Thursday, May 18, 2017

The silence of drowning

So, we had a few seconds of excitement this morning in the Savant household.  First of all, it was such a fun morning.  It's been a long time since we've had a full morning at home without having anything going on - no school, no church, no MOPS, no play dates or trips to the park.  So, we played.  And played hard.  We made a big breakfast together, all ate around the table, then made pretend breakfast in the playroom kitchen.  We played hide and seek and chase and laughed lots.  And then we got dressed and headed outside to the pool.

Hannah LOVES the pool.  She just walks around on our sun shelf or around the bench portion of the spa.  I would never think of leaving her out there, but she's remarkably safe and never tries to leave where she can't touch.  She HATES her life jacket and actually throws herself backwards to get out of it, so it sometimes feels less safe to have her in that, especially if I'm already planning on being in the pool with them.  So, Hannah is walking in the spa.  Over and over and over.  Every time she gets to the pool side, she stops and waves and smiles.  Warren and Dean are playing with her.  It's a glorious time.  Then, Dean decides he wants to swim in the "big" pool.  Without his puddle jumper.  We're working on their swimming, but they're certainly not what I would consider "swimmers."  So, I get in the big pool with Dean to help him, keeping my eye on Warren and Hannah in the attached hot tub aka "little pool."  Everyone is having fun.  And then Hannah goes under.  I'm fairly sure that Warren helped create this situation, but I couldn't actually see that from my point of view.  As quickly as my pregnant body will allow, I get to Hannah and pull her right out.  She was completely fine - under for at most 10 seconds.  She didn't seem scared, never coughed or was out of breath, just calmly sunk to the bottom with her big eyes wide open, staring straight up, waiting for someone to rescue her.

So, here's what struck me.  I was never worried that Hannah was drowning, because I saw the point when she went under and was there quickly.  But if my back had been turned?  If Dean was needing more help in the big pool?  If someone else was loud and distracting me?  Here's the thing...Hannah was silent.  No splashing, no noise.  And Warren?  Warren was literally inches away from her and wasn't alarmed in the slightest.  No helping her, no calling out for Mommy.  Just watching his baby sister sink.  I stressed to him after this that Hannah couldn't swim, that he needed to help or yell or something if he ever saw someone under the water like that.  His response?  Blank stare.  And a "but she was in my way" comment that got the initial suspicion going.

So, from now on, Hannah stays with me in whichever pool I'm in.  Not convenient, but I'm only going to get slower.  And if I miss the initial under the water moment, well, things can be very different.  Any looking a bit more intensely at some swim lessons for her!

Monday, May 15, 2017

Mother's Day

I started a Bereaved Mother's Day post on that day last week, and I just haven't been able to let myself get back in the mindset to finish it.  The lack of nap times, the start of a new job, the pregnancy hormones.  Well, it all makes for writing anything that requires focus and meaning a bit more difficult.

So, this year, on Mother's Day, I'm going to focus on the children I have in front of me.  I'm still thinking of and missing my sweet Reagan.  I'm still worrying over this little boys who still refuses to move, anxiously awaiting our echo and ultrasound next week to figure out a little more of what is going on.  Those are still heavy on my heart.  But, this morning my kiddos (and mostly my husband) made me feel extra special!

My morning started by being woken by 3 cute kids in their jammies.  Dean and Warren came running in to wish me Happy Mother's Day in a true boy fashion - door flung open, a bit of screaming, and some jumping on the bed.  I was greeted with my very own breakfast in bed complete with yogurt, fruit, and gluten-free pancakes, no easy early morning feat.  My sweet boys gobbled up all my fruit and half of my pancakes, leaving me with some Greek yogurt.  I tried sharing that with Hannah, who gave me a look of horror as she promptly spit it back out on her jammies and my sheets :).  Doesn't get any better than this!

This was my first ever year getting those adorable fill-in-the-blank cards made at school, and they made my heart melt.  (Thank you Tammy!!)  I have realized, though, that perhaps my kids have never actually looked at me.  And clearly have no concept of age.  And had NONE of the same answers, so at least life isn't too predictable here.  But their little personalities just showed through, made me laugh and smile.  Perfect answers for their 3 year old hearts.  And the coloring I received on their other papers and cards - well, let's just say it was nice to feel so loved.

