Thursday, December 17, 2015

Dear Baby...

 This is our first family photo.
It makes me smile!
Your brother kept us entertained that day.
He ended our photo session by running and jumping in the pond!
We used this picture on our Christmas cards.
You wished everyone a Merry Christmas, too!
That's right!  Your name was on the card!
You finally have a name!!!
And, you have no idea how happy that has made my heart!
Gradin Thomas Williams
(pronounced Gray-den)
We officially named you on Thanksgiving Eve.
I cried happy tears!
Since then, we've said your name a million times and each time I fall more in love!
You have your daddy's initials and share his middle name.
He wanted it that way and I think it makes your name even more special!
In a few days you'll be 26 weeks old.
Which means we only have about 13 more weeks or so until we meet face to face!
I can't wait to hold you and kiss you and squeeze you tight! 
You are really growing fast these days.  Almost two pounds you are! 
You aren't the only one gaining ounces by the day!
I haven't been able to wear my wedding rings for a few weeks now.
It just didn't feel right.  My hand constantly felt naked.
And, to be honest, I was worried about looking like an unwed pregnant lady.
So, I started to wear the ring your daddy gave me for my birthday last year.
It was always a smidge too big so I didn't wear it often.
Now, it fits like a charm! 
It's a gemstone ring, a pale bluish green color. 
So pale that in certain lighting it actually looks like a diamond.
It makes my hand feel dressed and I no longer worry about what strangers think!
I know...your momma is so silly!
The other night I was browsing through the jewelry store.
I was admiring all the beautiful sparkly gems when a thought dawned on me.
I wanted to know what your March birthstone would be.
Aquamarine is your stone.  A bluish green color.
I looked back through the glass counter.
Then at my hand.
It was just one of those "God wink" moments.
The ring was already special to me.  But now, it's even more so.

I've been thinking about God a lot lately.
How good He is.  How He always knows best.
How He already knows you...

Jeremiah 1:5
"I knew you before I formed you in your mother's womb."

He already knows what you will look like.
He knows what your voice will sound like.
He knows what you will grow up to be.
Who you will marry.
How many children you will have.
You were God's son way before you were ours.
How amazing.
How humbling.
How beautiful.

I love Christmas time.  It's magical.  It's special.
Every morning after I wake up, you and I share a Hersey's Kiss.
Just one!  After all, it is the holiday season and it starts our day off sweet!
I turn our Christmas tree lights on and soak in all the beauty.
And then I say the same prayer I've said for the past six months.

Thank you, God.
Thank you for trusting me to be Gradin's momma.
Thank you for giving us this opportunity.
Thank you for answered prayers.

I feel overcome by Christmas this year.
My heart is just so thankful.
And so full of love.
And I think that must have been how Mary felt on the very first Christmas.

All my love,
Your Momma

Friday, October 30, 2015

Dear Baby...

October 3rd will go down in history as one of the sweetest and happiest days of my life!
It was the day before you turned 15 weeks old.
It was the day we'd learn if God had given us a little boy or a little girl. 
We piled into the car with my momma and daddy, who you'll know as Mama Bird and Poppy, and your daddy's parents, your Mee Mee and Grand Dilly! 
Hurricane Joaquin was still spitting down rain, but off to Greensboro we went!
I can only compare my excitement that day to a child on Christmas morning! 
We weren't a minute into the ultrasound before we heard the words, "It's a boy!"
I cried!  Happy tears, of course! 
Your Mama Bird cried too! 
And, your daddy...I looked over at him and his eyes were glistening with joy! 
He later admitted that he had to fight the tears back hard! 
Sharing that experience with your grandparents is a memory we'll always cherish! 
On the way home from our celebratory dinner, your Poppy told me that seeing you had been amazing. 
I grabbed my tummy, leaned over and put my head on his shoulder, and said, "I know!" 
And then I said, "Daddy, guess what?!"
We both looked at each other and I said, "I'm having a little BOY!"
He chuckled and smiled and then said, "I know!"
This past Sunday you turned 18 weeks old! 
You are the size of a sweet potato, about five inches long.
We were sitting in church, the sermon had just begun, and little did I know that we were about to mark another milestone off of the list! 
It felt like a faint flutter or almost like a piece of popcorn had popped inside my tummy!
I sat there for a few minutes wondering and waiting...
And then, it happened again!
I had to swallow my squeals!
I nudged your daddy and whispered, "I think he is moving!"
He whispered back, "Who?" 
After I shot him a sideways glance his eyes got really wide and he smiled big! 
From that point forward I didn't hear a word the preacher said. 
I walked out of church beaming ear to ear!
I have felt you pop around every day since then too! 
It is the most amazing feeling in the world!  I smile every single time!
Every flutter reminds me that this is really happening!
That you really do exist.
That my dreams have come true.
And now I have tears in my eyes...
We learned that your ears are fully developed this week as well!
I wonder if you hear me.
Do you recognize my voice yet?
Can you hear me typing on the computer keys?
Can you hear all the conversations me and your daddy have about you?
We are having a hard time deciding on your name, so if you hear one that you really like...nudge me, okay?! 
Can you hear your big brother barking when he wants a snack?
How about the Christmas music I listen to everyday while I'm at work?
Did you hear me crying when I was sad about my grandma?
Could you feel me dancing around and acting silly the other day?
Can you taste the cheese and crackers I eat almost every morning?
What is it like in there? 
Are you going to someday say, "Mom.  These letters are weird."?
All I can tell you now is how we are spending our time while we are waiting for you.
And later, when you're a little older, you can tell us what life is like from your perspective.
I can't wait!
All my love,
Your Momma

