Our Journey Through Infertility…Conclusion

Hi there!  If you are joining us for the first time today, you may want to go back to the beginning of the story part one is here , part two is here , part three is herepart 4 is here. and part 5 is here. As promised …here is the conclusion…

This time, we didn’t wait to tell our friends and family. I figured, most of them have walked most of this journey with us, might as well have them pray and walk along this stage with us too. So my younger sisters helped me a prepare a dinner for some good friends and we surprised them with the news…it was so. much. fun.

I don’t remember when we settled on the name Lucas, but I do remember speaking to him long before I could feel him moving around…I had minimal morning sickness and because I was still on Sabbatical I wasn’t overly tired because I could sleep whenever I wanted. But soon my sabbatical would be over and I would be returning to ministry and the school in the midst of a lot of upheaval…but I knew it would be short term for me because of mat leave, so the stress of it didn’t really effect me thankfully. The summer weeks flew by.

We had been invited to the wedding of some former students and now very good friends and had made plans to travel to Florida at the end of the summer…it would be just past the 12 week mark.

I was at work the day I was supposed to begin packing and I noticed some spotting…there was a moment when I felt all the fear and torment from the past 5 years rush up and try to overwhelm me…I rushed home without telling Chris, and ran around the house tearing open drawers and cupboards.

I had to find it…please don’t laugh, or roll your eyes, or get overly analytical.  I was looking for oil. It was this “anointing oil” a guest speaker had given out at a church meeting…I had scoffed at the time, thinking that if it’s in the bible, it doesn’t matter if you use olive oil, or coconut oil to pray with… I had not been convinced it was “special” , but “just in case I’m wrong” I hadn’t thrown it away…(BTW, I’m Still not sure it was special) but “just in case” I had dumped it all over myself and started thanking God that my joy would be full. FULL. FULL.

I was sitting on the floor in the room with the crib, covered in oil, when Chris got home later that evening.  BUT the spotting had stopped.  (I’ll leave it up to you what to believe, I’m just relaying my desperation in that moment to try anything…and I do give God credit for his grace throughout the journey, and for my children, and do believe I was healed that day, or earlier).

We called off the trip just to be safe…but after that day, there were no other problems in the pregnancy. The fall and winter came and went, I got bigger and bigger and happier and happier.

I started Mat leave about a month before my due date, and the next day my friends threw us a gigantic shower. Everything we needed and more was provided…we put everything away that night and I packed my hospital bag – well most of it…and the next day…He, the baby that is, decided to arrive early. Lucas would be our only baby to arrive 3 weeks early, the only one to be early period. I can’t begin to convey the joy in the hospital room…in fact the waiting room was full of people who had to be there when he arrived. Thankfully, it was in the afternoon. It was like a party hit the hospital. (Remember the friend who had called me while I was driving in Alberta? Her baby had been born the day before, in the same hospital, she was surprised to see us, because we were so early, but she just joined in the party) It was so much fun – after the grueling work of delivery that is!


After Lucas, 2 more boys arrived within four years…and I wasn’t sure if God thought he was just being funny – I mean 3 boys? I have 4 sisters, no brothers…”what does one do with boys?”… and then 6 years later our baby girl. Each of the rest of the babies took. their. blessed. time in arriving. Believe you me. But after each one, I knew, my joy was full. My cup ran over in fact. His grace is sufficient, and his love indescribable. But His joy, His joy is complete.

151017_Heaslip_048 (2)An interesting little note… in 2014 we were blessed to have Isabelle join our family. She is from China  and she is staying with us for all of high school. We love her parents like family, and she is definitely family, she fits right in, you’d never know she was an only child. She was born the year we lost Maggie. Isabelle makes every day more joyful for me, and our family. I had always said that I hoped to adopt a little girl from Asia someday, and maybe we will still…but maybe not. But I do know, that Isabelle was destined to be a part of our family from that day, and our hearts were being prepared to share life with her today, way back then. I thank God for her (and her family) everyday. Truly, our joy is full.

151017_Heaslip_024 (2)Thank you for sharing in this journey with me. Thank you for your encouragement and kind words. Someone had asked me why I decided to share now, and honestly, because I was finally ready. I want to keep writing, and I know writing through the hard stuff  is part of the process. I hope you’ll come back, I hope you’ll share some of your stories with me. I love hearing from you and thank you for your friendship and love,

xoxo

Tammara

 

 

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Our Journey through Infertility Part 3

Hi there, if you are joining us for the first time today, you may want to go back to the beginning of the story part one is here and part two is here.

