Sunday, December 30, 2012

God is always good.

I need to get something off my chest that bothers me immensely. This constant quote and ones similar to it, on facebook (or elsewhere)- "God is so good to bless me with being a mother!"

I guess at first glance there's nothing wrong with this statement. And you may disagree, but I don't like the insinuation that lies beneath and this statement bothers me now even though I DO feel that God is good and am glad that God has blessed me with the opportunity to be a mother!

HOWEVER,
GOD IS STILL GOOD EVEN WHEN YOU ARE NOT A MOTHER (or father)!

I believe this to be true times a million! God is good no matter what. God is good even when the sky is falling, loved ones have died, you lost your job and you can't pay the bills. When you are lonely, tired, lost, scared and even depressed, God is STILL good. Why do I believe this? Because I read the Psalms. They are full of fear, loss yet God's ultimate goodness in the midst of trial. When we praise God for the blessings in our lives and fail to praise Him and call Him good in the midst of trial and suffering we are truly missing out. We are missing out on God's greatest gift of all- the gift of true contentment in His presence. It's so easy to praise God when things are good and wonderful and easy (like becoming a parent for most people), but please do not declare that God is good BECAUSE of those gifts. In my opinion, you're kind of missing the point.

I also believe in every.single.person's.worth. You are lovely, worthwhile, amazing, gifted and blessed. WHETHER OR NOT YOU ARE A MOTHER!!! People that have never experienced infertility (or any major life struggle) may be confused by why I am emphasizing this so much. But, let me tell you... comments like this can cut like a knife. 


For so long I thought I was worthless because I couldn't become a mother. I felt like I had no direction, no purpose, no meaning to my life. Was any of this true? NO! And it took many, many tears and lots of crying out to God to get to the place of confidence and belief that I was a complete person without becoming a mother. Praise the Lord that I got to this place before the buddy came into our lives! Because I would surely be missing out if I thought my worth and life's greatest blessing came from being his mother.

Don't misunderstand me. Being the buddy's mother is amazing. He is amazing. I am SO blessed! But, even if I never became a mother, if YOU never become a mother, you are blessed! You are loved! YES! It feels like something is missing if you desperately long to be a parent and it's not happening month after month. Oh my goodness, it's the hardest. It's painful. It's lonely. It's rotten. It's horrible. Believe me, I know. But, I truly believe that God is still good and you are still worthwhile. You are an amazing, wonderful creation designed for so much MORE than motherhood! You were created for God's purposes. I don't know what those are specifically for you, but they're there! Don't miss out on discovering them! 


Could I make a list of what I was made for? I don't know. But, we all must know deep down that we have worth. That we have a purpose and that God wants to be with us. He wants to fill us with HIM and HIS love deep down to our core. He wants to bless us, but all those other blessings (including parenthood) pale in comparison to knowing Him and pursuing Him and His purpose for you.

The truth is, if all you can about your purpose and worth is being a mother, you are missing out. Just like I was missing out when I thought I wouldn't have a purpose or meaning if I never BECAME a mom. So, GO! Go deeper! Listen to God and don't just thank Him for the good things. Praise Him for the tough stuff, because without it, you never really discover what truly matters. 


The End. :-)

Friday, December 28, 2012

Thank you Infertility

Infertility seems like a curse instead of a blessing, right? I agree wholeheartedly! Infertility brings much suffering, pain and confusion. You have to answer questions most people should never have to ask. As in "how much money are we able to spend TRYING to get pregnant?" or "How comfortable am I with injecting artificial hormones into my body?" Or "When should we give up trying to have a child?" Oh my... my heart hurts so much even THINKING about those awful questions!!

BUT, I will say that I am so grateful for infertility in my life! Without it I wouldn't be the same (wiser?) person I am now. Do I hope and pray God will do a miraculous work and heal us? YES! Of course! But, that doesn't change the fact that I'm grateful for the journey we have been on so far for several reasons.

1. Of course, the buddy. He was SO worth infertility. He's awesome and we love him so much!!

2. I've developed more of a grateful and thankful heart. And I don't take the gift of the buddy for granted. And I think it has taught me to not take other gifts for granted either. We are not entitled to any gift this world (or even God) has to offer. Everything we receive is a miracle and a huge blessing I want to appreciate every day. I hope I always remember this. It's easy to take so many things for granted when life is going well.

