8/5/14

August 5th 2014 was the day we got a glimpse that God maybe, just maybe, wanted to place Sarge in our family.

It’s crazy to think back to that time. One year ago today we traveled to the mountains for what we thought was going to be a restful week of vacation with the family. And then – with one phone call that came while we were sitting down to eat at our favorite pizza place – our world was rocked. It’s interesting to me how life can change so suddenly, with no warning. One moment you are sitting down to dinner with your husband, two children and parents and the next moment…..your heart is breaking for a baby you’ve never laid eyes on.

I came back to the table with a cloud of doom written all over my face. I could hardly eat. I think I did eat but my mind was hundreds of miles away with a little baby boy.

In those moments, I didn’t know what God was doing. All I had were the facts of what was going on right then and there. And it scared me for that little baby. I wanted the best for him, but what if what I wanted for him wasn’t what God wanted for him?

From that day forward, my mind was focused on this situation. I knew in my heart that I wanted to step in and say we’ve changed our minds, yes, we can adopt him after all. Even though I wanted to say that, a baby right now was the furthest thing from my mind prior to August 5th! Remember, we had had to say no to adopting Sarge back in March, when we first learned of him. It was hard to say no, but I knew it was necessary, given our circumstances back in March of 2014. I had tried to imagine what life would be like if we did adopt him, and I had decided a newborn on top of homeschooling the girls was just too much! There was no way. A newborn didn’t fit in our life.

So, desiring to adopt him when we got the news on August 5th was scary. We were in no way financially prepared to adopt. Domestic infant adoption is expensive. We’d already depleted savings twice in five years. We were trying to build up a savings – not deplete it even further!

My mind was so far removed from having a newborn. I had sold my baby stuff on Craigslist in March (yes, two weeks before we first got the phone call about Sarge). In my mind, our family was moving to the next stage of life. Our girls were growing up, we were moving out of the baby/toddler phase and into the phase of having kids that aren’t tied down to napping and eating schedules. I was really looking forward to that!! After 5 years of naptimes and bedtimes trumping fun activities, I was really looking forward to some flexibility there and having older kids that we could go and do stuff with.

But God.

As usual, God had other plans for me. Since deciding to grow our family back in 2007, God has time and time again asked me to surrender my plans for His. And I’ve done it every time and I’ve been witness to the amazing hand of God moving in ways that are not humanly possible to do things that only a God who loves and cares for His children can do. I’ve witnessed miracle after miracle after miracle.

While life swirled around me at this news, my heart was quiet….and still. I knew God had a plan for this baby. I knew He was in control of where he ultimately ended up. I knew God would work out all the details to place him in our family if that was where He desired him to be. I knew I had to sit back and wait for God to reveal His plan and then GO if God called me to go.

In the wee hours of the morning, two and a half weeks after we got that phone call, we were called to GO. We got up in the middle of the night, threw some items in a bag and left town for the next 27 days. At the time, we had no way of knowing it was going to be for that long.

As I am sitting here reflecting on last year, one thing seems to be at the forefront of my mind: When God calls you to GO, He equips you.

As I look back on this past year, God has taken care of every single detail concerning adopting a baby with absolutely no notice.

The first few days in the NICU with Sarge were surreal. I couldn’t believe I had a newborn son. I felt like I was living someone else’s life. It took a while for reality to set in that I actually had a 3rd child and my first son. In fact, even months after bringing Sarge home I would have those moments where I would look at Sarge while feeding him or rocking him before bed, and think “How in the world did this happen?!”. I had to consciously shift my mind-set while in the NICU and tell myself that this was God’s plan for my life at this time instead of what I had thought I would be doing in August of that year!

God gave me every single thing I needed while we spent that time at the NICU. Every single thing. I compared it to the Israelites receiving their daily manna from the Lord. That’s how that NICU experience was for me. Those were some of the hardest weeks of my life physically and emotionally but God gave me what I needed to get through each and every day.

While there, I instantly knew what Sarge needed, and this carried on when we came home with him too. I would be sitting in the hospital holding him, watching him going through withdrawal, and it would hit me like a ton of bricks exactly what he needed. This happened with his feeding schedule there and with the weaning process of his morphine. I would know exactly what needed to be done differently, would discuss it with the nurses first, then the doctor and then once the doctor gave the official okay to do things the way I knew they needed to be done, it was always a good thing in the end for Sarge’s recovery. This was an intuition that I had no doubt that came from the Lord. It was so humbling knowing God had literally sent me to that baby’s bedside to be his advocate and HE was guiding me every step of the way in knowing what Sarge needed.