As a worship leader, I couldn’t do my job.

I don’t know how to explain this…I couldn’t sing. I literally could not get a melody out. For about 6 weeks… I do not know why…physically, psychologically? Yes, I was confused, hurt and angry with God… I became obsessed with finding out why? Why us? Why me? What had I done? What had I not done? Was I not supposed to have children? Take this cup from me…

It felt like the loving God who had never let me down like this, was suddenly absent. Nothing. No answers, no peace. My journey to embracing grace, had begun that day…

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Then, on a Sunday morning in December, I remember, we crept into the church. It was the Christmas season, so part way through the opening songs we found a seat in the back.– I had started arriving late, because I couldn’t sing, and I couldn’t just stand there and pretend everything was OK, and I was trying to avoid the uncomfortable conversations.

Everyone else was happy and I was definitely not…

Then the band started playing this song which was not a Christmas song and…I knew for a fact, had been kind of “banned” because the pastor had found it theologically questionable (and even I didn’t really “get it” I mean it was catchy, but it was “me” focused and had this chorus that didn’t jive with the verses…I digress)

… and yet…

The band, the choir, my friends and co-workers…my people… began to sing it quietly…

“I’m trading my sorrows, I’m trading my shame…”

I almost walked out right then… but instead hung my head and let it wash over me. It crescendos you know… and I heard that sweet, quiet voice of the Holy Spirit tell me to try and sing… and I tried…

Choking and squawking I spoke-sang those words through tears until my voice rang out clear…

“Though the sorrows may last for the night, joy comes in the morning!”

and that chorus that never made sense to me…

“Yes Lord, Yes Lord, Yes, Yes Lord” became my cry, to walk in the awareness of trading that sorrow…would be a willful act, everyday.

Once my voice was free, my journey toward healing and wholeness had begun.

But that’s another story, it would be another 3 years before I held my son…

I’ll share how we got there, next week.

Our Journey through Infertility…Part Two

Hi there, if you didn’t read Part 1 of this series, it may be worth your time to go back and get the beginning of the story before reading here today…My hope and prayer is that this post is encouraging to someone today.

Maggie  

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The dark clouds had begun to gather…

I had taken the day off to set up for the party but in the afternoon I felt off. Then I felt nauseous, I had not had much morning sickness so far. I tried laying down, but couldn’t sleep. I was restless, I had too much to do…

Then there was cramping, and eventually I started spotting, nothing big, just dark little spots. We went to the ER. The doctor said, it could be nothing, but I could also be losing the baby. There was nothing to be done. Go home and rest. Put your feet up. Wait and see.

The phone kept ringing. We ignored it. How to explain something we hadn’t told anyone about yet? The cramping and bleeding got worse. We prayed, we claimed life, we claimed every promise we’d ever heard. We pulled out every “faith” resource we had. I called a my friend and co-worker, one of the few I had already told. Her mom was a midwife by training and a Christian. She sat with us, and prayed with us… once, after I’d been in the washroom, she looked in the toilet and told me not to look…but that I should go back to the hospital. We waited hours to have an ultrasound, holding out hope, but not sure what to pray… when the doctor confirmed our worst fears, this loud guttural moaning noise filled the room the the hospital bed was shaking, and I eventually realized it was me…

Like that, the dream was shattered. Our baby was lost…my God, in the toilet. Gone. No solace. No light. Nothing. My womb was empty, and so was my heart. I couldn’t breathe.

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I don’t remember much about the next couple days… I remember us holding each other on the futon in the living room. Counting the flowers in the wallpaper border…and of never feeling warm enough. Standing in a hot shower and not feeling clean. I remember my friend and her mom’s tear stained faces, even though they had already guessed the truth, they held back the tears until after the hospital. I remember trying to apologize for ruining his birthday, and choking on the words. Somehow we cancelled the party. That friend made all the calls, and gave some lame excuse about a family emergency. After that, I remember the phone kept ringing, over and over. Someone, another friend, had a hunch that something was very wrong, and wouldn’t give up until she’d talked to one of us. She cried too.  Then the terrible silence of a house ready for a party, with no guests and no special news.

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We shared our sad news over that week…It was next to impossible to see our own pain reflected in the eyes of those we loved. The outpouring of love from our community was overwhelming. Meals and cards and flowers started arriving. I have kept every card…the only evidence that there really was life.