3. Children are a gift. SO true! BUT, I have learned that our present, and any future children should not be the center of our universe. There is so much more we have been called to be as Christians and as citizens of the world. I am not just called to care for my own children, but for the children of the world. If all I can say at the end of my life is that I have been a mom, then I am missing out. I never would have truly understood this truth had it not been for infertility.

4. I have realized that there's a whole lot more pain behind all the happy status updates and photos on facebook. I truly hope this not only changes my attitude, but also my actions, and that I take this knowledge to the real world and ask people how they're REALLY doing and do all I can to help and love them. There's a whole lot of loneliness out there, most of it behind a smiling face.

5. I have made some wonderful friendships through infertility! It's not a fun thing to share in common, but I have met some amazing ladies nonetheless. I have also learned that as much as I like to have fun as the next person, if a friendship doesn't go to the deeper level, it's not a real friendship. Going through a trial forces friendships to go deeper or kind of fade away. This has been sad to lose some friendships, but I suppose necessary in the long run. Infertility is a lonely road and those going through it (like any tough situation or loss) need support! I hope I'm able to provide that for those that need it. (Again, if you want to talk to someone or are going through a difficult trial, please email me at lareinaisabel at gmail.com).

6. Adoption is a glorious gift! I learned that and get to experience it every day! We always said we would adopt after having biological children, but who knows if we ever would have done it if getting pregnant had been easy? I'm so glad I'm a part of such a glorious miracle every day. :-) And our experience has absolutely convinced us that we'll adopt at least once more in the future.

7. You know that verse, ""My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness."? (2 Cor. 12:9) Yeah, I get that a lot more now. Only when you feel truly weak will you ever feel the huge power and grace that Christ alone has to offer.

As time passes I'm sure there will be more things that come to mind that have been blessings in disguise. More hidden gifts that infertility has to offer. I still hate it. It still stinks. Every time I see an ultrasound picture or hear a pregnancy announcement, I wonder if that will ever be us and if it will always make my heart heart. I'm so glad for those people (especially those who struggled to get there!), but part of me may always hurt a bit when I see those things. I'm still grateful for all we've been through and I hope that every future trial will carry with it gifts that I won't ignore!

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Open Adoption is Cool.

So, in the midst of all the Christmas celebrations, we were also able to go out to dinner with the buddy's birth parents! We already know his birth mom pretty well, but it was the first time to meet his birth father.

At first I was a bit nervous about the meeting, but I then realized that there's no sense in worrying about it. It was going to go how it was going to go no matter how much stress I put into it. :-) Plus, I do think that after going through infertility, everything else is in better perspective. As Dave said, "the ink is dry" so it's not like they're taking him back! It makes me sad when society has those worries because that is NOT what open adoption is like!

Open adoption is honesty. It's giving your child another person to love them in their life AND it's giving them answers to many questions they may have in the future. I love that one day we'll be able to take out the pictures we took this weekend and show him how he got to have his first Christmas celebration with his parents and his birth parents all together and that we all love him very much. I love that we are in contact (mostly through email) with both of them and we can get answers to health questions or even questions about what they looked like as babies, etc. I love that the buddy will be able to know where he came from and will be able to ask them questions many people don't get to ask of their birth parents.

I know that there are situations when open adoption isn't the best situation for everyone involved for many different reasons. But, for us, it's going so well! Of course, there are nerves involved and my insecurity wonders if they think I'm doing a good job raising him. But, we are confident that for the buddy, this is the best.

And you know what, we LOVE his birth parents! It's super exciting to have met J, his birth father as well. They are both wonderfully kind and fun people to talk to. They have interesting lives and we have more in common that we might have thought. And of course, they're both good looking, as you can tell by looking at pictures of the buddy... hehe. :-)

I would post some photos, but we'll keep their identities private for now. But, I will just say that open adoption is cool! It's a new are of navigation for us, but it's still super cool. :-)

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Merry Christmas??

