Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Heartache and Hope

This past April, I went to a Beth Moore conference with a few of my home girls and she challenged us in the way we describe situations going on in our lives.  Things are irritating, challenging, or hard.  She said, "Ladies, we need to stop saying things are hard when really those things are irritating."

Well, the past few weeks we have experienced some hard news.  Many of you have experienced this same heartache.  I am sorry.

January 7th, 2015 is 28 weeks days away.  I know this because at the end of April we found out we were pregnant with our third child and this was the due date.  We were excited and anxious all at the same time.  The weeks leading up to the first appointment felt like years and I couldn't believe we were going to have another baby.  Wasn't my baby Jack just born?

We weren't exactly sure on the due date so we got to see our little blessing on the ultrasound at 6 weeks, 2 days.  Seeing this little miracle and his/her heartbeat on the screen put tears in my eyes and was reality that we were having a baby!  They noticed I had a subchorionic hemorrhage and that I was not to do any exercise, lifting. or anything strenuous.  I had one of these with Jack and had to take it easy for 3 weeks.  So basically I got chubby for the past 9 weeks.

Here is our sweet baby at 6 weeks, 2 days old.  
Today, I was hoping to share the exciting news that we were 12 weeks pregnant and Jack and Luke would be big brothers to this new baby coming in January.  But instead, we were at the hospital because I had to get a D and C.  At my 9 week appointment they wanted to check to see if the hemorrhage had cleared up.  This was at the beginning of June, 4 days before the we did our Jogging for Jack event at the 5K.  When the ultrasound tech checked the baby I just got this feeling that things were not looking good.  He started measuring the baby and I was looking for the flutter where we had seen the heartbeat 3 weeks earlier.  Nothing.  I could tell in the tech's hesitation that it was not good news.  After he announced that the baby no longer had a heart beat, I felt the warm tears streaming down my face.

I waited in the room for the nurse practitioner to come talk to me and just wanted to call Chris.  She came in and explained that my body would recognize that the baby is no longer living and I would miscarry in the next few weeks.

Hearing Chris' voice made me breakdown.  I explained what happened and I cried for the next few hours which later gave me the worst headache ever.  I called our family and friends and shared the news that we were no longer pregnant and that I would miscarry anytime.

Because I wasn't able to do any sort of exercise the previous three weeks, I strapped on my tennis shoes and went for a run.  I stopped, cried, ran, jogged, stopped, cried and ran more.  I came home and looked at my boys and just held each of them a little longer.  I held Chris and just was so very thankful that he is my husband.

After waiting 3 weeks for my body to naturally respond, I had to schedule the procedure to help expel the baby.  I thought I had emotionally processed all of it, but as I was filling out the forms this morning I came across the document that asked what we wanted to do with the baby after the procedure.  Ugh.  My baby, what do I want to do with my baby?  We chose the option that is offered to everyone that goes through this process.   They take the babies and honor their lives by burying them in a special spot with other sweet babies that didn't make it to birth.  Our hearts are so heavy and many, many of you reading this have gone through this heartache and lost a sweet baby or babies.  I am so sorry for your loss.

There was a moment that brought me back to Jack's birth and delivery.  I had to be sedated and having the oxygen mask on me and as they extended my arms out to the side all I could think about is that evening on March 25, 2013.

I woke up about an hour later.  I never respond well to sedation and medication and was very nauseous. I threw up numerous times and after about an hour, Chris and I were able to head home.

This experience was painful, heartbreaking.  From the pain of loss, the frustration that my body wouldn't respond, the patience each day, the reminder that I am carrying my child in my womb that will not make it to birth.  But through this, God continues to show His faithfulness, His comfort, His love, and His goodness.

I am thankful my doctor could be there, to give me comfort, and to share in the grief.  I am thankful for my husband who constantly challenges me to trust in all circumstances.  I am thankful for my boys who are miracles, like each and everyone one of us.  I am thankful for our families and friends that share in our grief and give us encouragement and strength.

My friend called me the day we found out that our baby had passed away and she shared this from Jesus Calling:

Welcome challenging times as opportunities to trust Me.  You have Me beside you and My Spirit within you, no set of circumstances is too much for you to handle.  When the path before you is dotted with difficulties, beware of measuring your strength against those challenges.  That calculation is certain to riddle you with anxiety.  Without Me, you wouldn't make it past the first hurdle!

The way to walk through demanding days is to grip My hand tightly and stay in close communication with Me.  Let your thoughts and spoken words be richly flavored with trust and faithfulness.  Regardless of the day's problems, I can keep you in perfect Peace as you stay close to Me.

I am thankful for the HOPE I get in God's promises.

God, I walk hand in hand with You as You give us strength for this climb. 

