Friday, December 7, 2012

"That's Not Suspicious."

Dear Sophia,

It's been a while. In fact, I think I skipped over November entirely. Don't think I haven't been thinking about you though. I think about you at least once every day. You know, even after two months, it's still hard to believe I had you. Every time I really let myself think about you and what you were like, I tear up or cry.

I was reading on another mother's blog today. She had a couple statistics saying anencephaly occurs in 1 out of 1,000 pregnancies but only 3 out of 10,000 live births. Additionally, 95% of babies with your condition are aborted for various reasons. That means there was a 0.1% chance of you having anencephaly, a 5% chance you would have parents who would let you take all the time you needed on this earth, and 0.03% chance you would be born alive. That's not even to mention the unlikely-hood of your miraculous 4.5 day life. Take all that in for a minute.

There's no question you were and are a miracle. You had so much going against you, yet you braved it all and amazed everyone who would hear your name.

It's twelve days short of your three-month birthday, which means it's twenty-two days before Daddy and I will have been married for fourteen months. I've been thinking of a missionary friend I've been meaning to write, but I'm not sure what to tell her. "Hey Sister G, guess what? You know how I got married shortly before you left? Well, I got pregnant, but don't expect to meet her. Don't ask why."

That's not suspicious.

Oh well. I'm sure she'd just enjoy getting a letter, regardless of the contents.

Since moving into our new place, I've had a lot of time to think about what I might like our next baby's nursery to look like. At the moment, we've got a mostly-empty room with just a changing table I might paint, depending on how I decide to decorate the room, and a few empty boxes we used for moving. And I will be decorating it, don't you worry. I didn't get to do that with you.

Our next child - poor thing - is going to get twice the crazy new parents would usually have. Not only will we have a new baby, the baby will be our first living child and the recipient of both the affection we've been dying to pour onto you and the affection he or she deserves as our precious baby (some would call them our "Rainbow Baby.") It's a blessing and a curse, I guess.

Another point also came up while reading the other mother's blog: "What will we tell our other children?" Sure, I guess it would be easy to explain that one of their older sisters passed away when she was a baby, but what do we say when they see she is missing the top of her skull? Children can be so brutally honest sometimes. I guess we'll just have to take those conversations as they come, and bite our tongue if our little ones don't have quite the gentleness we'd like.

I love you sweetheart. That will never, ever change. I think of you often. I imagine what you must look like as a spirit - beautiful and elegant, of course. Big, blue eyes; long, brown hair; those long fingers and feet, and the sweetest, cutest, pair of perfectly pink lips. Truly, even if you look nothing like that, I will love you endlessly. Thinking of you, angel.


Friday, October 19, 2012

Working Out, Working Out

Dear Sophia,

I love that we've joined a gym. We gone every day since we joined, and I even went twice yesterday (once with Grandma to do a "Mind/Body" video and once with Daddy to exercise my upper body.) I'm not an exercise guru, but I've managed to break a sweat every time I go and wake up sore the next day so I'm happy!

In other news, Daddy gets to see his Princess, Onna, this Sunday. We worked out an acceptable arrangement with her mother's family, and I'll be in the room, uninvolved, to make sure Daddy is safe while we're there. It's a start for sure.

I don't have much else to say, other than I love you. I'm really trying to get everything in my life in order - physical fitness, eating habits, cleanliness, scripture reading, prayers, service to others, etc. When we meet again, I want you to be able to say you're proud of me and happy for choosing me as your mother. I really, really do.


(P.S. Oh! I've been really concerned about emergency preparedness lately. Daddy has told me I can budget money for purchasing emergency materials so I'm excited!)

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

New Beginnings

Dear Sophia,

Tomorrow will mark four weeks since I gave birth for the very first time. Daddy and I have decided to join a gym called Anytime Fitness - Ahh!

Actually, I'm super excited. I loved how I felt when I was working out every day at school. I had less of an issue with my depression, better sleep, an overall better outlook and physical feeling. It was great! Tonight is the first night of our membership. I'll let you know how that goes. Plan for tonight: warm up on treadmills, then weights. Woot!



Daddy and I went and had a great time! I really, really wanted to jog/walk a mile. (If you know me, you know my body is not built for full-on running, so jogging it is.) I hadn't done a whole lot of purposeful jogging since leaving college, and I'm still in my post-baby limited exercising period, so I wasn't sure how it was going to go.

Turns out, a half mile of jogging about 4.5 miles per hour was my limit. But I didn't give up there! Oh, no, no, no. Even though it was difficult because I was a little worn out, I walked at 3.5 miles per hour until I'd finished the mile. Charles was sweet. He was done with his jogging before I was, but stayed and held my hand while I finished my own mile.

After that, we walked around and tried out various machines we were interested in. After some stretching, we headed home all nice and sweaty and had a great nights' sleep. Day one - done!

Monday, October 15, 2012

Remembering You

Dear Sophia,

I love you. I've been thinking about you a lot lately. No wonder, really. You are still so precious to me. You always will be. A few days ago, I couldn't sleep, and I started getting practically hysterical. I ended up cuddling with Sophie bear for a while before I put her back and could sleep. I wanted to take a moment and describe what you were like in person for those who didn't get to experience you.

1. The moment you were set down on top of me, my eyes were glued to you. The lack of skull on the top of your head confirmed the doctor's diagnosis but I didn't really care at that moment. "Is she alive?" was the very first question I asked. That was affirmed as Daddy cut your umbilical cord, you gasped, and started to slowly move your little head and arms around. I was in awe. 

2. You made the most adorable little sounds. It was very difficult for you to cry - although you did several times - because of your breathing. Instead, you made little baby noises you would expect from any peaceful baby. You would yawn, snore, and practically sing with your little melodic whimpers.

3. There were very few times I was sure you were asleep. After all, you almost always looked like you were asleep. However, you would go right to snore-city once you hit Daddy's chest. It was adorable. Daddy would hold you against his chest for hours just to make sure you were at peace, and I absolutely loved it. That's one of the most comfortable places on Daddy, so I totally understand why you'd be lulled to sleep there.

4. You had extremely soft skin. I'm not talking normal baby soft, here. Everyone who cares to feel my skin says it's the some of the softest they've ever felt. It only makes sense that my child would have that soft of skin, plus baby softness. I loved rubbing your cheek and tiny hands, although, truthfully, I would have loved to do that even if you'd had coarse skin. 

These are just a few points for now. I had no idea how to be a mother. (It could be argued that I still don't, but that's beside the point.) When you were placed into my arms, I wasn't sure how to hold you. I was honestly terrified of changing your diaper, even though I'd changed diapers before. The last thing I wanted to do was do something wrong for my little angel in her short lifetime on earth. But you made it easy. You didn't care that I didn't know what to do. You were a tiny example of pure love, and I couldn't have asked for more. I love you so much sweetheart.


Monday, October 1, 2012


Dear Sophia,

Ever since I met Daddy, I've been experiencing new ways of doing things I thought I knew how to do; A new way to love, new ways to communicate peacefully. Since you've been gone, I've found a new sort of remembering. Sweetie, I don't feel like I'm grieving... at least not in the way I always pictured "grief." I thought when a loved one died the next step was to be an emotional wreck - like how Daddy and I were when we first learned of your condition. I miss you - I miss the weight of your tiny body in my arms.

However, I feel peace.

I feel grateful to have had you, grateful my body is healing, grateful to have so many pictures and other mementos we can keep with us. I feel blessed to have Daddy beside me each day, and that we have been supported by so many around us.

I feel... strange, in a way, knowing I am your mother here on earth but you have already gone to be with your heavenly parents. Over nine months of preparation culminated in 4.5 days of parenthood. I feel like I should be doing something more - changing diapers, losing sleep, doing frequent loads of tiny baby laundry - but you did not require that of me. You and I have both fulfilled our ends of the bargain when it comes to your life. In the most solemn way, you are probably the "easiest" child Daddy and I will ever have; the one who will ask the least of us. All you ask now is for us to give a valiant effort to be with you again... and you can definitely count on that.

I never thought I would feel this way. I was expecting to have my world shaken like it was before. In a way, though, it has been. My faith in the Gospel has grown so much through everything, even before you were born, but especially in the time you were here with us.

I realized a couple days ago that we don't yet have any pictures of you on display in our home. The first step in that direction was a small frame with a picture of your tiny (although rather long for a newborn baby) feet which was given to us by Aunt Kym. It's a beautiful blue frame with a couple little rhymes and the words "My baby" on it. I've made it my goal to add more pictures of you around our home.

This past Sunday was the first time in about a month I've been able to make it through a whole three blocks of church, and it was amazing. First of all, we got your baby blessing certificate (which is now framed and on our wall.) Second, this was a fifth-Sunday so for the last block we got to stay together instead of split up into Priesthood and Relief Society meetings, which was also great. Also, next week is General Conference so it was Fast Sunday, and Testimony Meeting during the first block.

(I'm genuinely sorry for those whom I just majorly confused. Basically, next week is when every member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints gets to watch/listen to talks from our general leaders instead of having regular local church meetings. It's a bi-annual event - and the things they speak about are applicable and uplifting even for non-members, so feel free to tune in!

Click this link to find out how.)

