12 Months

Bennett & Eliza are one! We celebrated their first birthday the weekend before Christmas. Our house was filled to max capacity with so many loved ones which made their Circus themed day extra special. The weather took a turn for the cold and windy, you really never know what you are going to get on a December day in Louisiana, but the babies knew no different and really had a fun time playing with friends and being passed around with lots of hugs and kisses.

This has been the fastest year. Parts felt really slow too. I still can’t believe they are ours. I packed away all the bottles, sanitizer, and bottle warmer recently and it was a little bittersweet. That sanitizer and I had a close relationship this past year! But really, that part is all over. I’m not going to lie I wanted it to be and we both were counting down the days for whole milk-instant pay raise! We also packed up and organized all of their clothes that they have grown out of but there is a small little gift bag holding preemie clothes inside that I couldn’t look at, or put away. So we are excitedly embracing all of the one year old fun coming our way, but also a little sad to say goodbye to babies.

Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas all fell on the last three months of their baby lives. They dressed up as a Dalmatian and a Firefighter for Halloween and were taken to two pumpkin patches, one where they got to pet a kangaroo! Boo at the Zoo with their PAIL buddies, Trick or Treat on sorority row, and we took them down our street to a few houses on Halloween night! They spent the night at LeLe’s for the first time away from us at 11 months, and did great! Early December we took them on their first road trip to see their Say Say for her birthday, and they were car riding troopers!  They sat on Santa’s lap this year, and I was very disappointed there were zero tears from either one. For some reason the crying pictures are my favorite… strange sense of humor, I know. Also in the middle of all of that, we did plays dates with our buddy Cole, went to several birthday parties, and did a Pancake and PJs Christmas party with our PAIL buddies. Will worked Thanksgiving and Christmas so we hopped from family-to-family-to-family around his schedule. The four of us celebrated our Christmas/Santa on December 26th. When your Dad works holidays, Santa knows right? We started some traditions that both of us remembered doing as kids- read The Night Before Christmas, wore Christmas pajamas to sleep and wore them all the next day, Will always had a toothbrush in his stocking so you better believe Santa delivered on that too! I think we’ll add leaving cookies out for Santa next year, skipped it this time around.  December 26th was a day that we have wanted for so long. That did not slip past us.

Bennett– Happy First Birthday to our best boy! Our Baby B. The clown of the house. Everyone’s best lil buddy. Easy laugher, easy crier, easy to entertain. First to sleep and first to wake up. New found friend of Elmo. Beeliner to the dog water bowl. Lover of attention- especially from the ladies- growler, shaker of all things. Biggest, sweetest smile. The LOUDEST boy around. One solid chunk of intense fun.

Eliza– Happy First Birthday to our best girl! Our Baby A. The ruler of our house. Will’s very favorite person and my lil shadow sidekick. The perfector of the pout, side eye, and soft smile. The swiper of all things especially from brother. The best cell phone and remote finder, no matter the hiding place. Into everything, noticer of all things, cutest laugh, steadiest, sweetest girl around.

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*photography by Claire Town

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Baby Steps 2016

I can’t let the year come to an end without posting about the annual Baby Steps!

Each year, the event is a little different and special in its own way, at the same time doing the best job of consistently focusing on the heart of Sarah’s Laughter- bringing infertility awareness and support to the area and never failing in giveaways to help couples in need grow their families. This year, the event was a 1 mile fun run on November 12th, 2016 held at Lamar Dixon. It reminded me a lot of the first year’s race because we walked in a circle around a lake (big pond? A body of water, however you classify it) At a point rounding the circle, you got a glimpse of ALL the people there in support of infertility and friends, you are left speechless at that very sight.

It feels like a big family reunion on Christmas Day. Lots of hugging and picture taking. Quick little catch ups from person to person. And never enough time! Can I tell you how much I love being a part of this group? Can everyday be a Baby Steps day?