Thursday, June 12, 2014

"I loved today." Jogging for Jack 2014

As I laid my head down Saturday night, I said to Chris, "I loved today."


The day started off with thunderstorms and dark skies.  I was imagining all of us sitting in our cars waiting for the 5K to start and no one at the start line because of the down pour.

But it passed, thankfully the clouds kept moving, and a few sprinkles made for perfect running and walking conditions.

We were able to get a group picture before the start, missing about 10-12 people, but with such a large group it was the best we could do at the moment.

High school and college friends, family, roommates, coworkers, coaches, players, friends we hadn't seen in years, neighbors, cousins, uncles, small group friends, and friends of friends.  Not only were we there with all of these people, but they brought their families.  Some of them did their first 5K! Awesome!  Some of them drove over 4 hours to be with us.  We are blessed by each of you, your love for our Jack, and coming out to celebrate people with Down syndrome means more than you know.  Thank you.  

Jogging for Jack helped raise over $3,000 for Gigi's playhouse and many of you helped us get to that number.  Again, we are just blown away by your generosity.  Your donations will help Gigi's provide free programs to people with Down syndrome and families.  The Twin Cities location only has one paid employee and tons of volunteers.  If you ever are in the Hopkins area, stop in and see the amazing environment that Gigi's provides.  Check out their website here.  There are many areas where you can help besides monetary donations.  Check out their wish list which includes office supplies and more.  

Chris and his friend, Ryan, crossed the finish line 1st again with a time of 17:40.  Repeat!  Last year, Chris casually walked to start and thought, "I'm going to win this for my son."  And this year, he had to live up to his last year's performance, and he didn't disappoint.  

 The kids dash was about 10 yards long and Luke would describes his performance like this, "I shot out like a rocket!"

To have young children Jogging for Jack brings tears to my eyes.  I am so thankful to have kids that will grow up with Jack and learn more about people with Down syndrome.  Thank you for sharing with your children how Jack is beautifully created like they are, that there isn't anything 'wrong' with him, that those that have Ds can do many of the things that they can do, and that he deserves the same opportunities and respect as anyone.  Explaining that Jack may do things a little differently and need extra time to accomplish things, but he will do great things and has great potential like each child does.  I love your children and I am so thankful for the sweet friendship and love they will have for Jack.

I love my family and yours too.  

Of all the marathons and runs I have done, there is nothing that beats the feeling of running for your own son.  It could bring me to tears thinking about it.  Then to have people that are there in the rain and cold, taking time out of their weekend, generously giving, and sharing the impact that Jack has had on their lives, fills me with a feeling that is so hard to describe in words.  

"I loved today." 

This guy still makes my heart flutter after 8 years and I am so blessed to have him as my husband and such an amazing dad to Luke and Jack.  He encourages me in a lot of ways, especially by being a hard worker at whatever he sets his mind to.  So proud and thankful for him.  

We had some interest in more Jogging for Jack shirts.  If you didn't get a chance to order before the deadline in May and are interested in ordering one, we may order a few more in the next few weeks.  They are $15.  We will keep the same shirt for the years to come and do an order each year.  Please email:

We are already excited for next year's event.  If you weren't able to make it this year and are free next year...come join us!  I promise you will have a such a great time!   

Again, we love you and are so blessed by each of you!  Thank you.   

Phil 1:3 

Monday, June 2, 2014


Jack turned 14 months at the end of May and we are very thankful he stayed pretty healthy all month!  Just one fever that filled me with the fear that it was RSV and was hoping it wasn't anything like his days at the beginning of April.  He also welcomed a molar!  Yowsa!  His seventh tooth was a molar!  I was doing some routine facial and mouth exercises with Jack (who would have guessed you needed to strength the tongue muscle for help with speaking and clearing food and also rev up those facial muscles to smile and help with closure of the mouth ) when I put my finger in to massage his gums and there it was!  Boy, does that kid have a good bite!

His one year check up was a little late based on his after birthday party shenanigans that landed us in Children's.  His pediatrician has always been impressed with Jack and has treated him like any other patient he has.  He went through all the general questions and it was so exciting to hear him wrap up the visit expressing how well he thinks he is doing.

Jack is babbling like crazy and it just happens to be when he is suppose to be getting ready for bed.  He loves grabbing people's faces and squeezing.  He says Dada much more than Mama ;), but what surprised me most was when he brought his hand to his chin and signed the word, Mama.  He can feed himself crackers and recently picked up cheerios and peas and put them in his mouth.  Some made it in, some Bella enjoyed.  His favorite food is avocado and he would eat a whole one if we let him.  From the looks of his belly, he might need to get on his dad's training schedule soon. :)

He can push himself up on all fours, and before he got sick was ready to surge forward.  It took a lot of effort to get his strength back and just now is starting to sway side to side and I am hopeful he will be motivated to move forward.  We go to PT twice a week and OT comes to our house once a week.  Speech is twice a month.  Again, we feel extremely blessed to have such great therapists, to have the resources available to us, and a happy boy.  So far, he enjoys therapy but when he's tired or hungry he shows his toddler attitude.