Back home, while we were in the NICU with Sarge, things were happening on the home front too. Without warning, my brother called my parents the morning after we had left in the middle of the night, to tell them we had gone. My parents took over care of Little Bug and Sweet Pea for the entire 4 weeks we were away, which was no small task. That’s my parents though – they step in and do what needs to be done. My parents took over our human children and Dave’s parents, again without any hesitation, stepped up and took our fur baby. And – still to this day – almost 1 year later, they still have her. When we returned home, taking care of a dog on top of 2 active girls and an NAS baby was too much to handle. They willingly said they would keep her and she is so well taken care of there. She wasn’t getting the attention she deserved at our house and is much happier with them. We have both been blessed with amazing parents who step up to help when we need it however we need it.

Like I mentioned, I sold my baby stuff right before we got the first call about Sarge. Have no fear! Our connection group at church began taking baby donations that were pouring in. By the time the donations of baby clothes and baby gear had all come in, I could have opened my own second hand baby store – that was how much we were given! We had to come back one day to do a quick home study about a week or so after Sarge was born and we decided to drive home the night before our home study the next day. We arrived home and my mom had been going through all the donations for us and had everything spread out in our bedroom. We arrived home close to midnight. I was too tired to move everything off the bed, so we ended up sleeping in the girls’ beds that night! I remember standing at my bedroom door, looking at all the donations and just simply being amazed that all of that had been given to us in a moment’s notice. God was taking care of everything….right down to having clothes for this baby for months to come!

When I can freely share the story of Sarge, you will see how God doesn’t take hard circumstances away from us sometimes because He uses the hard circumstances of life to teach us and to show up in our lives when we desperately need something outside our own strength to get through.

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These past 18 months I could not have lived through in my own strength. I’ve needed Him every step of the way and He’s been there. Every step of the way.

Life with 3

Three small children, homeschooling and nurturing a baby to health makes life pretty busy, but it’s been a very long time since I updated on the family so I thought I would do that now.

Blogging here has come to a stand still of sorts because I am just waiting for the appropriate time to share about all God has done in our family since last January. The time will come. I just don’t know when that time will be. But I will share because I can’t stay quiet about what God has done. It has been a wild ride, to say the least, but the thread of God’s faithfulness is ever present.

While we have definitely settled into a new normal, life is pretty busy around here. I constantly feel “behind”. Obviously I have felt behind in our homeschooling all year because we didn’t really get started until after Christmas, but I’ve come to terms with that and you can read about that here. It’s the maintaining the housework and keeping up with all three children that leaves me feeling behind most of the time.

But I am working on figuring out how to get everything accomplished to where I don’t feel behind! I was told that I needed to lower my expectations but I am not talking about washing baseboards and dusting blinds! I am talking about tasks that have to happen. Like laundry. I’ve tried just about every laundry system out there it seems but I still don’t feel like I’ve reached a new groove with tackling the laundry weekly instead of it tackling me daily!

The girls are doing well. Little Bug is enjoying her school she attends three days a week. I am a little nervous about how things are going to go once she is home again full-time, but we will figure it out. At the same time, I cannot wait to have her home again. I feel like the three days she is at school, I miss so much. Little Bug going to school was certainly not my plan but it has been a blessing for our family during this season.

Sweet Pea is doing well. She is loving her one-on-one time with Mommy while Little Bug is at school. We needed this time together. The time I was away from her while Sarge was in the NICU was very hard on Sweet Pea. She developed some insecurities but we have worked through those with her.

These pictures were taken on Valentine’s Day

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Sarge is doing well too. He has come so far and is thriving. I was taking him on a walk in my parents’ neighborhood and someone was out in their yard and saw us coming and stopped to say hi. Knowing nothing about Sarge’s start to life, the man said, “He looks so healthy!”. I just said, “He is!”. As we kept walking I thought about that and how far Sarge has come. He does look healthy and he is healthy. At 7 months old, he is nearly 16 pounds and is the sweetest baby boy I have ever laid eyes on. Part of my “lack of time” is because I won’t let him hold his own bottle and then after he is finished eating, I sit and hold and snuggle him. Sarge has taught me to live in the moment more. Not a day goes by that I don’t think about how God brought him to us. It’s astounding. I won’t be able to tell his story in just one post. It will be multiple posts with multiple stories coming together to tell another story about how God painted a picture of His Redemption over a very ugly, broken season in our life.