This year Bennett & Eliza joined us! Talk about full circle moment. Looking back on our journey, the first Baby Steps represented the thick of the battle, freshly out of the infertility closet and wanting and needing that IVF giveaway badly. Showing up to the race in full force with the largest team, Team Stickle backing us. At last year’s Baby Steps, we were excitedly and gratefully expecting Bennett and Eliza. It was a day that reminded us how good God really is, how asking people to help carry us through this struggle the year before resulted in our biggest blessings, our prayers answered. And this year, we showed up holding our two miracles who we wanted to represent hope and participated in the first ever Miracle March to start off the walk. I still can’t believe how quickly life has changed, where it is hard to remember what life was like without Bennett & Eliza. What I do remember, and what I will never forget is how long and forever that road felt.

I also got to hop up on the stage and grab the microphone for a second to encourage every couple struggling with infertility. To thank loved ones present, letting them know their support really does make a difference. To tell each couple, that on that day they won. They kicked infertility in the teeth. To offer them the perspective that they were leaving Baby Steps a winner, whether they had a giveaway in hand or not. I hope each couple left the race with resorted faith and the perseverance to keep believing God for their baby. Friends, I don’t think three years ago, at the first Baby Steps, I could have ever imagined getting up in front of that huge crowd and sharing my story. Me, who at one point could barely say “We want a baby so bad. But we’re struggling” God is funny, right? Whether I am the most qualified or not, I have such a heart and love for those walking through infertility and any opportunity I am given to share God’s glory, I’m in!

Here are a few pics! Most of them are Melissa’s because she is an awesome documenter and she said I could share. Friends, can I ask all of you to keep Melissa and her husband, Brad, in your prayers? I know so many of you care about her because I get asked for updates on her journey often. They have an upcoming frozen transfer in January. After a very successful IVF cycle/retrieval there is a mountain of hope right now that this is IT for them! And y’all, I’m throwing it out there because God can do exceedingly, abundantly, above- we are praying for twins!

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9 Months

I’m squeezing this post in on the last day that Bennett and Eliza will be 9 month olds. Still counts, right? Tomorrow and the next day (two different birthdays…) we will have  10 month olds on our hands and that is just CRAZY. Months 6-9 have been so much fun. This is such a cute age, my favorite so far. Filled with lots of firsts! At the end of July, they did swimming lessons. Which was probably the highlight of our summer. They both loved the water, especially Bennett. We have taken them to the park, the zoo, the pumpkin patch, out to dinner a couple of times (past bedtime and we stick to that bedtime!) They’ve gone on play dates, had their first ear infections- twins with ear infections not for the weak, swung on the swings for the first time, changed to their convertible car seats, watched their Dad finish the Warrior Dash, and have been strolled around the neighborhood and all sorts of errands too many times to count.

At 9 months, they have dropped their end of the day cat nap and take two naps- a morning and an afternoon. They are usually down for two hours in the morning and the afternoon is pretty hit-or-miss. Sometimes it can be a long one and sometimes its 45 minutes. The saying “twins don’t wake each other up” is a complete myth. Yes they do. Just not all the time. I have considered separating them during nap time, but haven’t followed through on that thought yet! They are both in 12-18 month clothes and size 4 diapers. They have also dropped a bottle (yay) and are down to three a day- which also means one load in the sanitizer- and three solids a day. They both love food, breakfast seems to be their favorite. I can see many “brinners” in our future, and Will and I are totally okay with that because who doesn’t love breakfast for dinner?

( Here are pics from months 7 & 8. When I get 9 month pictures uploaded to my computer, I’ll add a couple!)

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Bennett– This little boy is a clown. The nurse at the pediatrician’s office called him that and it is just the perfect description of him. Always entertaining. He’s a good little buddy. A solid chunk with strong, strong legs. He smiles and laughs very easily. Is still very ticklish. And is LOUD. He is still demanding and will go from 0-60 when he does not like something, very quick tempered. On most days though he is much, much easier than he used to be. He eats like a champ- food is serious business. He has two cute little bottom teeth and just cut two on the top. He is still hanging on to his dark blue eyes and his hair is still sticking straight up. When he is sleepy he is very snuggly and rests his cheek on your cheek. He loves to clap, play peek-a-boo, blow bubbles, and be sung and read to. He is the happiest boy jumping in the jumper or running around chasing the dogs, or our toes and ankles, in the walker.

