Saturday, May 28, 2011


Thank you for your reflections and encouragement in regards to my last post about forgetting the anniversaries of significant dates related to my losses.  I really appreciate the reassurance that it's natural and okay to move my attention to Ella, while also letting go of some of the sad memories--all while remembering that I am who I am now, and that I have Ella now, because of my experiences with loss.

So from the topic of forgetting to the new topic of memories--happy memories.  I work in Education, and I've mentioned before that my world revolves around a cyclical academic calendar.  There are always new students with new concerns and accomplishments, but I typically know what to expect.  But as we head into our month of New Student Orientations, I wasn't expecting to be flooded with all of these amazing memories of being pregnant with Ella this time last year.  By this point, we know we were having a girl.  By this point, I was wearing a belly-band.  By this point, I had a big enough bump that parents were asking me how I was tolerating the heat. 

As I tried to balance my laptop and a clipboard while swinging the desktop into position to meet with my first student yesterday, I thought back to how much more challenging it was last year by the end of the summer, and how special it was to get the little kicks from Ella during those advising sessions.  As I walked back to the office in the nearly 100-degree sun, I remembered how I swore to myself that I wouldn't complain about the heat the year before because I was just so relieved and humbled to be carrying a growing baby.  As I pulled the pump out from under my desk, I smiled at how I had a box of books under my desk at this time last year so that I could prop my swollen and tired feet up.  And then I looked at my computer screen and saw the face of the most precious two-month old looking over my shoulder, and I wondered what happened to that little girl...who is now babbling and nearly crawling.

I realize just how incredibly blessed I am to hold Ella in my arms.  I know that there are other women out there who are still waiting for their turn, and I pray that God bless them the way that He has blessed me.

Saturday, May 21, 2011


I don't know how I feel about this, but thought that if anyone could understand, it would be the other women of this community.

I will never--can't ever--forgot that I lost three babies before God blessed me with Ella.  I believe that they are with our Lord in a beautiful place, and they will always be a part of who I am today.  I remember the joy and excitement that I felt each time I learned that I was pregnant, and I remember the pain and confusion each time I learned that I would not hold them in my arms during my time on earth.  I remember details of each loss--waking up alone after the D&C...crying on the couch...digging under the tree in the middle of the night.

But I admit that I'm also forgetting pieces.  The day that would have--could have--been a two-year old birthday party passed earlier this month without me giving any notice to the date.  I know I learned of our third loss in the week after graduation two years ago, but for the life of me, I can no longer remember which day it was.  These painful anniversaries that I thought would be permanently tattooed on my heart are fading. 

And I don't know how I should feel about it.  I don't know if I should rejoice that God has brought me through such a dark and lonely point in my life and into the land of the living; or if I should repent for forgetting these significant experiences.  Am I a "bad mother" for letting the memories of the babies I lost fade?  Or is it "healthy" to move on?  I don't know if there is necessarily a "right" or "wrong" answer, but I'd be interested in hearing how others think.

Today's blessing is beautiful weather!  It's usually well into the 100s by this time of the year, but we've had temperatures in the 70s-80s all week!  It's given me the chance to do a little yardwork and enjoy the outdoors with Ella.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011


A couple of weeks ago, I compared Ella to a little desert tumbleweed because she was rolling all over the house.  Now she seems more like an inchworm.  She is trying so so so hard to crawl, but hasn't figured it out quite yet.  She'll push up on her arms, but then she bends her elbows when she pushes on her toes and gets her little butt up in the air.  Up with her head, down with her butt.  Down with her butt, up with her head.  She's scooching forward, bit by bit...but not by much...yet.

It's so amazing to watch her try so diligently to crawl.  She is so determined!  So focused!  So intent on moving forward!  It makes me so proud of her...and reminds me that I need to try as hard at my daily task as she is trying now with crawling.  Here she is:

My recent blessing was a really nice gentleman who ran after me when he noticed that my debit card had fallen out of my pocket.  What a disaster that would have been if I had lost it!  So I really appreciate that God put someone in my path who took the time to alert me.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

All Clear (At Least We Hope and Pray)

Thank you to everyone who showed concern and said some prayers for Ella after her fall.  I got her in to see the pediatrician on Wednesday because I was concerned that there was some swelling at the bridge of her nose.  If it had been a bump on her arm, I wouldn't have thought as much of it.  But a blow like that to the head had me worried about neurological damage.  The pediatrician explained that the blood was draining away from the bruise above her eye and was pooling at that spot at the bridge of her nose.  Makes sense--it's essentially the law of gravity.  She did a more thorough evaluation (shining her little light in Ella's nose, eyes, ears, and mouth), and said that she looks great.

