Our Story

Ben and I met in February 2004 on Valentine's Day.  We were both single and volunteering to decorate a church for their Sweetheart Banquet they have to raise money for missions.  We were both in college at two different schools and we hit it off right away.  We courted for about 13 months and on April 3, 2005, he proposed!  We had a short engagement and were married December 31 of that year!

Ben got a job back in my hometown and we ended up moving there right before our wedding.  I was still a full-time college student and I started subbing at the local schools.  We enjoyed being together and spending time with our family and friends.  We prayed that God would expand our family in His timing and in the way he wanted.  We both loved kids and had served with children in a mission capacity and talked about someday adopting.

After being married for around 9 months, we found out we were going to have a baby!  We were SO excited.  Many of our friends were already blessed with a little one and we both were just so excited to start adding to our family!

Ethan Uriah was born the end of May and weighed in at a healthy 8 pounds and 14.5 ounces.  The only issues during the whole pregnancy was him being a complicated breech and requiring a c-section.  He was SO beautiful!

In May of 2008 after only *six* years...I finally graduated with my Bachelors of Social Work (BSW) and our precious one year old was there to celebrate with us!

I began working as a school social worker and love being around kids and love the school I work for. Preschool through 12th grade all under one roof, around 900 kids.

In March of 2009, we were surprised to learn that our family would be expanding!  The same week my application to grad school was approved, we got a positive pregnancy test!  I attended orientation, but we decided it was best to put off grad school and focus on our family. 

Everything about this pregnancy was different than my first.  I never felt sick with Ethan, but I couldn't even drink water without feeling sick during this pregnancy.  Ethan was such a strong mover, but when I did feel this little one move, it was so gentle.  On July 9, we learned why it was so different...the baby was a GIRL!  We decided to name her Shyla, which means "Creative" and we were right on track for our Thanksgiving Due date.

On August 31, I was really concerned because I couldn't recall the last time I really felt her move.  Sometimes that was hard just because she moved so gently and not very often.  I called the Dr and we decided it would be good for me to go to L&D "just to be safe".

I will never forget this night and have written about it in detail already on this blog, but this was the first time I heard, "I'm sorry, but the ultrasound confirms..."  Our baby girl had died sometime in the days before.  We weren't really sure when, but she had been gone for a couple of days.  I was 28 weeks pregnant and I would deliver our daughter, our second child, by c-section on September 2, 2009.

After all the many tests, we learned that I am positive for Factor V Leiden and MTHFR c677t.  Blood clots had formed in the placenta and/or the cord that caused our daugter's death.

Of course, we were devastated.  Our Shyla Joy was gone.  We would not get to see our girl again until Heaven.

I was shocked by the lack of resources and support in our area, so after much research, we started a support group for parents who experience the loss of a baby through miscarriage, stillbirth or infant loss.  We started making care packages for parents who deliver their baby stillborn at our local hospital and we first delivered those on the day Shyla was scheduled to be born.  We also served as the ambassador family for the area March of Dimes March for Babies in 2010 to raise awareness and support for pregnancy and infant loss.

We talked with each other (a lot) about our family and our vision for the future.  Adoption once again entered our vocabulary and we agreed that we both felt God leading us in this direction someday.  But after talking with the high risk OB and seeing how the risks on myself and future children go up with age, we decided to try to expand our family biologically at that time.

In August 2010, we learned we were being blessed with our 3rd child.

August 31, 2010, one year to the day we learned of Shyla's death, we had our first ultrasound for our rainbow baby.  As soon as the ultrasound machine came on, I knew I didn't see a heartbeat. The doctor searched and searched, but all we could see was the gestational sac...no fetal pole...no heartbeat.  The Dr said he was sorry and they drew blood to check my hCG levels.  We waited a week and we prayed. 

We celebrated Shyla's life on her 1st birthday in Heaven while not knowing if we would ever meet the little one inside me.

We decided to call this baby Jakin which means "God Will Establish".  We knew God would establish this baby!  We went back a week later and heard the most beautiful noise ever!  A healthy heartbeat and a baby measuring 2 days ahead! 

I started my blood thinner injections and my bi-monthly visits to the Drs.  Everything seemed to be going great.  On November 11th at a regular OB visit, we learned that we were having a boy!  Unfortunately, we also learned his little heart was beating way too fast.  The regular OB called my high risk OB.  He asked that we come in the next morning.  So we did.  He diagnosed Jakin with Supraventricular Tachycardia (SVT).  His heart was beating really fast (280 bpm) then it would stop for a second then restart at that super fast rate.  He started me on a blood pressure medicine to cross the placenta and sent me to a pediatric cardiologist the next week.

