Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Humbling Love

Your support. Your words. Your prayers. You typing out her name. All of those things have spoken life into a dark part of my heart. Thank you. I mean it.

So many people shared words like courageous, brave and strong, and although I am humbled by them, I feel as though I am anything but. My fear talked me out of hitting "post" about 5 times last night. I was scared and I still am. It's scary to fully expose your thoughts and your true, raw self. But thankfully, not a single person responded with anything but kindness. In a world that can be so judgy and dark, you all brought light. Bright light.

For those of you who shared your loss with me and others in your comments, please know that I shed tears each time I read of yet another life gone too soon. I see you and I felt you. Your pain may be 30 years old or two days old, but from everything I've read in the last 3 weeks, I'm guessing it's still very much real and fresh. I'm guessing you know their due date and how old they'd be today. And I can confidently say in knowing all of you, they'd be amazing reflections of their moms and dads. I will hold them in my heart and cannot wait for the day that you get to see them again (or even for the very first time)! Thank you for sharing a bit of your story with me. This a club that none of us asked to join, but there is healing there in our shared pain. YOU are brave and courageous and strong.

And because I shared with you all the description of the empty picture frame that I had purchased for Selah's room, I wanted to share the beautiful gift that was hand painted yesterday by a very talented friend. Although we will never have a picture for her frame, my heart is happy that it will not remain empty. Thank you, Ali, for the gorgeous gift. I cannot wait to put your artwork inside of her frame. If the Lord allows, maybe someday we'll have a third name to add to our list of blessings below their siblings, Nash and Selah.


Thank you. We are humbled. You have made her known. I hope to one day be able to be a reminder of hope for each of you.

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Our Journey With Selah Jayne

I had a daughter. I will always have a daughter. Her name is Selah Jayne.

There, I said it.

She is now known.

So is the piece of my heart that vanished as she left us far too soon. But at least now you know that she existed. As a mom, I felt this need for others to know that she existed and she was our child.
She was so very real.

I've fought an internal battle on sharing this with the world for the last three weeks. My heart urges me, pokes and prods me, but my mind kept coming back to "no way" and "people won't get it" or "people might think why is she sharing this?"  But after a long weekend of battling the waves of emotion that threatened to erupt anytime an old friend asked me "how many children do you have now?" or "do you think you'll have more?", my mind slowly started taking one more step closer to where my heart stood. It's a place I NEVER wanted to stand, but it's where we've been led on our journey and I can't live in two separate realities any longer. Nor do I want this baby to be tucked away like a secret we're keeping.

So here's our story of the journey to Selah Jayne...

For two years following Nash's arrival, Tim and I made a decision to wait to try for a second child until the summer of 2016. Thanks to an unrelated doctor's appointment in June, it appeared the stars were aligning for our second child to make their presence a reality in the near future. It felt like the Lord was all over the timing of this decision. On July 11th we found out we were pregnant. I cried happy, excited tears as well as terrified tears to have 2 kiddos under the age of three. I simply could not wait to tell Tim that night and ran out to buy a "Big Brother" shirt for Nash to wear to surprise his dad that evening.

That pure joy and excitement lasted two days. Two days.

I will spare you details, but we have learned throughout my last two pregnancies that we don't get to be the family with stress-free pregnancies. By the grace of God, we can get pregnant, so I am NOT complaining at all, but our pregnancies bring a level of stress with them that keeps us from rushing out to buy clothes or paint nurseries. My body creates complications that result in extra ultrasounds and lots of fear. I have been told that my body is a mystery by three different medical professionals now, but thankfully I don't have to look far to see our vibrant two year old who keeps us clinging to the hope that it can happen successfully.

Over weeks of scares and threatened loss, I'd drop everything and rush to my amazing doctor's office only to find our baby viable, and then growing and then moving around as if waving to us. Every time I thought it was ending, there was that precious life still holding strong and that heartbeat that took my breath away each time. Yet again, I was carrying a fighter and was praising the Lord for His protection.

Thanks to a special blood test, on August 26th Tim and I found out we were having a girl. A GIRL! For as long as I can remember wanting to be a mom, I have wanted to have a daughter. I grew up daydreaming of having a boy first and then a girl. That way my boy would protect my girl.
On August 26th, my dream came true. I was brought to instant, happy tears and immediately prayed she'd stay healthy and with us.

