Life As I Know It

Life As I Know It

Sunday, April 27, 2014

So Much More

Almost a year ago to the day a little girl was brought into my life and forever changed it.  Everyone tells you before you have a child that your life will change, but until I experienced it for myself I never quite understood.  Here's just a snapshot of what I have learned over the past year.

So Much More...LOVE
I love the saying "no one will ever know the strength of my love for you.  After all, you are the only one who knows what my heart sounds like from the inside".  My love for Maile is so far beyond what words can express.  I love her fingers, toes, curly hair, brown eyes, chubby cheeks, crooked teeth, contagious laugh, silly sense of humor, and loving personality.  I love her hugs and kisses.  I love when she sees me at the end of the day and literally runs into my arms when I open the door to her classroom.  I love every moment being with her-the hard times and the easy times.  I love every single thing about my daughter.  It is a true and unconditional love that is unique to a mother-daughter relationship.  When they say you don't remember what your life was like before you had kids it is true, and honestly I don't want to remember.

I'm not talking about financial responsibility or not having the freedom to do things like I once did.  I am talking about the responsibility I have to Maile to make her the best person she can be.  From little things like teaching her colors, numbers, and the alphabet, to the big things in life like having dreams to chase, goals to achieve, morals to live by, and how to treat others.  I am responsible for the young child, teen, and adult she will become and that starts now.  We are already teaching her manners and how to behave in a restaurant, how to be gentle and loving, and how to show affection.  It is incredible how much she understands.  Her verbal skills may not be developed, but she has such a vast understanding of our vocabulary that I am in awe of her everyday.  My hope and prayer is that she becomes a young woman who is confident, social, and has integrity in all situations. 

So Much More...PRIDE
Every parent you see at a child's sporting event or school play is bursting with pride.  Their child is the best and brightest-hands down.  That comes from unconditional love.  Maile makes me so proud.  Although her achievements are quite different at her age than scoring a goal in her soccer game or getting an "A" on her math test, she makes me so proud nonetheless.  When I ask her to lower her voice in a restaurant and she does-proud mama!  When I ask her to be polite and wave hi when someone speaks to her-proud mama!  When I ask her to sign "more please" for more food-proud mama!  Not only is it when she obeys and follows instructions that I am proud, but every time I see that she has mastered a new skill.  From understanding a new word, figuring out a new toy, saying a new word, the list goes on and on.  I am just so proud and so grateful to be her mom.

So Much More...TO LEARN
With just one year of parenthood under my belt I am the first to admit I have a lot to learn.  Before Maile was born I was so nervous that I wouldn't know when she was hungry, when she was full, or when she wasn't feeling well.  The day she was born those worries disappeared and it just came naturally.  Mother's intuition is a real thing and it totally takes over.  With each stage of her life I am sure that those same worries will resurface.  I see friends and family who have older children dealing with all kinds of different situations that come along with growing up and I have no clue what I would do if I were in their shoes.  But I am coming to realize that is pretty normal.  And I will figure it out.  Part of parenthood is definitely making mistakes, but I hope and pray no mistakes I make are detrimental to Maile's happiness or well-being.  I have a lot to learn but that is part of the magical journey called motherhood.

Maile has changed my life in every way imaginable.  At times it is so natural and easy.  At times it is so hard that I have to take a deep breath and audibly tell myself everything is going to be ok.  But one thing is always true- I am excited each day to wake up and see what that day has in store for me, and that is a feeling I never had before becoming Maile's mom.  She is my miracle baby and reminds me how blessed I am every single day. 

Thursday, June 27, 2013

I Believe in Miracles

Even the word miracle contains Maile's name, with the letters just slightly out of order. 

Before becoming pregnant for the first time I always viewed pregnancy as just the next step after marriage.  When a couple is ready to try for a baby, they try and boom-they have a baby 9 months later.  3 failed pregnancies and 2 years of disappointment and devastation later, I know that is not the case at all for so many people.  Pregancies end in tragedy more times than people ever want to acknowledge.  It just isn't talked about. 

