Saturday, November 28, 2015

Four Years Later

It is hard to believe that four years have passed.   Today marks the end of Thomas' two week anniversary......and it brings with it sadness, sweet memories, and a sense of relief.  These two weeks are exhausting to me.  

We took Turner and Emmaline out to the cemetery on Thomas' birthday and again today.  They are so cute.....they shout "Baby Thomas!!" when we get there and run around giggling. (Meanwhile I'm cringing and hoping we don't offend anyone.)   They know their brother's name and point out pictures of him around the house....."baby Thomas......big brother."  It is precious. 

It is important to me that Turner and Emmaline know about their big brother.  His little life has impacted so many of us, and I'm so thankful for that.  I know I'm a different parent than I would have been otherwise.   I hope I'm a better mother.  I probably worry too much and take too many pictures, but I'm also more patient and grateful.  I think it has made me a better doctor and a more compassionate friend.   

I love tangible reminders of my son's, hearing his name, his booties and stuffed owl in the nursery....even subtle things like realizing I would have responded to a situation differently "before" Thomas.  

God is truly able to use all things for our good and His glory.  

Colossians 1:10-12 (The Message)
"Be assured that from the first day we heard of you, we haven't stopped praying for you, asking God to give you wise minds and spirits attuned to his will, and so acquire a thorough understanding of the ways in which God works.  We pray that you'll live well for the Master, making him proud of you as you work hard in his orchard.  As you learn more and more how God works, you will learn how to do your work.  We pray that you'll have the strength to stick it out over the long haul-- not the grim strength of gritting your teeth but the glory-strength God gives.  It is strength that endures the unendurable and spills over into joy, thanking the Father who makes us strong enough to take part in everything bright and beautiful that he has for us."

Friday, November 14, 2014

Happy 3rd Birthday Thomas!

The first two years after Thomas died went by painfully slowly.  This past year, though,  has been a wonderful blur. I can't believe Thomas would have been three years old today!

Would he love Spiderman and superheroes? Or trains or dinosaurs?  What a joy it would have been to watch him grow up!

I'm so grateful to catch glimpses of Thomas in his little brother and sister.  I know they would have loved him.

"But we are looking forward to the new heavens and new earth he has promised, a world filled with God's righteousness."  2 Peter 3:13 NLT

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Six Months

I feel like I blinked and now the babies are six months old!

They are such a joy, and we are having so much fun!   They were definitely worth the wait.  They have been really good, happy babies, and I am so grateful!

I try to take pictures on their "birthday" each month- so here is a long overdue update:

One month:

Two months:

Three months:

Four months:

Five months:

Six months:

Shortly after we lost Thomas, I became friends with a woman in Atlanta who had lost her son to congenital heart disease, too.  She has been, and still is, a source of wisdom and encouragement to me! I remember telling her how helpful it was to see someone "on the other side" of grief who was doing ok.  She responded by saying they were "so much better than ok." It was hard to even imagine that at the time.  I know several people who have lost babies recently, and I hope our story can be an encouragement to them as well.    By the grace of God, we are also so much better than ok!

"I pray that God, the source of hope, will fill you completely with joy and peace because you trust in Him.  Then you will overflow with confident hope through the power of the Holy Spirit." 
Romans 15:13 NLT

Sunday, December 15, 2013

November 28th- Two Years Later

God has an amazing way of redeeming things, and He is redeeming our story down to the smallest details.  His goodness and faithfulness have been so obvious over the past two years, and November 28th, 2013 was the ultimate example.

Thomas died two years ago on November 28th. This year, November 28th was Thanksgiving day, and we were able to bring our precious Turner and Emmaline home from the hospital!  Last time we left the hospital empty handed, and this time we left with our hearts and hands full to overflowing.   We did stop by the cemetery on the way home so the babies could visit their big brother.

I never in a million years would have guessed that this was the plan for us.  Even the details of the timing are just too much to take in. My heart is so full with gratitude to God for Turner and Emmaline that it might burst.  They are such a joy.  Each time I wake up and see them in their little bassinets I just have to pinch myself.  We have TWO babies at home! It is truly more than we could have asked or imagined.

"We tend, however, to divide our past into good things to remember with gratitude and painful things to accept or forget.  This way of thinking, which at first glance seems quite natural, prevents us from allowing our whole past to be the source from which we live our future.  It locks us into a self-involved focus on our gain or comfort.  It becomes a way to categorize, and in a way, control.  Such an outlook becomes another attempt to avoid facing our suffering.  Once we accept this division, we develop a mentality in which we hope to collect more good memories than bad memories, more things to be glad about than things to be resentful about, more things to celebrate than to complain about.  Gratitude in its deepest sense means to live life as a gift to be received thankfully.  And true gratitude embraces all of life: the good and the bad, the joyful and the painful, the holy and the not-so-holy.  We do this because we become aware of God's life, God's presence in the middle of all that happens."
(Henri Nouwen, Turn my Mourning into Dancing)

"For in our suffering, not apart from it, Jesus enters our sadness, takes us by the hand, pulls us gently to stand, and invites us to dance.  We find the way to pray, as the psalmist did, "You have turned my mourning into dancing" (Psalm 30:11), because at the center of our grief we find the grace of God. "(Henri Nouwen, Turn my Mourning into Dancing)

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Turner and Emmaline are here!