This blog is nearly seven years old and was born during one of my darkest times in life. I will never forget what it was like to go through infertility but sometimes those days seem like they happened in a different lifetime. I am not the same person I was when I started this blog. I am not the same person I was when I wasn’t yet a mother. The journey of the past almost 8 years has been incredible. Had I known the roads I was going to travel when I was standing at the alter on my wedding day….I would have been engulfed in a sea of emotions too overwhelming for me to grasp on that day.

I miss writing here. I look forward to the day I can start writing again.

Operation Make Sarge a Bedroom

Operation Make Sarge a Bedroom has begun!!!

Sarge has had little corners in our home to call his own since he got home, which is fine, but I am so ready for this baby boy to have his own room and I am so excited to make a little boy nursery!

Last week we started the room shuffle. Our house has four bedrooms. The master bedroom, my brother’s bedroom and then the girls each had a bedroom. The original plan was for the girls to share a bedroom, but the more I thought about that, the more I was concerned that the girls’ sleep would drastically decline if they were expected to sleep in the same room. With the stress that our family is already under, I did not want to add to it unnecessarily because there was another option.

We decided to move our Homeschool Room to the Playroom and make what was our Homeschool Room be Little Bug’s room! With the girls not sharing a room, we had to give up having a playroom. This wasn’t a big deal at all because we have decreased the number of toys we have so our playroom didn’t have much in it anyway. Now, Little Bug’s room will serve as her bedroom/playroom as most of the toys that were in the playroom are now in her bedroom.

Last week we started moving everything around in the house. (I just tried not to look at the chaos knowing it was necessary to make the house organized eventually!)

With the help of my very good friend (who also happens to be my sister-in-law), we painted Little Bug’s old room blue today for Sarge!

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I love the color and I can’t wait to put this baby boy nursery together!

To decorate Sarge’s nursery, I am using these colors: baby blue (walls), dark blue, green and red.

I wanted the walls to be a baby blue color. When we found out about Sarge donations of baby items poured in. I was given a stripped white and dark blue crib sheet. We did purchase a cube organizer to have something to organize Sarge’s stuff in. The green cube organizers were on clearance, so I decided right then his accent color for his nursery would be dark blue and green!

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I received an adorable red car picture frame and decided another accent color would be red. I am planning on buying the letters of his name and painting the letters dark blue, green and red. For just throwing something together based on what I already had and what I had been given, I think his nursery is going to be very cute and I can’t wait to see it all put together!

Once it is all put together I will share some pictures! It’s still surreal I am making a baby boy nursery….but I am so excited to be doing so!

Update on Sarge

First of all, thank you for the words of encouragement after my last post. Writing about it all helped me so much. Telling our story Saturday night helped, too. I was really nervous about talking but at the same time, I was so ready to talk. Telling our story helps me keep the Big Picture of what God is doing. When you are stuck in the middle of hard circumstances, it is so easy to feel like you will be stuck there forever!

That’s how I’ve been feeling. It’s been very hard to see past where we are right now. But I know beyond a shadow of doubt our circumstances won’t stay this difficult and this challenging forever.

No season in life lasts forever. Time moves us all along and where we are today is not where we will be a year from now or even 6 months from now.

Sarge is now 12 weeks old! His adjusted age (from his due date) is 8 weeks old. Last night, for the very first time, Sarge slept from 11:30pm to almost 7am! I woke up this morning to his soft cries over the baby monitor, realized it was already light outside and immediately was trying to recall in my mind how the night went. How long was I up for with him? What time did he wake to eat? Suddenly, it dawned on me that he had not woken at all until just before 7am! I jumped out of bed and ran to check on him to make sure all was okay.

I am not getting my hopes up that this will be the norm from here on out. I fully expect more middle of the night feedings to be in my future, but this was a small victory that gives me BIG hope that he is slowly showing improvements.

When I think about his pain level now to eight weeks ago when we arrived home with him, there is definite improvement! There was a time when he would cry in pain through nearly every single bottle. There was a time when he would writh in pain after every single feeding. While he still has times of pain, he also has times of peace! I know, slowly, over time, his times of pain will be taken over by times of peace as his body continues to grow, mature and heal.

Sarge had his appointment with the GI doctor last week on Thursday. I went knowing what the doctor was going to say. I knew he was going to tell me exactly what he told me when I took Sweet Pea three years ago! I wanted to take Sarge so I could know in my mind there was nothing physically wrong with him and, like we had had to do with Sweet Pea, we were just going to have to ride this out with him and give his body time to heal from the drug exposure.