Anyway, it may have been just me, but I detected a theme of "eternal families" in the testimonies borne, which was really nice. After the Bishop, who was conducting the meeting, sat down, I dragged Daddy up to the podium with me (so, yes, I was the first one up - eep!) Now, I believe the last time I got up to bear my testimony was shortly after we joined the ward in January. I tend to hold to the belief that you should go when you feel inspired to do so, and, although I won't say I haven't been nudged at all, I hadn't felt like I really, really needed to get up there... until now.

I didn't know what I was going to say. Planning never really works out anyway, as something about standing in front of a couple hundred people tends to wipe all thought from my working memory. So, I stepped up, pulled Daddy close to hold me while I spoke (not common practice, by the way, but I was feeling needy) and just... did it. And it felt so good. I'm not great at spontaneous public speaking, but I got what I needed to say out, and that's what matters.

I have to say - I love our ward. Daddy and I have considered moving into Saint Joseph so we'd be closer to his work and not have to spend so much on gas, but this ward, among other things, is keeping us here. I've written before how much of an outpouring of love and service we've received through all of this. They say you don't know who your friends are until you're in need, and these families have really stepped up. We have been so blessed by them.

In fact, a night or two before, a lady in the ward whom I have only rarely spoken with randomly dropped off a few comfort items (cozy blanket, fuzzy socks, candles and chocolate kisses) and a note just letting us know she was thinking about us. It was so wonderful. However, the love of our ward family has been felt in other ways too - in gestures as simple as a knowing smile or a hug. Everyone expresses their thoughts and feelings in different ways, and I certainly appreciate these alternate means.

I guess my point in all of this, Sophia, is we are not alone. Your spirit may have left mortality, but you and our Savior did not leave us comfortless. Our family has been here supporting us all along, our friends have stepped-up and been buoys of strength and joy, and even those whom we didn't previously know have reached out and been the Savior's means of comforting us.

Before you were born, Daddy gave me a blessing. In that blessing, the Lord urged me to continually be in prayer, especially in those few days which were ahead of us. I cannot stress enough how much of a strength the Lord has been through those days and on into now. Because of you, I feel a closer connection with Him and more of an understanding of how difficult His work must have been. Not only did He experience Daddy and I's emotions and physical pains during your birth and subsequent life, He experienced every moment of life of every single being who has ever walked and will ever walk this earth.

The magnitude of His strength is incomprehensible, and I feel honored that He loves me enough to help me as I experience life for the first time. Minutes before you were born, facing an experience I held apprehension over, I turned to Jesus Christ. Together with Daddy, I whispered a prayer to Him for the strength and peace only He could offer; for the acceptance of whatever His plan was. I can honestly say I have been comforted and blessed, often through His servants, as a result of having faith in Him.

I wouldn't trade this experience for anything. I wouldn't trade having had you. I wouldn't even pull you back from a place which is infinitely better than this just so I can have you here with me now. No regrets here - only lessons learned and testimonies strengthened.

I love you sweetheart. I miss you immensely. You are eternally in my heart.


Monday, September 24, 2012

Several Days Ago

Dearest Sophia,

Several days ago, I gave birth to the most precious little angel I have ever met: you. In the days after that, I held you, kissed your soft cheeks and tiny lips, laughed, cried, prayed, loved, and grew more than I have in any other space of time. I am a different person because of you. I am more than me; more than just Daddy's wife, or Grandma's daughter. I am an angel's mother. I have seen perfection, and know what it takes to obtain it once more.

My testimony of the restored Gospel of Jesus Christ has grown tenfold, all because of you. Never have I seen so many miracles unfold before me. Never have I felt this kind of love for another; had any idea what it was like to bring one of our Father's spirits into the world.

Before you were born, I had a couple blessings from Daddy, for different reasons. In them, the Lord revealed His intention to give us some time with you after your birth. He also offered comfort - assuring competent hospital staff, overall health, and peace for our situation. I have seen all of these promises and more fulfilled in the past week. I got to see Daddy give you a baby blessing, hear your sweet sounds, and spend more time with you than I had ever dreamed I would get. I have seen many individuals step up and offer both emotional and material assistance in our time of need. We have been blessed (undoubtedly due to faithfully paying tithing) to be able to pay our most pressing bills, and with leniency with our others. Truly, I cannot name the whole or even a small part of the miracles of this past week.

Like we know, no one ever said any of this would be easy. This particular situation was not designed for ease. But I know it is worth it. If there was any doubt before, there is none now. Tears will come. Daddy's cuddles will be necessary. But as long as we're doing our best to get back to you, I can find peace.

I am thankful your little body now gets to rest. However, I would be lying if I said I didn't sob when I finally let your body go with the man from the funeral home. Again, I am thankful for the Gospel; for the Savior's understanding of our situation. I am thankful for friends and family, and their willingness to serve in our time of need. I am thankful for your Daddy's faithfulness and strength, as well as his devotion to both of us.

I cannot say enough. September 24th, 2012 at 3:59am was not the end, just as September 19th, 2012 at 1:30pm was not the very beginning. We will see you again. We will get to hold you close and feel your sweet presence brightening up the room. You are our miracle. You are our first child, our precious angel. Nothing and no one will ever replace you, but I look forward to getting to bring your siblings into the world and tell them all about the 4 days, 14 hours, and 29 minutes of Heaven Daddy and I experienced while you were here. Thank you, sweetheart. You are everything I ever wanted and more.


Sunday, September 23, 2012

from Daddy to his Angel

To my precious Sophia Grace. I will not be able to finish this with out teary eyes. This is Daddy. I know i have not said much through out this time. It has not been easy for me knowing that i had and have in a sense lost your sister Onnamaria, due to bad choices.
 A few weeks ago your mommy and i were talking at she asked me if i was glad we had not aborted. At that point i was not sure. as that week ended i started noticing you moving and kicking mommy in the ribs and just going nuts. And for the first time a few days later i looked at mommy in the eyes and told her i was very thankful we did not abort you. That would have been the easy road as i look back to when we found out, to now.
 I have learned a lot from mommy. What a very strong woman she is. How close she is to our father in heaven. How she is willing to follow Christ's example as closely as possible. I love mommy so very much. She is my best friend and i can not live with out her by my side.
 After i told mommy i was glad we had not aborted i felt a great peace come over me. I would go to work and every one kept asking me how mommy and you were doing. I could talk about it easily because i had come to terms so to speak with what was going to happen.
 The week leading up to your birth was interesting. I got a new QA in my room due to a lack of QA personnel in the plant. He has two children and some similar interests as i do. Once we got on the subject of you the tone completely changed. It's not every day you hear the parent of a child say she has a birth defect that has a 100% fatality rate and no one knows how this happens. He continued to tell me he's praying for the lucky 1%. I told him if that happens i am going to give him the biggest hug ever.
  I so badly want to keep you throughout this mortal life and be able to teach you, raise you and watch you grow. I know its only for a short time but i have that desire to make right with the children that mommy and i have and what i was and am not able to do with your sister.
 Sunday night before we went in to the hospital the next morning mommy asked me for a priesthood blessing. So i did, In the blessing there were words for mommy and for my self. See since the first visit with Doctor Gjoni, from Italy, he irritated me. It only takes one instance to allow me to not forgive     some one. He instructed mommy to get off some pills with out question. I did not take kindly to this. And was ready to beat him up. In this blessing i gave mommy, she was told that the doctor would be competent and now what to do. I believe this was more for me than for mommy i suppose.
 But as every thing began to happen i could tell that he was paying close attention to every detail. You know i am a doctor a doctor of BS as i call it BROWN SUGAR!
 Doctor Gjoni, was very worried about every thing. Within good reason. TO my knowledge you were not in the correct direction for a normal birth. Turns out you were.
 As everything unraveled, instead of listening with one ear i began to trust him. As i saw his genuine care pouring out i had no other desire but to allow him to do as only a person as he knows what to do.
 The hardest thing I've had to do so far is tell mommy that every thing was going to be ok when i knew not the out come.
 As you were born I could not help but hope you were alive and that i would be able to give you a name and blessing. As i cut the cord i saw your mouth open and i could not help but cry. Right as soon as you were cleaned up and dressed in your blessing dress. Grandpa Lusk, Bishop Jameson, and I put our hands under you and did give you a name and blessing.
 I am so thankful that you have chosen your mother and I. For we love you so much, so thankful for your sweet spirit being in our midst. I am honored to be your mortal father here on earth and will do every thing i can to keep you close.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Mommy's Little Shining Star

Dear Reader,

Notice how I didn't write "Dear Sophia"? Well, we went into the hospital Monday morning, per my doctor's instructions. At 1:02pm, I was admitted to the hospital. The doctor had been hesitant to do so, but since I kept having contractions which would make my blood pressure spike into the dangerous zone, I had had nausea which kept me from eating and sometimes drinking anything at least before the afternoon, and since it wasn't necessary for her to stay in for developmental purposes, he decided to go ahead and induce labor. 48 hours and 38 minutes later, our little angel was born. She was 5 pounds, 2.2 ounces, and 18 inches long. Even better, she is still here with us. Here's a picture:

Of course, as anyone who has ever been induced knows, it's not *quite* that simple. Those 48 hours were not a cake walk. They were filled with a mixture of frustration over a lack of contractions or a lack of intensity/consistency, increasing pain/contractions, uncomfortable exams, hand grasping, many nurses, strange and new sensations in many different parts of my body, a wonderful epidural (which, really, was quite a blessing considering my blood pressure wasn't going down into a safer range any other way), love, friends, family, anticipation, worry, and that's not the half of it. At one point, Sophia's heart rate kept dropping then going back to a normal rate. I was getting less and less confident that we wouldn't get to meet her while she was still alive, but she pulled through.

