Dear Isaac

Dear Isaac,

Today is the day we had planned to meet you… well on paper anyway. It was the day we were hoping for, the day that would have meant we had made it to full term this time round… but today you are 98 days old… 14 weeks… or 40 weeks corrected.

There are so many things that I want you to know, but the most important is that I love you and I am so super proud of you. Even though this isn’t the path we would have chosen, I wouldn’t give any of my 14 bonus weeks back. You are strong, brave and very clever and there is nothing that you can not overcome. You are a little warrior.

It has been hard to watch you fight these battles, but I have done it with confidence knowing how determined and stubborn you are and that you are fearfully and wonderfully made by someone who loves you even more than I do. I have also not done it alone… your dad is pretty amazing… and more tolerant than I ever gave him credit for. You have held us together when we thought our world was falling apart again.

Watching you grow has blown my mind… you are so great… I have never been more excited about someone gaining weight or pooping… but I guess that’s an unspoken joy of parenthood. I love watching you learn, get stronger and develop knew skills… I also really like the in built stuff… like hand holding and the best burps I have ever heard.

I love holding you, chatting to you and singing to you… and even though I though I had quite the repertoire, I have learnt that humming works just as well when the lyrics slip from your brain.

I love your little personality, your dramatic throat clearing, your extreme strain face, your skeptical looks, your sneaky peeks, your super wide eyes and your excellent wind smiles… I love it all.

Actually it turns out I am so glad that I didn’t have to wait until today, I am glad we have already spent three months together! I can’t wait to take you home, show you off and just be able to hang out with you all the time… I can’t not wait until I don’t have to leave you behind each night… but I know it will be soon enough, because you are such a mini champion that you will be out of there in no time.

Happy due date buddy! You are a superstar! Thanks for my bonus three months!

I love you,

Love Mummy

One

Dear Joshua,

Hi mate, it’s mummy here. It’s been a long time since I wrote you a letter but today would have been your 1st birthday, so I thought it was time to write again.

To be honest, it’s been really hard to write to you, losing you has left a huge hole in mummy’s heart and while it has been mending slowly, it will never be quite the same again. Since knowing and losing you, I am now afraid of things I had never thought were even possible, but I know how to love deeper and with a fierceness that I didn’t know I had.  As I sit here at Monash Medical Centre writing this from the same place we met you one year ago, it’s overwhelming.  I miss you so much and really wish you could have stayed.  I wanted to watch you grow and to see what kind of man you would have become. I am pretty sure you would have been a champion, with your defiance and determination… you would have been unstoppable!

For a little while this year I have had to try not to think about you for too long, because a lot has happened in the past 12months… and remembering has made it scary and hard… You now have a baby brother, Isaac, and even though he has helped mummy heal, he isn’t you. I know that there is no way I could have ever had both of you on earth at the same time, but I really wish it could have been possible somehow.  That you could have stayed, and that you and Isaac could have grown up together.

While mummy was carrying Isaac she couldn’t look at pictures of you, or wear the necklace she had made with your hands and foot prints because they reminded her of how hard it would be to lose him too.  I’m sorry I couldn’t wear my reminder of you all the time… but now that he is here I think about you a lot. I think about how similar the two of you are, what you might have been like if you had stuck around and how much I have learnt from knowing you.

You, my dear boy, have taught me how much I wanted to be a Mum. It took me a little while to get there and you were a big price to pay, but losing you made me realise how ready I actually was, and how much I had wanted to complete our family.

You have taught me that life is hard, but even in the darkest times there are beautiful moments, like holding you, singing to you, and kissing your tiny nose.  That we are loved by so many, and that even though your wider family is very large and a bit messy, this family of ours is supportive and reliable and even more important than I had ever realised.

You have taught me to be stronger, to hold on, and to hope even when it isn’t easy. You have taught me to trust and because of you my faith is deeper and more real. I know I will see you again and I know there was a purpose for you coming and going… but I just have to wait, heaven is not so far.  You have taught me that I can get up in the morning, even if I need daddy to help me… and that the sun will shine and I can get through the day… even when it is really hard… thanks for the beautiful wether today to remind me.

