Saturday, December 28, 2013

Advent and Christmas FLEW by! Here's a recap...

I cannot believe Christmas has come and gone (but not really GONE because we still have Epiphany, duh!). I had some really great ideas about blog posts because obviously I have been deep in thought recently and this time of year really brings out the introvert in me.... which kinda sounds like an oxymoron. I digress.

SO here's a quick photo recap of my Christmas season:

It snowed a little in December but we missed the "big" snow on 5 inches. Doesn't our house look so pretty!?

And Rosalyn is not a fan of the cold. Other than the fact that she gets to cuddle a little more.

And I drank a lot of wine. Just because.

We stopped in Fort Scott on our way to Texas and had dinner and opened presents with Patrick's family. I made Patrick and Brian take a Christmas picture with me. They love pictures... sarcasm :)

And we had to take a picture with the dogs! Jett and Rosalyn!

Patrick and I got this from his cousin/godmother...

And Rosalyn got a bone. She loved it... as evident by photo below.
And Patrick stumbled upon this gem! He would like it to be known that I MADE him take this picture. Because I have that kind of power, ya know! haha But seriously check out all those patches! I married a total stud, ya'll!

We ended up not staying the night in FOrt Scott like we planned. We learned that a big ice storm was coming in the middle of the night and we were afraid we would have trouble getting on the road in the early morning. Luckily, we made the right decision and drove about 4 hours south until around midnight to beat the weather! Fort Scott was a sheet of ice the next morning. We stayed in a hotel, got a few hours of sleep and then hit the road again. We made it to Texas safe and sound! And warm! We also ate a Whataburger... 3 times total on our trip. I don't even feel bad about it!

This was Patrick's first Christmas with my family ever. I did my best to prepare him for all of our silly traditions. I think he liked it haha. We went and ate pizza at Greek Tony's and then strolling down Old Town Spring and took all the silly pictures at all the same places that we have been doing since we were little.
So in love with this man. 

Then we came home and watched Christmas Vacation by the light of the Christmas Tree. How Pretty!
Rosalyn and Penny (my family dog growing up) are mesmerized by the million lights on the tree!
We got all dressed up and went to the Cheesecake Factory! Yay! Only problem is that we used to be able to fit 6 people comfortably in my mom's old van, formally known as "The Wilson Bus." Well the van finally kicked the bucket so my mom got a really nice Nissan Rogue... which seats 5 and not all that comfortably. But don't worry. We made it work. We squeezed in and mom was our cargo. I wish I was kidding. I'm not. Mom (in her dress, hosiery and heels) was laying in the trunk area  of the small SUV. ***Disclaimer: No one made her do this. Many volunteered to be the cargo. Many offered to drive a second car. She would not have it. She took the togetherness of the season to a whole new level. God love her :)
Jam packed in the SUV... mom in the trunk.
Oh yeah and I ate my weight in food at the Cheesecake Facotry. Gluttony at it's finest. But here are a few family pictures. We clean up ok, I guess.
Brother and mom... and my bangs out of place.
Dad, Rachel and Patrick... lookin' good :)
Crammed into a booth! And my bangs out of place again!
My favorite person... and my dang bangs. Seriously.
Then we went to Mass at my home Parish, St. Anthony of Padua. It's my home away from home. My other family.
Two of my closest friends from growing up in the Woods. 
No idea why Santa was at Church... but "The Beach Crew" took advantage of the photo op.

And then we came home and did our Secret Santa gift exchange. Let me explain how this is done. We start with the youngest person and end with the oldest. That person has to guess who their Secret Santa is. When they get it right they then have to play 'Hot/Cold" (you're getting warmer, you're getting colder and all that... you know what I mean) to find their gift which is hidden in a secret place somewhere in the house. Then we all watch that person open their gift and there are hugs and thank-yous and all that jazz. And then we move on to the next oldest person and so on and so on. Look how excited we are for Secret Santa in this picture!
Family Photo in our pajamas. Ros has demon eyes like always... and didn't smile. She can be so difficult sometimes!

Well... now we are back to Missouri and getting settled back in after all the excitement of the season. We hit the ground running as soon as we got here to get the house in order. More on that later.

I hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas and spent time with the people they love!

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Duck Dynasty Controversy... How dare Phil share his beliefs when asked!!!

I have friends that are gay, one of my closest friends is college is actually, and my lesbian neighbors that just got married in Minnesota are some if the loveliest people I have ever met. They have the biggest hearts and I honestly feel lucky to know them. 

But why do some people (no matter which way they swing) make such a big deal about being gay. I don't make a big deal about being straight and married to a man. I'm just a person.

I'm sure this is shocking but the duck dynasty wilderness man, Phil Robertson, sparked my interest in writing about this. In case you are living under a rock and haven't heard the news read his interview with GQ here.