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Dear Baby...

 We've been together 13.5 weeks, you and I.
You are now the size of a peach, about three inches long.
Your tiny bones are still forming and your vocal cords are under construction.
The thought of hearing your voice for the very first time gives me chills up my spine!
I can't help but to daydream about all the conversations we will someday have.

The past few weeks floods of thoughts and feelings have rushed through me.
It's like a tornado of emotions.
One moment I'm calm, cool, and collected.
The next, my mind is spinning out of control.
I'm ashamed to admit that a few of my outburst and tears have been out of vanity.
There hasn't been a day go by that I'm not grateful to have you growing inside.
Trust me on this.  I am so very thankful.
However, coming to terms with the new shape of my body has been a little...hard.
I didn't really feel pregnant...and I didn't quite look pregnant.
Finding jeans that I could button and tops that didn't feel snug was becoming an everyday battle.

But then...when you were 11.5 weeks old, we saw you!
We saw your little heart beating.
We saw you waving your tiny little hands and kicking your tiny little feet.
I needed that moment.
I needed that validation.
There you were safe in my tummy after all the prayers and all the tears...
I think my heart grew three sizes that day.

In a few short days we will get to see you again!
Oh, your momma and daddy are so excited!
We will find out if you are a little she or a little he!
What will you be?!
The suspense is about your drive your momma insane!
Your daddy thinks you are a girl!
Some days I agree with him.  Others, my heart tells me different.
I had a dream, just last night...and you were the cutest little boy I'd ever seen.
Actually, this is now my fourth dream about you being a boy.
You had the prettiest eyes, a perfect smile, and gorgeous blonde hair.
You were wearing the cutest pair of blue jeans and you were running around in the yard with your big brother. heart...I just don't know if it can take it!
The tears...I can feel them coming again.
Actually, it might be another mini flood heading my way.

The love that I already feel for you is overwhelming.
I just don't ever want to miss a second of your life.
The fear of not being able to protect you could just swallow me whole.
Every night, I try to hand it all over.
He knows my momma heart.
He hears my prayers...
I have to remember that before you were were His.

All my love,
Your Momma

Friday, August 21, 2015

Dear Baby...

This week you are the size of a raspberry.  Last week, a blueberry.
I'm amazed at how quickly you are growing and changing daily.
I'm afraid I may blink...and tomorrow I will be sending you off to college. 
But, for are tucked safely in my tummy; small and completely unaware of all that's waiting for you on the outside.  At some point we were all in your position. 
Maybe in some ways we still are...completely in the dark about what is to come. 
How intimidating.  How thrilling!
Your daddy and I, along with many others...have been praying for you for a very long time.
From the moment I saw those two little pink lines staring back at me, I have loved you.
I daydream about who you will be.  
I wonder about what you will look like. 
Will you have green eyes like me and your daddy?
I hope you inherit your daddy's skin!  I've always been so jealous of how easily he tans.
Hopefully you don't inherit my bad temper or your dad's bad spelling.
I think about names and what we will call you.
I pray that you have a tender heart and an open mind.
I pray that you'll love Jesus and always be kind to others.
I just pray for you to be happy and healthy.
You just have no idea how much I already love you.
Oh, and your big brother...he is something else.
Do you know that he knew about you before we did?
He hadn't been acting himself and had been super protective and extra clingy.
He sure did have us worried.
After we found out about all made sense.
I keep telling him that everything is alright.
But, I think he is still a little confused.
I know though, without a doubt, that once he meets you...he will love you just as much as I do!
All my love,
Your Momma

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

I Want To Be A Momma...