Turner and Emmaline were born on Tuesday, November 26th! They are so precious, and we are so in love with them! Turner weighed 6lb 3oz, and she was 5lb 14oz.  We were able to go home from the hospital after two days, and they've been doing great.   I'm loving being at home, and have been soaking up every minute with them. After the frenzy of the past few months, I'm finally getting the quiet time with them I've been craving this whole time.  It is wonderful! TJ is such a good Daddy!  He has become a master diaper changer, swaddler, and feeder!  It is so cute to see him with the babies.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Happy Birthday Thomas!

Thomas was born two years ago today!  In some ways, it seems like yesterday.  In other ways, it seems foggy, like it was forever ago or a dream of some kind.  Regardless,  I love that precious boy and miss him every minute of every day.  I am so grateful for him, and so proud to be his mother.

We both took the day off of work, so it has been nice to be together to remember and celebrate our sweet Thomas.  We took balloons out to the cemetery again.  However, due to purchasing our balloons at the sketchy Kroger where no one knew how to blow up a balloon or tie a string onto one, only one balloon actually made it to the cemetery.

This year has been different.  Last year I was dreading November and acutely aware of what I was doing at this time the year before.  This year I am still sad, of course, but it is softer.  I know what to expect now from these hard days so they aren't as intimidating.  I also know that our anticipation and excitement for Turner and Emmaline have been a huge part of my healing.  I am so grateful to be their mother too.....and can't wait (ok, CAN wait 2-3 weeks) for them to be here!

Thanks so much for all of your thoughts, prayers, texts, and messages today.  We are so blessed to have so many people remember our sweet Thomas on his birthday!

"Let your unfailing love surround us, Lord, for our hope is in you alone." Psalm 33:22

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Still Cooking!

I'll be 32 weeks pregnant this week.  The weeks have been flying by! Except for a brief episode of preterm labor at 24 weeks, things have been relatively uneventful and I've been feeling great. The babies are getting bigger! Last week they were 3lb 9oz, and 3lb 14oz already!  After this week they should each gain about a 1/2 lb per week. They didn't mention how much I'll be gaining per week! Ha!

We named the babies over the summer.  It was hard so hard to decide! We knew we wanted our boy to have Thomas' initials.  We had so many beautiful things that were monogrammed for Thomas that he was never able to use, so it will be really special to use them for our second son.  We finally decided on Turner Andrew Behm.   We named "her" Emmaline Allen Behm, so she shares her big brother's middle name.  They each have something special from Thomas!

Everything has been great with the babies, but with our history and my advanced maternal age (34!) we get to go to the perinatologist frequently for appointments.  As TJ says, I have an ultrasound addiction, so I don't mind at all!  It has been fun to see our babies' different personalities from the beginning.  At our 20 week anatomy ultrasound Turner was flailing around like a wild thing, kicking his sister in the head the entire time! It is a little disconcerting that I can't even protect her from her brother in the womb. We kept having to come back to measure different things because he was moving so much.  Emmaline, on the other hand, had her ankles crossed and her hands up under her chin.  It was like she was posing for portraits! Her head kept bobbing as her brother kicked her....poor thing!

They have continued to show their funny little personalities.  She is breech, and her movements are more gentle, he is vertex and kicks me in the ribs all day! She also has the hiccups all the time!  Turner's head is really low and he is facing my back, so we aren't usually able to get any pictures of his face.  Each week i leave with a whole strip of pictures of Emmaline's face, and one token picture of Turner's private parts....its all he's ever willing to show off!  (I predict he's going to be a mess!)

This pregnancy has already brought us so much joy, and it has brought so much healing to my heart.  I still find myself a little guarded though.....I don't know that I'll ever be able to just assume everything will be ok.   We aren't out of the woods yet from a prematurity standpoint, so each day they are still in my belly is a good day.  Its hard not to worry about all the potential complications that could arise if they were born early.  I am honestly surprised each week that I'm still pregnant, and so grateful.  Overall this pregnancy has been a joy and a blessing.   It has been so much fun to prepare for the babies!  I guess for me its not going to seem "real" until we bring them home.  I know it is going to be absolutely crazy with twin newborns at home, and I can't wait!

"He will once again fill your mouth with laughter and your lips with shouts of joy." Job 8:21, NLT