Christmas is a holiday with a lot of expectations. Especially your first Christmas with a baby. :-) We were so excited to spend both Christmas Eve & Christmas Day at my parents' house here in town. We were even going to spend the night to have "Christmas morning" at my parents' house and have the buddy open gifts first thing in the morning while we all gathered around. :-)

Sadly, it has turned out 0% to be how we imagined it. :/ Yesterday afternoon and evening the buddy was a total mess for his naps. He screamed and cried and wouldn't sleep in the travel crib at my parents' house for the life of him. We thought he'd do better for night since he's a pretty good and deep night sleeper, but no such luck. It took us an hour to get him to sleep in our arms and there was still NO sleeping in the crib for him. :/ We eventually had to come back to our house to put him to bed around 9:30 because there was NO going back to sleep for him while over there.

I thought he might be sick, but no fever. And we went to sleep the minute I laid him down in his crib at home. So, I started to get petrified that this baby would never sleep well away from home! But, at least he was sleeping so we headed to bed. Then, his morning nap was horrible too, even at home! I took his temperature again and it was fine. That's when we got the call from my parents that my brother-in-law was up sick all night, so we decided that we shouldn't have a baby in the house with a sick person. SO... we stayed home.

And you know what? We found another tooth! Praise the Lord there's a reason for the madness! Whew! The buddy HAS seemed to sleep a little better the rest of the day, so we're thrilled for that. :-)

So, obviously Christmas hasn't turned out like we expected. But, no complaints here. An entire day in our pajamas hanging out around the house? Yes, please! And an extended Christmas on December 26th? Yes again! :-) We just hope the buddy AND our brother-in-law feel better ASAP!

We have so much to be grateful for this year. Our sweet boy and the birth of our Savior, Jesus Christ. Merry Christmas everyone!

Monday, December 24, 2012

Merry Christmas!!

Merry Christmas from our family to yours! :-) I wanted to embed the video, but it won't work. So for now I will just give you the link.

Enjoy these days and I hope you experience peace and joy this Holiday season. :-)

Much love to you all!

Thursday, December 20, 2012

The Holidays & Infertility

I don't think it was just me, but the Holidays with infertility is the pits. Seriously. It's the pits. Christmas is so much of a family-oriented holiday that it's easy to feel left out and wondering if you'll ever have little ones opening gifts with family members fawning all over their cuteness.

This year I am SO, SO excited for Christmas with our little buddy! Oh my goodness it will be so fun to watch him open presents, even though he will have no idea what's going on. :) But, how my heart breaks for those that wish to be parents and aren't yet, or those that want another child and are still waiting. It's TOUGH every day of the year, let alone the time of year when families and children are glorified as the end-all meaning of life (Sorry, but it's true. Watch any tv special and it's all about how family is so important... what a way to leave a whole segment of the population out!).

Anyway, the point is that going through infertility really opened my eyes to so MANY people feeling lonely at this time of year. Infertility is not the only cause of loneliness, so I also feel for those that have lost a loved one, are waiting to find love or are missing out on any portion of the Christmas season. It is a joyful season for so many, but a sorrowful one for others. I hope that I am sensitive to others in pain, but it can be hard when I'm in my own little world. :/ It's also difficult when it seems like people feel like they have to "put on a happy face" no matter what pain they're in. Well, I just want to say I want to be here for you, whoever you are and whatever loneliness you may be feeling this year. You can email me at lareinaisabel@gmail.com. And if you know me in real life, well then, just call me or send me a facebook message!! I'd love to talk to you and be there for you, even if I can't "fix" anything.

And finally, I have never experienced miscarriage, so I can't imagine how difficult it must be. But, I DO imagine that for those who have been through infertility it can be even more devastating, especially if you've been waiting for years for the precious miracle, only to have it taken away so quickly. I recently read a post about this on a blog I love, so I wanted to pass it along. They also have a fantastic list of resources on how to cope with the Holidays when dealing with infertility or pregnancy loss. I hope you'll find it useful or will pass it along to someone who might need it.

Love, prayers and thoughts to everyone this Holiday season. Let's all make it a goal to reach out to at least one person we know who is struggling this year. It would mean the world to that person... and to you! May your Christmas be full of peace and a spirit of hope no matter what this holiday season means to you or what might be missing.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Thoughts on the Newtown Tragedy

So, I'm no expert and people sure don't come to me asking my opinion on important matter or tragedies. But, I AM both a teacher and a mom, so I thought I would share what has stuck out to me in the past few days as I have read and heard so many opinions.