Saturday, March 11, 2017

Living with the fear

This pregnancy has been a fairly easy one.  I've never experienced fatigue quite like this, and I'm incredibly nauseous despite taking the strongest dose of meds I can, but these symptoms are ultimately blessings because they calm my anxious mind.  On days when I feel better, when I don't want to curl up in bed, I start to worry.  So, I'll take these symptoms.  At least for a little bit longer, until I feel kicks.  Then there's really no point to them anymore, and they can surely be gone!  And, I've only had 1 emergency appointment so far.  All things considered, this is good for me.  By this point with Reagan, I had experienced miscarriage of her twin.  By this point with the boys, I had been hospitalized for a week, told I was having a miscarriage, then told my water broke, then sent home to miscarry in my own timing.  And by this point with Hannah, I was having such terrible anxiety I could hardly function.  

But I received some unsettling news at my appointment this week.  I've spent the last several days playing it over and over in my mind.  I have another subchorionic hemorrhage (SCH).  Now, I haven't taken the time to google this, though I believe it is fairly common.  I think the doctor said 5-10%?  Not entirely sure, I completely quit listening when she said those words.  Why?  Because, that is what started the problems with Warren and Dean.  I had a massive SCH.  Now, this one is not nearly as large, at least at this point, but immediately I started having flashbacks to those early days with the twins.  I think I'm too weak to handle something like that again.  When I closed my eyes there, all I could see was the blood.  Everywhere.  Maybe that's too graphic for a public blog, but there it is.  I've never seen anything like that before.  So now it seems I get to sit and wait around for the clot to come out, for the bleeding to resume, for something to happen.  Doc used the word when, not if.  And we have a long drive to get to an office that can visualize what is going on.  I have this image of me being out with the kids, hemorrhaging at the park and arguing with them to get them to the car and buckled in their carseats so we can get to the hospital.  It sounds extreme as I type it, but it's a very real possibility.  I just hate that THAT is my first thought as I plan an outing.  My escape.  How I can, as quickly as possible, get everyone to the car and get out of there without drawing too much attention to ourselves.  

As the doctor is rattling on about my increased risk of miscarriage and how there's nothing they can do about it, I'm having a near panic attack as I relive that moment of 4 years ago.  As I imagine my kids living that moment alongside of me.  And do you know what this tells me?  My faith is so weak.  I know in my head that God is in control, that He has this little one in his hand, that this child was planned and his days are counted.  And I know in my head that God loves me, loves my child.  But, here's the difficulty, I don't trust these truths with my heart.  Because Reagan is dead, and how can I wrap my head around that??  Because my pregnancy with Warren and Dean was so horrific, they were so early.  Even though I know God worked a miracle in their lives, that they - according to every doctor I was seeing - shouldn't have survived that first trimester or those nights in labor, I still question why He chose for those to be their statistics in the first place.  I mean, what is wrong with me?  That I could see God's hand so clearly at work, so clearly loving our family, and still find a way to question his goodness and mercy.  "Oh, the depth of Your riches".  How I pray I might more fully grasp the truth of this verse, as I so quickly listen to the other voices.  

All this to say, please be praying for this precious little one.  For God to protect this life, for a full term pregnancy, and for completely healing from the SCH.  But also for my heart - for me to trust that God is love and mercy, even when I don't feel it.  For me to spiral down into self pity and despair, waiting for something awful to happen.  For me to find joy while pregnant, delighting in this little life God has entrusted with me.

Thursday, March 9, 2017

A long awaited post

I have not sat down to blog in months.  If I'm honest, I've not felt as though I have many thoughts worth jotting down.  Days pass in a frantic rush of being late, temper tantrums, and trying to get it all done.  Without nap times, I have little time to myself, much less to collect my thoughts.  And then the time to sit and write them down?  Well, you can look back and see that just hasn't happened.  I'm writing now in the midst of naked wrestling, because I gave up on getting the boys to listen and come get their shirts, and they are happy at the moment.  Letting things go...that is the moral of the day.