The pediatric cardiologist (PC) didn't think it was actually SVT, but more of an atrial issue.  She said that is generally easier to correct and pointed out that some of the fluid from the last week had already gone away and his heart was starting to correct itself (going from 123 to 280 and back).  He was still experiencing some tachycardias, but they were hopeful the addition of a Digoxin (a heart regulating medication) to my regiment would help correct this issue.

One week later, November 23, we went back to see the PC and have another heart ultrasound.  I was nervous all the way there that day, which was a two hour drive.  As soon as the image came up on the screen, I knew there was a problem. 

The extremely fast flickering was no longer visable.  They said the only heartbeat they could find was only 40 bpm and in not as many words said our little Jakin was dying before our eyes.  They cried with us and prayed with us and sent us across town to the high risk OB.  We were quickly ushered into another ultrasound room where the OB confirmed (I still can't believe I heard these words again) "the ultrasound confirms there is no longer a heartbeat". 

I was 18 weeks 5 days pregnant.  We saw our baby's heart stopping on that screen.  The OB said we were too far along for a D&C and not far enough for a repeat c-section, so he recommended being induced as soon as we were comfortable.  We decided to go back home, to our local Dr and the one that had delivered both Ethan and Shyla. 

November 24, 2010, the day before Thanksgiving,  Jakin Isaac was born.  After 7 hours of labor he quietly entered the world.  We spent time and took photos just like we did with Shyla and spent the evening holding him and memorizing his tiny little features. 

We began the journey of being a family missing another peice.  I feel at times that I have one foot in Heaven and one foot on earth.  His service was beautiful and heartbreaking. 

Although we have our "bad" days as well as our "good" we will never feel the same and we will never feel complete until we are all in Heaven together.

We know that we know that Beauty Will Rise!  We know that God will use this to turn hearts and minds to Him and that while two our babies lives were short, their legacy is wide.  Their lives led to many different outreaches including raising awareness and support for bereaved parents, a day of donations, the stocking project, as well as really finding my passion.

After Jakin was healed and went home early, adoption once again entered our vocabulary.  Ben gave me three very sweet gifts for Christmas and we began the process of reviewing agencies and countries.

On January 14, 2011, we began the process to adopt from South Korea.  We did our homestudy and all our paperwork and we waited.  Almost a year later, we were still waiting for our file to leave the country.  The program had been the same for decades, but there had been some changes taking place slowly and now we were left praying. 

Then, very unexpectedly, we were contacted by a cousin and asked if we would consider a domestic adoption.  On January 14, 2012, we met with my cousins friend, a very sweet mama who had made the very difficult decision to make an adoption plan.  We decided to put our file to Korea on hold and began preparing our home for a sweet little boy due in March.

We named him Samuel and were there when he was born.  The experience at the hospital was less than perfect, but, he was so very perfect and and so very beautiful.

But he wasn't ours to keep.  After being home for a couple of days, we got a call from his birthmother.  She had decided to parent.  So at 6 days old we placed him back in her arms.
Currently, we praying God expands our family however He sees fit and we are trusting him with our future.
In May of 2012, our file made it's way to South Korea and we began waiting again.  A couple of months later we learned the process in Korea was becoming even more unlikely for us.  After talking to our agency and much reading on the new laws in place, we decided to start praying if Korea was right for us. 

November 5th, Ethan prayed we would have a baby by Sunday or Monday.  The following Friday we learned of a baby girl in North Dakota in need of a family and were on a plane 24 hours later.  We met our daughter on Sunday, November 11.  Our daughter's full name means "an answer to prayer", but she goes by Ellie.  She was a sick little girl when we first learned of her...

But I can tell you miracle after miracle that has happened in her life.

And now she is doing fabulously!  She is such a happy baby and we are so in love. 

Ethan is head over heals in love with his sister and she loves him with her whole heart as well.

Right around the time of Ellie's first birthday, we felt the pull inside to become a certified foster care home through the state.  On May 1, 2014, we earned our official certification and so far have just done respite for other foster homes, but we could get a call any day.

1 comment:

Sherry said...

Oh my goodness! This is so beautiful! I feel your broken hearts at the loss of your little ones, but I also feel your strong faith and hope as you continued to believe God would expand your family. What a beautiful family you have! I just found that you follow my blog...maybe because I named our little girl Mattie? I don't know anyone by that name except my husband's grandmother who died before I knew him, but I thought it was such a beautiful name and wanted to use it. Unfortunately, our little girl is in heaven with her great-grandmother as she died at birth from a cord accident. I know those dreadful words "there is no heartbeat" very well! I am so glad I found you on here and am encouraged by your ability to stay strong through your tremendous loss! Love and prayers!