Today, he had an Auditory Brainstem Response hearing test.  The results were inconclusive at the follow up test for the tubes he got in March.  He kept looking at the lady in the booth instead of the dancing tiger in the corner.   I think he liked charming the audiologist more than the toys.  :)  Here are a few pictures from today's appointment and I had to make sure that he didn't rip the stylish headband off during the test.  Gillette has the new equipment for the ABR so he didn't need to be sedated.  Trying to get a 14 month old to sit and play for 45 minutes while wearing a bunch of cords on his head is quite the job.  I had to work on my hand and eye coordination.  Yikes.  But he PASSED!  Nice job buddy. 

We are very excited for the upcoming weekend and the 5K that support Gigi's playhouse.  You can read more about the event here and we are praying for good weather.  Jack's fans have helped us raise over $2,000 for Gigi's and we are beyond thankful for all the love and support!  Gigi's provides free programs to all families and I am thankful for the community it has provided our family in the early days after Jack was born.   Recently, I have been in contact with them about being on the outreach committee, specifically the medical community.  I have been in conversations with them about Jack's baskets and I am excited to see how we can bridge the gap between medical professionals and families' experiences.

If you are free this Saturday, we would love to have you come out and celebrate with us!  Click "Join our Team" and choose Jogging for Jack.  You will need to create a username and password but after that it's pretty easy.


As many of you know, I am a physical education teacher and spring is always crazy with field days and end of the year events.  I had the unique opportunity to teach an all girl's class this year and I absolutely loved it.  In December I was out on a run and heard the song, Gold, by Britt Nicole.  It has been one of my favorite songs and always puts a hop in my step.

This song is such an encouragement to those that hear it.  It shares the message that whatever you have been told, YOU are worth more than GOLD.  Don't let anyone tell you that your not loved.  Don't let anyone tell you that your not enough.  Wow, a song that uplifts individuals!  Is that even possible in today's society?  I kept thinking of my girls and the issues they face everyday.  The voices in their own head, words that have cut deep, the belief that they have to measure up, the pressures of fitting in.  I asked them what they thought this song meant.  I emphasized that their worth does not come in what others think of them.

I wanted my girls to hear this song, to believe it, to live it.  A friend and I choreographed the dance that they could follow and I could incorporate it into the rhythms unit.  I then challenged them to share it at the end of the year assembly.  As the weeks approached we practiced this dance every class period.  I would see how the girls would express themselves in the dance moves and I then started to hear the words being sung.  I could see the belief in themselves was evolving.  We spray painted black shirts with gold spray pant and wore funky headbands.  As the day approached, they were beaming with excitement.

This past Friday they had the audience cheering at the final chord and many adults in tears.  To see this group of girls, each with a unique story, shared the message with our school community that each boy and girl is worth more than was beautiful. (check out their performance on the video below)

As I reflect on what each girl brought to this song and I hear this song being played in my own head, I remind myself that MY worth is more than gold.  My worth does not come in what others think of me.  Either does YOURS.

Honestly, when I think of the hard days in the past 14 months of Jack's life, it hasn't been because he has Down syndrome, it's when I think of how others view Jack's life.  I have felt like I have had to defend his life.  I felt the pressure to have to explain to others that his life is worth living (being that many parents terminate babies that are created like Jack).  When I refer to 'others', I mean people I don't even know, not the amazing family and friends we have.  Others.  Who are these others?  Why was I letting others steal the amazing joy I have experienced with their own ignorance?  My son's worth does not come in what others view his life to be.  My son's worth does not come in what he can and can not do.  He is worth more than GOLD.  My worth as a mother does not come in what I do and do not do. My worth is more than GOLD.

Wow, looks like this song made an impact on more than these girls.

For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.
Ephesians 2:10

Help Sponsor a Jack's Basket

About Me

My photo
The name of this blog was inspired by Kristin Armstrong's devotional book, Strength for the Climb. I am a midwest girl married to a handsome, hardworking, God-fearing man and the mother of two boys. My eldest son, a social butterfly that has enough energy and excitement to make anyone tired and a personality that will make you giggle with laughter. My youngest son, can cuddle like no other, and his eyes will speak right to your soul. Both of my sons have taught me more about God's grace and goodness. We are blessed to have an extra chromosome in our family as our sweet Jack was diagnosed at birth with Down syndrome. With that, I am reminded daily to trust and rely on God's perfect plan on this journey called life. I am a child of God and grateful to my Heavenly Father for His continued blessings, guidance, wisdom, and most importantly for saving my soul.