Kiss Your Miracle

motherhood after infertility

2010 December 31, 2009

Filed under: Faith,Family — Linnea @ 3:29 pm

It’s New Years Eve, which means today marks the end of 2009. And even though I’ll probably be fast asleep at midnight (unless I happen to be up for one of my many nightly trips to the bathroom at that moment), I’m looking forward to this holiday. I’m sure tomorrow morning will feel almost the same as this morning, but there’s still something nice about the start of a new year. I’ve always been grateful for beginnings and endings. I don’t think it’s a mistake that sunrise and sunset are the most beautiful, peaceful times of the day.

This year especially, the thought of a new start brings relief. I won’t say that ’09 has been all bad; it’s definitely had its share of blessings. In June we found out about miracle baby #2. We celebrated Sky’s first birthday in July and then in the fall learned that our second child is a boy. But this year also held financial stress and health problems for our extended family. And overwhelmingly, 2009 will be remembered as the year of my dad’s cancer diagnosis and his death on November 3rd. The past few months have been difficult, so in that sense, I’m ready to move forward.

At the same time though, there is a part of me that actually wants to hold onto this year. The pain of my dad’s death is still new and shocking, and every first my family goes through without him stings. Sky still remembers her Papa, but she’s only seventeen months and I know that as time ticks by, her memories of him are fading. I don’t want my dad’s absence to become normal. But I also know that living in a state of grief indefinitely isn’t healthy, and maybe that’s part of why God steadily pushes us on to new months, new years, and new phases of life, even when we might not feel ready.

I hope that for Adam, Sky, and me, 2010 will include a good birth experience and a healthy newborn addition to our family. I hope this year includes a healthy set of twins for my brother and his wife in April, and I’m also asking our Almighty God to give miracle pregnancies to the couples I know who still struggle with infertility. I’m excited at the possibilities of 2010, but the unknown is scary too. I’m sure this coming year will include surprises, some so wonderful we haven’t imagined them yet, and some we would never choose for ourselves. More than ever, I can’t escape the fact that life is fragile. But God has promised that goodness and mercy will follow each of his children all of our days. And I plan to do what I can this year to take Him at His word, regardless of what the future holds.

“God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea…” – Psalm 46:1-2


Christmas December 28, 2009

Filed under: Faith,Family — Linnea @ 7:40 pm

Christmas 2009 has come and gone, and I have to say that part of me is relieved. I hadn’t been looking forward to this first year without my dad, especially since the rest of my family was 1200 miles away in Michigan. But overall, the holiday wasn’t as difficult as I’d expected. We spent Christmas Day with Adam’s sweet family, who lavished Sky with gift after gift. I couldn’t help but feel grateful for our Florida family as we sat around eating quiche and bagels that morning, taking turns pulling Sky around our living room in her new red wagon, which she still can’t get enough of (good job Grammy and Grandpa!).

My highlight though, was Christmas Eve. Our original plan had been the candlelight service at our church – until we found out there would be no childcare. At seventeen months, Sky isn’t capable of even five minutes of quiet stillness and it didn’t seem fair to ask that of her. Adam and I debated going anyway, but finally decided that it might be more meaningful to stay home together instead of trading off with Sky in the lobby. When Sky suddenly threw up all over the kitchen floor at 5:45pm, Adam and I were more than relieved to be at home instead of the 5 o’clock service. We ended up putting her to bed a little after 7, thinking we’d hear from her soon afterward, but apparently her “sickness” was just a little random puking because she slept straight through till morning.

Once Sky was in bed, Adam and I shared a little wine, ate grilled steak and baked potatoes for dinner, and read Matthew 5 together. It’s not a traditional Christmas passage, but for us that night, it was perfect. We sat at the table for two hours discussing the words of Jesus. Then before bed, we ate some of Jesus’ birthday cake with a little ice cream on the side.

I love my family with all my heart and I always look forward to sharing Christmas with them, but this year the grief of missing my dad made it easier to think about God and his promise of eternal life. My mom is constantly pointing out ways God has blessed us during this difficult year, and I think that Christmas Eve was one of them for me. A couple hours with Adam where we focused on God together – no dressing up, no socializing, no presents, no agenda. It was exactly what I needed for Christmas this year.


Homesick December 23, 2009

Filed under: Motherhood — Linnea @ 8:28 pm

Like most expecting mothers, I’m currently a blend of excitement and anxiety when I think about our new baby. After struggling with infertility, I’m still in awe of the fact that I’m pregnant again. The baby is to the point now where it feels like he’s always kicking and stretching inside my body, and it makes me wish for a window on my belly so I could sit and watch exactly what he’s doing. Who will this little man be? Will he be calm and laid back or a ball of energy like his big sister? Will he look like his daddy or will he have red hair like me? I can’t wait to find out. Every day I wake up thinking that we’re one day closer to his official birthday.