When the GI learned what he had been exposed to he said, “Oh yes, that does a number to a baby’s nervous and digestive system.” And then he told me what I expected to hear: His body needs time to grow, heal and mature. He did say it would not hurt at all to do an ultrasound on Sarge’s abdomen to check him physically. That was my number one concern. Because his pain is so much more intense than Sweet Pea’s pain was and because Sarge had the closed anus at birth, I wanted to know there was not something structurally wrong with Sarge’s digestive system. The GI doctor said that because Sarge is “gaining weight beautifully” (despite the fact he is not yet on the growth chart!) there is almost certainly nothing wrong physically, but we can do the ultrasound anyway. We are also going to send a stool sample for testing to see if there are any abnormalities there.

Beyond that, it is just time. Time is Sarge’s best friend.

I asked for an estimate on how much time before Sarge is more like a “normal baby”. He said to expect things to take longer with Sarge than they did with Sweet Pea simply because Sarge is a boy and boys mature slower than girls. He said by the time Sarge is walking, all of this should be behind us. I think we will see much improvement by the time he is sitting up…which seems light years away.

In all actuality I know it isn’t light years away and instead is months away. We will get there, day by day, week by week, month by month, until one day we will realize “We made it!”.

And then we will be dealing with a baby that gets into everything. I look forward to those days! They will come!

I am really struggling.

This is going to be a very open and honest post. One that I have wanted to write for a while but have hesitated for fear of backlash and judgment.

I’ve never hesitated to share what is on my mind in the past, so why start now?

I am really struggling.

I have been fearful to say that because, after all, this blog began when I was a barren woman desperately desiring motherhood, not knowing if I would ever get the privilege of having a baby in my arms to call my own.

And now I have three children. And I am miserable.

This has nothing to do with me being ungrateful for the blessings God has given me and instead has EVERYTHING to do with me being mad that MY PLANS were interrupted.

I can’t tell you how many times people have said something along the lines of “You are a saint for adopting these drug babies.”

It makes me want to scream.

I DID NOT SIGN UP FOR THIS!

Dave and I did everything in our power to make sure Sarge was going to be placed in a loving, Christian home when we said no to adopting him back in March. We had a plan in place and I was absolutely thrilled with that plan.

Only problem was IT WASN’T GOD’S PLAN.

That’s a pretty big problem. Because God’s plans prevail. Always. It says it right there in Proverbs 19:21, “Many are the plans in a person’s heart, but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails.”

That verse summarizes to a T Sarge’s adoption.

My journey through infertility has taught me many things but quite possibly the most important thing it has taught me is that God has called me to live a life surrendered to Him.

This means, when I have made a plan – a plan that seems absolutely perfect – and then God steps in and calls me to do something completely different from what my plan is, I SAY YES whether I want to or not.

Why?

Because I know God’s plans are good and perfect and He can see the big picture whereas I cannot. His ways are higher than my own ways and He promises that His plans for our lives are good and perfect, plans that will prosper us and not harm us, plans that bring us hope and a future.

How can I say no to that?

Saying YES to God is NEVER easy.

Saying YES to God does not mean life will be absolutely perfect and enjoyable. The opposite is in fact true. Saying YES to God stretches you in ways you didn’t know were possible and it forces you to lay down your own plans, dreams, desires and surrender to God’s Plan.

That is not easy.

Prior to August, life was good. You could read that as “life was easy”. We had been through the fire in the early parts of the year but all of that had settled and our family was probably in the best place it’s ever been in our 7 years of marriage! Our daughters were five and three years old. We were moving out of the baby/toddler phase and looking forward to our first official year of homeschooling. I had spent nearly the entire summer pouring over curriculums to find the best fits for Little Bug’s Kindergarten year. I had reorganized our homeschool room, gone to the Homeschool Convention to purchase our curriculum choices and then I had come home and had fun organizing it all and getting it prepared for our First Day of School. I was immensely looking forward to the beginning of the school year. I was looking forward to having the freedom of getting out with the girls more this year than we had ever done before because there were no babies in our mix – no one needing a morning nap and older children who could be more flexible all the way around with their sleep schedules. I saw many days ahead of just simply enjoying life with my little girls.

I didn’t necessarily feel our family was complete, but adding a newborn to our family now was the farthest thing from my mind.

Then I got the phone call that changed everything on August 5th.

The moment that phone conversation ended…I knew it. God was moving to place this baby with us. I was scared out of my mind as I approached Dave to see if he was sensing the same thing. And I was still groping for any way possible to see if my plan could still possibly play out. Surely God wasn’t trying to place a baby in our family now!

We all know what happened from there. Eighteen days later Dave and I were driving through the middle of the night to a hospital not knowing what to expect when we arrived.