. My pastors gave me time off. They spoke with us about how to mourn, how to let go.  I just remember wondering, “How do you let go of someone you never got to hold?” How do you ever feel safe to dream again? What’s the point? The unfinished pregnancy journal was mocking me from the table…

I took the time to grieve. Words that could only be spoken in quiet places, where an empty and broken heart was safe. Saying goodbye to the one who occupied my dreams that fall and facing the reality that now I was a woman with that story, whether I wanted to be or not.

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Eventually, we had to go into the world, our world, again…and the barrage of well-meaning but stupid words came at us. “You weren’t ready to be parents anyway”…”Maybe there was something horribly wrong and Nature/God took care of it so you wouldn’t have to”… “well obviously you weren’t praying enough”, “maybe there’s some sin you don’t know about, or aren’t admitting”…“you’ll have another”(like this one didn’t count)… Religion has a way of destroying the silence that real faith grows in. I was walking through an emotional mine field, daily. But there was one truth that I hung onto with all my heart.

“This loss, this pain, this grief…it will not own me”

I knew I had to feel the full force of everything. I could not hide from it or run, but I must walk through it, and win…no matter what.” I had to hold onto the truth that God was the same, even if my circumstances had changed. That He still…that he always loved me. I didn’t realize then that the journey toward healing and fulfillment had only begun.

 

 

Our Journey through Infertility…Part One

InfertilityMyStory

We got married in the late nineties, newly graduated from bible school and ready to change the world with big dreams and what we thought, was unshakable faith. As one who was recruited to remain on staff of aforementioned bible school, we were in a unique social circle. Most of our close friends and fellow graduates had either moved on to further studies in other cities or they had taken posts in missions around the world. We were suddenly bereft of a social circle of friends who were like us, married, no kids. We were surrounded mostly by high school graduates starting out in Bible School or couples who’d been married several years ahead of us and were now moving on into the next phase of typical family life, having children.

Not having kids yet probably wouldn’t have been a big deal in a different place and time. But at that point, we felt a bit like we couldn’t relate to anyone. After a few months of marriage, the negative side effects of taking birth control caused us to decide that if we got pregnant that year, it was ok because we had both wanted a big family. A year passed and we enjoyed our couple-hood. He was busy travelling in his new job and I was working in full time ministry – I was happy to go to work every day and be with my students and co-workers. I was working in a Creative Arts in Ministry school, leading worship every morning, and also working in the music ministry of a vibrant church.

After that first year, we put a little more thought into family planning. We wanted kids, and my mom had never had any trouble getting pregnant (I have four younger sisters), so I figured it would be a piece of cake. I was almost 25 now. Time to make it happen if I wanted to be done by 30. Silly me, I thought it was up to me, this having babies thing. When another year passed, the niggling doubts started to creep in. Maybe something was wrong with one or both of us. So we went and got things checked out. The doctor said everything was in working order. Stop worrying about it, it would happen, eventually.

But, there was stress. The stress of things not being in my control. Of course this stress would mess with my biology. A vicious 28 day cycle of anxiety, hope and crushing disappointment became my new normal. For another year, I would slap on a happy face each day, because I was in ministry, and these were the days of faith without visible struggle. When doubts and fears and negativity in general were not acceptable. I didn’t want to be that woman, obsessed with her infertility. I had a friend, she cried with me every month, she already had 2 kids, and I’d even been in the room when the second was born. She mourned with me well. But the happy face was driving a wedge between God and I, because not being real on the outside, was causing me to not be real on the inside.

“When we honestly ask ourselves which person in our lives mean the most to us, we often find that it is those who, instead of giving advice, solutions, or cures, have chosen rather to share our pain and touch our wounds with a warm and tender hand. The friend who can be silent with us in a moment of despair or confusion, who can stay with us in an hour of grief and bereavement, who can tolerate not knowing, not curing, not healing and face with us the reality of our powerlessness, that is a friend who cares.”
Henri J.M. Nouwen, Out of Solitude: Three Meditations on the Christian Life

And then, one day… the light shone in. The cycle was interrupted. Hope was not followed by crushing disappointment. The darkness of the previous years was lost in the light of this little seed of hope. My heart came alive, my dreams took flight. I saw this baby in my heart. I prayed like never before, prayers of thanksgiving, prayers of protection and love. I had one of those books that had pictures of how she was developing each week – and each day I would offer up thanksgiving for the heart, the limbs, the feet, the spine…my joy was full. We heard the heartbeat at 8 weeks. I had been keeping a pregnancy journal and it was filled with hopes, dreams and plans.

My expectation  and my joy grew daily. We had decided to share our good news with friends and family on my husband’s birthday. We’d be just past the first trimester by then, so planned the party and waited eagerly for that November to arrive.