With visions of amazingly cute headbands and dresses with bloomers, I fought the urge to rush out and shop. I made a pact with myself that I wouldn't buy anything until we crossed into the 2nd trimester. At exactly 14 weeks I allowed myself to buy her four outfits and a frame for her room that read "You are Loved...Always."

Just four days later is when things started to take a turn. On the week of Sept. 19th, my 15th week, I saw the doctor every day, Monday-Thursday. On Monday we received scary news of a possible amniotic leak and an issue with my body that could cause pre-term labor at any point. The prognosis was not good and I was told that this was an emergency situation. The following day, a special ultrasound was scheduled and I went in thinking the worst. Cue the ultrasound and there she was moving around and growing right on track. Hallelujah! The specialist saw no rupture and again said "you're a mystery" and then sent us on our way with full hearts and answered prayers. On Wednesday, more scary symptoms arose which brought me back in to the doctor yet again. Still, things seemed okay.

Until they weren't.

On Thursday, I was again rushed back in for more miscarriage symptoms. I asked Tim to go with me "just in case", but in my heart I knew she'd be fine. She's always fine through the scares. So I laid back and waited while my doctor preformed a handheld ultrasound just to take a quick look. Thinking about that silence still makes me want to vomit.

After about 20 seconds of silence, I said "you're being too quiet for too long". And that was the last sentence I ever spoke before my life and my heart as I knew them changed. Probably forever.

"I'm quiet because I believe I'm looking at a baby who's passed away" replied my doctor. 13 words stole a part of my soul. 13 words will haunt me until I take my last breath.

I asked the nurse to get Tim from the waiting room and when he came through the door, I told him she was gone. My heart shattered again seeing his face. Disbelief and pain.

She was healthy and strong and my body failed to protect her. Disbelief and pain.

After we did a full ultrasound to confirm and to see her one last time, we were left with two options: deliver her in the hospital due to being too far along to deliver at home or opt for surgery. We asked for a night to process everything and make a decision as a family.  Our doctor granted us that request. So we went home and tried to decide between two totally sucky, crappy options. You see, when you become pregnant, you're given folders and resources to prepare you for welcoming your baby home. No one gives you a single pamphlet when your world comes crashing down. And there's certainly no good option for how to bring everything to a close. All options lead to empty arms and four cute little outfits hanging in an empty nursery.

With one night to make our decision, my body had a different plan and went into labor around 2am. I tried to ride it out until morning, but after 2 hours of contractions every 3 minutes, there was no slowing down this train. We arrived at the hospital at 4:30am on Sept. 23rd and were back at home by 5pm that evening. It was done. I was no longer carrying my girl and I was broken into a million pieces. Some pieces which may slowly start to come back together I'd imagine, but some of those pieces are gone. As my doctor shared with me, as he listened to my broken thoughts and my mental wrestling match of guilt on what I could've done differently, he looked me in the eyes and said "you're different now. You're always going to be different." And he was right. How had I become the 1-2% chance of losing my baby in the 2nd trimester? Why? How? I don't want to be different. I want to be the same I was three weeks ago. I want her back. I want HER. Period.

Over the last three weeks, I have ridden the waves of a sadness I never knew existed. I have been angry. Angry at myself and angry at God. I have questioned everything. Everything. I have second guessed ever trying again for fear of my body failing to protect another child. I have felt guilty for even thinking about trying again as it'll never bring back our girl. I have felt physical pain walking passed the closed door of her future nursery. And I have questioned Heaven more than I have in my 37 years combined. What is she doing there? Is she still tiny or is she the full image of who God created through us? Does she have my nose and her dad's blue eyes? Is she playing? Does she know she had parents who loved her, fought for her and prayed for her decades before she existed?
Does she even know her name?

One of the things that has brought me immense comfort has been to name our girl. She made it a long, eventful 15 weeks and we had known she was a girl for over a month. She needed a name. And not just any name, but a name fit for the Heavens, just like our daughter was fit for them.