Through each pregnancy Griff and I experienced, I began to become more and more knowledgable about what happens at each stage of pregnancy.  But until our fourth pregnancy with Maile when I was feeling it and watching it progress, I don't think I was able to comprend how much of a miracle a baby is.  I am the first one to admit that I used to take pregnancy for granted.  I got pregnant for the first time very easily and from the beginning I was oblivous that anything could or would go wrong.  At 10 weeks along I was thinking about names, nursery colors, and carseats.  My world was shaken and my heart broken when we lost the first baby.  Repeat that 2 more times in 2 years and I was pretty discouraged. 

My discouragement was turned into awe when I was pregnant with Maile.  At every stage of the pregnancy I just could not wrap my head around how incredibly amazing the body is and how God designed pregnancy.  If you take a second and just really think about what happens from conception to birth it is mind-boggling.  I honestly still can't wrap my head around it.  So many things have to happen in a certain order and timeframe, so many things can go wrong at any point, and yet how many pregnancies result in births every single day!!!!

Every morning I am greeted with a smiling, cooing, wiggle worm of a baby who is dying to be held.  She looks into my eyes and knows I am her mom.  Every night I get the chance to snuggle with her and watch as she falls asleep on my shoulder.  Throughout the day I just marvel at her tiny toes, her minute fingernails, her beautiful eyes...I could go on and on.  But that is just what we can see.  How about her heart beating, her blood flowing, her bones growing, her senses heightening, her brain developing.  It seems that everyday she can do something new.

Babies are miracles, not something that just happens.  I will never again take for granted what pregnancy means.  When you realize that it is dream of many that will never become a reality for one reason or another, it makes it even that much more real for me to never, ever take it for granted. 

I believe in miracles and Maile Grace is our miracle that I wasn't sure we would ever have. 

Monday, May 13, 2013

Fashionably Late...Completely Worth the Wait!

To wrap up my first Mother's Day I decided today would be a great day to write the ending to our journey to parenthood and the beginning of the next chapter of our love story with our beautiful daughter, Maile Grace.

May 1. 

It was the last doctor's appointment we had before we decided what the next steps would be to begin labor.  I was overdue, uncomfortable, anxious, excited, and so ready to meet our little one.  Our doctor decided we needed to do an ultrasound to determine her weight as precisely as possible as we were approaching a 50/50 chance of a C-Section.  Knowing this was my last resort, unless medically necessary for her health, my doctor said that he would give me every chance to labor on my own IF possible and would be very patient in that process.  We scheduled the ultrasound and a gel induction for later that day.  The ultrasound was also a biophysical profile test which means they tested for muscle tone, breathing movements, amniotic fluid levels, and heart rate.  She scored an 8/8!  However, her weight was approaching 4,500 grams- 9lbs. 13 oz!  My induction got pushed back to the next day due to hospital availability, and so the long night ahead of us began.  How do you even begin to relax and fall asleep knowing that you are going into the hospital the next day to be induced??  I did finally fall asleep but woke up with strong contractions around 3am.  As it turned out they only lasted about an hour.

May 2.

Griff and I woke up and took the morning easy.  We met my parents for lunch and ran some last minute errands for my hospital bag.  What a surreal day.  Honestly such an odd feeling.  I got a call from the hospital at 1:30pm telling me that the doctors reviewed my ultrasound and asked that I stop eating and drinking and come in at my scheduled time of 4:30pm to begin the induction.  When we arrived at the hospital we got settled into a small room in OB triage and got hooked up to all the monitors.  Everything looked great.  Then one of my doctors' partners came in and said "you know what, let me grab a chair".  My mind immediately raced to the worst possible scenario-they were going to send me home without inducing OR a C-Section was on the agenda.  After explaining that he had spoken to my doctor (who came in at 10pm) and they were very concerned that Maile was too large to fit through my pelvis and I could still try the induction, however I may labor for up to 3 days with no progression and still end up with a C-Section or if we tried to do a vaginal birth she could become stuck in my pelvis and have shoulder dystocia.  He explained that this could cause her to be born with a broken collarbone, broken arm, and even permanent disabilities in her hands.  That was all I need to hear to agree to a C-Section.  I did have the option of when to do it.  I had to wait until at least 10pm because of the last time I ate, but I could do it that night or any day over the weekend.  I told him if I didn't do it that night, I was likely not to come back! :)  Plus my doctor was in that night.  I had been praying my whole pregnancy that he would deliver her.  God is so faithful and his hand so clearly orchastrated this moment.