My thoughts have been super jumbled lately. 
Some days I’m happy.  Some I’m sad.  Others I really don’t know how I feel.
At this time last year one of mine and Girard’s dreams came to a screeching halt.
We had finally decided we were ready to start a family. 
I’ve wanted to be a momma as long as I can remember. 
I remember feeling excited and terrified at the exact same time.
Those excited emotions would be short-lived though…
I was diagnosed with another blood clot. 
I told the doctor about our plans for a family.
Much to my dislike I was told those plans would need to wait for at least six months.
I cried.  And I cried some more.
This past year has been an extremely difficult one for me medically.  
I’ve been very open about my blood issue…but behind closed doors I’ve been fighting another medical demon with the support of those closest to me. 
It has all taken a toll on me in more ways than one...

In my last blog, I talked about my incredible experience with Elizabeth and getting the news that “I was good!”
I didn’t really explain why that answer was so important…
Yes, I was good!  The clot was completely 100 percent gone!  Praise God!  
But that was also the green light for Girard and I to start the family we’ve been dreaming of.
We were thrilled – and again terrified! 
I haven’t told anybody this…but on the way home from that appointment, we stopped and I picked out a children’s book. 
I loved the words in it.  It made my eyes water. 
It would be our baby’s first book. 
I wrote a message on the inside cover explaining why that day and that book was so important. 
It still sits alone on the bookshelf I had in my room as a child. 

I guess I expected it to happen right away. 
I don’t know how people deal with this feeling for years…
My heart breaks for them.
While it has only been a few months for us…the desire has been in my heart much longer.
Each month I’ve been reminded that I must keep waiting.
I’ve gotten mad and screamed at God.  
I’ve cried my eyes out on Girard’s shoulder. 
I’ve pleaded, begged, and prayed. 
I’ve even tried to convince myself that I don’t care anymore. 
But I know deep down that is a big dirty lie. 
I look at others living my dream and I am filled with a mixture of emotions.
I mean this when I say that I am over the moon happy for everyone who has or is getting ready to have a baby!   Honestly, I am! 
I just wish it was me. 
I want to know what it’s like to feel a baby move inside me.
I want to pick out names and decorate a nursery.
I want to experience the incredible love at first sight that so many talk about.

We had a really bad storm a few nights ago. 
The thunder booms were so loud and the rain just poured. 
Teddy has never been one to be scared of a thunderstorm…but I could tell this time he was nervous.
The power flickered a few times…so I hurried to get ready for bed in case the lights went out.
I picked Teddy up and sat him on top of our bed.
He waited as I crawled under the covers and fluffed my pillow.
As soon as I was settled he cuddled up right beside me and laid his head on my chest.
I wrapped my arms around him tight and we laid that way for almost an hour until the storm was over.
I thought to myself…in an epiphany kind of way…this is what momma’s do. 
They comfort their children. 
I may not yet be a mother to a baby…
But, I’m definitely a momma to Teddy.
And that makes my heart happy…and it makes the sad days less sad.  

Friday, February 6, 2015

I Met An Angel...

- January 23rd, 2015 -
The girl who woke that morning was not the same girl who laid her head on the pillow that evening.  The events of the past few months were about to lead her to a moment so beautiful and so life-changing!
. . . . . .

The alarm sounded bright and early - we had a busy day ahead of us.
Never one that is quick to rise, I laid in bed and was immediately aware of the nerves already forming in my stomach. 
Today was a big day. 
I was anxious to get it started.  Anxious for it to end. 
And anxious for all the answers we'd hopefully get in between.

We were headed to another follow-up appointment with my Hematologist.  It had been six months since my most recent blood clot diagnosis.  I was scheduled to have all new blood work done and if all went well, I would then have a repeat ultrasound on my leg to determine if the clot had completely dissolved and to check for any possible scar tissue left behind.

One big needle stick and countless lab results later, we were headed to the Radiology Department.  Now, with one hurdle behind us, and only one left ahead, my spirits were lifted!

The walk from Point A to Point B was a long and windy one. 
The hospital could almost be described as a mini city within itself.
For the most part, the main hallways and corridors are bright and cheery.
Beautifully potted plants and several one-of-a-kind sculptures were situated along the way. 
 Smartly dressed men and women were hurrying this direction or that direction.
Physicians, interns, medical students, and hospital staff - each there for an individual purpose.
We passed other patients, who just like us, were trying to find their way through all the hustle and bustle.
 You could practically feel the worry and sadness coming off of some of their faces.
You could feel happiness and joy radiating off of others.