By the grace of God and through a writer I had never heard of until 3 hours before we found out she was gone, I stumbled across one of the prettiest words I now know...Selah.
Selah, pronounced "Say-la" is a word woven into the Bible 74 times and with many translations. The one translation that struck me the most was "lifted up". With her being lifted straight up to Heaven from me, I just knew that was her name. There was no doubt in my mind that was her name. And Jayne, meaning "Gift from God", just made sense too.
So on Sept. 23, 2016, our daughter was named Selah Jayne, our lifted up gift from God.

If you've made it this far in this long story, thank you. You have helped make our Selah Jayne known and real on this earth and in turn, have made my heart known. This is by far the hardest thing I have gone through. I have a new found respect for parents who have suffered similar losses, and especially those who have lost a child, at any age, on this side of Heaven. My heart breaks for you and sees you. No one should know the pain, but also the loss of so many dreams and the countless "who would you have become" questions.  It's cruel and it's brutal and it steals something from you.

BUT, some day, thanks to Jesus' promises, we will see our babies and see their beautiful faces and hold their hands and hear their laugh for the first time. Oh how I cannot wait for that day! And we will get to tell them how incredibly loved they are and have been every day we took a breath. We will hold them and rock them and know them. THAT is what keeps me from losing all the hope. Because without that sliver of hope and Jesus, I'd be a goner.

Selah Jayne, you were tremendously loved long before your time and every day after. We talk about you daily and you are ever present in bedtime prayers with your brother. I am so proud and honored to be your mom and to have been chosen to carry you your whole life. I will live out of the words on your picture frame versus just hanging them on your wall. You are loved...Always.
I Love you,

PS...Special thank you to those of you who have been by our side through this journey. Your texts, calls, hugs, prayers, meals, tears, a shared book about Heaven, flowers and more, have brought comfort when I couldn't find it on my own and you made us feel less alone in our grief. Thank you. You mean the world to us. And to Tim, thank you for being our rock through your own pain. I couldn't ask for more.

PPS...If you've lost a baby too, please feel free to leave a comment. I'd love to pray for you and keep your little one in my heart too. I'm so very sorry. I see you.

Monday, July 11, 2016

Weekend Recap

Weekends are for friends, naps, sun, pedicures, and if you live in our house, a tantrum or two. Just keepin it real, my friends.

Saturday proved to be a fantastic day. There were two estate sales (at 1/2 price, mind you), water table fun, a pedicure with my mom and so much more. The Hubs had a guys' night planned so I was talkin a big game in my head all day that included an 8pm bedtime for Nashy and then 3 hours of uninterrupted time of Netflix with my dear friend, Olivia Pope (shout to any other Scandal fans out there). Needless to say, bedtime occurred not so promptly at 9pm and I was dozing off by 10:30pm. I am officially lame. I definitely can't party like I used to, nor can I even watch TV like I used to apparently. #Momlife #Tired

Sunday included volunteering in the 2 year old childcare room at church, followed some Chicago style hotdogs for lunch, naps and dinner with my in-laws. I'll chalk this up to another successful weekend day.

Now that I've told you how amazing our weekend was, here's the part where I keep it real. Nashy has hit the stage of Birthday awareness. What does that mean, you ask. He has begun to notice when other kiddos at "school" get their special Bday celebration and has begun claiming everyone else's Bday as "MY BIRTHDAY!" Saturday afternoon actually found us having a heart to heart that it was, in fact, NOT his Birthday. Tears flowed along with a few screams declaring "My Birthday!!!". With his 2nd birthday quickly (or slowly if you ask him), I do believe I'll create a countdown to my birthday chart to help ward of tantrums, tears and demanding of candy for his birthday on days that are NOT, well, his birthday. I think I have met my match on loving our birthdays. #NotYourBirthday #NoCandy

We also enjoyed a timeout or two, him spitting at me during dinnertime at my in-laws which resulted in immediate removal from the dining room table, him demanding "more brownie" of which there was no more brownie (so momma had to give him the rest of her beloved brownie), and more. Thank God he's so stinkin cute!!

What was your weekend like, friends? Any naps, sunshine or irrational tears and tantrums? I hope it was great one where you got to finish YOUR whole brownie!

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Up For Air

Five months. Five months is how long I've separated from this blog and my words and thoughts and those who used to drop by and give me a few daily moments of their precious time (thank you!). I've missed you. All of you. This blog, the words, the feelings and the people. I've truly missed you.