 

Eliza– She is still the sweetest girl around. She is all over the place crawling, pulling up, and has her hands in everything! Shoe strings, the dog leash, and licking the trash can (which gets relocated to the laundry room now when she’s on the move) are favorites to chew. She has perfected the soft smile and there is no shame in her staring game, still super observant.  She also has two bottom teeth and just cut one on the top with another one on its way. When you can get a laugh out of her, she has a deep, almost hoarse, belly laugh. She is an excellent swiper- always taking things from her brother. But you better think twice about taking anything away from her- huge meltdown will likely ensue. This girl loves to drink water like her Mama. Over the past few months she has really started to look more & more like Will. She is the happiest being in the middle of everything either being held, or sitting in a lap. Sometimes I stick her in her highchair with some toys on the tray while I’m in the kitchen so she can see- her LeLe said she’s practicing her lifeguarding skills.

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Just Keep Swimming

This past weekend, life came full circle. I felt so honored to play a part at the Sarah’s Laughter Infertility workshop this year as a speaker. Sitting in that room with those couples, I was immediately brought back to when I first found the workshop years ago. After having an emotional breakdown heading to a baby shower, I realized I really wasn’t as okay as I had been trying to tell myself. Shortly after said break down, I heard about the upcoming workshop announced at a church service which is how I landed at that workshop a few years ago and how I would later join Sarah’s Laughter. On Saturday, I laughed and I cried throughout the time I spent with this group. Nothing will ever take away the pain and emotions of infertility. I was so proud to be there, so proud of Sarah’s Laughter, so proud to see graduates and current members there volunteering.  And I really think we all felt it, the hurting for a baby, the deep desire to become parents, the vulnerability of it all.

The workshop’s theme this year was “Just Keep Swimming.” I really feel like this year’s workshop takes the cake. Elisha Kearns who writes the blog, Waiting For Baby Bird was the keynote speaker. My friends currently in the group were super excited to meet and hear from someone that they find such encouragement from. There were breakout sessions throughout the day on loss, and for people interested in starting their own infertility support group. My friend, Kim, a family and marriage counselor, led a breakout session on keeping your marriage strong through infertility. I was so proud of her for getting up there (even after losing her house in the recent flooding) and offering such genuine advice and encouragement to couples. James Henderson led a session for just the men. I think this is such a needed thing! Yesterday, I caught up on the Sarah’s Laughter podcast and listened to the episode that he and his wife, Portia, recorded. Friends, it was good. I know he was the perfect person to lead the session specifically for men at the workshop, especially after listening to their podcast. I actually might just listen to the podcast again! Sarah’s Laughter Podcast, Portia & James The most unique part of this year’s workshop (to me) were the round table discussions (think speed dating) several tables set up around the room, each table represented a different topic (gestational carriers, adoption, perseverance in prayer, two different reproductive endocrinologists had a table, etc) Guests of the workshop could make their way around to the tables for a short little session. They received some very valuable information from such an expansive group of great resources. I can only imagine how much this helped people facing infertility. I think out of anything though, I was the most excited to see faces that I did not recognize. Their face might have been like my face a few years ago at the workshop. Not really in the deep end of infertility, but knowing they do not want to be alone. I really hope and pray each person, especially those sweet new faces, who attended left feeling understood.

I spoke about navigating through the sea of infertility.I wanted to share my talk with readers of this blog. Some of what I spoke about I have already written about in this blog. There are a few personal details/stories that I am not going to include (what happens at the workshop stays at the workshop right?) but I hope someone reading this finds the encouragement and that extra little push to just keep swimming.

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Podcasting

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Sarah’s Laughter has a podcast! Yay! In March, I felt so special to get to sit down with Jason & Beth Forbus to record an episode with my dear friend, Melissa. We chatted about our own personal struggle with infertility, how infertility brought us together as friends, and how to remain friends when one becomes a mom, and one is still in the wait. Friends, this was so much fun! I told Melissa, I was either going to get a case of the giggles, or cry. My hormones were still all over the place so it dangerously could go either way. And I actually did both! Thankfully, I’m not a glass case of emotions anymore. We talked SO much, in fact, Jason had to cut half of what was recorded! I really can’t wait to do another one and drag my buddy along with me- she doesn’t have a choice. And actually Jason and Beth don’t either. I have caught the podcast bug! I drank the Kool Aid.