It was frustrating waiting for everything to happen. I would get checked at one point and they'd say one thing, then it would be another, then the same thing as before, then something completely different. For a whole day, not much happened even though it looked like I was headed in the right direction.

Finally, Tuesday night, I got to rest from all the inducing medications and get some sleep (a term I use loosely in this situation.) Wednesday morning, the pitocin drip was started again and things slowly but surely went in the right direction. It was nice to hear the doctor sound pleased for once while he was checking my progress. Around 1:00pm, I was finally at 8-9cm, and 90% effaced (which was wonderful, considering I'd been basically a 5 for a majority of the time before that.) We had just barely gotten the update out when, at 1:15pm, while I was laying still in my bed and holding Charles's hand, I felt a burst inside me and a gush of fluids rush out of my body. Unquestioning, I said "My water just broke." and a flurry of activity began.

At 1:25pm, everyone was ready and all set up; I was told to start pushing. 1:26pm, my doctor told me he was going to do an episiotomy, which I am thankful for. Miss Sophia's head was down but her face was the closest to the birth canal. Either way, in her condition it was safer for her to go through a larger hole than there already was. 1:30pm, our angel was born. Yes, that's a five minute delivery. Pretty good, if I do say so myself.

Shortly after, my grandfather and our bishop were brought in to help Charles give her a name and blessing, something we like to do in our church. It's usually done in a Sunday church meeting shortly after the baby is born, as a 'welcome to the world' kind of thing, but we didn't know if we would have much time with her so we got to do it in the hospital. It was beautiful.

After that, while I was being stitched up, everyone who had come to see her got to come in a meet her for the first time. It was interesting being pretty exposed while all this was going on, but I honestly didn't care at the time. I had my angel. She was alive. That's all that mattered to me.

The time since then has been filled with so many wonderful things, all having to do with our sweet daughter. She has smiled, cooed, and snoozed her way into the hearts of many, many people. We have seen her open her eyes just slightly, heard her let out several small cries, held her tiny hands and kissed her soft, squishy cheeks. She is our little piece of heaven.

She has been with us nearly 3.5 days now. They have not been easy emotionally. I go from happy, to apprehensive, to miserable about the thought of losing her or feeling like a terrible mother because I can't feed her or do the things I want to make her comfortable, but I wouldn't trade them for anything. I love her more than I can express - meeting her just makes me want to make myself as perfect as she is so I can see her again later on. That's the goal. That's what we'll do. Mommy loves her Sophia.

Lora/Mother to the sweetest, strongest little blessing.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

My Baby Blanket

Dear Sophia,

I'm not sure when it happened, but my baby blanket ended up on the top of our laundry pile. I've been eyeing it for a few days, not sure what I wanted to do with it. After 21 years and plenty of loving, it's off-white, feels a little worn, has a hole or two, and the happy-looking once-colorful bears have faded, but the blanket is in fairly good condition otherwise. I remember using it off and on for years as a small child, and it was always just the right length, always made me feel so comfortable. I didn't carry it around or need it to feel stable - it was just nice to have every once in a while.

Anyway, I found it when I was packing up my things to take to Iowa when Daddy and I got married, and scooped it up. I thought it would be nice to use, if only gently, for our children once they were born. A few minutes ago, I finally picked it up from its resting place... and almost started crying.

There's so much I wanted to share with you, and my blanket was just a start. I wanted to share my most favorite person (Daddy, of course), my faith, my home, everything I had with you. For now, I will have to settle for sharing my body and the experience of your birth. We will have other opportunities down the road, as Uncle Jordan was happy to point out.

I love you. I can't wait to meet you, though I have no doubt that your birth will be the hardest thing I ever go through. It has been difficult attempting to imagine what it will be like to 1) give birth 2) hold my child for the first time and 3) lose said child, all in an undetermined - most likely short - space of time. All I do know is the Lord has been there for your Daddy and I many times before, and He will not leave us now. He has already experienced what we are about to experience, and He, loving us perfectly, will not deny us His peace and strength - all we have to do is ask for it.

In the meantime, I feel honored to be sharing my body with one of the Lord's particularly beautiful creations - you.


Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Repeat Offender

Dear Sophia,*

The last couple days have been quite interesting, to say the least. For example, here's a post I had saved in draft form from either last night or the night before:

"Am I going into labor? I wish I could tell... I don't like being this uncomfortable. Will we see your sweet face soon?

Oh, the anxiety!"

Maybe it's a little dramatic... but you try being calm and collected when it feels like your body is seizing up and preparing to squeeze out a little body bigger than the hole it's coming out of. Plus, I was kinda in panic mode. Just a bit.

I didn't sleep well last night. It was difficult to get comfortable. In fact, the only time I actually started to feel very comfortable was a few minutes before Daddy and I got up. Our dog, Hannah, was standing by the door like she needed to go potty. Even though I'd just gotten comfortable (the right temperature, superior support, etc) I didn't want to wake Daddy up and I didn't want Hannah to use the carpet as her potty spot. So I ABANDONED my comfy spot to let her out... and she proceeded to stand at the top of the steps and sniff the air. Seriously? Seriously.

Anyway, today was the latest regular appointment with my obstetrician. Checked in. Went into the room. Asked how I was doing: "Alright." Blood pressure: Good. Contractions?: Yes. "Hmm." Ultrasound: HR 141. Off to Obstetrics. Room 184. Little cup in the bathroom.

NOW it gets new. A nurse named Lacey walked in to get me all hooked up. At first, she asked me to lay on my left side, at which point Daddy and I informed her if she was able to find you while I was on my left side she would be the first. Ultimately, I ended up on my back for the duration of the visit. The aim of monitoring me on these machines was to track if I was having contractions and if they were regular and progressing. Just after the nurse got me all hooked up, she looked surprised and asked if I'd felt the contraction I'd just had. I shook my head no, and told her I was already uncomfortable - I just hadn't noticed any increased discomfort. (It didn't stay that way, but I'll hit on that in a bit.)

For some reason, Daddy was in a little of a grumpy mood at the beginning of the visit to the O.B. unit. He said he felt like they were wasting our time and there was no reason for us to be staying there that long again... until he noticed I was having regular contractions. At that point, neither of us had eaten anything because 1) he doesn't like eating right after he gets up and 2) I still haven't been able to eat before around 2pm. Before the appointment, all I'd had was a couple mouthfuls of water which made my stomach turn. While we were sitting there, all I wanted was a large glass of water, but I couldn't have it because they weren't sure if I was going to go into active labor or not. Needless to say, I was uncomfortable in several different ways.

So anyway, I was having contractions, which ended up getting more intense and frequent while we were there. They got up to a minute and a half apart, with increasing intensity (read: they hurt more.) They simply monitored me for a while, while the doctor decided what he wanted to do. The nurse checked me for dilation, and said I was at 2-3cm. A few minutes later, the doctor came in and attacked my cervix once again, only this time I was already in pain and he was just adding to it. It felt like my body was a juice box, except my juice box was a little over-full, the aluminum straw spot was actually a chalk board, and he was both pushing and dragging his nails across it to get to the juice. Ugh. He was pushing so hard, his hand was shaking. My challenge during that moment was not jumping away from him while punching and/or scraping any piece of his body within reach.

Ultimately, they sent us home. We only live a few minutes from the hospital, so they said to come back if anything changed, my water broke, etc. If nothing happens over the weekend, we're supposed to go back on Monday and get checked out again.

Since the appointment, I've had spotting - no doubt because of the heedless attack on my cervix, continued contractions and decent baby movement. Oh, and I've eaten! Actually, that was initially short-lived because my body decided the ground beef from Taco Bell was a no-go, but we did finally get some food in me.

It's surreal thinking that I may give birth in the next few days. If you take it from the nurse, we won't make it to Monday. Ahh! As always, we shall see, and, as is ever true, we love you sweetheart. See you soon?


*Disclaimer: I am still experiencing the contractions I will talk about in this entry. I assume no responsibility for confusing organization, or the lack thereof. Read at your own risk. ;)

Sunday, September 9, 2012

The (Pregnant) Wallflower

Dear Sophia,

This experience has been interesting. Even at my small size, it's difficult to avoid pregnancy questions which ultimately lead to the disappointed "Oh... I'm sorry," and the inevitable, awkward slow-walk in the other direction. However, this has also made me feel more thought-of than I ever have. Because I tend to feel like I blend into the background, I am always surprised when someone does something unexpected for us to help out, or out-of-nowhere makes mention of something I've said or something someone has said about our situation.

One day, I had Grandma call to tell me something Uncle Jordan had learned in seminary and was adamant I also learn: that Daddy and I would get to raise you in the millennium. I thought it was super-sweet that 1) he had actually been paying enough attention in seminary to connect something from his life and 2) our situation had been close enough to his mind that the connection could even be made. My youngest brother is not typically the touchy-feely type. (Example: Uncle Adam called this morning to invite us to breakfast with Grandma, Uncle Jordan, and himself. We went, even though I've been too nauseated to eat in the mornings - at least Daddy would get a good breakfast. At one point during the conversation, we got on the topic of Uncle Jordan's wrestling at school. Needless to say, I was not terribly surprised when he said he'd won one of his rounds due to a toot which made the other poor wrestler gag and lose his concentration. That's Jordan for ya.)