Over the last five months I have thought so many times "this would be a great blog post" and yet I made excuses about being too busy or not having enough time. Neither were 100% true. I HAVE been busy and time HAS been stretched, but mostly, I didn't have the words. Or I didn't have the RIGHT words.

This last year was a hard one. In all honesty, it was the hardest year of my life and although I blogged through some of it, it just got to be too hard to write and not spew everything from my soul onto "paper" for others to read. I've always kept my blog transparent and honest. Some posts are funny, some are sad and some are pointless, but they've all been honest which is what has made my blog journey meaningful to me. But this past year, everything was just too real and too heavy and I was too tired and sometimes too lost to be honest, or more so, to not be honest. Being too honest was too scary, so I stopped altogether.

As I finally come up for air, I think I'm ready to be honest again. Some things I may share from the past year and some I won't, but I'm back and I'm here and I'm ready to write. There's something so freeing about storytelling and I look forward to bringing this freedom-giving outlet back into my brain, life and heart.

I'd love for you to stick around if you stumble back this way. I've missed you. Honestly.

Friday, February 5, 2016

Friday High Fives

This past Sunday night I jokingly told a few friends at our bible study that I wanted to catch a minor cold so I could get a little R&R this week. Well, let me tell you that Jesus himself must've heard me and thought "my sweet Britt, be careful what you pray for" because WHAM. Sick I became.

The irony of this whole plaque is that there is no such thing as R&R when your nose is running, your eyes are running, your throat is so scratchy you want to claw it out and your whole body hurts. Proof that the Lord has a sense of humor and that he still answers prayers.

So this week's high fives are brought to you by:

Bolthouse Farms C-Boost Juice- This stuff is so tasty and helped pump some vitamin C into my system.

The sweet relief of Nyquil. Without it I tossed and turned and would end up sitting on my couch watching crap TV at 2am due to being too uncomfortable to sleep. Is there anything better than the warmth of Nyquil hitting your system when all else fails you?

My fave Power Kale Ceasar Salad from Panera. If you haven't had it, you're missing out. Those thin, cheese croutons are legit and who the heck wants to cook when you're sick?

Project Runway Junior marathon to pass the few hours I was awake until the Nyquil would deliver me from evil.

This guy who has pulled extra weight since Wednesday, Thank you, Hubs!!

Here's to hoping the weekend involves way less Kleenex and sneezing!

Happy Friday, Y'all!

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

The Way to My Heart- Show and Tell Tuesday

I'm loving a good link up these days, so today I'm linking up with Momfessionals and Mix and Match Family for Show and Tell Tuesday's "The Way to My Heart" edition.

Although I'm almost certain that there a million and one ways to my heart, here a few that came to mind today...

Donuts- God bless the inventor of the donut, more specifically the cake donut with sprinkles. Every once in a while the Hubs will surprise me with donuts from our local shop, By the Dozen, and it makes my heart and belly so happy.

Christmas Movies- Nothing can make me as cozy, content and heart warmed quite like a good, ole cheesy Christmas movie. And if the Hubs will watch them with me without too much groaning over the bad acting, it definitely hits this heart of mine.

Flowers- Some girls pride themselves on proclaiming that "flowers just die, what's the point", but I am here to say that I am not one of those girls. There is nothing better than receiving flowers. They're beautiful, they're proof that God's creation is meant to be enjoyed, and they just make me feel special and thought of.

The Mundane- Some of the best ways to my heart aren't fancy, romantic gestures. They're clean laundry, which the Hubs does 90% of in our home. It's clean dishes and kitchen counters after I've cooked a meal, it's having my coffee graciously made every morning with the right amount of sugar and milk, and it's having the Hubs run random errands with me when I know he'd probably rather do anything else. I remember one of my older co-workers explain how she knew her husband was the one as "if I asked him to crawl around in the backyard and cut the grass with  finger nail clippers with me, well, he probably would because we just love being together. What we're doing isn't that important as long as we're together." That conversation was almost 14 years ago and I can still hear the sincerity and love in her voice.  I knew in that moment that's what I wanted as well.