The other half of me is grateful his due date is still six weeks away. I haven’t started decorating the nursery yet. It’s still an office/guest room/workout room, and I have a lot of organizing to do before our son arrives. I also sometimes think about how Sky wants my constant, undivided attention, and I start to get panicky. Having a little brother will probably be the best thing for her, but how will it be for me as she adjusts to him, especially when I’m sleep deprived? When I think about Sky’s newborn days, I remember my amazement over the fact that she really was my little girl, but I also remember being so tired I could barely function. We both cried our share of tears those first few months. Will it be that way again, only more so since I now have a high-maintenance toddler too?

There is only one thought that calms me down when my anxiety level rises: my mom. She plans to stay with us for a while in February after the baby comes, and when I remember that, my worries fade a bit. It’s not just that she’s great at entertaining Sky, though she is. It’s also not just that she raised seven kids of her own, though her experience is a big help. It’s that she’s my mom and I miss her.

I’ve been away for my share of Christmases over the years, but I’ve never been as homesick as I am this year. It’s my family’s first Christmas without my dad, and it hurts that I won’t be there. My mom is a busy woman, and when we finally do connect for a chat on the phone, it seems like we only cover one or two things before our time is up. But if all goes as planned, my mom will be at my house in about a month and a half. I know I’ll be bleary-eyed and overwhelmed. But I also know that she won’t let me get too serious about it all. Somehow we’ll still spend plenty of time hanging out in the kitchen, chatting and drinking coffee and eating her favorite food (plain rice cakes with peanut butter – doesn’t sound like much, but the more you eat them, the more addicting they are). I can’t wait until she’s here, when we’ll have no agenda beyond taking care of the kids and being together.

She’ll also probably end up doing the laundry and cooking dinner now and then (God bless her!). She’ll make sure I have time to take a shower each day, and to catch a nap, even when Sky is awake. And when I’m dealing with all those crazy post-partum hormones and emotions, she’ll remind me to “unwrap” our new baby and count his little fingers and toes. She won’t let me forget what a miracle it is to welcome a new life, no matter how tired I am. Thank God for mothers! I’m especially grateful for mine.


Motivation December 20, 2009

Filed under: Family,Motherhood — Linnea @ 7:58 pm

It was 39 degrees when we woke up this morning. As the sun rose outside, you could even see a touch of frost on the grass outside, which is definitely not typical here in central Florida. I realize that God doesn’t think of just one person when he creates the weather, but the chilly temperature felt like an early Christmas present he put together for me.

As we got ready for church I dressed Sky in thick tights beneath her skirt and went to get her puffy blue coat from the closet. Then I remembered another coat we had – a bright red dress coat – that would go much better over her church clothes. It originally belonged to me. When I outgrew it, my mom passed it on to a neighbor, and her daughter wore it for a while. She never gave it away though, and a few years ago when she heard Adam and I were expecting a baby girl, she gave the coat back to my mom and told her to pass it along to us.

Red Coat Sky I laughed when my mom lugged it all the way down to Florida after Sky was born. It seemed like a lot of effort to go through for a heavy coat I doubted Sky would wear much. I can’t stand clutter, and I’ve always been much more likely to give old clothes to Goodwill or toss them than to store them. But this morning when I remembered that coat, I immediately dug it out of the back of Sky’s closet, excited to see if it might fit her. It was a bit large, but she looked cute in it anyway. And she liked it too. “Take some pictures!” I told Adam, even though we were running late.

Seeing Sky in that coat reminded me of my own days as a little girl. Every week, whether it was freezing cold or hot and humid, my parents dressed us up in our Sunday best and took us into the city for church, usually followed by a big dinner with our extended family. Since my dad’s death in November, I’ve found myself thinking more about my childhood, and all the good things my parents gave us. Parenting seemed easy before I started doing it myself. I’m more aware now of how hard my mom and dad worked to provide their kids with the stability we took for granted.

My innocent childhood memories keep me on track when motherhood isn’t fun, and I’m thankful for them. I’m thankful that I’ve always known how much my mom loves being a mom despite the sacrifice it requires, and I hope that over years I communicate that same message to my own family.


Compromise December 17, 2009

Filed under: Motherhood — Linnea @ 6:43 pm

Last week Sky was the fussiest Hershey Sky she’s been in a long time. She seemed to be teething and even had a fever one night, so I tried to be as patient as possible, but she was definitely pushing me past my limits. None of the things she usually loves – her lamb, her blanket, books, yogurt, necklaces, or even daddy – calmed her down. She just alternated between mild whining and full-on crying all day long, for several days in a row. If I wasn’t holding her, she was hanging onto my legs, whimpering.

Then one afternoon while I unloaded groceries into the fridge, Sky discovered the Hershey’s chocolate syrup in the refrigerator, immediately popped off the cap, and began sucking on the bottle. And I let her, even when chocolate drool started to drip down the front of her jacket.

Then over the weekend we noticed Sky had cut four new teeth. By Saturday she was back to her usual happy, hyper self. I’m glad I let her have a little chocolate syrup last week.


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