I had a feeling in my heart it was a girl. I liked the name Marion – the name was in both our families. We told my parents, and my father in law – with a balloon that said “Grandpa” – he was overjoyed. (He’d been asking for grandbabies since the wedding). He loved the name…”can I call her Maggie?” and I’d hear him whistle the Foster and Allen song – Maggie to himself, over and over. We also told that friend, the one who cried with me, and we laughed like school girls. That fall, everyday felt like I awoke to a world of sunshine and butterflies…

Until the night before the party…when the dark clouds began to gather…

 

Pausing on May 1st

So many thoughts rumbling around today… but many of them with a similar theme…I guess someone is trying to get my attention…

I read this quote in my devotional today…

Going through life without pauses (big and small) would be like writing without punctuation! Commas, periods, or new paragraphs help us make sense of things., take a breath or organize, and to know where one chapter ends and a new one begins. We need these pauses in our lives as they unfold as well!              

~Amy Cooper Collier

from the devotional itself by Julie Bogart…

Maybe today we can all pause – simply long enough to be present to ourselves and to our families in this moment in time. To pause is to cease what you’re doing for a moment, giving yourself an opportunity to be.

and then this post from blogger Shauna…must pay attention…

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Pausing to think about a sisters birthday today. A sister who is lovely and gentle and kind. Silly and funny, quiet and thoughtful. Pleasant and loyal and deserves a really good year. A really, really good one. Happy birthday Aya – I love you always.

Pausing to reflect on my daughter. The joy it brings me to see those words before me. My daughter… all my life I wanted a daughter. She was worth the wait. Her name, Elaina, means light. I was thinking about how,she was born at the beginning of a new chapter. We’d had several years of darkness in our family so to speak. Death and disillusionment, disappointment and loss…and through it all we kept walking – rather stumbling, falling and crawling and even, being carried by grace. Grace and faith…at times, even hope was gone, and even the road didn’t look like a road leading anywhere good…but Jesus…he was there…and then, the road turned sharply, the clouds parted and the valley was behind us. Breathing deeply,the gasps of survivors. and we were bathed in light. The kind of light you can feel on your skin. The kind you can’t help but turn your face to. The kind that warms your insides, heals your soul, refreshes your hope and brings clarity to your mind…and the path ahead.

Light… reflecting on the daughter conceived in the final steps of that valley. Elaina, is certainly delightful, almost always happy, loved by everyone… last week I posted a cute pic of her online, and it had over 50 likes, overnight. She loves to jump and sing and dance. She loves hugs, and her family. She has this bright smile and sparkly eyes and this curly blonde hair that when the sun hits it on a certain angle, looks like a halo. She makes me pause…a million times a day. To hug, to sing “twinkle” – for of course – Twinkle, twinkle little star” –  a million times a day, to “jumpy mommy!”…she’s full of things to say and share and learn…a reflection of the promise.

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I pause to reflect on the years my womb was silent, when the hope for children was crushed again and again. I’ve often thought, why didn’t God just tell me then, what I know now…that it really was too early? That He had things for me to do that would be impossible to do with a family…and that I would look back on that hard season as one of the best of my life? That He knew me better than my 20 something self knew me… that I would want to share motherhood with my sisters who weren’t even married yet, rather than the friends who shared that season with me, but are no longer nearby? That  I would want my children to share memories with their cousins…not just grandparents. So the timing, though unexplained, difficult…  five years of waiting and loss, was in Him. Why didn’t he just whisper it to me? Maybe He had, and I just wasn’t listening. 20 somethings don’t often know how to pause.

Pausing to reflect on those sons – the first, the promise child – who causes me to cling to hope and continue to trust in the Lord’s promise, that the work of faith wasn’t fulfilled in his birth, but in the walking out of motherhood with him. The second son, the talker, the joker, the fun-maker. The one who pushed me away when he was months old, and still isn’t sure if he wants to pull me closer or push me away even now. A riddle I am challenged with loving in his own unique way, for forever. And the 3rd son. Born 6 months between the deaths of both grandfathers…the child who was peaceful… though rarely slept. Who cried every night, until you picked him up. Who just wanted to be held in the midnight hours…and now I wonder if instead it was he who was holding me…through his early years, the path our family walked, grew darker still and yet, this child continued to be a watchman – the one constantly seeking to comfort others. A picture of God’s peace in the midst of every imaginable storm…knowing now that God was holding us all up, together, and drawing us forward into a season of light.