So it appears that we have the official "all clear" from the pediatrician's office, but I can't help but still hope and pray that she is indeed unscathed by this incident.  You know me--I worry.  I'm trying to trust that this is all part of God's plan, but there's that little "what if?" question in the back of my mind...

The woman who was changing Ella when she fell apologized profusely to me when I went in to feed her on Wednesday.  I tried to walk that fine line between being compassionate and understanding that accidents happen, while also standing strong in my conviction that the experienced care providers who know the infants best need to be changing them instead of the "floaters".  I didn't say "it's okay"--because it is not okay.  When I asked for more details, she said that she had one hand on Ella's thigh while she was reaching with the other hand to put away the diapers.  Ella pushed back, and she caught her body on the way down, but her head still hit the tile.  I'm trying to let myself believe that she acted quickly and did all that she could to protect my daughter once she started to fall--I just wish that she had done more to prevent the fall in the first place.

Ella seems to be doing okay.  The bruise and the swelling are going down, and it would be hard to notice them at this point without knowing what happened.  She fussed a bit the first two nights (perhaps because of the injury, though it could have been unrelated), but has slept well the last couple of nights.  She's still anxious to breastfeed and eat, and is still "scooching" around when she's on her tummy.  Everything sure seems "normal", so I hope and pray that she really is okay.

Yesterday's blessing was watching my students graduate.  I've been at this job now for four years, so these are the students who were starting out as freshmen at New Student Orientation when I first started, and it was great to see so many of them walk across that stage and know that I had a part in their college experience. 

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Fall Update

Ella seems to be least mostly okay.  I'm going to call the pediatrician when they open up shortly to see if I can get an appointment just to be sure that there isn't any internal damage.

Here's the picture from when I first arrived at the daycare on Monday around 11:50 am:

Here she is a couple hours later (around 1:30 pm) as we were waiting to meet up with my very-dear friend's husband to have him evaluate her:

And that evening (around 6:30 pm) in the bath, clearly enjoying herself:

And lastly, yesterday morning:

The bruise is clearly getting better, but I'm concerned that there still seems to be some noticeable swelling at the ridge of her nose.  She seems perfectly happy, so I pray that there is not any neurological damage and that the swelling with subside on its own, but I feel like I should still get her checked out.  Please continue to pray for Ella as she heals.

It was really scary to leave her at daycare today.  The main care provider assured me that she will do all of the diaper changes for the littler ones, but I can't help but be just as nervous as the first day.  The director wasn't there this morning, but I'll try to talk to her this afternoon to figure out what additional precautions can be taken.

Yesterday's blessing was my husband's willingness to stay home with Ella so that we could make sure that she was okay.  I'm so grateful that he has a job that is flexible and will let him do a little work from home so that he can care for our child.

Monday, May 9, 2011


I went from the high of celebrating Mother's Day yesterday to the low of getting a call from Ella's daycare center today.  (Really--is there ever a "good" reason why the daycare center would call a parent in the middle of the day?  Perhaps maybe if I referred someone and they were going to give us a discount, but I can't think of anything beside that.)  I got the call at 11:45 this morning, just as I was wrapping up some morning projects so that I could head over to feed her.  When I saw the name and number pop up, I knew something was wrong.  I figured that maybe Ella had a fever...I never expected the words that came out of the daycare center director's mouth.

Ella had fallen off the changing table and hit her head on the tile floor.

My heart started beating faster, and I was out the door before I even hung up the phone.  I didn't ask many questions at that point--I just wanted to get to my baby.  I said a quick prayer and called my husband.  I then called my very-dear friend (the pediatrician) to find out what signs of concern I should be looking for.  I left a message for my mom as I was pulling into the parking lot of the center.

Ella was in the arms of the main care provider when I came in the room.  She gave me a feeble smile and let me hold her tight.  With shaking hands and her still in my arms, I somehow took a picture on my phone so I could send it to my husband, my mom, and my very-dear friend (and so I could have "proof", if needed...but oh how I pray it doesn't come to that).  She nursed just fine, and let me apply an ice pack to the huge bruise just over her left eye.

I'd like to think that I remain pretty calm in crisis situations.  My main focus was Ella.  It wasn't the time or place to point blame or cause a commotion--all I wanted to do was be good to Ella and assess how she was doing.  When I saw that she was nursing just fine and putting her hands up to my mouth to kiss, I started to relax just the tiniest bit and asked a few questions.  The gist of the story is that one of the "floaters" who was helping out in the infant room was changing Ella and didn't realize how mobile she was.  Ella rolled right off the changing table counter, and she tried to catch her.  It sounds like she grabbed her a bit to break some of the fall, but Ella definitely hit the tile ground hard enough to leave a nasty bruise and cause a bit of a bloody nose.