I am not going to lie and say that I was not terrified of a spinal block.  My intention all along was to be open-minded but to try to labor naturally with no epidural.  So to be told that I am going to need a C-Section and a spinal block really threw a wrench in my control freak plan.  I asked my nurses and anestiologist, and my doctor, and pretty much anyone who walked in if they thought I would ever walk again and if I could handle the needle and what it would feel like.  I think it is safe to say they thought I would need sedated.  LOL.  My anestiologist was amazing!  It felt like we had known each other for years and he really put my mind at ease.  My nurse who went in with me to surgery was a God-send. 

May 2:  10pm

The time had come.  I was prepped.  Griff had on his scrubs.  My doctor came in and went over some last minute details.  He even told me he was going to call me the night before and let me know this is the route we should take, but decided I wouldn't sleep so he thought it best to wait...I thanked him profusely!! :)  They had me walk into the operating room-seriously-how awful is that?  Looking around at all the tools they were about to use to cut open my stomach was a bit much so I just kept my eyes down and sat on the table-some of those labor breathing techniques came in handy.  I was shaking uncontrollably from how cold it was in there and from nerves.  Griff wasn't able to come in until after the spinal block was done, so my nurse coached me through it and it was honestly nothing like I envisioned.  My IV hurt 10x worse.  The feeling of your legs going numb and growing heavier with every passing second is a very weird sensation.  After being completely prepped my doctor came in and said "Ok, this is it.  This girl has been through hell and back getting to this moment.  I actually thought I was going to have to give her one of my children.  Let's do this."  Griff held my hand and before what seemed like 5 minutes I heard my doctor say she was crowning.  Our anestiologist told Griff a great photo op was coming and he was right-Griff has some amazing photos of her being pulled out.  Incredible.  I began bawling (as I am know writing this) from sheer joy when I heard her first cries.  They were absolutely the best sounds I have heard in my life.  I couldn't see her right away because of the screen that was up, but Griff took a ton of pictures and showed me.  Once the nurses started cleaning her up Griff held the screen back and I just stared!  I was in utter disbelief that this beautiful miracle was finally here after more than 2 years of struggles and devastation. 

Soon after, I was all stitched (and stapled) up and headed to recovery where we had to stay for 2 hours.  My parents met us in the hallway and said how beautiful she was.  I learned later that when she was born the hospital played a lullaby signaling her birth.  I still get chills.  My recovery time went so fast.  After her bath the nurses brought her to me to do kangaroo care and nursing.  We then headed up to our room.  I spent the whole night just staring at her in my arms.  I had no care in the world and was in awe of this miracle God had placed in my arms.

We stayed in the hospital 2 days and went home on the 3rd.  I was more than ready to go home, although we had some great nurses during our stay.  I was so tired.  I had not slept more than 3 hours since Wednesday night and it was now Sunday.  Literally...not more than 3 hours.  How could I?  I was running on pure adrenaline and mostly love.  My doctor checked in on us via text as he was off for the weekend.  He told me how incredibly happy he was for us and that he will be there for all our children's births. :)

Since Maile was born, my life has been forever changed.  I care for this little girl more than anything in this world.  Nothing else matters.  When she smiles at me and looks at me with those big blue (yes blue) eyes, the world stops turning.  I stare at her all day, everyday.  I can't stand to be away from her...meaning not in the same room.  I had planned on using her crib from day one...that went out the window the first night.  She is in a bassinet right next to me.