Because of you I got to watch your dad become a great dad and an even better husband. He is so much stronger, more faithful and loving than I knew before this.  You have made us an even better team.

You have taught me I am not alone, since losing you I have spoken to, heard from and read about so many other women and families that have been through this grief of losing something so precious. That as ugly as it is, 5 babies are born sleeping everyday in Australia, a country with the best medical care and resources… and this is a stat that still breaks mum’s heart.  You have made me advocate and encouraged me to speak out about heartache and loss so that hopefully no other babies have to go too soon, and no other mummies are left with empty arms.

But most importantly my sweet baby boy, you have made me a better Mum. Because I loved you first, I hold Isaac tighter, I speak up when I am worried and I don’t take any of it for granted.  You have taught me that I could do it… that I was made to be a Mum.  Of course because I now know that precious little boys can be taken away, I am scared, but I am holding on to him with all that I am. I tell him all about you and I know you have been watching over him, because there is no way he would have known to go limb first without your cheeky influence.  You two would have gotten into all kinds of trouble together.

Today daddy and I will visit Isaac, but then we will go and have some pink donuts and a Turkish delight milkshake and think about you… how you made us parents, how you taught us to love and together we will try to work out how we go on without you for another year.

I love you little one and I miss you,

Sleep well precious boy,

Love mummy. 

26weeks & 56minutes…

Ok… it’s been a while… months in fact.. but there has been a really good reason…

When I posted my last blog… right before my birthday, I was 9ish weeks pregnant and pretending to be upbeat and excited about my birthday, rather than crawling back into bed to sleep the whole of the first trimester away.  I had been waiting to post about the second little baby George because I was really really nervous about letting people know.  I was scared that we would lose this baby as well, and I wasn’t sure how I would ever be able to cope losing another child let alone telling the world that it had happened. So… after losing Josh at 24 weeks last year, and the doctors telling us that if we could get to 26 weeks the baby would have a much better chance, 26 weeks became my magic number.  The number after which I would tell the world about baby George no. 2, I would start clearing out the room again and I would start purchasing things we would need like a cot and pram etc. It was the number that I needed to get to before I would let myself believe things would be ok… that we would get to keep this baby and I could let myself breathe…

26 weeks was 9 weeks ago… and the last 9 weeks have been quite a rollercoaster. In week 25 of my pregnancy I was admitted to hospital for bed rest in the hope that it would delay baby George from making an unexpected arrival. After the initial shock of potentially having to stay in hospital lying down until November, I had settled in and was ready for the long hall and secretly pretty excited that I could ride out the rest of winter in air-conditioned comfort, because if all went according to plan, I wouldn’t be leaving until it was pretty much summer… but it wasn’t to be… On Tuesday 1st August, 56 minutes into week 26 Isaac Ezekiel arrived… 35cm long and 827g.

Isaac arrived in a hurry, and just like his brother, had turned around at the last minute to make his entry more dramatic, needing an emergency caesarean as he had decided to come feet first. But, he arrived, breathing and even letting out a small cry which is a moment that I will never forget. Despite all the panic and fear that I felt that night, hearing that cry and knowing he was alive brought so much relief.  That night Dave and I took up a joint residence, in many ways, at the hospital, as even though we could go home after a week, Isaac had to stay.

Once again our lives were turned upside down. I had been expecting that taking a baby home… preferably at full term, would change our lives totally, but I wasn’t expecting the ups and downs of having a baby that had to stay in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU). It has been so bitter-sweet visiting him, first in his isolette (humidicrib) and now in his cot… because all the emotion of having a baby is still there, but you can’t just pick him up, you can’t hold him until he falls asleep, and you are always wondering what will happen to him.  Even little things like changing his nappy is quite a task through the little arm holes in the cot, especially if you have tiny little arms like mine. Yet, he is here, he is alive and he is ok… and that is all that really matters.

Fast forward to today and Isaac is still doing well, I think I would even say really well… although there is still a huge part of me that is still waiting for something awful to happen that will take him from us. Dave and I have spent every day of the last 9 weeks traveling from home to the hospital and back again between breast pump expressions, baby store trips and tiny pockets of sleep. Our lives look and feel totally unrecognisable, and while that is probably true… and maybe even standard, for most new parents, I feel like our newborn phase one, the phase while he is in hospital, would have been totally unfathomable to me, if you had have described it to me before now.

