Wednesday, May 18, 2011


Donny had his final exam today. His final exam in his seminary career. Final. The End. Nada. It's over. I really can't believe I am typing these words. Graduation is on Friday, and I am sure that will bring with it another blog post, but I needed to write some things now. It's late on Wednesday night. I just put Will down after his dream feed. We have had a hard week of nursing issues again...not gaining enough weight...milk supply's been hard. But that's another blog post (or hopefully just a small blip in this process).

It's done. We will go to RTS tomorrow night for the graduation banquet, and that will be the last time Donny will be on that campus as a student. After Friday night he will be an alumnus. Aaaaaagh!!! I really can't believe it's here.

It is really late, and I am too tired to write very much. I just need the small bloggy world that reads this (and me when I look back on this) to know how very proud I am of my husband. He has worked harder than I have ever seen him work in his life. Throughout seminary, Donny has been an excellent student, husband, father, man, intern, and more. I told him on Saturday while we were on a little lunch date that I as long as I have loved him, I have always loved him...but I LOVE the man he has become over these 3 years...the man God has made him to be. I am excited to step into the next chapter of life and ministry with him. He has proven himself so trustworthy. I will follow him wherever the Lord leads next (which, at this point, could be anywhere from New Hampshire to Miami or somewhere in between...but first with a stop in Freeport, Bahamas).

I am praying that I will soak in every moment of graduation. It's gonna be a rite of passage for me as well. It's been hard being the wife of a seminary student...but I wouldn't trade it. We were told by Mike Milton that seminary is a "tithe of our lives." It would be a time of study and preparation for a lifetime of ministry. This giving of ourselves to this work of preparation for God's call in ministry has been so rich. Thank you, Lord. Praise God from whom all blessings flow...

August 18, 2008 - Donny's first day of classes at RTS

Donny with Hunter (3 yrs, 11 months) and Millie (16 months) before his first day of classes

May 11, 2011 - Donny on his way to his last day of class at RTS

Easter 2011 - And now we are a family of five.
A lot changes in three years, and we could not be more thankful.

Friday, May 06, 2011

The Things They Say...

Just finished disciplining my sweet Millie. As she was preparing to receive the consequences for her disobedience, she declared:

I'm allergic to this part.

Oh, the things they say.

Wednesday, May 04, 2011


Fighting. That word best describes what I feel the last four months of my life have been about. Fighting. I hate that I feel that way. I would much rather the words "soaring" or "resting" or "enjoying" be the main descriptive of 2011. Nope. Fighting.

What have I been fighting? Really, it's not that I have been fighting anything. It's more that I have been fighting for something...and that something is my boy. My Will. From the moment I started feeling weird on the morning of January 2, knowing that something had definitely changed in my body and in my pregnancy, I have been fighting. I have been fighting for my son and for our bond.

While I was in labor, I was already fighting the grief over being done with my pregnancy. I actually enjoyed this pregnancy, and that's a first for me. I was (and still am in some ways) sad that it was cut short by pre-term labor. I know it's not my fault, nor is it Will's fault. It just happened. But it took something from me that I wanted to enjoy a little longer. And some of that disappointment affected my initial bond with Will. I wrestled with disappointment that he came too early and that I didn't get to finish out this pregnancy that I felt had been so different and such fun. And, in the midst of that disappointment, I began fighting.

Soon after Will's birth after I got to nuzzle with him for a few minutes, the nurses whisked him away to the NICU...and I was left there alone. Donny with Will in the NICU. Me in a recovery room calling one or two people...but alone. No baby to snuggle or nurse. And I spent most of that first night alone. Donny stayed with Will (and went home to get us some things since we weren't prepared), and I sat there with no baby by my side. He was down a floor and a world away. And the fight went on.

As our time at the hospital and with Will in the NICU progressed, I still found myself disconnected from him. I didn't want to change diapers when offered. I mean, I totally freaked when the nurse asked me for the first time if I wanted to change his diaper. Honestly, I think it was on the night when my own virus (similar to what Will had in the NICU) was at its worst, but I froze. My sister actually did that first diaper change. I just couldn't do it.

The separation in the NICU left me fighting for our bond. So many others got to care for him before I really did. Hooked up to the machines, I was left feeling like I had to ask permission anytime I wanted to hold him...much less nurse him. Through this time, I did learn in a new way how my children are the Lord's and are not my own...but the separation I felt from Will was unbearable at times.