Griff and I could not be happier.  Our lives are fulfilled and it is hard to remember life before this pregnancy and her birth.  A huge void in my life has been filled and I have a new meaning to my life.  I was born to  be a mother to this to this girl.  We are so thankful to each and every one of you who has prayed for this little one along with us.  God heard our prayers and answered with a miracle.  "For this child I prayed, and the Lord answered my prayers..."  Thank you for all the kind words and well wishes.  And last but not least, I apologize in advance for all the pictures I have been posting.  I cannot help myself. :)  I will end this here, as my tears are making it too hard to type! ;)

Maile Grace Tran.  Born May 2, 2013 at 11pm.  10lbs.  21 inches long.


Tuesday, March 12, 2013

To Maile Grace With Love

Maile Grace,

You will be here next month, and every time I am asked when you are due I still can't believe I am saying "next month".  Your dad and I have been waiting for you for more than 2 years and we are so beyond ready to meet you.  Your room is just about ready and all your clothes are almost washed.  You have a lot of clothes by the way.  Be prepared to change frequently so that you can wear them all before you outgrow them! :)  Your drawers are full of blankets, diapers, socks, hats, pjs, and towels.  Your closet is overflowing with your carseat, diaper bag, stroller, swing, and all the other necessities. 

As I am typing this you are reminding me with your powerful kicks that you do not like when I lean forward...does that squish you?  I'm starting to learn your preferred positions in utero now that you are getting big enough for me to distinguish your body parts.  You LOVE to stick your bum up in the air.  I know exactly when you wake up in the morning because you stretch out from side to side.  Your hands feel like I am getting an internal massage, and your little feet are strong!  Swift kicker you are!!  Remember, I would love for you to be a volleyball player, so don't get to excited about soccer just yet. :) 

Your dad has been working crazy hours opening up the restaurant, but you are the first one he kisses when he comes home each night.  Even if I am sleeping, I can always feel him lean down and kiss you.  He talks to you all the time and hopes that you are learning his voice.  I think you are-you almost always give him a response by kicking back when he touches my belly!  He got to watch you dance last night.  My entire belly was moving side to side, up and down, while you were doing your thing in there.  He couldn't take his eyes off of you.  Since your dad is gone so much these days, I talk to you all the time.  I hope that you are learning my voice as well.  I talk to you about everything, and I hope you will talk to me about everything when you are older. 

I am getting so excited thinking about all the things we will teach you and experience with you.  I can't wait for you to be old enough to play kitchen, read books like Charlotte's Web and other children's classics, watch and fall in love with Little House on the Prairie just like me, and so much more.  And call me crazy, but I am even looking forward to all the care that you will need when you are first born.  I can't wait to come to you in the middle of the night when you are crying or hungry.  I can't wait to be the only person who you want to calm you when you are upset.  I long and desire to hold you in my arms and see you smile back at me.  I stand staring into your crib all the time thinking about it.  Finally, I can't wait for your birthday.  I really cannot picture what that day will be like.  Will it go as I plan (natural and hopefully quick) or will you be born via C-Section?  Will you be born during the day or during the night?  Will Dr. Boag be the one to deliver you-he said he is going to do his very best even if he is not on call--you're spoiled. ;)  Will I be at work when I go into labor or at home?  What is that very first moment going to be like when I lock eyes with you?  How is your dad going to react?  There are so many questions surrounding that day that is flying towards us at warp speed, but I know that whatever happens will be way you are meant to come into this world and you will come at precisely the perfect moment. 

Maile Grace you are loved beyond words and desired beyond all explanation.  You are our true miracle baby and we are counting down the days until your arrival. 

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Coming to Fruition

Every now and then I get a little laugh at my husband's expense and his use of the English language.  Earlier this weekend we were driving and he told me he was so glad something he has been working on is finally coming to "fruitation".  I had a good laugh and kindly corrected him, although we have been laughing about it all weekend.  Now the word "fruition" has been stuck in my head all weekend.