Isaac is so strong and much braver than me. He has already faced so much and it is impossible to describe how proud I am of him. There is still fear… fear about whether or not his difficult and dramatic start to life will have any impact on him as he grows… wondering if everything has continued to develop and grow the way it should have if he was still inside, but there is also hope and faith.

Just before we found out we were having Isaac, I had been praying a lot about having children and really felt like I had to give my desperate desire for a family over to God. I knew that my faith was bigger, and my relationship with Him was more important than the plans I had for my own life.  That ultimately God’s plans for Dave and I were better… even if they didn’t look like the ‘good’ plans I had come up with… so one night a church event, in tears, I handed it all back, making peace with the fact that if God called me to follow him childless… I would. Minutes after praying this alone and with Dave, a man, whose name I do not know, asked to pray with us and unprompted, specifically prophesied children in our future… at the time we didn’t know we were already pregnant, but we knew there would be a child… a promised child and that was enough. So when we found out we were pregnant again we were pretty excited and I really felt that this was the promised baby I would get to keep.

So when Isaac arrived so early and so little I had to choose to hold on to the promise I had for him and to remember that God loved him even more than I did, and that even though it didn’t look the way I thought, protection and promise would look… that God was holding him and knitting him together just as He said he would.  This choice to trust and declare good things for his little life were why we chose to name him Isaac Ezekiel… Isaac means “he will laugh, he will rejoice” and Ezekiel means “God will strengthen”.  We liked them together and thought of them as a bit of a prophetic declaration over his life, regardless of what we could see then and can see now.

It’s really hard to trust and hope when things have gone so badly before and when you are a bit of a control freak and think you know how things should be… but I have had to learn to… and God has been faithful.  Isaac is here and he is healthy and now he is getting bigger and stronger everyday.  In fact so dramatic has his improvement been in the last week and a bit, Dave and I have had to get a wriggle on with setting up his room, because he could be coming home very soon. Most likely we will need to wait until his due date, so still early November, but in the chaos of the last 9weeks… that’s now only 5 weeks away… and then phase two, the newborn at home phase will begin…

Between now and then there is still a lot to do, finish the room, learn to breastfeed, work out what the heck we are doing… oh and the list, I haven’t forgotten about that… its been buzzing away in the background… but it was time to write, time to share and time to add Zac to the Curious George family.  Hopefully now as we settle into this new routine of being parents, I will get back to blogging a little more regularly, because I have missed it… but it was hard to know where to start… but here it is… the last 6 months of our crazy and very unpredictable life…

170929_GBlue_Isaac_2516_Lge

P.S Until recently I hadn’t read the original Curious George book… we read it to Zac in the hospital… and it’s pretty nuts… who just takes a monkey from the jungle and expects it to be house trained?

P.P.S This wonderful photo is thanks to Heartfelt, who, once again, have given Dave and I a beautiful gift of photographic memory of this really difficult chapter in our families lives… they are truly wonderful.

29 things before 30

So tomorrow I turn 30… and just like every other birthday for at least the last 10 years I am not excited about getting another year over… but this year I feel a little more ready for it.  30 has been something that has been looming for a while… 30 years in fact, but more so in the past 12 months.  Something that I have spent a lot of time thinking about and something that I have finally decided won’t be as bad as I think it will be.  So I thought I would continue my new tradition (from last year) to take a moment before it happens to reflect on the year that was 29 before it is gone altogether.  But before I can reflect on the last 12 months… because 30 is also the end of a decade… it only seems right to look at the last 10 years as well…

20-30 is a big time of change… a lot of growing up… and while I don’t think I have being an adult down pat yet, I certainly feel more like an adult than a young adult.  I am not sure if it’s my new found love of a quiet night in? Or my change in thinking around having to stand up and make a change if I don’t like something… but I feel like where I am at now, even though it may not be where I am forever, is an achievement…

20-30 has also been home to some of my happiest times as well as my most challenging…  I have changed and grown, physically, mentally and spiritually.  And while I wish I hadn’t grown quite as much physically… unless I could have gained some extra height… I am thankful for the lessons I have learned and the paths I have taken that have made my faith and mind stronger.

