As He promises, the Lord answered our prayer for another sweet baby.
The very next month after my last chemical pregnancy, Michael and I were shocked to discover we were pregnant AGAIN. I was thinking "no, this can't be possible, maybe it's just my hormones all out of whack." Once confirmed by the doctor, a heartbeat detected, a life to be excited over, we have been completely overjoyed and thankful.
We were careful not to tell Jane until we knew this baby would be in it for the long-haul. We were excited at around 14 weeks gestation to go to our gender-check ultrasound. Jane came with us and was super excited to find out if she was going to have a little brother or sister. The baby's leg's were crossed tightly, so we couldn't really see much. The ultrasound tech said if she were to guess, she would say this baby was teetering 70% BOY. Michael turned white. But 70% just wasn't a large enough percentage to let us be excited about seeing blue.
At 16 weeks, we went back in to check the gender. They were in a big hurry, so didn't really get to spend much time looking at the baby. This time she was 100% certain that our little baby was a GIRL. A girl!!
We were SO excited to run home and tell Jane that her little sister would be coming soon to play dress up with her, to twirl around with her, to have princess parties with her.
We are naming our new daughter, Mae Hammonds.
I am pretty sure we have had this name picked out ever since Jane was an infant. I think we came across it and loved it equally. It has such a perfect, feminine, classic vibe to it. We also feel it compliments the name "Jane" well. Jane & Mae Hammonds. I couldn't love two girls more even if I tried!
Mae, we are still working on your middle name. Mama wants to use a family name, and Daddy likes to play around with names like "Mae West" and "Ellie Mae." :) I can tell you though, Mae, that you are so wanted and so loved. We cannot wait to bring you into this world, and show you all the wonderful beauty it has to offer. Please go easy on your big sister, as I am sure she will need a little bit of time to adjust from thinking your a plastic baby doll, to a real-life baby sister. She is so excited and I just know the two of you will be the best of friends.
Before you get too excited, I should let you know that I WAS pregnant, but am no longer.
Just typing those words are so raw. There is really nothing quite like investing your heart and soul into a new, sweet life, then having it ripped from your hands just days later.
I want to document this time in my life so I can look back and say "wow, girl, you are one tough cookie. You can do anything." This is my second chemical pregnancy (very early miscarriage) within 5 months. Although I do not have the answers or the medical reasoning as to why this is happening, I do have a sweet, inner peace that is leading me to betterment and fulfillment.
After having Jane, Michael and I decided we really did yearn for a large family. We knew Jane would be a great big sister and having a loud, full, happy home was something we welcomed. Looking back on the day I found out I was pregnant with Jane, I get angry with myself. I thought "wow, pregnant on my wedding night? I must be super fertile." Sometimes talking with girlfriends/family etc, I would say things like "we got pregnant super easy, so we will probably plan for baby #2 for May/June 2016." Hahaha. Oh how naive I was to think that something so divine as human life could just be penciled in my agenda. More importantly, to disassociate human life from God was as sinful as sinful comes.
The Lord opens and closes the womb as He sees fit. For me to completely minimize his role in my life and my future children's life was shameful. But like all things, experience breeds growth. The Lord has taught me a great lesson in all of this. My life is not my life. It is a life that I gave to Him. It is a life that should surrender every desire to Him. My desire for another child should have originally been given to Him, not time-stamped and put in the "to-do" folder on my desk.
I say these things now, one week after my second miscarriage, with a surprisingly strong sense of self. I am amazed that in one week I have learned so many important lessons in life. I am thankful to be going through this. I am thankful the Lord treasures our relationship so much that He is using me as a tool to help others with fertility issues. I am amazed at how open and vulnerable I have become.
But the most important thing I have noticed in these SERIOUSLY trying times is how much closer, stronger, better and happier my little family unit of three has become. Only 7 days later and I see a bond between Michael and I that wasn't there before. I see the patience I have for Jane grow exponentially. I see myself putting my phone down for more than 20 minutes at a time and being more present in every moment. I see myself being kinder to others.
Rereading those discoveries I realized that I might sound like super into myself. The opposite is true. I am humbled and bare. I have been stripped down to the core of humility. It feels so freeing and good to type this blog post and not feel self-conscious of what others may think. I hope whomever reads this will see my season of suffering and relate it to their own. To lean on the Lord for that is what He desires from us.