When we were in Iowa visiting Daddy's side of the family, I was using the restroom (shocking, I know) when two ladies began talking about me. One asked if I was still "carrying," which the other confirmed, and the conversation continued from there. A minute or two into it, I was definitely finished with my business and unsure of what to do next. Finally, I opened the door and headed straight to the sink to wash my hands. Of course, the conversation immediately ceased, and the ladies sheepishly dried their hands and left in front of me. Although I had been a little surprised, it was interesting hearing this conversation occur in a situation where people believed I was not present.

We have had ladies provide precious white dresses to dress you in, nurses who called AH to make sure we had contacted them for support, and nurses (I'm guessing the same ones) who called another nurse of the same faith to make sure they could fulfill any religious expectations and not offend us. Although I, in my carnal state, would not have chosen this course for our lives, we have been blessed beyond belief with a host of individuals who have done all they could to help us. I have a mother who is willing to give up basically her entire evening (this past evening, in fact) to take care of me and make sure I wasn't alone if I went into labor (yeah, apparently it's looking like I'm that close.) I have a husband who is beyond wonderful at making sure I'm as close as possible to comfortable and safe; who is amazing at loving me, including making sure I know, without a doubt, that love is sure. I have friends who have made it clear on multiple occasions that they are there for us and, although my needs can be a little... lot sometimes, they are great at meeting them. The list doesn't end there... but I would be here all night if I tried to record all the people who have blessed us with their influence.

Now, for a health update. For most of the day, I feel pretty "blah." It's weird - I was nauseated my first trimester, but I only threw up once. I kept that number for my second trimester too, although my daily nausea had mostly worn off after 17 weeks. I had been doing really well here in my third trimester, I thought. My number stayed consistent... up until just over a week ago. Suddenly, I can't easily hold anything down before about 2pm. Even the water I was drinking this morning didn't hold a sure footing in my stomach. The nurse we had on Wednesday offered some anti-nausea pills, which I declined because I didn't want to take yet another pill, but I'm not sure now if that was a wise choice.

In addition to this wonderful awareness of my stomach contents, I am so tired all the time. Daddy and I always cuddle before we go to sleep - if we don't, it's just not bed time - and you should hear me when I roll over to officially sleep. I sound like I'm dying... or a ghost trying to scare the crud out of someone in a haunted house. It's oh-so-lovely. Add that to the occasional "Ow, ow, ow!" from random pains in my abdominal area, consistent trips to the bathroom, and the fact that I might as well have a timer for how long I can actually last outside of the house (one of those turn-over minute timers might work) and I'm just a barrel of fun. I'm grateful I'm not the first person to have ever been pregnant, although I will point out that pregnancy is a highly personal experience and different for each woman, because I might not be receiving such an outpouring of empathy otherwise. We have been provided with other people who have gone through the similar experiences and can be the Lord's instruments of comfort in times of need. I am certainly one needy person at this point.

I will say that I'm nervous about possibly facing a c-section. A large part of our decision not to abort was to preserve my body for future pregnancies. All I know right now is we are doing all we can to make sure I'm left in as best of condition as possible, and we have felt good about our decision to give you all the time you will naturally live. We are selfishly hoping this buys us some time to love on your cute little self while you're still here, but we will be happy with whatever the Lord's plan is; His is the perfect plan.

Daddy gave me a blessing today. (Have I mentioned how much I love having a worthy Priesthood holder for a husband?) I had gotten the notion I should ask for one, although I often feel like I'm not in bad enough condition to warrant one and try to wait, but the notion kept coming back. Finally, I asked, and Daddy obliged. I love getting blessings. It is so wonderful that we can receive personalized guidance from the Lord for our trials.

We love you honey. I'd go through all of this again to be able to keep you - but Uncle Jordan is right. If you think about it, Daddy and I just have to go through a different process before we get to keep you for good. It's worth it - the Lord wouldn't put us through these things if it wasn't.


Thursday, September 6, 2012

By Popular Demand...

Dear Sophia,

I had a couple requests to post pregnancy photos. I haven't really been doing it because I don't really enjoy taking pictures of myself, and it just hasn't been a priority with this pregnancy, but I went ahead and gave them what they wanted. Here are the pictures I posted:


Yes, I realize I look like a ghost, but that's just how it goes. I'm PALE okay? Oh well. Just thought I'd share!

Also, my back is really bugging me. Thanks, sweetie. OH! So, earlier, you were pushing up like there was no tomorrow, and I ended up pushing down on you to get you off my ribs. I don't think I've ever really done that, because when I felt you moving against my hand then squirming away, it was so weird! Ha - I love you honey.


EDIT: It occurs to me that I haven't written about something really cute Daddy was doing the other day. We were cuddling on the bed, as is common with us, and you started kicking a lot. Daddy put his hand over where you were kicking, and started smiling one of my favorite smiles - one of those ones were you can tell that, in that moment, he is really, truly happy. I hope I see that smile a lot when we are expecting your siblings. He has, understandably, been a little less excited about this pregnancy than he would be if you were going to stay with us, so I love seeing that smile from him. Anyway, when we were on the bed feeling you kicking, Daddy decided he was going to try to catch your foot. Every time you kicked, he'd grab at my stomach and we'd both laugh. He didn't catch you, but he had a great time trying.

Then yesterday, right before Daddy left for work, I didn't want him to leave so I was hugging him tightly... and you kicked him! He felt it, too, which made me so happy. I love when he gets to feel you - especially when we're not necessarily trying to get him to feel you.

Anyway, that's it! Just wanted to make sure I recorded a couple of things I didn't want to forget.

Approaching the Endgame

Dear Sophia,

We went in for my regularly-scheduled appointment today. I haven't been feeling very well (nauseated in the mornings, really tired, lots of mucus draining down the back of my throat - ugh) but things were normal - pants off, uncomfortable pelvic exam, ultrasound (HR 141), pants back on. Next, the doctor said he'd like to have some blood work done and he led us out of his office, down the hall, to an unmarked door. He put in a code on the little pad beside the door, then led us through a super-secret hallway - er, the nurses's lockers - and into the obstetrics unit to good ol' room 183. A nurse I've seen several times for getting my blood drawn came in with her little white caddie and did her thing wonderfully, as always. She tourniquet-ed my arm, commented on how beautiful my vein was (woohoo!) and did the deed. I always love seeing her when I need to get my blood drawn because she is especially gentle and I've never felt uncomfortable with her.

A couple minutes later, I was getting set up on the machines. The nurse, who was perfectly nice, found your heart beat pretty quickly, but I'm sure it was easier because you're bigger than you have been in previous visits. At one point, the nurse turned the monitor so we could see the little lines which were being produced by our bodies. It was actually really cool because I hadn't gotten to see those before and actually understand what they meant. When you started moving a lot more than normal, and creating more of the "chopped-up worm," as Aunt Kym and Daddy were calling it, a nurse came in and said "Oh, it looks like she has hiccups!" That was probably the highlight of the visit for me.

Oh, and guess what else? I had one definite contraction while I was all hooked up. I probably had a couple smaller ones too, because I definitely felt my back knotting several times and when I looked at the monitor the little black line was going up, but there was one for sure which had a significant arc. However, both the doctor and the nice nurse checked my cervix and my body still isn't quite ready. They say my cervix is soft, albeit high (and the word "posterior" was mentioned a couple times too.) The doctor said I was still fingertip (or "fingernail," as Aunt Kym said), while the nurse said she might go as far as saying I am at "1." They ended up sending us home because I wasn't progressing, and included the usual discharge instructions of "come in if your water breaks."

Well, yeah.

As it stands, I'm a bit physically uncomfortable, but it looks like we're slowly-but-surely getting to the point where you can be delivered. Our next appointment is on Uncle Adam's birthday. Maybe we'll end up celebrating two births on that day? We'll see.


Thursday, August 30, 2012

Into the Dark

Dear Sophia,

Sweetie, I love you, but you really need to move your cute little self into the correct position (and, just to be clear, head-up and looking at me is not it.)

I wish I wasn't so nauseated all the time. I feel like I'm eating more than ever. I eat, then keep going on with my day, and later I suddenly feel a tidal wave of nausea - but eating isn't easy! Oh no, no, no. When I start to eat, which I have to force myself to do because my stomach doesn't really feel up to taking anything into it, I get even more nauseated. Sometimes I even have to get up and walk around to stave off the nausea. Eventually, I feel a bit better and can actually comfortably eat. Once I finish, it's just a matter of time before this uncomfortable cycle starts all over again. Speaking of discomfort, I've noticed it's difficult to get comfortable when I'm sitting anywhere. First, everywhere seems to be a lot hotter to me than anybody else, and second, my torso simply doesn't allow me to stay in one position for very long - I get crampy and start experiencing unwelcome pain which is only alleviated (short-term) by moving around and (long-term) by laying down. Thankfully, I've gotten some comfort during the night by shoving Daddy's "rock pillow," as I call it, between my legs, and cuddling up with my body pillow and another pillow. Besides having to get up to use the restroom, I actually sleep fairly well as long as I have enough time to do so.