It was the triage receptionist that told us in the most anti-climatic way that the baby had been born. I was expecting to sit with the birth mom during labor, but that was not to be.

When we learned the baby was born and the friend of the birth mom was on the way to greet us, I turned to Dave in astonishment and said, “This is really happening. We have a son.”

From the moment we received that phone call on August 5th, life has been nothing but a constant whirlwind. And it has yet to stop three months later.

Before I go on, let me clear the air and say that Sarge is 100% my son. I could not imagine life without him now! I love him with my entire heart like I love his big sisters. He is the sweetest little baby boy I have ever laid eyes on.

All that doesn’t mean I can’t struggle through this! Because right now, life is a struggle. Every single day. Every single moment of every single day…..it’s a struggle as we get through the worst of the effects of the drugs on his tiny little body.

Life as I knew it was stripped away. I went from thinking life was going to be one way to life being totally and completely different. Instead of spending my days with my girls every day, I am shipping one off to preschool so we can have some measure of sanity around the house at least three days a week. And then I am trying to keep the other child on some sort of a homeschooling routine while keeping Sarge as comfortable as possible.

And don’t think for one moment I am managing this all on my own! When was the last time I took care of all three of my children by myself all day long?

NEVER. I have never been on my own taking care of all my children. I HAVE to have help. Every day. My mom told me upfront “You are my ministry right now. Let me know how I can help.” She is at my house every day around 8am to help me manage the needs of my three children because, right now, with Sarge’s special needs and health issues, it is impossible for me to manage everything and everyone in my home right now.

And, this, blog world, is what is about to drive me INSANE!

It is not that I see my mom every day. We have a wonderful relationship and if not for my mom, I probably would have run away by now or collapsed from pure exhaustion or….who knows where I would be?

Even still….it drives me insane that I can’t do it all – yet. I love my job as stay-at-home-homeschooling-mom. I absolutely love it. Sure there were difficult days with just the two girls but ultimately it it MY calling in life and I wouldn’t do anything else at this stage of my life. I just want to get to a place where I can manage my home again all by myself!

I take great pride in being the manager of my home. And that has all been stripped away from me and I guess you could say I am grasping for some sense of normalcy to come back to me…but we just aren’t there yet and probably won’t be for some time still.

It’s not that I am killing myself trying to keep a pristine clean home. I gave that up 3.2 hours after being home with three kids. The girls still have to clean up after themselves for the most part throughout the day as they play, but after everyone is in bed and Dave is feeding Sarge around 7:30/8pm, it is my new routine to go through the house and pick up/clean up whatever needs attention so we at least start fresh in the morning.

It’s that I can’t do it all! That I need Sweet Pea to go to preschool three days a week (this has been a very good experience for her – I am very glad she gets to go now), that Little Bug is about to lose her mind because we can’t get out of the house like we used to, that I am contemplating other schooling options for her just for this school year.

Everything has been thrown off in my plans and it is going to take a while for our family to once again feel “normal” again.

I am trying to keep the Big Picture here myself. I know God can see the Big Picture and He knows what He’s doing even though there have been many inward struggles within myself since we got home as I have asked God over and over again why my perfect plan wasn’t His plan. I feel like I am on the flip side. Why give us a 3rd child when there are people out there still waiting to adopt their 1st? My plan would have given a couple their first child. I don’t need an answer. I know that is just my finite mind thinking. God’s ways are higher than our own ways and He has a plan for every single one of His children.

I guess in writing all this and choosing to publish it, I am hoping you see my struggles for what they are. So many people who know our infertility story have said what great faith I have – and I do have great faith in Jesus Christ – but I want everyone to see the ugly side of having great faith in Jesus Christ.

It’s not easy. I struggle accepting God’s plan. I don’t just fall on my face before the Lord in complete surrender and say “Yes, Lord, do as you wish!” without struggling to accept God’s plan for my life sometimes. I have been angry with God through this. I’m probably still a little angry – but He is a patient God and like He always does, He is waiting on me to come around and see thing the way HE sees them.

This has been one of the most difficult years of my life. I am planning to start blogging about this year and the events that happened in January which ultimately tie into Sarge’s adoption. There is no doubt that God has done two miracles in our family this year. That doesn’t mean it’s happened without struggle on our part.

I am not sure I have adequately communicated what I wanted to say in this post, but I am publishing it anyway. I simply wanted to say surrendering to the call of God is NOT easy, but the rewards are great. When I push the constant craziness in my mind away and allow myself to see the circumstances of this year the way God seems them, my perspective totally changes.

