deserve this. But God WILL use this to grow you. He WILL use this to take your faith beyond anything you could even imagine and He WILL use you to bring Him glory. He is in the business of miracles, and He has a plan for you. Stand confident in the love of our Father. 

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

The Best Days of my Life

I had a friend ask recently how I was feeling. I had to respond with pure honesty... every day this child's heart beats inside of me, is the greatest day of my life. Sure there are aches and pains, nausea, vomiting, discomfort, heartburn, breakouts and the whole laundry list of things no one warns you about.... but I praise God for every single one. Every day, is the greatest day of my life. I feel like every second of my free time is spent deep in thought, thanking God repeatedly.... and then... thanking him again.

We had our final visit with our reproductive endocrinologist today, it couldn't have gone better. Little clover baby has grown a lot in the last week, we are measuring exactly 11 weeks, which I will be on Friday. Here he/she is: first picture was taken last week, the second was taken today.

Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart. Jeremiah 1:5

Clover baby liked keeping his/her hands in his/her face, teasing us with almost perfect pictures. We are now released to a regular OBGYN, whom I will meet with next week. Also, no more hormone treatments!! The placenta is now formed and taking over, looking healthy and beautiful. I'm already showing. Sure the normal person wouldn't really be able to tell for sure whether I was pregnant or just really bloated, but the people who see me every day can definitely see a difference. It's so exciting. I ordered my first maternity wear, I can still squeeze into my regular clothes but they're super uncomfortable. This picture was taken last week, I feel like every day I get a little bigger. It's awesome!

I just can't get over this feeling of joy and love.... my cup runneth over. Blessings abound... I am in constant awe over the power of our Lord. Just the thought brings me to tears.

Rejoice dear friends... God is alive and working in our lives. He can turn any situation into a beautiful love story, as long as He remains the main character. Keep the Lord first always. Thank Him for everything, even the hard times... they make you appreciate the blessings even more.

Thank you for your continued prayer, please keep them coming! We love each and every one of you!

For those of you still struggling, the fear still remains, but every day it is more and more muted. Pray for peace. Pray for patience. Thank God for standing by you and holding you up through every day. Your story may take a turn at any moment! Be ready to be flooded with blessings, for that is what our Lord wants for us! He also wants the GLORY! And BOY does he deserve it!!! To God alone be the glory!! Praising Jesus continually!! Keep the faith!

Clover baby is due October 17, 2014.

Friday, March 7, 2014

Giving you all of me, is where I'll start

I've written a few posts lately that I have yet to publish, feeling as though it's not quite time for those yet... But I have spent many many hours in prayer over the last two weeks as to when it was appropriate for my family for us to post this one. 

There's a special song that has rapidly become the theme to our life, as of late. It's by Matt Hammitt and it is called All of Me

Afraid to love
Something that could break
Could I move on
If you were torn away?
And I'm so close to what I can't control
I can't give you half my heart
And pray He makes you whole

You're gonna have all of me 
You're gonna have all of me
'Cause you're worth every falling tear
You're worth facing any fear
You're gonna know all my love
Even if it's not enough
Enough to mend our broken hearts
But giving you all of me is where I'll start

I won't let sadness steal you from my arms
I won't let pain keep you from my heart
I'll trade the fear of all that I could lose
For every moment I share with you


Heaven brought you to this moment, it's too wonderful to speak
You're worth all of me, you're worth all of me
So let me recklessly love you, even if I bleed
You're worth all of me, you're worth all of me

Chorus (X2)

It's where I'll start

It's a strange feeling, thinking you might see a light at the end of the tunnel finally... Sometimes it shines so bright that it startles you and leaves you bewildered... This can't possibly be true, can it? Lord... Is this our chance? It's scary... So much can happen, so much has happened. So much can go wrong. But that doesn't mean we should live in fear. Lord, you know you have all of me... And little one, I will not let my fear interfere with my love for you. 

This is our "clover," our lucky baby number 4... And hopefully the first child that we get to hold in our arms. I know you all have a million questions so I will try to answer those now. 

We are currently 8 weeks pregnant. We accidentally discovered this glorious little miracle when I was about 5.5 weeks along. No, we were not trying... This is the glorious power of The Lord, as you know we were given roughly a 1-2% chance of ever conceiving naturally again. My surgery in November had nothing to do with my poorly working ovaries, just my uterine cavity. The doctor prays that surgery will keep me from having further recurrent miscarriages. It has been so hard to keep this a secret, because we wanted to shout from the rooftops how glorious and faithful our God is. It was a hard decision to put this out there because so much can go so wrong so fast, but we are stepping out in faith, bragging on God and asking, once again, for your prayers. So far everything is perfect, and we are just overwhelmed with joy. We see our doctor weekly due to the fact that my first trimester is so risky. 

For our few family members that have kept this secret with us, thank you so much for respecting our wishes until we were ready to publicize this information. 

For those that are just finding out... There's a few things we ask that you don't say. Please don't say "I told you if you'd relax ... If you'd stop trying... If you'd do 'so and so' this would happen." This was nothing but the awesome power of God. Relaxing didn't suddenly make my body decide to start working, not trying doesn't cure the disease of infertility. Only God can do that, not giving Him that glory would trivialize His miracle. I've seen so many women who finally get their miracles just to be further downtrodden by other's words... So we ask that you be respectful to us, this child and most of all... Our God and Savior. To God alone, be the glory. To God alone, be the praise. 

For my dear friends still waiting for your turn, I pray for you every day... Don't lose the faith, God is holding you near to his heart. I hope you feel that power in your life. 