I really love how the episode turned out (thank you editing!) First, I had no idea I talked that slow. Friends, y’all are so patient to listen to me. Second, I’m going to go back and take a tally of how many times I say, “you know” “um” and “so.” Beth explained how she usually does an introduction on each guest at the beginning such as, “she likes long walks on the beach.”  I told her, I don’t like long walks on the beach, I like to sit on the beach. No exercise involved. So, that’s where that came from, just to give some context!

I met Melissa at the Sarah’s Laughter infertility workshop a few years ago and we became fast friends. She is the peanut butter to my jelly, the selfie to my selfie stick. Infertility is a journey we both share, but there are so many other things we talk about and do together that isn’t centered around infertility. I love to go to worship concerts with her. That girl gets that side step together, step and clapping her hands going. I just love it. She really gets a kick out of life. I’m lucky to call her my soul sista, and so thankful that we have remained friends.

To listen to our podcast click here or subscribe to the SL’s podcast on iTunes! The next infertility workshop will be held in Baton Rouge on August 27th, to find out more information on attending click here
Since we recorded our podcast, I have discovered that there is an entire world of podcasts that exists! It is my new favorite thing to do. I wanted to share my two favorites (besides Sarah’s Laughter, of course) that I love, because if I included them all this post would be way too long!

The Happy Hour with Jamie Ivey I LOVE this podcast. I listen to it when I’m doing dishes, folding laundry, or sometimes out walking. I’ve told a few friends this, but many of the episodes I’ve listened to, the featured guest has struggled with infertility in some way. And I don’t know why, but it still surprises me how many people are impacted by infertility. It isn’t the purpose of the show, but it is a part of so many women’s stories that it is a subject that is often touched on.

The Popcast with Knox & Jamie Friends, this show is hysterical. Jamie B Golden (different Jamie than the above mentioned) I just wish I could shrink her and put her in my pocket. The banter between the two is the best. I don’t have cable so a lot of the time I don’t even know what they are talking about, but I still get a kick out of it. I used to recommend Episode 138 for anyone who starts it, but last week’s episode has trumped it and is now their best yet. So subscribe to their show on iTunes and start with Episode 151.

6 Months

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Bennett & Eliza are 6 months old! Will and I are both enjoying them so much at this age. It takes a special kind of person to “love” that baby/newborn stage, and I don’t fit that category. I was so excited when they hit this month. I do get how it can be little bittersweet because half a year has already passed, but this is my favorite age as of yet, it’s really the cutest. I have a feeling from here on out I might say that each passing month.

At six months they both weigh 18 lbs, are in Size 3 diapers, and wear 6-9 month & 9 month clothes. Eliza is still about 1 1/2 inches longer than Bennett. And she has a gigantic head. They have started eating solids, taking water from a sippy cup, and are 100% sleeping in their cribs- no more naps in the rock-n-plays. They sleep about 11 hours through the night. Take a long nap in the morning and then two shorter ones. I have become brave enough to start taking them on errands by myself like the grocery store, or out to eat. And it’s always a better week (for all three of us) when we can make it to Gymboree or a friend play date!

Bennett: This little boy is a mess. He is ticklish, everywhere. Smiles and laughs very easily. But just as quickly will turn it into cries. Out of the two, he is still holding strong the title of the demanding one. He loves to be held and prefers to be engaged at all times. He has developed a slight case of separation anxiety from me and is hit or miss on how he feels about someone else holding him. He loves to be loud and is a huge fan of bath time. He wakes up with a ginormous grin and kicks like crazy. His eyes are still a pretty dark blue and his fuzzy hair in the back is starting to stick straight up.  B is finally, finally tolerating tummy time longer. He has found his feet and has started to sit unassisted. He hasn’t met a food he dislikes- carrots and apples/bananas are two favorites. And he has two tiny bottom teeth!

Eliza: She is our sweet girl. And such a nosy rosy. She quietly watches everything. Out of the two, she is still holding strong the title of the chill baby. She loves rolling over, turning herself upside down on her boppy, and scooching on her back. She is a little snuggler like her brother, but mostly when she’s sleepy. She is an easier one to pass around a room of people who want to hold her, but every once in a while feels a little bit of stranger danger. She loves to give kisses and anytime she is next to her brother she finds his hand to hold. She has been saving her best smiles and giggles for the dogs these days who she loves to notice and reach out to touch. She found her feet at five months and has recently been putting them in her mouth. No teeth yet, but everything goes straight to the mouth! She shares the same favorite foods as her brother along with avocado, but isn’t a fan of peaches.