God has done what He has done for HIS GLORY. And He will receive it. Much of what I’ve been feeling lately I know is spiritual warfare because on Saturday night Dave and I are publically speaking about this year for anyone who wants to hear. Satan doesn’t like this. Not one bit. Because what we are going to say brings glory to God.

Our story is one of repentance, forgiveness and redemption. There is no way to hear our story and not see God’s hand all over it. I think maybe part of my frustration might even be because, for now, I am being quiet about all that happened. Something very unexpected that came from this blog was a platform for me, quiet-little-Elaine to SPEAK boldly about what God has done in my life. Because what happened was so traumatic, I couldn’t speak at first. If the holidays were not approaching I would probably begin to tell the story now because I need to write about this, but I don’t want to make myself write during the holidays about something that was so traumatic. So that’s why I’ve chosen to begin writing in January. I miss writing frequently on this blog and sharing what God has done in my life and I have done very little of that in the year 2014.

I know God’s not going to leave me hanging in my current state of mind. We will push through this. Sarge’s little body will heal. I like to think of the future….when life settles down and Sarge becomes more of a normal infant and I can go on a walk in the neighborhood with my two little girls and baby boy.

I look forward to getting there. In time, I will.

In His perfect time, I will.

Because His faithfulness abounds and He will not leave me here forever.

Welcome to the World of Norwex

Prior to everything happening with Sarge, I had heard of Norwex.

Never heard of Norwex? Let me fill you in!

Norwex is a way to clean your home without using any toxic chemicals. After getting into Essential Oils last year, I really wanted to make the effort to stop using toxic cleaners to clean my home. But making my own cleaners with Essential Oils just wasn’t happening.

When I came across Norwex I knew I had met my match. I ordered the Household Package which includes the Enviro cloth (for sanitizing), the Window cloth (for washing windows) and the Dusting Mitt (for dusting).

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The day I received my Household Package, I dusted my entire house (minus the master bedroom) and cleaned the outside of the windows in the kitchen and living room and two sliding glass doors in 30 minutes. That is A LOT of cleaning in a little amount of time and, in this phase of my life, I only have a little bit of time to clean. Look how CLEAN my sliding glass door is after using the Window Cloth:

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Beside the fact that Norwex cuts out toxic cleaners, it also increases productivity in cleaning! Since these clothes last 8 years (or 500 washes), you can’t beat the price especially when you take into consideration you will no longer need to buy paper towels and chemical cleaners.

I have just begun switching over to Norwex and I can’t wait to have ALL toxic cleaners out of my house for good.

Here are a few good YouTube videos to watch about Norwex:

The Enviro Cloth

Does Norwex sanitize?

Bathroom Cleaning

Rebecca is hosting a Norwex Party for us to help raise funds for Sarge’s unexpected adoption! 30% of purchases during this party will go directly to our adoption fund!

Party goes from now until November 18th! Click HERE to join the Facebook group to learn more and to enter for Giveaways!

Hanging in there

We are hanging in there. That’s pretty much all we can do at this point.

Sarge has an appointment with a GI next week. I’m not expecting any break through answers, but I am hoping that we can have maybe a little more insight as to why Sarge’s pain is so much more severe than Sweet Pea’s was.

This is certainly one of the hardest things God has asked us to do as parents. I still feel like no one is getting the best Mommy at this time.

But then Little Bug will say, “You’re the best Mommy ever. I wouldn’t want any other Mommy.”

Children have such forgiving hearts.

I know we will ALL make it through this season unscathed, but for now, each day is a struggle and there is a lot of spiritual warfare going on.

Choosing to follow God’s plan isn’t easy. It never is because if it was easy we could do His work in our own strength. That would not bring glory to His name.

It’s hard though when life as you know it gets disrupted and you are thrown a challenge that makes each day a struggle! It feels like the newborn phase with Sarge is going to last FOREVER. He is nearly 3 months old, but because of his prematurity, he is only gestationally 7 weeks old. Anyone with a 7-week-old is in survival mode, but it feels like we should be beyond all this by now because he’s nearly 3 months old! Because of the drug issues this survival phase is just going to last a whole lot longer. But it will end. I tell myself this every single day. Dave and I typically end the day (which technically never really ends since we are up with Sarge in the night as well) by saying something like, “Well, we got through another day! One day closer to being through this phase.”

Despite the challenges we are up against, Sarge is the sweetest little boy. His cry is precious. I know that may sound weird, but his cry is sweet. It’s like he’s saying, “Help me! I am so tired of feeling pain! When will it ever end?” when he cries. And the face he makes when he cries is so pathetic. Underneath all the pain is a sweet little boy. I look forward to getting to know who Sarge is as a little person. His personality will show eventually.