So let's see, since Hannah's birthday, we've celebrated Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Years. And then our big news....we headed back to Charlotte to meet another of our sweet babies. I thought for sure this one wouldn't work.  How could it??  The odds were so against us.  So much so that, for a crazy few minutes, we actually talked about transferring 2 little ones.  Could you even imagine if I had twins again???  Oh, the terror!  But, we were wrong, our faith was weak but God was BIG.  And, against all odds, we are pregnant with another baby.  Baby Savant #5 is scheduled to enter this world in September.  And oh, how I love this little one already, though she does not get nearly the attention our others got during pregnancy.  And poor child didn't get a single blog post during the transfer, waiting, or early parts of pregnancy.  Fatigue hit me hard, something about being pregnant in my 30s perhaps??  And the nausea....I think this magical thing happens when you see your baby for the first time - you get complete amnesia in how awful it was getting them to that point.

So, BabySav5 is looking great on ultrasounds.  This week, she was kicking away.  At least for that 45 seconds I got to see her on the ultrasound.  Oh, how I miss my team of doctors who legitimately cared for me and my baby, who walked the journey along side of us.  Sure haven't found that here.  Anyway, baby looks great.  But there is this big scary thing...another subchorionic hemorrhage.  This is what started my complications with the boys, which led to me losing so much blood, being hospitalized for 7 weeks, on bed rest, and ultimately their incredibly early arrival into this world.  Now, this SCH is far.  But in the back of my mind now is this fear, this anxiety, this little voice telling me not to get too attached.  And I hate, hate, how I let myself be robbed of my joy in just a moment.  The doctor said it very casually, at the end of my appointment.  I only know the risks and what it can mean because I've walked it before.  When I mentioned that and my previous experience, she was like "oh, this isn't your first pregnancy?"  So clearly, they're doing a great job looking at my chart...

Add to the emotions of being pregnant, being told I now have a higher risk of losing this child, being exhausted and overwhelmed with caring for the children I already is our sweet Reagan's due date.  This is the first year we haven't received all the oriental trading and birthday magazines to help us plan her party.  In some ways, it's a relief to not have that painful reminder coming at me, catching me off guard every February.  But in another way, it's just a hurtful reminder of how the rest of the world has moved on.

So, please be in prayer for us for many things.  For this growing child to stay healthy without the complications of my previous pregnancy.  For me to not live in fear and anxiety, anticipating the worst.  For peace in our household - not quiet, as I love the sound of little ones, even in the crazy times.  For our hearts as we continue to miss and long for our oldest daughter, even as we celebrate the life of her youngest sibling.

(**I should add, in the hours since I started writing this post, in 30 second increments at a time, I have broken up a few brawls, served breakfast, cleaned up said breakfast thrown to the floor, played a bit, found Hannah playing in a toilet full of pee with her brother's toothbrush, given Hannah a bath, dressed 3 kids, mopped the floor)

Sunday, November 6, 2016

Hannah Grace turns 1!!

I cannot believe my baby girl is ONE!  Wow, that year just flew by!  Well, parts of it anyway.  Those months of showing the house..not so fast.  She is growing up so incredibly fast.  Time slow down!

I loved every second of my time with Hannah through this first year.  She is such a delight - loves to cuddle, delights in her family, laughs at all the silly things we do.  She sleeps great and is willing to go with the flow since our days are dictated by her crazy big brothers.  Her eyes light up when I walk in to get her each morning as she lays her head on my shoulder and wraps her arm around my neck.  Who could ask for a better way to start each day??

We celebrated our sweet girl's 1st birthday in full girl style, with an abundance of pink and gold sparkles.  Here are some shots from her special day!

 Birthday Cake - strawberry cake with cheesecake whipped cream frosting.  Yummy

Little smash cake for our girl

Table of food

Pom poms!  Because...what 1 year old doesn't want pom poms??

"It's my birthday"

"And I love it!"

Birthday girl eating some lunch

Snuggles all around

Bouncy house for the big kids 

"I do not like this on my cake, thank you very much..."

And I don't think I want to get my hands dirty


Uhm...what is this stuff on my fingers

Cake??  Oh, I'll eat cake.  Just don't make me touch it

Hmmm....I'm just not sure about this stuff

Oh, ok, this inside stuff isn't so bad

All in all it was a wonderful day to celebrate with friends and family.  A HUGE thank you to everyone who came out to celebrate with Hannah on her special day!  Happy birthday big girl!!