Dear little clover,
You have all of me... And all of daddy... And you will always know that you are such an amazing miracle from God... Hold tight little baby, you'll meet your siblings one day, but we pray you meet us first. Keep growing my tiny love. Mommy will do all she can to care for you every second of every day. We've prayed for you for so long... So very long... 
With every beat of my heart,
Your thankful mommy


We are leaving tomorrow for a much needed vacation with my entire family, even my grandma on her first trip out of the country! If you don't get a fast response from us, we will be back in the country and back to having cellular service on Thursday! Love to you all! 

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

The things I don't want you to know.

Every morning I wake up to the realization that my children are not here with me. That's how every day begins for me, missing and wanting my babies. But they aren't here. I have to allow myself those first few minutes of the day to pray for reassurance that I can get through this. 

Every night I go to bed praying to see God's plan in this, asking for clarity... Asking to have children here on Earth to love and care for. 

I rarely ask God "why?" anymore. I know that I will never know the reason, I've come to terms with that. It will never make sense in my small human mind. I just wish the big man would just clue us in on His plan, just a little. There are so many fleeting moments throughout the day that life doesn't feel fair. It isn't fair. It never will be. I don't ask for fair, I ask for peace. I ask for wisdom. I ask for patience. 

As a woman, every month for about a week I'm reminded just how not pregnant I am. Ever since my surgery that aspect of my life has been nearly unbearable physically. That's the thing they don't warm you about... The increase of cramping, pain and bleeding so intense that you feel like you can't get through a normal day. I'm told that should get better with time, but that is yet to be seen. 

Every day spent on this rocky path, our desires feel less attainable. The dying, but eternal, dream. 

Those are the things I don't want people to know. Those are the vulnerable moments that I wish were avoidable. It's hard to admit that I think about this every single day, it hurts every single day. Because if people knew that, there would be nothing for me to hide. If they know it all... There is nothing for me to hang on to when I need to be sad. 

Does that sound strange? That there are days I need to be sad? It's not what you think, I don't crave the sadness... But there are days when it becomes so built up that I need to feel it and cry it out. There are seasons when I need to be alone and not have to face the world, that I need to lock the door and be alone with God to deal with it. That's the main way I can deal honestly with it. If I'm alone with it, I don't have to hold back. I don't have to sugar coat it. I can face it head on for what it truly is... Awful. It's hard for many people to understand that sometimes I need isolation. Actually it's hard for most people to understand. Some people are offended by it, saying it's unhealthy for me to "shut down" but they just can't understand that we all deal with the trials of this life very differently. 

Social media makes it very difficult for other's lives to not affect us, there have been many days that I've avoided that all together... I actually long for the days before Facebook and text messaging, when people had to actually communicate with you to cause any damage... But that isn't the world we live in anymore. 

All in all I know I live a blessed life. I have a beautiful home. I have a husband that still opens doors for me. I have a pack of dogs that keep me laughing with their antics and unconditional love. This is the checklist that I go through every morning on my drive in to work. One by one, in my mind, I name the things I love... The things/people that have been brought into my life that I don't deserve. I thank God for this journey (as much as I hate being on it) because it has made me appreciate everything so much more. I thank God for the hard times because it caused my marriage to blossom, against all odds. I thank God for it because it brings me closer to Him. 

I know that the point of this is much bigger than myself, that doesn't make it any easier to bear... Nothing does. 

I believe we go through seasons within seasons. Lately I've been going through a tough one. As the days turn into months and the months turn into years, it doesn't get any easier. I don't handle things any better now than I did when this all began... I just handle it differently. I know it won't kill me, but that doesn't mean I enjoy the pain. To go against the annoying saying... I don't enjoy dancing in the rain. I've learned to let God be my umbrella but that doesn't mean I don't sill sometimes feel cold wet and alone. I learn to appreciate the lessons but that may never mean I enjoy having to learn them. 

I desire to use this to help others, but that doesn't mean I don't need times to step away from it all for a while. I can't let the battle overtake me, so occasionally I just need to step back... Step away... Find something else to occupy my mind for a while. Last month that something became painting my house, almost the entire interior of my house, I'm still not finished with that project. This month the project is replacing our floors. I'm much better when my hands are occupied. Our December project was my new love... Here she is

This is our Abigail, the newest addition to our family. I had been following her story on the Tails of Hope rescue page on Facebook. Sweet Abby (then called Casey) was a mommy too, but shortly after she gave birth her puppies began to pass away. One by one I would read about their passing... And although I might have been projecting my emotions onto this doggie's story, I would cry and cry. My heart broke for this lost little momma who desperately needed a home. One day the last puppy died and I couldn't take it anymore. I needed her. I needed to make her feel better. I had to love her. I had this overwhelming need to be the one to make this doggie happy again. I contacted the group, put in our application telling our story and why I so desperately wanted to help her... Then suddenly, she was ours. 

I've never seen a dog so scared of me in my entire life. She was terrified, and I can't say that I blamed her. Once we got her calmed down I simply held her... I held her all night long. That little girl still sleeps in my arms every night... And boy is she happy. It's brought me great joy to see her blossom with us. We chose the name Abigail because the meaning of it is "source of joy." I knew that's what she would be for us, and I wanted to be that for her as well. What a change I've seen... Every day when I return from work she BOUNDS to me, so excited that she's almost crying to get to me. It fills my heart... Her goofy clumsy little smiles ... 

So while I'm hurting... When I feel lost... I feel like God uses these things to reassure me that I am loved. I am not alone. There is a reason and a plan here, I just have to stick to it. I have to trust God to do what is best. I have to embrace the good and be thankful. And sometimes... I just need people to understand that it's ok when I need to lock the door and be alone. I promise I'll come back around soon... And no, I haven't lost the faith.