So here's the thing... I like Phil. I like the whole Robertson clan. Are they really tactful, polished people? Eh, I personally don't think so. And that's ok. He is not a philosopher. He's not the pope. And he is not infallible. But I don't think what he said is so far off base. 

This is what I think is wrong with the world. We are always putting people in a box. What's up with that?! We are more than gay or straight or bisexual or whatever! 

I have some unpopular opinions, too. I believe it is a sin to have sex before marriage. Shocking, right?! I know... It is so "old fashioned."  Call me old school but I think it is equally wrong whether you are gay or straight. I don't believe you go straight to hell for it either though. I actually believe that God is God and I am not. So I'm gonna let him make that call. 

Oh and here is a crazy thought. Maybe everyone is a sinner. Maybe my habitual cursing like a sailor (that I always say I'm gonna work on and never do) and drinking wine several nights a week (which is has been pretty frequent recently... Happy holidays!) is no better in the eyes of God than having sex before marriage. I don't know. Again, I'm not God. I'm not gonna judge... That's too big of a job.

I just have my beliefs. And over and above my beliefs in what is right and what is wrong I believe that all life, all people are created by God. And that God called us to love. So while we all have sins and crosses to carry and mistakes we have made we are all called to love despite all if it. We don't have to understand each other. We don't have to agree with each other. But we should love each other.

So while I think Phil was pretty coarse in the language, I have to stand with him because I believe that under all that roughness and toughness, he loves all people. He is a family man that wants to lead people closer to Christ and that is not something you see in public figures very often. I commend you, Phil Robertson!

Sunday, December 8, 2013


It's the Second Sunday of Advent. My goodness... time is flying! This is the Sunday of Peace and although I have known this for years this is the first time peace has been such a profound theme in my life.

I am at peace.

I recently experienced a great loss. My unborn daughter died inside me four weeks ago tomorrow. My heart still hurts when I think about it. But it's hard to explain my feelings. I feel deep sadness over the loss and simultaneously pure joy over the gift of Anna Marie. She was my greatest blessing and I will forever be thankful for the opportunity to be her mother. I would love to hold her in my arms again, but the images in my mind of her in the arms her her Heavenly Mother warm my heart. Words just are not adequate... I can't explain it.

People that don't know me well enough have been tip-toeing around the elephant in the room. They treat me like I am damaged and that I might fall apart at the mention of my loss. I'm not though. I'm at peace. Happy even. And hopeful for what God has planned for our future. Like maybe more children! I hope so. Not that any child will ever "replace" Anna. I will always carry her with me in my heart. But this whole experience has affirmed my vocation to motherhood.

So this is what it is to be at peace. It doesn't mean that I am always smiling and happy-go-lucky and that things in life are just so perfect. It's not. I'm human. But my peace comes from my faith and trust in God's will and my hope that He will carry me through. I have no worries and I have no regrets.

"Be still and know that I am God."

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Anna Marie

This is a little past due but if you are expecting a coherent update you will be very disappointment. This is going to be a jumbled mess of a post.

On 11/11/13 I went to work. I prayed on my drive there like I have done for the last 2 months. I prayed that I would feel her move and that it would be a sign, a sort of reassurance that she was ok. That's how I felt about every movement. I called for the intercession of the Saints and spoke most directly to the most perfect Mother. I just thought she would understand how I was feeling.

I didn't feel her for most of the morning, but I often don't pay much attention when I'm that busy at work. Then, I felt it. that fluttering. It was the most undeniably movement I had felt thus far, it was strong. And I prayed a silent "thank you" to God for that sign. I could now relax, and breathe and feel good about my OB appointment that afternoon. I was actually anticipating it. Every appointment felt like a milestone to me.

I was going to go by myself but Patrick realized he was going to be off work in time for my 4:15 appointment. It's nice when he can make it. Driving to the doctor I realized that in the business of my day I had not felt her move anymore. Not since I felt that very obvious fluttering earlier in the day. Moments later I felt a pain. It was really more like a cramp but it was sharp. It lasted a few seconds and then nothing. I brushed it off. It was easy to convince myself that everything was going to be fine... "I felt her move today."

Every time I go to the Dr, no matter how early or late I am, I end up waiting a good 30 minutes. No one seems to be in a hurry in that office. But I always am. We are a very special kind of nervous first time parents.

The Dr finally came in and asked how we were doing with everything, and if I had been feeling a lot of movement which I proudly said I had. She asked if we had talked about names, and we told her we had. We were going to name her Anna Marie. She asked when my next Perinatal appointment was and if they had talked about Genetic Counseling for us given the diagnosis of Turner Syndrome. It was a nice talk, really, and probably the most positive feeling one we had had in a while. I think Patrick and I were just finally feeling confident about everything. And I felt like a proud mother... we were beating the odds!