Thursday, November 3, 2016

Dearest Hannah

My dear sweet girl,

Happy 1st birthday!  I love you so incredibly much.  Sometimes I am just amazed at how my capacity to love just continues to expand and grow.  You bring so much joy into our lives, and I couldn't imagine a day without you.

You came into the world in a relatively calm way, especially compared with your siblings.  And you have continued each day true to your start, taking it all in strides.  You are incredibly happy and content - loving playing at home with your "girl" toys, having a tea party and holding your dollie.  But you also love playing with the boys.  I love hearing your little truck noise as you zoom brothers cars, hearing you laugh and giggle when your brothers are being silly, watching your eyes light up as they learn to include you.  And you even take it like a champ when they throw you down to the ground and tackle you, rarely letting out more than a peep.  The perfect addition to our family.

You start each morning with a big smile and hug for your mama, reaching up for me in your crib before wrapping your little arm around my neck.  It is the sweetest moment and I will cherish every second of it, for however long it lasts.  And then we are off on a whirlwind of activities, typically dictated by Warren and Dean, though you never complain.

I love watching you learn, as you mimic us in an attempt to figure it all out, and then get so frustrated when you don't get it just right that first time.  I love how you delight in the simple things - in time with family, in your morning banana, in God's creation outside.  Your eyes are so expressive and it makes it so easy to know when you are just in awe of what you are seeing.  I even love your little temper tantrums, relatively quiet and short lived, when you feel slighted in the least.  They don't happen often, but you are already a master of the pouty lip.

Hannah Grace, I look forward to watching you continue to grow, watching you learn, hearing your first sweet words, and being with you through each stage.  I know this next year will be just as wonderful!  I love you so much, baby girl  HAPPY FIRST BIRTHDAY!!



Monday, October 31, 2016

Happy 4th Birthday!

Oh my dear sweet Reagan,

Happy 4th birthday love!  Four years ago you entered this world, making my dreams of becoming a mommy come true in a way we never imagined.  Not a day goes by that I don't think of you, don't feel the hole left by your absence.  I love you so much.  So much.

I remember everything about that day.  The fear of the unknown as we walked into labor and delivery unsure of what to expect, praying this would all be a mistake and we would be told you were actually okay.  I remember holding your Daddy's hand, seeing that final ultrasound, knowing then what was being asked of us but not understanding why.  I remember Daddy tenderly holding my hand, comforting me throughout labor, reading the psalms over us.  I remember how it felt to deliver you, the silence that followed.  But most of all, I remember how it felt to have you placed in my arms.  To look at your beautiful face, those long eyelashes and big pouty lips, and see us reflected in you.  You were the most beautiful little girl, so peaceful.  I remember rocking you, remember reading to you, remember singing you a lullaby.  Those hours are all I have this side of heaven.

As I sit here glancing at the few pictures I have of you, imagining your life and what you are doing, listening to How Deep the Father's Love and sipping coffee, my heart is overflowing.  I am so thankful God chose me to be your mommy.  So thankful for every second of time I was able to carry you and those precious hours I could hold you.  Your life has had such a profound impact on me, on your daddy, on those who have never met you.  It's such a mix of emotions today - on a day when we celebrate you while missing you.  I love that we have this special day for you.

So, today we celebrate you.  Hannah and I have already had a dance party - you would have loved it!  I can't wait to watch your video tonight and see you dancing again :).  And even more so, have a dance party in person when we are all reunited.  We have a cake all ready for you.  Dean helped me make the icing and Warren added the sprinkles.  I hope you can see that and hear them sing Happy Birthday with their sweet little voices.  We got you flowers today and finally put together your new garden.  It's such a special place where we can just smile as we remember you, another way you have impacted our lives.  And of course we each sent you a purple balloon with some sweet messages.  Dean was having a rough day, but in a tender moment decided to draw you and him holding hands on his balloon.

Thank you for making me a mommy sweet girl, for teaching me how to love.  I experienced such joy with you, and my life is richer with you as my daughter.  I love you baby girl!  Happy birthday!

Love always,