Speaking of sleeping, my sleeping schedule has been changed. Why, you ask? Daddy has been switched to the night shift at work. Mostly, we like the change because we get to spend time together in the mornings and have time to do things outside of our home together, but it's been difficult getting the hours we need for him to work so far. Hopefully things will turn around soon in that area. Either way, I enjoy waking up with Daddy and getting to spend time with him. It does make seeing him leave for work more difficult, but it's survivable.

This weekend is September 1st, 2012 - my 21st birthday. Only the Lord could have known I would be married to Daddy and, 10 months and 1 day later, be expecting you to be born any time now. I wouldn't necessarily say I've "accomplished" much, but I am happy with where I am. I love being married to Daddy and knowing I can always count on him to be there for me, just as I will always be there for him. I love spending time with Grandma and my good friends when I get the chance.

I got a text message today from someone asking me how Daddy and I were doing. I told him how everything was and one of the last things I said was this: "I know we'll be okay but I guess you could say this is the point where we're stepping into the dark and putting our trust in the Lord." He, like other people I've spoken to, mentioned how he was glad we were keeping positive and keeping faith in the Lord. Really, though, there's no one better to put your trust in, and I'm glad I can honestly say I do trust Him completely. He has gotten me this far. I see no reason to stop trusting Him now. As far as being positive goes, I couldn't do this with any other attitude. Being a constant puddle in my bed is not an option. That doesn't mean Daddy and I won't cry or wish we could be holding you instead of thinking about what you're busy doing in Heaven, but the important thing is to keep the faith and realize that everything will be okay. The Lord's plan is not meant to bring eternal pain - it's meant to bring eternal happiness so, if everything is not okay, it's not the end. There's something comforting knowing that, even when things are tough, there's always something good to look forward to even if you can't actually see it at the moment.


Friday, August 24, 2012


Dear Sophia,

I have something I need to get out. There have been suggestions that hurt feelings could keep certain individuals from coming to see you after you are born. All I have to say is something I have already said: if you miss it, you miss it. There is no reconciliation on earth which will bring you, our angel, back to us for them, or anyone, to enjoy. If this momentous occasion is missed due to those reasons, I will not sit and listen to complaints when there was more than enough opportunity to have the experience they will wish they'd had years down the road. That's all I'm going to say about that.

I would also like to extend an invitation to those who care about you and our family to come support us at the hospital if they are able. For those who do come, I will have a small notebook where you will be able to write a message, if you desire, or just your name to make it clear you were there. I had a dear friend who has experienced a similar situation tell me most things that day will be a blur for me. From what I understand, giving birth can be traumatic enough without having to deal with a loss at the same time. I'm sure I will treasure any record created during that blur.

I understand that there are those who cannot handle death, and that's completely fine. I don't want anyone going too far out of their comfort zones. I just want it to be clear for those who can handle something like this, that this is a one-time only deal. There are no guarantees for anyone involved with this birth. All we can do is pray and be grateful for any time we get. Speaking of which, here is a quick run-down of how we're wanting things to go:

Daddy and I would like to be the only ones in the delivery room (except for the hospital staff and perhaps our cross-over hospital staff/friend photographer) while I'm in labor. After that, if your spirit hasn't left us yet, Daddy and our other male family and friends who are already at the hospital (there will be no waiting for anyone who isn't there, as no time amount of time is guaranteed) will give you a name and a blessing. No tests will be run, as there is no need, so we will just be cherishing the time we have with you. We love you sweetheart. I can't wait to meet you and enjoy the blessing of your very existence.


Thursday, August 16, 2012

Cervix Abuse

Dear Sophia,

Well, it appears the doctor is also anxious for you to come. I've been having contractions (of the Braxton Hicks variety, apparently) lately but I haven't dilated any further than I already was. I was actually relieved when the doctor only put on a glove to check my progress instead of pulling out the forceps (which I am not a fan of.) However, he decided he was going to push and push on my cervix like there was no tomorrow. I swear it felt like something was going to tear where it shouldn't! I was not pleased. Grandma thinks he was trying to thin out my cervix - I just wish he'd warned me he was going to be assaulting my innards.

In related news, you're bigger than I ever thought you were going to get. For some reason, the doctor actually measured around your abdomen and the length of one of your femurs, which he hadn't done in months. Shockingly, you're not too far behind in those areas! Your abdomen is at 31 weeks (and a day or two - I was too shocked by the first number to pay attention to the second) and your femur was at 33 weeks, like it's supposed to be!

Good girl. You're making Mommy proud. No wonder I'm getting to feel you from top to bottom inside me! In fact, the night before my appointment, I was sure I was feeling your foot as it pushed against the inside of my uterus. It felt solid, like a foot, rather than a hand or something else. Daddy was already practically asleep, so I didn't say anything to him. The next day, at my appointment, I felt the same thing - except that it was being jammed into my ribs. When the doctor did the ultrasound, he said you were laying head-down (not where it's supposed to be, of course, but down) so I was right! I had been feeling your tiny feet those times. It made me happy. For a little while, I felt closer to you than ever.

So, since you're laying down but your head isn't in the right place, I'm supposed to do these exercises to get you down in there. We'll see how those go and if they do the trick or not. All I know is you either don't like them because you stop kicking after I do them or you find them comforting, like a cradle. Either way, I hope they work. I was kinda hoping to do a vaginal birth, but we need you in place (and certainly not laying sideways like you like to do) to be able to do that! For now, I love you sweet girl. Keep on kickin'.


Friday, August 10, 2012


Dear Sophia,

I have been blessed with so many things in my lifetime. There's you and Daddy, to begin with, then being a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, and many more. In my last letter, I wrote about how I would be seeing a good friend of mine (Rachael Eggett) this week, and that happened last night! She came with her mother, whom I adore, and her husband, Kevin, whom I hadn't been able to meet yet (I was supposed to be a bridesmaid at their wedding but... long story there.) I brought my very good friend Erica, and Daddy came home from work a few minutes after they arrived - we had a full house! We played games, talked, laughed, I gobbled down a mass of tortilla chips and delicious avocado dip, and we all had a really great time. After Rachael and her family left, I asked Daddy, whom had never met any of them before, what he thought now that he'd met her in person. His reply was "I can see why you're friends. You seem to have very compatible personalities." As an added bonus, he mentioned how he thought Kevin was pretty cool too. (Rachael, if you're reading this, we both think you two are great for each other. He's a keeper!) I am so blessed to have such wonderful friends (including you, Shanna!), especially those who take time out of their out-of-state trip to come see little, er, plump-ol'-me. As for Erica, we spent practically the whole day together, as we tend to do, and I'm extremely grateful for her company whenever I get it as well!

On a related note, I have been blessed with an absolutely fabulous family. For example, grandma, who is very busy even without occasionally tending to me, came over and helped me clean up upstairs a little... or a lot. I was kinda freaking out because, even though Rachael said it would be fine if my house was messy (and trust me, it's still very, very messy in some rooms we aren't using at the moment) I wanted at least the room we'd be spending time in to be at least a little clean. SO, since I can't do a whole heck of a lot without getting exhausted or over-heated, I asked my dear mother to come over and help me. I did what I could, and she was awesome about the rest. It helped that Daddy and I (but mostly Daddy) had picked up the floor a lot last weekend so there wasn't quite as much to do as there could have been.

I love my mommy, Sophia. She has gone through carrying me, giving birth to me, and the nearly-21 years since then. She has, as I have grown up, allowed me to make my own decisions as long as I was following the spirit, whether it was spending the money I had earned on a new laptop for school or even riding in a cramped bus for hours on end so I could go meet Daddy, on my own, for the first time. She helped and supported me through the wedding which followed, and has been a continual source of love and support throughout Daddy and I's marriage. I love the fact that Daddy can comfortably call her "Mom" because she really has taken him in as her own and loved him like a son. I know you're not really supposed to pick family-favorites, but I think Grandma has certainly got to be waaaaayy up near the top, where you and Daddy are.

Changing the subject! Did you know cats can have blue skin? I didn't, but apparently they're less allergenic if they do - and my kittens do! At least on their backs - Penelope and Panda have pink skin on the bottom where they're white. It's like I don't even know them anymore! Ha - no, I guess I never thought to examine the color of their skins. I know their eyes, noses, paws, ears, eyelashes (yes, Panda has eyelashes), tails, and so on but it didn't occur to me to check out the skin on their backs. Weird.

As far as the kittens go, I have been so blessed to have them. While Daddy is away at work, and even while we're both home, they keep me company with cuddles and purrs I love. I don't even mind Penelope sleeping right up next to - or slightly on top of - my face. They are so precious to me and I am grateful to have them to care for and love on.

Changing the subject again - you sure are good at making me wonder. Last night, I couldn't move at all without feeling like I would be starting contractions... which means it was not fun waking up several times to use the restroom, although at least I got some sleep last night, as opposed to the night before. So, you wiggle-wiggle-wiggle all day, then keep my stomach tight at night. I see how it is! I still love you though. That's not changing.


Tuesday, August 7, 2012


Dear Sophia,

I've been thinking a lot about family lately. As a general rule, family is awesome. I am a firm believer that we are not meant to be alone on this earth. We each have specific talents and to survive, we need to work together. Plus, life can be pretty boring when you're all on your lonesome! You, little one, are part of a new generation of our family - our very large family. We have grandparents, aunts, uncles, in-laws, step-relatives, a few former foster-siblings up the line, and you even have a half-sister. But that's not all. Long story short, there's always someone to talk to or catch up with.