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Pausing again, as our first chinese “daughter” returned to visit last night. Reflecting on 3 almost 4 years ago, and where we were then, at the very beginning of this chapter – when I was expecting Elaina and welcoming light in…and where we are now, where the Lord has brought us…wondering if she saw the difference? Wondering if the light I feel radiating inside me, is felt outside me at all yet?

Pausing, to reflect on Grace. Where we’ve been, where we’re going. To let the light shine, to let the light in and to give thanks.

“My name is now Christian, but my name used to be Graceless.” ― John BunyanThe Pilgrim’s Progress: From This World to That Which Is to Come

A perfectly pink baby shower…

These posts are obviously “catch ups” and are posted months after the fact. It’s for my records and for posterity’s sake. The events of the past few months are too important to not have posts up for 🙂

Back in October …a couple weeks after our lovely Elaina was born my dearest Jodi and sister Steph hosted a baby shower for us. 
It was perfectly pink and pretty and sweet.  Jodi has a thing for details it was everything you could imagine. We were blessed with so many gifts and everyone took turns holding her sweetness.She met her Great Grandma Baker and so many of our friends and relatives. The food was amazing and the company great of course. We are so blessed!
prettiest pink decor and food – in the back ground Stephy is setting up…her home is so picture perfect and pretty.

details like the No. 4 are Jodi’s specialties

My sister Andrea did up the favours.

The cupcakes were from my dear friend Vanessa of Vanessa’s Cupcakery and Confections.

My mom and grandma holding Baby Telis – Stephy’s babe and Elaina’s first cousin.

My Jodi – party planner extraordinaire!

Elaina Grace

These posts are obviously “catch ups” and are posted months after the fact. It’s for my records and for posterity’s sake. The events of the past few months are too important to not have posts up for 🙂

Reflections for Elaina During My Pregnancy with Elaina…

February
-One last baby…around the New Year we thought maybe we were pregnant, but it was a false alarm. So we decided if we weren’t pregnant before the summer that we would be done that summer. The very next month mommy took a test and there were 2 lines… we were pregnant!
March
-Telling our friends and Family…We waited a bit to tell people because Auntie Stephy was pregnant with her first baby, your cousin Telis and we didn’t want to take away from her feeling special. She was one of the first we told, and Jodi. Then your brothers and our parents and your aunts and uncles. Everyone was happy, and hoping for a girl.           
-Crazy Symptoms…Mommy had the most morning sickness with you. I remember I was throwing up in the bathroom one morning and your brother Max was calling for me, he paused when he saw I was sick, and then asked “When’s lumch?”

April

-Ultrasound…the technician asked mommy and daddy if we wanted to know, she knew we had 3 boys at home, so she paused and said, well…“it’s a GIRL!”…I aksed her to check again and then mommy cried happy tears and daddy said “Good job honey!”. On the way home I called Auntie Jodi Taylor and told her the news, she was driving at the time and was so happy she had to pull over and cried happy tears too.
May
Mommy hosted a baby shower for Auntie Stephanie at her house outside. It was a lot of fun, and we started to get really excited about meeting our babies!
June   
-Crazy Symptoms…throughout the pregnancy I had some weird symptoms…of course I swelled all over (I took off my wedding rings at 4 months along) then in the late summer I got Gestational Carpel Tunnel, my hands and arms would go numb, especially when I fell asleep. I had heart burn, and of course having to pee all the time.  

July                                                                                                                    

– summer life goes on…We had a busy summer while my tummy was growing bigger and bigger. We joined Geema at a cottage she rented at Braeside Camp, Camping at Bissells with the Crazy Moms Trip, Lot’s of Swimming, visits with Geepa Jim and Nana Jo, Trips to Safari Niagara and Marineland. Busy, Busy, Busy.

August

-your cousin Telis is born…On August 9th your cousin was born!

-The boys started school early because mommy knew we would take some time off when the baby arrived.

September
(I have pictures from the labour story… but they aren’t available yet. I’ll have to add them later).
so many ultrasounds…the midwives were worried about how big you were getting so they sent me for many ultrasounds. The doctor they referred me too said he would induce me at the end of September (your due date was Oct. 2nd)
-Waiting…it was getting hard to wait as I was so uncomfortable and was having contractions all the time.
-getting ready for baby… We had girls from Korea staying with us for 7 weeks in July-Sept and I was eager for them to go home so I could start getting your room ready. It was so fun decorating in pink – even on a budget! I was given lots of clothes from friends who had had girls Monica, Laila and others. We were set for you to be the best dressed until you were 2 years old! Mommy still had the crib and change table from your brothers, repurposed an old dresser (painted it black), hung some pretty curtains and frames, found pink lampshades and an antique chair. We left the queen size bed in the room so she could sleep in their if you had a fussy night.