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Meet Cookie

Cookie

 

We have added a new member to our crew! Meet, Cookie.

On March 3rd, 2016 we said goodbye to our sweet Sassy Stickle. I know in the past, I said when our IVF cycle got cancelled I had never cried so hard in my life, well I take that back. I cried for two days straight and then got a major cry headache that I had to ask my mom to come take care of the babies because Will was working and I was out of commission. She was my very first baby. She was a HUGE fluffy and perfect part of this family. If I did not have the babies, this would have landed me in therapy, and I promise you I am not being dramatic. Her absence is still majorly felt. Night time is tough because she’s not down at our feet snuggled tight for the night. I am not sure I can ever get another small dog to love that much. I just want to hold her one more time.

Enter Cookie. Without Sassy, Roux was a little lost. Not that they necessarily rolled around and played together, but Sassy was the boss lady and together they were good companions. Roux lost her leader. I don’t have as much time to step outside and throw the ball with her for hours, but I do leash her up for all the strolls with the babies. Her days at Camp Bow Wow have also come to a pause for right now. So she was a little sad and in need of a buddy. Will suggested the idea of getting another dog either medium sized or the same size as Roux to be able to play with her and get all of that energy out. We saw a cute scruffy terrier/lab puppy up for adoption at the local shelter so we decided to drive out there just to “look” When we pulled up, I spotted Cookie outside playing in one of the shelter’s yards. I pointed her out to Will, “that one is so cute!!! Let’s see if we can look at her.” I’m a sucker for a scruffy dog. She wasn’t the puppy we were there to see. Crazy enough, as we stepped into the entrance of the shelter a Gymboree family was there and in that very moment making the decision to adopt the puppy we were there to see! Looking back on it, this worked out exactly the right way. We are in no position to take on a puppy and all of the responsibilities that come with it, mainly house training. That puppy was not the right dog for us, but it was the perfect dog for that sweet family. And Cookie came home with us.

I do not think you can ask for a more low maintenance dog. She is so appreciative of being a part of our family, I can just tell. She’s a little unsure of some things, like coming inside. I don’t think she’d ever seen a TV because she was very cautious of ours for a little while. She is more comfortable spending the majority of her time outside. And we have a huge backyard for her to enjoy. She does come inside for small chunks at a time and is less restless than she was when we first brought her home. Will built a cute little picket gate across our driveway to fully close in our yard. Roux is the queen of running up and down the street like a mad woman so we fixed this little issue when the babies were born. Shortly after we got her, Will was wondering out loud the logistics of leaving the house with Cookie in the backyard and opening the gate/closing the gate to leave the house. I told him I really don’t think we will have to worry about her trying to escape. And sure enough, we don’t. She is happy to stay put in the place she belongs.  Most importantly of all, Roux and her are the best of friends. They play, all day long. Roux loves her. And she loves Roux. She is such a sweet and affectionate girl. And she’s really, really cute. She can even wear her ears two different ways, down or perked up & over. I think it will take me a little longer with this one. Even though it was, and felt like, a very fast decision, I know it was right. The owner who surrendered her cited the reason being she needed a better home. And I can confidently say we can, and have, given her that and she completely deserves our love. She is our Cookie girl.

 cookie2

I updated the About Me section of the blog. Stop by to check it out, it was long overdue!

 

Donuts

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Today I am posting a picture of a donut. Because donuts are delicious. Two years ago, I turned 30 on the same day as Mother’s Day. I ran away to the beach and sat in the sun with a book in hand completely ignoring the holiday. We couldn’t make the trip for the whole weekend, but my sweet husband booked a hotel and drove us to the beach to stay for one night bc I couldn’t face that day turning 30 without being a mother. Today I want to acknowledge those with a mother’s heart. I don’t need to post the hundredth picture of my kids on this specific day to say what a blessing being a mom is, because you know that already. I am cheering you on during this season of wait, which is even harder on a day such as today, and want this so badly for you whether we are buddies or have never met. So Imma go eat a donut, or four, in your honor. And you should too, treat yo self girl. #donutgiveup

The Best Yes

Now what?