That's not to say that they won't get on your nerves - and seriously so - but there's always love there. A family isn't just one line of people who grew up together. It's a mish-mosh of people from different backgrounds. People get married, have babies, their babies get married and have babies (hopefully after about 18-20+ years), and it just spreads out from there. Different viewpoints, habits, traditions, and even religious beliefs are pushed together but they don't always mesh quite like you'd like them to. That just makes things interesting, I guess!

POINT IS, family is important. That's why the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints focuses so much on family history work, temple work, and keeping current records accurately. While it may not always be easy to deal with your family members, it's easy to love them and wish the best for them. As far as you are concerned, I am grateful for your existence. You may not be with us here on this earth very long, but you will always be a part of our family and we will always love you no matter what.

In other news, we hit the 8 month/32 week mark on Monday. It's crazy to think how long you've already been around. As far as we know, we have already been through a majority of your time here on earth. At least I get to feel you wiggling around a lot. Sometimes you even kick me unexpectedly and I jump (which is initially shocking, but I ultimately enjoy it.)

In other other news, my friend Rachael is in town!! I haven't seen her in over a year but we're gonna be meeting up this week and I'm SO EXCITED! That is all.


Sunday, July 29, 2012

All In A Moment

Dear Sophia,

I'm realizing it just takes a moment - one moment - to change the course of your life. A person will have many such moments in their lifetime: deciding to go to college or not, meeting your spouse, the birth of a child, some joyous or terrible news, etc. Before meeting Daddy, I was in an unhappy relationship, feeling like I was supposed to be married soon but knowing my boyfriend would be a poor choice. Then Daddy came along and changed everything in a matter of days. We're currently waiting for your birth, following the reception of heartbreaking news. Up until that day, if you discount the uneasy feelings I'd been having, I was thinking we'd have a healthy baby girl around the beginning of October.

Then the news hit, and everything changed. No more making little baby hats. No more searching for cute, inexpensive furniture to use once you arrived. The crib came down. Our first onesie, a gift from Grandma, was quietly folded and stored out of sight. It's hard to believe our family is expecting an addition with how little preparation it seems we have done. Our preparation is different - it's doing everything we can to ensure we'll remember you in this life. It's a stuffed rabbit sitting on a shelf for future cuddles; a small purple backpack with papers collected during this time; a plaque given to us by  a friend. It's having a hospital bag filled to the brim with things like a footprint kit, a white, handmade blanket to wrap your tiny body in, and a small white rabbit puppet Daddy picked out for you.

This isn't the typical path, but it is ours to take.

Then there is the moment I go into labor. I don't know when it will come, but I will not be ready. There's no good way to prepare for the first little expression of pure love between a husband and wife to be taken swiftly back to heaven after you've had a blink's-worth of time with them. I can't say it's not fair. Somewhere there is a couple who cannot conceive no matter how hard they try; somewhere there's a child who has no access to the correct nutrition and clean water and will likely lose his life to disease, if not starvation; somewhere there's a spouse who has lost their better-half and has no idea what to do next.

I may not like it, but we are not alone in our suffering. Today in church, it was my turn to teach the Sunday school lesson. The topic was the Life of Christ. If anyone can say something is not fair, it's Him... but he would never even think of saying that. He is the only person who can completely relate to our sufferings, as He has already borne them all. It's a comfort to know He is there and know we are not alone, although I would be lying if I said that makes this completely easy to go through. There will be pain, both physical and mental in nature. His desire is to ease our sorrows, not make it so they had not happened.

In these moments, our lives have been changed. We have learned to love even a daughter we will never deeply know in this life, and how to better love each other through and after trials. We have gained hope for the future, and a renewed desire to be the kind of parents you deserve. You, my darling girl, have changed us for the better. This is all a part of the Lord's plan, and I am honored to be your mother on this earth, regardless of the difficulties it brings. Thank you. Daddy and I love you immensely. Although I know our meeting will be brief, I look forward to it with great anticipation. You are our angel and will be beautiful beyond belief in our eyes, no matter the outcome. Good night for now.


Monday, July 23, 2012


Dear Sophia,

Last night, we got home from our weekend trip to Iowa to see family. Overall, I'd say it was good. We left Saturday morning after Aunt Kym got off work. I don't think I've ever packed so much for just a weekend trip. In addition to the cooler with our water and bag of dry goodies, and the clothes for sleeping in and Sunday (which, for both Daddy and I, fit into a small duffel bag), we brought a bunch of our favorite card games and the game of LIFE to play with your aunt and uncles. While we were engaged, I remember watching Aunt Brittany and Uncle Brandon play many rounds of "It Came to Pass" while they were listening to their science lessons. We also had to bring the hospital bag and urn. I guess that doesn't actually sound like a whole lot, but it felt like a lot when we were packing it all and stuffing it into the car!

Being pregnant on a road trip is awesome (read: NOT awesome.) We stopped two or three times just so I could use the restroom. The first place we stopped was a Walmart in Lamoni, where we saw this awesome horse and buggy!

Horse and buggy parked at Walmart!
(Please excuse the dirty window.)
I do not envy the man who was driving this. The weather was decent, but still hot like it has been for a while. Maybe he's used to it, but maybe since he has no other option he just deals with it! Hard to say. Still, no envy there.

I was happy when we got into town. I didn't get car sick but I was so exhausted and SO ready for a nap. We talked for a few minutes then Daddy and I went upstairs to take our much-needed nap. I'm just gonna throw this out there - Daddy is a great cuddler. We always cuddle before we go to sleep, even if we're just taking a nap, and I love that. I also love that he insists on it if I'm being a stinker - it's not just that I want to cuddle. He really is my cuddle bug. :)

Church on Sunday was good. My body was not fond of the 40-minute drive, especially because I had way too little cool air on me. At one point, I felt like I was on the edge of an anxiety attack. No bueno. I told Daddy and he did everything he could to make me calm, but it was difficult. Once we got there, we sat down for Sacrament, which is an hour... right after sitting in a hot car for 40 minutes. I'll just say that most of Sunday school was spent walking around to give my back a rest.

I felt like such a bad guest, because guess what followed church? Nap time. Seriously. I was pooped. I swear I was enjoying spending time with them! If you could ask Daddy, he would say I told him multiple times how excited I was to go.

Speaking of naps, one thing we SHOULD have brought with us was pillows. In our own bed, I sleep with three pillows and I think I've gotten Daddy to start sleeping with two. At one point in the trip, we went with Grandma Lacey and Uncle Bryan to get a filter for an imminent oil change on one of the cars. The car stuff was at the back of the store, and on the way back up to check out, we spotted some pillows. But they weren't just ordinary pillows! Oh no. They were BODY pillows. I've never had a body pillow before, but I wanted one, especially because we hadn't brought any of our own pillows. I looked at Daddy and said "Can I get one?" - accompanied, of course, by big puppy dog eyes.

He said yes! So we picked up a body pillow for me and a regular pillow for him. Of course, now we needed a pillow case for the body pillow, so that was our next stop. We found a soft, fuzzy, brown pillow case with no tags. It was the only one there, but it was the one Daddy and I liked the best so we took it up to the front with us.

Once we got there, I immediately told the cashier our situation and she took it over to a manager to decide what to do with it. At one point, the manager looked at me and said "How does five dollars sound?" I said "Sounds great!" and, although it had been in a group with a bunch of seven-dollar covers (which we had told them) and we had been willing to pay that, we got it for five. Woo! I was so excited I put the cover on in the front seat of the car! I love my body pillow, but my cuddle bug is still my most favorite cuddle instrument. ;)

I really enjoyed our trip. It was nice to get to see people we hadn't seen in a few months. On our way out of Iowa, we stopped at the spot where we first met, and kissed. It was wonderful and really interesting thinking of how far we'd come since that first day. I even took a picture of the place:

Say hello to the Iowa State bus stop. :)
At the end of the day, I was still glad to be home in our own bed, cuddling with Daddy and my body pillow. I had also missed my kitties! It was great to get to pet them again.

Unfortunately, we did have to stop at the hospital once we got back into town. Even after laying down for half an hour, I was still feeling really off. It took the nurse there about two hours to determine nothing was happening and it would be safe to go home. She also had to stick me in both arms (and dig around in one of them) for blood. I was not happy, but at least she could say we were alright. My doctor asked to see me today for an ultrasound, just in case. We'll see how that goes.

I'm just glad everything's okay and we're home safe and sound. I liked Iowa, but home is definitely where the heart is.


Tuesday, July 17, 2012


Dear Sophia,

I'm having one of those days where I realize how much I love your Daddy. Last night, he found a card game we'd been given as a wedding gift and brought it upstairs for us to learn and play. We started at 11pm, and finally went to bed at 1am after quite a few rounds. It's not the most fun game I've ever played, but it was amazing spending time with Daddy like that: sitting cross-legged on our bed playing a card game on a cardboard box for hours. I love how, even when he doesn't get home at a decent hour, he takes the time to make me feel special. Yes, he still had to work today, and yes, he was probably a little tired when he got up, but what's important is he makes me feel like the queen he insists I am.

Tomorrow is July 18, and will mark 11 months since he first sent me that "You're beautiful!" flirt. I have been so blessed to have him in my life. He is a true gentleman and everything I've ever wanted. We have known each other in person for 11 months, starting on the 27th of this month, and have been married for 9 months, starting on the 29th. To this day, he still opens the car door for me, holds my hand at every possible moment, and requires cuddle time before going to sleep. He is wonderful with children and great with communication - although it does take occasional prodding - and excited for the time when we can share sleepless nights raising our little ones together. I can always count on him to be there for me and those who are dear to us. He is truly my knight in shining armor.