September 29th
Your Delivery Story…we finally were told to come to the hospital to be induced on Saturday

morning. The doctor started me on the drip in the morning and we basically started walking through the contractions. Yaya and auntie Jodi arrived in the afternoon and we tried to visit until the contractions were too strong. Unfortunately, you were not moving down the birth canal very fast. Around dinner time the doctor decided to break my water and gave me morphine. That was not good because it made mommy sleepy and it was hard to concentrate on the contractions. My blood pressure was getting very high, so the doctors were getting worried. They tried to get me to start pushing around 8 pm because you still weren’t moving along. After pushing for 2 hours I was finally fully dilated and “ready to go” but you still weren’t co-operating, mommy blood pressure was even higher, plus, I was collapsing after each contraction (either from the drugs or exhaustion). We prayed again in the room for things to come together.
I could tell you weren’t co-operating (your brothers were the same way), I could tell everyone was worried about my blood pressure and then your heart rate started spiking, I knew in my heart that I wouldn’t have the strength to push through your delivery. I told the doctor I was ok if he thought I should have a c-section. That was 12:30 am on the 30th.
The doctor decided that that was best and then they tried for 45 mins to give me an epidural, I was still out if it from the drugs and in full labour so it was so hard to sit properly to have the needle in. Eventually I told them I was ok for them to give me gas and knock me out. They decided that was best too. It was almost 2 am by then. I wish I could have been awake to meet you right away, but I felt like the drugs would have effected me anyways… and knew your daddy would see you right away. The last thing I remember was the midwife’s eyes and then I woke up in recovery.
September 30th
-Happy Birthday Baby!…You were born at 2:30 am. Everything had gone well, Daddy had gotten to hold you for 20 mins after you got to the nursery.

First Photo

I was wheeled me out of recovery around 4 am when they stopped for me to meet you in the hallway by the nursery. Yaya and daddy and Jodi were waiting in the hospital room for me, and they brought you in shortly after that. I was still pretty groggy but I remember how perfect you were, and you had lot’s of hair. I thought you looked like Max and Carter, but mostly like you. Auntie Jodi held you for a bit and took some pictures. 

The nurse took you back to the nursery while I slept a bit. When they brought you back around 7 am I nursed you and we did fine. We had lots of visitors in the hospital. My recovery was actually easier than both Carter and Max’s, despite the fact that it was major surgery. Daddy brought your brothers and Geema to meet you that day. Carter and Max left with Geema for her house while I was in the hospital. Later on Geepa Jim and Nana Jo stopped in to meet you and then took Lucas back to Simcoe with them too.

We stayed in the hospital until the Tuesday morning- the staff and care at the hospital in Niagara Falls was amazing. They worked well with the midwives too.

 
Other visitors included Yaya, Laura Tolhoek, Uncle Dale, Phil & Lisa VanTol and Monica Edwards. Daddy picked us up and brought us home. We had Wednesday to ourselves as he left to pick up the boys in Simcoe. They went to the Norfolk County Fair that day. Then we were all together on the Thursday for a few days before daddy went back to work. My recovery was so good, I actually joined to Home School moms for a short walk at Dufferin Islands on the Friday. 

They were so happy to meet you.

Random thoughts…
I am excited to have a daughter to share all the girly experiences with. To teach you about being a woman, a wife, a sister and friend. To share going shopping and tea parties, princess parties and dolls and dance classes among all the things we will be doing with your brothers.

I’m looking forward to teaching you how to take care of a family and how to cook and other home crafts as well as anything else that interests you. In sharing about the things of God and showing you the wonderful world he created for us. I’m looking forward to you going to your first dance, your graduation and your first date. To watching you fall in love and your wedding day. Life is especially beautiful when you are a girl and I’m excited to be sharing it with you. 


Elaina Grace
Heaslip
Isaiah 54:13
And all your children shall be taught of the LORD;
and great shall be the peace of your children.
Elaina
Greek – “Shining Light”
…after your mom “Helaina Tammara” and her
Grandmother “Yaya” on her father’s side.
Grace
Latin – ‘Favour, Blessing’
…because you are highly favored and because you will need God’s grace,
not only for all of life, but to thrive in a family with 3 big brothers.
Heaslip
Irish – ‘dweller in the hazel valley’
Your name is fitting because our desire for you is to grow in the knowledge of the Light of the World – Jesus. As you do, you will continue to be a shining ‘light” wherever you go. We are so happy to have a little girl in the family and to see the changes it brings to our lives. You are lovely in every way and already have brought a new “light” to our days.