1. Of course, murder is always a tragedy. Death is always a tragedy. But, the death of innocent children is even more atrocious than I could ever imagine. It breaks my heart and makes me sick every time I even think of it. And I will say that as a nation we are all grieving. But as we grief, let us be kind and gracious to each other as we all grieve differently.


2. Can we please agree that assault weapons (intended for military combat and specifically designed for killing huge numbers of people) are just NOT necessary for citizens to own? I'm all for second amendment rights and I'm not going to attempt to get all guns outlawed. But, I really think that after this we should be able to agree that guns made to shoot round after round of bullets do not need to be owned by the general population! Please, please join me in this. I don't want to place blame because the problems in our country are so complex, but this would NOT have happened in such a great magnitude if the killer would not have had access to an assault weapon. It just would have been impossible to kill so many people so rapidly without an assault rifle.

3. Please, please, PLEASE do not be afraid to send your child to school! Violence like this is NOT a common occurrence! It is so, so rare. Please do NOT live in fear and give power to evil that way. Schools are safe places to send your children. Statistically speaking, your child is much more likely to die in a car accident on the way to school than at the school. If my child attended Sandy Hook, then I 100% agree that returning to school would be a very traumatic thing and I get that. But, if we all decide to home-school BECAUSE of this incident, we are living in fear and that also makes me sick to my stomach. I have walked through my school very confidently (yet sorrowfully) the past 3 days knowing that I am 99.99999% safe in my school (which again, is much safer than I am in the car driving on the interstate and none of us would suggest that we should never drive anywhere).

4. Take the opportunity to appreciate the teachers in your life. The teachers at Sandy Hook made the ultimate sacrifice for their students because that's the kind of spirit that teachers have. Sure, there are good teachers and not-so-good teachers, but I'm pretty confident that they all go into the profession to serve and teach children. They chose a career with pretty much no possibility of advancement, no Holiday bonuses and no chance to get rich. And usually they are just barraged with negativity from both administrators and parents (I'm so blessed that this is NOT the case at my school and have a very supportive principal and parents, but that is often not true!). So, take some time to appreciate teachers instead of criticizing them.

5. Please do not ever suggest to me that schools would be safer if all teachers had guns. I am a teacher and if I had to carry a gun to school every day I would quit my job. First of all, that would make the school a much more dangerous place because gun accidents are more common than mass shootings. And secondly, all statistics show that more guns=more homicides. So, even if your personal logic points you to that answer, please believe studies and statistics over your own hunch or personal feelings.


6. I think we can all agree than anyone that would kill children is not mentally healthy. There is much going around about mental health, and I'm glad for the awareness. My heart breaks for those going through these struggles. Whether it's advanced schizophrenia or temporary depression, mental health is a complicated, upsetting (and sadly, very common) issue. I think the bottom line here is that even though each one of us is 100% responsible for our own actions and decisions, we need to be there for each other, love each other and support one another as much as we can. What if more people reached out to those isolated and confused instead of avoiding them because they are "weird?" It would only make this world a safer place. This is convicting to me because I really need to take the time and reach out to others more and get out of my little personal problems and concerns.

7. Is there a way we can unite against violent video games, tv shows and movies?! The prevalence and glorification of violence and slaughter in our culture is disgusting and horrifying. Dave and I went to the movies Monday night to see "Guilt Trip" (which we recommend by the way) and saw a GIGANTIC movie poster of a girl with blood all over her face. How is this ok!? Not that I'm a big supporter of swearing or sexual content in these areas, but why is that stuff regulated so much more than gratuitous, disgusting violence!? Shows like CSI just glorify and perpetuate the obsession with have with depravity. I can get into a good murder mystery, but what is out there and readily accessible to our young people is deplorable! Here's an article that reports that the shooter in Newton was an avid "gamer" in the world of violent video games. Why am I not surprised? (I don't think I have ever used so many negative adjectives in one paragraph before!)


I'm sorry if I was just on my soap box for this entire post. I hope I haven't estranged any one or discouraged you from reading here. I don't want to use our blog as some forum of preaching my own "personal message," but felt like I wanted to gather my accumulated thoughts after all the articles and essays I've read in the past few days. 