Do I need romantic sunsets and poetry to sweep my heart away? Nah. Just give me sprinkle donut, my coffee just the way I like it and some silly errands while we laugh our way through Target together and I'm a happy wife and mom.

How about you?

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

What's Up Wednesday

Today I'm linking up for What's Up Wednesday thanks to Shay over at Mix And Match Family. Hop on over to her page to find lots of fun ladies who are sharing What's Up in their lives this week!


What we're eating this week:
I finally broke down and gave Blue Apron a try, so for the last few nights we've been at the mercy of the chef elves that put together our meal box. After only a week, I'm sad to say that I have cancelled my subscription. I'm sure this is an awesome program for some, but it just isn't the right fit for our family right now, so although we gave it the ole college try, Blue Apron and I have parted ways.

What I'm reminiscing about:
A warm vacation. I'm beyond ready for a break vacation and some of these places of yesteryear are calling my name. There may be a trip to Florida amongst my February, so a girl can dream.

What I'm Loving:
Our new playroom! This past weekend we converted our home office "crap catch-all" room into a dedicated playroom and I'm loving the results. Thanks, Pinterest for your organizational inspiration and DIY bench cushion building tutorials! #PinterestWin #Proudmom
What we've been up to:
Staying warm and indoors while also trying to entertain a toddler. I cannot wait for spring when we can let Nash run free in the grass and fresh air!
What I'm dreading:
A few more months of winter and ice and snow and cold. Seriously, why did I leave the south???
What I'm excited about:
We have a few weekend trips on the horizon and I'm excited for a change of scenery and quality time with friends and family. Two of my best friends also gifted me a VERY generous United Airways gift card for my birthday, so I'm stoked to cash that puppy in and pack in some serious girl time soon (Thank you R&T!)!

We're headed back to Grizzly Jack's to see family in a few weeks.

And I'll back to Charleston in March to see these pretties!

What I'm Watching/Reading:
Watching: Judge if you must, but the Hubs and I are fans of the original Teen Mom cast, so we've been in full Teen Mom OG swing in our home. Two things, friends:
1) I'm going to try to be kind here as that's my mantra for 2016, but Farrah is one of the least kind human beings I've ever seen. The way she disregards human deciency, lacks respect of all others, and her ability to spit venom to EVERYONE makes me physically ill and so very sad. MTV, why is she even allowed to remain on this show?
2) Tyler and Catelynn's wedding was one of the sweetest moments I've witnessed on a reality show. Tyler's vows were the sweetest, most sincere and beautifully written professions of love I've heard at a wedding. Many of us have grown along with them throughout the last 6-7 years, so this wedding felt like a family affair. Sigh.
Reading: I love a good read and Elin Hilderbrand is one of my current faves. In December I finished both her Winter Street and Winter Stroll books and am now reading A Beautiful Day. Her characters and scene setting abilities have now added a trip to Nantucket to my bucket list!

What I'm listening to:
I'm a huge Pandora fan and am back on my Lionel Richie station addiction, with a little Serial Podcast thrown in the mix. Although season 2 of Serial is not as compelling for me, it's still super interesting to have a closer look into the investigation process.
What I'm wearing:
Layers, winter gear and sweats. Nuff said.
What else is new:
Tonight kicks off a new book club ( club) and I'm so excited for the five of us to get together and read and laugh and learn in 2016! Who doesn't love a good book and a glass of wine?

What are you up to?

Friday, January 22, 2016

Friday High Fives

We made it, friends! Cheers to a short week thanks to the amazing works of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., which always falls on the weekend of my birthday. Lucky me.

This week's high-fives were brought to me compliments of:

Aveda Stress-Fix- This cream smells ah-mazing, y'all. I feel like I'm at the spa every time I crack it open and my skin cannot get enough during these ridiculously dry winter months.

The return of my favorite TV shows after the holiday break. I probably watch too much TV once the Munchie goes to bed, but for now, I welcome the mindless entertainment. Judge if you must.