My Sisters Baby Shower

In my last post I mentioned one of the many things I did in June was host a baby shower for my sister Stephanie. It’s her first baby, it’s a boy, and the shower was a big one 


At one time I fancied being an event planner so when I’m hosting… I like to really throw a party when I do showers, especially for my sisters, but Steph had quite the guest list, it grew from 40 to 60 to over 80 within a few weeks…. and I was also pregnant with my 4th pregnancy myself, so couldn’t afford to overdo it…

So…I suggested a garden “open house” style shower on a Sunday afternoon. People could come and go as they please, no shower games or prizes to organize, and a light menu since it’s not lunch or dinner. Steph is having a boy, and they really love travelling and she likes vintage decor so my bff Jodi and I brainstormed some ideas for a vintage-baby boy-travel theme.

We planned on serving finger foods, desserts and cold drinks (cheaper than feeding over 60 people lunch for sure) – and I begged recruited the rest of the family and some good friends to help with the decorations and food – which they did because between the 2 of us, we have some pretty awesome, amazing, wonderful and irrecplaceable friends.

Thankfully, the weather co-operated with us beautifully, early that morning we started trickling in an setting up. Here’s a few before pics courtesy of our good friend Chantie who also did the favours and a bunch of stuff the day of… she is awesome, and if I ever do decide to go into event planning, I would ask her to join my team
Chantie and I (after I had “cleaned up” and put on a dress)

The Gift Table

Rather than have one time of opening all the gifts, we directed the guests directly to Steph who opened the gifts as they arrived, and then we displayed them on the table. 
This way, the flow of the afternoon kept moving along. 

We stationed one of my other sisters beside her to write down who the gifts
 were from to send thank you’s out later. 
   

The Sign In and Favour Table

The favours were provided by our friend Chantie – “B-shaped cookes in the cellophane) and in the bags were bath bombs in a couple of gorgeous scents. (I used mine at the end of this long day for my aching back – AWESOME!)
We had this book for people to sign and add their advice, etc.
Its also a photo album that Steph can add pics of the shower to later.
Flowers

 

 
Almost all the flowers were pulled either from my garden or “harvested” from the plants growing at my husbands work (with permission of course – Thanks Honey!) Then they were arranged by one of the may helpers who showed up early. We collected a variety of small vases and canning jars, and then I asked for as many bouquets as possible to be made. Steph and her husband Cam also used the opportunity to finish off the barrels on their porch with plants from my hubby’s work too.

The Refreshment Table

On the Menu:  Fresh veggies and dips, crackers with a variety of cheeses, nuts and spreads. my fav. was the brie with maple butter and pecans. Various fruits and sweets.

 

 

  

To me, presentation is everything. We did up fruit skewers so we wouldn’t need to use forks and it was an interesting way to display it. (The fruit was all brought in already chopped and washed by friends)

The Beverage Station
We offered iced coffee, iced tea and 3 variations of lemonade. Originally we were going to use mason jars for the drinks, but a friend brought disposables and we opted for the ease in clean up.
We also served champagne to celebrate thanks to the daddy-to-be.
Many guests commented on this lovely piece for serving the lemonade.
It was borrowed and kept stocked by our good friend Julie.
The Cupcake Station
I am very blessed to have a good friend who runs her own very successful cupcake business. She gave me a great deal on the cupcakes which were enjoyed by all! Thanks Vanessa – check out her site here or her Facebook page here. Tell her where you heard about her too please 

Misc Details 
  
For the vintage travel theme we collected and borrowed globes, 
small luggage pieces, atlases, maps, binoculars and books. 
We also borrowed white vintage table clothes, serving dishes, quilts, and anything else.
These are small pics, but I love the mobile of trains and planes above the food table. The banner was done up by Julie with burlap, twine and fabric. She’s amazing!
she also made this vintage framed chalkboard, just for the shower 
This is the closest to a game we got – no prizes, just something to look at and talk about. 

The Sistas (well 4 out of 5…sorry Jennette)

How We Enjoyed the Day

Guests enjoying the refreshments


  

Guests enjoying the company.
  