What do you do with this crazy, amazing, plot twisting story that God gave you? I know the God pleasing answer to this big question on my heart is to share my story.

But am I the right one God?  I often feel so unqualified. Surely there is some other person out there who struggled with infertility that is more articulate, put together, wise, better versed in the Bible than me. And probably washes their hair on a regular basis. I’m sure they could do a much better job than me. Then I think, but I am qaulified. God qualified me by giving me this story uniquely to our family to be used for His glory. And maybe there is a girl, or two, out there who can identify more closely with me than the perfectly pressed, freshly washed haired infertility advocate I envision.

One of my very favorite parts of the Sarah’s Laughter support group meetings was the beginning. Beth started us off with some creative theme that tied into infertility and always pointed us back to scripture. Sort of a mini-Bible study session. I loved this. I loved being in a room listening to people talk about faith and God. Besides church on Sundays, this was the only time I was ever around conversations like this. And I really craved hearing about how God was working in other people’s lives. It helped me be able to see how He was working in mine too. It allowed me to see how much God cared about infertility. When I “graduated” from the meetings, I really missed these wisdom filled conversations. This past March, as sort of an extension of Sarah’s Laughter, they started up a Bible study on Tuesday nights held at the center. I wasn’t sure if I should do it because it was a several weeks, once a night commitment. I knew it would be healthy to have something outside of the house, away from the babies, for just myself. I knew I would be doing something God honoring with my time, an activity that would fill my soul. So I went. And I’m so glad I did. For me, the hardest part is just walking out the door, taking those first few steps.

I’ll make a confession here friends. It was easier to feel closer to God in the struggle. Walking through infertility, I felt God’s presence. I saw God in my everyday. I found it easy to turn to Him, to seek Him. And I don’t want that to stop because He answered my biggest prayer. I still need Him everyday, probably more now, just in very different ways. I don’t want to only turn to Him when I need something from Him. So I’m trying to figure out how to stay close to God. His presence in my everyday is still there, it is just revealed differently to me after infertility. On the very first night of the Bible study, Sherri- the leader- had unmarked gift bags lined up against the wall. Each gift was different and had a specific quote on a note card. She felt God telling her not to assign the gifts, she wasn’t even sure who was coming, and let us choose the gift ourselves.

My gift had a note card that read

“I hear your prayers. Not one gets past my ears. Wait on me. My timing is perfect.”

It also had this book   IPRAYEDFORYOU

I was the only one in the room who received this. Here was God saying to me this Bible study is exactly where He wants me to be. It was a God shout out like “hey girl, I’m still with you. I still see you and hear you. I’ve got your back. This is right for you.” The study focused on Lysa Terkeurst’s book, The Best Yes. I read this book a while ago and LOVED it. I love anything by this lady and her ministry. Oddly enough, I had to give a neighborhood Bible study on this very book (recommended by me) about a year before a “small no.” It was right when we were beginning the IVF process, and along with life in general, I was spread too thin to be able to do it with a loving attitude. I think God was saving it up for me for THIS Bible study. The timing was right this time around. I was able to receive certain parts in this season of my life, that I wouldn’t have a year before. I really enjoyed each woman that was a part of this small little Tuesday night study. We answered the big questions about what fulfills us. We discussed how to be intentional in our Yes’s. Allowing spaces in our schedules and choosing wisely. The answers to these questions look differently for each of us. Margo said yes to starting a blog, yay!  yall go read it! All For The Love

Now what? Walking in this new season of life, what does serving God look like? What is a Best Yes for me? Things are different, I’m not attending church consistently and we took a break from serving as a greeters, which I miss so much and one day want to return to, two things that filled my tank and connected me to God. Sherri suggested that I ask Him! Duh, why didn’t I think of that? Ask him everyday, Lord how can I serve you today? I’m figuring it out. The biggest answer I have felt placed on my heart is through my babies. And as Sherri said, motherhood is a ministry. Staying home and pouring love into them is right where I need to be for our family, at this moment. I struggle with not being able to contribute financially to our household, and this will change one day when I return to work, but right now this is my best, Best Yes.