Snuggle time with our Munchie in the morning. With the low temps and our living room being a wall of 15ft windows, it's much more cozy for Nash and I to snuggle in our bed while he drinks his bottle. We watch Mickey, cuddle and dream of staying there all day.
This fellow below, and not because he's handsome, but because I've been digging his music for awhile now. He's a welcomed change of pace from the other country stars I've heard lately.
Give him a listen.
These beauties brightening up our kitchen for over a week now. If you're local and looking for flowers that last, give Kings Flowers a call! Special shout out to the Hubs, for sending them for my Bday. There's nothing better than a floral delivery, am I right?!
Welcoming Bessie into our family. I have been waiting patiently for Bessie to circulate back through DecorSteals and when she did, I snagged her up. What's even more fun, you ask? Placing her on the Hub's pillow for a creepy, little surprise:) Side note, friends who don't live in the Midwest will most likely not understand why anyone would anxiously await a cow head d├ęcor piece.
#WeLoveCows #FarmhouseChicForTheWin
Receiving pictures from daycare. These snapshots into Munch's day make me oh so happy. AND how adorable is our baby holding a baby?! I can't even. He just looks so proud and so happy and so handsome. He'll make a great big brother some day, Lord willing.


Sticker fun when we're prisoners staying warm on a -9 degree day.
Nash is just now starting to sit still long enough for activities like this, so I sneak them in when I can.

#NationalHugDay. Who doesn't love a good hug??!!
Who gives you the best hugs?

Happy Friday, y'all!

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

How Can It Be

Today is a good day.

The sun is shining.

There's a Midwestern heat wave (y'all, we've crept into the 20's for the first time in days and I can feel my toes again!).

And I'm just going to leave this here for you...

Our wrongs have been righted. Our causes pled. Our chains broken. Our dirty made clean. Our olds made new. We are free.

Today is a good day.

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Show & Tell: Momfessionals

Today I'm linking up with Andrea for the January edition of Show & Tell: Momfessionals ( confessions). I've already read a few of the momfessionals over on Andrea's page and many of them had me laughing and nodding my head in agreement. There's a certain unity in our survival mechanisms of which I am pleased to know I'm not the only one.
United we stand, mommas!

Without further ado...

  • I loathe the bedtime routine of changing the diaper, changing into jammies and brushing Nash's teeth. He screams and fights the toothbrush the entire time and by the end of the day, I have zero fight left in me. I do, however, rule the bedtime story, rocking and singing of a lullaby or two. Once in his room, I nail bedtime every night. Everything leading up to that I gladly hand over to his dad. Sorry, Hubs.
  • I've recently noticed that I overuse the phrase "I'm going to let you do that" when it comes to changing a rank diaper, brushing of said teeth, putting Nash in his car seat, etc... I'm hoping that if I word it as though I am "gifting" my husband the task opportunity, that it will appear more appealing and super selfless. Let's not ask Tim how he perceives it, OK? 
  • There is one act of toddlerhood that cuts right through me and can make me see red on the spot...throwing of food. I truly make an effort to prepare things for dinner that I think Nash will enjoy (that are also nutritious) only to have some of them thrown on our floor, table or even worse, at me. Momfessional alert here>>>>I almost lose my mind if the food hits me. Oh, no you didn't!
  • I stay up WAY TOO LATE watching mindless TV or playing on my phone and Facebook simply because I can. No one needs me after 9pm, no one needs anything for that matter, so I can simply just be. Are there more constructive things I could be doing? Duh. But I've been constructive all the live-long day and I'm done. DONE. I just want to be a blob who will pay for it the next morning.
  • I still put my 17 month old in his baby swing when I need a break (minus the mobile so don't panic). He's a little peanut so he still fits comfortably and he enjoys the coziness of it while watching a show, so why the heck not milk that thing. I joke that I'll still put him in that thing when he's 7 but secretly I'm not joking. Seriously, do they make them in big kid sizes? Graco, I'm talking to you.

  • I'm a proud germaphobe. P.R.O.U.D and I make no apologies. While 9 months pregnant, and already exuding beauty from every angle, I got pink eye and the doc thought it was probably from a grocery cart. Picture being almost 10 months pregnant in the heat of August AND you have a swollen shut, gooey eye. Ain't nobody got time for that. I felt bad that people even had to look at me as I looked freakishly similar to Sloth from the Goonies. I will forever sanitize grocery carts, restaurant tables, my child, etc... If it's not moving, I'll probably sanitize it.
Hang in there fellow mommas! We've got this, secrets and all.