Then the day finally came on January 18, 2 1/2 weeks after his birth, when he got to come home. What I had waited for was finally happening. All should be well. I have him home. Let the bonding begin...

And then another fight. Breastfeeding was not taking off like it should. In fact, by one month old, it was killing me. I kept saying that it was just my body getting used to breastfeeding again...but the pain was terrible. But I bit my lip (literally) and pressed on...cause gosh darn it, I was not going to have my breastfeeding taken from me! Not another separation! In my stubbornness to address this problem, however, I began to resent Will (yes, resent my 4 week old) for the pain I was experiencing. Oh, the fight was so hard. I wanted to love and nurture and care for him...but something was going so wrong with the nursing and so much pain was being inflicted...I had to fight not to resent him. More separation.

So I sought help. At the end of February as he neared 2 months old, I went to a lactation consultant. My latch was good. So she took a look at him...and when the words "Oral Motor," "bottles," and "pumping" came out of her mouth as her diagnosis and course of action, I thought I could have shriveled up on the floor in a puddle of disappointment and sadness and despair. To me, Will's "oral motor" problems threatened death to our breastfeeding. And I just couldn't bear it. And bottles were just another degree of separation. So I fought.

The pumping and bottle feeding was awful at first. I felt like a machine rather than Will's mother. It was all so mechanical and didn't feel nurturing at all. Of course, I had to keep telling myself that I was still doing what's best for my son. I had lots of people supporting me, and I would not have continued on this path without them by my side...but those were two really awful months. Humiliating at times...what I had to do for my son. In addition to the work of pumping and bottle feeding, I had to begin a series of oral exercises 3-4 times/day to strengthen his mouth with the hopes that he could return to breastfeeding. With two other children (homeschooling one of them) and the demands of having a newborn, these extra steps were a lot...and I wasn't sure how long I could do it. The best advice I was given was by my lactation consultant and that was to take one day at a time. If I thought too much about the weeks or months of hard work that lay before me, I would have despaired...but to look at today was enough. So I fought...

And it has been a good fight. One of the best (and hardest) of my life. I am tired now, and I am not willing to fight sleep for this blog post, so let me conclude. These four months have been a battle. I have had to fight in so many ways for a strong bond with my son. So much has gotten in the way of a normal, natural, mother/baby bond. But this fight has been worth it.

Last week (April 27) Will began nursing full-time again...two months after I stopped nursing and began this hard journey of bottle feeding and pumping and oral therapy. I still have fears about whether he is getting enough or if it might start hurting again. Hopefully a visit to the pediatrician tomorrow will relieve some of those fears. Will has also started sleeping through the night. He also coos and smiles so sweetly. This boy is so sweet. And he knows my voice. That is one of the most rewarding things about this fight...we have spent more time together than I probably did with my other two in their first 4 months...and he knows me...and I know him. Our bond is special. I had to fight for it. It did not come naturally. It was birthed and nurtured through disappointment, pain, despair, and hard work. And now I find myself bursting when I am with him. To look in those blue eyes and see his sweet grin when I speak...I burst. Burst with love. Burst with joy. Burst with pleasure over the sheer delight of enjoying my baby...this sweet gift who God gave me in his perfect timing and who has walked this journey with me.

I know the journey continues...but this segment of the journey feels at rest. There is a rest in my heart that I have not felt since he was born. He is gonna be ok. I am gonna be ok. We are going to be ok. I am thankful for the fight. I am thankful that, for now, the fighting is finished. I am thankful for the bond with my youngest son. It was worth the fight.

I am thankful for the Lord who fought for me. He despaired over our separation to the point of going to the cross. His sacrifice was ultimate. And I am thankful for our bond...that nothing can separate me from him. Thank you, Lord, for your fight. And that you did not relent. And I am yours. And I know your voice. And there is rest.

Will on Monday, May 2, 2011 - Four Months Old

Before church with the kids on Sunday, May 1.
Still LOVE carrying Will in the Moby.

Doesn't he just make you want to burst???!!!
This is my favorite outfit of his right now - "Mommy's Little Man" - which he pooped on and stained...but he still wears it cause I love it so much.
I mean...really...I just want to BURST!!!