Saying yes to opportunities to share our story is another Best Yes. This is where I get a little uncomfortable. Talking about our journey is very emotional. My voice always gets a little shaky and my hands get really sweaty. This is where I battle with feeling unqualified. I also never want to come across as someone seeking attention, saying “look at me, look at me, look at me” My intentions with saying yes to these opportunities is to say “look at God yall” I never want this platform to be seen as self serving. I share because the purpose of our story is to offer hope and encouragement. To show those in the thick of it, like we once were, what can come out of the wait. And as scary as it is for me, if one person who reads about what God has done in our lives, or hears about it, and decides to join a support group, puts together a Baby Steps 5K team, ask friends and family for help, or just reaches out to one person and opens up about their struggle then I have done my job. If I reach someone, it is worth it. We recently sat down with the local paper, The Advocate, and the local news station, WBRZ, to share our story. I applaud anyone who wants to shine a light on infertility, whether it is a story about Go Fund Me and crowd sourcing, or showing a well rounded picture of what infertility looks like. If I can help them achieve this and spread infertility awareness, sign me up! Our story remains the same, so I am only sharing what I have said many times before, but I know every opportunity reaches a different audience. Still to this day when asked what it felt like to have people fully fund our fertility treatment in a matter of weeks, I can’t help but cry. Thinking about that question, even over a year later I am still overwhelmed. I do not think that feeling will ever go away. And I don’t want it to. I always want to feel so unbelievably grateful, all the time. Saying yes to these opportunities can also look like grabbing coffee with someone really struggling with infertility and just listening, or a friend who is having a procedure done and is nervous about it. It is saying yes to writing letters of appeal for friends wanting to adopt, or be chosen as recipients of fertility grants/treatments. It is purchasing tshirts, or picking up something at a garage sale that is raising money for a couple’s fertility treatments. It is simple text to a friend that says, I’m praying for you, I’m thinking about you.

I always want to be a part of Sarah’s Laughter, in whatever capacity they will have me. Serving in this ministry, giving back to a group that helped me tremendously, will forever be a Best Yes. They are stuck with me. I told Beth, use me however you need me. And I really mean it. If it is speaking at a support group, I’m there. If it means stuffing cups, or writing little encouraging notes, to go to infertility patients during National Infertility Week, count me in. If it means taking out the trash to the dumpster, I’m your girl. Helping Sarah’s Laughter is being so intentional with my time and worth any minute I’m away from B&E.

I do still feel God has placed this blog on my heart. I am just very unsure of where to take it, or what it should look like. I guess I would like a crystal ball to see the end result. When really my job is just to take the next step, and write the next post. I’ll see how it naturally unfolds, which may end up being a slow phasing out. I do feel encouraged to continue to share when I read a comment from someone that I do not know. The other night I was on my way to grab dinner with friends when a number I did not have saved in my contacts called me. I am a big call screener, so it is a call I would normally let go to voicemail. But I picked it up, and on the other end was a girl I went to high school with that I had not spoken to in years. I assumed she was calling to sell me Plexus or something (I’m an awful person. And I’m really sorry for thinking that friend) so as I was bracing myself for the sale, she told me how she has followed my story and through me connected to the Sarah’s Laughter online community. Yall, I was speechless. I just listened to her talk about her journey. I was amazed at her strength and perspective on their struggle. I really don’t think I could have even said anything any better than what she was already saying. It actually encouraged me! I am so thankful that she took the time to track my number down, and call to say hey because of you, I connected with people who supported me. It came on a day that I really had been questioning if I’m doing the right thing being so vocal about infertility, if I should stop blogging because what more do I have to say. Her phone call motivated me, I felt like it was more of a pep talk she gave me! And because of that phone conversation, and comments from people that I do not know, I’m going to continue to give this blog my Best Yes.

I want to leave you with something that, Shelley Giglio, recently shared during a conversation on Jamie Ivey’s podcast, The Happy Hour. If you are like me and wrestle with feeling unqualified, I hope what she touches on speaks to you as much as it did to me.