She got the doppler out and we listened closely.


After several minutes of nervous searching she looked at me and said, "I'm sorry. I'm not finding a heartbeat." She left the room to grab the portable ultrasound and I didn't shed a tear. "This isn't happening. This can't happen," I said to myself. And I told Patrick that I didn't think she was very good at finding the heartbeat anyways... which was a lie. Plus I had felt her move THAT MORNING. I was trying to stay positive. But we both knew. And she confirmed it with the ultrasound. Anna was very still and there was no movement anymore, not even in the place where I could always see her little heart pumping.

In that very moment my heart broke. There are not words to describe the feeling. The pain. The utter sadness that I felt. I tried to be strong in front of the doctor but eventually I couldn't do it anymore. She left the room to give us a few minutes alone. Patrick and I held on to each other for a long time and cried. I don't even know what was said between us. It was a long time but somehow it just feels like a blur.

On 11/12/13, my mom flew in to Wichita. Thank God for that. I knew I needed her I just didn't know how much.

On 11/13/13 at 5 AM I was admitted to the hospital to deliver our baby girl. I was going to be strong. I was going to be induced and I was going to hold it together and I would have this baby in probably the next 10-12 hrs. I thought...

I didn't feel my first contraction until about noon. It was not painful, just a little uncomfortable. by 2 PM I was exhausted and just ready for it to be over. By 5 PM, 12 hours after admission.... still no baby and honestly not much pain.

Labor happened just like it always does so I won't give you a play by play. But I will tell you, it was hard and I did feel pain. And at one point I thought, "If I was having a live baby this might be worth it." But then I pushed that thought aside. She was worth it.

On 11/14/13, with no doctor in the room and no nurse at my side, I had Anna Marie at 0621 AM. It happened really fast (when sounds funny since it took over 24 hrs for her to arrive) so my mom didn't get to leave the room like we originally planned. My mom and Patrick were on either side of me holding my hands through the hardest part and I thank God they were there.

My mom left the room and Patrick and I held our little girl. We cried and hugged and kissed and stared at her beautiful face. She had Patrick's nose and my eyes. Even though her poor little body wasn't "perfect" because of her condition, she was so perfect to me. She was so sweet. I could have stared at her all day. And if she had been alive I could have stared at her all day every day. I wish that had been the case....

Our parents came in and joined us and they took turns holding her but I held her the most. I knew our time with her was limited. The funeral home would be coming to pick her up. I knew logically we could not take her home but I wanted to. I knew logically we could not stay at the hospital with her but I wanted to. I knew she wasn't alive but holding her felt so good and so right and I didn't want it to end.

After about 6 hrs, the funeral home came to pick her up. They came and got her from our hospital room. I refused to let them take her to Pathology to lay on a cold table by herself. I didn't care if she wasn't alive. I didn't want her to be by herself. And I didn't care how irrational I sounded saying that either... so they made an exception.

Handing her to the gentleman from the funeral home broke my heart all over again. That was the last moment I would ever look at my first little baby girl, my sweet little Anna. That was it. It was very anticlimactic. Very final. And it hurt my heart. I have never felt sadness like that.

The funeral was two days later. It was a small gravesite service attending only by my mom, sister, in-laws, our two best friends, Patrick and me. It went too fast. And when it ended I felt that same feeling of finality. And my heart hurt again.

It has been three weeks now. I have been back to work for a while now. Everyone asks how I'm doing and I just say, "I'm ok." I don't really know how to answer that. It never seemed like such a complex question before. The thing is, I'd be lying if I said I'm great but really.... I'm not falling apart. I'm ok.

The reason I'm not wallowing in sadness (which I think would be perfectly acceptable for anyone who has lost a child by the way) is because I'm not afraid. I was afraid that Anna's life would mean nothing because she didn't really get to live. I was worried she would suffer and feel pain. I was never worried about me. I was always afraid for her and how her condition would affect her life. But the thing is, her life meant the world. She WAS important and she WAS a part of the Big Plan. People believed and prayed and showed love because of Anna. Anna made me talk to God in a way that I didn't know I could. She made me love her and Patrick in ways I never knew I could. She was everything to me and because of her I will never be the same.

Let me be clear... I cry all the time. I cried typing this because it felt like I was reliving it. I'm sad, really I am. I miss her. I miss carrying her around with me and feeling her move inside me. I wish she was still here. But I have no regrets about any of it. I would not do anything differently. I wouldn't trade those 6 hours of holding her for anything in the world. I will never forget it. Those were precious moments and I will always look back on this as a special memory... a very happy and very sad memory. And I will always love my little girl.

Thank you for your prayers. We all have another angel to watch over us now.