 

 

  

Special Thanks to…
Jodi – Invites & Planning                      
Sisters: Food, Set Up, Clean Up, Decor
Chantie – Favours, Set Up, Food, Decor        
Christine: Favour Labels, Set Up
Sarah W: Food, Set Up, Clean Up
Julie: Decor, Food, Set Up, Clean Up
Lisa: Food, Decor   
Laura: Food, Set Up, Clean up 
Christina, Charmaine: Food, Clean Up
Food: Mom, Mom Marconi, Sheri, Laura, 
Charmaine, Christina, Estelle, Amanda, Rebecca W
Cupcakes: Vanessa’s Cupcakery



*A side note here – we decided that the most viable location would in fact be Steph and her husband Cam’s large country property. They have a giant deck and are located beside a vineyard. Lovely natural decor and since it’s their first baby, and Steph has run a cleaning business for several years – their house is ALWAYS clean. So it was not a big hassle for them to physically “host” the event and we didn’t have the funds to rent a hall. Plus we felt it was the least stressful for her as she could take it easy while the rest of us did the work…and all the gifts were easily transported to the new nursery afterwards. So it was most easy on the new parents to be overall.


Another positive note, most everyone on the list RSVP’d, which I was happy about. If you don’t remember my rant on this, click here


Overall, we had a lovely day and Steph and Cam and the soon to arrive baby were very blessed. Thanks again to everyone! This mama is going to relax before coming up with dinner for 4 hungry men before daddy’s ballgame tonight! 



Alas, another 3 months was swallowed in the faster than I can handle pace that my life has been chugging along at. It’s February already – Carter turned one, Max 3, no holiday blog, no New Years note, no reflections on 6 months without dad, no thoughts on the inauguration of President Obama, though my thoughts on all of them have been vast, many and deep. And I have had the urge to write, I just haven’t.

Last fall, I knew that the pace of my life was going to be faster than previously lived, I chose to savour the moments of life as they came rather than lament over not having the time or energy left to maintain a blog or scrapbook. I did take many pictures, and journalled a bit, so now I can go back and do that. I enjoyed the hugs and the meals, the moments with friends, the crying, the laughing – the frustrations and the exhilerating moments. I went tobogganing and organized the business. I’ve made plans and celebrated the milestones with exhuburance…I’ve treasured my life, my friends, my peace and my hope in the quiet moments and enjoyed the warmth of friendship and love as best I could.

Today we took a sick day. Though none of us is “can’t get out of bed sick” – I kept Lucas, Max and Carter home with me today, because I’ve sensed the past week or so that we all needed a break. We’re all on the cusp of colds, and in need of a little TLC – the snow falling outside (again) was the additional motivation to stay indoors. I promised the boys a nice long bath, and lot’s of cuddles (as well as much needed naps for all of us – though they don’t know about that yet). Chris is in Boston – another trade show, and though the list of “To Do” grows by the minute – today I’ve declared a Home Day, and if I get to that list, great – if not – it’s home day – I’ll only let the outside world in when I’m good and ready.

It’s been a wonderful 3 months. Wonderful.

Too, too, too

When you’ve had alot happen and it’s been awhile since you’ve last blogged, everything is “too”. too much, too big, too emotional, too intense, too, too, too… obviously this is where I’m at right now…I try to focus on something small in the midst of it all, and yet, it’s not enough.

The summer ended, projects were started, finished and more started. We made memories, enjoying the most of the sunny days – trips to the zoo, to parks, the beach, bbq’s, bonfires and so much more. Giggles, and tears, crying and laughing, being silly, being calm and rested, just being together. and this is too much. How do you encapture “life” in words. It was just wonderful, it is wonderful.

So that brings me to now, to the busyness, to the self doubts about commitments and decisions. About who to let down, and who not to. It’s too much now adays. There’s too many options for women, work, don’t work. Full time, part time, from home, out of the home and every combination. Volutneerism, and personal growth and expression, really zoning in on parenting, or taking a laid back approach, and all the reflections that accompany whichever route you take.

The nowincludes milestones. Lucas starting school, Carter crawling and pulling up on furniture, Max developing more personality everyday. It’s too much to absorb.

For me personally, a lot of emotional things to work through too. Memories, and daily events that should have been shared by Chris’ dad, by my dad, and they aren’t. Time passes without pause, and it’s too much…

Above all this, to try to take account of all the blessings that have been poured out on us, on me, oh, it’s too much. That there is a hope, a great hope. That we have a peace, that sustains us and passes understanding, that we’ve been provided for, super-abundantly. That we have joy unspeakable and that our lives are full of glory, truly, full of glory… each aspect of our life is now illuminated by a great “light”. By that awareness of that which is “great” in everything, and that we are daily growing in the knowledge of Christ. His great love, His hope of glory, His very life, his death, his victory, it’s just too much… and more than enough.