God uses people who feel so disqualified in life to do the most amazing things…People who were unexpected, that totally were discounted because of a thousand reason, like they are definitely not the right person. And then God says it is them. Some of that is His ability to do whatever He wants, through whoever He wants. And some of it is that He picks sometimes the least likely, I think, because it allows for Him to be big in the story, not the person… He’s like the story is going to be about me and not about you, and your ability. Its going to be about me, and my ability. Then you realize, oh, everybody is qualified. ” – Shelley Giglio

 

 

 

Three Months

It is hard to believe that Bennett & Eliza are three months old! And actually will turn four months at the very end of this week. It has been the fastest three months of my life. Will and I go back and forth saying to each other, “I can’t wait for them to be big enough to _______” to “I don’t want them to get bigger!” Keeping up with monthly updates of them on the blog isn’t something I can accomplish, but I can give posting three month re-caps of their sweet little lives an honest attempt. I’m not exactly sure the direction of this blog, but I still feel called to it- more on that in an upcoming post that I need to sit down and write! So I’ll test out the waters with this post and see how it is received. Every three months also doesn’t seem like it will be oversharing or over posting about B & E. I’m hoping to create a good balance.

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This past weekend we dedicated them at our church. I did not realize how much joy this day would bring us. To stand up in front of our congregation, with our entire family present, holding OUR babies and dedicating them to God was powerful. I wish I could have held a sign for all of the people seated walking through infertility that said, “I understand how this might hurt your heart more than you know. This did not come easy for us. One day this will be you!”

Months 1-3:

Bennett: After days full of crying, and getting through lots of tummy issues we are finally in a good little groove with Bennett! Once three months hit, things just changed. Out of the two, he is the more demanding one. However, he has the silliest little grin and when he is happy, we are all happy! I have a feeling he will be our entertainer. He is so much fun to play with and he thinks I am hilarious, who doesn’t like to be around someone who thinks you’re funny? When he is awake, he is constantly moving and loves kicking his legs. He has also turned into such a good sleeper. He loves (and NEEDS) his naps. The second I put him down, his eyes are shut. He wakes up with a huge smile. We are always trying to figure out exactly who he looks like. He got his blue (very dark blue) eyes from Will, but other than that he resembles my side of the family, at least for right now.

Eliza: She is the prettiest, sweetest little girl. We had some trial and error with Eliza’s reflux before finally finding the right fit/combination of formula and medication. Out of the two, she is the more even keeled child. She doesn’t seem to mind that her brother often gets held more when it’s just the three of us at home. She is, for the most part, content and happy. Her smile will melt your heart. However, this girl has got some lungs. She is harder to console than her brother. With Bennett, you have to figure out what he doesn’t like, fix it for him, and he’s good. With Eliza, good luck. She isn’t the best sleeper/napper, and fights her sleep often. She can, however, sleep anywhere- a recent Easter egg hunt and the baby dedication both perfect examples or her snooze anywhere capabilities. She has the sweetest little voice and is much quieter than her brother, who is very loud! She loves to be held and is such the snuggler. She looks a lot like I did as a baby, but she has her Daddy’s pretty blue eyes and nose. Out of the two, I think her looks will be a better combination of Will and me. She has always been bigger than her brother (even at each ultrasound) but not by much. We are always trying to figure out what color her hair will end up being, I’m thinking it’s on its way to lightening up to match her blonde eyebrows and lighter lashes.

They both smiled at 8 weeks. Started sleeping through the night at 11 weeks. We transitioned to cribs when they turned 3 months, and it’s trickier than I thought, especially after having a nice two weeks of them sleeping through the night. But we are getting there and staying consistent with it. They are both sleeping very long chunks, it’s those last two hours from 5-7 a.m. that they aren’t always sleeping through. At three months, they have started to recognize my face and Will’s face. And they have finally noticed each other! It is THE sweetest thing to see them smile at one another. They have found their tongues, can’t stop putting their fists in their mouths, and are blowing drooly bubbles. They have been swatting at objects hanging from their play mat, and are just now starting to grab and hold them. Tummy Time. It’s a work in progress! Eliza does just fine, but Bennett is not a fan.

Having them on a schedule is key. I know this from all of the twin mom advice I received, so I’m not saying anything new here or reinventing the wheel! This means they eat and sleep at the same scheduled time. I put together a list of my top ten items that we have used daily/weekly/often during their first three months that have made life with twins easier. Some we have used from day one and some we recently started using. I thought this list might be helpful for any expectant mom of twins! Or anyone looking for a gift for an expectant twin mom! Continue reading