I have done so much in my 20s that I am not sure how my 30s will catch up, but I hope that they do… although, I am hoping our hardest path has already be walked… and the rocky patches ahead will not be quite as devastating.

Since I turned 20 I have…

  • Completed… well attempted to complete my very first list (2007) and since attempted 8 more… I am currently on my 9th
  • Returned to China to hang out with Dad and cross ‘Hong Kong Disney Land’ off my life long Disney visit bucket list (2007)
  • Had my life outlook changed by a uni placement to Bourke (2008)
  • Had 2 massive 21st parties
  • Finished my Bachelor of Nutrition and Dietetics (2008)
  • Started running the Kids Church at Church and had the most epic YP Anniversary of all time with ‘Talkin’ about my generation’ (2009)
  • Continued my red dirt obsession with trips to Broken Hill (2009) and Uluru (2016)
  • Got a job in the country… Castlemaine to be exact… moved out of home and spent a year blogging about it (2009-2010)
  • Had my 5 year and 10 year High School Reunions (2009 & 2014)
  • Starred in Box Hill Salvos “Nativity Play’
  • Got my first iPhone
  • Ran 2 Half Marathons (2008 & 2013)
  • Meet a cute little guy named Dex… and he moved in (2009)
  • Bought my first new car and said goodbye to my faithful Saabie (2010)
  • Experienced some snapshots of Europe… first with the Big Band in Sweden in 2010… then with Davo in 2015/2016
  • Got Engaged (2010) and Married my very own Prince Charming (2011)
  • Auditioned for Broadway (2010)
  • Visited Disneyworld with my new Husband (2011)
  • Visited NZ and my NZ family a couple of times (2012 & 2014/2015)
  • Watched one of my little brothers get married (2012)
  • Said goodbye to my second job as a Dietitian and moved to my current workplace at Link, where I have been able to expand my dietetics skills in to Marketing and IT (2013)
  • Been Bridesmaid for 2 of my best friends (2014 and here)
  • Brought my first house (2014)
  • Graduated from uni twice… one for dietetics and then again for my teaching degree (2014)
  • Watched both of my parents get remarried (2014, 2015)
  • Worked out how to long distance best friend (2015)
  • Recorded my first CD… well sung vocals on a Big Band CD (2017)
  • Became a mum and had to say goodbye to my little man (2016)
  • Got back up (2017)

A big 10 years… but I think the past 12 months have challenged who I am at my core more than any year before and I think lots of the things that I have done over the past decade have somehow prepared me for what happened…  But there has also been lots to be thankful for and I have learnt a lot… so in my new tradition… here are 29 things I have learned, loved and lived in the past year that have helped me prepare for 30…