The waiting room was crowded.
So much so that the only seats available were located no where near each other.
Girard and I glanced at each other and then went our separate ways.
Surprisingly, I didn't sit long before my name was called. 
I looked back at Girard one last time before following the nurse down another busy and congested hall.

"Well, here we are," he said as he smiled and opened the door to the exam room.
"You can put your things here.  Just remove your jeans and boots and you'll find a gown right over there on the bed," he explained.  "The technician will be in shortly.  Do you have any questions?"
I responded that I understood and thanked him for his help.

I undressed, wrapped the obnoxiously large robe around me and crawled under the blanket on top of the bed, which was really just a fancy stretcher that had wheels at the bottom.  With butterflies in my stomach and all kinds of thoughts running through my head, I sat there examining my surroundings.
The room was spacious, the lighting was dim, and the walls were a beigey cream color.
 I noticed that the paint had been bumped and scratched in places leaving the drywall to show through like white scars.
A privacy curtain hung to my left and the ultrasound machine was to my right.
I could hear faint voices out in the hallway and I wondered how bored Girard was since he had been left behind in the waiting room.
I wondered about what would happen if the clot was still there.
What if there was leftover scar tissue? 
Would they need to go in and remove it to prevent future clotting in the same area?
My mind was going around and around in circles.

Finally, the door opened and in walked a middle-aged woman who was about my height.
She had chocolate colored skin and was wearing a pair of blue scrubs.
Her eyes were skimming the paperwork that she held in her hands.
She glanced up and I couldn't help but notice her pearly white teeth as she grinned my way.

"Hi Judith, my name is Elizabeth, and I'm going to be performing the ultrasound today," looking back down at her paperwork, she then continued, "on your lower left extremity.  Is this correct?"

She had a quiet, humble demeanor, and at the same time she displayed a confidence and compassion that immediately put me at ease.
I responded, "Hi, Elizabeth!  It's nice to meet you and yes, you are correct."

She grabbed some gloves from a box on the countertop and snapped them on before taking a seat on the stool beside me.

"So, what exactly brings you here today?" she asked.

"Well, I had two blood clots, one in each lung, back in 2010...and then most recently, this past July, had one to form in my left calf."  I paused for a moment.  "Sooo, here I am today, hoping you're going to tell me that the hateful little thing is gone for good."

She shot another grin my way and said, "Well, let's take a look and see."

I laid back and moved into the position Elizabeth had instructed as she typed in a password that made the ultrasound machine's monitor come to life.  I felt a sense of deja vu as I had a mini flashback from doing all of this once before.

She took the machine's probe, which oddly looked a lot like an electric razor in my opinion, and began working her way down my upper thigh.  My eyes were immediately drawn to the screen.  Although, I really had no idea what I was looking at.  All I saw were different shades of gray.  Then, red and blue.  I had seen this before.  I just couldn't remember what it all meant...  Elizabeth noticed my interest and promptly gave me a quick and simple explanation on what the screen was showing.

"Oxygenated blood is pumped out of the heart and travels through your arteries.  That's what you see here highlighted in red.  The blue, those are your veins.  They are carrying the blood back to your heart to get reoxygenated."

"Thank you!" I said graciously.  "Now it makes sense!"

"I'm not allowed to tell you what I see," she said with slightly raised eyebrows.  "But, if you watch close enough you'll catch on a little bit!"

"I understand completely." I replied.  "I appreciate you taking your time to refresh my memory.  The technician that performed my ultrasound back in my home town gave me the same lesson you just did.  I wish I could remember her name...  She was great...and I could tell that she took a lot of pride in her job.  Her father had passed away from a blood clot...  She told me that his death is what pushed her to choose a career in the medical field."

Elizabeth glanced over at me for a second and said, "My father died from a blood clot, too."

I felt a lump in my throat.  "I'm very sorry..."

"It's okay now," she said in an almost whisper.  "There was a time in my life when it wasn't okay though.  His death was really difficult for me to deal with.  I loved that man so much...and I was so angry that he'd been taken so soon..."  She paused for a moment and then said, "Life's hard, huh?!"

I nodded in agreement.  "Life is hard...but it is beautiful, too!"
A broad smile crossed her face.  "Yes.  Yes, it is!" she replied.
"Was losing your father what persuaded you to choose this career path, too?" I asked.

She shook her head.  "No.  I had already been working in the medical field for several years before he passed.  I had originally wanted to go to Medical School, but I didn't get in.  Then I decided to try and get a Nursing Degree, but the program was full.  The Radiology program had one spot left, so I applied, and the rest is history!"