He calls me when he gets off work, which I love. Last night, we even had a spitting contest over the phone. It was hilarious! Oh, that's another thing: he makes me laugh! I have already written down a list of times he made me laugh in this post. He is also fantastic at taking care of me. One time, he came home and I was really overheated so he had me get into a cold bath and sponged cold water over me for a good fifteen minutes. It was so incredibly sweet. I have been pregnant for a majority of our marriage, with no shortage of morning sickness, overheating, dizziness, and mood swings, but he has been so kind and nurturing throughout.

As I type, he is on his way home and I couldn't be more excited! I cherish this worthy priesthood holder who loves me and is willing to work with me as we strive to better ourselves. We have this wonderful gift of getting to spend eternity together and learning the Gospel. We have recently started getting into the habit of regular prayers together, and we've been working on establishing Family Home Evenings while we're still a young family. If it's up to us, we'll have little ones well-versed in the Gospel and who love it just as much as we do, if not more. When we are following the Lord's will, we have such great blessings heaped upon us, and no matter how difficult life may be, we can get through it.

I am eternally grateful for having such an amazing companion. You can be sure I'll communicate that clearly when I see him in a few minutes! You came to a couple who loves you, and each other, sweetie pie. I can see why you'd come to us. Without the support system I have through your daddy (and many others), it would be difficult for me to be so cheery while all of this is going on. Just know that you won't be forgotten. In fact, you will be celebrated as the first show of our love for each other; a little piece of both of us molded into a perfect, heavenly package. Thank you. We love you Sophia.


Monday, July 16, 2012

If This Keeps Happening...

Dear Sophia,

First, a health update: While this heat is not wonderful, I'm alright. I'm getting more frequent pains/discomfort in my lower back and lower... front-area and you've apparently found - and thoroughly enjoy - my bladder. I felt compelled to apologize to Erica in advance if I pee on her furniture or my water breaks on anything. I feel like I constantly need to keep a bathroom radar going. Fun, fun, fun! Oh, and something I didn't know about pregnancy is how ridiculously sweaty you can get! I'm typically a sweaty person anyway, but since a certain point in this pregnancy, I've been sweat-city. I get those super-attractive little sweat marks under my chest area if I do anything. Whoever decided to create maternity shirts out of material which shows moisture has a sick sense of humor. 

The last few days have been interesting. I've been really moody lately when any little thing happens. That, and crying very easily. There was a Relief Society activity on Thursday with an item swap. Grandma and I got there early because she was in charge. I wasn't feeling well, especially because the room we were holding the meeting in was really warm when we got there. For about an hour, I sat and watched as people brought their items in. As our ward is very young, we had many women bringing in unused baby clothes and a few other baby items. I ended up crying... It feels so strange to be this pregnant and not preparing to care for your little one once they're born. My visiting teaching companion was so sweet. She offered to take me somewhere else (partially because she was nervous about teaching her chair yoga class) but it was nice of her to think about it! I declined. Eventually, I was alright. The activity was nice, and I liked having something to do while Daddy was busy at work.

Ultimately, I ended up with a changing table and the baby clothes which weren't spoken for. I figured it couldn't hurt to collect the ones people didn't want or need for now so we'll have something to start with once your sibling comes along. We also ended up with a ceiling fan (thank goodness - I can't count how many times I've almost killed myself on my way upstairs because it was so dark), a window fan (our house is way too large to not have some kind of meaningful ventilation in more areas than one), and a long shelf/coat hanger which we can put in this weird area in our front room. I was really happy about it all.

Well, we've gotten *somewhere* with Onna's mother. At least she's not insisting that Daddy go alone anymore. Now she's basically telling us her chosen supervisor has very little time off, so it may be a couple months before we can even think about seeing Daddy's little princess. Ugh. On a good note, we might have a lawyer who would be willing to assist us without charging us for their services. That would be so amazing, since I've gone over the budget again and again, and we won't have the necessary money so we can even think about hiring a lawyer until the beginning of 2014. Blah. We'll see how things play out, I guess.

Mreh. I'm kinda making myself grumpy again. I'll check in at a later time.


Wednesday, July 11, 2012


Dear Sophia,

Today. Today I have been searching for a lawyer who can help us see your half-sister, Onnamaria. For over a month, we struggled to get her mother to even respond to us, and now she's refusing to let Daddy have someone there with him to prevent the kind of accusations which have been thrown at him before. So far my search has been fruitless, but I will eventually prevail! When Mommy is determined about something, it gets done, one way or another. Daddy may not get to spend much time with you (not that he wouldn't LOVE to get to snuggle you all hours of the day), but I'm doing my best to make sure he can see his other little princess.

My obstetrician appointment was yesterday. We're pretty sure the nurses from the hospital told him how we'd been feeling, because he was a lot more attentive and talkative than usual. Although I wish he'd given me a meaningful picture of you, the visit was nice. He told me he'd been praying for us, and praying that we'd be blessed with a healthy baby next. He checked your heart rate (a healthy 140bpm) and did a pelvic exam to see if anything more had happened. (I haven't progressed dilation-wise, but that's okay. It'll happen when it's supposed to happen.) He then reminded me that both he and Grandma are there for me if and when I need to talk to someone, and we were soon on our way. I think the whole visit took fifteen minutes, but I was more satisfied about this visit than others in recent months. 

Yesterday, I posted something on my Facebook account, which I want to include here for those who may not have seen it:

"Thank you to all those who have been so thoughtful throughout the last several months. We have felt very loved and cared-for. This has not been easy but it has been a great time of learning and growth which I believe we were always intended to have. The Gospel is true and the Lord loves us. He has not left us alone in this time of trial, and has been so generous in sending so many angels to tend to us. Thank you again."

That's it for now. I love you sweetie!


Monday, July 9, 2012


Dear Sophia,

We have an outside cat named Stella. She's the sweetest little thing. She used to belong to my aunt, but when they moved we wanted her, and she ended up with us. As a kitten, she was cared for at our house for a while, which is when she got her name. She was TINY and malnourished. I don't even know if we knew how old she was at that point. She had been found by a member of our family outside, and just needed some loving and a nice, big bowl of food and water. We kept her in a bathroom downstairs. She was so small that we didn't want to just let her walk around the house and possibly get lost, but I did enjoy letting her out while I was downstairs in the kitchen. She would follow me around and rub up on my legs, arms, wherever she could get to. 

I don't remember when she ended up back with my aunt, but she did. They called her Mew, but she will always be my Stella. In any case, we have had her for a few months now. In that time, she got pregnant. This was recently, so after your diagnosis, and I got frustrated. It seemed like even my cat could have babies, but I would be having a daughter who wouldn't survive. That "fair" word briefly came to mind. Of course her babies and mine have nothing to do with each other, but thoughts of you are never far from my mind.

We usually see her whenever we go outside either on our porch or in our yard, or the yard/porch of our neighbors to the left. However, when going out one day, I realized I hadn't seen her in a day or two. I wanted to make sure she was okay, so I called her until she finally came. For quite a while, she had been getting bigger because of the pregnancy, but today she was smaller. Alarmed, I checked her backside, and there was blood. It was strange, because I knew I had never felt movement the many times I'd examined her stomach. It may be silly, but I asked "Where are your babies, Stella?" She just meowed, and looked like everything was perfectly fine.

It has been a couple days now, and we're sure she has miscarried. Her kittens are nowhere to be found, and her nipples show no obvious signs of use. Add that to the fact that neither Grandma (whom I talked to yesterday) nor I felt any movement up until this point, and it seems pretty obvious that there are no living kittens to care for.

I've never owned a cat who miscarried, and I've certainly never owned a cat who miscarried while I was pregnant with a baby with a fatal birth defect. I was sitting outside on the steps this morning petting her when all of that hit me. Tears came to my eyes over this cat mother who had lost her babies - whom I had previously envied. I felt bad for resenting her ability to have kittens while I was losing you, especially in light of recent events. At that moment, I started petting her with a new purpose. I wanted to comfort this animal which I cared about, and let her know she wasn't alone. I know what it's like to be losing my own "kitten."

Maybe it's silly to assume she is going through the same feelings I am. Maybe it's silly to think she even cares or understands what happened. But maybe, just maybe, she is exactly what I needed. I needed this sweet little animal which I care about, and who may or may not be affected by those experiences, to go through something similar. I don't wish any discomfort on her. As anyone who knows me is aware, I am definitely a cat person. I can't stand seeing them in pain or too hot, or in precarious situations, but the Lord's plan is perfect. He allows these little similarities to take place so we may find comfort in our companions, human or otherwise.

I hope Daddy and I will eventually have little ones of our own to take care of, but this is our current reality. Like I told a friend a little while ago, "Charles and I were talking last night and I asked him how many children he thought we were gonna have. He said 4 or 5, and my brain said 6 (for whatever reason) but I just can't picture that for us right now. My reality is taking the crib down at 17 weeks because I just can't look at it. It's fighting to be able to see my step-daughter whom I've never met because her mother 1) refused to return contact for so long and 2) is now refusing to allow Charles to protect himself from false witnesses." Someday things will be better. Someday we'll see you again, and also have your brothers and sisters with us. Someday we'll get to spend some time with Daddy's little princess, Onnamaria. Someday.