  1. Birthdays are excellent… No matter how much I have been nervous about embracing them… they are always fun… especially when Dave helps to plan them… tomorrow will be good.
  2. Epic milkshakes are indeed epic… and often overwhelming, they should be consumed with caution… and preferably with no other sources of lactose.
  3. Having a celebrity like a post… even if they are a fake one… is more exciting than it should be… they are just people…but it was Russell Coight
  4. Dave makes driving a bus look grand
  5. Trimester 1 of pregnancy is the worst… it is hard keeping a secret, especially a when you feel like poop and you have to convince everyone else you are fine… lets hope that the next one is somehow easier.
  6. Jells Park is way more beautiful than I ever gave it credit for growing up… I am really glad that it is my local Parkrun venue.
  7. Dex looks great in a bow tie
  8. Family is messy and hard to fit on a wall, but I wouldn’t change any of it
  9. Pregnancy cravings are weird… but turkish delight milkshakes are the bomb
  10. Having Josh was the best thing I have ever done, but it was also the hardest knowing he wouldn’t stay.  Even if I knew what would happen I wouldn’t have swapped those 24weeks for anything.
  11. Colouring really is as good a distraction as they say it is…
  12. I still love my list, and I am really enjoying the simplicity of it this year, lots of local fun.
  13. 29 has been a year of home, embracing family, learning to breathe and dreaming for the future.
  14. This time last year I wrote ‘I am stronger and more capable then I think… I should remember this more often’, this is more true now then ever before.
  15. Whatsapp is great, but seeing your bestie face to face is greater, especially when you have time off to be able spend with them.
  16. I like being in the IT and Marketing teams… I also really like teaching.  I am pretty blessed to work for such great places that encourage me to grow and learn new skills.
  17. Dancing in a strawberry suit isn’t as embarrassing as you think it will be, you should just embrace it.
  18. Dave is still the best person to have ever entered my life.  He is strong, wise and loyal and I love him more than ever… plus he gets even better looking with age… who would have thought that was possible.
  19. I am getting better at throwing things out… lots of times you have to get rid of something old to make way for the new.  I don’t need to be a hoarder to keep the memories.
  20. I have good people around me, my community if vast and wide and I often take it for granted, but Dave and I could not have gotten through the last 6 months without them.
  21. I love the country
  22. I love the AFLW and I am glad I was part of the first season.
  23. I love singing in a recording studio… it makes me feel like a superstar.
  24. New cameras are the bomb… but I desperately need to improve my photography skills.
  25. Practicing gratitude is important… my new daily habit of writing down 3 things is helpful… it’s making me see the good… I should keep this going because I still can’t make happiness, or just choose to be happy, but I can choose to fill my life with people, things and places that make me happy, I can choose to see the good and I can choose to seek better.
  26. I still love blogging… and I think I am getting better at it… I suppose that’s the plus side of honesty.
  27. I love to worship… I love learning about worship and I love Jesus… He is the only one worthy of my worship.
  28. My plans for my life might be good, but as hard as it is to accept sometimes, His ways are better.  Life often seems unfair sometimes and we can’t always see the bigger picture… but we have to trust.
  29. I am still getting better at looking after myself, but just like last year I still have a long way to go… but this remains a top priority.  I can’t do what I am called to do, if I can’t function.

29 you have been a challenge, you have been hard, but you have been worth it all… in fact 20s you have been great… better than I had ever hoped and totally different from what I expected.

I am holding on to the promise that my 30s will bring better things… I hope that I continue to learn more, love more and live more… 30 I am now ready for you.

March Madness

Ok… my super on time Feb reflection seems to be an anomaly, but 2 days late isn’t too bad, especially when you consider that I have been pretty slack with my blogging the last couple of weeks… sorry.  So far this year I am still remembering to blog more regularly than previous years, but just as I feared, as life has gotten busier… the blogs have slowed down… but that’s one of the reasons why I wanted to make sure I did these reflections at the end of each month.  To help me live in the moment a little more and be thankful as things happen, rather than trying to do a big reflect later on… although there will be a little of that coming up in the next week or so.   Anyway, in a another blur of weeks, March is gone and it’s time to give you all an update of the list adventures that it brought with it. Keeping myself accountable to the list each month has really helped me to seek list opportunities when they present… not just to save them up for later… because sometimes later doesn’t happen… this month we crossed another 9 things off the list, which means this year we have already crossed 22 things off the list… that’s a pretty solid start… 8 in Jan, 5 in Feb and 9 in March… maybe this will be the year I finish it all? Maybe…

Here is March’s list contribution.

37. Participate in a Scavenger Hunt – completed: 03/03/2017
I wasn’t really sure if this would happen or not, but when I saw that scavenger hunt was listed as a youth group activity this term, I decided it was now or never.  I had no idea how I would get myself involved, or even if I would be allowed to.  I just wanted to be there.  I offered to anything, collect money, give out clues, serve super… all I needed to do was be there… but I got to be an honorary youth member for the night and went out in a team… and while I may have made them come second because I could not run home… it was still a cracker night.  Plus my team was pretty amazing… what a flipping incredible bunch of kids we have at church!  Thanks for letting me tag along, get covered in off magnum and keep you humble in second place… Hopefully next time I will be allowed to run and we will take our rightful place in first!

78. Check out Hungarofest – completed: 04/03/2017
Late last year Dave and I started seeing advertising for Hungarofest… a biannual Hungarian festival held at the Hungarian cultural club which happens to be around the corner from where we live.  So given that we LOVED our time in Hungary last year, we decided that I should put it on the list and check it out… and… well it was pretty fun.  They knew we were not Hungarian straight off the bat, but they still feed us a ham hock and we got to see the start of their 2hour musical theatre spectacular… Not bad for a whim on a banner we saw in December.