Disagree with me if you'd like. That's ok. :-) That's the wonderful thing about living in America. We can disagree with each other and (hopefully) continue to live in peace. So, let's make that our ultimate goal. Whatever brings peace. I think if we can all just focus on that we'll be moving in the right direction.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

7 Months Already!


On Thursday our sweet buddy turned 7 months old! Here's what he's been up to. :)

Weight & Length: Since we space out the buddy's vaccines he went to the Dr. this week and weighs 14 lbs 10 oz, so not as much weight gain as we'd like. :/ We have no idea what his height is though.

Sleeping: Ah, well, we've regressed in this area in past month due to teething! There were a few nights there where he woke up several times in the night and wasn't so easily soothed back to sleep, so we all got pretty tired around here! He even started needing to eat again in the night, which he hadn't done in 4 months! Because of teething we discovered that eating was uncomfortable for him so he wasn't eating as much during the day and needed to eat more at night. So, we added in the Dream Feed again and gave him an extra feeding before we headed to bed (around 10:30pm) and that has helped him sleep until morning again. :)

Eating: Again, teething kind of made this a rough month for that. Poor little guy. He went from eating 25-30 oz a day to eating 20-23oz a day for a few weeks. Which is why we added the Dream Feed back in! He's back up to 25-30oz a day including the Dream Feed, so we'll keep it for now. :-) Like I said at the start, he didn't gain a whole lot of weight in the last month, so we're ok with feeding him as much as we can get in. :-)

We're also (for the most part) rocking the 4-hr. eating schedule. This means fewer bottles to wash! We're attempting a more simplified schedule. It doesn't always look like this, but it's what we're aiming for.

7:30am- Wake up & Eat (bottle & solids)
9:15- Nap

11:30 (the goal)- Wake up & Eat (bottle)
1:15ish- Nap

3-4pm or so - Dinner! (bottle & solids)
5pm catnap

7pm- Start bedtime routing including bath & bottle
7:30- Asleep? Maybe? haha...

10:30pm- Dream Feed

It (of course) doesn't always look like this, but it's the goal. Today his first 2 naps were just about an hour instead of two, so he took his catnap early, but it ended up being over 2 hours long! So, we also just go with what he needs.

He has also cut down on solids. Since he's not drinking as much we're having to give him the bottle before offering solids and so by then he's not eating too much. Although his favorite food so far seems to be a yogurt and apple combo. :-) And sweet potatoes. 

Diapers: We still do Cloth Diapers. BumGenius 4.0 are our favorites and we also have some MG Baby ones that we like as well. We rarely use disposables anymore. (He's not at dayschool anymore, but is watched by our dear friend once a week! It should be noted that this means he gets to hang out with his baby girl-friend once a week now.) :-)

Clothing: He's still wearing some 3-6 month and 6 month clothes, but is wearing more 6-9 month sizes too! Which is interesting since apparently he only gained 6 oz. since my last post.

Personality: Other than a few rough teething days the buddy is as happy as ever! We love finding new ways of making him laugh. He's so much fun and so social. We're lucky parents.

Milestones & Firsts: 
-He started scooting backwards! He's especially fast on the wood floors because they're so easy to slide on. :-)
-He recognizes and responds to his name.
-He got his first two (bottom) teeth!
-He's tried drinking from a straw in a sippy cup and does pretty well.
-He also likes drinking water from our glasses, so we let him try. This also leads to him trying to grab and drink out of people's beer glasses in social situations. Ha! Whoops!
-He tried turkey, peas, avocados, zucchini squash, apples and yogurt all for the first time.
-He's trying to crawl, but the lurching just looks silly. He can't go forward yet, but he can sure scoot backward!
-He's discovered "how to play" the piano and it's quite adorable.
-Of course, the adoption was finalized and he's legally our son! AH! SO EXCITING! :-)


Note that the sign has had to be moved behind him because otherwise it goes straight into his mouth!


Thursday, December 13, 2012

It's Official!


On Monday, December 10th, 2012, the buddy officially became our son! Wahoo! 

The appointment in court was pretty simple and about what I expected. What I DIDN'T expect was how sentimental Dave got about it. I'm so blessed to be married to such a sweet guy! :-) He's felt like ours from the beginning, but now he really is! We don't have to forward medical documents to the Adoption Agency or let them know when we'll be out of town because we really 100% are his parents! Wahoo! :-)


Also, this kid took seriously cute 6 month photos! I can't believe this was almost a month ago already! Sheesh!