The Gospel is true. The Lord's plan is perfect, as are you. It will just be nice when we can see you again and enjoy the fruition of His perfect plan in eternity. I love you sweetie. I'm sure we'll see you soon.


(P.S. Got a couple bits of good news yesterday!

1. The lady in the ward who said she was going to get a dress and cap for you came through. Grandma handed me a little white clothing box with pretty pink ribbon glued to the front. I wasn't sure how to take it at first, but I decided to take a look at it a little bit later. It's so beautiful, sweetie. I'm sure it will be too big for your perfectly tiny body, but I certainly appreciate the gesture. It's so hard to know how big you're going to be when you finally arrive. Either way, you will be perfect. No matter what size, no matter how long you do or don't live, you will be perfect.

2. We had another lady in the ward offer to be a back-up photographer if we can't get a hold of our other photographers or they don't make it in time. Additionally, I guess the nurses from our original obstetrics unit visit had called her to ask if she knew, because she is also LDS, if there was anything special they needed to do for us during delivery and afterward. I had already been told they'd called Alexandra's House to make sure we'd gotten in contact with them for help, so I thought it was sweet of them to go even further for us. Grandma then told me she'd offered to be a nurse that day. She actually works at the hospital in the obstetrics unit, usually, but she has been on leave so she can work on her relatively new work attire business. Even though she has been on leave, she offered to come in especially for us.

I felt so special. First we have a woman from the ward provide an adorable dress for our angel to wear, then we have another woman offer all the services she can. I love the Lord's organizational skills. He puts us in these groups where we have the ability to serve each other and love those around us. He is truly amazing.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

And So It Begins

Dear Sophia,

Yesterday was... insane, to say the least. It was the fourth of July, and we started our with only five hours of sleep (because we went to sleep at 2am and woke up at 7 to be ready for the day.) First on our list was to pick up Erica and her niece who is staying with her to go to the ward breakfast. It was yummy! We had pancakes, bacon, and either milk or orange juice. We sat next to Erica's in-laws, and enjoyed some light conversation before we ate. Once more people started coming, we left to clear out some space for those who hadn't eaten yet.

Our next stop was Erica's house, where we played several rounds of cards before her mother-in-law showed up with the ward's parade float. At the time, we were in the middle of a game of Phase 10 (and I had a really great hand, by the way) but we stopped to help the youth finish the float before the parade. It was super hot outside, and, although I brought glass of ice water outside, it wasn't long before I was way too hot. Of course, Charles had told me to go inside ten minutes earlier, but I just had to wait until I was getting dizzy. Once inside, I laid down and promptly fell asleep. A little later, Charles came in and Grandma called to say the whole family was having an impromptu get-together early that evening.

We headed home to give me a chance to take an actual nap in my own bed. Of course, I couldn't sleep, but that's okay. Grandma came in and we discussed options for fighting for Daddy's right to see your half-sister, Onnamaria. We've been trying to arrange a time to see her, but her mother has refused to respond to any of our attempts at contact. It's really sad. Daddy loves her so much, but he hasn't gotten to see her since she was 8 months old. Her birthday is tomorrow, actually. She'll be two years old! I made a cute (if I do say so myself) little birthday card for her, and Daddy and I both left a message inside of it for her. Of course, we don't have her address so we had to send it to her Grandma's house, but we sent it! That's what matters. I hope she gets it.

Next, we went over to the family party at Great-Grandma's house, and had a wonderful meal. It was nice seeing everyone. Shortly after we finished eating, my back started to hurt. I was really uncomfortable, but still feeling you move, which was good. After a couple of hours, it was still hurting so Daddy, Grandma, and I went to the hospital to get checked out. On the way there, I got pretty hysterical. I know what is going to happen eventually, but that doesn't mean it doesn't frighten or upset me. Daddy was upset too, but he was more worried about you and I more than anything.

Once there, we went straight to the obstetrics unit. They let us in and allowed me to choose which room I wanted to go into. I chose "room 3" which is where we were on our first visit, and we went through a couple of the same things: urine sample, getting hooked up to a bunch of machines, etc, except this time you weren't such a stinker and allowed the nurse to find you pretty easily. Also, she said she and the other nurse had just been talking about us, and she mentioned how we hadn't been in in a while. Oops?

Apparently my urine came back fine, so they decided to take some blood samples and test them too. The nurse was exceptionally gentle, and I didn't even feel the prick. Soon enough, though, those came back fine too. The next step was a pelvic exam. (Yaaaaayyyy...) When they started pulling the curtain up, Daddy looked confused and was letting it close in from of him. I looked at him and said "What do you think you're doing?" and the nurse was like "You can come in here!" He hurriedly came over to my side, and said he hadn't known if he was allowed to be on that side with me.

In any case, the nurse did the exam (awkward) and came up a minute later. She said my cervix was "soft and long", and I am at "fingertip." According to my October 6th due date, I'm not even 27 weeks yet. I don't know about you, but it's looking like my feeling was right. It looks like I will, indeed, be delivering you, our little Miss Sophia early. We'll see what my doctor says on Tuesday.

After being discharged, we went back over to Erica's and played more games until Daddy and I were tired, went home, and went to bed. It was certainly a long day.

This morning, I woke up feeling awful. I was all stuffed up, which I had been since doing all that crying yesterday, and it was gross. Thankfully, I'm all *clear* now, if you know what I mean, but still stuffed up and sore-throated. Meh. Hopefully I'll get feeling better soon, and you won't be harmed in the process.


Tuesday, July 3, 2012

A Short Story by Great Aunt Dianna

Call Me Sophie
A Short Story by Dianna Zaragoza – grand-aunt of Sophia Grace Lacey

My name is Sophia.

Mommy and Daddy call me Sophia, but sometimes I call myself Sophie.

Not always. Just sometimes.

Sophia sounds like a dark, still lake of water, fetching and mysterious.

Sophie sounds like sofa, which is my favorite place in the world. I curl up with my mommy, and my favorite purple blanket that I never let go of, and my kittens. I wrap myself into a big purple ball and I'm a kitty, breathing deeply.

Sophia is a dancer, flowing and graceful like the top of a music box that sings ‘Christofori’s Dream’.

Sophie is a twirler. I pull long birthdays streamers of purple around me until I’m wrapped up like a big purple present to life – for its birthday.

Sophia is elegant enough to have tea with the queen – pinkies up please.

Sophie can have tea parties with her stuffed animals and her kitties – which is better than the queen, since I keep all my lemon tea cakes to myself. (Well, almost all – Daddy can have one, if he wants.)

Sophia has long hair, a long neck, long arms and a smile like a string of perfect pearls.

Sophie has long feet (which is better for paddling in the water anyway) – thanks to Mommy. She also has a long horizontal grin that makes other people’s smiles more beautiful instead – thanks to Daddy.

Sophia is neat and clean – never a hair out of place.

Sophie has many hairs out of place (a lot) and the fun of getting them out of place is more than worth the brushing Mommy inflicts on me later.

Sophia is powerful. She can tell people what to do, and everyone listens.

Sophie can give people a good piece of her mind, and then everyone listens…and laughs.

Which is always a good thing, people laughing. Sophie likes to make people laugh. Sophie honks like a little goose when she laughs, and Sophia would never do that.

Sophia is…tired.

So is Sophie.

Time to sleep. Until the morning. And dream of Mommy and Daddy, and purple, and twirling and grandmas and grandpas, and aunts and uncles and so many people who are thinking of me. I think of them too, and hug them all.

In their dreams.

Goodnight, Sophie. Goodnight, Sophia.


Excitement (Apostrophe a Million Times)

Dear Sophia,

So, first, I know it's not "apostrophe" - that's an inside joke between Daddy and I which I recorded in this post.

Second, ahh!! We're going to try to move the teeny-tiny-no-light kitchen into a different part of the house and make the old kitchen spot a large pantry for food storage and such. I'm sooooo excited! Like I told Daddy, it's like we're finally doing something (more than painting) which will be making this house totally ours. Love love love. I can't wait. Of course, at least parts of it will have to wait until we have the money to do them (like moving the outlet for the stove and moving the sink to the other side of the wall) BUT there are plenty of free projects when you're doing them by yourself, and I can't wait!  

Along the same lines, we're planning on taking out the non-functioning tub downstairs and replacing it with cabinets for storage space. Of course, that'll leave us with 1.5 baths for the whole house, but that's what we're living with now so whatev's. It might actually be worthwhile to see about fixing the broken hot water pipe down there so we can at least put a shower stall in and have hot water coming out of the sink too, but we'll have to see what that would take. Two full bathrooms would be nice. We have a non-functioning quarter-bath too, but the bedroom right next to it is super tiny and there's a weird space next to both which doesn't do anything, and I'd like to just knock those walls out and make that bedroom bigger. It doesn't have a closet either, so we might want to address that. Bah. I'm just excited all around. I really hope we can do what needs to be done here at one point or another.

Third, the lovely ladies from AH ordered your urn! I can't thank them enough. We have been so blessed to have them in our lives. It should be here in a few days so I'm so excited!

Fourth, Daddy hasn't been feeling well. I've been doing what I can to help him feel better, but I think it's up to his body now. Hmm.

Well, I guess that's all for now, sweetie. I love you!