I opted to call the pediatrician's office, just to be safe.  After playing a bit of phone tag with the triage nurse, I took my very-dear friend up on her offer to have her husband (also a soon-to-be pediatrician after graduating from medical school this week) take a look at her since he was nearby.  I didn't follow all of his medical lingo, but ultimately he thinks that she looks okay.  The bruise is on her forehead, and not the side where there could be more neurological concerns.  She didn't lose consciousness, and didn't show any other signs of a concussion.  By the time that we met up with him (about two hours after the fall--which is the most vital time), she was smiling and laughing and reaching for toys (and our cell phones).  I made contact with the triage nurse at her pediatrician's office, who agreed with my very-dear friend's husband's evaluation.

I kept her with me the rest of the afternoon.  I wanted to be able to monitor her, and I wanted to be able to comfort her.  And selfishly, I wanted her to be able to comfort me.  I wanted the reassurance of her sweet smiles to let me know that she would be okay.  We're home now, and she ate her dinner and took her bath like nothing was wrong.  She's nursing now, and I'd like to think that the swelling and bruising is going down...but maybe that's just wishful thinking.

Now I don't know what to do.  It is completely inexcusable for a child to fall off the changing table in a daycare center.  Yet at the same time, I realize that we're all human and we all make mistakes.  I want to be compassionate, but I want Ella to be safe.  I've been very happy with the center and the care providers, and while I'm obviously shaken up and rightly concerned, I don't know if pulling Ella out is necessarily the right answer.  What's done is done, and I can't change it.

What do you think?

This was such a scary experience, and yet I have to say that it's a blessing that she wasn't more seriously injured--or at least it appears that way.  It's a blessing she didn't lose consciousness, it's a blessing that my very-dear friend and her husband were able to give some medical advice, it's a blessing that my supervisor and colleagues were so understanding when I brought Ella back to the office, it's a blessing that the regular care provider called me this evening to check on Ella.  I never want to go through this sort of scare again, but God is good in limiting her injuries to what appear to be bumps and bruises.  But please pray for Ella--that she not be in too much pain tonight, and that she not have any lasting complications from this fall.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Range of Emotions

This day--Mother's Day--has elicited a wide range of emotions over the last couple of years.

2007--my husband and I had just gotten married two months prior, I was still on birth control, but I was hopeful that I would someday be a mother.

2008--after trying for almost a year, I was starting to get a bit frustrated and started to fear I would never be a mother.

2009--by this point, I had suffered two losses, but was pregnant again on Mother's Day with what would be my third loss.  I oscillated between wanting to celebrate and feeling like I had to demonstrate caution.  Furthermore, I identified with being a "mother", even if no one else recognized my status. 

2010--again, I was pregnant on Mother's Day--but this time with a heartbeat and a bump to show for it.  Finally, the world was starting to recognize me as a something I felt I was since first learning I was pregnant the first time around.  Finally, the day was barely--just barely--starting to become "sweet", and not only "bittersweet".

And now, here in 2011, I have my Ella.  I woke up this morning feeling the same way I do on Christmas or my birthday.  I have waited and waited for this day for so long, and now that it's here, I couldn't be happier.  God is so good in making me a mom, and teaching me so much in the process.

I know that today is hard for so many, as it has been for me in the past.  For those women who are still waiting with empty arms, I pray that God surround you with His comfort as He continues to prepare you for the journey which you are on. 

Today's blessing is being able to celebrate finally being a mom.  I know that Ella is truly a gift from God.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011


No "walk of shame" this time.  Ella was the perfect travel companion this time around.  I think it definitely helped that we had direct flights and stayed within our own timezone. 

We--Ella, my husband, and I--had a wonderful time in Seattle.  We had gorgeous weather for most of the weekend, but I admit that I was glad to have some of the gloomy rain which is so characteristic of the Pacific Northwest this morning.  It was just enough to remind me why I left Oregon for sunny Arizona.

Since I had to work on Saturday afternoon and throughout the whole day on Sunday, we weren't able to do and see (and eat) all that I was hoping to get around to.  We saw a lot, but I definitely wouldn't mind going back sometime.  And after eight years in the desert, I can't get enough good, fresh seafood.

Here are some pictures from our trip:
On our flight to Seattle

Obligatory touristy photo in front of the Space Needle

Ella was having a blast rolling around on the king-sized bed in the hotel

Family photo with Mount Rainier in the backgrond

Our next family trip won't be until late July when my whole family heads to Hawaii.  Something tells me that life will be very different when we're travelling with a ten-month old!  We got by just fine with the sling for three days...but we're definitely going to need to bring a stroller for our next trip.

Today's blessing is being home and rested.  It really was a nice trip--even the work part was enjoyable.  And it's also nice to know that we have the next weekend at home to ourselves.