2. Learn to make a paper crane – completed: 11/03/2017
I have always loved origami… but I am terrible at it, I can never hold the instructions in my brain to repeat my creations without the guide and even with the instructions I often find myself getting in a quite a muddle… But while we were down at Inverloch for the long weekend I purchase a new colouring book… a colouring book that was also an origami book.  So after choosing some paper and colouring it in… I attempted to create my very first paper crane… and I think it turned out pretty well.  It’s pretty sweet… I am not sure I could repeat it over and over again without the instructions yet, but I have learnt how to make one paper crane… and that my friends, was all the list required.

96. Improve my 5km time – completed: 11/02/2017
So one month after the 11/02/2017 I had another very slow morning at parkrun… after weeks of getting quicker I have started going backwards again.  So just in case… I am crossing this off the list now… because it may never get better, particularly if my injuries don’t improve.  I am not giving up… this is not a pity party… this is just a realistic chance to cross something off the list when it happened, rather than waiting to see if it gets better and still having to go back to Feb to cross it off anyway…

38. Do some trivia – completed: 12/03/2017
Long weekends are also good for digging out your old PlayStation and crossing things off the list.  After a weekend of Jazz with the Salvo Big Band, Dave and I had our friends Annie and Ben over for tea and we played some buzz.  Annie and I had had a few practice rounds while the boys were at a big band planning meeting, but buzz is always better with a full four people.  I had forgotten how much I loved buzz, and just trivia really.  I like knowing things no matter how trivial or silly they may be… plus  I am also pretty competitive.

18. Play a video game… not on my phone – completed: 13/03/2017
Once the PlayStation was out for Buzz, it seemed silly to put it away without playing some Crash Bandicoot.  Growing up I only ever played Crash when we visited my Auntie Lyndel and Uncle Brad, because they had a PlayStation.  Our house was a Nintendo house, where Mario and his friends reigned supreme… but way back then I developed a love for Crash.  So when I was a teenager and SingStar and Buzz came out on PlayStation, I had to have them… but I also purchased Crash… because what is a PlayStation without him?   Little did I know, that Dave had grown up with Crash and was a boss on the PlayStation.  He quickly put me to shame as we played life for life that Monday Morning.

82. Remember Joshua – completed: 15/03/2017
This one had it’s own Wordless Wednesday but I thought I would still take a little moment to tell you how much I love this little pendant.  One side has Josh’s name and handprint and the other has his birth date and his footprint.  It is something that I can wear without any fuss, but have him close to me all of the time.  I know that I won’t forget him, ever, but it’s nice to have these little reminders of the massive impact this little tiny man has had.  To be able to take him with me physically in a way.  Getting this pendant is only one way we will remember him this year, but it was the first one I could take a picture of… so here it is.

14. Build something – completed: 25/03/2017
It is no secret that I love Ikea… I love everything about it, even the maze they make you take through the store…  So when we found an Ikea voucher at home it did not take me long to pick my next little project.  This totally sweet bedside table to match the bed I built (with Dave) last year.  It is super cute and even though it belongs to Dave’s side of the bed, I still love it.  It looks even better now that it has books on the little shelf, some things in the draw and a single book on the top.  Plus I think Dave is enjoying having his own little table.

67. Read the book of Joshua – completed: 29/03/2017
At the beginning of the year, our Pastor Phil encouraged us to join him reading the whole bible through the year.  I decided that I would start with them and see how long I could keep up, but I didn’t really commit to the idea, just in case I fell behind.  I didn’t want to get overwhelmed by trying to catch up, I just wanted to see how far I could get with out the pressure of having to do it… Anyway, here we are in March and so far I am still on the wagon and up to date, which meant that I got to read through the book of Joshua.  Between all the land allocations, there are lots of gems in Joshua, more verses and reminders of God’s faithfulness for us to hold on to… but I think that Joshua 1:9 will always be my favourite.

So there you go… 8 more things off the list… But not only have I been good with the list, I have also been remembering my daily photos and videos… so here is March in photos…

And one second video snippets:​

Thanks for being another winner March… and hello April!