In summation, my life as it is currently is complete and whole. Having another child would be a great blessing, but my family of three is a complete puzzle. If the Lord decides to open my womb again for a baby, then Michael and I will be standing there with arms wide open (and of course I would probably faint from joy). Until then, I plan on investing my love and my thoughts on my people in the here and now. The ones that are beside me smiling and wanting cuddles and to play. I am SOOOOOOOOOO BLESSED.
My heart is happy & full.
Thank you so much for reading this.
And to my children who might be reading this one day: You were and are more wanted than anything in the world. Like the stars in the sky, I look to you and see light and beauty and wonder. Dad and I will do anything for you. Remember that.
I wasn't sure if I would ever be able to write a post about this. But I know that if I don't write about it, then it will just become a distant, hurtful memory that I refuse to embrace.
December was the most exciting month. It was a Monday morning and I totally felt something strange going on with my body. So, of course, I took a pregnancy test (definitely not my first in the last 6 months).
I was so thrilled to see those 2 pink lines. My heart nearly burst out of my body. I was the happiest.
I hastily bought Jane a "Best Big Sister" Tshirt. I wrapped the pregnancy test in a box and set it under the tree for Michael to open Christmas morning.
Then, the unthinkable happened and that sweet little baby I so longed for was no longer there. My body naturally had a very early miscarriage. I feel lucky enough to be spared the emotional and physical pain of having to give birth to an unhealthy child. I feel blessed that the pregnancy ended before it could've really even began. I am surprised at how my first reaction wasn't anger, but rather gratitude. I felt thankful that the Lord allowed me to feel the joy of knowing another life inside me, albeit so very brief. I know that I will go on to have more healthy, beautiful children, and that Jane will get to experience sibling hood. I know that the Lord's timing is the most perfect timing.
Of all these things I am sure.
Our family is embracing a new year and we are so excited for many things.
Jane is turning 2 and I have already started planning all the fun festivities!
My business is doing really well. My house have never been cleaner. And my kitchen has produced some seriously delicious meals recently. I am feeling so inspired and happy.
I told myself I would be more "on it" when it came to blog posts. I have fallen SO far behind. I don't have it in me to catch up for the past 6 months, so I will just pick up from where we are now :)
It's the end of summer, and it's so, so sweet. The mornings are getting cooler, which means for frequent visits to the park & consequently, less time in the swimming pool.
We did so much this summer. I never want to forget it.
Moomar & Pap Pap stayed with us for a whole month while they waited for the finishings touches of their new home. We had a great time with them. Lots of great dinners, good wine, and even better laughs.
We had a fabulous vacation/work-cation in San Diego. Jane loves the busy streets of the inner-city. It really speaks to her outgoing nature. She really is that baby that invites strangers to crank their neck just in hopes of snagging a quick glimpse.
She is pure beauty and so much fun.
Lately, her vocabulary is so vast. She likes to names off all the people she knows and loves. It usually starts with Lamby and ends with one of her cousins, or Tao (tio, uncle Alex).
We celebrated many birthdays, watched some great movies, and stayed in the pool WAY too long at times.
Thankful for this new season of our family. Praying to expand our family so that sweet Jane can have a sibling soon!
Hopefully my next post will have some exciting news!
For Jane's first birthday cake, I really wanted something that was large-crowd-friendly & of course, extremely delicious!
I chose to stick with a classic vanilla cake recipe with a vanilla bean frosting.
I researched a lot of recipes & decided upon Robyn Stone's recipe from Add a Pinch!
I feel like the recipe is so spot-on with respect to richness, moistness, and density. I feel like the combination of butter & vegetable shortening render that amazing depth in flavor. Also, the buttermilk is what sets this recipe apart from many regular vanilla cake recipes.
My advice would be to bake your cakes the week before the party, wrap tightly in plastic wrap, and freeze until the day before (or whenever you're ready to frost).
For the frosting, I ordered this amazing vanilla bean paste from Amazon. Of course, you can substituent the vanilla bean paste with just pure vanilla extract, but it doesn't even compare in taste! You also wouldn't see those beautiful brown speckles of vanilla bean caviar in your frosting.