Monday, December 27, 2010

My heart is heavy today for all of the moms I've met along this journey of loss who experienced their first Christmas without their babies last weekend. Many nights when I wake up to feed Kaylee, I pray for the incredible women whose stories and testimonies have greatly impacted my life. And today I hurt with them.

I remember just wanting to curl up on the couch in a blanket a year ago during the holidays. Celebration felt so forced and empty. In some way, I thought that feeling would disappear this year now that our arms are no longer empty, but I was wrong. This past week has been really difficult for Shaun and I. We have felt the hole left in our hearts and our family by Zachary more than we have in a while, and we grieved the fact that he wasn't with us once again this Christmas. It becomes more and more apparent as time goes on that the void left in our lives by Zachary's absence will never be filled.

But, we did enjoy celebrating with Kaylee. She is so sweet. As we read the account of Christ's birth in Luke 2, I found myself thinking a lot about verse 19: "But Mary treasured all these things, pondering them in her heart." I've read that verse so many times, but it has never clicked like it did this past week. So many times in the past five weeks, I have paused while snuggling my girl on my shoulder or giving her a bath or watching Shaun hold her, and I usually close my eyes in an attempt to store away a memory of that moment in time. I just want to treasure each day with Kaylee. And, I think that's probably what Mary did with Jesus, too...I think that's exactly what Luke 2:19 is referring to. Because, although she was chosen by God to carry and give birth to the Savior of the world, Mary was also a mommy who had an indescribable love for her baby and wanted to remember him at each stage of life.

What a gift to be a mom to two kids, both of whom continue to change my life every day.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Here are a few pictures from Kaylee's birthday:

Kaylee Hope DeYager

Family pic (at 4am!)

Proud daddy

I just can't get enough of her!

I've sat down to write here several times over the past two weeks, but between the needs of a newborn and flat-out not knowing how to sort through my emotions, I haven't even tried to put it into words.

But I'll try now.

Labor and delivery went as well as I could have ever imagined.

I was having non-stress tests to monitor Kaylee's heart rate twice a week. On Friday, November 26th, I went in to the hospital as scheduled for my NST. At my appointment, I was already dilated to 5cm, but there weren't enough nurses on the floor to admit me to induce then, so my midwife told us to go get some dinner and come back to the hospital to have a baby at 7pm. So, Shaun and I cruised through Costco and Home Depot to get some Black Friday deals, stopped at home to eat some dinner, and then headed back to the hospital. (It was so weird to be asked while we were shopping, 'So, when are you due?' and to answer, 'At 7pm tonight, actually.') :-)

By the time we got back to the birth center, I was already having contractions two minutes apart. Shaun and I walked through the halls for much of the next two hours. At around 10pm, my midwife broke my water, and after three more hours of hard labor and two pushes, I was holding my beautiful baby girl!

God answered so many prayers that night.

I had some apprehension about being induced because I wanted to go natural, so to already be in labor when we got back to the hospital was such an answer to prayer. And, although it was an amazing experience to go drug-free, I think it will be the last time I try it! :-)

I was also really afraid of the emotional intensity of walking back into the birth center where we delivered Zachary. It was not nearly as difficult as I had imagined. As Shaun and I walked through the halls, we passed room 2337, where we held our baby boy, several times. I was able to thank God for His faithfulness as I looked at that room number. He has changed us over and over again because of the 48 hours we spent in that room. And to remember did not fill me with fear as I had anticipated.

And, let me just sum up some of the most joyful moments of my life (and greatest answers to my prayers):

-to have a screaming, wiggling baby placed on my chest

-to drive out of the hospital parking lot with a baby in the carseat

-to lay my baby girl down to sleep at night in a crib that sat empty for 18 months

-to have that maternal desire finally fulfilled

-to watch Shaun change diapers and thoroughly enjoy his little girl

-to look down right now and see my beautiful girl asleep on my chest

Our time at home has not been without its difficult moments. It's so hard to realize all that we missed out on with Zachary. And, I have to daily recognize that Kaylee belongs to the Lord, and to constantly place her life back into His hands in total surrender. But we are loving having the opportunity to care for her and love on her. She's just as sweet as can be!

Thank you so much for your prayers over the past several months, and especially the past two weeks. We are so, so thankful.

Below is a link to some beautiful newborn photos that our friend, Cassie took for us this past weekend.