The definition of fruition is "the attainment or realization of something worked for or desired; fulfilment".  How fitting for this time in our lives.  With each day that passes we are getting closer and closer to our little girl entering our lives and changing us forever.  Every single day I say a prayer of thanks that we are one day closer, one more day of the pregnancy is behind us, and that we are continuing on with such an "easy" pregnancy.  This pregnancy is really coming to fruition.

Recently our weekends have been filled with baby shopping and baby prepping.  Clothes, paint, clothes, pacifiers, clothes, blankets, get the idea.  I think I have now seen every outfit in Gymboree, Children's Place, Carters, Buy Buy Baby, and Babies R Us in my dreams I have looked through them so much.  The crib is here, her dresser is put together, her bedding was delivered, and today Griff started painting the nursery.  Every now and then I stop and think how crazy it is that this is really happening.  You always see movies, tv shows, and pictures of moms and dads putting together the nursery and up until about 8 months ago I had all but given up on that vision for us.  Now as I stand looking into her crib imagining her smiling up at me in just a few short weeks I find myself literally at a loss for words and then filled with unexplainable joy that I have no choice but to give thanks for. 

Our dream is coming to fruition and I can't wait for the day that she arrives.  Until then I will just keep buying cute outfits to pass the time... :)


Saturday, January 5, 2013

Thankful for the Little Things

Short and sweet today...I am sincerely thankful for the answers to prayers, even small ones today! After traveling home to PA last week and being in extremely different weather, flying with lots of people sniffling and coughing, people at work being sick, and Griff being very sick I have been saying short prayers numerous times throughout each day to please let Maile and I stay healthy. Yet again I have been shown such grace and protection through this time and I have stayed completely healthy and cold/flu free! Thankful for answers to prayers today, no matter how small!

Sunday, December 30, 2012

What a Difference a Year Can Make

I am not too big on New Year's resolutions, does anyone really ever keep them?  I usually feel more disappointed in myself if I make one and then it falls by the wayside just a short time later.  I prefer to reflect on the last year and remember all the ups and downs, joys and sorrows, good times and bad times and look forward to what the next year will bring.  And as I sit here writing tonight listening to my favorite music, drinking a cup of decaf hot chocolate, and feeling my daughter kick I am filled with such joy. 

Last year at this time I can honestly say I was at my lowest of low points.  January 3rd will mark the one year anniversary of losing our 3rd baby.  Although I found out in  November that the pregnancy was no longer progressing, my body took it's good old time in physically miscarrying.  I remember those feelings I was processing and emotions I was dealing with as though it was yesterday.  We entered into 2012 with absolute broken hearts and wounded spirits.  Tonight we are leaving 2012 with a beautiful baby girl on the way who is healthy and active.  What a difference a year can make. 

If you had told me last year at this time that I would be sitting here tonight with my husband's hand on my belly feeling our daughter kick and starting to make preparations for her nursery I would have literally laughed out loud and told you you were nuts.  I would have said we would not even try again in 2012 and that it seemed impossible that it could ever happen for us.  Oh how little faith I had a year ago.  What a difference a year can make.

This past week we had the joy of spending Chrismas with my family in Pennsylvania.  Although a little early we also had a baby shower since that was the last time I will be home before she is born.  Griff and I were absolutely showered in love by friends and family.  Our little girl is so blessed.  We even announced her name...Maile (My-lee) Grace.  Named after Griff's beloved grandmother, Mai, and his family name Le.  Grace was the obvious choice for her middle name as we have been shown so much grace in this pregnancy that it is only fitting.  What a difference a year can make.

So instead of dreading what the next days and weeks would bring like I was last year entering into 2012, I am looking forward to 2013 more so than ever!  In just a few short months our lives are going to be forever changed when Maile Grace arrives!  What a difference a year can make!