I feel like a broken record asking for continued prayers, but we still need them.

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A Slice of Normal

Tonight, in the midst of all the constant chaos, we decided to be brave and head out to a Fall Festival that we have attended for several years now. I had no idea how Sarge would do because….you never know how Sarge will do. Since he had had a really rough night and morning, I had my suspicions if that bout of pain had finally passed, he might pass out in his car seat and be good to go for the evening as he finally caught up on rest.

I was right! We had a FABULOUS time. I was soaking it all in because for the first time in over two months my whole family – all FIVE of us – went out together and enjoyed a wonderful fall evening at a Fall Festival. So much so that I am taking the time to document this evening on the blog before I go to bed!

All five of us driving in our new car for the first time:

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(Yes, we had to buy a new car…for the second time this year. Back in February we went down to being a one-car family. Dave sold his car. We sold our family car and we bought a new car that we planned to keep forever. And then Sarge came along and no matter what we tried, we could not fit three car seats in the back. So shortly after we got home from the NICU with Sarge, we started car hunting again. We didn’t want a van so we went with a Santa Fe and we love it. Sweet Pea and Sarge are in the middle seats and Little Bug sits in the very back.)

The girls enjoyed a hayride with Grams and Gramps.

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I loved getting to see my big girls have fun playing games!

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Finally, we were doing something normal and I cannot tell you how good it felt!!

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After we had left I realized we never took a family picture together. Oh well. I did have Dave snap this picture of me with Sweet Pea after we had finished her craft.

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We are no where out of the woods with Sarge, but I do think we are finally at a place where we can leave the house with him…maybe. A month or even just two weeks ago, I would have not even thought about trying to go anywhere (besides dr appts) with him. Even though I am an introvert, the isolation was starting to get to me.

I am so thankful for God’s faithfulness in giving us this evening…even if it is just a slice of normal life that eventually will come.

It’s not a cake walk.

Sarge has been on Zantac and a prescription formula and there has been no change to his level of pain associated with eating. It’s quite disheartening to see this baby continue to suffer, and to know that his issues stem from being exposed to drugs in the womb. If this was just a reflux or sensitive stomach/allergy issue, the Zantac and prescription formula would have helped by now.

I spoke to a woman yesterday who gave me the name and number of a doctor who works with babies and children that have been exposed to drugs in the womb. I called this morning to get Sarge an appointment. I am waiting to hear back when they can fit us in. The doctor is booked out months in advance but when a case like us calls in, he does what he can to see the infant as soon as possible. Please pray we can get in as soon as possible.

Speaking to this woman yesterday, who is a mother to three children exposed to drugs in the womb, was a big source of encouragement yesterday. To speak to someone who has walked in my shoes and validated every single feeling I am feeling as we walk through this was just what I needed yesterday.

I am pretty much homebound with Sarge as I learned the hard way on Friday night. Every fall, the family takes a trip the mountains to the family cabin. Since we got the phone call about Sarge while there in early August, I desperately wanted to go there this fall. It was going to be full-circle to take him there. After speaking with his birth mother in the living room of the cabin and then the family immediately going to prayer when I hung up with her, I wanted to take a picture of Sarge in my arms after asking the Lord to place him in my arms during that time we didn’t know where Sarge was going to end up.

My parents asked to take the girls up to the cabin with them, and because I am relying so heavily on their help these desperate days, I had no choice but to say yes even though there was a tinge of Mommy Guilt thrown in there about sending the girls away for a week after having been away from them for four weeks while Sarge was in the NICU. But, I knew I had no other choice but to send them.

And then I thought, Why not go up for a long weekend? And that became the plan. Dave, Wesley, Sarge and I would drive up on Friday after work and stay through Monday! Perfect! I was so looking forward to a bit of “normal”.

We pulled out at 4:45pm. Sarge was due to eat between 5-5:30. We made it to the north side of town and stopped to eat dinner and feed Sarge, so we really didn’t get on the highway until 6pm and we had a 7-8 hour drive ahead of us NOT counting the stops we were going to have to take to feed Sarge along the way! It can take anywhere from 45-75 minutes to feed him. That’s a lot of lost travel time on the road. I was beginning to second guess our decision in trying to make this trip.

But I just chose to make it an adventure…until Sarge was extremely uncomfortable in the car seat. After eating Sarge writhes in pain. We hold him until the pain passes and he can relax and fall asleep. This takes anywhere from 1-2 hours after he eats. If I held him until his pain had passed before putting him in the car seat to continue our travel we would literally NEVER make it out of our state, much less all the way to the mountains! So I tried to comfort him as best I could with him in the car seat, all the while thinking this was going to be a LOOOOOONNNNNGGGGGG night.