"I just knew that I wanted to help people," she continued.  "It's an honor to do my job."
"Take you for example," she said.  "You just met me, but you're trusting me to do my job...and to do my job correctly.  You're depending on me.  I take great pride in that and I don't take it lightly.  I think that's a big problem with a lot of people working in the medical field these days...  They take themselves to seriously and let their egos get in the way...and they forget that it's a privilege to do what they do."

Her words were moving me to my core and I could feel the tears building in my eyes.
"You're a good person and you've got a good heart." I said.
"No honey, that's just the Jesus in me!" she softly exclaimed.

She gently pressed the probe down on my outer calf and I could see my veins and arteries compressing on the screen.  I watched with fascination.  My eyes darted back and forth between her face and the monitor searching for any sign of worry.

She began to speak again...and little did I know just how much her next few sentences were about to impact me.

"I know you've been through a lot, Judith.  We don't have to go into specifics...but I know you've overcome your fair share of grief and heartache."

My mind was racing...and I thought to myself, how did she know this about me?
My eyes were beginning to tingle and burn.  I was trying so hard to blink back the tears.

She continued, "Sometimes when we suffer a great loss we lose ourselves in our emotions.  We get angry, bitter, and full of resentment, and sometimes make bad choices because of that.  We push people away.  We push God away."

I couldn't take my eyes off of her.  Was this really happening?
A tear streamed down my face.

"I know you have been let down and deeply hurt by some of the people closest to you.  I know it's hard...but you have to forgive them.  I'm sure that if everyone could go back in time, you'd all do things differently.  That's the beauty in it though.  You live and learn.  They live and learn."

"Judith, the only real sign of life is growth.  And growth sometimes requires pain.  It took me a long time to learn that.  God works in mysterious ways.  If we never fell down, we'd never learn how to get back up!  And in spite of what happens to us, ultimately we each decide whether our lives are good or bad, ugly or beautiful."

She looked me straight in the eyes and ended by saying, "You should be proud of yourself.  Life is hard sometimes, remember?!  We just have to live day by day and trust God every step of the way!  He loves you!"

And just as her speech was was the ultrasound.
The tears wouldn't stop.  I was speechless.
I wished that Girard could have been in the room with me to hear all of this.
I would have asked him to pinch me and to tell me this was real!
She handed me a tissue and smiled.

"Thank much," I said.  "I don't really know what to say other than.....thank you!"

Still smiling, she bent over and gave me a big momma bear kind of hug.
"You get yourself together and I'll be right back!  I just need to take these results to the Radiologist."  She spun around and left the room.

I redressed and threw away my snotty tissue.
My head was still swimming with her words. 
This had been more than just doing her job. 
It was a demonstration of her spirit.
A spirit that I was so grateful for!

A few minutes later the door opened, and she returned.
"You're good to go!"
"I'm good?!" I asked surprisingly.
"God has healed you, sweetie!"
"And there was no scar tissue?!"
"Not a trace!" she replied.

I grabbed my purse, she opened the door, and we both walked out into the hall.
It was if we had stepped into another universe!
The once busy atmosphere was now so quiet that you could hear a pin drop.
There wasn't another soul in sight.

"Good luck, Judith!" she said.  "Now get on out of here and enjoy the rest of your day!  And always remember what I told you."

I smiled big and thanked her again!  Once more, I looked down at her hospital badge and read her full name out loud.  "I just don't ever want to forget your name...  You have been so wonderful!"

And then, her final remark chilled me to the bone.

"Honey, you don't need to remember my name."
Pointing upwards, she continued, "You just have to remember His name!  I'm just the messenger!"

And with that, she smiled one last big happy grin, gave me a little wink, and disappeared back into the exam room.

I didn't move a muscle. 
I just continued to stand there for a few seconds.
 My mind was in overload!  Everything felt so surreal! 
And then the sound of approaching footsteps drew my attention.
My heart leapt!  I couldn't wait to tell Girard!
. . . . . .

They say that angels appear in our lives at pivotal moments.
They may come to us during a stressful or fearful situation.
They may come when we're feeling lost and need help finding our way.
Or perhaps, they may come when we just need a little bit of encouragement.
And, maybe...angels don't always show up with magnificent wings, wearing a long white robe and a halo above their head...
Maybe they sometimes appear in a more subtle manner, leaving signs of hope - as in finding a lone feather on the ground or seeing a brilliant rainbow in the sky...
Maybe they come disguised as a furry four legged friend or as a mysterious stranger...
And maybe, just maybe...they appear as an everyday person wearing a pair of light blue scrubs!

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...