Then, around 7:30pm, after we had only been on the road 1.5 hours and would need to stop again to feed Sarge around 8:30pm, my dad called to tell us that Sweet Pea currently had a 102 temp and had thrown up. Say what?!?!

I felt SO defeated at this point! Little Bug had been plagued with a horrible stomach bug that had lasted 4 days the week prior and now it appeared it was Sweet Pea’s turn! Sarge could not be around those germs. We started talking about our options, one of which was to just turn around and go home.

After 15 minutes of talking it over, we decided to just go home. We were asking too much of Sarge to make this trip in his condition. Later I was kicking myself for even thinking this trip was a good idea! I should have known better and had I thought about the logistics and the fact that being in the car seat for 8+ hours probably wasn’t going to be the best for Sarge, let alone being out and about while we were in the mountains, I would have realized even attempting the trip was a dumb idea.

Defeated we drove the 1 hour 45 minutes back home and we were home by 11pm. I was unpacked by midnight because I was so mad and didn’t want the chore of unpacking to hang over me.

God is teaching me much in this season of my life. One of which is the fact that we are so not in control of our lives!! It’s a lesson I’ve been taught many times before.

Life is NOTHING like I imagined it to be this past summer as I was preparing for our first official homeschool year! But- God is faithful and He is giving us the grace to move through these days in His strength. There is no doubt in my mind that this is God’s calling on my life right now. To love and nurture this precious baby boy to health. God made it abundantly clear that His Plan all along was for Sarge to be our son and it is one my highest callings in this life to be the mother of Little Bug, Sweet Pea and now, Sarge.

Once again, life has turned out to be anything but what I expected. As always, it’s a wild ride and as hard as life is right now, I wouldn’t trade this for anything.

I remind myself daily – if not multiple times a day – that all of these circumstances are temporary. This is all a season. A season that will pass.

As I was sharing my feelings with the woman I spoke with yesterday she validated the one thing that has just been nagging me from the beginning of all this. It goes against every grain in my body to not be capable of caring for all three of my children at the same time by myself. I feel like I should be able to. I want to more than anything, but logistically it is just not possible because of Sarge’s delicate state. I was sharing these frustrations with her yesterday, telling her I feel like a wimp or something. She said, “You are not a wimp! Adding a third child to the family is hard enough under normal circumstances. But you have a drug baby on top of all that! It is NOT easy. When my third came along, my two cousins moved in with us to help take care of everyone for the first several months because I COULD NOT do it alone. It was impossible to care for two little ones on top of a drug baby.”

Do you know how much that was music to my ears?!? I am not crazy. I am not weak. I am not being a wimp. I am doing the best I can do given the circumstances. And I am blessed that God has given me parents who are so willing and capable of stepping up and helping us through this time. And we will get through this. She told me, “Things will improve. Life will get easier.”

I know it’s true. Right now, life is hard. I feel pulled in twenty million directions 24/7. It is extremely difficult watching a baby suffer and knowing the reason was completely 100% preventable. I can’t dwell on that too much. It is what it is. This baby is right where he needs to be and I am going to do EVERYTHING in my power to get him the help he needs so that his body can heal and these drugs don’t have a lasting effect on his little body. By God’s grace, I know he will be healed. The alternative is not acceptable to me.

It is taxing and tiring trying to figure out what to do next to help him! I am praying this doctor is our God-send and will give me the tools I need to help Sarge recover.

This summer I had wonderful plans in place for our first year of homeschool! I was so looking forward to this season of our life. God had other plans and now my focus has shifted although we are still very much homeschooling Little Bug. (I just love the flexibility homeschool provides.)

I want to write a post soon about all that I have learned from everything we have gone through in 2014. Perhaps the biggest is a reminder that our lives are not our own. We make plans, which is a good thing to do, but ultimately we must keep our hearts attuned to God and His plan for our lives and be ready to surrender our plans for His plans if His plans are different from our own. God’s plan for our lives is rarely a cake walk because He takes us places to make us totally dependent on Him! It’s truly a good place to be.

In the midst of all the chaos, there is peace because I know I am right where God wants me doing exactly what He wants me to do in this season of my life.

It’s just hard and I truly appreciate the support and prayers during this time.

PS: Sweet Pea was sick that one time. She immediately asked for applesauce, ate it, kept it down and slept all night. She was perfectly fine the next morning and went on a long hike. I am convinced God used that to make us turn around because He knew the trip was too much for Sarge.